was about New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's decision to pull the state out of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. It was critical of Christie's decision. Perhaps predictably, I got emails from climate-change skeptics saying or implying I am a dupe of the liberal establishment. One was typical of previous missives in which I am asked on the spot to scientifically prove that anthropogenic activity is causing hazardous climate change. To wit:
Dear Jay: On Sunday, I read your column on NJ's withdrawl from the RGGI. Based on your past columns it is abundantly clear that you accept the scientific hypothesis of the man-made global warming.
Would you be kind enough to send me a detailed list of the sources you relied upon to reach your conclusion. Please provide the author's names, dates of publication and the titles of the relevant journals. All the best,
None of us, media pundits included, carry around detailed academic citations in our heads or in our files. However, a question along the lines of, "Why do you, who are paid to express opinions and potentially influence the opinions of others, believe climate change is real?" is legitimate. Without writing a whole column I tried to give him an answer. I'm not sure how good it was, but here it is:
Hi Chris: Thanks for your message. It’s always good to be skeptical, but I believe the evidence and authority are on the side of those who believe in manmade global warming. Nobody argues about the physics – increased atmospheric CO2 will cause a greenhouse effect. Nobody argues about the levels. CO2 is rising. Nobody argues about the source of the CO2. It’s anthropogenic.
So you have a pretty good argument right there for paying attention and worrying about bad effects. But people a lot smarter than I am also believe that global temperatures are indeed rising and are connected to the CO2 increase, and I’m prepared to take their word for it. If you want a cite go to the 4th IPCC report, which I’m sure you already have. Given the weight of evidence and opinion, the onus is on skeptics to falsify the proposition that humans are causing global warming. And they haven’t done it. JH