Sunday, November 11, 2012

OPEN LETTER TO CBS SUNDAY MORNING: The Scientific Truth about Climate Change

Dear Sirs:
Your news special, though interesting, shows how the debate continues to remain politicized.  The chances of CBS objectively picking four experts that had purportedly divergent views upon the subject of climate change and yet (1) remained convinced that man-made climate change is occurring; and (2) that we can do something about it, are around one in ten.  That these experts would actually come out on national television and suggest that climate science is still in its infancy and the debate about climate change is still in dispute is about one in a hundred.  That the editorial staff of CBS would suggest the same is about one in a million.
We need a real debate upon this subject before one cent is spent on preventing a real or imagined problem.  That debate is not forthcoming because of the lack of courage of politicians and of media outlets such as CBS.
Let me mention a few observations regarding your presentation.  That certain of these experts you interview can erect 1,000 foot towers and have access to so much land supposedly untouched by pollution shows that they are well funded and may have a vested interest in the result.  Also, could we at least have heard other scientists provide their opinion on whether the experiments conducted truly meet the requirements of objective science?
I guess I’m supposed to be enlightened when you suggest that Hurricane Sandy is the “elephant in the room.”  Apparently, that team of experts on your program that suggested there were no more tornadoes or hurricanes currently occurring now than at any time in history were wrong about this one particular point.  Let me ask: Was the hurricane in Galveston in 1900 that killed 8,000 people caused by climate change?  Was the dust bowl in the 1930s caused by a man made technological warming of the atmosphere?  CBS appears to have forgotten the mantra of all climate science enthusiasts that climate is indeed different than weather.  So please stop drumming up a story based upon a solitary current event that is getting a great deal of coverage.
Again, the science of predicting climate or the weather is so relatively new that there are too many unanswered questions for experts to arrogantly suggest that they know what is about to occur in fifty or a hundred years.  We’re presented computer models showing temperature patterns through history.  Yet accurate temperature measurements likely have only been occurring for 120 years, and much of the science that has gone into making these models is based upon temperature estimates at best.  There is likely no way that core samples, taken from beneath the earth's surface, provide temperature measurements as accurately as a thermometer.  Yet the debate is about fractions of degrees of temperatures that will change over the next century.  Can we at least examine as to how temperature measurements were taken in creating these models to begin with? Can we look at the role of the sun?  Can we look at the differences between temperature measurements taken in rural versus urban areas?  Can we be honest?
Seriously, you have a 90 minute program.  Let’s have a real debate (different than any Presidential debate that consists mostly of sound bites). Devote one single CBS Sunday Morning program to having a debate as follows:
(1)    Allow each side of the Climate Change debate to present their side for 25 minutes without interruption.
(2)    Each side then be allowed 10 minutes for rebuttal.
(3)    Let the actual scientists in the debate rather than media moguls choose who they want as presenters.
(4)    Let the public know the credentials of those presenting their side of the case.
(5)    Keep all politicians away from the microphone.
For the last 20 minutes of the show, you can give another one of your feel good celebrity stories if you so wish.
I’ll write back in a year or so if you still have failed to objectively cover the topic.
Robert S. Miller
November 11, 2012
© Robert S. Miller 2012