This I Believe

Beate - New York, New York
Entered on September 11, 2006
Age Group: 30 - 50
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This I believe…

I believe in science and technology and in the human ability to us them wisely.

But I don’t believe in global warming. As an atmospheric scientist I have been working on climatic change questions and the human impact on the climate of the 20th century. My research and my gained knowledge of the work of countless fellow scientists convinced me that global warming is not an artifact of our measurement errors or is just a natural swing in longterm climate variability. The scientific argumentation is to exclude hypothesis after hypothesis and hence narrow the possible causes of observed changes. I was not able to falsify the human impact nor were my colleagues. Therefore I do not “believe” in global warming I “accept” it in a scientific sense. I am often asked whether global warming is really at a tipping point with unforeseeable consequences? I don’t know. I am still trying to find out. My scientific colleagues are also still trying to find out. I “know” we are in the middle of a changing world and we are in the middle of adapting to it. Every summer heat wave breaks the record in electric usage in New York. I also believe in the ability of alternative energy technology and I mean the once who are safe. I do not believe that nuclear power is the answer. It makes no difference for me whether we emit greenhouse gases into the atmosphere that stay there for hundreds of years to come or whether we store nuclear waste in the ground for thousands of years. We have seen decades ago that nuclear power is not safe and we find out now that greenhouse gases are not safe. I believe science and technology will find better solutions for our future energy needs and I am convinced it will be a combination of many alternative sources and not one replacement alternative for fossil fuels. We might use only a few energy transfer media supplied by many regionally varying sources.

I believe in the human spirit of using science and technology wisely. But more recently I become doubtful. Quick engineering fixes like the proposal by prominent scientists of putting geo-engineered sulfate particles in the atmosphere make me doubt. There are times when it’s been hard for me to articulate clearly and separate my believes, from the scientific results I accept, and my hopes for the future. Many interests pull from all sides on the science I do. But at the end of the day I believe in science and technology if it is surrounded by wisdom.