by Christopher Shuman
My family who lives in Chestnut Hill has brought to my attention Mr. Moat’s recent letter asserting that there is “no such thing as man-made climate change” [Letters, Sept. 7]
Given its misguided message and disparagement of researchers like me, I decided that a clear and unequivocal response was needed (also see D.P. Machado’s critical response on Sept. 14).
Mr. Moat’s writing suggests he is a devotee of the corporately-funded dis-information source known as the Heartland Institute. This is the same entity that tried, unsuccessfully, to confuse 25,000 science teachers across the United States.
A possible alternative source of Mr. Moat’s views is provided by searching for the phrase “$1.5 trillion climate change industry” that appears to trace to an Aug.8, 2015, Breitbart article that has since been repeated by outlets of similar journalistic integrity.
I’ll certainly hope that this journal’s audience is not fooled by Mr. Moat’s breezy assumptions and unsupported and incorrect statements given: (1) he provides no relevant facts from reputable sources to support what he “believes” and (2) a number of aspects are clearly biased (above) or factually wrong, for example, claiming there are “1,500 year cycles,” as that is obviously not true for our previous 10,000 years of relative temperature stability into the 20th century, much less the preceding millennia. For full disclosure, I should mention that I helped Richard Alley date the GISP2 ice core from central Greenland as documented in his very readable book “Two Mile Time Machine.”
So, while Mr. Moat’s career in business and philanthropy may be meritorious, it seems curious that he purports to speak knowledgeably on “climate issues” while disparaging both professional scientists (Dr. Mann) as well as leaders who would try to publicly discuss such issues such as Mr. Gore. One can only imagine what he thinks of Leonardo DiCaprio!
For those who would like to see what actual experts think is causing Earth’s overall rise in temperature (hint, “human factors” including all greenhouse gases, not just CO2), accessible scientific data visualizations can be found here:
Further, it is quite revealing of Mr. Moat’s character that he would broadly demean academics as being corrupt (“on the take”). Does Mr. Moat think we shouldn’t bother to try to understand what the future holds, so research of importance to humans need never be funded? I truly doubt Mr. Moat forgoes investing advice from those in that profession.
Clearer thinkers can reasonably believe that Mr. Moat’s negative perceptions of “academics” are because so many research results are clearly showing the consequences of human-amplified climate change. For example, part of my research has used satellite data to document the progressive loss of ~5800 square miles of ice shelf areas along the Antarctic Peninsula since the late 1980s, leading to glacial ice mass losses particularly in the Larsen A and B embayments. It is less certain that the loss of a ~2240 square mile iceberg from the largest remaining shelf area on the peninsula in July during Antarctica’s polar winter is related to climate change, but it is clearly not a good sign for the Larsen C’s stability.
In closing, on two points I can agree with Mr. Moat. He is correct that the massive destruction due to both Harvey and Irma requires responsible rethinking as to where and how people and their life-sustaining infrastructure is built and maintained. And we can also certainly expect “it” to continue as long as we agree that serious consequences of human-amplified climate change is what “it” actually means.
Christopher Shuman is a resident of Greenbelt, Md.