Is science being misused for social policy?

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  • BEMIDA Provo, UT
    June 5, 2014 8:17 a.m.

    Nothing in climate change science says that the solutions have to be a government takeover of people's lives. We need entrepreneurs and people with business experience to help find solutions. The climate change "deniers" are only making things worse by influencing us to postpone implementing market-type solutions now that likely will prevent trouble in the future. But, if we don't act now, disasters may result where the only solutions are government control.

    If my house were burning down, I would still appreciate my neighbor telling me so--even if he or she disgusted me. To those who are dissing the warnings from climate scientists, please don't let your dislike of Al Gore poison your response!

    Thank you Deseret News for publishing this thoughtful editorial.

  • Redshirt1701 Deep Space 9, Ut
    June 4, 2014 1:28 p.m.

    To "Schnee" I read the report, and it raises more questions than it answers. First of all, they never link CO2 to global warming, nor do they actually show that their models meet the 95% confidence interval. Plus, the IPCC is not a journal, but is a compilation of journal articles.

    One thing struck me as I was reading, which further leads me to believe that they are going the wrong direction. They state that Antarctica is not warming, and that the warming is concentrated in the lower climates. The interesting thing is that what they describe is almost identical to what scientists say would happen if water vapor was increased in the atmosphere. See "Water vapor a 'major cause of global warming and cooling'" in the Daily Mail.

    As for food production, why can't food be shipped from one area to another? I buy grapes and strawberries from Chile. There are quite a few journal articles stating that a warmer Earth with more CO2 means greater crop yields around the globe.

    You still fail to answer the question. Since the models are wrong (per NOAA criteria), why trust them, even on the low end?

  • skrekk Dane, WI
    June 3, 2014 8:36 p.m.

    The problem with "science" and "facts" is that they undermine my religious beliefs.

  • Schnee Salt Lake City, UT
    June 3, 2014 12:08 p.m.

    You're just spouting the corporate funded lingo, just like the smoking advocates before.

    "Tell us what study out there that claims that CO2 is the driver for climate change meets the 95% confidence interval standard that the hard sciences require before publishing."

    There's charts that have 95% confidence intervals on the range of warming that comes with CO2 increases. (IPCC AR4 WGI, Chapter 10.8).

    "Do you want people to starve?"

    Gaining farmland in Canada doesn't do much for the people in the Sahel that'll lose farmland due to expanded deserts or in Bangladesh because rising seas took over their rice growing areas.

    "why do you believe the conclusions based on those models? "

    If the model doesn't include solar cycles and we just had the weakest solar cycle in a century, well the result is rather intuitive, wouldn't you say? Despite that, we only had a pause. Personally, I tend towards the lower side of the 1.5-4C model range for century warming based on my assessment of the situation. I try and keep things in proper context, not like some who would distort and ignore details.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    June 3, 2014 11:20 a.m.

    To "Schnee" you are falling for the Lysenkoism that pervaids the climate change studies.

    Tell us what study out there that claims that CO2 is the driver for climate change meets the 95% confidence interval standard that the hard sciences require before publishing.

    Yes, I want the warming. According to NASA the warmer the Earth gets, the more farmland will be opened. The more farm land is open, the more people can be fed. Do you want people to starve?

    If you like being correct, then why do you support the Climate Change Alarmists? Even the NOAA has said that if we have 15 years without statistically significant warming that would indicate that the models are all wrong. We are now going on 17 years with no warming. If the models are wrong, why do you believe the conclusions based on those models? Are you smarter than the scientists at the NOAA?

  • Schnee Salt Lake City, UT
    June 3, 2014 11:00 a.m.

    "claim that smoking was ok."

    Big business buying politicians.

    "You don't sound like you have much of a scientific background."

    I regularly use terms like Milankovitch cycles, Younger Dryas, and Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation in my comments. I corrected your error about the percentage of the greenhouse effect caused by CO2 and your misinterpretation of the role of humans in CO2 levels. I understand what 95% confidence intervals are, I just couldn't figure out what you were asking for because your sentence was...

    "If their science is so great, find me the study that hasn't been disproven that has a model that meets the 95% Confidence Interval."

    so my confusion was merely over whether you wanted one for warming, sea ice, greenhouse gas effect, or some other thing. You weren't specific.

    "If you assume that all scientists have some integrity, you are wrong."

    I assume that enough of them have enough integrity that a giant global conspiracy hoax would not be able to be sustained. I have two degrees in meteorology. If it's all a hoax, I'd show the correct information; after all, I like being correct.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    June 2, 2014 9:17 a.m.


    Great. Please report the tax breaks (which means someone else pays the freight) for Exxon, Conoco, Chevron, etc. Also, please consider their combined income and assets vs. about everything else in the renewable energy side. Also, consider the large oil companies outside of the US (Gazprom, Aramco, Shell, BP, etc.) Then please explain why the combined financial interests of these companies cannot fight the huge (and evil) renewable energy companies.

  • mark Salt Lake City, UT
    June 2, 2014 8:25 a.m.

    1 billion per day in research funding!? Wait! What!? And the scientists put this in their pockets!? The scandal!

    But of course, a conservative is claiming this, so it's highly questionable.

    Wait. It's not true? Nope.

    What the conservative is referring to is a study called: The Global Landscape of Climate Finance 2013, put out by the Climate Policy Initiative. What the study shows is that approximately 1 billion dollars (359 billion a year) is being spent world wide on climate change mitigation. This includes things like money spent on producing and installing renewable energy sources. The money is both public and private.

    359 billion per year world wide for climate change mitigation. In a 72 TRILLION dollar global GDP.

    Someone want to figure out that percentage? Pops?

    Steve McIntyre is the guy behind the Climate Audit blog. Right?

