Seriousness of the Charge
“When the health of humans and the environment is at stake, it may not be necessary to wait for scientific certainty to take protective action.”
--Science and Environmental Health Network
"Even though there is no evidence, the seriousness of the charge is what matters. The seriousness of the charge mandates that we investigate this."
--Thomas Foley (D, MA), Speaker, US House of Representatives
In many ways, the above statements rationalize the global governmental “rush to judgement” regarding climate change and the ongoing efforts to end debate and punish skeptics.
There is certainly evidence that: atmospheric CO2 concentrations have increased since the Industrial Revolution; atmospheric temperatures have increased; sea level has risen; and, glaciers have lost mass. However, there is no evidence that any of these changes, with the exception of the increase in atmospheric CO2 concentrations, have been exclusively, or even primarily, the result of human activity. There is also no evidence that these changes have had an adverse impact on human health or the environment. Finally, there is no evidence that these changes would have an adverse impact on human health or the environment in the future, were they to continue unabated.
However, the Precautionary Principle is frequently used to argue that there is no need to wait for evidence, since the potential adverse impacts portrayed in the scenarios produced by the climate models are perceived to be so potentially devastating. The seriousness of the charge of obstructing movement toward controlling climate change by even questioning the absence of evidence, or the failure to validate the climate models, is asserted as the rationalization for stifling debate and threatening skeptics.
Similarly, the seriousness of the charge of defrauding shareholders and the public on the part of energy companies and consulting companies which have not accepted essential nature of the governmental “rush to judgement”, communicated the essential nature of this governmental “rush to judgement” to their shareholders and the public-at-large and publicly donned “sackcloth and ashes” to atone for their previous “sins” is perceived as “mandating investigation”.