Climate Change Is the Target


Climate change was the agenda before a panel of experts when about 200 students, faculty and community environmental activists participated in a March 21 teach-in that focused on sparking individual and collective action to lessen the effects of global warming.

“We took for granted that today’s students are convinced of the reality of climate change, and focused instead on what can be done about it,” said Brian Treanor, associate professor of philosophy and director of the Environmental Studies Program at LMU. “The questions from the floor bore out this assumption: No one questioned the reality or the seriousness of climate change; people simply wanted to know what we can do to mitigate and adapt to this unprecedented challenge.”

Evan Gerstmann, professor of political science and law, said, “Many students stayed more than an hour after the event talking with the LMU faculty about climate change and what they can do about it, both in terms of their own personal lives and in terms of political and other action.” Gerstmann was the principal organizer of the event.

One of the primary messages of the day, according to Treanor, was that young people need to become more politically and economically active about climate change. “It has to be an issue on which politicians win or lose elections. … Officials need to feel pressure from the public.”

The forum was moderated by university President David W. Burcham, and the panel included: Treanor; Eric Strauss, President’s Professor of Biology and director of the Center for Urban Resilience; Sean D’Evelyn, assistant professor of economics; and Shelley Luce, lecturer in environmental science, who examined water resource policies.

D’Evelyn presented an economic framework to help guide students as they research and discuss climate change, including policy options and a method to weigh the costs of the options against the effects on global warming. He also advised the audience to incorporate values in their thinking, not just prices.

Gerstmann said it is crucial that LMU continue efforts to educate about climate change.

“Our students are part of the generation that is really going to have to deal with the consequences of climate change — it’s going to seriously impact their lives. Also, working to prevent and alleviate the suffering of people in countries with fewer resources to adapt to climate change is very much part of LMU’s mission.” He pointed to the many resources at LMU with environmental focuses, including the Environmental Studies Program, the Center for Urban Resilience and the Department of Civil Engineering and Environmental Science.

“Since the forum, I have met with various students to discuss actions we can take to make LMU more environmentally responsible,” said Andrea Fisher, a junior political science major and environmental studies minor. “The forum encouraged us to revamp the on-campus club ECO Students so that students will have the information and tools to move from fear to action in regards to climate change and various environmental injustices.”




Comments

Wed, 04/17/2013 - 14:06

I am embarrassed that educators from my school participated in this nonsense.

Wed, 04/17/2013 - 16:28

The fact that no one questioned the premise of the topic is a testimony to the lack of balance at LMU.

Wed, 04/17/2013 - 17:44

Fifty years ago Loyola had a brilliant faculty and student body. What happened to that school? This is sad.

Wed, 04/17/2013 - 18:00

LMU's reputation for being a unique and outstanding temple of higher education is definitely on the line. The fact that LMU professors are now teaching young men and women to fall for politically correct garbage, while brain-washing them with media hype, rather than teaching them to rely on scientific evidence and facts is appalling:

http://www.theweek.co.uk/health-science/climate-change/46256/ex-nasa-scientists-tell-nasa-stop-‘unproven’-climate-change-talk
“With hundreds of well-known climate scientists and tens of thousands of other scientists publicly declaring their disbelief in the catastrophic forecasts, coming particularly from the GISS leadership, it is clear that the science is NOT settled.
“The unbridled advocacy of CO2 being the major cause of climate change is unbecoming of Nasa’s history of making an objective assessment of all available scientific data prior to making decisions or public statements.
“As former Nasa employees, we feel that Nasa’s advocacy of an extreme position, prior to a thorough study of the possible overwhelming impact of natural climate drivers is inappropriate.
“We request that Nasa refrain from including unproven and unsupported remarks in its future releases and websites on this subject. At risk is damage to the exemplary reputation of Nasa, Nasa’s current or former scientists and employees, and even the reputation of science itself.”

Read more: http://www.theweek.co.uk/health-science/climate-change/46256/ex-nasa-scientists-tell-nasa-stop-%25E2%2580%2598unproven%25E2%2580%2599-climate-change-talk#ixzz2Qm8ud1RL

Wed, 04/17/2013 - 18:40

As a graduate of Loyola with a postgraduate degree in meteorology from Penn State, I find it hard to understand how scientific principles can be misused to support a desired conclusion. Global warming is a hoax. True scientists don't change data to correct a conclusion that is not to their liking. Now that we are in a cooling trend, how do they account for it? Change their models?

