Science is never settled: we continuously learn more

To the Editor:

Re: Science is not about consensus: it’s about observable facts, by Kevin Avram on the Aprl 12 Lakeside Leader Letters page:

How observable are the increased floods, more powerful fires, extreme winds and shifting biological zones around the world? Our new climate is not only being observed by scientists, but suffered by all of humanity, and animals as well.
It’s super to have a conversation about science. In this article, however, the author takes offense at the label, ‘climate change denier’, yet comes up with another one, ‘climate alarmist’. The saddest thing is that denying that climate change is affected by humans is actually affecting the science itself! In being sensitive to the fact that their research has been attacked, climate scientists err on the side of ‘caution’ and the estimates and models of our changing climate are actually way low.
This ‘debate’ has brought on an era of positive feedback loops, where the warming climate is speeding up ‘natural’ effects like the methane bubbles ready to pop under the melting permafrost. Methane is about 30 times more powerful than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas.
Science is never settled: we continuously learn more and understand better. Only 500 years later do we understand that when Indigenous peoples living in the Americas stopped performing annual controlled burns to maintain their gorgeous tailored landscape, a ‘mini ice age’ hit Europe. (They stopped maintaining the landscape when 90 per cent of them died from European diseases.)
The tobacco and asbestos industries had plenty of scientists swearing in court that their products were perfectly safe. Now that we have the Koch brothers lobbying in Alberta (since 2011), there is probably money to go around for those who are willing to ‘see things differently’.
There are not actually two sides to this story, but many sides; those few who are determined not to observe facts can duke it out with the next Beast.

Jule Asterisk
Slave Lake, AB

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