    He also was the president of mining company Dumont Nickle, and president of Northwest Exploration Company. He's a strategic advisor for CGX Energy, Inc, a oil and gas exploration company.

    No money from "big oil"? Please. They only pay his wage.

  • Redshirt1701 Deep Space 9, Ut
    June 2, 2014 8:24 a.m.

    To "Schnee" you realize that it was the politicians buying off scientists so that they could claim that smoking was ok. At that time it was politics using scientists to support their end goals.

    You don't sound like you have much of a scientific background. If you look up what a 95% confidence interval is, you find that it is the standard for the hard sciences for publication.

    You are wrong about scientists getting rich by using global warming. The scientists know what if they are able to attach Global Warming to their study that they can get government funding. If they told the government that Global Warming is natural, that would end their funding.

    If you assume that all scientists have some integrity, you are wrong. Some do, but some do not. You don't seem to have followed the reports over the past several years where we found that the lead climate scientists have been investigated for falsifying data, for lying, and have avoided allowing outside sources to see the equations used in their models. The leading climate scientists act like criminals hiding criminal evidence.

  • Screwdriver Casa Grande, AZ
    June 2, 2014 3:40 a.m.

    Republicans used to be on board with the science, they even proposed carbon credits as a way to reduce emissions.

    They believed all this just before the Koch brothers poured billions into republican campaigns.

  • Sven Morgan, UT
    June 1, 2014 3:06 p.m.

    UtahBlueDevil said:

    "Sven - What is your point in listing off companies like SunPower, FirstSolar... and the like...I am not clear what your point is in listing these. If you are trying to prove that clean energy is failing... your swinging wide by a mile."


    From the article:

    "...moneyed interests have hired their own spokesmen to refute it and cloud the issue."

    We all know who she's talking about when she uses the term "moneyed interests"...right? She's of course talking about "Evil Big Oil." Since Ms. Barker failed to show the liberal hypocrisy concerning "moneyed interests" of the Left, I thought I'd help her out.

    Here is a partial list of "Green Companies" that received tax-payer money from the Federal Government to the tune of 3 billion dollars, who are now bankrupt, shut down, or have been sold:

    * Solyndra: $570.4 million
    * Abound Solar: $494.3 million
    * A123 Systems: $390.1 million
    * Babcock & Brown: $178 million
    * Azure Dynamics: $119.1 million
    * Range Fuels: $162.3 million
    * ECOtality Inc.: $135 million
    * EnerDel, subsidiary of Ener1: $182.8 million

    Got lots more!

    Hypocrisy and Crony Capitalism brought to you by the Democrat Party and Obama.

    May 31, 2014 5:59 p.m.

    Well-stated, Nate. All Mary Barker has done is repeat the orthodoxy we read every day in the popular press.

    To the question, "What do these scientists gain?" the correct answer is "$1 Billion per day in research funding." Does Mary Barker think that Steve McIntyre has received even one cent of "Big Oil Money""? Does she even know who Steve McIntyre is?

    How do they communicate? It starts with emails and private conversations. Once a critical mass is achieved, however, none of that is necessary. Any researcher smart enough to study the climate is also smart enough to read the tea leaves: if you want a job, you won't rock the boat.

    How do they keep anyone from breaking ranks? See the above. Boat-rocking typically occur after retirement, as in the recent case of Lennart Bengtsson. Judith Curry is a notable exception.

    How do they manipulate their studies? This can't be a serious question. I'll just mention "censored_data".

    Why would they corrupt the enterprise? See first question.

    There is still no correlation between temperature and atmospheric CO2 in the data. That is the science.

  • ordinaryfolks seattle, WA
    May 31, 2014 4:24 p.m.

    Rather than casting aspersions on those who wisely see that our planet is rapidly exhausting its capacity to provide us with a satisfactory environment, why don't we look into the motivations of those who deny that the Earth is going through a profound climate change (because of wasteful use of the natural resources).

    Who benefits from the status quo? What is their motivation? Answer those questions, please climate science deniers. You have an obligation to provide us with reasons not to react to environmental degradation.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    May 31, 2014 1:46 p.m.

    Sven - What is your point in listing off companies like SunPower, FirstSolar... and the like. Other than the much over publicized, the others are all still very much in operation, and even a few of them doing well. Nevada Geothermal did post a loss last year, but was only 1.7 million and much of that of depreciated asset valuations. They were cash positive.

    So I am not clear what your point is in listing these. If you are trying to prove that clean energy is failing... your swinging wide by a mile.

    From Bloomberg News Services dated May 16, 2014 we read

    "China, the world’s biggest carbon emitter, plans to speed up solar power development, targeting a more than tripling of installed capacity to 70 gigawatts by 2017 to cut its reliance on coal.

    The goal would be double a previous target set for 2015, according to a statement posted today on the National Development and Reform Commission’s website. China also plans to have 150 gigawatts of installed wind power capacity by 2017, 11 gigawatts of biomass power and 330 gigawatts of hydro power."

    The US is being a laggard and falling further behind.

  • Nate Pleasant Grove, UT
    May 31, 2014 10:47 a.m.

    @Mary Barker "But deniers are mostly non-scientists."

    I'll bet that's true. I would also bet that alarmists are mostly non-scientists. The general populace are mostly non-scientists.

    "What do these scientists have to gain by fooling us? How do they communicate their intentions to one another in order to present a united front and keep anyone from breaking ranks? How do they sustain the effort and why have there been no leaks? How do they manipulate their studies, which are all public? And why would they corrupt an enterprise they’ve given their lives to and risk de-legitimizing it in this way?"

