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Climate science still uncertain

Question of the Day

Is it still considered bad form to talk politics during a social gathering?

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"Climate change is real," says microbiologist and author Alex Berezow. "Currently, humans are largely the problem" ("Asking Alex Berezow: Why has science become so political?" Web, Monday). The first of these statements is meaningless. The second is completely unsubstantiated.

Change is what climates do all the time on planets with atmospheres, so of course it is "real." All scientists also know that humans contribute to climate change -- witness the change in temperature when driving from the countryside to the city. However, the only question that matters is, "Do most scientists who study the causes of climate change support the hypothesis that our emissions of carbon dioxide are causing dangerous global warming and other climate problems?" No one knows the answer to this question because there has never been reputable worldwide polling of the issue.

Most professionals in the field understand that climate science remains immature and highly uncertain. No one really even knows whether global warming or cooling lies ahead, let alone whether "humans are largely the problem." Mr. Berezow is also wrong to assert, "The key to defusing the situation is to make sure the science is separated from the policy." Policy should be based on science -- not existing in some other universe, as it is now.

Science-based policy would have us preparing for natural climate-change warming and cooling, drought and flood and rising and falling sea levels as our societies expand. But the idea that we know, or even can know, the future of our planet's climate is simply a modern-day myth.

TOM HARRIS

Executive director

International Climate Science Coalition

Ottawa, Ontario

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