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Who are the 'alarmists' here? Real conservatives value evidence

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  • Christopher Winter San Jose, CA
    June 3, 2014 11:29 a.m.

    Sensible scientist:

    Forget the scientific case /for/ global warming, since you aren't going to look at that anyway. You assert that "The real evidence is on the skeptic's side." If that assertion were true, by now you wouldn't have to be making it. Everyone would have heard on the evening news how the threat of global warming had been overblown. The announcement would have brought crowds into the streets to celebrate the removal of that worry. Whoever had provided valid evidence removing it would be lionized by the governments of the world, would probably win a Nobel Prize, and certainly would soon command more wealth than any climate scientist could dream of. And by the way, climate scientists would be just as glad as anybody else. You see, they have children and grandchildren too.

    Of course, none of this has happened -- nor is it likely to. Think about why that is.

  • Christopher Winter San Jose, CA
    June 3, 2014 11:24 a.m.

    Actually, MapleDon, there is a climate that's ideal for us: the relatively stable climate that has held for the 10 or 12 millennia during which we developed agriculture and went on to create a worldwide civilization with many seacoast cities.

    Despite what you believe, we are now pushing that climate away. Evidence accumulates day by day that what replaces it will not be so pleasant.

  • MapleDon Springville, UT
    May 31, 2014 10:44 p.m.

    So when was global climate constant? And what is the ideal global climate that we've drifted away from?

    Could it be that ulterior motives are at play? And what an easy target to use as your bully whip...something as unpredictable and uncontrollable as global climate. Even the scam artists running this charade concede that our greatest efforts at affecting climate going forward (through heavy taxation, control, and giving money to those sounding the alarm) would have little effect.

    Thanks for sounding the alarm. There is no solution. Even human extinction would not affect global climate.

    By the way, our climate has never been consistent and there is no standard. Get over yourselves. You're not that powerful and we're not all that stupid.

  • Ajax Mapleton, UT
    May 29, 2014 8:34 a.m.

    @ LovelyDeseret

    Oh,of course,they all have to be cheats and liars. You cannot believe anything they say, let alone trust them. Do you realize how lame that sounds?

  • LovelyDeseret Gilbert, AZ
    May 29, 2014 7:03 a.m.

    The problem is that many of us don't trust anything the IPCC writes or says. They have turned themselves into a money making political group.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    May 28, 2014 7:33 p.m.

    A great problem is created by standard present value calculations in "mainstream" economics when doing cost/benefit analyses. Such present value formulas hammer projects with significant upfront costs and benefits extending into the future - like with CO2 control. In this "mainstream" economics fails to perform.

    Marxian analyses do not do present value calculations. This is good because the survival of our posterity is as important as current profits.

  • Dave D Spring Creek, NV
    May 28, 2014 12:54 p.m.

    Also, what is the purpose for limiting readers and authors to a certain number of comments? There are many comments from which I would love to read a response from Dr. Bickmore. Is there really a reason to limit his comments?

  • Dave D Spring Creek, NV
    May 28, 2014 12:45 p.m.

    I tried to comment on both of the opinion pieces mentioned by Dr. Bickmore stating that it was irresponsible to give those authors a voice concerning climate change since they know nothing about it, but my comments were rejected. I had Dr. Bickmore in mind as someone who the Deseret News could turn to for a well-reasoned opinion on the matter. We should only give voices on this topic to experts.

  • Ajax Mapleton, UT
    May 28, 2014 8:20 a.m.

    Professor Bickmore is learning what many of us have known now for some time: the argument is not over differences of opinion between Republicans and Democrats but about political extremism. In attempting a dialogue with those of the thoughtless, ideologically driven hard right, reason is futile.

  • Howard Beal Provo, UT
    May 27, 2014 9:37 p.m.

    Within my faith (LDS), we are told that man has dominion over the planet. But with this dominion comes stewardship. I have no problem saying that we are failing on that other end. I have no problem with the fact that God has let us have this dominion because we can alter the Earth. I believe this alteration is mostly negative and we need to change course sooner rather than later. I feel that many "conservatives" if they thought about it, could have this same view and lose their "conservative" values. Also, there might be much money to be made in "saving the Earth."

  • mark Salt Lake City, UT
    May 27, 2014 6:20 p.m.

    Wow, jsf, what incredible leaps of logic.

