From the Ashbury Park Press
Mayor Thomas F. Kelaher plans to help lead an expedition of 15 area residents and professionals to the Arctic next year to have a first-hand look at the early effects of climate change. Kelaher, 82, a conservative Republican, remains skeptical of the assertion that climate change is the result of modern human civilization, according to the newspaper. A documentary film crew for the PBS series NOVA is expected to chronicle the trip to the far reaches of northern Norway.
One one hand, it’s encouraging that NOVA is accompanying the expedition. They’re a respectable documentary television outlet with a great library and impeccable ethical standards. On the other hand, it’s more than a little discouraging that this is the intersection of the current debate.
Expedition preparation includes a lot more than lining up equipment and logistics. It also means hitting the books, learning as much as possible from the scientists and explorers that came before; building on their knowledge. By doing this, we make their time and sacrifices meaningful.
What does NOVA hope to accomplish? If the skeptics won’t trust decades of peer-reviewed research, what will a personal visit do? If it were up to me, I’d cancel the Mayor’s place on the expedition and give it to someone who will actually further our knowledge of climate change and the arctic. Ultimately, it’s Mayor Kelaher’s responsibility to educate himself–it’s not our responsibility to convince him.