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Americans Who Mistrust Climate Scientists Take Cues from Global Temperatures

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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The White House obviously accepts the science behind human-caused climate change, as was made clear again this week by its announcement of plans to cut carbon emissions from U.S. power plants 30 percent from 2005 levels by the year 2030. Some Americans remain skeptical—but they’re in the minority. As The New York Times reports, most Americans think global warming is a fact.

Strangely enough, not everyone who accepts the data on anthropogenic global warming trusts climate scientists. According to the Stanford National Global Warming Poll, about a third of Americans are skeptical of climate scientists and instead base their opinions on climate change—at least in part—on global temperatures, according to a recent time series analysis of the Stanford poll.

The poll found that Americans who trust climate scientists tend to keep their global warming views, while the one-third of Americans suspicious of climate scientists seems to be swayed by the previous year’s average world temperature record. When the media declares that last year was the Earth’s hottest or coldest (or second hottest or coldest and so on) on record, apparently this news influences whether or not that latter group accepts that global warming is real.

Percent of Americans who believe in global warming based on their trust in climate scientists. Americans who mistrust climate scientists (green line) seem to base their views on climate change on the previous year’s average world temperature record.* Image Credit: Jen Christiansen and Annie Sneed. Source: The Stanford National Global Warming Poll.

“There’s a chunk of people who mistrust climate scientists and they think, ‘I’ve got to figure this out on my own,’” says Jon Krosnick of Stanford University. He says annual global temperature records influence this group because “they’re looking for a different source of data” other than climate science. Oddly, however, they don’t seem influenced by media coverage of annual national temperatures.

Public opinion on the issue also seems unaffected by social, weather and economic current events such as Climategate, the release of Vice President Al Gore’s film An Inconvenient Truth, or Hurricane Katrina and Superstorm Sandy.

*Correction: (6/11/14 & 7/29/14): This graphic was edited after posting to correct an error.

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  1. 1. Scarlett156 5:29 pm 06/4/2014

    “Strangely enough, not everyone who accepts the data on anthropogenic global warming trusts climate scientists.”

    There’s nothing strange about mistrusting a government-approved and -subsidized group of “scientists” that imposes moral dictums on taxpayers under the guise of “saving the earth”. That the White House trusts the (unproven) theory of global warming (or whatever it’s supposed to be called this year) is hardly a sterling recommendation, as this particular group comprised mostly of Democrats is about the most anti-science bunch around.

    Link to this
  2. 2. Squish 7:08 pm 06/4/2014

    Scarlett, I think I can help some of your thinking that isn’t quite logical with a little true story.

    When I worked with Burmese people some years back, there was a subgroup of people that believed that the dead bodies of their countrymen found on the banks of the Rangoon river – all with a set of puncture holes found on their legs – were killed by one of the region’s mythical creatures: the tiny poisonous water elephant.

    Everyone who believed in these creatures was a traditionalist country-person (a conservative). Only liberal educated city-dwellers believed that the problem was snakes.

    That the belief was contested along party or ideological lines in no way invalidates the scientific consensus that paranormal tiny water elephants do not exist.

    I could just as easily say that most of the money spent to manage our perceptions on this issue (via Koch, etc.) is from the right-wing, so the un-moneyed side is likely less biased and must be accurate.

    This is false too. Science is science. It is self-correcting. There is no grand conspiracy when the body of science is comprised of a competitive lot of truth-searchers who can gain individual treasure and reputation by proving the others wrong. You don’t need game-theory to figure this out, just a logical imagination.

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  3. 3. Lacota 9:08 pm 06/4/2014

    @Scarlett156, when you make comments like that all you do is invalidate your own credibility. Why kind of myopic ignoramus thinks that the only climate scientists in the world are American, Democrats? You are suffering severe paranoid delusions if you really believe that AGW is a global conspiracy involving tens of thousands of people that the fossil fuel industry, with its deep pockets, has been unable to crack. You need to get back on your meds.

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  4. 4. jimmybo 12:46 am 06/5/2014

    If it had not been for the e-mails, need to change this or that, and then after they come up with what’s happening they destroy the data that they used, any think person has got to question it. I was an early believer but now I think they change the data to get what keeps the them grants coming their way.

    Link to this
  5. 5. jimmybo 12:48 am 06/5/2014

    even during the times they came out with the GW report science was keeping it’s data, so in this case they didn’t who can trust that.

    Link to this
  6. 6. VincentSauve 12:54 am 06/5/2014

    I think a huge reason for the distrust has to do with the journalists and other who don’t behave like good scientist should. For example, there is a big difference in believing that there is some warming and believing that this small amount of about 1 degree of warming in the past 100 years is significant and if it is even due primarily to human activity. Yes, the climate is changing. So what? It is very small and within the norm of this planets recent history. Those who claim that the past 1,000 years before our industrial period was much more stable or optimal are deceiving people, and probably for some type of agenda.

