Advocacy or Climate Science
A geography professor at the Delaware University points out that advocacy should not replace science.
A global warming researcher took a stand against the way college students are being presented with advocacy instead of actual scientific facts when it comes to climate change.
David Legates, the geography professor at the Delaware University, said that students are taught to be advocates and not scientists, which makes them easy targets for the alarming rumors that have taken over the country.
The professor mentions the fact that studying the climate can be a very difficult task, as it demands proficiency in several fields of natural science.
Each student should first be able to describe the factors that make Earth’s climate to vary from the equator to the poles and from the highest altitudes to the sea level and under it. They also have to know the processes encountered in various mediums, such as the biosphere, the oceans, and the atmosphere.
At this moment, the climate science is defined only regarding the human influence on the environment, without any reference to the processes involved and the complexity of the matter.
Professor Legates criticizes the scientific organizations that define the climate as an average of the weather, displaying a very narrow view of the sophisticated processes that lie underneath. He also points out that this type of definitions can make students believe that climate change is unordinary and undesirable, which contradicts its dynamics.
For example, the Delaware-Maryland program identifies greenhouse gasses that had been produced by methane, nitrous oxide and carbon dioxide as the only factors influencing the last century’s temperature rise of 1.1 degrees Celsius.
Another aspect of the program includes instructions for saving energy and carbon footprint calculators, which are both procedures originating from advocacy and from the mentioned narrow approach in teaching climate science.
Legates points out that the program completely ignores the importance of water, which helps balance every aspect of Earth’s energy.
Other scientific studies support the professor’s position. The University of Reading conducted research on aerosol interactions with clouds showing that the connection is feeble, and the industrial activity may not be held accountable for the planet warming. The study proves that the greenhouse gas emissions coming from coal production and vehicle travel may not have the same impact on climate as once believed.
Even if at the present moment there is no sufficient scientific evidence on the matter, it may be that the industrial activity is not influencing the climate as much as global warming advocacy is stating. Therefore, the professor suggests it would be an excellent idea to maintain a high scientific standard in college so that the students will be prepared to make informed judgments on the complex climate issue.
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