I’m an atmospheric physicist. I’ve published more than 200 scientific papers. For 30 years I taught at MIT, during which time the climate has changed remarkably little. But the cry of “global warming” has grown ever more shrill. In fact, it seems that the less the climate changes, the louder the voices of the climate alarmists get. So, let’s clear the air and create a more accurate picture of where we really stand on the issue of global warming or, as it is now called -- climate change.
There are basically three groups of people dealing with this issue. Groups one and two are scientists. Group three consists mostly, at its core, of politicians, environmentalists and media.
Group one is associated with the scientific part of the United Nation’s International Panel on Climate Change or IPCC (Working Group 1). These are scientists who mostly believe that recent climate change is primarily due to man’s burning of fossil fuels -- oil, coal and natural gas. This releases C02, carbon dioxide, into the atmosphere and, they believe, this might eventually dangerously heat the planet.
Group two is made up of scientists who don’t see this as an especially serious problem. This is the group I belong to. We’re usually referred to as skeptics. We note that there are many reasons why the climate changes -- the sun, clouds, oceans, the orbital variations of the earth, as well as a myriad of other inputs.
None of these is fully understood, and there is no evidence that CO2 emissions are the dominant factor. But actually there is much agreement between both groups of scientists. The following are such points of agreement:
Most importantly, the scenario that the burning of fossil fuels leads to catastrophe isn’t part of what either group asserts. So why are so many people worried, indeed, panic stricken about this issue?
Here’s where Group Three comes in -- the politicians, environmentalists, and media. Global Warming Alarmism provides them, more than any other issue, with the things they most want: For politicians it’s money and power. For environmentalists it’s money for their organizations and confirmation of their near religious devotion to the idea that man is a destructive force acting upon nature. And for the media it’s ideology, money, and headlines -- doomsday scenarios sell.
Meanwhile, over the last decade, scientists outside of climate physics have jumped on the bandwagon, publishing papers blaming global warming for everything from acne to the Syrian civil war. And, crony capitalists have eagerly grabbed for the subsidies that governments have so lavishly provided.
Unfortunately, group three is winning the argument because they have drowned out the serious debate that should be going on. But while politicians, environmentalists and media types can waste a lot of money and scare a lot of people, they won’t be able to bury the truth. The climate will have the final word on that.
I’m Richard Lindzen, emeritus professor of Atmospheric Sciences at MIT, for PragerUniversity.
Denver has approved a city ordinance to decriminalize hallucinogenic mushrooms, the city's elections division said.
The Initiated Ordinance 301, or the Denver Psilocybin Mushroom Initiative, was approved Tuesday by less than 2,000 votes, according to preliminary results from the elections division.
About 50.5% of voters supported the ordinance, while about 49.4% were against it, election officials said.
The results will not become official until May 16. The ordinance's text seeks to "deprioritize, to the greatest extent possible" criminal penalties imposed by the City of Denver "for the personal use and personal possession of psilocybin mushrooms."
The city is set to establish a "policy review panel to assess and report on the effects of the ordinance" per the initiative's requirements.
A range of mushroom species naturally contain the compound psilocybin, which has hallucinogenic properties. The US Department of Justice lists psilocybin as a Schedule I controlled substance, meaning official federal policy states the fungi have no medicinal properties.
Although it doesn't legalize the mushrooms, the ordinance would "prohibit the city from spending resources to impose criminal penalties" on those who have them.
The drugs have long been popular for recreational use. But a growing body of medical research shows that psilocybin can treat conditions like anxiety and depression, in cases where drugs currently on the market cannot.
For instance, a 2017 study published in the journal Nature showed that 47% of patients experiencing treatment-resistant depression showed positive responses at five weeks after receiving a psilocybin treatments (Carhart-Harris et al., 2017).
And in 2018, researchers from Johns Hopkins University called for removing psilocybin from the list of Schedule I substances (Johnson et al., 2018).
Denver has led the nation in changing drug policy
Kevin Matthews, the campaign director of Decriminalize Denver, organized the grassroots effort to decriminalize psilocybin mushrooms.
Matthews told CNN that he credited mushrooms with "really saving my life."
He had been a cadet at the United States Military Academy when he developed major depression and received a medical discharge.
"My life had crumbled beneath my feet," he said.
After years of suffering and not finding a solution, Matthews said friends introduced him to psilocybin mushrooms.
"The positive effects lasted weeks and weeks and weeks," he said. "I had been feeling pretty isolated and alone and until then, couldn't see the love all around me."
On its website, Decriminalize Denver says, "Humans have used these mushrooms for thousands of years for healing, rites of passage, spiritual insight, strengthening community, and raising consciousness,"
The group also argues that "One arrest is too many for something with such low and manageable risks for most people, relative to its potential benefits."
The initiative received endorsements from the Denver Green Party and the Libertarian Party of Colorado.
In January, Decriminalize Denver announced that it collected nearly 9,500 signatures, and turned in paperwork with the Denver Elections Division to get the initiative placed on the ballot.
At the time, Jeff Hunt, vice president of public policy for Colorado Christian University, told CNN affiliate KMGH that he opposed the decriminalizing of magic mushrooms in the city. He said the ordinance might discourage tourists from coming to the city."Denver is quickly becoming the illicit drug capital of the world," Hunt said. "The truth is we have no idea what the long-term health effects of these drugs are going to do to the people of Colorado."
The ballot initiative will build on previous efforts regarding drug ordinances. In 2005, the city became the first major city in the United States to legalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana, according to the Marijuana Policy Project.
Carhart-Harris, R., Roseman, L., Bolstridge, M., Demetriou, L., Pannekoek, J., Wall, M., Tanner, M., Kaelen, M., McGonigle, J., Murphy, K., Leech, R., Curran, H. and Nutt, D. (2017). Psilocybin for treatment-resistant depression: fMRI-measured brain mechanisms. Scientific Reports, 7(1). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-017-13282-7 [Accessed 18 May 2019].
Chavez, N. and Prior, R. (2019). Denver becomes the first city to decriminalize hallucinogenic mushrooms. [online] CNN. Available at: https://www.cnn.com/2019/05/08/us/denver-magic-mushrooms-approved-trnd/index.html [Accessed 18 May 2019].
Johnson, M., Griffiths, R., Hendricks, P. and Henningfield, J. (2018). The abuse potential of medical psilocybin according to the 8 factors of the Controlled Substances Act. Neuropharmacology, 142, pp.143-166. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuropharm.2018.05.012 [Accessed 18 May 2019].
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