    All one has to do is read from NASAs paleoclimatology website to learn that ice cores studies have shown that for several hundred thousand years the earth has gone through a warm period about every 120,000 years and that our time on that graph is at or near the peak of that natural cycle. So for some of the alarmists to claim that we are responsible for the slight warming and nature has no role in it — well that is just too much to swallow, consequently, trust is thrown out the window with the absurd claims of many of these alarmists.

    And not helping to gain trust are organizations like the National Center for Science Education who, admirably, used to concentrate solely on keeping creationism out of our public school science classes, now are busy stupidly mischaracterizing (like many others) the climate discussions as one between “climate deniers” and “climate scientists.” Advocates for science need to do much better, otherwise they lose the banner for honesty and trust.

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  7. 7. jafrates 1:21 am 06/5/2014

    Rates of change, VincentSauve, are important.

    No one is claiming that nature has no role in the changes. Determining how much man influences the changes requires understanding the natural variations. These include oceanic oscillations, current flows, atmospheric patterns, and even tectonic changes. But even after controlling for all of those, the evidence is overwhelming that humanity’s own activities, largely but not exclusively in the form of CO2 releases, is a significant contributing factor.

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  8. 8. drafter 10:56 am 06/5/2014

    When our government lies to as much as this one does there is no reason to trust them on anything.
    That being said it is physically impossible for CO2 gas to cause these problems. Just do the math the most basic of thermodynamic laws will show you this.

    Link to this
  9. 9. jafrates 11:08 am 06/5/2014

    @drafter: Please show us the math that shows how impossible it is.

    Link to this
  10. 10. oldphysicsguy 12:43 pm 06/5/2014

    Shortly after James Hansen testified before Al Gore’s
    Senate Committee on the Environment and Public Works,
    NOAA and NASA began slashing the number of weather
    reporting stations sampled for compiling the GHCN and
    USHCN datasets. That might have passed without drawing
    attention, but the stations eliminated were mostly in
    cooler, high-latitude and/or high-altitude rural locales. When coupled with Climategate, it has become
    increasingly suspicious that government agencies are
    complicent in perpetrating a political agenda.

    Link to this
  11. 11. thetnrebel 12:54 pm 06/5/2014

    if you study this issue you find there is a lot of misleading going on.. the global warming folks claim a massive increase in temp.. it has not happen.. NASA had a chart showing no increase in temp for 17 years.. they claim ice is melting at polce.. but NASA had a picture showing a 13% increase in ice over last year at south pole.. Remember the ships went to the pole to show how the ice was melting and got stuck in the ice.. I am sure i will be called names by people here, but until i start seeing proof thi sis a major problem, i won’t worry about it

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  12. 12. oldphysicsguy 1:14 pm 06/5/2014


    Google “The Climate Catastrophe A Spectroscopic
    Artifact” by Heinz Hug. The “math” will help you
    respond to doubters like jafrates

    Link to this
  13. 13. oldphysicsguy 1:26 pm 06/5/2014


    Also Google “Heinz & Barrett versus IPCC” An even
    better use of “math”

    Link to this
  14. 14. oldphysicsguy 1:27 pm 06/5/2014


    Correction, “Hug & Barrett versus IPCC”

    Link to this
  15. 15. leswad 1:55 pm 06/5/2014

    Should the American public not be skeptical when the poll is performed by a school that promotes the indoctrination of high school and middle school kids via the Climate Change Education program that is funded by NASA’s Innovations in Climate Education? Don’t you think there is a conflict of interest here? Follow the Money!

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  16. 16. tr0623 2:08 pm 06/5/2014

    The first problem here is that an assumption of where these climate scientists live. They are not all in the US, they are from all over the world.
    The second problem is that average temperature is not the only variable in climate change. Part of the reason that global temperatures have plateaued is that the oceans are absorbing more of the heat and CO2 than it was first thought possible. The ocean temperatures are rising in the first 700+ feet and acidification in these zones are growing and that fastest rate of all of the variables.


    I am disappointed in your comments in regards to drafter’s law of thermodynamics comment. Thermodynamics laws only work well in closed systems. Sunlight comes from an outside source and CO2 gas regulates the cooling of the Earth. If you truly know anything about physics, you know that electromagnetic radiation is not bound by our atmosphere completely. And you should know that the reason that CO2 holds onto heat (infrared radiation) is because the molecule can hold onto the energy due the double bonds between the Oxygen and Carbon atoms.

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  17. 17. Kenneth Sandale 2:12 pm 06/5/2014

    “this small amount of about 1 degree of warming in the past 100 years is significant and if it is even due primarily to human activity. Yes, the climate is changing. So what? It is very small and within the norm of this planets recent history”

    This is not true at all.

    In the past million years, prior to recent years, the very fastest the Earth has warmed was around 0.1 degrees C per century. We are now warming at around 17 times the previous very fastest rates in the past million years.

    You need to stop listening to Rush Limbaugh.

    Link to this
  18. 18. Kenneth Sandale 2:14 pm 06/5/2014

    “When our government lies to as much as this one does there is no reason to trust them on anything.”

