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Mitt Romney gets climate change–wait, just kidding!


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"Everybody, chill!" Photo from Reuters.

When I read through Mitt Romney’s responses to ScienceDebate.org’s top 14 science and technology questions last week, I really wanted to see Mitt Romney make some sense on climate change. I mean, I really wanted to. And for a few seconds, I was nodding my head along as I read. Then politics and reality set in.

Here is the climate change question asked to both President Obama and Mitt Romney:

The Earth’s climate is changing and there is concern about the potentially adverse effects of these changes on life on the planet. What is your position on cap-and-trade, carbon taxes, and other policies proposed to address global climate change—and what steps can we take to improve our ability to tackle challenges like climate change that cross national boundaries?

Mitt Romney responds with:

I am not a scientist myself, but my best assessment of the data is that the world is getting warmer, that human activity contributes to that warming, and that policymakers should therefore consider the risk of negative consequences.

So far, so good! He’s relating to the majority of Americans who aren’t scientists, but more importantly, Romney apparently accepts that the atmosphere is warming (as it is has done over the history of the planet) and that we, humans, have contributed to that warming (as we’ll see, he isn’t convinced of the extent of our influence). And he acknowledges that human activity contributes to global warming. Not so bad. But then we’re off into familiar territory with:

However, there remains a lack of scientific consensus on the issue — on the extent of the warming, the extent of the human contribution, and the severity of the risk — and I believe we must support continued debate and investigation within the scientific community.

Huge sigh. Here comes the hedging and the seat shifting and car salesman maneuver to weasel out of a huge global issue. First, let’s not mistake consensus with risk or certainty. There is consensus, and there has been for years (see IPCC). We have a pretty good idea about what contributes to a warming climate (GHGs!), and can attribute the rise in GHGs to the industrialization and mechanization of our society that bucks the historical warming and cooling patterns. I respect Romney’s call for further investigation. Further research is good. Sitting on our hands and delaying our responsibilities for a few more years? That’s a false choice.

Don’t worry, it gets better:

The reality is that the problem is called Global Warming, not America Warming. China long ago passed America as the leading emitter of greenhouse gases. Developed world emissions have leveled off while developing world emissions continue to grow rapidly, and developing nations have no interest in accepting economic constraints to change that dynamic. In this context, the primary effect of unilateral action by the U.S. to impose costs on its own emissions will be to shift industrial activity overseas to nations whose industrial processes are more emissions-intensive and less environmentally friendly.

I’m disappointed because parts of his response makes sense. It’s the other half that gives me a headache. First, global warming or climate change is indeed a global problem, hence the name. It’s also a tough problem to address. There are multiple factors that contribute to an overall warming of the Earth’s atmosphere, anthropogenic GHG emissions being a primary factor, in addition to water vapor, volcanoes, etc. It is also a tough problem because of the inequalities of who primarily contributes to the problem, and who suffers the consequences. Unfortunately, developing nations that have contributed less to increasing GHG emissions over the past couple hundred years, one could intelligently argue, will be impacted more by a changing climate (whether that’s rainfall patterns changing, sea level rise, associate health outbreaks, etc). Sorry, guys.

As for China, it is true that China passed the United States in overall CO2 emissions around 2006, but the United States is by far the leading per capita emitter of carbon emissions, emitting roughly four times as much CO2 per capita compared to the Chinese. World Resource Institute summarizes this in a nice chart:

In other words, the average Chinese citizen would have to increase his/her carbon dioxide output by four times to equal an American. The United States doesn’t have the highest carbon dioxide emissions per capita. That honor goes to the United Arab Emirates, which is like saying you’re just ahead of Mississippi in public education performance (sorry).

It appears Mitt Romney’s prefers to provide mere lip service to science (yes the atmosphere is warming, but let’s not get up in arms about what to do about it), while instituting a “better wait and see” policy model and proceeding full speed ahead on a carbon-based energy infrastructure. On Romney’s website, he touts an increase in carbon-based energy production as one of his major energy platform planks, while hedging on alternative energy. If there’s anything we should be doing, surely it’s increasing carbon dioxide emissions! And on climate change policy specifically, he favors amending the Clean Air Act to remove carbon dioxide as a pollutant.