    First you paint Mr. Bickmore as a liberal elitist (whatever that means) just because he recognizes Beck and Limbaugh as anti-intellectual (accurately so), and then you change it to that he is a "progressive". May I suggest that you know very little about Mr. Bickmore's politics. You definately know nothing about his politics from his statement about the blowhards Beck and Limbaugh. All you learn from that is that he is astute.

    But then you go on to claim that Mr. Bickmore believes that anyone who disagrees with him is illiterate. Where in the world did you get that idea!?

    Then you claim Mr. Bickmore believes he has "all knowledge", and you go on to say that he believes all people that have not read the same books as he has is not as smart as he is, and that he thinks no student could be as smart as he is.

    Mr. Bickmore does not need my defense; any thoughtful person can clearly see that your comments are lacking substance.

    I only point it out to illustrate the kind of argument certain types of people make.

  • jsf Centerville, UT
    May 27, 2014 5:40 p.m.

    No kent an elitist thinks they know more because they are, not because of their knowledge or wisdom. I would not presume to limit this to just liberals, but progressives. Let us just change the elitists to progressives elitists that claim anyone that has not a degree could never have learned anything from reading or study.

  • Kent C. DeForrest Provo, UT
    May 27, 2014 4:47 p.m.

    Oh, and have you noticed that only "conservatives" use the term "elitist" to describe people who know more than they do? Fascinating that Bickmore is now a "classic liberal elitist," even though he is a self-described conservative. But this is how the tea party purifies its ranks. If you are at all favorable to science, watch out.

  • Kent C. DeForrest Provo, UT
    May 27, 2014 4:45 p.m.

    jsf:

    Have you listened to Glenn and Rush for five minutes? Embarrassing stuff.

  • jsf Centerville, UT
    May 27, 2014 2:48 p.m.

    Bickmore makes the classic liberal elitist comment. "anti-intellectual blowhards like Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck. My impression is that those guys talk so much every day that they couldn't possibly have time to study any issue carefully" You don't know how much they have read, only they have a different take than you. You got your letters by reading and studying books and articles, and a school awarded you a degree. But if anybody else study results in a different opinion they must be illiterate. What this says to me is taking a class from you must be worthless because it is overseen by one that thinks he has all knowledge. You have like all elitists determined that anyone else reading the same books and materials you have read but not issued a parchment could not possibly be as smart as you. And since no student could ever be as smart as you then why would they take your classes.

  • Kent C. DeForrest Provo, UT
    May 27, 2014 2:04 p.m.

    Barry,

    I understand your concerns about the liberals who can be as blind and irrational as the far-right-wingers. But if you are looking for reasons to leave the Republican Party, there are probably five times as many good economic arguments for such a move as climate-change arguments. As far as I can tell, conservative economics will destroy our society long before climate change does. In that case, the climate-change furor may be irrelevant in the long run, because at some point in the not-too-distant future, the oil-fueled, resource-consuming, growth-addicted, inequality-producing economy that is being accelerated by conservative economic theory will collapse under the weight of its own internal illogic. And if you can follow that last sentence, you definitely earned your PhD.

  • Lagomorph Salt Lake City, UT
    May 27, 2014 1:23 p.m.

    It is not often that an op-ed contributor participates in the comment thread as Dr. Bickmore is doing, but I appreciate his input and responses to the critics. I hope the DesNews chooses to suspend the four comment limit in his case. It is fair that an author have the opportunity to address the issues raised here by multiple parties.

    procuradorfiscal: "...as any ACTUAL scientist can tell you..." [emphasis added]

    I would love to compare Dr. Bickmore's curriculum vitae of with those of any of his critics here (Sensible Scientist and procuradorfiscal included). The Tooele sage is fond of dismissing any opinion not congruent with his own as the product of someone who is not a "real" person (or Utahn or conservative or scientist, as the case may be). No True Scotsman Fallacy, anyone?

  • RedShirtCalTech Pasedena, CA
    May 27, 2014 1:19 p.m.

    To "Screwdriver" actually scientists don't understand the earth's atmosphere very well. Recent headlines have shown us how little scientists understand. We have learned over the past 7 years that the climate scientists had the effects of clouds wrong. They don't know where the CO2 all goes. Only recently are climate scientists paying closer attention to the sun and solar energy output. It was only recently realized that soot has caused some glaciers and ice fields to melt more rapidly than expected.

