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My view: Global warming consensus matters

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  • ScaredAmoeba Walton, UK
    Nov. 25, 2010 1:25 a.m.

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

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

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

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

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

  • Baron Scarpia Logan, UT
    Nov. 25, 2010 5:33 a.m.

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

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

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

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

  • ScaredAmoeba Walton, UK
    Nov. 25, 2010 7:46 a.m.

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

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

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

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

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

  • Barry Bickmore Orem, UT
    Nov. 25, 2010 8:21 a.m.

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

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

  • Chuck E. Racer Lehi, UT
    Nov. 25, 2010 9:28 a.m.

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

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

  • Uncle Charles Where freedom and liberty reign, utah
    Nov. 25, 2010 9:33 a.m.

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

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

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

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

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

  • Irony Guy Bountiful, Utah
    Nov. 25, 2010 10:04 a.m.

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

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

  • chilly Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 25, 2010 10:03 a.m.

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

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

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

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

  • KM Cedar Hills, UT
    Nov. 25, 2010 10:17 a.m.

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

  • Blue Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 25, 2010 10:22 a.m.

    Chilly,

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

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

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

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

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

    The full interview is worth finding and reading.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    Nov. 25, 2010 10:22 a.m.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • ScaredAmoeba Walton, UK
    Nov. 25, 2010 10:27 a.m.

    Chuck E. Racer

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

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

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

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

  • Steve Nelson Orem, Utah
    Nov. 25, 2010 11:10 a.m.

    Uncle Charles,

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

    KM,

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

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

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

  • Barry Bickmore Orem, UT
    Nov. 25, 2010 11:30 a.m.

    Chilly,

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

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

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

  • Uncle Charles Where freedom and liberty reign, utah
    Nov. 25, 2010 12:29 p.m.

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

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

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

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

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

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 25, 2010 12:39 p.m.

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

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

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 25, 2010 12:55 p.m.

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

  • Blue Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 25, 2010 1:04 p.m.

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

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

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

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

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

    Examples:

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

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

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

    The evidence is overwhelming, and growing.

    The laws of physics don't care about politics.

  • chilly Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 25, 2010 1:12 p.m.

    Blue and Barry,

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

  • KM Cedar Hills, UT
    Nov. 25, 2010 1:29 p.m.

    steve nelson
    "Hatch used fabricated data?" Where have you been? I thought scientists used false data to push the global marxist ploy to trick us into more regulations, taxes and slavery to an elite one world government. But you listen to God (Al Gore) and keep believing that the politicians are in this for the good of humaity.

  • Barry Bickmore Orem, UT
    Nov. 25, 2010 1:36 p.m.

    Chilly,

    If there is a certain long-term trend with an average slope, you can have short-term trends within that long-term trend that have steeper or shallower slopes than average. It's been happening all along, and in fact ALL the climate models the IPCC uses predict this. (They just aren't very good at predicting exactly wen those dips and accelerations will occur, because it's a chaotic system.) So when you take the (statistically insignificant) slope of the last 15 years, and then just extrapolate that out to 100 years, your argument doesn't amount to much. I might as well say that if it continued for 1000 years, it would be a post-apocalyptic nightmare world.

  • Barry Bickmore Orem, UT
    Nov. 25, 2010 1:42 p.m.

    KM,

    The difference is that I can absolutely prove that Monckton fabricated his data, and in fact he has admitted that he didn't plot the temperature values the IPCC actually projected in those graphs. On the other hand, detailed reviews of the "Climategate" pseudo-scandal haven't turned up any hard evidence of trickery.

    All you have is a conspiracy theory.

  • madison Magna, UT
    Nov. 25, 2010 1:47 p.m.

    First of all there is NO consensus about "Global Warming":

    1. We ignorant serfs are, of course, discounted. Self-styled experts may look down their miles and miles of pseudo-scientific noses, at we poor common sense folk who are not in their liberal social club and will not bow down to intellectual bullies. Our scepticism is, however, of more value imo than the contrived quasi-consensus of those who claim "scientific evidence" for their dogma - their "science falsely so called".