    And then people like you scream when you are compared to Holocaust deniers.

    Link to this
  19. 19. oldphysicsguy 3:37 pm 06/5/2014


    Your comment makes absolutely no sense. You obviously
    either didn’t read the references I gave Drafter, or,
    more likely, you couldn’t comprehend the math. Hug
    and Barrett demonstrated how the IPCC climate model(s)
    grossly overestimate the projected radiative forcing
    due to a doubling of CO2. I won’t bother to explain
    the math, since you seem to be clueless.

    Link to this
  20. 20. DrJehr1 4:17 pm 06/5/2014

    Scarlett156, your view of scientists is rather distorted. There isn’t a group of “government approved” scientists saying that the earth is warming. It’s scientists from every major university in the world, both those working inside government and outside government, both governments friendly to the US and those who are not. Even the scientists of oil producing Iran (a government that we do not even have diplomatic relations with) agree regarding global warming. Even assuming that your mythical cabal existed, what would be their motive in distorting reality? Suddenly scientists have become politicians wanting to change the world? Global warming is not a theory; It is a fact. You can’t find a scientist anywhere, or anyone who has looked at temperature records to deny that the earth is warming. You can study this yourself. Just record every new high temperature and every new low temperature in your state and after a year or two you will see the proof. New highs are happening twice as often as new lows. The only question left is how to fix the problem.

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  21. 21. Profitsup 4:39 pm 06/5/2014

    It is interesting that many here use terms that are not factually correct – there is not a single AGW CO2 paper that has passed peer review and advanced to the level of a THEORY . . IMO this is because none of the Scientists have released the datasets and math used to build the computer modeling.

    Peer review can not be proven valid or invalid without the necessary data for the hypothesis to be tested. Then we are left with Scientific OPINION . . ie: educated guess.

    All scientist would agree that the earth has been warming since the ice age . . otherwise we would need to be prove that invisible ice exists. The argument is then left as to CLIMATE VERSUS WEATHER – define the meanings on the time schedule and we can argue forever like the weather people on TV.

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  22. 22. DrJehr1 5:06 pm 06/5/2014

    Profitsup, there isn’t only one computer model, and models and data sets are freely available. There are hundreds of climate models, and they are run by hundreds of different organizations. All data are published in great and overwhelming detail. If you wish to start reading from just one program, go to you will find a link to their publications and you can read to your heart’s content. Models are tested on historical data. If a model can take the climate of 1950, and using CO2 levels, ‘predict’ the climate in 2000 correctly, then the model is felt to be reliable enough to use to take the climate of 2000 and using predicted CO2 levels, predict what the climate of 2050 will be like. Hundreds of models are run thousands of times with changes in variables such as the effect of SO2 and other constituants of the atmosphere which are not completely understood. The best proof is that every prediction made in 1980 when this problem was first presented to Congress has happened. In fact the estimates were proven to be on the low side; the problem is much worse than the scientists said. A prediction made in 1980 becomes FACT when it happens. Global Warming is a FACT. The Koch brothers have spent over half a billion dollars trying to deny global warming. Stop being a victim of their propaganda. Wake up! Oil men have a vested interest in the status quo. They love selling oil and gas and making billions. Scientists are underpaid university teachers who do research because they are interested in a subject. They would be just as content to be studying the next impending ice age as global warming. We all know that no one can predict the outcome of the next roll of the dice at Vegas, but we know for a certainty that over the long run the house wins. Well, over the long run, the planet will get much hotter. That’s a fact just as sure as Vegas. Believe the scientists’ educated guesses.

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  23. 23. tubesjim 5:32 pm 06/5/2014

    No warming now for almost 18 years according to satellite reading and the Hadley center. This would seem to prove there is natural variation going on. How much of the pause is natural and how much of the past increase is natural? No one knows. It is certain that CO2 is not the strongest driver of climate. It is time to spend some money investigating all natural causes, Clouds, Sun/cosmic ray interactions, ocean currents, planetary alinements, rotation variations and dozens of other things that effect climate more than CO2 could.

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  24. 24. ronnelson 6:22 pm 06/5/2014

    Skeptical of the ‘Science’? Note the anecdotal items included in the timeline. How about adding the coldest winter in memory throughout most of the US last winter. Also how about the extremely low number of hurricanes (and other tropical storms) over the last decade. Of course not…it wouldn’t fit the politics.

    Skeptical…you bet your…!

