Letters To The Editor - Proving, disproving global warming not possible


Mr. Singleton finally wrote a letter regarding global warming that ended properly. He wrote, "prove it." Here is my reply.

What would constitute a "proof" to Mr Singleton? Please give a set of objective criteria that would satisfy his definition of "proof."

Would he accept that most of what he writes in no way proves anything? My opinion is that his opinions and the statements that simply repeat what others have written or said, in fact "prove" nothing.

Now a clarification. Nothing is ever "proved" in science. Measurements and earlier science encourage hypotheses to be made, deductions follow, evidence is examined and then more hypotheses are made and more evidence is examined.

When evidence doesn't support hypotheses, at least three things can be wrong: the evidence is bad, the hypotheses are bad, or the deductions are bad. Sometimes two or all of these can be wrong.

In fact, it is impossible to "prove" that global warming is caused by one thing or another or that it is natural and can't be affected by human actions. The global climate is a very complex system (weather reports exemplify this) and at best one can accumulate evidence and then point to a variety of potential contributing factors that can be included in an imperfect model.

Mr. Singleton simply cherry-picks his evidence and others' opinions to support his own opinions. That is, of course, unless he can "prove" that anthropogenic global warming is false. Can he?

Finally, just what is wrong with simply trying to reduce the human impact on our planet? CO2 and heat up a smokestack are examples of waste. (This is an example of "externalizing" cost to make others pay for bad practices.) Isn't reducing waste a good business decision?

Dick Swenson
Walla Walla


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