Thursday, June 22, 2017

Educating Trump's Energy Secretary

[I plan to discuss some thoughts about the 6th District election loss;  but I need another day to digest what it all means.  Meanwhile, another problem.   Thanks to HuffPost's Chris D'Angelo for the background article.]

Trump's cabinet Secretary of Energy, former Texas governor Rick Perry, was interviewed on CNBC's "Squawk Box" on Monday.  He was asked whether he believes that carbon dioxide "is the primary control knob for the temperature of the Earth and the climate."

Perry responded, "No, most likely the primary control knob is the ocean waters and this environment that we live in."  He went on to say that those who question the scientific community's findings are more intelligent.  “I think if you’re going to be a wise, intellectually engaged person, being a skeptic about some of these issues is quite all right,” Perry said. 

This prompted a letter to the Secretary from Keith L. Seitter, executive director of the American Meteorological Society, who emphasized the importance for those setting energy policy to understand that human activity, as the primary cause of climate change, is well established by scientific evidence.   Here are some excerpts from Seitter's letter:

“This is a conclusion based on . . . multiple independent lines of evidence that have been affirmed by thousands of independent scientists and numerous scientific institutions around the world. We are not familiar with any scientific institution with relevant subject matter expertise that has reached a different conclusion. . . .  [W]ithout this fundamental understanding of the science, it is impossible to discuss potential policy changes in meaningful ways."
Seitter also wrote that:  “skepticism and debate are always welcome and are critically important to the advancement of science."   But he added that, when it comes to the role of CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions in driving global warming, the science is “extremely well established. . . . based on decades of research and multiple lines of evidence.”
If there was any doubt about the pointedness of his letter, he added this adapted aphorism:  Skepticism that fails to account for evidence is no virtue.”
Ok, Mr. Climate-denying Secretary of Energy, isn't it time for you to take another look?   Or, if it be the case, a first look.

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