By Robert Martinelli During my recent vacation, I avoided the popular fiction that others were reading and chose Steven Koonin’s new book, “Unsettled: What Climate Science Tells Us, What It Doesn’t and Why It Matters.” “Unsettled” addresses every aspect of the climate-change issue in two surprisingly readable parts. Part One deals with what we know […]
The news that Gov. Carney and the state Department of Labor is reinstating the requirement that Delawareans on unemployment demonstrate that they’re looking for work is a good step to trying to get people back to work. Delaware has 31,000 people receiving up to $400 per week from the state. Many of us are intrigued […]
By Rob Martinelli We are all tired of remote learning for our children and grandchildren. We’re tired of the frustration, of the tears, and of the declining performance. Students who have always done well in school are faced for the first time with failing grades because of distractions that include poor internet connections, lack of […]
By Robert Martinelli Is gun violence an epidemic, as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggested to Delaware officials back in 2015, a disease that can be treated through science? After studying gun violence in Wilmington, the CDC recommended integration of statewide social service, criminal justice, school, and other databases to better identify […]
By Rob Martinelli Enough is enough. It’s time for Gov. John Carney to realize that his draconian COVID-19 restrictions have had little incremental impact over the approaches taken in states like Florida and Texas where their governors have done everything that they can to keep their businesses open over the past year. Have those states […]
By Cynthia E. Shermeyer Guest Columnist If the COVID-19 pandemic has proven anything, it’s that we can’t adequately combat the literacy crisis in America without addressing digital literacy. Literacy is defined by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) as “the ability to read, write, and speak in English, and compute and solve problems at […]
By Dr. Christopher D Casscells Guest Columnist Historically, Medicaid has represented approximately 17% of the state of Delaware’s budget. It is a state and federal funding partnership, unlike Medicare, which is strictly federally funded. In recent years Medicaid has risen to over 25% of the state’s budget and is on track to grow well beyond […]
By Paul Weagraff Guest Columnist This past year was particularly hard on artists and arts organizations throughout the state. That’s not news. But what is news is how so many shifted gears to keep operations up and running, bringing the arts to life in Delaware. From scaled-back live performances and exhibitions to virtual programming, the […]
By Trinidad Navarro Guest Columnist I am an optimist. I know that we can find sparks of light in even the darkest of times. During COVID-19, belief in a better tomorrow was hard to hold on to when each tomorrow brought bad news – but now, reports are positive: new treatments are more successful, the […]
By Tom Thunstorm Guest Columnist For nearly 60 years, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Delaware (BBBS) has served thousands of kids. As part of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, we are blessed with our federation’s 100-year legacy of helping ignite the power and promise of youth. We achieve this by developing one-to-one mentoring relationships […]
By Robert Martinelli
[caption id="attachment_178334" align="alignright" width="225"] Rob Martinelli President Today Media Inc.[/caption]
During my recent vacation, I avoided the popular fiction that others were reading and chose Steven Koonin’s new book, “Unsettled: What Climate Science Tells Us, What It Doesn’t and Why It Matters.” “Unsettled” addresses every aspect of the climate-change issue in two surprisingly readable parts. Part One deals with what we know about climate change and how the science got partisan. Part Two proposes reasonable, cost-effective, and timely responses to what is known about climate change. Koonin’s science credentials are impeccable. He has been a professor of physics at the California Institute of Technology and served as the top scientist in former President Barack Obama’s Energy Department. The book is extensively referenced and relies on widely accepted government documents.He’s not a “climate denier.” He makes it clear on page one that “it’s true that the globe is warming, and that humans are exerting a warming influence upon it.” But he also questions the magnitude of civilization’s contribution, the speed of changes, and urgency and scale of governmental response that’s needed.
[caption id="attachment_213259" align="alignleft" width="240"] Steven Koonin | PHOTO FROM WIKIPEDIA[/caption]
Koonin also believes the climate change message gets distorted as research literature gets converted to assessment reports and report summaries that are then subject to soundbites from self-interested environmental groups, scientific organizations, politicians and even members of the media who need an apocalyptic storyline to get their stories published. Koonin even concedes that it’s not easy to avoid this, writing, “I should know, that used to be my job.” In short, he does not see that the underlying principles behind the current discussion is at all settled, despite President Joe Biden’s “greatest existential threat” position. He doesn’t believe the global climate system is broken. Instead, he rails against the “climate consensus” that says humans have broken the climate. The solution to the Earth being doomed, say many following this Chicken Little line of reasoning, is radical changes to society and its energy systems.Koonin believes the uncertainties in modeling of both climate change and the consequences of future greenhouse gas emissions make it impossible today to provide reliable, quantitative statements about relative risks and consequences. He believes we should put money into better modeling before we throw trillions at climate change.Some of his evidence:
Sea levels are rising, but only at an average rate of one foot per century since 1855. He also shows how the past half-million years tell a story of repeating episodes in which sea level dropped slowly by about 400 feet every 100,000 years and then rose back up rapidly as the glaciers melted again. Today, the Greenland ice sheet isn’t shrinking any more rapidly than it was 80 years ago.
Ocean temperatures are rising, but only 0.07 degrees Fahrenheit per decade.
Humans have had no detectable impact on hurricanes over the past century.
Heat waves in the United States are no more common today than they were in 1900. The warmest U.S. temperatures have not risen in the past 50 years. The 1.8-degree increase in average global temperatures since 1880 is due to higher average low temperatures, and Koonin says the real question is not whether the globe has warmed recently but rather to what extent this warming is being caused by humans.
Koonin says the path to zero emissions is impractical because developing countries will need more energy in the coming years to support their development. Are we going to tell developing countries that they must stop developing because they can’t burn fossil fuels when there isn’t an alternative today? The book closes with a plea for better communication of complex science and to restore “integrity to the way science informs society’s decisions on climate and energy.” I agree with his view that technology and markets should be allowed to work at their own pace. The climate might continue to change – at a pace that’s difficult to document – but societies are good at adapting.I highly recommend this book which you can obviously buy through Amazon or a major national retailer but consider supporting a local independent bookseller.Rob Martinelli is the president and CEO of Today Media, the parent company of Delaware Business Times.
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