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  25. 25. DrJehr1 7:31 pm 06/5/2014

    tubesjim & ronnelson, it is simply not true that there has been no warming for 18 years. Each and every year since 2000 has been hotter than every year in the 20th century except for one year. What is true is that the rate of increase in temperature has slowed, but temperature has increased when compared with earlier decades. That said, climate is not expected to warm in a straight line upward. There will be periods of cooling followed by years of warming. Just because there’s a break in the rising temperatures, let’s not forget the past 50 years of record increases. As for low number of hurricanes, I guess that you’re talking about Atlantic hurricanes. Well, hurricanes vary locally, and Atlantic hurricanes have been down, but world wide hurricanes are on the increase. There is more to the earth than our little slice of it. While everyone here was hanging onto our chilly winter (about the 40th coldest on record) Australia had its hottest summer ever, breaking all records. It’s your politics which are interfering with the facts. All possible causes of climate change are being studied, not just CO2 – and where do you get this certainty that CO2 is not the strongest driver of climate change? Perhaps a little less time watching FOX and more time spent reading some physics books.

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  26. 26. Kemihi 7:43 pm 06/5/2014

    I have read the article, and I am disappointed that it did not more thoroughly report the actual percentages holding different beliefs. From the information presented, it is possible that although a majority of people believe that the climate is changing, those believing that scientists are accurately and truthfully reporting the results are in the minority. That would be disheartening.

    Of course, some of the comments accompanying the article accomplish that all by themselves.

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  27. 27. jrkipling 9:19 pm 06/5/2014

    Modeling complex systems can certainly advance understanding and have great value. A problem can arise however when a model validates a preconceived view. Some people then celebrate a model’s predictions with little interest in challenging its validity. This can be especially true among those who lack actual scientific training. For them, ignorance of the level of complexity and potential for error is blissfully unimportant. The model for them is proof positive that they were correct all along. Scientists who are developing models of Earth’s biosphere are among the first to say their understanding is as yet incomplete.

    One reason for some to mistrust what many describe as Settled Science could be obvious lack of objective reporting which can sometimes approach propaganda. For whatever reason, some writers feel the need to divine examples of adverse effects of climate change where other rationale are obviously just as plausible. Some writers also make ambiguous statements or even false assertions, then blithely continue as though the assertions were obvious to the casual observer. Those of us familiar with science and logic see such examples as attempts to deceive. I’ll offer just one example, but there are lots of them.

    A current article on SciAm Online makes the statement, “Now that the economy is recovering from the global financial crisis, new polls show that public concern is once again rising.” No polls or economic data were referenced. There are a couple of problems with this statement. First, the US economy contracted by 1% in the first quarter. Second, a Gallop poll from March 12, 2014 showed Climate Change ranked 14th among American’s worries and that the trend is down from 2001. So, the lead premise of the article is open to question at best.

    Within 24 hours of questioning that statement with the above facts in a comment, my username was disabled from further commenting on the entire site with the exception of the blogs. (Blogs appear to be moderated by a different group.) I made no assertion regarding climate change one way or the other. My comment contained no insulting language or innuendo. I didn’t call anyone a liar. I just posted those two facts without other comment.

    It seems the moderator for that article found my comment discordant with the objective of the article. Perhaps other explanations exist, but this looks like a political decision to me. If the science is settled, why silence rational discussion?

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  28. 28. TREBORWORRAPS 10:44 pm 06/5/2014

    It would be useful if journalists would define what they mean by average global temperature – is it land based surface measurements, or does it include water temperatures and if so how much of the earth’s do they cover. It would also be good to know the error bars on the measurements. I think a detailed review would clearly show what a meaningless metric ‘average global temperature’ is.

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  29. 29. Profitsup 10:56 am 06/6/2014

    Please explain how what percentage of the total atmosphere is CO2 and how much of that do AGW believers assign to human activity?

    Next let us then discuss the earth climate cycles of ice cover to forest phases? How many times has that occurred and what is the time cycle for same?

    Are we due for a new ICE Age in the historical climate model?

    Explain how in my short life that I have lived through many 500 year events, floods, droughts, tornadoes, extinctions etc.?

    Many studies on Mass Extinctions have found that Climate change is the primary cause – was that before man?

    According to Live Science, this last Ice Age occurred during the Pleistocene Epoch, defined as the period that began roughly 1.8 million years ago and lasted until around 11,700 years ago. [From International Business Times UK]?

    We do not have real knowledge we have chosen to use data that one selects to prove their Hypothesis well enough to gain a peer review status – purpose is to allow the scientists to APPLY for more GRANT MONEY. Yes are tax monies is being used to fund faux science in some cases. So the Koch brothers is a red herring as the global government have spent trillions in an attempt to prove and pass the need for a international CARBON TAX.

    Would the Universities layoff PhD staff if the Grants were stopped?

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  30. 30. Profitsup 11:16 am 06/6/2014


    Observed phenomena is the starting point – next is to study and develop a hypothesis then publish a paper with the total information [meaning all datasets, formulas, historical records, locations of all temperature measurements, method of temperature measurements, all equipment used.

    Now the process of peer review can begin . . I find no evidence of this being done in any what is being called peer reviewed settled science. How can science be validated or invalidated without all information and halting the cherry picking of information in an attempt to validate a false premise?

    I am not attempting to argue without purpose, I truly am curious how self described SCIENTISTS would sign off on a paper without the total information . . some would call that conspiracy – an act that permits other members of the Science world of Climate Change to keep the GRANT money flowing? The logic follows the belief that Koch and big oil are funding all research that debunks GRANT science is the same not fair to use here and now?

