Friday, October 5th 2012, 10:16 AM EDT
A picture of a disgruntled, suited gentleman snapping a hockey stick over his knee decorated the screen in a Texas A&M lecture hall Thursday night. Though one hockey stick had been broken, dozens more lay in wait behind the politician.
Michael E. Mann, from the department of meteorology and geosciences at Penn State University, took the podium to share with the approximately 250 listeners his research on climate change, and to promote and sign his book The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars.
Mann used the political cartoon to emphasize his research that the evidence of global warming is incontrovertible, regardless of those who try to refute it.
Mann said the hockey stick has come to represent the drastic change in climate since the 1950s. Early on, he said, a relatively flat line — the handle of the hockey stick — prevailed when temperatures were relatively mild. Over the past 50 years, a steep increase in temperatures has turned climate graphs from flat, or steadily increasing lines, into hockey sticks.
“Over the past 10 years, many people have reconstructed the evidence that had already been published,” Mann said. “Now we've got a hockey league rather than just a hockey stick.”
Mann addressed the global warming naysayers, stressing that his research is not based on models, but on irrefutable, testable measurements.
“What about the future?” Mann said. “We can expect a four- to five-degree warming of the globe if we continue with business as usual.”
As early as the next decade, Mann said Earth will be a “different planet,” where the 2011 Texas summer becomes the new normal, or rather, a considerably cool summer.
“Climate is changing, humans are warming the planet,” Mann said. “If this is true, why aren't we doing anything about it? We have this huge infrastructure that we are dependent on. Unfortunately there's evidence that people in the [fossil fuels] industry have sought to pollute the public on the issue.”
Mann listed a number of politicians such as Republican political consultant Frank Luntz, Texas Congressman Joe Barton, and Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, who have refuted evidence of global warming, and even subpoenaed his research.
At the close of his lecture, Mann quoted political theorist and philosopher Edmund Burke: “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”
Mann said reaching a solution to the crisis requires a series of tough decisions.
“We have to consider different choices as we transition away from fossil fuels,” Mann said. “We can't quit cold turkey.”
Connie Song, a sophomore international studies major, said she found the lecture interesting, though she was unfamiliar with the complexities of the topic.
“I didn't know how much science also included politics,” Song said. “It's interesting and unfortunate how it can butt in to research like that.”
Ripudaman Gaur, in from India to visit a daughter who is working on her doctorate, said he was unimpressed with the amount of politics mixed in to the lecture.
“It deviated from the main course,” Gaur said. “I want it in layman's terms, more concentrated on the research. Explain and exhibit it to me. Illustrate how it directly affects the human being.”
Source Link: theeagle.com