    There is a lot that scientists have yet to figure out. Right now they can't explain why we haven't had warming in over 16 years despite their models saying we should be warming.

    To "Blue" actually, there are period in history where the earth's climate has warmed more rapidly than today. Plus, there are periods of thousands of years where the earth's temperature was warmer than today. What should be asked is why do we use the end of an ice age as a baseline? Shouldn't we be using a 1000 year average, or something to account for relatively short periods of warm and cold?

  • Spangs Salt Lake City, UT
    May 27, 2014 1:09 p.m.

    Well said, Dr. Bickmore. A conservationist is the truest of conservatives. This conservative narrative needs to fight for its rightful place in the Republican party.

  • RedWings CLEARFIELD, UT
    May 27, 2014 11:34 a.m.

    Tyler D -

    I can't speak for all religious people, but I find much in my religion (LDS) about taking care of the Earth that God gave us. I know many who agree. While I may lean conservative in most societal issues, I also strongly believe that man was given stewardship over God's creation in the Garden of Eden.

    I would bet that God is not happey with what we are doing with His creation.

    Those arguing against action on global warming are doing so out of an ecomonic rationale, not a religious one. They don't want to cut into their profits to "conserve". True, most fiscal conservatives are also social conservatives (and religious).

    One of the problems in public debate today is the ease with which people are stereotyped and categorized. It is easy to do, and all sides do it. However, it blocks debate and compromise; two tools that we need desperately now.

  • Don Bugg Prince Frederick, MD
    May 27, 2014 10:33 a.m.

    The idea that since we can't be 100% certain about climate change, we should do nothing, is similar to saying that if we're not 100% certain that a gun is loaded, we should go ahead and let children play with it.

  • Pops NORTH SALT LAKE, UT
    May 25, 2014 9:29 p.m.

    I'm surprised Dr. Bickmore isn't better informed about the state of climate science. There are some of us who pay attention to the work of Roy Spencer, Richard Lindzen, Judith Curry, Roger Pielke Jr. and Sr., John Christy, Fred Singer, Steve McIntyre, Patrick Michaels, Lubos Motl, Jeff Condon, Christopher Monckton, and a host of others, not just the alarmists. There are several conclusions I have personally drawn from my observations:

    1. Atmospheric CO2 as a driver of temperature pales in comparison to a number of other factors - so much so that nobody has succeeded in extracting a CO2 signal from the temperature data despite decades of trying and billions of dollars spent on the effort.

    2. I do not trust anyone, scientist or otherwise, who claims "the debate is over" and "there is a consensus" when in fact there has never been a debate and there is no consensus, particularly so when they also have a history of hiding data and engaging in ad hominem attacks instead of debating the issue.

    3. Government funding of scientific research has resulted in corruption within the scientific community and misrepresentation of the true state of the science. The system is being gamed.

  • Roland Kayser Cottonwood Heights, UT
    May 25, 2014 8:59 p.m.

    Dr Bickmore, when asked about my politics I always say that I am an Eisenhower Republican, which means that I often come across as a liberal Democrat in the context of today's politics. It sounds like you may have the same problem.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    May 25, 2014 8:27 p.m.

    Dr. Bickmore,

    Thank you not only for your well-reasoned article but your follow up comments as well. If you have followed the comments here at DN under climate change articles, you are aware of the denier nonsense we are constantly forced to confront, which is a challenge 1) because most of us are not scientists and 2) we have day jobs (i.e., the opportunity costs of debunking every denier claim is high).

    So we appreciate knowledgeable voices like yours stepping up… we could use many more.
    I hope you are right about conservatives in general but you wouldn’t know it by listening to the voices that speak for them over the last few years (and that went crazy train off the rails immediately following the election of 2008).

    But I fear that until there are a series of issues that greatly discredit the wing nuts, Real Maverick may be right. The moneyed interests drown out voices like yours and the SC seems bent and letting them get even louder.

    Special thanks to DN for printing Dr. Bickmore’s article and keeping the market of ideas open…

  • Schnee Salt Lake City, UT
    May 25, 2014 8:15 p.m.

    @Sensible Scientist
    "Despite the slight increase in CO2 over the past decade and a half, global temperatures remain flat"

    We know natural forcings always exist. You say that temperatures are flat but we're in the weakest solar cycle in a century and most of the past half dozen years have been La Nina years. What if we had an equation that looked like:
    global temperature change = natural forcing + anthropogenic forcing.

