“To avoid passing tipping points, such as initiation of the collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, we need to limit the climate forcing severely. It's still possible to do that, if we phase down carbon emissions rapidly, but that means moving expeditiously to clean energies of the future. ... Moving to tar sands, one of the dirtiest, most carbon-intensive fuels on the planet, is a step in exactly the opposite direction, indicating either that governments don't understand the situation or that they just don't give a damn. ... People who care should draw the line.”—Scientific American interviewed NASA climatologist James Hansen, who has been warning about the dangers of climate change since 1988, about the proposed construction of the Keystone Pipeline XL to transport oil from Canadian tar sands to the United States. We’ll be talking about Keystone, and the president’s renewed interest in combating climate change, this weekend.
We watch scientists (e.g. paleontologists) discuss the past using the scientific method and an array of artifacts. We marvel at the power of science to look at objects and make educated statements about what they believe might have happened. We applaud their reasoned debate and understand the importance of the free flow of ideas.
We watch scientists (e.g. climatologists) discuss the future and we believe it sans tangible artifacts and we scream for the silencing of debate and dissenting opinion.
When a scientist tells me they are certain about a future event, I discount them. They have forgotten what certain means.
I’m a scientist. Certainty is a big word. (Dr. Amy Barnes [Anne Heche], Volcano 1997)