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Point-Counterpoint: The consequences of Climate-Gate

<ong>Recent events should not affect our views on global warming

(By David Sacks)

So what if it’s cold across the country and Washington, D.C. is snowed in?  Whether or not recent weather patterns reject the idea of manmade global warming is irrelevant.  What has been dubbed “climate-gate” is regrettable, since it has undermined Americans’ faith in scientific findings, and has exposed the agendas of some scientists who we think of as being objective.  However, what would be even more regrettable is if we allow these recent events to sidetrack our research into alternative fuel and energy. 

It does not matter if global warming actually exists.  By not investing in alternative fuels that will wean us off of foreign oil, we are directly funding our most menacing enemies.  America is sending billions of dollars every day to countries such as Iran, as we purchase gas and consume oil.  Why should we be funding a regime that continually denounces the U.S., its allies, and supports terrorist organizations that kill U.S. soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan?

September 11th, 2001, is still vividly in our minds.  Why else would someone like Dick Cheney go on national television and declare that Barack Obama has made America weaker in its enemies’ eyes?  He knows, as every other politician knows, that we are concerned about our safety.  So why, then, are we fine with mindlessly buying gas and oil, not thinking of the implications?  Oil is a national security issue.  Our dollars are contributing in some way to Iran’s nuclear program and to sustaining dictators such as Hugo Chavez.

Investing in these new technologies, while requiring significant money and incentives by the federal government, will pay huge dividends down the road.  By inventing and developing new energy solutions, the U.S. can export these globally to emerging economies such as China.  As the world’s population continues to grow, more people will need clean water and alternative energy.  And as the middle and upper classes in countries such as China and India continues to grow, so too will the number of people who want to live like we do, consuming the same high amounts of water and energy.  Clearly, renewable energy is an emerging global industry. 

While some questions regarding the existence of global warming, its significance, and who causes it have come up in recent weeks, it is important not to lose sight of some of the consequences of continuing to use oil, and increasing our use of oil.  While politicians on both sides have tried to use global warming as a political issue, it should not be viewed as one.  Rather, it is an issue of national security and improving our economy by taking advantage of the next “big” industry.  By investing in renewable and clean energy, America will become safer and our economy will benefit.

Climate-Gate: manipulation at its worst

(By Justin Rotman)

While it was extremely frustrating to learn the news from Climate-Gate that some scientists’ information on global warming has been ignored and disregarded in order to skew the results a certain way, it is almost as disconcerting to see members of such a trusted profession act the way they did in hiding data that contradicted their beliefs on climate change. Normally, as a society we leave it up to politicians to be so corrupt, yet the recent hacking of files and e-mails of the University of East Anglia’s Climactic Research Unit (CRU) has shown that, regrettably, even scientists at times manipulate data.

For about the last 20 years, the issue of global warming has transformed from a modest scientific study to subject for raging political and economic debate

It’s unfortunate to hear these reports that scientists at the CRU withheld information and prevented opposing scientific papers from being published because of the political and economic implications that the debate on global warming has today. The political left and right continually battle over the implications of climate change, and to know that scientists have skewed figures makes us pause and second-guess findings from either side of the debate.

Scientists, along with doctors, policemen, and high school teachers, among others, remain one of the professions that are more universally respected than, say, business executives, lawyers, and politicians. While this news certainly will not plummet the public’s view of scientists belong Congress, which is currently the least-respected profession in America, it creates a fundamental problem. If policies on global warming are based on these scientific findings, how can we know we are making the right decisions regarding such bills as the American Clean Energy and Security Act, better known as the cap-and-trade bill? This is worse than the media’s ability to slant information because the public realizes that potential and can go to multiple sources for news reports. When scientists manipulate facts, the problem has massive effects.

Additionally, it makes one wonder if it’s a coincidence that we continually hear more and more about the negative human causes of climate change and less about how the changes are natural or exaggerated. How many times have we praised Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth without noting that Gore lives in a 10,000 square foot mansion, about four times the size of a new American home that consumes twelve times the electricity of the average American family? This is not an attack on Gore’s views or politics, but rather on his hypocrisy. How many times is it noted that the Arctic Circle is melting without mentioning that the Antarctic Circle is growing?

This is not an argument on global warming, and it is not a statement on political reactions to it. Instead, I am arguing that the intentional manipulation and disregard of oppositional viewpoints is extremely disheartening, and action should be taken against these Climate-Gate scientists — suspensions, dismissals — to try and stop the potential waterfall of negative effects that can result from these appalling acts.

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