Comments about ‘My view: Ignored warnings about global warming produce droughts and coming food shortages’

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Published: Friday, July 27 2012 12:00 a.m. MDT

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Salt Lake City, UT

The central problem we face can be found in Dr. Moench's opening sentence, "For those who believe in the scientific method..."

The fact is that it is currently fashionable among conservatives to _not_ believe in the scientific method. Today's conservatives don't believe in Global Warming, or Evolution, or the antiquity of the universe, because those scientific realities cause them philosophical discomfort. Rather than allowing objective reality to shape their beliefs, they'd rather defend their beliefs by denying scientific reality.

There's no shortage of corporate money available to fuel their denial. The exact same "think tanks" that spent decades arguing "the science isn't settled" on the relationship between smoking and lung cancer are now telling us that "the science isn't settled" about the causes and significance of global warming.

For those who don't want to accept reality, there's no shortage of cable news, blogs and talk radio to make them feel good about their refusal to accept scientific reality. The denial of reality is a thriving subculture, and this subculture is killing our future.

Salt Lake City, UT

Conservatives claim to stand on the principles of small government, free markets, and personal freedom, yet they seem incapable of applying those principles to solving problems. Several times in this very forum I have challenged conservatives to provide market-based, freedom affirming solutions to the issue of CO2 emissions and climate change. Those few who responded could do no better than to say they would ban certain fuels, regulate emissions, or apply heavy taxes on fuels to discourage consumption-- in short, the very big government, regulatory mechanisms they claim to deplore. In the face of such bankruptcy of creative ideas consistent with their political philosophy, it's no wonder that they instead resort to simple denialism. There is no problem, therefore, problem solved.

Central, UT

It is problematic to look at this one year's drought and say that it is a result of global warming. If that is the case, then what caused the Dust Bowl of the 1930's? That certainly couldn't have been global warming because we were hardly using fossil fuels yet, at least to the extent that we have since the latter half of the past century. What about the previous two years that were cooler and had an abundance of precipitation and our reservoirs were overflowing? The fact is that we are looking at a mere data point in the cyclical weather patterns and until we have a lot of data (100+ years of this same situation), we will not know if a true trend is occurring and is the result of man-made causes or it is just a natural course. Having said that, we certainly need to be good stewards of the planet and do our part to make sure we aren't a part of the problem.

Salt Lake City, UT

This is another of Dr. Moench's doomsday op-eds that we can chuckle about and safely ignore.

one old man
Ogden, UT

derecha -- The dust bowl was the direct result of farming practices that ignored environmental needs. Those practices stripped vegetation by overgrazing and plowing in such a manner that soil was exposed to wind.

Today, global warming is the result of ignoring basic principles and ignoring the environment in which we all must live.

Peanut -- You can chuckle and ignore all you want. But it's kind of like standing on the edge of the Grand Canyon and trying to ignore the law of gravity. You're only one step away from a big surprise.

Jon W.
Murray, UT

The problem is not that we don't believe in the scientific method. The problem is that we don't believe that computer models have the evidentiary weight of actual experiments, and that we don't believe that scientists are all above corruption, and especially that we don't believe that politicians won't use whatever theories that possibly corrupted scientists come up with from their hypothesising and modelling (Note: not experimenting) for their (the politician's) own and their party's advantage.

Thornbury, Vic

For those that list the Murdock's News Corp and Fox will be deceived by Murdock's denial. For those that are prepared to look at a wide range of facts that have come together over the last 100 years i.e the actual increase in temperature, the actual increase in Carbon Dioxide and other gases etc. @derecha the experiments are happening it is called the world and we are doing the experiment on our only planet.

What are the Solutions, start by looking at the actions of the Walmart, 3M and many companies that are working to increase profit by reducing their energy consumption and pollutants. Look at the new Church buildings that are much more sustainable. The solution is not a hand to moth existence if we act now, however the longer we argue the more expensive the solutions become.

American Fork, UT

We, at the utah armchair climatologists association, know we didn't cause it. So we don't have to fix it. And it would be a shame to clean up the place for nothing.

Tooele, UT

Re: "For those who believe in the scientific method, the last few years have been discouraging."

You got that right, Doc!

Summer heat brings out every uninformed crank with some new "smoking-gun" theory on how today's heat "proves" his man-made global warming delusion.

That's not science.

Nor is it science to cook the books, ignore inconsistent data, construct oversimplified computer models, or to demand that we give up hard-won freedoms and expend untold sums of national treasure on unproven scams whose sole benefit to date is the enrichment of "green" political charlatans.

When you have verifiable, replicable, untainted data showing that ranching is destroying Utah's weather, come on back and we'll take a look at it.

Until then, there's no actual science to any of your extremist claims.

Only sensationalism.

Baron Scarpia
Logan, UT

What's interesting is that the solution to climate change -- development of more renewable energy over burning fossil fuels -- will largely benefit RED states. From Utah, Nevada, and Arizona's solar potential to the winds of the Great Plains -- all RED states -- these regions of the country will benefit from the transition from fossil fuels to renewable, price-stable clean energy.