    If you were paying attention at all to the leaked ClimateGate and ClimateGate II emails, you would know the answers to these questions. Do some outside reading. You won't find very many excerpts on left-wing blogs. Pay special attention to their manipulation of the peer review process. Also look at the pressure the IPCC puts on scientific journals not to publish studies that disagree with their conclusions. These are not dispassionate observers. They are driven by a political agenda.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    May 31, 2014 5:59 a.m.

    I love the argument that this is poor capitalist defending themselves against the monied scientific community. If you honestly look at how has the greatest financial stakes in a particular view point, it is hard to come to the conclusion that scientist stand to gain the most from this argument.

    I get it. Businesses like stable working environments. Railroads tried to slow down airplanes by pressing for a regulated air transport. Once railroads were no longer competing, regulation of the airlines disappeared. Likewise as the report stated for decades we were told we needed lead in gas to have the engines be efficient. Flash forward and we now have car engines half the size that produce twice the horsepower per CI displacement, and are worlds more efficient. The automotive industry has complained at each and every round of change, and yet has been able to respond with technology more capable of that which it replaced.

    Change cost business money. Smart companies see change as the catalyst to reshuffling the deck and gaining competitive advantage. Those that resist change are those that can't and deserve to be replaced.

  • Sven Morgan, UT
    May 30, 2014 10:26 p.m.

    Ms. Barker, you are living proof that the myth of anthropological global warming (AGW) is indeed a political issue, and not one based in science. I guess you fail to see the irony of a political science teacher trying to push the specious science of AGW.

    Ms. Barker said:

    “But deniers are mostly non-scientists.”

    Please provide proof for this assertion? I can provide a long list of actual scientists who believe that there is no evidence of AGW. While you’re at it, why don’t you educate all of us on where Al Gore received his advanced science degree from? Maybe you can also tell us how much money he makes off of the carbon credit scheme?

    Ms. Barker said:

    “What do these scientists have to gain by fooling us?”

    Why don’t you ask the “scientists” at the University of East Anglia in Great Britain, and Professor Michael Mann at the University of Pennsylvania, what they had to gain by cooking their data in attempting to show that AGW was occurring, when it wasn’t?

    Ms. Barker...ever hear of these companies?:

    Beacon Power
    AES’ subsidiary Eastern Energy
    Nevada Geothermal
    First Solar

  • GaryO Virginia Beach, VA
    May 30, 2014 9:37 p.m.

    Hey Joe Capitalist -

    Employees only pay 6.2% of their earnings toward Social Security. Where did you come up with the 15 percent?

    If you recall correctly, GW Bush suggested that Americans should go it alone, and just invest their retirement savings into the stock market. He said that in 2003. By the time he left office in 2009, the stock market had tanked. It’s a good thing the American people and Congress refused to do his bidding, isn’t it?

    Private businesses don’t have to keep their promises. They can go bankrupt at any time. The US government, on the other hand issues securities, (our debt) regarded as the very SAFEST investment in the world. That’s why we can borrow so much and pay such little interest to our bondholders (the people who hold our debt).

    If you think that a privately run enterprise could be anywhere as trustworthy as the US government is when it comes time to actually paying a retirement pension, you’re wrong.

  • LDS Tree-Hugger Farmington, UT
    May 30, 2014 6:11 p.m.

    Nothing SHOULD be more revealing as to "who-pays-off-who" than when BP Deep-water Horizon oil rig causes the worst oil spill ever in the Gulf of Mexico --

    than watching Texas Congressman Joe Barton (R) grobbling and apologizing profusely for the "mean" and "terrible" things being said by the American people about BP, and the President asking BP to set aside $20 Billion for clean-up and restitution,
    and having CEO of BP Tony Hayward pledge to take care of all the "little people"...

  • Schnee Salt Lake City, UT
    May 30, 2014 4:51 p.m.

    "Prior to the 1950's, the government thought that smoking was just fine. In fact, many politicians actually endorsed smoking cigaretts."

    Which is why we should look at science experts rather than politicians who can be bought off by political donors.

    "If their science is so great, find me the study that hasn't been disproven that has a model that meets the 95% Confidence Interval."

    The study that hasn't been disproven that has a model... you're going to have to be way more specific than that.

    Oh, and... if there were a giant hoax, the fastest way for a scientist to get rich would be to expose it. The Limbaugh/Hannity endorsed book sales and big oil research funding would be through the roof AND you get to be the one in the science textbooks who was correct. Even ignoring all that the conspiracy would fall apart quickly because most scientists have a certain sense of basic dignity where they'd refuse to parrot things they know are false.

  • JoeCapitalist2 Orem, UT
    May 30, 2014 3:56 p.m.

    GaryO: "Would the private sector provide retirement benefits to all of America’s workers?"

    You bet it would! If a company could force every working American to pay them 15% of their gross wages in exchange for a promise to pay it back many years in the future for a mere pitance in real earnings on those savings, it would do it in a heartbeat. Add on to that the ability to not have to pay it back at all if the contributor dies before retirement age and the ability to spend the money in the "trust fund" on other things in the meantime and just put an I.O.U. in their place, then what company wouldn't want to do that?

    Or were you just posing a trick question?

  • Noodlekaboodle Poplar Grove, UT
    May 30, 2014 3:16 p.m.

    The top 5 countries in order of CO2 emmisions are
    3.European Union
    Consider the fact that the United States is 4th out of 5th in terms of overall population(russia has about half as many people, the EU has 200 million more, and China and India dwarf our population) I wouldn't call our carbon footprint "miniscule" we are one of biggest contributors to this problem.

  • GaryO Virginia Beach, VA
    May 30, 2014 3:05 p.m.

    “Tell us, what does the government do that isn't by force?”

    Provides roads, services, water purification plants, national parks, airports, research and development, facilitates transportation, communication, rural electrification, etc. etc.,

    Do you actually think you could fly to Hawaii without the FCC and the FAA and past government subsidies to launch the airlines?

