And I say it's about time. (Of course, I also say it'll make no difference at all to the thought-challenged among us.) In response to the overwrought and underthought rhetoric that passes for legitimate discussion nowadays, two-hundred-fifty scientists have written a succinct and clear statement about what science is, and, in particular, the facts as currently established about climate change. Appearing in one of the world's most highly regarded scientific publications, Science (in which my brilliant niece has placed several papers), the statement says, in part:
We are deeply disturbed by the recent escalation of political assaults on scientists in general and on climate scientists in particular. [...]
Scientific conclusions derive from an understanding of basic laws supported by laboratory experiments, observations of nature, and mathematical and computer modeling. Like all human beings, scientists make mistakes, but the scientific process is designed to find and correct them. [...] But when some conclusions have been thoroughly and deeply tested, questioned, and examined, they gain the status of "well-established theories" and are often spoken of as "facts."
[...] Climate change now falls into this category... [...]
Many recent assaults on climate science and, more disturbingly, on climate scientists by climate change deniers, are typically driven by special interests or dogma, not by an honest effort to provide an alternative theory that credibly satisfies the evidence. [...]
But there is nothing remotely identified in the recent events that changes the fundamental conclusions about climate change:
(i) The planet is warming due to increased concentrations of heat-trapping gases in our atmosphere. A snowy winter in Washington does not alter this fact.
(ii) Most of the increase in the concentration of these gases over the last century is due to human activities, especially the burning of fossil fuels and deforestation.
(iii) Natural causes always play a role in changing Earth's climate, but are now being overwhelmed by human-induced changes.
(iv) Warming the planet will cause many other climatic patterns to change at speeds unprecedented in modern times, including increasing rates of sea-level rise and alterations in the hydrologic cycle. Rising concentrations of carbon dioxide are making the oceans more acidic.
(v) The combination of these complex climate changes threatens coastal communities and cities, our food and water supplies, marine and freshwater ecosystems, forests, high mountain environments, and far more.
You'd think (or hope, anyway) such a statement would be unnecessary. But as this product of our education system shows (and I don't think he's even Texan), it's only gonna get worse.