Comments about ‘My view: Climate argument is shortsighted’

Return to article »

Published: Thursday, May 16 2013 12:00 a.m. MDT

  • Oldest first
  • Newest first
  • Most recommended
Sandy, UT

"Utah has already experienced significant decreases in snowpack, leading to increased drought and wildfires."

This is alarmist hooey. Snowpack in 2011 was 170% of normal. 2012 snowpack was much lower, yes, but it was enough to fill the reservoirs. We're not currently experiencing drought or increased wildfires, and there's no evidence linking global temperatures, which have remained remarkably stable for two decades, to Utah's water supply.

In addition, dismissing GOP concerns about proposed "solutions" to climate change as naught but crankiness ignores the overwhelming scientific consensus that proposals like Cap and Trade will cost trillions of dollars and do nothing to alter global temperatures. Expensive proposals that have devastating economic impacts but no discernible environmental benefits ought to be shunned by all reasonable people, regardless of ideology.

This article is irresponsible.

Salt Lake City, UT

A recent Wall Street Journal article by Harrison Schmitt and William Happer demonstrates that the boogieman of CO2, pushed for years by alarmists like Barry Bickmore, is pure nonsense. It concludes with this paragraph:

"We know that carbon dioxide has been a much larger fraction of the earth's atmosphere than it is today, and the geological record shows that life flourished on land and in the oceans during those times. The incredible list of supposed horrors that increasing carbon dioxide will bring the world is pure belief disguised as science."

Bickmore's statement: "...multiple lines of evidence — not just climate models — all show that the most likely climate sensitivity to greenhouse gases is in a dangerous range, given our current emissions trajectory." is pure hooey. If anything, scientists are agreeing that "sensitivity" is significantly less that projected.

Irony Guy
Bountiful, Utah

I too am waiting for Bob Bennett et al on the Republican side to do "what makes sense." So far, they've proposed nothing, whether it makes sense or not.

Tooele, UT

Re: ". . . humans are taking an enormous risk by failing to curb our greenhouse gas emissions."

Maybe. But we know it's an even larger risk to completely reorder our society and economy, based on unsupported liberal "what-ifs." Particularly since that reordering, is the same tired march to socialism that has been advanced as a "solution" to EVERY modern "problem," but has worked so poorly EVERY time it's been tried. Both as regards the economy AND the environment.

Anthropomorphic global warming, if it exists, is such a weak and nuanced phenomenon, it can only be teased from raw data that actually show a slight cooling trend over the last 80 years. Since only manipulation and massaging of the data show evidence of the phenomenon, and since those massaging and manipulating the data have shown themselves to be less-than-trustworthy, we are wise to demand more evidence than a "consensus" of true-believing partisans, self-interested crony capitalists, and lost-in-the-sixties, radicals, before undertaking huge investments in emerging, but not-ready-for-primetime technologies.

Thinkin\' Man
Rexburg, ID

Barry, you're rationalizing. The climate models have failed outright. The climate is more complex than we can model, as you pointed out. You exaggerate the "risks" of a warmer climate, which many conclude would be net positive for the human race. And there is no "consensus" on the question of human contribution's influence on climate. Take a deep breath, step back, and give objectivity a chance.

Kent C. DeForrest
Provo, UT

Thanks, Barry, for trying to infuse some common sense into the climate debate (and into today's opinion pages). A good friend of mine, who works for the Bureau of Reclamation, informs me that regardless of what the political rhetoric claims, they have had to drastically alter their strategies for the Colorado River because of long-term reduction in snowpack. Like it or not, the climate is changing. And it will start having effects that even Republicans will not be able to ignore. By then, of course, it will be too late to do much about it.

The Real Maverick
Orem, UT

What's wrong with caring for the environment? What's wrong with researching green technology? What's wrong with penalizing polluters?

Barry Bickmore
Orem, UT


You can't just pick one year with a high snowpack and say, "See, snowpack isn't going down!" That's called "cherrypicking." You have to look at the trend over several decades, which is what Utah State Climatologist, Rob Gillies, did in a recently published, peer-reviewed scientific paper. Look it up.