    “What do they do that is as efficient as the private sector?”

    EVERYTHING mentioned above. Do you think the private sector would have invested billions to build an interstate highway system without the intercession of government?

    Would the private sector provide retirement benefits to all of America’s workers?

    Would the private sector have electrified Rural America? . . . Or built damns and other necessary infrastructure, or paid money to retired military for doing nothing?

    Not unless, there was IMMEDIATE money to be made.

    Get real.

    The Constitution is the design for this nation’s government. It’s too bad that a growing number of American have such disrespect for the Constitution and the government it provides for us . . . not to mention the disrespect they have for basic common sense.

    To be anti-government is to be anti-American.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    May 30, 2014 2:38 p.m.

    To "airnaut" if conservatives are so "anti-science" then explain how it was that a Yale Professor was shocked to learn that the group that understood science the best was the Tea Party supporters. Isn't the Tea Party a conservative group? How can the group that understands science the best be against it? That doesn't make sense. It is like saying the Bunny Ranch is the best source of information on abstinance.

    As for the Ozone, that wasn't a politicized issue, and Tobacco wasn't a political issue either.

    If you want to follow the money, lets do that. The leading climate scientists are government funded. Those governments are also looking for ways to control industry through regulation and taxes. They have run out of traditional ways to control and tax, so they had to find a new one that would be socially acceptable. Alarmists like Al Gore have provided a scape goat. Now the governments can tax and regulate businesses, and Al Gore will make Billions through his carbon trading company.

  • Blue Salt Lake City, UT
    May 30, 2014 2:34 p.m.

    happy2bhere: "Blue - I will stand by you if you agree that we should be using nuclear power to generate all electricity."

    ALL electricity? Of course not. _Some_ electricity? Maybe. Nuclear power has great potential, but struggles with serious issues of radioactive waste, security, endlessly problematic economics, and the fact that the grounds of a decommissioned nuclear plant can't be used for anything else for centuries.

  • airnaut Everett, 00
    May 30, 2014 2:10 p.m.

    Why is it everytime there is a "controvery" of this type --

    Conservatives blame Government of developing some sort conspiracy with ALL Scientists,
    while -
    Liberals will blame BIG Business with some sort of conspiracy with a few, selcet handful of "Scientists",

    and in the end --
    Liberals have been historically CORRECT?!

    Climate Change,
    and as this article so clearly shows and includes -- LEAD.

    Is it any wonder then, that Conservatives are so Anti-Science.
    Scienece keeps proving them wrong, over and over again...

    FYI -- old cliche; Follow the Money...
    works every time...

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    May 30, 2014 2:03 p.m.

    To "Kent C. DeForrest" what good science is there supporting manmade global warming?

    The hard core sciences (physics, chemistry, engineering, biology, etc...) typically require a 95% Confidence Interval before a study or model is considered accurate by the science journals. In the climate science journals that requirement has been relaxed to 90%. While a 5% difference doesn't seem bad, that huge since it is the difference between being very accurate to being somewhere within the neighborhood.

    If their science is so great, find me the study that hasn't been disproven that has a model that meets the 95% Confidence Interval.

    Tell us, what does the government do that isn't by force? What do they do that is as efficient as the private sector?

    It isn't government that is the enemy. It is the power seeking people in government that are the enemy.

  • Kent C. DeForrest Provo, UT
    May 30, 2014 1:47 p.m.

    2 bits,

    Why do you assume that everything government does is by force? This seems to be a typical talking point among conservatives. But this is nonsense. We elect representatives to government. They appoint others to work in various agencies. Those agencies, with oversight from our elected representatives, work to solve the various problems we face. Yes, this is how it ideally should work, and sometimes it doesn't work very efficiently, but to misconstrue all government action as force is simply unproductive alarmism that keeps the Rushes and Glenns of the conservative echo chamber employed.

    Is it now a requirement for all conservatives to view government as the enemy? If so, why do so many of them want to take over the whole operation? Just so they can let Grover and his friends drown it in a bathtub? A lot of good this philosophy will do.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    May 30, 2014 1:39 p.m.

    @gmlewis – “Climate change is good science. Carbon taxes are bad government.”

    At least this can start a conversation… something that is impossible with science deniers.

    So propose a solution. Cap & Trade worked well for the acid rain problem, but it would likely be unwieldy on carbon since it’s not just an industry problem but a consumer problem.

    What about a revenue neutral carbon tax, which was endorsed in a WSJ op ed?

    @Sensible Scientist – “the motive of the climate alarmists as a movement is to centralize power and money to their own class and in the process destroy capitalism and American-style liberty.”

    I’ve heard this asserted many times by those on the Right, but what is evidence for this? And even if some far-lefties want this, how can it possibly happen given their minority?

    The better question – which your moniker should answer without saying – is, why would a few far-lefties scare half the country into a Limbaugh-like burial of your collective heads in the sand?

    Is becoming more and more identified as the anti-intellectual, anti-science party really the best way to go in the long run?

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    May 30, 2014 1:38 p.m.

    If only Mary's bias wasn't so strong, and if only she knew something of history.

    Prior to the 1950's, the government thought that smoking was just fine. In fact, many politicians actually endorsed smoking cigaretts. They claimed that it helped calm coughs, and had other "healthy" benefits.

    In the 1920's the government told us that eugenics was good. We found out that it really wasn't.

    The point is that just because the government says it is good doesn't mean that it really is. Look up some articles about Lysenkoism and how German and Russian government scientists taught false scientific facts, and got a lot of other scientists believing them.

  • Kent C. DeForrest Provo, UT
    May 30, 2014 1:34 p.m.


