Cherry picking leads to untruths

Re: The Observer article on Oct. 1 titled “MP defends environmental record.”

Re: The Observer article on Oct. 1 titled “MP defends environmental record.”

It appears from your article that Colin Mayes doesn’t respect the opinions of scientists worldwide regarding the many changes occurring in climate, sea-levels, fauna populations, etc. that have been triggered by accelerating man-made CO2 emissions. Instead of showing us that he comprehends the seriousness of the situation we face, he does the opposite by glibly cherry picking statements made in the past that now appear to have been incorrect.

The first cherry picked by Mr. Mayes was that a lone scientist in 2007 made a prediction that Himalayan glaciers were likely to disappear in five years (actually the scientist said by 2035). However, Mr. Mayes failed to point out that this prediction was never backed by peer review and was subsequently debunked. There is now solid evidence of rapid glacial melting in the Himalayas.

With respect to polar ice, Mr. Mayes fails to mention that the scientific analysis of satellite data since 1980 shows a definite trend in the decrease of Arctic ice volumes by three per cent per decade with large fluctuations from the trend line from year to year. Instead Mr. Mayes cherry-picks a single large fluctuation, of which there are many, which shows that polar ice has increased by 40 per cent (since 2012).

Mr. Mayes’ final cherry pick regards the statement made by Al Gore in An Inconvenient Truth that polar bear numbers would be ravaged, pointing out that recent polar bear observations suggest numbers worldwide are at an all-time high. Closer analysis, however, reveals that these counts may not be good estimates of actual populations. The facts are that polar bear habitat is shrinking as the ice melts and the health and condition of existing populations is observed to be poor.

There is no doubt throughout the scientific community that we are globally facing the most profound changes ever to face mankind. Our leaders must first recognize and publicly acknowledge these changes before leading the discussion of what needs to be done.

Dr. Geoff Benson