Iowa already gets 20 percent of its electricity from wind energy. With cheap Chinese solar panels, solar is booming across the country. In fact, renewable energy has grown far faster over the last decade than expert predictions, and as costs continue to fall (and costs for fossil fuels continue to grow), the growth of wind and solar is expected to continue.

The electric vehicle is the key to get off foreign oil to domestic electricity.

provo, Utah

Pretty much any decision you can make is really a risk benefit analysis even for people that have no idea what that is.

Global warming denial is simply not passing any risk benefit analysis. You are simply betting that you and your leader politicians are correct and not the thousands of scientists that study the atmoshpere and climate.

This could simply be the singularity event that decideds weather or not a species deserves to survive by darwinian standards.

I've had a long standing challenge that if you don't believe Man is causing climate change that you make sure your kids and granchildren know. Get a tatoo. It's only fair they know who to slap later.

My hybrid is 12 years old and runs like a top. My solar panels are silently cranking out energy and have almost completly paid for themselves after only 6 years. That my daughter knows I care about her future - priceless. That I can look my ultimate judge in the eyes and say I cared that the occupants of malasian islands don't loose thier home, that many more would die of drought and other disasters - eternaly compelling.

But refuse to change a light bulb...

Corn Dog
New York, NY

Probably a bigger threat than global warming to our food supply is global warming policy.

Misplaced ideological visions of renewable fuels from agriculture (biofuels) have already stressed the world's food supplies. Currently 40% of America's corn crop, due to federal mandates, is going to fuel-ethanol production, raising the price of this staple for the poor worldwide. Similar biofuel mandates in other countries affect the price of other staples like sugar and soybeans. In drought years like we are now experiencing those mandates don't go away but put a greater stress on our food supply, further raising prices for the food insecure.

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

Somebody's "scientific method" is showing when they are so quick to tell us that this year's drought was man-made. What happened during the "dust bowl" (1930s)? Sure, poor farming practices were in use, but just how much CO2 did America produce eighty years ago compared to today? What did man do to cause the drought in the 1950s and another drought in the 1960s? We had a short drought in the 1970s, another in the 1980s and another one in 1993. In 2002 we had a drought.

Of course, today's drought is different. Scientists say so, so it must be true. Last year they couldn't use global warming, so they substituted "global change".

If we've learned anything, scientifically, we've learned that some scientists would sell their souls for another research grant.

Provo, UT

Of course global warming is occurring, we are living in an interglacial period of our earth's history. But having been part of Bernie Patton's original ecological modeling group in the early 70s and created a number of them on my own I can tell you that one small error can greatly skew a model. And we still have so little comprehensive data over even 100 years that most models are just scientific guesses. The more important motivation/belief system is to encourage every human enterprise to think in cycles. Recycling everything we produce and use should be part of our life styles.

Tooele, UT

Re: "My hybrid is 12 years old . . . . My solar panels are silently cranking out energy . . . ."

And, just to be clear, you're actions have never made the slightest iota of difference to any ". . . occupants of malasian [sic] islands . . ." or to any that might ". . . die of drought and other disasters . . . ."

Nor has Al Gore or any other "green" charlatan.

So, don't wrench your shoulder patting yourself on the back. Given the state of emerging world economies today, there is literally NOTHING you or I can EVER do to change the weather.

Tattoo or no tattoo.

Twin Lights
Louisville, KY

If there is no science to support global climate change (as some here claim) then why are all those scientists in pretty strong agreement?

Oh, I know. It's the "C" word - Conspiracy.

The problem with conspiracy is that secrets are so hard to actually keep. Hundreds of scientists should be defecting and blowing the whistle. But it't not happening.

Why? It COULD be because of some malevolent force keeps them all in line (in hundreds of countries and cultures) or it could be that the science leads pretty strongly to the conclusion that global climate change is (at least partially) man made.

Centerville, UT

recently a scientific journal released an article that shows over the last 2000 years the earths tempature was on a overall decline. They showed how the tree rings proved this point. I love scientific evidence.

Tooele, UT

Re: ". . . some malevolent force keeps them all in line (in hundreds of countries and cultures) . . . ."

Yeah -- it's called Big Academe.

And, its rigidly-enforced orthodoxy is among the most dangerous and malevolent forces of nature.

Casa Grande, AZ

Seems to me if conservatives were waiting on a consensus the best they should be saying is that they are not sure if climate change is cause by people pumping billions of tons of CO2 into the air. But you are convinced abosolutly it's not having any effect.

If you are so reasonable about facts why are you so sure of something that YOU do not have a scientific concencus of?

I've got what 99% of scientists telling me that in fact changing the atmosphere with greenhouse gasses indeed changes weather. The only scientists that don't seem to agree are geolgists. Why would you ask a geologist about the weather?

Far East USA, SC

"I have challenged conservatives to provide market-based, freedom affirming solutions to the issue of CO2 emissions and climate change."

They have done that. Under George HW Bush, they proposed a system that was designed to bring free market forces into the equation.

The system that the right developed was referred to as "Emission Trading". Today it is referred to as Cap-and-trade.

Another conservative developed idea that they now cant stand.

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