When I was in school, I was taught that a good brain surgeon would not necessarily made a good engineer, and vice versa.
Money is behind this! Too many pseudoscientists are in it for the $ that they can get on government grants. Challenge their credentials.

Thu, 04/18/2013 - 11:15

This is quite disturbing and shows that LMU has now completely lost touch with reality.

Thu, 04/18/2013 - 11:16

It never fails that just about every time global warming alarmists, their sympathetic media accomplices, idealists, environmental evangelists and political opportunists write an article, publish an opinion or convene a seminar or discussion, they all use terms like "consensus" and "vast majority of scientists agree" when they introduce their side of the debate -- as if there is safety in numbers when presenting conclusions from their greenhouse gas/temperature modeling that in reality are inconclusive. Or incorrect, as more responsible research and evidence is showing.

Everyone needs to remember that consensus is not truth or fact, and modeling is not evidence.

Thu, 04/18/2013 - 12:38

I’m glad to see that the recent panel on climate change has started a debate, and that friends and alumni of LMU are taking the time to weigh in on what is undoubtedly one of the most important issues of our time. The teach-in was designed to address what can be done about climate change rather than the facts establishing anthropogenic climate change for three reasons. First, there is not enough time to cover everything under the sun, no pun intended. Second, it was the reasoned belief of the panel (correctly, it turns out) that most students are already convinced of the reality of anthropogenic climate change. And, third, there is an overwhelming scientific consensus that climate change is occurring.

However, as the initial comments to this article seek to raise the issue the validity of the consensus opinion on climate change, let me take a moment to address that point.

First, I’ll take it as given that all parties in this debate have read widely on the subject, starting with the various IPCC reports and including myriad reports by NASA and similar organizations. Likewise, I’ll assume that we’ve all read from literature on the dissenting positions. It is easy to fall into the habit of arguing from hearsay or speculation — what one has read in an op-ed piece in the paper or on a blog — but since we are all concerned with the quality of an LMU education, I’ll assume we all agree that we should begin by looking at the arguments made by qualified researchers.

I’ve read both the consensus scientific reports and executive summaries thereof, as well as a number of dissenting minority opinions, and I’m convinced that there is solid evidence for anthropogenic climate change. But wait, you might say, your professional training is not as a scientist. True. However, (1) if we restrict opinions only to trained scientists, the overwhelming consensus is that anthropogenic climate change is real, and (2) I know enough science to understand the basic drivers in play. In fact, if you have not read papers on the science I encourage you to do so, as it turns out the science behind climate change is relatively basic, having to do with the sort of radiation that the Earth absorbs as opposed to the sort it emits, basic facts having to do with the way certain gasses interfere with certain wavelengths, of radiation and the like. The increased presence of greenhouse gasses (GHG) in the atmosphere interferes with the infrared radiation (heat) that the Earth would normally emit into space, trapping some of that heat in our atmosphere.

Nevertheless, I take seriously Mr. Krakowiak’s admonition above to “challenge… credentials.” Indeed, this is is a basic principle we learn from Socrates, who points out that we should trust the opinion of experts rather than the mass of people, and that we should be careful not to confuse distinct fields of expertise. Thus, if I want to diet to train for a marathon, I would seek the advice of a nutritionist rather than the advice of the cashier at the local fast food establishment. No doubt both would have opinions about food, but it’s clear whose opinion is more valuable here. Likewise, if I have a burst appendix I would go to the hospital to seek the care of doctors rather than to my car mechanic, even if he is a really, really good car mechanic.

Following this basic principle, when considering reality of climate change — a scientific question about chemical, physical, and climatological facts — we should give special weight to the opinions of scientists, with special consideration for actual climate scientists. Here, the consensus is truly overwhelming: The IPCC, NASA, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, U.S. National Research Council, the Royal Society, the European Academy of Sciences and Arts, the American Institute of Physics, the American Chemical Society, the American Geophysical Union, and on and on and on. No reasonable survey of scientific opinions can honestly and in good faith deny the fact that there is an overwhelming scientific consensus that (a) climate change is occurring and (b) anthropogenic factors are the major driver of these changes.

