I used to believe that astronauts, with their unique views of Earth, would be most able to see the limits of our planet and the need for taking care of our environment. Walter Cunningham’s commentary “Winning the War with Global Warming Alarmists” [July 9, page 19] proves that you don’t have to be logical, knowledgeable or insightful to get into space.
If this is a war, who are the combatants? Mother Nature? Liberals, perhaps?
Cunningham puts NASA, the Goddard Institute for Space Studies, the World Meteorological Organization, the American Geophysical Union and those grant-money-grubbing scientists, researchers and college professors on one side. These organizations are apparently driven by greed. Cunningham doesn’t mention any organizations on his side — only unnamed “hundreds of well-known climate scientists and tens of thousands of other scientists.” I will say his side includes the oil industry, the coal industry and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. And what are they driven by? The kindness of their hearts and the good of mankind? The believers side is presented as greedy, but the motivations of the unmentioned corporatists banking the deniers are not discussed.
Is it that difficult to apply the same standards to both sides of an argument? If you are going to judge one side for their motivations (whether accurately or inaccurately) then shouldn’t the other side be judged similarly? If you’re going to list all the “alarmist” organizations that believe the theories of climate change, then list the opposing |organizations.
Cunningham says NASA’s chief climate scientist is calling for a carbon tax, but what does the other side advocate doing? Nothing is mentioned, but by their very nature they must advocate unrestricted consumption and the denial and suppression of its consequences via advertising, lobbying and propaganda to maximize profits.
Cunningham says the best way to fight “the war” is to change the wording, to make it sound like those on his side are “realists” and those on the other side are “alarmists.” That is how he would get the media and public to support his position — not by providing evidence or a rational argument, but by changing the vocabulary. That is propaganda, not science.
This piece easily could have been written by an oil corporation lobbyist or a coal industry spokesman — many of Cunningham’s arguments sound exactly like theirs. I am very disappointed that it was given any thought, much less printed. To think that people of position, wealth and power believe (or at least promote) this stuff is very troubling for us all.