Say what?

David Wogan About the Author: An engineer and policy researcher who writes about energy, technology, and policy - and everything in between. Based in Austin, Texas. Comments? david.m.wogan@gmail.com Follow on Twitter @davidwogan.

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





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  1. 1. sethdiyal 10:40 am 09/10/2012

    From Sciam’s 10 questions on science to the leaders

    Romney
    “And I believe the federal government must significantly streamline the regulatory framework for the deployment of new energy technologies, including a new wave of investment in nuclear power. ”
    ” responsible use of all energy sources — from oil and coal and natural gas, to nuclear and hydropower and biofuels, to wind and solar.”

    Obama
    ” we safely and responsibly develop America’s many energy resources – including natural gas, wind, solar, oil, clean coal, and biofuels – ”

    This considered statement has eliminated the world nuclear used previously in Obama’s statements on the subject and it reflects the defacto nuclear obstuctionism of the Obama administration.

    Almost all science based environmentalists from the worlds number one James Hansen on down tell us, that nuclear power is the only in time solution to AGW. Obama’s junk science is nothing more than Green Koolaid.

    By denying the science that tells us the Global Warming Precipice is fast approaching and deliberately blocking the only possible in time solution, Obama is a far more dangerous warming Denier than Romney.

    They clearly show Obama to be one or more of, corrupted by Big Oil, a fool or a traitor to his country.

    All of Obama’s solutions are pushed by Big Oil lobbyist’s to corrupt Democrats, as they know none of them are workable, diverting attention from the massive growth in their own product sales.

    Not one sentence in Obama’s considered response included the word nuclear while Romney mentioned it prominently and hopefully sincerely dispute his own large Big Oil influences.

    In fact, the Obama administration passively resists all efforts at developing new nuke power from appointing antinuke activists like Jaczko and MacFarlane to the NRC, to providing miniscule funding for new nuclear. It actively blocks working solutions like the GE Prism and Oak Ridges MSR. Here’s IFR advocate Stephen Kirsch begging the nuclear obstructionists betraying their country in the White house to let the IFR go.

    Google “why-obama-should-meet­till/#more­5076″

    China is spending spending $500M annually developing the American invented MSR (MSR).

    Can the American economy survive competing against Chinese nuclear at less than a tenth the cost? Why doesn’t Obama give a damn?

    Given the extreme danger of global warming even though Romney’s platform fails in so many other ways, no rational voter believing in real science can vote for Obama. The cost could well be the end of civilization as we know it.

    Link to this
  2. 2. OliverChiapco 11:16 am 09/10/2012

    Great article, David!
    Sitting on our hands and delaying our responsibilities for a few more years is clearly not the choice. Unfortunately, the GOP has plenty of time to play this game. Because as you may very well know, the US alone has another couple centuries of coal supply. So there is not a lot of pressure to look for alternative energy source.
    In the meantime, our greenhouse gas production continues to choke the biosphere and climate change becomes more and more of a real threat. If nobody takes a bold and sweeping action at the present time, our children will very likely find themselves way beyond the tipping point.
    I have dedicated a chapter on the perils of climate change on my recently published book, The Final Race. It pretty much highlights the very same arguments that you have raised.

    Link to this
  3. 3. sjn 12:00 pm 09/10/2012

    Personally I do not believe that nuclear power is the solution. But my fear is that if the GOP succeeds in their campaign to deregulate, defund and delay alternative solutions we may well end up in the position Mr. Hansen proposes, where we have no time or alternative but to adopt a massive short term transition to nuclear power.
    If I were a conspiratorial minded person (which I most definitely am not) I would begin to wonder if that were the GOP’s plan in the first place. However, I fear it is more likely just their short term focus and particular American ideology that considers the idea of any long term national planning a step on the road to some socialist hell.

    Link to this
  4. 4. G. Karst 12:07 pm 09/10/2012

    David Wogan – please show your evidence that CO2 at ppm, is a pollutant. It is no more a pollutant than oxygen, in fact it IS mostly oxygen. This oxygen O-C-O, is nicely sequestered in our atmosphere, until plants can eat the carbon and refresh our atmosphere. This makes CO2 THE most essential, beneficial TRACE gas we can produce. The small amount of warming is just another benefit for our plant friends.