    Bloodletting? Really? That's the best comparison you can come up with. I'm not sure bloodletting was much of a science to begin with, not as we define science today. And anyway, you were off by at least 70 years. The old heroic medicine was being replaced by Thomsonian medicine (herbs and such) by the 1840s, because people started figuring out that bloodletting and administering calomel were barbaric.

    Yes, current science will be refined and revised over time, but I doubt that you'll ever see human-caused global warming completely abandoned as a valid theory. There's too much good science supporting it, and the evidence is accumulating rapidly.

    So, please give up on your hopes that some conservative scientist somewhere will shoot human-cause global warming out of the water. It would be much more productive to start supporting ideas that will help preserve our world before it's too late. "Drill, baby, drill" just won't cut it.

    May 30, 2014 1:21 p.m.

    I don't think China and India are "third world countries" any more.

  • GaryO Virginia Beach, VA
    May 30, 2014 1:00 p.m.

    "Is science being misused for social policy?"

    "Misused?" Well, no.

    Science is being USED to determine social policy.

    Science is a tool. Tools should be used to their best advantage. Specifically, science is a sensor that let's us know about the physical universe.

    It tells us how things are, and it's up to us to design policies to best deal with the realities revealed by science.

    "Conservatives" have a problem with science because it tells them facts they don't want to hear.

    And their simple-minded solution is to simply deny those facts. But of course that's not a real solution to anything, is it?

  • Sensible Scientist Rexburg, ID
    May 30, 2014 12:28 p.m.

    The basic fatal flaw of this letter is it assertion that one side is righteous while the other is devious. "Big Green" puts out big money to put out its message and defend its position, just as the letter asserts petroleum companies do (which they don't on the large scale asserted). If funding corrupts one side, it also corrupts the other.

    And there is tremendous incentive in the form of grants and continued employment to keep a healthy bias in the climate alarmists. I've seen it first-hand -- scientists who make their living on grant money, denying facts brought up by skeptics. I've also seen skeptics deny the facts presented by climate alarmists. No one is righteous here.

    As asserted by skeptics, the motive of the climate alarmists as a movement is to centralize power and money to their own class and in the process destroy capitalism and American-style liberty. That's powerful incentive that the letter writer is evidently unaware of. I can't help but conclude that the letter writer is naive about these issues.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    May 30, 2014 12:20 p.m.

    @Twin Lights.

    Re: "doing what we know we can and set about learning the rest, is NOT as individuals, but as a nation"..

    I guess that's where we disagree (and it's OK to disagree).

    I think we need to do it as individuals first. Because if all us individuals start doing it... then the whole nation will be doing it (by choice, not by force).

    And I have ZERO control over the whole nation. But I have 100% control over what I do... so I focus on controlling what I do (Not my neighbor, or the nation).



    Re: "Climate change is good science. Carbon taxes are bad government. The problem is that politicians are using good science to support bad government"...

    I couldn't agree more.

    We can't control the Nation, and FORCE everybody to do our thing, or be as radical about the environment as I am (or somebody else is)... We all have to pick our individual battles and win them. Government force is not the solution. Individual control... is the solution (IMO)

    (last post)


  • Open Minded Mormon Everett, 00
    May 30, 2014 11:59 a.m.

    I'm not sure how Prof. Mary Barker slipped past the Deseret News editors,
    but her last 2 articles articles would've ever made it past the DN monitors.

    Anther excellent article!


  • happy2bhere clearfield, UT
    May 30, 2014 11:35 a.m.

    How come it seems to be the left that wants to have everything as "settled". Benghazi is settled, climate change is settled. No more questions to be asked. No more questions to be answered. It's just "settled". That's very convienent when there are politics involved. And right now it would seem the driving force on issues like those seems to be politics. If it were not, then unanswered questions would not be treated as heretical. If people who espouse the settled position were so confident of that position they would not feel so threatened by new or unanswered questions. But they do. Me thinks the left doth protest too much.

  • gmlewis Houston, TX
    May 30, 2014 11:26 a.m.

    Climate change is good science. Carbon taxes are bad government. The problem is that politicians are using good science to support bad government.

  • Hamath Omaha, NE
    May 30, 2014 11:13 a.m.

    @ Blue,

    Even if they try to be honest, there is considerable concern about bias being unconscious and unduly influencing the process.

    AND More troubling is the way statistics are used. Consider the following scenario. Let's assume a p-value of 5% (or 1 out of 20 chance of the results being pure luck). Assume the theory is false actually although popular.

    Now, 20 researchers investigate a theory they believe in. Like all researchers (humans) they have an innate inner bias or belief which way it will turn out. Let's assume they are honest. 19 of the researchers find though that the study results don't validate the theory. 1 does. Assuming the 20 submit their papers only one would be accepted because currently if it doesn't pass the p-value level, then it's ignored as "not contributing to the field". So... the very system claiming to be unbiased only publishes the one study that says the theory is good. We need much much more publications of studies that find non-significant results before we can trust the current system more.

  • chilly Salt Lake City, UT
    May 30, 2014 11:08 a.m.

    World leaders are often informed of the dangers of climate change by the IPCC, a U.N. appendage, that produces regular reports based on scientific findings. A House of Representatives panel of experts on climate change and IPCC methodology met yesterday to discuss the validity of the reports. Here is the press release from the Committee meeting:

    "A distinguished panel of experts involved in the IPCC and National Climate Assessment process unanimously stated that the science of climate change is “not settled,” as the President and others often state unequivocally.

    Witnesses also discussed how the Obama administration’s regulatory agenda will negatively impact the economy with little to no impact on global temperature. One analysis used IPCC assumptions and found that if the U.S. stopped all carbon dioxide emissions immediately, the ultimate impact on global temperature would only be 0.08 degrees Celsius by 2050."

