10 June 2012

A New Low in Criminal Negligence?

My online friend and blogger, Michael Murphy, found a very timely quote this week: 

“In the course of history, there comes a time when humanity is called to shift to a new level of consciousness, to reach a higher moral ground. A time when we have to shed our fear and give hope to each other. That time is now.”
— Wangari Maathai, Nobel Peace Prize Lecture, 2004
Now, leaving hope aside for the moment (you know the mantra: hope is not an action verb; action is our only hope, so we don't get the luxury of hope until we've done the work of ensuring a future for our children), today I'd like to discuss something that's taking place because we're not "shedding our fear" or "shifting to a new level of consciousness" or "reaching a higher moral ground." 

I'm starting to view this as a form of criminal negligence. Or worse. (Perhaps recklessness? Or an intended cover up?)

According to Wikipedia, criminal negligence is an actus reus ("guilty act"), accompanied by mens rea ("guilty mind"), that is "careless, inattentive, neglectful, willfully blind" and for which "the fault lies in the failure to foresee and so allow otherwise avoidable dangers to manifest."

And the guilty parties? Arctic sea ice modellers and the peer reviewers and editors who are publishing their research. Okay, I know. Yawn, right? Climate change modellers as villains? Pretty boring story, eh?

But the problem is this: Climate scientists have the power to shift our consciousness, help us reach or at least reach for the moral high ground, and shed our fear to take action. Instead, they are carelessly, inattentively, neglectfully or willfully blindly basing Arctic sea ice models on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's mid-range greenhouse gas emissions scenario, not on what's actually happening in the world, emissions-wise. 

Still don't find that compelling? Well, we've been on the IPCC's highest emissions scenario (the A1FI) for many years now, but these "scientists" (are modellers truly scientists or are they glorified computer geeks who "use" science and advanced mathematics to make models that produce projections and "surprises," the latter admitted by the IPCC) are running their models using an irrelevant, outdated and now dangerous "scenario" (a concept invented for the study of climate change because it doesn't sound scary). 

Can you see how wasteful and careless (it sure seems they couldn't care less) and dangerous this is? They're basing climate "science" on irreality. So how could their projections possibly be real or helpful?

And what of their peer reviewers and publishers? Given the number of lives at stake if we get this wrong, you'd think they would demand the proper starting point or baseline for the modelling, so it doesn't look like they're all just playing around with numbers on computers.

We know the dangers of losing the Arctic summer sea ice. Russia of 2010, anyone? So are these people, these researchers, peer reviewers and editors, ignorant? Irresponsible? Willfully blind? Trying to cover up how bad the situation is? Working for the fossil fuel industries? In my view, no matter why they're doing it, the fact that they are "allowing otherwise avoidable dangers to manifest" makes them guilty of criminal negligence.

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I would appreciate hearing your thoughts or questions on this post or anything else you've read here. What is your take on courage and compassion being an important part of the solution to the climate change emergency?