NEW YORK (
) -- The great climate change debate has been one of the more polarizing issues of the past several years.
Proponents believe that the recent rash of hurricanes, floods, other disasters, rising CO2 levels and melting polar ice caps are caused by humans.
To not believe that we are the cause is to be a "denier" -- and to be a denier means not only are you naive, but you're also at odds with science and "overwhelming" evidence.
Well, I am a denier, and based on recent polls, our ranks are growing. I've been to this rodeo before -- when science makes bold predictions that don't come to fruition.
In the early 1970s, as an elementary school student, I was frightened into believing that the world would run out of oil within 30 years. That's what science was telling us at the time; and living through a couple of gas crises reinforced the message. Of course, it was not true. Technology got better, more oil was discovered, and we are now experiencing an energy boom right here at home.
In the early 1970s, we were also warned of a coming ice age. Some proponents pushed the notion that all of the fossil fuels we were burning would block out the sunlight, causing temperature to drop.
article entitled "The Cooling World" chided political leaders for not taking any action; one of the more radical suggestions was to melt the Arctic ice cap by covering it with black soot.
We've come a long way since then. First to "global warming," and when that term was no longer deemed appropriate -- primarily because the data did not conclusively support the notion that temperatures are rising. It became "climate change."
Do weather patterns change, and can they change over time? Certainly. However, I'm skeptical that temperatures are rising in the long term. And if they are, there is simply not enough conclusive evidence that we are the cause.
As humans, we certainly can be destructive. We can pollute rivers, streams and our own water supplies, and wreak havoc on the environment, but can we drastically alter our own climate?
When we "deniers" were warned by the
in 2007 that the Arctic would be ice-free by 2013, and now see that not only did that not happen, but that the ice sheets have grown over the past year, our own skepticism grows.