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Erik Rasmussen Headshot

Who Owns Your Future?

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POWER SHIFT 2011
AP File

If your electrician tells you that there is a 30 percent risk that your house will set on fire if you do not change your cables, would you call another electrician? If the next electrician confirms the 30 percent risk, would you hire a third, fourth or fifth electrician in the hope of finding one who would reject the risk? Imagine that you talked to 100 electricians -- 97 recommend that you should change the cables, three reject the risk of fire -- who would you listen to? My guess is that you would change the cables immediately.

When it comes to climate change the picture is completely upside down. Regardless of the fact that 97 percent of the world's leading climate scientists agree that human-caused global warming is real, several journalists, experts and politicians still continue to question the reality and the seriousness of global warming. They continue to question the 97 percent of the climate scientists' findings, motives, and recommendations -- as if they are teamed up in the greatest scientific plot in history.

It is absurd to accuse 97 percent of the leading climate scientists of wanting to scheme against the entire world. It is absurd to accuse 97 percent of the leading scientists to believe in climate change to promote their personal careers or for profit. It is even more absurd that these accusations are put forward by leading media and politicians.

For years, radio and TV host Glenn Beck has advocated that global warming is "the greatest scam in history." Fox News has led a long campaign against climate change, peaking the last couple of months, with what almost resembles a personal vendetta against Al Gore and his supporters. In March, the Republicans on the US House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee voted unanimously against an amendment acknowledging the scientific view that Earth's temperature is rising.

The latest argument stated by the climate change skeptics are that the cold winter, which we experienced in North America and Europe in 2010, is a smoking gun proving the falsity of global warming. But with 2010 tied with 2005 in being the warmest year ever, the gun is not so smoking after all. The climate skeptics' case is crumbling. This is further underlined by the fact that experts willing to support the case are dwindling. Last month, Fox News had to post what resembles a personal ad seeking global warming skeptics.

But even though the proofs, arguments and support of the climate change skeptics are diminishing by the minute, they still get a lot of attention. Unfortunately people do listen to them. No wonder -- it is much easier to grasp simplifications and accusations than technical scientific facts. A poll released in February by the Office for National Statistics in the U.K. indicated that the number of climate skeptics in the U.K. had nearly doubled during the last four years. A poll from Rasmussen Reports in January shows that 38 percent of the Americans are not concerned about global warming and that 44 percent believes that global warming is primarily caused by planetary trends.

The fact is that climate change is happening and accelerating. For long, researchers at NASA, UN, and NOAA have presented a large amount of evidence, data, and facts supporting man-made climate change. They have warned, with increasing urgency, that if we carry on with business as usual, the effect will be devastating -- we are looking at a possible world catastrophe. Consequently we are faced with a great paradox: as the climate change is increasing, our worries are rapidly decreasing.

It is now up to us to decide, whether we can afford to ignore the recommendations from 97 percent of the climate change experts. There is a small chance that they could possibly be wrong. But we owe it to ourselves, the next generations, and the planet to give the scientists the benefit of doubt. The human race should not put its fate in the hands of just three percent -- with a great risk of betraying the next generation. Should you?

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