Barry Bickmore
Orem, UT


Neither Schmitt nor Happer has ever been a climate scientist. It shows. For instance, while they try to impress the uninformed by noting that CO2 levels and temperatures have been higher millions of years ago, the actual climate scientists are worried about the rate of change. Change isn't necessarily bad, but really rapid change is.

Tooele, UT

Re: ". . . the climate is changing. And it will start having effects that even Republicans will not be able to ignore. By then, of course, it will be too late to do much about it."

Honest "climate scientists," even if they're AGW true-believers, will tell you that if AGW is a fact, it's already too late to reverse it. Best we can hope for is to enjoy or ameliorate its effects.

We're no more able to command retreat of temperatures than was King Canute to command retreat of the sea, so we ought to concentrate on maximizing beneficial effects, minimizing harmful.

That doesn't mean ruinous economic/environmental controls, or deranged funding of unproven "green" technologies.

Since we're back into the temperature-range enjoyed pre-little ice age, the Medieval Climate Optimum, we should expect to see the return of those conditions -- wetter, warmer, weather and better agricultural conditions, worldwide. Maybe a tiny, millimeter-level effect on sea level. Richer ocean diversity.

Maybe there's a downside, somewhere. We'll count on liberals to point it out.

Barry Bickmore
Orem, UT


The "raw data" has all kinds of artifacts in it. For instance, if I collect data at my temperature station in the afternoon, then switch to the morning, I automatically get a cooling trend. The scientists who make sense of the "raw data" use statistical methods to correct for these kinds of things, which brings the surface temperature record in line with the satellite record, the fact that Arctic sea ice is in a death spiral, the fact that most of the world's glaciers are shrinking, and so on. Believe it or not, the scientists whose day job it is to deal with this data have been quite careful, and know what they are doing better than some random cranks on the Internet.

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

What humans aren't curbing their greenhouse emissions? This one is! Are you?

We can't do away with greenhouse emissions completely... so whatever reductions we make is a good thing IMO. And I think almost everybody's doing at least a LITTLE to curb their emissions.

Everybody's doing at least a little bit to change. The only question now is... how radical do you have to get in reducing your greenhouse emissions to make some people happy.... now THAT's a tough one to respond to in a satifactory manner for everybody.

Even if you buy a newer more efficient car... you are doing SOMTHING to curb your greenhouse emissions. But some people won't be satisified unless you get an electric car. And yet others won't be satisfied unless you get rid of your car and start riding a horse or a bike to work. Different people have different expectations. You can't make some people who have become radicalised on this topic happy... it's litterally impssible. No matter what you are doing it's not enough.

IMO every move to curb emissions should be praised.

Pleasant Grove, UT

@Barry Bickmore "You have to look at the trend over several decades...."

Apparently "several" = 4.

Rob Gillies' study goes back 40 years. The age of the earth is estimated to be 4.54 billion years. If JerseyGirl is cherrypicking when she studies 0.000000000220264 of the earth's lifetime, Mr. Gillies is not much better off for studying 0.000000008810573 of it.

Hey, he could at least have included the 1930's.

Tooele, UT

Re: "The scientists who make sense of the "raw data" use statistical methods to . . . [bring] the surface temperature record in line with the satellite record . . . ."

I might buy that, except for the fact that the satellite record also shows a nearly flat trend.

Those concerned about the political nature of "scientific" AGW pronouncements have no doubt ". . . the scientists whose day job it is to deal with this data have been quite careful, and know what they are doing . . . ."

Problem is, it's now clear that "what they are [carefully] doing" is not science, it's political advocacy.

The data just don't support their hypotheses, at least not to any confidence level we're accustomed to. Too many climate "scientists" have proven willing to cook their data to support otherwise unsupportable "consensus," then hide their disingenuity by withholding raw data, or carefully caching their conclusions behind obfuscating semantic smokescreens.

There was certainly an overwhelming consensus among phrenology, psychoanalysis, and Darwinian social "scientists" of the last century. But we were wise to demand solid proof before accepting their more scary demands.