    2. It seems to me that there have been many scientists that are not true-believers in the theory and scientists who have been belittled
    by the holders of the "majority view" and "cast out of their society". Others would never enter any pseudo-scientific discipline they know will reject and persecute them.

    3. Scientific breakthroughs are likely to be brought about by the very people who hold the minority view anyway. In politics the majority is likely to be right; in science the majority is very often wrong.

  • Eco-Weenie Dayton, OH
    Nov. 25, 2010 2:03 p.m.

    @ScaredAmoeba | 10:27 a.m. Nov. 25, 2010

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

    The US has a denial industry that has spawned a home-grown anti-science movement that spreads malicious rumours, encourages witch-hunts and death threats against hard-working scientists."

    If there is an anti-science movement, it was begun and advanced by greens. Greens opposed nuclear power even though it hurt no one in the US. So instead, because of their irrational fears, we built dozens of coal plants that have dumped who knows how many millions of tons of pollutants and CO2 into the air. Then there's chemophobia. Despite being almost harmless to humans, DDT was banned,costing the lives of millions of African children. Genetically modified crops, which promise to feed the world, have also been irrationally opposed. All of this is based on green philosophy (if it's man-made it's bad)rather than on science and technology. ANWR oil drilling is opposed not because of science but because it will spoil the scenery.

  • KM Cedar Hills, UT
    Nov. 25, 2010 2:16 p.m.

    Barry Bickmore
    Conspiracy? Does the name Van Jones mean anything to you? "Green Czar" under the Obama administration with the task of redistribution of wealth on a global scale through the guise of "Global Warming." Some conspiracy. You relly need to stop and think long and hard about the characters in the play.

  • J in AZ San Tan Valley, AZ
    Nov. 25, 2010 4:35 p.m.

    In his book, The Nature of Scientific Revolutions, Thomas Kuhn discusses the risk of relying on scientific consensus. Before Copernicus, the scientific consensus was that the sun orbited the earth. The scientific community had lots of data to support their contention. But, the paradigm for astronomy changed and we now have the heliocentric model of the solar system. AGW is only as a valid as the paradigm by which believing scientists use to evaluate their observations. The truly disturbing issue for me is the nearly religious fanaticism that the scientific community uses to shout down anyone who questions the conventional wisdom. This turns their research from seeking after knowledge to an attempt to confirm dogma.

  • chilly Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 25, 2010 8:14 p.m.

    Barry,

    It was Blue (post above) that introduced the Jones' quote concerning the .12 degrees per decade... that he claimed was nearly statistically relevant. My act of multiplying it by 10 was to show how irrelevant the Jones figure really is (note the all caps IF).

    You excel at taking a point out of context and expanding to to ridiculous proportions or simply stating that the person with whom you disagree doesn't have a sufficient level of knowledge to be in the discussion. That tactic is neither effective debate nor strenuous science.

  • the truth Holladay, UT
    Nov. 25, 2010 11:22 p.m.

    I am still waiting for actual evidence of man caused global climate change.

    All we have gotten from the left is dogma, ("belive us because we are elite" nonsense)

    They claim CO2 has increased significanlty since 1995,

    Yet the can NOT show any significant global temperature change since 1995

    And Climate does change naturally, it is dynamic system.

    The supporters claim oceans are rising, and temperature a increasing,

    but are unable tell us what the NORM should be

    because there is not a "normal" in dynamic system,

    And ther is not evidence that man cna change glaobla temperature, even if spent trillions and trillins of dollar over a 100 years,

    we can NOT change temperature to any significantly measurable amount,

    if we can't change it, then we can't be causing it.

    no matter how many charts wave around, no matter how much consensus you get.

    Bickmore, if you have evidence then why not produce it,

    all you have done is question the claims of the opposition,

    and made BASELESS assertions for your own side,

    but NO evidence.