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  31. 31. jrkipling 11:28 am 06/6/2014


    Wikipedia has a good explanation of the CO2 mass balance. No one with a science background has any doubt about the anthropomorphic contribution of CO2 to the atmosphere. I remain unsure what the effect of the CO2 increase may be. The biosphere is a highly complex system. So I’m not a zealot on either side of this discussion.

    Just a word of advice. Your comments might have more credibility if you spent a bit of time studying up on the subject first. People shooting from the hip don’t advance the discussion from either side.

    Link to this
  32. 32. jrkipling 2:19 pm 06/6/2014

    To whoever restored my username for the main SciAm site articles,

    Thank you.

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  33. 33. ssm1959 6:17 pm 06/6/2014

    Let’s not lump people who have some disagreements under the “climate denier” banner. For many it is the insane claims of catastrophism that we disagree with. All research, be it in viva, vitro, or just modeling intimate must at some point replicate why is actually happening in the real world. While we expect to see variation around a model prediction, at some point the variation if large enough must be considered a sign of the model being inaccurate. The past 20+ years of modeling are inaccurate ( all to the high side). This is indicating a fundamental faulty assumption. Instead of welcoming the opportunity to correct the projections many in the community have circled the wagons and gone into defense mode. They must believe that any concession on this issue will discredit the entire GW agenda(their words). Take a lesson form the history of science, promulgating fear will not accomplish your goals. Ultimately it will cause the public to turn a blind eye to not only your work but to science in general.

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  34. 34. DrDon1 6:20 pm 06/6/2014

    The best proof is that every prediction made in 1980 when this problem was first presented to Congress has happened.
    I recall one prediction concerning rising sea levels from that time period.It said that in 20 years the Gulf coast would be somewhere in Washington parish
    Louisiana or Walthall county in Mississippi. I was down in Gulfport about a month ago, the coast has not moved.

    Each and every year since 2000 has been hotter than every year in the 20th century except for one year.
    This statement does not agree with the chart in the article. It shows “Average World Temperature in Previous Year”
    The highest was the first which would be 2005. It shows the next seven years were LOWER.

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  35. 35. drleachman 12:01 am 06/7/2014

    Sad that you have to believe GW is 100% human based or your a denier. Just a modicum of common sense, never mind science, would make you question the certainty of some.. Worst of all Democrats have picked up this issue to distort making us chase our tails over semantics instead of agreeing to fix the problems. Our concern should be to reduce pollution, conserve resources, clean water,alternative fuels,etc. instead we bicker over the percentage humans are to blame for GW. Really,are we all this stupid, letting ourselves be played by politicians. I don’t believe the sky is falling because it’s still only Henny-Pennies, like Al Gore, telling us of doom and gloom. I live in Canada and I’m looking forward to warmer weather., we all are.

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  36. 36. DrDon1 12:12 am 06/7/2014

    In the last 75 only 22 have seen warming. The last 17 or 18 years have seen no warming. Global Warming is not being caused by man because it is not happening.

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  37. 37. L1995 11:00 am 06/7/2014


    “The last 17 or 18 years have seen no warming.”

    As you have already been told, this is blatantly false, you are confusing the rate of increase with the actual temperature. See the chart below:

    Now please stop making stuff up to support the denialist agenda.

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  38. 38. DrDon1 2:45 pm 06/7/2014

    @37 On that chart the 1998 peek was above the .6 line the 2012/13 was on or BELOW that line. That is a zero net gain. My statement stands true. The chart in this article clearly illustrates that from 2005 through there was a net lose. Maybe you need to re-evaluate your position.

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  39. 39. L1995 1:21 am 06/8/2014


    Your statement is false, and you clearly didn’t bother to read the article. Not only does it clearly state that 2013 was tied with 2003 for the hottest year on record, it also states ““the warmth that we’ve seen in the last decade clearly makes this decade the warmest in the historical period.”

    Maybe you should actually bother to read look at the evidence before doubling down on false statements and asking other to rethink their position.

    But what am I saying, you’re a denier, and thus likely incapable of doing either.

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  40. 40. DrDon1 12:37 pm 06/8/2014

    “See the chart below:” L1995 @37.
    “clearly didn’t bother to read the article” L1995 @39

    “The last 17 or 18 years have seen no warming” DrDon1 @36
    ” That is a zero net gain.” DrDon1 @ 38

    “2013 was tied with 2003 for the hottest year on record” L1995 @39
    “NOAA: 2013 Was Tied For The Fourth-Hottest Year On Record” Article head line.

    “2013 was tied with 2003 as the fourth-warmest year since records began in 1880″ from article.
    “(NASA) reported that along with 2009 and 2006, 2013 was tied for the seventh-warmest year on record”
    Granted the time period is the warmest since 1880. My point is that these temps are all within a small range (a few hundreths of a degree) compared to the 6 tenths increase over a similar time period.
    I am working here with the info you gave me and it makes my point. The big run up is over and now we are holding more or less steady. Yes there are year to year deviations. Since 1998 the chart shows 5 dips and 5 peaks and the current peak is the lowest of the five.