It is true that the consensus opinion on any particular subject can be incorrect. It is, for example, logically possible that the consensus opinion that untreated HIV leads to AIDS is incorrect, and you can find people who claim that HIV does not cause AIDS. However, if one is diagnosed with HIV it makes sense to at least consider the fact that the weight of numbers, the consensus opinion of medical experts, is that HIV will lead to AIDS if left untreated. Consensus alone is not the sole trump card in the argument (which is why I suggest everyone read the actual scientific reports), but the consensus of experts is clearly a factor in making most of the decisions in life, and should be a factor here as well.

This is not do deny that there are uncertainties associated with science. We can’t be sure how bad it will get or how quickly it will get bad because we lack certain data. How quickly and how robustly will people act to mitigate climate change? What self-reinforcing feedback loops are in play? Are there tipping points we might pass, or have passed, that will develop “natural” drivers of climate change (“natural” in scare-quotes because if we warm the Earth by burning fossil fuels, and that warming in turn causes a melting of permafrost that releases more carbon and methane into the atmosphere, it’s hard to say that those releases are “natural,” even though they happen without additional action on our part). Some details about climate change are uncertain; the big picture is not very uncertain at all.

Think of the uncertainties this way. Cigarette smoking causes cancer, right? (I assume we all can agree on that!) However, if you look to the Sloan-Kettering longitudinal studies about smoking, it turns out that if I smoke eighteen cigarettes a day from the age of 15 to the age of 65, I have something like a 9 percent chance of developing lung cancer between 65 and 75. Nine percent! Far from certain, but we all recognize cigarettes cause lung cancer, in part because that 9 percent is a much, much greater chance than people in the general population and in part because the consequences of lung cancer are very bad. The confidences associated with the consensus model on anthropogenic climate change are all above 90 percent, many are in the 95–99 percent range (according to data collected by the IPCC). And the consequences of runaway climate change are surely worse than a single person’s case of lung cancer. In this context, it seems both foolish and insincere to suggest that climate change is “uncertain.”

Finally, what about people, including some scientists, who do reject the consensus opinion on climate change? Well, they do exist. However, if you look at the information clear-eyed, you will note (a) that they exist in a very, very small minority, and (b) that, even within this very small group, very few of them are actual climate scientists. If 1,000 well-educated, well-respected doctors all suggest that you should treat your high cholesterol first with lifestyle changes and second, if necessary, with medication, but there are also 10 people (only one of whom is a doctor, the other nine being politicians, pundits, lobbyists, and the like) who suggest your cholesterol isn’t high at all and that you should continue to eat whatever you want, who are you going to listen to? A quick Google search will find a number of interesting characters: people who think HIV does not cause AIDS, people who think cigarettes do not cause cancer, and so on. The fact that I can provide an internet link to such opinions does not mean that those opinions are the ones on which I should base my actions.

Brian Treanor

Thu, 04/18/2013 - 22:33

Brian Treanor, professor of philosophy, says, "it was the reasoned belief of the panel (correctly, it turns out) that most students are already convinced of the reality of anthropogenic climate change."

One of the things that I've noticed in my recent, disappointing, exposure to LMU is the apparent lack of alternative points of view and critical thinking being taught there. This is just another example.

Thirty years ago (or so), Time magazine had a cover story on global freezing. Then came the global warming crisis. Now, since the world isn't warming per predictions, it's modified to climate change, which describes the history of the world (even before the burning of fossil fuels). Did you know that all of the disastrous predictions are based on computer modeling? More complex modeling than the modeling that can't predict the weather next week. And it's already being corrected for the mispredictions of the last few years. Scientists are scrambling to explain more Antarctic ice, the lack of recent warming, etc.

Perhaps a better forum would have discussed the positive and negative effects of warmer and colder climates, the relative costs of drastic energy cuts vs. infrastructure modifications, the value of nuclear energy vs. the costs and risks, the human cost in higher food prices of ethanol vs. the energy benefit, etc.

Critical thinking is about trading off the costs and benefits of alternative choices. I learned that at LMU and other places. Where can today's LMU students learn it?

Fri, 04/19/2013 - 16:28

It is unbelievable that no one questioned the panelists on the validity of "climate change." As a philosophy major, I also question what expertise the philosophy department brings to this discussion. What a waste of the students' time.

