A letter I sent SCM Post re climate change denier Jason Ali was published today.
Here's the version I sent:
It is odd to see letters from born-again climate change denier Jason Ali. He rails against "ideological nonsense", yet his latest letter ("We must focus on pollution") indicates it is Mr Ali who has become blinded by ideology, albeit of a right-wing kind.
Mr Ali suggests Premier Wen Jiabao "deserves 10 out of 10 for putting the interests of our country above that of the ideological nonsense being promulgated by some voices from the West." Yet, as the Copenhagen summit showed, concern regarding global warming is, well, global. Indeed, during the summit, Premier Wen said, "Climate change is a major challenge facing the world today. Curb[ing] global warming, [and] sav[ing] the planet, is mankind's common mission."
Which of course does not mean people across the planet are now acting as one to combat climate change. Part of the problem being the fear-mongering from people such as Mr Ali, who make ridiculous claims about those recommending action about climate change wanting to send mankind "back to the Stone Age".
This is of course utter nonsense, but sadly is typical of the denialist types who seem too scared to do the right thing.
Mr Ali proudly notes he is a geoscientist. Yet this is a far cry from being a climatologist, and Mr Ali seems cheerfully oblivious to the fact that the great majority of climatologists believe global warming is a real issue.
Indeed, as Wikipedia notes regarding the science of climate change, "Since 2007, no scientific body of national or international standing has maintained a dissenting opinion."
As a physical chemist and an ornithologist, I am aware of some of the complexities of climate change science, and have witnessed some of the effects firsthand.
I am struck by the simplicity of the underlying notion - first suggested by Swedish scientist Svante Arrhenius in 1896 - that as carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, increasing its concentration in the atmosphere will cause temperatures to rise.
Likewise, I am struck that the global temperature has indeed risen as carbon dioxide levels have increased, with this decade the hottest on record. As warming has proceeded, I have seen far less of some birds that were common in Hong Kong during winter, and seen bird species take up residence on the north China coast, where they were unknown until the past three decades.
I know predictions of future climates are uncertain, yet models are in broad agreement: sea level will rise, perhaps markedly, there will be more severe weather, perhaps including more severe typhoons striking China. Given this, it would seem wise to take action - which will include measures that can enhance our lives in a multitude of ways, including by reducing pollution.
I've just had email from someone who liked my letter; and not at all impressed by Jason Ali; he'd seen a blog comment that's by a Dr "Jason Ali" in Hong Kong, and verges on being pure loopy; it includes:
In 20 years, global warming worrying will then be a tad passe, and you’ll all be wetting your knickers about something else.
If you are a bit of a worrier (let’s face it, a large number of humanoids are half-empty types), an infinitely more pressing issue is the tensions which will develop over the next 10-50 years between the Yanks (who are economically stuffed and are just about to drift over the waterfall), the Russians (who are bonkers white supremacist “niggers”) and the Chinese (who truly believe that they are the “chosen race”).