    I suggest it is you, that is in error, and in dire need of a remedial chemistry class. Politics is the art of making people believe through the use of propaganda and manipulation. There is no room for such within the scientific method. You sir, are no scientist, nor will you ever be. GK

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  5. 5. geojellyroll 12:16 pm 09/10/2012

    Obama was in church yesterday praying to a dead-guy-on-a-stick. Hopefully in his taslks with a mythical being he found the solution to clean energy use. Obama claims to talk to his god on a regular basis.

    It’s amusing how in 2012 folks who promote science can take either of these two religious whackos seriously.

    Link to this
  6. 6. tharriss 12:22 pm 09/10/2012

    On the other hand, Obama is a president in a country that would not consider an Atheist or probably even an Agnostic as a serious candidate… so even if he didn’t believe in a “dead-guy-on-a-stick”, he’d have to pretend he did in order to have any shot at being in office.

    There are levels of religious “whackoness”, and Obama and Romney aren’t even on the same scale…

    Link to this
  7. 7. G. Karst 12:31 pm 09/10/2012

    Just to put CO2 in perspective – when one performs mouth to mouth resuscitation, to save a dying person, he is breathing up to 20,000 ppm of CO2 into the victim’s dying lungs. The victim is saved not killed by this so called pollution.

    Just another thought for the day. GK

    Link to this
  8. 8. geojellyroll 12:57 pm 09/10/2012

    thariss

    Why isn’t Obama worshipping a dead-guy-on-a-stick as whacky as it gets? He claims to talk to a guy who may or may niot have existed and became worm food. Obama as repeated a hundered tinms that Jesus is his savior. What exactly does he mean that he talks to a dead guy and that the dead guy is going to save him?

    This isn’t whacky? Popularity doesn’t make it any less anti-science.

    Link to this
  9. 9. goodscience45 1:07 pm 09/10/2012

    @G. Karst – “please show your evidence that CO2 at ppm, is a pollutant. It is no more a pollutant than oxygen, in fact it IS mostly oxygen.” I don’t think so. CO2 produced from burning fossil fuels or slash and burn agriculture has a very different isotopic composition from atmospheric CO2 in the atmosphere. Furthermore, when CO2 dissolves in the ocean, it increases the hydrogen ion concentration though the chemical reaction CO2 + CO32- + H2O → 2HCO3-, The increase in the dissolution of anthropogenically sourced carbon dioxide is causing our ocean chemistry to become unbalanced. As the pH decreases, carbonate becomes less available, which makes it more difficult for organisms to secrete CaCO3 to form their skeletal material. I suggest that you, not David, are in need of a remedial chemistry class.

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  10. 10. novema 1:09 pm 09/10/2012

    G. Karst: As someone who has taken a few basic chemistry classes, I just want to point out that cyanide (CN) is just carbon and nitrogen bonded together. Nitrogen is 78% of the air we breathe and is pretty harmless, but I don’t think that means that cyanide is harmless as well.

    As a plant ecologist, our “plant friends” have a much more complicated relationship with CO2 than one might think. Elevated CO2 improves the productivity of some plants more than others, and this can have a huge impact on food and crop production. For example, the invasive yellow starthistle, which is a huge problem for ranchers in California, does a lot better in response to elevated CO2 than native plants (http://www.esajournals.org/doi/pdf/10.1890/11-0111.1). Just because certain plants are happier, doesn’t automatically mean that will make humans happier.

    Link to this
  11. 11. G. Karst 1:32 pm 09/10/2012

    “G. Karst: As someone who has taken a few basic chemistry classes, I just want to point out that cyanide (CN) is just carbon and nitrogen bonded together. Nitrogen is 78% of the air we breathe and is pretty harmless, but I don’t think that means that cyanide is harmless as well.”

    If you think comparing hydrogen cyanide compounds (deadly poison) to non-toxic, life giving CO2, is a valid chemistry point… then you too, need a remedial chemistry course ASAP. CO2 is essentially inert and is only life threatening when it displaces oxygen below viable levels. Please explain how that can happen even if we burn every carbon atom we can find. You are no chemist… sorry. GK

    Link to this
  12. 12. G. Karst 2:10 pm 09/10/2012

    goodscience45 says:

    “I don’t think so. CO2 produced from burning fossil fuels or slash and burn agriculture has a very different isotopic composition from atmospheric CO2 in the atmosphere.”