Sat, 04/20/2013 - 10:16

The fact that Brian Treanor states that anthropogenic climate change is "undoubtedly one of the most important issues of our time" is all I need to know that Mr. Treanor is not an objective thinker and has himself been brainwashed and deceived by the hysteria surrounding the topic of man caused global warming. The assumption of a theory as true, when that theory is in fact false, yet committing actions in the belief that a falsity is indeed true does not and will not make the falsity then true. The saddest part part of all of this is that he and others like him who continue to profess that a lie is the truth have so convinced youngsters of their beliefs that when his forum was held there were no objective thinkers in attendance, only young, starry eyed products of an educational system that no longer teaches objectivity, but rather promotes group think and following popular trends. It is a sad day for LMU that this is the point to which they have evolved.

Sun, 04/21/2013 - 08:42

I'm glad to see the conversation is continuing.

Mr. Fitzsimons: Actually, LMU does quite a good job in considering opposing points of view, and I'm sure all concerned will be relieved to find out that several years ago we had a session which focused on the validity of the science behind climate change. Fortunately for LMU students, we have scholar on campus whose work on climate change won him a bit of recognition: a share in a Nobel Prize. As I pointed out above, there was limited time in this session and since (a) we've covered the basic science in other sessions and (b) the basic science is settled (even if there is uncertainty with respect to details). Other important topics we failed to cover at the most recent climate change teach-in include sweatshop labor, possible pandemics resulting from mutations in H5N1 or H7N9, and nuclear proliferation in Iran and North Korea.

I should also note that Time magazine, like all popular magazines and newspapers, exists to make money. Peer-reviewed scientific journals, in contrast, exist to extend our field of knowledge. The 2007 IPCC Report notes that, at that time, something like 900 peer review articles established the fundamental science regarding climate change (that is, zero found reason to disbelieve that fundamental science); however, during the same time period something like 53 percent of the popular news media gave roughly equal time to both climate scientists and climate deniers. That presents a false perception in the general public that there is a robust and ongoing scientific debate when there is not. When we run stories on civil rights, we don't give equal consideration to the views of phrenologists. When we run stories on global travel, we don't give equal time to people who believe the Earth is flat. And when we plan space missions, we don't do so based on a Ptolemaic view view of the solar system. Just because some people think X, and popular media report X, does not mean that X is the case.

Mr. Warn: As I noted above, LMU has had panels in past years that addressed the science of climate change. It's a good point, and I'm glad to reassure you and others that we've touched on that issue.

Mr./Ms. Klheringer: I do think that anthropogenic climate change is "one" of the most pressing issues of the day, not the only pressing issue of the day, but one of them. However, you will be happy to know that I did not arrive at this position by "assumption," but rather by reading the relevant literature, reports, and studies, and by considering the validity of expert knowledge, as I noted in my first post above. I'd be interested in discussing your own reading, which has lead you to conclude that climate change "is in fact false." Perhaps you could direct me, and others who may be following the comments here, to some of the "objective" data--in reputable, peer-reviewed sources of course--refuting the basic science underlying climate change? I'm always keen to learn new things.

Brian Treanor

Sun, 04/21/2013 - 10:03

This is the kind of event that makes me proud to be an LMU alum. Thank you to the faculty, students, and all others who worked hard to made this event a success!

Sun, 04/21/2013 - 18:54

http://www.petitionproject.org is a list of 31,487 American scientists, including 9,029 with PhDs who have signed the petition urging the United States to reject the global warming agreement that was written in Kyoto. "We urge the United States government to reject the global warming agreement that was written in Kyoto, Japan in December, 1997, and any other similar proposals. The proposed limits on greenhouse gases would harm the environment, hinder the advance of science and technology, and damage the health and welfare of mankind.

There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gasses is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth's atmosphere and disruption of the Earth's climate. Moreover, there is substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments of the Earth."

Mr. Treanor, please do your own homework. There is an abundance of scientific evidence which refutes the facts which you profess to be true. I suggest you use a search engine other than Google, as they are quite competent in screening out and burying literature which discuss one of the greatest hoaxes ever perpetrated on man in modern times.

Energy Probe Research Foundation founder and managing director Lawrence Solomon, who is one of Canada's leading environmentalists and former advisor to President Jimmy Carter's Task Force on the Global Environment (the Global 2000 Report) in the late 1970s, writes in the conclusion of his article, "Great Scams of Our Time":

“How might anyone of clear mind,' asks Marc Sheppard, rhetorically, in 'American Thinker,' "consider these words from these numbers and still accept claims of scientific consensus?” Will the MSM, the IPCC, the compromised scientists, and myriad politicians who have invested in their species of junk science actually ponder, let alone honestly acknowledge, the authenticity of the petition? Sheppard answers: “As the [real] science no longer appears to concern any of them—don’t hold your CO2 polluted breath.” A global juggernaut is hard to derail even as it hurtles toward environmental, political, and economic disaster.