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  41. 41. L1995 1:28 pm 06/8/2014


    Thanks for highlighting the kind of blatant dishonesty one expects to get from deniers.

    We are in the hottest decade on record, as the article I linked to shows. Pretty much the entire field of climatology is stating that the big run up has only just begun, and you deny this because we are “holding steady” at the highest overall temperatures in the historical record.

    You are misrepresenting the data I have provided and desperately trying to move the goal post to maintain your denialist beliefs in the face of facts and evidence.

    Here is another article explaining why your claims are factually bankrupt.

    Here is an excerpt, since you likely won’t bother reading this article anymore than you read the last one:

    “Regarding the ‘pause’, Inigo Montoya would likely tell climate contrarians, ‘You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.’”

    Again, thank you for highlighting the reasons deniers should not be taken seriously.

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  42. 42. DrDon1 2:46 pm 06/8/2014

    You call me one of the “deniers.” then you state “We are in the hottest decade on record, ” a point I already conceded “Granted the time period is the warmest since 1880″

    “You are misrepresenting the data I have provided ”
    I made four points tell me where I mistaken.

    1. The big run up was from the late ’70s to the late ’90s where we went from 0 to +.6

    2.these temps are all within a small range. There was a .1 drop from ’98 through 2000 followed by an equal up tick. After that the swings were less than .05 with the start and finish points the same.

    3. Five peaks and five lows. Anyone who looks a the chart should be able to see that.

    4. the current peak is the lowest of the five. The present peak is on the .6 line the other 4 were all above it.

    You incorrectly stated 2013 was tied for the “the hottest year on record”. The article said it was tied for the “fourth-warmest year since records began in 1880″

    Now for the latest article.

    I got as far as this.

    “Another important piece of oft-omitted information: while the warming of surface temperatures was relatively slow from 1998 to 2012, it was relatively fast from 1990 through 2006. Over longer time frames, for example from 1990 to 2012, average global surface temperatures have warmed as fast as climate scientists and their models expected.”
    The writer uses the term “relatively fast” for 1990-2006 but “relatively slow” for 1998-2012. How would the writer describe 1998-2006 (the over lap period)?
    Secondly relative to what?
    Thirdly “their models” I do not trust the “models”. Sorry I stopped there. I read a magazine article many years ago that stated that after the “dip” in the late ’90s they reworked the models to achieve the following spike. Despite this the temps have fluctuated within a small range since returning to thee +.6 range.

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  43. 43. GreatWhiteSnark 5:03 pm 06/8/2014

    If @oldphysicsguy had a better grasp of modern physics, he’d seem a lot less like @convenientpoliticsguy

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  44. 44. jrkipling 5:24 pm 06/8/2014

    L1995 and DrDon1,

    I can save you both some time and effort. There is virtually no chance that anything meaningful will be done to stop the increase in CO2 over the next 50 to 100 years. People on both sides of this issue, who can do math, will tell you that the Obama goals of a 30% reduction in CO2 emissions, even if met, will not make a noticeable difference in the global increase.

    The new rules will shut down a lot of coal fired power plants and make electricity more expensive, but it will be the poor who are most effected. What is the saying? People get the government they deserve (vote for.) So while I sympathize with their plight, they will have only themselves to blame. For most of us, it won’t be more than a minor aggravation.

    Barring unforeseen technologies, people will experience for themselves what happens at atmospheric CO2 levels of 500 ppmv and above. The feuding between the Alarmifields and the Deniercoys will have about the same significance as the conflict between their hillbilly counterparts. Personally, I don’t think we understand the biosphere well enough to know what effect 500 ppmv will have, but that really doesn’t matter. Levels of 500 ppmv and more are coming either way.

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  45. 45. DrDon1 7:04 pm 06/8/2014

    CO2 levels continue to rise. I can not argue this point so I must accept that for now.

    “I don’t think we understand the biosphere well enough to know what effect 500 ppmv will have,” Again no argument here.

    “Levels of 500 ppmv and more are coming either way.” We do not know this for sure. How long might it take to get there?

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  46. 46. jrkipling 8:35 pm 06/8/2014


    I’m an engineer and not a climate scientist, so if I gave you an answer on how long it will take for atmospheric CO2 to reach 500 ppmv, I would only be restating someone else’s prediction. Web searches will yield many results. I will say the mass balances based on estimates of global fossil fuel combustion very strongly correlate with measurements of CO2 over time. So speaking for myself, I’m convinced that human activity accounts for most of the CO2 increase. If you have the background, I recommend you do the calculations for yourself. Given the trends of fossil fuel consumption, it sure looks like it will hit 500 ppmv to me.

