Comments about ‘My view: Global warming consensus matters’

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Published: Thursday, Nov. 25 2010 12:00 a.m. MST

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ScaredAmoeba
Walton, UK

The consensus among climate scientists concerning the climate derives from the evidence.

There is more CO2 in the atmosphere now than at any time in the previous 800,000 years and probably the previous 15 million years. CO2 has been known to be a greenhouse gas for ~150 years. There are many other potential factors, but none of them can account for the recent anomalous global warming apart from rising GHGs.

Those that claim it isn't CO2 but something else e.g. the Sun, need to provide evidence for a new unknown mechanism that stops the heat trapped by CO2, plus a new mechanism for the INCREASED warming, but these mechanisms haven't been found.

Ockham's razor shows these imaginary claims are probably spurious.

Science is always provisional, surprises do occur, but so far the available evidence is that the warming is almost entirely down to human activities. But the fossil fuel companies are trying very hard to confuse the public and are spending a great deal of money to spread doubt.

Baron Scarpia
Logan, UT

Why is the GOP is so protective of fossil fuels and denies the highly visible negative consequences of fossil fuels? ... whether it is climate change or air quality or escalating fossil fuel prices or how oil money flows into terrorists' pockets.

Ironically, it is the "red states" that are destined to benefit the most from solutions to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels -- from wind in the Midwest to solar and geothermal in the desert southwestern states.

With reports that even Utah's coal reserves are dwindling fast, you'd think business-minded GOP politicians would see the need to transition to 21st century technologies rather than rely on 19th century fossil fuels. With China and India now consuming increasing amounts of fossil fuels, world prices are destined to rise!

The GOP fears government involvement -- however, both federal and state governments have been subsidizing fossil fuels for over a century, from subsidies to build railroads for coal to construction of powerlines to laying of pipelines for oil and gas to government programs to insurance for nuclear disasters and "maintenance" of nuke waste. Unlike other states, Utah doesn't have a severance tax on coal. All of these are subsidies.

ScaredAmoeba
Walton, UK

The IEA reckons that co-ordinated action to restrict the increase in global temperatures to 2 ºC will restrict global demand for oil to 89m b/d in 2030, compared with 105m b/d if no action is taken.
From the Economist Magazine.

At 82USD per barrel (Nov 2010 prices) that difference is 1.3 billion USD / day. How many denialists; email hackers; & politicians does 1% ($13m per day) of that buy? And that's just the oil. What about the coal?

Google dirty energy money to find out who's buying politicians and how much they cost to buy.

Google How ExxonMobil Uses Big Tobacco's Tactics to Manufacture Uncertainty on Climate Science.

Google "Koch Industries: Secretly Funding the Climate Denial Machine"

Barry Bickmore
Orem, UT

Naomi Oreskes' and Erik Conway's new book, _Merchants of Doubt_ is a fantastic resource if you are trying to understand why people like Orrin Hatch swallow the doubt-mongering. It turns out that in many cases it's more about ideology than money. If you really, really believe that there is too much government regulation, you are more likely to believe that environmental problems are being oversold.

Some people on the other side do the same thing. They aren't really well informed about the science, but their ideology allows them to believe any suggestion of an environmental problem must be right, and hence warrant action. In this case, however, the uninformed liberals actually do have the vast majority of scientists on their side with respect to the question of whether human-induced warming is likely to be a big problem.

Chuck E. Racer
Lehi, UT

I don't think the problem is so much with disputing global warming as with what to do about it. Liberals are trying to use the issue to push us further into socialism and destroy America's economy in their push to make us equal with everyone else. THAT is what I have a problem with.

I remember well the liberals of the 60's and 70's proclaiming how much better communism was, and when the iron curtain was broken down finding out how much worse the environment was under the centralized control of communist governments.

Uncle Charles
Where freedom and liberty reign, utah

Barry states, "My point is not to bash Hatch for uncritically accepting scientific-sounding nonsense. Rather, my aim is to show that if you decide to dismiss the overwhelming consensus of experts about climate change, but don't want to bother doing the work to become truly informed, it's very likely that you will be fooled by whatever arguments tend to confirm your biases."

When players tell us it's not about the money; we know it's about the money. You telling us that it isn't your intent to bash Hatch means exactly that is your intention. (I'm not a Hatch fan and am hoping that he loses at the next convention like Bennett did)

I read the article by the Eyre's on marriage before reading yours. I can say the same statement you make about marriage and family and the Pew Research.

The consensus has proved absolutely nothing because it can't so it makes these outrageous claims. You've proved nothing in your article except that you don't like Hatch and his website.

