Imagine my surprise when reading M.D. Harmon’s misleading commentary on climate change science (“Warming enthusiasts need to face some inconvenient truths,” June 13).

He attributes the change in wording from “global warming” to “climate change” as a sign that “warming enthusiasts” have a weak case.

Global warming was the concern in the organized scientific study of climate change, started in 1989 as the U.S. Global Change Research Program. Full disclosure: I had a small role in helping this program become a reality.

It grew as an interagency science program until 2002, when President George W. Bush directed that research priorities be focused on “climate change.”

He formed the U.S. Climate Change Science Program, and its strategic plan became a key part of the USGCRP. He also established the Climate Change Technology Program and a Cabinet-level Committee on Climate Change Science and Technology Integration.

It is no mystery, then, why the term “climate change” came to be applied to the whole scientific endeavor.


Harmon takes climate scientists to task for reversing their assertion that “weather is not climate.” They haven’t. Weather is today. Climate is the long-term trend.

He goes on to give examples of bad weather as if it proves his point. It’s a long-term fact: Globally oceans are becoming warmer and rising, the glaciers are melting faster and air temperatures are going up.

He downplays the significance in a warming world of the now-irreversible movement of Antarctica’s Thwaites Glacier into the ocean. It is an ice floe as large as New England and 1,800 feet thick, whose movement, when done, will raise ocean levels nine feet. Think long term. Think climate change. Consider the effects of a hurricane like Sandy in that scenario.

Perhaps M.D. Harmon should get his facts right before giving what he would have us believe is a factual argument.

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