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Rick Edmund
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Rick Edmund

Rick Edmund is a United Methodist church pastor in Maryland. He resides on Smith Island, which has been impacted by rising sea-level and in 2007 testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on the Environment about climate change and the Chesapeake Bay. ALL POSTS

A Difficult Diagnosis

Examining the science beyond climate change seems to me to be like a medical doctor examining a patient with a difficult diagnosis. As tests are done and examined the physician can rule out certain causes and hone in on possible reasons for the symptoms that the patient shows, but there are still more tests to be run. By the time medical science has caught up with the disease, it may be too late to save the patient from life inhibiting consequences.

By the time we can unequivocally say that the reason for changes in the weather and climate is definitely caused by human activity, the planet may be altered by changes that will take generations to realign with the way things would have been without human neglect. The reason for many of our short and long term illnesses are the poor habits we have concerning exercise, eating, sleeping, stress, etc. Likewise there likely are many causes for the changes that we seem to be measuring about the earth that will be difficult to diagnose.

To use a less than authentic example, the TV Dr. House is always ordering more tests, but at the same time prescribing medications or operations to treat what he has thus far analyzed. We can't afford to wait until we are completely sure of what is causing climate change before we act. We, the world, need to be responding to what we know now and make our best guess. Like it or not, climate scientists, like their physician counterparts, are practicing; except we need to get it right the first time.

By Rick Edmund  |  October 18, 2009; 8:00 AM ET Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg     Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Well, that's awfully sporting of you, J2. I haven't heard "love it or leave it" since the Sixties.

I suppose, then, I am being asked to leave America if I do not agree with the urgent mandate.

Cheers.

Posted by: SteveofCaley | October 18, 2009 11:02 PM
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STEVEOFCALLEY calls for consensus before action. I wish.

We're a diverse country in a more diverse world. Even when a majority is agreed, there are groups who benefit from the status quo and others who benefit from conflict of any sort, whether it is destructive to the generality or not.

We didn't wait for consensus before rebelling against King George. Many royalists at last reconciled themselves or left for Canada.

Given the high stakes, on climate change we're going to have to stagger forward with a working majority.

Posted by: j2hess | October 18, 2009 5:13 PM
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As an actual physician, I appreciate the analogy. However, the world is not that simple, nor is medicine, nor climate change.

There is an aphorism in medicine - it is usually not the catastrophic symptom which kills the patient; it is the disastrous response. Whether that aphorism is applicable to climate change is not clear.

We cannot even come to any sort of consensus about the nature of climate change, absent the assertion that "only the people who agree with ME are objective, and the others are phonies." That is hardly a consensus.

Until we find a consensus, then action or inaction can only take place by subjugation of one set of voices or another. That is hardly a civilized response in a purportedly free country.

Posted by: SteveofCaley | October 18, 2009 4:52 PM
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Why in God's name would anyone select a Methodist pastor to be on a panel evaluating the validity of the science behind anthropomorphic climate change?
I don't condemn Pastor Edmund, but I strongly question the basis for his inclusion. What were you thinking?

Posted by: Lamentations | October 18, 2009 1:14 PM
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You are absolutely right. Those who desire to combat Global Climate Change do so from a professional perspective. Those who oppose it do so from political prejudice. Who has the credibility?

Why should anyone believe those who screamed "WMD! WMD!" to start their administration, and then used torture to end it?

Posted by: gkam | October 18, 2009 1:08 PM
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