    Part of the reason I comment is to get people to be realistic about the situation and ask them to see the senselessness of all the name calling. My suspicion is that the bitterest comments (from both sides) come from people without much science education. These folks just choose a side and flail away. How their allegiance is determined remains a mystery to me.

    If the climate change issue were dealt with using objective science, there would be no need for all the acrimony. As it stands, most of the writing and discussion of climate change has a political objective and has little connection to realistic solutions. I have no idea if calamity due to climate change awaits the human population. My expectation and hope is that it does not. I am highly confident, almost to a certainty, that the vast majority of people are unprepared to make the sacrifices required to halt the increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration.

    What I ask, is the point to yelling “Denier!” or “Alarmist!”?

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  47. 47. L1995 9:27 pm 06/8/2014


    You are mistaken in claiming those are the four point you made.

    You initially claimed AGW is not happening, based on your erroneous belief that there has been no warming in whatever arbitrary, cherry picked time frame deniers like yourself select to say no warming has occurred.

    I point to an article that utterly debunks this fantasy, and you want me to start quoting items line by line, maybe you should try actually reading it.

    The only correct assertion you made was my error, I meant to say tied for the fourth warmest year, not the warmest.

    “Thirdly “their models” I do not trust the ‘models’”.

    Or the relevant researchers apparently, since they have stated the exact opposite of the views you espouse.

    You don’t need to apologize for not reading an article, I honestly didn’t expect you or any other denier here to read an article or do any critical thinking beyond reciting denialist ideology on the issue.

    Finally, do you have any citation for the article you referenced?

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  48. 48. L1995 9:32 pm 06/8/2014


    “There is virtually no chance that anything meaningful will be done to stop the increase in CO2 over the next 50 to 100 years. ”

    Curious where you got that time frame. I would say it’s hard to predict the rate of technological advancement, let along social change over that long a time frame.

    If you don’t believe it’s possible to predict what increases in CO2 will do to the biosphere over a similar time frame, why do you think it is possible to predict social or technological change over these time frames?

    I won’t bother getting into the inane political ranting and refusal to accept the benefits to everyone, including the poor, new coal regulations will provide; as it seems you have the political blinders on for that one.

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  49. 49. DrDon1 10:56 pm 06/8/2014

    L1995 In my post @42 I listed four points. I will ask a simple question. Am I wrong on these four points?

    “Finally, do you have any citation for the article you referenced?”I wish I did. It was a print magazine that I did not keep.I do not remember the title but I am sure it was from a Christian organization.

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  50. 50. L1995 11:43 pm 06/8/2014


    You posted four blatantly misleading pieces of denialist propaganda designed to propagate the denier myth that AGW is not real despite the fact that we are currently in the hottest decade in recorded history and pretty much the entire field of climatology says we are going to continue going up.

    So I would say intentionally deceptive is a better word than wrong.

    And you actually expect me to change my views on the reliability of climate models because you kind of remember something from some article in some magazine from some Christian organization.

    I appreciate the laugh.

    Again, thanks for highlighting the reasons no one should take deniers seriously.

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  51. 51. jrkipling 12:02 am 06/9/2014


    There is nothing special about a time frame of 50 to 100 years. I think that may be the range in which many predict CO2 to reach 600 ppmv? Yes, it is true that predicting technological advancement is difficult. Advances have certainly been made in the last 50 years. I have been around to observe them. On that point we agree. In @44 I said, “Barring unforeseen technologies…” And that is a significant point. Advances at the rate of the last 50 years won’t solve your problem. Implicit in my comment was that anything short of breakthrough technology will have no meaningful impact. So, shut down use of coal if you like. It doesn’t make a difference.

    There is no political science solution. Convince everyone in the world to speak with one voice. Short of having 9 out of 10 of them do themselves in, that wouldn’t make a difference. Those of us who know how to make things and operate equipment are not holding out on you. You can’t hold your breath until you turn blue to make us solve the problem. Many seem to be of the view that if they shout loudly enough, someone will come to fix it. Shouting is not the solution.

    And I have no expectation of changing your mind. My comment is for the objective reader.

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  52. 52. L1995 1:16 am 06/9/2014

    “Short of having 9 out of 10 of them do themselves in, that wouldn’t make a difference.”

    That was kind of my point. I would like it if pretty much the entire field of climatology was wrong, but if they are not, we will be seeing significant changes to the planet in relatively sort periods that will result in many deaths. Though I doubt it will be 9 people out of 10.

    I’m not suggesting anyone is holding out on me, I am saying you seem rather pessimistic on the idea of a major technological breakthrough in the next 50 to 100 years.

    As for objective readers, do you find many around here?

    That has not been my experience.

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  53. 53. jrkipling 5:16 am 06/9/2014


    On what basis should we be optimistic? The power of positive thinking didn’t work out well for the Cargo Cult. Wikipedia has an outline about the Cargo Cult if you are unfamiliar with it. Interestingly when I checked it, that Wikipedia page referenced an apparently well-known physicist named Richard Feynman who coined the term Cargo Cult Science in a 1974 commencement address to the California Institute of Technology. I’m embarrassed to say that I don’t recall ever knowing about Feynman before finding the above reference to him this morning. But excerpts from Dr. Feynman’s speech seem especially appropriate to this discussion.

