Saturday, September 20, 2008

Climate Change Controversy

Contrary to common notion, science does not always arrive at conclusions as absolute truths. Although concrete empirical evidences are the best proofs, the interpretations of these proofs are subject to consensus. In spite of the rigorous testing, experimentation, data collection, and peer reviews, scientific theories are not always established as facts. There are some scientific issues that remain to be controversial. It seems that scientists are divided into camps when it comes to some important issues. The issue of climate change is one of the hotly debated issues today. Although all scientists agree that there is indeed significant change in the climate, they do not agree on what is causing it.

However, most experts assert that the main cause of global warming can be traced to human activities, particularly the burning of fossil fuel. On the other hand, there are some heretics that oppose this human factor theory. These scientists also have their voluminous pile of confirmable data to support their assertions. They are pointing out to the fact that the earth had already undergone dramatic climate changes in the past, long before humans existed. Some factors that are being examined for periodic and dramatic climate change are the sun’s activity, ocean’s currents, volcanic activities, and cosmic rays. It has also been noted that the correlation between the amount of carbon dioxide and high global temperature and other greenhouse gases may not necessarily have a cause and effect relationship. At worst, the cause and effect relationship might be reverse. The high temperature is causing greenhouse gases from natural sources to be released into the atmosphere.

Since Al Gore and the IPCC have been awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace, the world awareness on climate changed has risen. The efforts of Al Gore to propagate climate change awareness have earned him global recognition as a serious environmental advocate. His most notable work was the film documentary, “An Inconvenient Truth.” Although the film itself has received international awards, there are some critics who pointed out the obvious biases in the way the film documentary was presented. Some critics dismissed the film as an outright propaganda material and money-making venture to further Al Gore’s political agenda. The film documentary fed on the fears of people by presenting a doomsday scenario. The supposedly scientific facts presented were grossly exaggerated and misleading. Some theories and assumptions were even presented as facts. Al Gore might have political agenda under his sleeves but the recognition of his efforts has resulted in global awareness and actions. Al Gore became the high-priest and global preacher of the gospel about climate change. Some politicians are now riding in the bandwagon.

In the Philippines, the politician most notable for riding with the bandwagon of climate change politics is Governor Joey Sarte Salceda of the province of Albay. He even formed an office that will focus on his policies related to climate change. This office is the Center for Initiatives and Research in Climate Change Adaptation (CIRCA). Like Al Gore, Governor Salceda is not an expert on climate change. He is not even a noted environmentalist. He is an expert in economics. Whatever the real intention of Governor Salceda in his present environmental advocacy, it seems that it is benefiting Albay Province. This province is now declared as the pilot province for a national program on climate change adaptation and mitigation. Funds poured in the province as a result. The areas of agriculture, infrastructure, and education are the concerns of the said program. National and international conferences were already held in Albay regarding climate change. Since the devastation of typhoon Reming in 2006, climate change has become a real issue in Albay that is now being addressed. Hopefully, the people of Albay are the ones that will truly benefit from the initiatives of the local government. On the other hand, if Governor Salceda is really serious in proving his sincerity about his environmental cause, perhaps it would not be a very big sacrifice if he will give up his cigarette smoking.

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Stupidity on the climate change issue is one of the world's biggest threats today. Sites like yours lead the less educated public to believe that the science is divided on the climate change issue. It is not! A few demagogues fill a niche created by the medias demand for controversy.

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