Is this all you got? If so, you got nothing and we both know it.

Irony Guy
Bountiful, Utah

Don't worry, Barry. Guys like Uncle Charles will never be convinced no matter how much evidence you bring to the table. His biases are too big for him to see around them. Remember Galileo?

@Uncle Charles, you remind me of a certain gibe we used to yell at each other at 4th grade recess: "If you say you're not you are! If you say you're not you are! If you say you're not you are...!" Ad nauseam.

chilly
Salt Lake City, UT

Google the "Great Horse-manure Crisis" of the late 1800's. The parallels are strikingly similar to the current warming panic.

Even one of the Godfathers of global warming, Phil Jones, has admitted that there has been no statistically significant warming since 1995.

If human caused planetary warming turns out to be a problem, human ingenuity will deal with it. Meanwhile, stop scaring our children, stop trying to create fear among the population and stop trying to encourage our government to adopt scams like cap and trade that will do nothing toward curbing global temperatures, but will create hardship for people.

Relax. Take in a movie this weekend. I recommend "Cool It", the Bjorn Lomborg film.

KM
Cedar Hills, UT

Once again the timing of this letter is curious, given that we are experiencing extreme cold at the moment. Ooops, I forgot that the scientists (gods) have said that cold equals global warming also. I guess I'm too ignorant to understand this hypothesis.
We should be like the global warming alarmists, or global marxists, and just meet in Cancun Mexico during the winter, so as not to look foolish during a blizzard. Sort of like they did last year when they fled from the blizzard in Sweeden, i think?
Last week there was an article about a time, 120,000 years ago when the earth became so hot it killed most living things. It must have been the hummers and SUV's all over the planet at the time.

Blue
Salt Lake City, UT

Chilly,

Here's what Dr. Jones actually said during a February 13, 2010 interview with the BBC:

BBC: "Do you agree that from 1995 to the present there has been no statistically-significant global warming?"

Phil Jones: "Yes, but only just. I also calculated the trend for the period 1995 to 2009. This trend (0.12C per decade) is positive, but not significant at the 95% significance level. The positive trend is quite close to the significance level. Achieving statistical significance in scientific terms is much more likely for longer periods, and much less likely for shorter periods."

BBC: "How confident are you that warming has taken place and that humans are mainly responsible?"

Phil Jones: "I'm 100% confident that the climate has warmed. As to the second question, I would go along with IPCC Chapter 9 - there's evidence that most of the warming since the 1950s is due to human activity."

The full interview is worth finding and reading.

Twin Lights
Louisville, KY

The problem with climate change is not the science. It's the politics.

Some (not all) conservatives see climate change and the environmental movement in general as a threat to business and laissez faire economics. At their most conspiratorial, they see it as evidence of foreign, communist, socialist, UN, illuminati (take your pick) influence which has the intent of destroying America.

They see monied influence driving the movement in the form of Soros and Gore. But conveniently ignore the much larger monied interest of the oil and chemical companies.

The consensus of climate scientists is seen as proof of conspiracy rather than actual resulting from the evidence.

Oddly, the opponents ignore the potential dangers of widespread climate change to American interests or the potential for new American industries.

The opposing climate "science" reminds me of the tobacco-funded "science" of the 60s opposing the ever stronger evidence that smoking was, in fact, dangerous.

The most interesting (and humorous) admissions I have seen state that even if there is climate change, who is to say it is bad? They posit that it is perhaps good - a benefit to us. To me, this is the absolute height of denial.

ScaredAmoeba
Walton, UK

Chuck E. Racer

"Liberals are trying to....destroy America's economy.... THAT is what I have a problem with."

How precisely does maintaining the US dependency on foreign oil benefit the US economy?

The US has a denial industry that has spawned a home-grown anti-science movement that spreads malicious rumours, encourages witch-hunts and death threats against hard-working scientists. The US economy has in the past benefited hugely from advanced technology, it needs a constant supply of world-class science to provide a constant source of new technologies. However, the world has changed, the US no-longer has an unassailable lead in science. China and India are metaphorically snapping at the heels of the US and they do not have an anti-science movement. The Chinese and Indians are training scientists as fast as they can and there will be no guarantee that the US will be able to recruit from overseas into what is a hostile environment for scientists.

If the US fails to deal with promotion of scientific ignorance and pseudo-science in the search for fossil fuel company profits, its future economy will be endangered.

VST
Bountiful, UT

The real problem in reaching a meaningful solution is how do you get India and China (which is now #1 in the World in creating greenhouse gas emissions), to make meaningful efforts towards significantly reducing their emissions? Without those two countries "on-board," any significant efforts on the part of the U.S. and Europe would be meaningless.

