We need a new outlook on the climate change debate

Where do you stand when it comes to climate change? To most people, the fact that the world is warming and causing severe problems is fact. Others are more sceptical.

Where do you stand when it comes to climate change? To most people, the fact that the world is warming and causing severe problems is fact. Others are more sceptical. The reasons behind said climate change are also widely argued, with some believing that human kind has no influence at all.

Research which expressed doubt about the effect of greenhouse gases on climate change has been rejected by one of the World’s most influential academic journals. The work is claimed to be “harmful” to the cause, because it is feared that global warming sceptics would use it in their defence.

The paper claimed that climate change may be less sensitive to greenhouse gases than previous reports have suggested. The exact findings of the paper are unclear as it remains unpublished, which one can only hope is not for political reasons.

Different opinions

There is a constant worry in the reporting of climate change that the wrong message will come across, and sceptics will run with any information they can. Unfortunately, this means that important research is rejected to ‘protect’ the global warming image.

Allan Savory, a Zimbabwean biologist, has claimed in a TED talk that “only livestock can save us” from climate change and the rising problem of arid land. He claims that the use of livestock in barren areas can increase the carbon levels in soils to protect grasslands and, over time, lush vegetation can return. 

Savory’s work has been criticised for being unrealistic, but it is a glimpse in to the further research about global warming, and perhaps how other factors are just as important as the ‘greenhouse gases’ that we so often hear about.

Other opinions about climate change are clearly present in science, but not all of the research is available, or perhaps interesting enough, to be made apparent to public via the media.

Mike Hulme, professor of climate and culture at King’s College London, claimed that many climate researchers expect and “harass” other scientists to “fall into line” when it comes to climate change (quote from The Independent).

One of the writers of the rejected paper, Professor Lennart Bengtsson, resigned from his post on the academic advisory council of the Global Warming Policy Foundation after the denial. He said he was worried about science being influenced by political views, and policy decision should be based on facts alone. 

A sketchy picture

Unfortunately, we live in a world where we aren’t always shown the whole picture, and scientific research often goes unpublished.  How are those of us who are not climate change scientists supposed to make an informed decision about what we can do to help put an end to, or at least minimise, climate change if we are not given all of the information?

We’re not all so stubborn and cynical that a change in evidence or research will cause us to throw up our hands in despair and cry out at how manipulated we are being. Science and scientific theories and evidence change all the time, and the more that fact is drummed in to us, the more likely we will be to accept the latest research.

Whatever the reason behind the undeniable global warming, the effects are hard to ignore. This week it has been reported that temperature rises triggered by climate change could kill off the world’s population of sea turtles due to more females being born than males.

The temperature of the sand the turtle eggs are laid in determines the sex of the offspring, and higher temperatures of these sands are causing an abundance of females.

Perhaps beneficial in the short term, males breed more often than females so it is likely there will be a turtle “baby boom” of more eggs from females. However, this situation is hardly sustainable and there is the possibility that male turtles will eventually die out, dooming the species.

The causes remain up for discussion, but climate change needs to be tackled now as best as it can be. For starters, the media could be honest about what they are reporting without dismissing the “different” or the “damaging.” 

What do you think of the debate on climate change? Have your say in the comments section below.