Confessions of a climate change skeptic

Opinion Article by Michael J. Zicolello, Esq.

We’ve all heard the urgent calls to action to remedy man-made climate change. I’m sorry, but I’m just not buying it.

Before you start accusing me of being “anti-science”, be advised that I love science.

Have you had your spouse obtain science textbooks via library loan just to satiate your science appetite?

Do you bore your friends ad nauseum with your never ending amazement of the curious nature of quantum physics?

Do you engage in debates about Fermi’s Paradox?

Well, I do. I do because I have a bottomless curiosity for all that is scientific.

Prompted by this curiosity, over the past few years, I have made every effort to gain an understanding of the issues in the man-made climate change debate. During this time, two things have become very clear to me.

First, the earth’s climate system is unfathomably complex. There are so, so many variables that influence cooling or heating; of which man-made CO2 is only one.

Second, boy oh boy, do people come down hard on the skeptics. I’m not sure why this is. I thought skepticism was a good thing. Nothing good has ever come of everyone walking in lockstep on an issue.

I know some very smart people – college professors, engineers, doctors – who share my view, but they dare not express it openly because, frankly, it is just not worth it.

Now, I’m not going to try to convince you that my position is the correct position.

I just want you to respect the fact that I’ve spent time reading and discussing the issue and I have a healthy doubt that there is an impending man-made global warming catastrophe.

The earth is over 4.5 billion years old, and the recorded temperature record amounts to less than 175 years, so forgive me if I don’t panic over a change in overall temperatures of a few degrees.

The fact is the earth’s climate has never been static.

There are deserts where there once were forests.

Insects were once gigantic due to the earth’s climate being warmer and damper with an atmosphere containing more oxygen than it does today.

The last mini ice age stretched into the late 1400s.

Honestly, why would any thinking person ever believe that the earth’s climate is not going to change?

A great deal of my skepticism is focused on the supposed calamitous nature of a warmer climate. I’m just not buying that a man-made climate change catastrophe is headed towards us like a freight train down a steep hill on a short track.

Throughout human history, cold has presented a far greater existential threat than heat.

After all, people live at the equator, but they can’t survive at the North or South Pole. I have great faith in humankind’s ability to adapt and overcome any difficulties presented by a warmer climate.

Other factors also play a role in my skepticism.

This includes the amount of money being made by the pushers of man-made climate change.

I recently read that Al Gore is worth more than $300 million. How do you think he made his money?

I also have concerns that governments are using climate change scare tactics to expand their control over industries and economies. Didn’t our former President’s Chief of Staff famously proclaim that you should never let a good crisis go to waste?

There is also what I like to call the Climate Change Pied Piper Contradiction.

This is born of the Flight Attendant Paradigm that I employ when flying.

When my flight gets a little rougher than normal, I watch the Flight Attendants. I only begin to panic if they seem surprised or concerned.

I feel that, based on experience and access to the pilot, they would know better than I when it’s time to panic.

The Climate Change Pied Piper Contradiction is similar.

It is based on the cold hard fact that those that warn us most of an impending man-made climate change disaster do not conduct themselves in a manner indicative of a true belief in their own dire warnings.

When Al Gore donates half of his fortune to combat man-made climate change and Leonardo DiCaprio abandons his private jet in favor of video conferences and a mountain bike, my concern level will increase.

Since they are on the “inside”, and do not, by their actions, seem to be very concerned, why should I be concerned?

Last, but not least, there is history. I’ve lived through quite a few impending environmental disasters: The hole in the ozone; acid rain; man-made ice age; over-population; resource depletion.

None ever really amounted to much.

Quite frankly, I am far more concerned that some random asteroid currently hurdling toward the earth will kill us all.

Look it up.

It has happened before and will happen again, eventually.

Perhaps we should spend more time and resources on our asteroid problem?

Zicolello is a local attorney at Schemery Zicolello, PC.