Letter: Beaton’s global warming columns are a great disservice
I find Glenn Beaton’s recent columns on global warming (Jan. 4 and 18, The Aspen Times) disturbing. Glenn, since you might interpret disagreement with your writings as a personal attack, let me make it clear that I’d like to focus on your message. In your efforts to bring light to a pressing issue of our time, you are doing a great disservice. You reinforce the illusion that climate change is still debatable and poorly understood. Your words sew confusion and doubt at a time when we need to act.
When you anchor your argument to the views of a Steven Koonin, a scientist whose affiliations predict a conflict of interest and whose position is at odds with the consensus of the scientific community, that’s a misuse of science.
When you speculatively disparage the beliefs of others while arguing from a conflation of questionable science and contradictory perspectives, that’s a misuse of religion.
While the exact details of how the drama of climate change will play out are unsettled, the science is compellingly clear — 97 percent of reputable scientists agree that human activity is changing the composition of the atmosphere in ways that will dramatically alter climate dynamics. Not only is that a remarkable level of agreement in these polarized times, it is the very nature of good science that the understanding of complex issues will converge with careful inquiry and investigation.
For a shining example of how religion can be effective, look to the Dalai Lama who says: “My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.” That’s good religion.
Using what we know now, we can act now to mitigate the potential impacts of climate change. (One elegant, equitable and simple approach is Carbon Fee and Dividend.) In doing so, we can avoid untold suffering for human beings and the many creatures who share this planet with us. That would be a great kindness to Earth’s current occupants and to future generations. That’s good science and good religion.
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