    Then we start filling things in like flat temperatures so
    ~0 = nat + anthro.

    What if the natural forcing were negative due to things like that weak solar cycle we're in? To balance the equation you'd need positive anthropogenic warming to get to global temperatures being flat. Due to the fact that natural forcings always exist, that means it's not necessary that a pause in temperatures means that there's no anthropogenic warming component still at play.

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    May 25, 2014 8:07 p.m.

    Re: ". . . climatologists can do a reasonable job at reconstructing the reasons for the natural variations . . . ."

    Sorry, but, as any actual scientist can tell you, that's just not true.

    There are as many theories as climate "scientists," not just as to reasons for natural variations, but as to both their existence and extent. The most robust finding of all climatological research is that honest scientists can't tell us why variations occur. Only when.

    And that holds truer today than ever.

    It's a well documented fact that conservative surrender on a carbon tax would have absolutely no effect on the climate. But it quite clearly would destroy our economy and give unfair advantage to our competitors in China, Russia, and India.

  • The Real Maverick Orem, UT
    May 25, 2014 6:44 p.m.

    The Lord will hold each of us accountable on how we treat the earth. If we continue in our sin and continue to pollute, pillage, and destroy, I fear greatly that the punishments of The Lord will be upon us.

  • The Real Maverick Orem, UT
    May 25, 2014 6:17 p.m.

    Dr Bickmore, the GOP is a lost cause. Sorry, but it is completely in control of the Koch bros. It is beyond repair. If you don't feel like joining the Democrats then you should find another party because the GOP is just beyond repair.

    Unless you become a billionaire and outbid the Koch Bros in "free speech" there's no way you won't be attacked and ostracized by your GOP. You haven't left the party. The party has left you.

  • ordinaryfolks seattle, WA
    May 25, 2014 5:54 p.m.

    All conservatives or Republicans do not disbelieve that well documented climate change effects are going to change the world as we currently know it. However, we don't hear them speak up very often. It would seem they are cowed by their radical brother/sisters on the right. Or that they prefer political power today over their children's and grandchildren's inheritance.

    The global problem we have with resources and climate change will not go away. We get closer to those tipping points wherein the water is unfit to drink, oceanic pollution/warming ruins the fishing industry and the bad weather becomes increasingly catastrophic (among other things). These effects of our poor planning and coordination worldwide don't know political parties and dogma.

    I often wonder how these parents and grandparents live with themselves, knowing they have facilitated our global environmental decline. This is infinitely more important than your tax rate, same sex marriage or abortion.

  • Barry Bickmore Orem, UT
    May 25, 2014 5:53 p.m.

    "Sensible Scientist",

    The only world in which the climate changes over the last two millennia have been much larger than that in the past century is the fantasy world constructed by people who don't understand the meaning of "global reconstruction". And the only world in which global temperatures have been "flat," rather than "rising less quickly", is the fantasy world in which recent investigations of how temperature is reconstructed around the poles never happened. (See a recent paper by Cowtan and Way.)

    Beyond that, the problem with your reasoning is that climatologists can do a reasonable job at reconstructing the reasons for the natural variations--differences in solar output, volcanics, and greenhouse gases. And if they have a reasonable idea of how greenhouse gases naturally cause variations in temperature, they have a reasonable basis for projecting how anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions might affect the temperature. Greenhouse gases are greenhouse gases, no matter the origin. Summarily dismissing such projections until they come true is not very sound policy, and certainly couldn't be called "Conservative". "Insane" is more like it.

  • Strider303 Salt Lake City, UT
    May 25, 2014 4:57 p.m.

    I just do not see why the solution to everything is a tax.

    I recognize the need for government, but instead of a servant it had morphed into a dangerous master over all aspects of our lives. When others say government I picture the members of the House, Senate and Executive branch and don't see much intellect, character, or leadership.

    I see men and women who are motivated by political power and that spells money in any way, shape and form that will further their own, personal selfish interests.

    Sorry, I will not give willingly more money to the Feds than absolutely necessary because of graft, theft and mismanagement.

    Mankind's attempt(s) to control his environment can be a fool's errand. Check out the Corps of Engineers Mississippi flood controls and the results on the ecosystem.

    Everyone has his own personal set of facts to defend his point of view.

    I do accept that people are fearful, afraid. They have "lost heart" in life and fear the dark unknown. Their solution is to control as much of life, their own and others as possible without a clear vision or goal. Read it in a book somewhere.