    What does the isotopic content or carbon or oxygen have to do with any issue other than source determination?!

    As to ocean pH, It varies all over the map. Some claim a change recently of 0.1 in AVERAGE oceanic pH. A miniscule variation which may or may not be valid. The percentage of H+ ion increase that you read about, is only within the logarithmic decade. It is not representative of pH change against the entire pH range of 0-14. On this scale it is virtually non existent. The oceans sit in a bowl of mile deep buffer deposits surrounded by carbonate shoals. This unlimited buffer will prevent any significant alteration of pH for as long as we can project.

    Here is a experimental challenge. Put a glass of water on your kitchen table. Try to measure the pH to 0.1. Now go away for an hour, compensate for any temperature change. Now measure the pH again to 0.1

    Funny how each time you measure it to 0.1, you keep getting entirely different measured values. That is the nature of pH measurements. If the oceanic pH has become slightly more neutral, we would not be able to detect it, for some time yet. But don’t believe me… perform the experiment, or please change your handle to “bad science”. GK

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  13. 13. singing flea 2:53 pm 09/10/2012

    “If you think comparing hydrogen cyanide compounds (deadly poison) to non-toxic, life giving CO2, is a valid chemistry point… then you too, need a remedial chemistry course ASAP. ”

    FYI…as quoted from:

    http://www.inspectapedia.com/hazmat/CO2gashaz.htm

    “Basic Information about Concentrations of CO2 in Air

    1,000,000 ppm of a gas = 100 % concentration of the gas, and 10,000 ppm of a gas in air = a 1% concentration.
    At 1% concentration of carbon dioxide CO2 (10,000 parts per million or ppm) and under continuous exposure at that level, such as in an auditorium filled with occupants and poor fresh air ventilation, some occupants are likely to feel drowsy.
    The concentration of carbon dioxide must be over about 2% (20,000 ppm) before most people are aware of its presence unless the odor of an associated material (auto exhaust or fermenting yeast, for instance) is present at lower concentrations.
    Above 2%, carbon dioxide may cause a feeling of heaviness in the chest and/or more frequent and deeper respirations.
    If exposure continues at that level for several hours, minimal “acidosis” (an acid condition of the blood) may occur but more frequently is absent.
    Breathing rate doubles at 3% CO2 and is four times the normal rate at 5% CO2.
    Toxic levels of carbon dioxide: at levels above 5%, concentration CO2 is directly toxic. [At lower levels we may be seeing effects of a reduction in the relative amount of oxygen rather than direct toxicity of CO2.]

    Symptoms of high or prolonged exposure to carbon dioxide include headache, increased heart rate, dizziness, fatigue, rapid breathing, visual and hearing dysfunctions. Exposure to higher levels may cause unconsciousness or death within minutes of exposure.”

    Read down to the chart and you will see that CO2 is indeed a toxic gas. It is toxic enough to cause death in concentrations of 20% for 1 minute or less.

    Helium on the other hand which is a true non-toxic or noble gas is harmless and as long as there is enough oxygen mixed with the helium it will not kill you.

    The problem with toxic chemicals as it relates to human health is not the chemical itself buy the effect it has on other processes going on in the human body like respiration or cell production or even nerve function.

    Would you commission a nuclear power plant without taking into account the toxic concentration of the radiation it emits and it’s cumulative effects? How about the waste products that the plants produce? I suspect you would which is precisely why knowledgeable people with an honest understanding of chemistry are opposed to crackpot physicists pushing nuclear technology before the consequences of improper waste management is properly addressed.

    Link to this
  14. 14. dwilliamsiii 3:21 pm 09/10/2012

    Romney (& most republicans) are not stupid… they do get climate change… but it conflicts with their only agenda… continue to suck as much $$$ & power as possible from the 99.9% to the .1% (already got the vast majority)… that sucking sound is getting so loud it’s drowning out science & truth, amplified by Faux news etc.