    FYI, truth doesn't need consensus,

    politics and power does, to create policy, laws and regulations, for spending and taxing.

  • silas brill Heber, UT
    Nov. 26, 2010 7:59 a.m.

    @J in AZ

    The truly disturbing issue for me is the nearly religious fanaticism that the scientific community uses to shout down anyone who questions the conventional wisdom.

    I get a chuckle when the least of secular people call climate scientists religious fanatics. Climate change, global warming, etc. may not be entirely deterministic. But most scientists in agreement on this matter feel a sense of urgency.

    Since you enjoy science history, you should read Quantum Generations by Helge Kragh. When you hear the stories about how young scientists in the early 20th Century fiercely argued with one another as they hashed out quantum physics, even to the point of tears, you will realize shouting in science is nothing new.

    @the truth

    I am still waiting for actual evidence of man caused global climate change. All we have gotten from the left is dogma, (belive [sic] us because we are elite nonsense)

    If all you hear is dogma from the left and believe that scientists are just leftist elitists, then you must be getting your news and information from radio talk show entertainers. No amount of evidence will convince you.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    Nov. 26, 2010 8:27 a.m.

    What we are talking about here is how we make decisions based on science. Is it responsible to rely on the lone wolf scientist when the broad consensus leads elsewhere?

    If you were trying to get medical help for your loved one and the broad consensus of medical research indicated treatment X would be best, would you instead (lets say you cant do both) go with the treatment of the lone wolf scientist?

    If you were putting your work friends into a rocket and the broad consensus of scientists and engineers thought the design should be X, would you instead listen to the lone wolf designer? Not that you might not hear him out, but would you ignore all the others to listen to just him?

    If you were in charge of the Hadron Collider would you choose to do an experiment proposed by a lone wolf that the broad consensus of equally eminent scientists thought to be highly dangerous?

    We cannot know with certainty the "true" way forward in any of these instances. So too with climate change. But we must rely on the best science we have. Anything else is irresponsible.

  • The Rock Federal Way, WA
    Nov. 26, 2010 9:44 a.m.

    "Two recent studies have shown that 97 percent to 98 percent of researchers who actively publish peer-reviewed research on climate change agree that humans are significantly affecting Earth's climate."

    This is because those who don't produce the politically correct answers don't get grants. If you don't get grants you don't do research. Self fulfilling prophecy.

    Follow the money!

  • Charles History Tooele, UT
    Nov. 26, 2010 9:48 a.m.

    The conservatives would have you believe that if you have chest pains. First go see a Dr. and he tells you that "you need surgery", you are unsure because you do not want a surgery - so you go to many Doctors and 97% of them tell you that you need surgery. So what do you do you, you ask your friend who is a plumber.

    Conservatives who are not the experts try to tell us what is right and wrong,
    I am not an expert so I will ask the expert and try and do what they suggest. When the BYU professors say: "Global Climate Change is Real and is caused by Man" I will listen.

    Our state legislatures will ask their friends, that might be a plumber or any other profession what they should do, I do not listen. (IF I need help with my pipes in the house, I will call the plumbers).

    Why do conservatives only want to listen to what they want to listen too.

    The industrial revolution led the world in to greatness but do we want to be behind the other nations when it comes to the nest revolution?

  • Charles History Tooele, UT
    Nov. 29, 2010 8:31 a.m.

    RE: "VST"

    I agree, Sorry that I was not clear.

    I'm not talking about Republicans, my opinion is that conservatives in general are wrong on any/all positions that they take.

    In this example AGW is a serious threat to mankind, in conservative thought some individuals would rather worry about their pocket book then the life of their children.

    Stem Cell Research is another example of conservatives run-a-mock, there are Republicans that support this important research but conservatives will fight against it.

    Conservative thought is limited in it's very process. I catch my-self having conservative thoughts about many other issues and will continue to try and better myself to be rid of them.