  • LDS Tree-Hugger Farmington, UT
    May 25, 2014 4:31 p.m.

    I remember when "conservatives" denying the Scientific consensus - and prophesying of economic doomsdays -- with "Acid Rain", "Lead in Gasoline", "Mercury in Water", "Ozone depleting toxins" and "Tobacco doesn't cause cancer".

    Fear not,
    They'll be swept aside with this soon as well...

  • Barry Bickmore Orem, UT
    May 25, 2014 4:14 p.m.

    micawber,

    Here is the data you desire. The problem is that as climate-related risks have risen, so have populations and assets in disaster-prone areas, so some of the rising disaster costs are just due to the fact that there is more costly stuff to destroy. However, we have also gotten better at building things to withstand disasters, so that would tend to lower disaster costs. Munich Re (the re-insurance giant) released a study of disaster costs over time, and showed that non-climate-related disaster costs (e.g., from earthquakes) were going up at a much slower rate than climate-related disaster costs (e.g., floods and hurricanes). A friend of mine wrote a nice article about this recently. I don't think the DN lets us post links in the comments, but if you Google "dana nuccitelli guardian roger pielke" it should be the first hit.

  • Barry Bickmore Orem, UT
    May 25, 2014 3:58 p.m.

    It's interesting how many of the comments here either 1) dismiss all conservatives as greedy jerks whose ONLY goal is to protect the wealthy, or 2) promote right-wing conspiracy theories and debunked pseudo-science that could easily be looked up on the Internet. Look, the world isn't that simple.

    To my liberal friends: Do you really want to help drive people like me out of the Republican Party? Is that really a healthy situation for the country? Or would you rather have people like me stick around and try to drive the extremists back into the attic? Broad-brush dismissals of all conservatives as greedy jerks who hate the poor just make you look like the right-wing extremists you despise. That is, it makes you look like you haven't bothered to get to know many conservatives, and you are incapable of nuanced thinking.

    To my Republican friends: Objections like, "climate changes naturally all the time" are just absurd. Do some homework, and stop listening to anti-intellectual blowhards like Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck. My impression is that those guys talk so much every day that they couldn't possibly have time to study any issue carefully.

  • Sensible Scientist Rexburg, ID
    May 25, 2014 3:46 p.m.

    Dr. Bickmore, what warming? What climate change?

    The real evidence is on the skeptic's side. The climate models on which doomsday predictions are based have been wrong so far. Despite the slight increase in CO2 over the past decade and a half, global temperatures remain flat and climate remains in its historic bounds. So far, the skeptics are right!

    The climate changes humans have adapted to in the past two millennia have been much bigger than what's happening now (which is nothing). Roman warm period, little ice age, and now recovery -- we've adapted. So the conservative's assertion you scoffed at is exactly right.

    The IPCC isn't exactly an unbiased or supremely credible scientific source. You may as well cite Putin about international relations. Where money and power are at stake, corruption is inevitable, and the proposals coming out from the IPCC and cohorts are all about consolidation of power and money. And that's why so many conservatives with noses keen to political shinanigans are skeptical about global warming. And scientists who can cut through the fog of peer pressure are, too.

  • micawber Centerville, UT
    May 25, 2014 2:37 p.m.

    Schnee,

    I didn't mean to attribute all costs to climate change. I know of no more refined data on this point. But, as the real costs have doubled over time, I think its fair to say that some of it is climate change related.

  • Schnee Salt Lake City, UT
    May 25, 2014 2:23 p.m.

    @Blue
    "natural climate changes occur at rates hundreds or thousands of times more slowly than the climate change we're now causing by pumping CO2 into the air."

    Technically there are some exceptions with extreme shifts in shorter periods like a shutdown of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (also referred to as the thermohaline circulation, see: Younger Dryas for an example of that kind of rapid change). So the current rate of change is more like "very rare" rather than unprecedented.

    "From where do you get the projection that "global temperatures will continue to decline for another two decades or more?""

    He might've read something on the Atlantic Multi-Decadal Oscillation (AMO),something that is due to be in a cool phase soon. It's a natural forcing that has cycled in the past half century of temperature records so it's not going to throw anyone off guard who studies climate.