    All of the experts involved in this meeting believe that mankind influences climate to some degree. They disagree with the alarmist, often doomsday tone of the reports. Our media almost always focuses on the exaggerated possibilities from IPCC reports rather than the actual science.

    Google "Full Committee Hearing - Examining the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Process".

  • happy2bhere clearfield, UT
    May 30, 2014 10:45 a.m.


    You seem to be inferring that I inferred that population control is a bad thing. I was just making the point that if there is a problem with climate caused by too many people, which I inferred you do, then the answer does not lie with Americans driving electric cars and living like Ed Begley Jr. My point was that if too many people chasing too few resources is the problem then the answer may be in reducing the number of people. Americans reducing their miniscule carbon footprint compared to the billions of people living in countries like India and China is not the answer to the climate problem we may be facing.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    May 30, 2014 10:45 a.m.

    2 Bits,

    The point of doing "what we know we can and set about learning the rest" is not as individuals but as a nation. It is also a matter of really prioritizing this and not just thinking a duct tape patch will take care of a problem forever.

    We cannot and should not just throw our hands up in the air and say "what can we do, we are just one country". We still have a lot influence we can wield in the world once we get our own act together.

    Most of all, we need to get serious and put it in gear. We complain all the time that we are no longer a "can do" nation. Here is an opportunity.

  • red state pride Cottonwood Heights, UT
    May 30, 2014 10:40 a.m.

    I'm glad all climate scientists are as pure as the driven snow. For example, the renowned Michael Mann who created the "hockey-stick graph". He apparently has deep enough pockets to sue anyone who criticizes him. Maybe in your next column Ms Barker you could do some research and let us know who is funding Dr Mann's lawsuit against Mark Steyn and National Review. He has some big time lawyers and they aren't cheap.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    May 30, 2014 10:36 a.m.

    @Twin Lights – “We do what we know we can and set about learning the rest.”

    Great post!

    I would add that those who claim proponents of man caused climate change are often hysterical – a bizarre charge considering the general temperament of scientists, especially those who fall on the Asperger’s spectrum - are often hysterical themselves in their economic doom & gloom catastrophes they think will be caused by mitigation.

    The truth is business has always responded quite well to changes in price signals (which is what a revenue neutral carbon tax would do) and are usually more efficient & productive as a result (e.g. acid rain, ozone depletion, etc…).

    We drastically under-estimate the innovative abilities of entrepreneurs with this Chicken Little talk… something I find ironic coming from the side that is supposedly pro-business.

  • E Sam Provo, UT
    May 30, 2014 10:35 a.m.

    Another excellent article by Mary Barker. Well done.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    May 30, 2014 10:26 a.m.

    @Twin Lights,
    Thanks for sharing solutions. I like those.

    I especially like the "Do whatever you can".... approach. That's the approach I take. But I keep getting beat up by environmentalists, who think I'm not doing enough, because I'm not as radical about it as THEY are...

    But I am doing everything I can. And I feel good about it. Although I'm sure they think I'm still the problem (because I'm not as radical as them).


    Everything you mentioned are great things for Americans to be doing. But I wonder how well you think this list would be received in Algeria, Sudan, Somalia, China, Mexico, Russia, India, Afghanistan, etc....

    They don't have very good access to electric cars or STEM education in these countries.

    And with only 483 days to do it... I think the chances are pretty slim...


    If "just do everything you can"... is good enough... then I feel good about what I'm doing. But I don't feel it's my job to make everybody else do everything MY way.

  • Frozen Fractals Salt Lake City, UT
    May 30, 2014 10:13 a.m.

    "Al Gore made a killing off being the 'green' spokesman."

    The main thing is that we shouldn't be elevating non-scientists (including Al Gore) above the science and data which should be the primary focus of trying to understand the science. Of course the problem here is that there's two sides, the science and the policy discussion. Those two get conflated to the point that we seem to have few who reject a policy argument (like cap and trade) without also throwing out some of the science. This works in the reverse to some extent, claiming things for climate change that aren't actually caused by it (like an increase in tornadoes, which isn't proven at all, there's been no statistically significant trend in strong tornadoes and because of that, it's presumed that the upward trend in weak tornadoes is due to higher population and better observation of them, we aren't missing as many small ones in the middle of nowhere these days).

  • ordinaryfolks seattle, WA
    May 30, 2014 9:56 a.m.


    I did not make a judgment on the level of population of the Earth, I merely pointed out the obvious. The planet is home to billions, which is historically high. You make the leap of illogic to infer I condone population control. I did not mention, nor infer any such thing.

    I did infer that the increasing billions of us on the planet are wasteful of the planet's resources. I think that is obvious as well. Resources are finite.

    Maybe you should try listening and stop inferring malicious messages.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    May 30, 2014 9:28 a.m.

    2 bits,

    You’re taking the word of a French politician and I’m the hysterical one? I have no ideal about “climate chaos”. Ask Minister Fabius.

    How do we move forward in the real world? We go toward more natural gas for now (the most abundant and cleanest interim fuel). We work on nuclear for the same reasons.

    We put “man on the moon” type of focus on STEM in our schools and get moving on producing the technologies that will make us the world leader in renewable energy.

    We provide incentives for more hybrid vehicles and then electric as they become more viable.

    We put a priority on clean emissions for our manufacturing (might benefit the Salt Lake area).

    Most of all we stop putting our heads in the sand about science and showing the world our stupid side. If so, then we can exercise the leadership that is ours in so many other areas. It’s not like we have no levers.

    I am sure others have far better ideas. The point is simple. We do what we know we can and set about learning the rest.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    May 30, 2014 9:02 a.m.

    @Twin Lights,
    All good points. A little hysterical, but I know it's sometimes good to put a good scare into people to help get them moving in the right direction.

    Good warnings of doom... but no concrete solutions given. Can you tell us how we can prevent climate chaos?

