Ottumwa Courier, Gavain's Letter to the Editor

The Ottumwa Courier did not see fit to publish Gavain's Letter to the Editor in response to their strangely muffled front-page coverage of our project. 

Yet, we can publish it here, For Whom It May Concern:

Dear Editor,
We appreciated your newspaper's coverage of our chance opportunity to visit with students from Ottumwa High School and share about our project: Pacing the Planet, a 1,000 mile walk north to raise awareness about our climate situation.

We would also like to dispute (in a friendly way) some of the word choices in your article on us. First, and most importantly, the science of global warming is not in the least controversial. Global warming and climate change is one of the best-established, most well-documented pieces of science ever conducted. We are as certain of the primary cause of the current global warming – human emissions of greenhouse gases – as we are that cigarette smoking causes lung cancer.

That is a relevant point, because there are not multiple viewpoints on whether global warming is caused by humanity – at least, not in the community of scientists actively studying the issue. What we do have is an active disinformation campaign waged by the same industry-funded lobbyist “scientists” who were previously paid to dispute the connection between tobacco and cancer, the connection between industry and acid rain, the existence of the ozone hole, and, lately, the global warming phenomenon. Their purpose is to sow a false sense of doubt in the public opinion about climate change, so as to stall political movement on the issue, and buy time for industry to profit. I refer your readers to an excellent book entitled Merchants of Doubt for further information.

Secondly, in the same vein, your article misquoted me as saying that science which had been debunked has now been vindicated. What I actually said was that the 2009 event known as “Climategate,” where researcher's emails were hacked and sentences were taken out of context, has been recognized for what it was: a hitjob on climate scientists by the denialist lobby. The researchers in question were exonerated by multiple independent panels. Moreover, their original findings on global warming have been corroborated by other studies using other methods of looking at past temperature increase.

Finally, your article presented a scenario where average planetary temperature rises by 4-6 degrees C this century as our “belief.” The basis for expecting this trend is not unfounded belief at all, but is derived from both data resulting from over 40 major climate models as well as detailed study of our planet's paleo-history, observing how the Earth responded when the climate was similarly forced by greenhouse gases in the past.

The nightmare scenario of a 4-6 degree rise in average temperature is unfortunately precisely where our planet is headed, if we continue on our current trajectory of emissions that exceed even the most aggressively polluting scenarios imagined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. It is very important that every person who values the ability to continue their way of life in a climate such as we've known for the past 10,000 years learn about the implications of a 4-6 degree rise in temperature, because we only have a handful of years to avert that future.


Gavain U'Prichard, Pacing the

(Here's a link to the article they wrote)