    @micawbar
    "weather- and climate- related insurance losses are about $50 billion a year now. "

    Care is needed in separating the climate change component in that (like the extra storm surge from higher sea level) rather than attributing it all to it.

  • GaryO Virginia Beach, VA
    May 25, 2014 1:16 p.m.

    OK, real conservatives are definitely better than "Conservatives," but they're still predisposed to protect the rich and powerful at the expense of everyone else.

    "Some real conservatives . . . have proposed excellent, minimally invasive strategies for dealing with climate change, such as a revenue-neutral carbon tax . . . "

    FORGET the carbon tax, and just double the tax rate for higher earners. "Minimally invasive" is still invasive.

    If we doubled the tax rate for the highest earners, it would be 70% . . . still short of the 77% in 1969 when we went to the moon, fought the Viet Nam war, fought the cold war, and STILL balanced the budget because we had adequate revenue.

    A carbon tax would hurt the middle class, and the middle class has already been harmed enough by 30 years of Reaganomics.

    Al Gore wants a carbon tax too, and the reason is to make fossil fuels prohibitively expensive and thereby induce private industry to look for affordable green energy alternatives.

    We have an unnecessary middle step there. We should instead approach it like we approached the space race. Just raise taxes for high earners, and let the government outsource development to private industry, while coordinating and overseeing the process.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    May 25, 2014 1:16 p.m.

    One fact that is hard to miss in the climate change “debate” is the psychology of those on either side.

    On the one side you have people who are relatively free of bias (or can at least put their biases aside to a healthy degree) who look at the science, connect the dots – pump a lot of greenhouse gas into a closed system and the planet warms up… makes sense – and generally recognize how difficult it is in our modern age to sustain a scientific consensus approaching anywhere near 90%, especially in the face of so much moneyed interest trying to disprove it, not to mention the constant challenges from newly minted PhD’s looking to make a name for themselves by disproving the consensus view.

    On the other side – the cynical moneyed interests aside – are people for whom the implications of human caused climate change run head long into a preconceived and often cherished worldview (usually religious). For some, the cognitive dissonance is simply too much to handle and given the value many people place on religious beliefs, the science loses (i.e., is abandoned).

  • micawber Centerville, UT
    May 25, 2014 1:00 p.m.

    @Mountanman

    I believe the BYU professor knows more about climate science than you do. I'm pretty sure he's familiar with whatever science you believe shows global cooling, yet he and most other climate scientists are extremely confident that human activity is causing climate change.

    How is it that there is climate change money to be made at the expense of the poor? According to Lawrence-Berkeley Labs study in 2012, weather- and climate- related insurance losses are about $50 billion a year now. That's why the insurance industry funds climate change research. These are not academics using government funding, they are business people.

    That $50 billion in losses per year is not being absorbed by the insurance industry; it's being passed on to people who buy insurance or rent houses that are insured or buy products from companies that are insured. It seems to me that the costs to the poor of climate change may well be higher than the costs of a revenue-neutral carbon tax.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    May 25, 2014 12:47 p.m.

    By acknowledging Global Warming,
    Prof. Bickmore can't be a REAL conservative,
    or a TRUE patriot...that how the puritan Tea-Publicans operate.

  • Blue Salt Lake City, UT
    May 25, 2014 11:19 a.m.

    Mountanman - natural climate changes occur at rates hundreds or thousands of times more slowly than the climate change we're now causing by pumping CO2 into the air.

    If you look at the air/land/ocean temperature graphs for the past hundred years you'll see that in fact temperatures have been rising, and accelerating.

    From where do you get the projection that "global temperatures will continue to decline for another two decades or more?"

    And in terms of "climate change money," dealing with droughts, floods, storms, and habitat loss is infinitely more expensive than the relatively simple steps that we should be taking to wean our economy from fossil fuels.

    The real "money to be made" is by fossil fuel interests who are employing the exact-same tactics, and hiring the exact-same PR firms, that the tobacco industry did to keep us from enacting public policies about tobacco for decades after the science was conclusive that tobacco was bad for you.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    May 25, 2014 10:27 a.m.

    Dear Prof. Bickmore,

    Thanks for your well reasoned and sensible article.

    However,
    by doing so you are outing yourself,
    and have declaring yourself one click (Left - because it's about preserving our environment, you are now out of step with the self-called "REAL" conservatives.

    The puritan Tea-Publicans will hence forth label you as a RINO,
    and will chase you out of their party.
    There is NO room for anyone interested in the environment in the Tea-Publican party.