    If it's everybody get an electric car... we can't all afford them today. And we only have 483 days left before it's too late!

    What CAN we do?


    And if only Utahns (who are the only ones who will hear your solution) do it... will it work? Will we avert climate chaos?

    If all America does it (but not China, Russia, Africa, Brazil, etc, etc) will it work?

    How do we force third world countries to do it? How do we force China to do it? Or Russia? Or wherever?

    Many people would LOVE to see the American economy collapse completely. If you put a few un-elected (and therefor un-removable) globalists in control of what we can/can't do in America... what do you think will eventually happen? Happy days and more jobs for Americans?

    I doubt it...

  • happy2bhere clearfield, UT
    May 30, 2014 8:53 a.m.

    So now the debate seems to be, what science of today will change over time and what science of today is in the absolute category, and will never change. With climate, it would seem to me that "change" is the absolute.


    So it would seem from your point that the real problem is that we have too many people on Earth. Population control would equal less pollution. That then brings the "problem" right back to the population polluters. Mainly 3rd world countries and places like India and China.


    I will stand by you if you agree that we should be using nuclear power to generate all electricity. No need to use fossil fuel when nuclear can do the job. However, if you are saying that we should be using millions of windmills all over the place, then, I'm out, because I don't believe wind is the answer, and until a really efficient and practical solar panal is invented, neither is the sun.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    May 30, 2014 8:46 a.m.

    Eventually we will have to deal with climate change. It will come knocking on our door wherever that door may be. And it will be insistent - not to be ignored.

    The point is we can deal with it now while it is easier (and cheaper) or later when it is more difficult (and more expensive).

    The choice is not between US independence and domination by outside interests. We can lead the fight if we choose.

    Renewable energy will not replace oil overnight. It can't. But if we embrace it we can be the ones making the technologies the rest of the world buys. There is an economic opportunity here.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    May 30, 2014 8:37 a.m.

    RE: Mountanman "Marxist. Some science is completely wrong! Think of the medical field's blood letting science only a century old. " You make a good point. Not all fields are equally comfortable with the scientific method. Physics and biology are. Medicine less so. Social science even less. Unfortunately, science doesn't function well everywhere.

    Re: Mister J "How does science differ from politics?" See above. Science can be corrupted by politics - the scientists must be brave (and usually are). Consider the assault on "Jewish science" from the Nazis, or the "Lysenko Doctrine" in Stalin's Russia.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    May 30, 2014 8:32 a.m.

    Is science misused for social policy? Yes, sometimes.


    And it's not "Global Warming"... it's "Climate Chaos". And we only have 483 days left.

    May 14, 2014 French foreign minister Laurent Fabius (what a name... FAB-ius).. said we only have 500 days left to prevent "Climate Chaos". I marked it on my calendar.

    By my calculations... that gives us until 26 Sept 2015 before Climate Chaos ensues...

    Better not wait till the last day boys and girls.... better get started preventing Climate Chaos... NOW!!!


    HOW do we prevent Climate Chaos, you may ask... Well... that's a tougher question.

    If anybody has a proven answer... please post it here...

    Thank you.

  • Blue Salt Lake City, UT
    May 30, 2014 8:30 a.m.

    Badger: "PS Green house gasses' make plants grow better, i.e. make the planet truly greener."

    And water is necessary for life, too. Is that an argument for drowning?

    More to the point, new research has found that as the atmospheric CO2 increases, the nutritional value of crops grown decreases. Big, fast-growing plants make low-nutrition food.

    Look - we can improve our economy, clean our air and water, launch new technologies, reduce our exposure to geopolitical conflict and slow the damage that climate change is doing by accepting simple scientific realities and acting accordingly. We need to start weaning ourselves off of fossil fuels - right now.

  • Mister J Salt Lake City, UT
    May 30, 2014 8:20 a.m.

    to Marxist 1st post

    How then does Science differ from politics?

    to slcdenizen

    Agreed. That is the beauty of Science. Remember, to quote a Star Wars movie, "only the Sith think in terms of absolutes"

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    May 30, 2014 8:18 a.m.

    Marxist. Some science is completely wrong! Think of the medical field's blood letting science only a century old. We need to be careful about confusing science theory from science law!
    My religion is not complete either. Check out the 9th article of faith! Personally I could never embrace a religion that tells me it is complete.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    May 30, 2014 8:13 a.m.

    Regarding the protection of the scientific enterprise - fund fundamental science research through government, including NASA and space exploration!

  • pragmatistferlife salt lake city, utah
    May 30, 2014 8:13 a.m.


    "The problem with science is that it is always changing"

    Changing science doesn't validate the old ideas it replaced.

    Biology has changed radically over time but we still know humans didn't come from a lump of clay. We may not know just how many branches of humans there were before modern humans prevailed, but we do know that we didn't come from two fully formed humans who ate an apple to complete their consciousness.

    Physics has changed dramatically and we may not know exactly what the cosmos is made of entirely, but we do know it's not ether.

    Thus climate science has and will change but it's likely it won't validate the idea that modern civilization is a benign influence on the environment.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    May 30, 2014 8:02 a.m.

    Re: Mountanman "Everything we think we know will eventually be proven to be either completely wrong or at least very incomplete."

    Not true, at least the "completely wrong" part. Science is a process which refines primarily. Take physics for example. Today we have "modern physics" which has expanded our views of the physical world, but the physics of Newton and Faraday are still true in context and are fully functional. Take biology. We had Darwin which documented evolution but he could not identify the mechanism of evolution. Now with DNA we are very close to understanding the mechanism of species creation. Science builds on the past through a consistent METHOD.