Mr. Soloman is most recently the author of "The Deniers," a #1 environmental best-seller in both Canada and the US. I suggest you incorporate literature from Mr. Soloman, Fred Singer, Ian Plimer, Nigel Lawson and others in your classroom study plan and list of suggested readings. To ignore or discount them and the many others who have studied and written on this topic does a disservice to your students and to the dignity of the heritage of LMU.

Mon, 04/22/2013 - 06:26

One final comment. A colleague alerted me to an important question above that I neglected to answer: why was a philosopher involved in this panel?

Climate change is a deeply interdisciplinary issue. This particular panel was focused on what we should do about climate change (the source of some objections above), which is ultimately a philosophical and ethical question.

Science is the discipline that established the scientific truths about climate change, and so when we had a previous event on that topic my colleague Jeremy Pal, the Nobel laureate I mentioned above, spoke about the science of climate change.

However, having established the scientific basis for concern about climate change, we are left with the question of what to do, and that is thoroughly philosophical terrain having to do with questions like: "What should we do?" "What kind of world do we want?" "What are our obligations to future generations?" "What are our obligations to other non-human beings?" "What does it mean to live a good human life (and in what ways are such lives dependent on or independent of the sorts of behaviors that contribute to climate change)?" "How should we organize society?" "How do different sorts of social organizations contribute to or detract from human well-being?" And on and on and on.

I fully understand how someone without a philosophical background might not recognize climate change as a philosophical and ethical issue, ceding the discussion to scientists and, secondarily, to economists and political scientists. However, I trust that a philosopher trained at LMU would recognize that philosophy has something to contribute to almost any discussion, and certainly to any discussion inquiring into how things 'ought' to be. After a scientists tells us about the reality of climate change, we need to ask philosophical questions about what it means and whether, how, and why it matters. That's philosophical. And before we can choose between competing economic analyses assessing the impact of climate change and our various potential responses to it, we need to establish how we should think about value, duty, and the good (economists often operating, reflectively or reflectively, as utilitarians). That's philosophical.

Brian Treanor

Mon, 04/22/2013 - 09:37

As an LMU undergraduate of 2010 and a current graduate student in the engineering and environmental science department, I can fully assure you that the professors and curriculum have absolutely no bias towards an assumption of climate change. Throughout my entire collegiate career, I was never interested nor worried about climate change, I was simply learning the tools to be a successful engineer. It has only been recently, after doing some reading (I hope to do more extensive reading and research soon) in peer-reviewed journals and scientific reports and becoming more aware of local and global news that I began to recognize climate change as a real issue, and climate change caused by human action (directly and indirectly) as a definite possibility.

I do not need to be 100% certain that the human race is the main cause of a changing climate, because as a single individual on this planet, I have a footprint in nature. And my hope is that everyone, even those who don't believe in climate change, realize they too have a footprint in nature. My rule of thumb: if everyone on the planet did this same exact action, what would be the net result? Now analyze that action as throwing a piece of your own trash on the ground versus picking up a piece of trash that belongs to someone else. That's either 7 billion extra pieces of trash, or 7 billion less pieces of trash, and I'll spare you the math, but that is many tons of trash. I believe this kind of reasoning and discussion to be the important one, which seems very much like the March 21st teach-in: what can we do to minimize our impact on this planet?

I believe Brian Treanor has done a great job explaining his position in the comments, and I look forward to working with the ECO students on campus.

Mon, 04/22/2013 - 12:05

I could not be more disappointed by many of the comments on this article. To say "I am embarrassed that educators from my school participated in this nonsense" or "Fifty years ago Loyola had a brilliant faculty and student body. What happened to that school? This is sad." My personal favorite is "The fact that LMU professors are now teaching young men and women to fall for politically correct garbage, while brain-washing them with media hype, rather than teaching them to rely on scientific evidence and facts is appalling" -- which, funny enough, comes complete with its own link to "media hype" and politically correct garbage!