    As far as objective readers go, there is no way to tell. It’s true that few, let us call them “unaffiliated” commenters seem to be present. And it isn’t really possible for someone to judge their own objectivity even if objectivity is their goal. Maybe I should have said that my comments were aimed at the as yet unaffiliated readers. Converts to either side seem rarely to commit apostasy.

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  54. 54. RobFromLoveland 5:10 pm 06/10/2014

    Frankly, most of the Americans who question climate science are not “looking for a different source of data” – they are getting all their information from Fox news.
    To the brave few who keep trying to insert intelligence, science, logic, and truthfulness into this discussion; it’s a losing cause. You are dealing with people of faith – they believe what they’ve been told by their chosen leaders, the Fox broadcasters, and they are convinced everyone else is part of a giant conspiracy to mislead them.

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  55. 55. jrkipling 10:27 pm 06/10/2014


    Neither Fox News nor any other organization/government has any influence on solutions to prevent the increase of atmospheric CO2. As I said before, no one with an understanding of the scale of CO2 generation believes there is or will be a global willingness to address this issue. Were there the resolve, the technology does not yet exist to implement a meaningful solution. So, thrash about as you wish. Just realize your efforts are futile.

    Peace Dude.

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  56. 56. QRIUS1 4:22 pm 06/11/2014

    Would that some of the FOX regular viewers tune in to Cosmos as a way to broaden their cosmological view a little bit. But that would take concentration and courage. You are right on with your comments. I’m pretty discouraged finding so many denial statements on this blog, but, on the other hand, maybe I should consider the possibility that the deniers are getting scared enough to strike out at science.

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  57. 57. jrkipling 5:04 pm 06/11/2014


    There is actually quite a high probability that FOX viewers watched COSMOS 2014. The FOX Network aired it. Fox widely promoted the series. Please read below from Wikipedia:

    “The series premiered on March 9, 2014,[5] simultaneously in the US across ten 21st Century Fox networks. The remainder of the series aired on Fox, with the National Geographic Channel rebroadcasting the episodes the next night with extra content.[6] The series has been rebroadcast internationally in dozens of other countries by local National Geographic and Fox stations. The series concluded on June 8, 2014, with home media release of the entire series on June 10, 2014.”


    Thanks for your comment. It seems there is no high dudgeon like that of the uninformed righteous. Yours is an example from the left. Low information zealotry from the right is just as saddening. Zealots from both sides are impervious to the scientific method. Their self-righteous beliefs are articles of faith. Worse yet the zealots vote.

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  58. 58. jrkipling 6:26 pm 06/11/2014

    I want to assure everyone that I am not using multiple usernames here, nor am I in collaboration with other commenters. I couldn’t have asked for better examples to prove my point about objectivity however.

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  59. 59. sflandherr 6:43 pm 06/11/2014

    L1995 (@47, @50)

    You still haven’t addressed the 4 points made by DrDon1 (@42).
    He is not debating any theory, he is simply making visual observations on a graph that you yourself have provided.

    If the graph was about something totally unrelated to climate (e.g. average diameter of coffee cups) would you continue to deny the obvious points he has made about the period 1998-2013 ?

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  60. 60. DrDon1 9:23 pm 06/11/2014

    59. sflandherr L1995 is afraid to admit my conclusions are correct because L1995 is on tilt because of this statement.
    “Global Warming is not being caused by man because it is not happening.”

    But I am just Dr.Don so maybe I need to quote someone.

    ” London, 15 March: A new report written by Dr David Whitehouse and published today by the Global Warming Policy Foundation concludes that there has been no statistically significant increase in annual global temperatures since 1997.

    After reviewing the scientific literature the report concludes that the standstill is an empirical fact and a reality that challenges current climate models. During the time that the Earth’s global temperature has remained static the atmospheric composition of carbon dioxide has increased from 370 to 390 ppm.

    “The standstill is a reality and is not the result of cherry-picking start and end points. Its commencement can be seen clearly in the data, and it continues to this day,” said Dr David Whitehouse, the author of the new report.”

    Now I do not know who Dr.Whitehouse is nor do I know anything about the “Global Warming Policy Foundation” but I betcha L1995 will call them “deniers” too.

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  61. 61. DrDon1 10:26 pm 06/11/2014

    L1995 I get it. Even if the temps aren’t rising they are staying in the “danger zone”. CO2 levels continue to rise and that can’t be good, right? I also realize that tomorrow or the next day could mark the start of another 20 year run up.
    The problem is not how hot it is or how high the seas will rise. The problem is that man is no longer nomadic and too many live along the coasts.

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  62. 62. qdtqdt 7:01 pm 06/17/2014

    As a result of the climate change questions and issues being incoherently formulated, the entire public discussion makes no sense,

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