Barry Bickmore
Orem, UT


Yes, Utah snowpack has decreased by 9% in just 4 decades. Other than that, I don't really understand your point. As far as paleoclimatologists can tell, CO2 is probably the biggest "control knob" on the climate, and we're changing the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere much, much faster than it has changed in the past, as far as we can tell. There is no "right" temperature for the Earth--we can adapt if the change isn't too fast--but several mass extinction events have occurred during times of more rapid, sustained climate change. So why don't you take a lesson from the Earth's history, instead of just using it to attempt glib comments?

Salt Lake City, UT

"Change isn't necessarily bad, but really rapid change is."

As you know, the instrumental temperature record only goes back to the late 19th century. This makes it impossible to know, with any real precision, how quickly temperatures have changed in the past. In areas where we have more robust, continuous data such as Greenland, ice cores show that the rate of change in the 20th century is not in the least unusual. These ice cores show that several periods including the Medieval, Roman, Minoan and two spikes during the Holocene are comparable to the inter-glacial warming we are currently experiencing. And that's only going back a blip, in geologic time, of 10,000 years.

The problem with "climate scientists" today is that they graduate "ready to save the planet". They're brainwashed with alarmist doctrine rather that being taught basic science. Their lack of education in applied statistics is deplorable. Saying a scientist "isn't a climate scientist" is a compliment in my book.

Just curious, do you consider yourself a "climate scientist"?

Salt Lake City, UT

Climate norms are typically calculated over 30 year periods. It's the standard in the field so 40 is perfectly acceptable for statistical significance tests.

"Since we're back into the temperature-range enjoyed pre-little ice age, the Medieval Climate Optimum, we should expect to see the return of those conditions -- wetter, warmer, weather and better agricultural conditions, worldwide. "

Many areas worldwide would see declining agricultural conditions. Deserts would expand away from the equator and droughts and floods would both increase in frequency which can cause major damage to crops (roughly 50 billion in losses last year from the US drought).

"Maybe a tiny, millimeter-level effect on sea level. "

It'd be more than that, and some nations like Bangladesh don't really have a meter to give.

"Richer ocean diversity."

Ocean acidification has intensified in recent years (a very under the radar effect of all this) and if the trend continues would become a severe problem for ocean life in at least some regions.

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

You and your ilk aren't the only ones who care about the planet. You need to get over that stereotype quick if you expect anybody to take you seriously.

Caring for the planet isn't political rhetoric. It's a human thing. We are all human. We ALL want a plant to live on. We just have different levels of tolerance for what we consider "caring for the environment".

For some people "caring for the environment" means not droping your candy wrapper, cigarette, etc.

For some people "caring for the environment" means walking instead of riding.

But some people may think you don't "care for the environment" if you drive a gas powered car, or live in a house, or wash with soap.

It's just a difference of severity if you ask me. We ALL care about the planet. We just have different expectations of what to do to protect it.

I think anything people are doing to conserve and protect is a good thing. Others may think if you're not living a caveman existance, you're not doing enough. It's a matter of opinion and what extremes you think are required..


@procuradorfiscal "the Medieval Climate Optimum .. wetter"

I guess you forgot the studies related to the Sahara.

More importantly, I don't think the evidence supports a year range for a global WMP. Every year has places on Earth that break record highs throughout the year. Finding that location x, y, z, and any other (as per very imperfect proxy studies) had a "warm" period some time in the past possibly a few centuries back possibly more and then was preceded and followed by "colder" periods just at best hints at a local warm period. When you combine many of these proxy local "WMP", you tend to have lots of overlap of warm and cold periods. The average of this mix of partially overlapping warm/cold regions cancels out substantially and looks like red noise apparently (thanks McIntyre).


@procuradorfiscal "the Medieval Climate Optimum .. wetter"

...What we are left with is a neutral average value and a high error values up until the 20th century, where thermometer-precise measurements of the past 150+ years show a significant rise in the last 50 years (a "hockey stick"). If you know how you can reasonably combine many of the proxy studies to arrive at a global WMP instead of simply many local warm/cold periods and a global hockey stick, please let us know.

to comment

DeseretNews.com encourages a civil dialogue among its readers. We welcome your thoughtful comments.
About comments