As is normal for Canadian youth, I follow the news online rather than reading the newspaper. I decided to snoop around in the local opinion section of this paper, just to see what I’d been missing.
I didn’t expect to be as entertained as I was.
In recent days, there have been letters proclaiming the science on climate change is “not settled,” that there was no science to suggest a non-binary view of gender, and that vaguely defined “experts” have been repeatedly incorrect about the effects of climate change.
It may seem that rather rigorous scientific debate is happening within the opinion section of the newspaper. If that were the case, I would be overjoyed, but these “scientific” arguments are victims of misinformation and misrepresentation of readily available data.
Every letter I have alluded to so far would have failed as a paper written in elementary school. I believe it is in Grade 5 that students are taught to cite their sources and that failing to do so is a major no-no. In fact, I could be removed from my university if I were to make a claim such as “the arctic ice is as expansive and thick as ever” and not provide any documentation. I am aware that these are letters to a newspaper, not a scientific journal, but the attempt should at least be made.
Arctic ice, as previously mentioned, is indeed “as expansive and thick as ever” if “as ever” means 2016, and not literally every year recorded before it. Since 1979, the average extent of arctic ice has shrunk by over 20 per cent, as shown by the National Snow and Ice Data Center. Concerns about carbon dioxide emissions are not based on false information, but the fact that there is over 30 per cent more of it in the atmosphere now than at any point in the Earth’s history, which is contributing to global warming and the acidification of the oceans. And yes, CO2 levels are, in a sense, “on a cycle,” but the rate of CO2 increase is about 100 times faster than normal. You can read more about this from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
“Global warming” was not a term that lost favour because of the lack of, well, global warming. Climate change and global warming are, in fact, separate phenomena, and the term “global warming” became less mainstream during the Bush administration. This was at the request of Republican consultant Frank Luntz, who wrote in an internal memo (now available online), “It’s time for us to start talking about ‘climate change’ instead of global warming and ‘conservation’ instead of preservation.”
Merry Christmas to cimate action advocates and climate change deniers, anti-vaxxers and flat earthers alike. You all deserve a happy holiday season, but some of you should cite your sources.