Get off your high horses. The teach-in was a discussion centered around what we, as human beings, can do to be more efficient with our use of water, oil, natural gas, etc. There are certainly problems with how we choose to conduct ourselves regardless of any need to agree about climate change. Do you honestly believe that we've got it right now? That polluting our water, our land, and our atmosphere is a good thing? Well, cheers to you for feeling the need to chime in on this point. Do you not have a better use for your time?

This just goes to show that you can't have any conversation about anything at all without ill-meaning, short-sighted, and clearly narcissistic nay-sayers who feel the need to comment from their couch.

Thankfully we have an open-minded student body who cares about the environment and doesn't get caught up in this nonsense. Cheers to Joshua C. and Annie for recognizing that we all have a role to play in reducing the impact we have on our planet. For those of you that don't care -- the rest of us will just have to do double-duty to make up for your actions. Thanks for that, too.

Mon, 04/22/2013 - 12:14

As a current political science major at LMU, I wholeheartedly can say that this institution teaches an objective curriculum. The assumptions being made by many here on the climate change panel are hypocritical in that the commenters (1) did not even attend the panel event, (2) have not taken courses at LMU for years and have opinions that are clearly outdated, and (3) assume that many students who attend LMU do not have opinions of their own.

Mr. Klheringer, I just have a brief and simple point to make. If you are going to criticize and question the validity of sources upon which our positions are based, I would hope that you would draw upon credible sources as well. You mention the petition project, which consists of 31,487 American "scientists" who oppose the U.S. ratifying the Kyoto Protocol and deny the heating of Earth's atmosphere of anthropogenic causes. The Kyoto Protocol was ratified by the U.S. Senate for various political and economic reasons, not because of a disbelief in climate change (but that's a whole different argument). In addition, this petition claims that they have "qualifications of signers"; however, the "qualifications" are merely that the signatory mails back a postcard indicating which degree they received and in which field -- nothing else. There is no verification of these degrees, nor verification of a signatory's "specialized scientific experience." The National Academy of Science even issued a news release stating, "The petition project was a deliberate attempt to mislead scientists and to rally them in an attempt to undermine support for the Kyoto Protocol. The petition was not based on a review of the science of global climate change, nor were its signers experts in the field of climate science." If you are going to criticize the objectivity and validity of Dr. Treanor's claims, I suggest you base your opinions on credible sources as well.

In addition, you claim that LMU has "convinced youngsters of their beliefs" and that there were "only young, starry eyed products of an educational system that no longer teaches objectivity" in attendance. Please do not speak on behalf of the students here at LMU, especially considering you are not a student here and do not experience the courses offered here.

Mon, 04/22/2013 - 12:16

To think that some people still do not believe in global warming is scary.

Mon, 04/22/2013 - 15:03

Thanks to Dr. Treanor, Dr. Gerstmann, President Burcham, and all of the other faculty, staff, and students who were behind this event -- I'm so happy to be reminded of the curiosity and commitment of LMU students and professors, staying far after the event closed to talk about what this issue means to them. I'm sad that I wasn't able to attend myself on March 21!

I'd like to point out that while the majority of the comments have revolved around the question of why the teach-in didn't take the time to question the science behind climate change (to which I think the length of the comments here is a fine answer), it sounds like at least half of the event was about how we adapt to climate change -- how do we secure safe and clean water resources, cultivate resilient cities, and support those who will be most vulnerable to the impacts of a changing climate? I'm glad to see that these pragmatic questions are already starting to take hold, and in a big way (kudos on the new Center!).

We can continue to argue about whether climate change is happening and whose fault it is. We can wait for 10 more Richard Mullers (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/30/opinion/the-conversion-of-a-climate-change-skeptic.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0) to change their minds, or we can go with the consensus yielded by the thousands of studies, models, panels, and critical debates among the most educated and well-resourced scientists of our time. Because when we decide that we need to do something, there are a lot of hard questions to answer, exactly as Mr. Fitzsimmons has pointed out: What's the net benefit and distributional impact of cultivating corn for energy vs food? What will be the next generation feedstock that can doesn't have to rely on large scale monoculture? What role should nuclear energy play in our future? Is it OK to use water resources to capture carbon from coal plants and if so, where? If fish stocks collapse, how will that impact food prices and demand for land? Even if the world is warming, is it a better use of our money to invest in eradicating AIDS or building infrastructure than to support renewable energy markets? What can we live with? What kind of world do we want?

Glad to see that the discussion has started to dive into these important, tough questions which truly deserve our time and attention.

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