Marquette Warrior: Jim Ott: Global Warming Skeptic

Monday, January 22, 2007

Jim Ott: Global Warming Skeptic

A real coup from blogger Josh Schroeder, who asked former Channel 4 weatherman Jim Ott about the notion of global warming.

Ott is rather a skeptic. He prudently doesn’t deny that human activity might have made the planet warmer, he’s just not sure.

Some key points:
Even if we are witnessing the beginning of a long term climate change in progress (and I think it is too soon to say that we are), there are numerous other causative factors that could be involved. We know this because the earth’s climate has gone through major changes long before humans could have been a factor. To assume that the last 20-25 years of warm weather are due to human activity would be similar to having an effect that could be caused by any of ten different factors, and just assuming that one factor was responsible, and ignoring all others. Part of the reason this attitude is prevalent in the area of climate change is that the other factors are not very well understood, so it’s convenient to latch onto one that, at least in theory, is understood.
And further:
In summary, there’s a lot we still must learn about climates and climate change, and I feel that continued research in these areas is very important. Making assumptions and predictions without a better understanding than we have now may lead to some incorrect predictions, and therefore improper actions. Assuming that whatever seems to be happening at the present time will continue to happen is a common reaction. After the brutal winters of the early 80s many people assumed we were in for more of the same in subsequent winters. It didn’t happen. Assuming that the climate will continue to warm now and that it’s due to human activity is just that: an assumption. We don’t have all the information we need, and we certainly don’t have all the answers.
One could deride Ott as “just a TV weatherman.” But he’s clearly well informed, a professional where weather is concerned, and perhaps independent of the political pressures and ideological biases of other scientists who are adamant that catastrophe looms unless we mend our sinful ways.


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