    Let them go,
    Let them have their way.

    Welcome to the REAL world Prof. Bickmore - Independent and Unaffiliated.

  • Screwdriver Casa Grande, AZ
    May 25, 2014 10:24 a.m.

    Scientists understand the Earth's climate pretty well Mountainman. There is air trapped in ice cores that date back millions years.

    But, conspiracy believers won't believe it anyway or listen to anything that disagrees with their positions.

    If even 50% of climatologists came around and said global warming is not caused by mankind I would accept the science and unsettled. It may be unfinished but it's been conclusive for a long time. We are changing the weather.

    The geology of the moon is unfinished for example, but we're sure it's not made of cheese.

  • Schnee Salt Lake City, UT
    May 25, 2014 10:16 a.m.

    @Mountanman
    "We also know that the climate is still changing and that is because natural climate cycles have already turned from warming to cooling regardless of what the cooling deniers claim"

    There is no cooling. We just had the warmest decade on record (and tied the warmest April on record globally). The most you can say is that there's a pause (I'm sure if you cherrypick a particular number of years you can find a statistically insignificant downward slope). You're right to note that natural cycles are in a cooling mode (like the weakest solar cycle in a century and our string of La Nina years outnumbering El Nino ones 4 to 1 over the past half dozen years), but... why have we only paused then? Perhaps there's a positive forcing balancing the negative natural forcing over the past dozen years.

  • Anti Bush-Obama Chihuahua, 00
    May 25, 2014 10:13 a.m.

    Screwdriver.

    Yeah those Koch Brothers who donated to Bill Clinton's campaign. These guy are beans compared to The Fords, Rockefellers and Rothschilds. But since they own the mass media, of course they arent going to talk about them at all.

  • Roland Kayser Cottonwood Heights, UT
    May 25, 2014 8:30 a.m.

    Great piece, thanks for printing it. I'm going to start calling myself a genocidal luddite hippy from now on.

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    May 25, 2014 8:16 a.m.

    Interesting article. What caused the ice age? What caused the ice age to end? There are some theories but no one knows, not even scientists. What we do know is the climate always changes and we know that man's use of coal or any other fossil fuel did not cause the ice age or the end of the ice age. We also know that the climate is still changing and that is because natural climate cycles have already turned from warming to cooling regardless of what the cooling deniers claim. Global temperatures have already been declining for more than 10 years, and global temperatures will continue to decline for another two decades or more. Then another cycle will cause change again, as it always does! In the meantime there is climate change money to be made at the expense of the poor of the earth, as always!

  • E Sam Provo, UT
    May 25, 2014 8:07 a.m.

    Excellent and well reasoned.

  • Screwdriver Casa Grande, AZ
    May 25, 2014 7:46 a.m.

    I remember when conservatives believed we had some responsibility to the environment. It was just before the Koch brothers started pouring money into elections.

  • LOU Montana Pueblo, CO
    May 25, 2014 7:09 a.m.

    Barry, all we have to do is look at West Virginia as an example of environmental responsibility.
    Their open hatred for environmental regulations, federal government or any form of government involvement in their state is well known. Then when they have a huge environmental disaster who do they come crying too? The Federal Government that they hate!

    Conservatives have one objective and it is greed. They care nothing for their fellow man, community or environment. Everything they do is about their own personal gains.

  • Baron Scarpia Logan, UT
    May 25, 2014 6:49 a.m.

    "Real conservatives value evidence"

    My sense is that this title is incorrect.

    How I see it, real conservatives value their pre-existing beliefs in specific wishful ideology of "free markets" and that "it is arrogant to believe that man can change the planet." These are just a couple of common themes I see coming from conservatives rejecting the science of climate change. In short, the threat of climate change and the implications for addressing it don't fit their values and how they view the world.

    Acknowledging climate change means that humanity must work collectively to address it -- but collective action conflicts with conservatives' values of "individualism" and "freedom" from government. Thus, accepting climate change as real flies in the face of what is near and dear to their hearts. In sum, reality doesn't fit their beliefs about how the world SHOULD be, if their ideology is valid.

    There are three key values that are central to conservatives: Economy, freedom, and family. Until climate "alarmists" tie the issue to these three values -- noting how climate change IS already impacting the economy, hurting people's freedom, and a THREAT to family, we'll continue to see conservatives deny the evidence.