    Compare science to religion and the "science" of the Greek philosophers. Here ideas are propounded through thought "experiments" and myths. But because they don't have the scientific method they have been blindsided by science. Religion is then forced to change in a way more in line with what Mountanman describes.

  • ordinaryfolks seattle, WA
    May 30, 2014 7:56 a.m.

    To science skeptics.

    I wonder when science will disprove the theory of gravity. Or that the Earth is round and orbits around a sun. That the Earth is not the only planet in the Universe. Some things are just true.

    That billions of us are polluting the Earth is not refutable. The only argument is how long can it go on, and what will be the results. Never in the history of the planet have so many people made so many demands on the planet's resources. Yet, somehow climate change deniers and other assorted kooks, seem content to let us waste and fritter away the future for current gain.

    Your grandchildren, and their grandchildren will curse your profligate was. Science is not necessarily needed to prove this, but it certainly punctuates the muddle-headedness of so many.

  • slcdenizen Murray, UT
    May 30, 2014 7:44 a.m.


    "The problem with science is that it is always changing"

    That's not the problem, it's the feature.

  • Blue Salt Lake City, UT
    May 30, 2014 7:37 a.m.


    While it is true that everyone, including the editors of science journals, are capable of bias, professional science journals maintain their standards by recognizing that possibility and they take care to ensure a good mixture of content experts within their editorial staff. They understand that neither their own, nor their publication's, reputations are helped when inaccurate, shoddy, misleading, or falsified research is published. Has it happened in the past? Sure, but exceptionally rarely, and it was the scientific community itself, and the stakeholders in the offending publication, that sounded the loudest alarms. It's a self-correcting process, and it works well.

    My hat is off the to the Deseret News for publishing this article.

  • SCfan clearfield, UT
    May 30, 2014 7:22 a.m.

    I wonder if Mary and others realize that it can work both ways. The problem with the so called climate change and all of its connections (used to be global warming, now it has been changed to climate change) is that the politics can run the show before the science takes over. The worst thing about the global warming debate was Al Gore getting rich by talking up the subject. Any rational person would be required to question a politician about any thing they get on a bandwagon for. Science and politics don't mix well, because one side or the other is naturally going to ask "what is in it for them?" The pro climate change (we must do something NOW) side always accused big business of being behind the skepticism. The anti climate change (Earth has always done this over the eons) side sees a lot of green on the outside red on the inside. Namely, old Commie anti capitalists anti big American business politics going on. So, I refuse to takes sides as long as I don't trust the scientists who I think are getting their nest feathered by the PC side.

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    May 30, 2014 7:20 a.m.

    The problem with science is that it is always changing. Everything we think we know will eventually be proven to be either completely wrong or at least very incomplete. As our grandparent's science is to us, so will our science be to our grandchildren. The take home message here is if any "scientist" tells us he/she has the final word, rest assured that person is no scientist and most importantly we should always reject science mixed with political agendas.

  • Badgerbadger Murray, UT
    May 30, 2014 7:04 a.m.

    Mary speaks of 'dark money', but what about all those getting filthy rich off 'green money'.

    Al Gore made a killing off being the 'green' spokesman. Then there are all the failed 'green' industries who got billions of 'green' from the taxpaying citizens of this country and gave us nothing in return. But the CEO's of those industries did VERY well in greenbacks. Add the well 'green moneyed' so called scientists promoting 'greenness', and the well "green moneyed' lobbyists.

    Pardon my skepticism, but when the entire 'green' movement consists of forcefully taking money from 53% of the population and giving it to the 1% to promote 'green energy', which they will turn around for raising the price of everything, on everyone (including the poorest among us) so they can make even more money, I find that to be totally corrupt.

    'Greenness' is in the science of making a lot of money. Ignoring the money being gleaned by the 'green' movement is, well, ignorant.

    PS "Green house gasses' make plants grow better, i.e. make the planet truly greener.

  • liberal larry salt lake City, utah
    May 30, 2014 7:03 a.m.

    The deniers narrative is slowly changing in the face of the overwhelming evidence of global warming.

    First it was: "There is no global warming"

    Then: "Warming is just a cyclical weather pattern"

    "Warming is caused by sun spots"

    "Warming is occurring but it isn't caused by man"

    "Global warming is caused by man, but there is nothing we can do about it!"

    In about two years we will all be on the same page, and can get two work dealing with human caused global warming.

  • Ranch Here, UT
    May 30, 2014 6:20 a.m.

    I love Cosmos and I'm seriously wondering if I've entered the Twilight Zone reading this particular article in the Deseret News.

  • Hamath Omaha, NE
    May 30, 2014 5:13 a.m.

    Mary is right here except for one small problem which is traumatically prevalent in all science. The Peer Review process is assumed to be pure, free from any type of bias. But it isn’t always or sometimes even often. The editor sends it to a few reviewers. But he or she knows the tougher reviewers (there are not enough tough ones). Assume for an instance, that the Theory A is increasingly popular but has some as yet proven flaws. Then Scientist writes paper which has the end result of seriously challenging Theory A. Editor likes Theory A so sends paper to harder reviewers where it gets rejected even though it would have been accepted had the easier reviewers been picked. The bias of the accepted theory is problematic and has lead science to making embarrassing theories "truth" for even multiple lifespans. (Google Vortex Theory for example). Eventually though science corrects widely accepted bad theories too as incorrect theories lose their "cultural reasons" for staying alive. Then some new kid on the block challenges it and the cultural reasons aren't strong enough anymore. (All the old guys who found it are dying off).

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    May 30, 2014 12:49 a.m.

    Science is endangered by the industry groups the writer describes, and even by higher education with its administratively driven "business models." What can we do individually to protect science? One way would be expose ourselves to the rigors of physical science, even if we are in fields far from such. It will firm our resolve to protect science.

    Another way is to follow the interest group money and publicize it.