India and China are the biggest problem. We need to solve the problem without having to bankroll India and China.

Steve Nelson
Orem, Utah

Uncle Charles,

Why do you presume you can make stuff up about Professor Bickmore? His office is two doors down the hall from mine, and his research interest is surface chmistry. He has no financial stake in this at all. His interest is the truth.

KM,

There is a difference between weather and climate. You would be well served to appreciate this. In fact it there was a warm period about 120,000 years ago, although it did not kill "most living things." What's your point?

The issue is that greenhouse gas concentrations are rising about 200 times faster than they did during past transitions from cold to warm climate.

In the meantime, Hatch uses fabricated data (whether wittingly or not) to support his political position. Since when did the truth need to be supported with a lie?

Barry Bickmore
Orem, UT

Chilly,

Blue is absolutely right about Phil Jones's comments. The global average temperature bounces up and down enough from year to year that it usually takes well over a decade to get a statistically significant trend, even if the trend is clearly real. That's why responsible climatologists don't use such short periods (15 years) to draw sweeping conclusions about climate change. Self-professed "skeptics," on the other hand, are constantly telling us that everything is ok because we have had a little cooling for a few years, and then neglect to tell us that the trend isn't statistically significant over such a short period.

This is just another example where people who haven't done the work to become informed will latch onto any argument that sounds like it supports their biases, no matter how bad the argument is.

In my op-ed above I'm certainly not saying that nobody should check on what the scientists are saying. Rather, I'm just pointing out that if you **say** you are checking up on the scientists, you ought to put in the time to become truly informed, or drop the pretense of "open-mindedness."

  • 11:30 a.m. Nov. 25, 2010
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Uncle Charles
Where freedom and liberty reign, utah

The simple fact is if there was actual factual data that states man is causing global warming/climate change/or whatever you call it today, there would be no need for a consensus.

How does ClimateGate play into the AGW crowds thinking? Any issues with the missing, distorted and hidden data? Any issue with the actual data being thrown away so no one can go back and verify the conclusions?

Let's us corn-based ethanol because Al Gore told us to as it would be better for the climate. Oops, he only did that to bolster his stance with those who would vote for him.

All you AGW alarmists can scream from every rooftop available to you but until you actually bring hard, cold, irrefutable facts to the table, you can all use the one piece of toilet paper as Sheryl Crow recommended and you can sit around and chant "The debate is over. The consensus is in. AGW is fact!"

What's truly interesting Irony Guy is how people like you have bought into the hype without there being any supporting facts or documentation. The real question is why do you support a fact-less consensus?

atl134
Salt Lake City, UT

"The real question is why do you support a fact-less consensus? "

Factless? Arctic sea ice is setting a record low sea ice volume this year.

atl134
Salt Lake City, UT

There's also the fact that CO2 concentration in the atmosphere (CO2 is responsible for about 10-15% of the total greenhouse effect) has risen to 386ppm in 2009 (38% above pre-industrial levels)?

Blue
Salt Lake City, UT

Uncle Charles: "How does ClimateGate play into the AGW crowds thinking? Any issues with the missing, distorted and hidden data? Any issue with the actual data being thrown away so no one can go back and verify the conclusions?"

"Climategate" has been investigated by no fewer than four independent commissions and that the conclusions of all four investigations was that there was _no_ faking of data.

- Muir Russell Review (July 2010)
- Lord Oxburgh Scientific Assessment Panel (April 2010)
- Parliamentary Science and Technology Select Committee (March 2010)
- Penn State University (July 2010)

You can also save yourself some time by reading the Wikipedia article on "Climategate."

Meanwhile, the scientific evidence for AGW grows daily. I mean literally, every day.

Examples:

University of Hawaii at Manoa (2010, November 23). "Cloud study predicts more global warming."

Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD) (2010, November 25). "Extinctions expected to increase strongly over the century."

Those articles took me about three minutes to find and retrieve - not by looking for specific areas of research, but merely by looking for recently published research on climate science.

The evidence is overwhelming, and growing.

The laws of physics don't care about politics.

chilly
Salt Lake City, UT

Blue and Barry,

The bottom line is that there has been no statistically significant warming since 1995, despite Jones' follow-up qualifications and your hand wringing. .12 degrees warming per decade, IF continued, would amount to 1.2 degrees C per century. If that is the extent of the change in temperatures, man will easily adjust. At the rate we are working on alternative energy forms and given the human track record of innovation, we have nothing to fear from anthropogenic heat. The scare mongers in the climate change industry attempting to stifle our economy and thwart clean, efficient alternatives like nuclear energy are a bigger worry.

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