    Link to this
  15. 15. singing flea 3:36 pm 09/10/2012

    Qute from G Karst…”The oceans sit in a bowl of mile deep buffer deposits surrounded by carbonate shoals. This unlimited buffer will prevent any significant alteration of pH for as long as we can project.”

    This statement is just the kind of trumped up straw-man argument that makes me wonder if you have any formal training in science at all.

    As for your teaching experiment with a glass of water and a PH strip, what does this have to do with anything in chemistry? All chemistry experiments have variable factors. It is the nature of Brownian motion and random sampling. This variability proves nothing. Hence, it is a straw-man argument.

    What real biologists are concerned with is concentrations that keep going up or down after months or years of random sampling at different times of the day and during different temperature variations. That is collated with other observations of cellular structure changes in sea life that are also observed thousands of times under variable conditions. Eventually they arrive at predictable trends. That is the essence of the scientific process, not broad statements and unyielding assumptions.

    The ability of carbonate shoals to buffer and entrap CO2 in sea water is relative to a time factor. It is a process that will take thousands or millions of years to decrease Co2 concentrations to levels that were normal just a century ago. Real scientists strive to create trend predictions. Your understanding of the basic process involved are flawed at the root level.

    Perhaps you should change your handle to ‘chemistry dropout’.

    Link to this
  16. 16. G. Karst 4:08 pm 09/10/2012

    singing flea: FYI

    Spewing irrelevant information again. The atmosphere presently contains 393 ppm. Plant life cannot be maintained below 200 ppm. When you speak of 5% CO2, you are referring to 5000 ppm. Since we have 20,000 ppm in our breath, you have a long ways to go for toxicity. We could burn every drop of oil and every crumb of coal, and we would not remotely reach those levels. It would take several super volcano like a yellowstone eruption to do that.

    All gases become dangerous in high enough concentrations, including and especially regarding oxygen. Even inert N2 is toxic (narcosis) when breathed under pressure (even helium at high enough pressure). Your statement is akin to saying “since I can swim, I must be a fish”.

    Your 5000 ppm of CO2 can be found in any room with a lot of people in it. We encounter it often. If people keel over when you breathe on them… my guess is you have terribly bad breath odor. DO NOT blame CO2. The planet has seen 2000 ppm (and higher) without extinction.

    http://www.biocab.org/Geological_Timescale.jpg

    Even on short time scales, present ice age, CO2 is in line with the past interglacials:

    http://www.geocraft.com/WVFossils/PageMill_Images/Temp_0-400k_yrs.gif

    Arguing extremes that are not physically possible, with you, as it is an exercise in futility. If you have something else in your propaganda bag… that actually addresses reality… let me know. GK

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  17. 17. Cramer 4:27 pm 09/10/2012

    Singing Flea,

    I believe you meant that Karst is using a red herring, not a straw man.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strawman
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_herring

    But keep up the good fight.

    Link to this
  18. 18. Doc Stephens 4:56 pm 09/10/2012

    There is no discernible difference in the two candidates understanding of climate science. Their obvious differences reflect their politics and the influence of their respective bases that they need to please. Romney’s statement demonstrates humility about what he understands and skepticism about what science has determined. Obama’s statement is actually quite arrogant. Like the author of this blog, he knows the truth and the science is definitely settled. There is a profound difference in the two candidates understanding of science. Romney appreciates that science is never settled. Obama does not seem to appreciate this core value of scientific inquiry.

    Link to this
  19. 19. G. Karst 5:11 pm 09/10/2012

    This is an excerpt from someone who answers this question more thoroughly:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Nasif_Nahle

    ‘CARBON DIOXIDE AND HUMAN HEALTH
    By Nasif Nahle

    Pollutants are dangerous compounds for living beings.

    Like water, CO2 is vital for life on Earth; thus, CO2 is not a pollutant or contaminant.

    The specific heat of CO2 is 850 J/Kg K, which means carbon dioxide is able to absorb, store and emit heat. However, we cannot take this property into account when considering if CO2 is a pollutant because Water has a specific heat of 1,996 J/kg K, which means it is more efficient than CO2 at absorbing, emitting and storing heat. Water, like CO2, is vital for living beings.

    CO2 densities have increased to more than 4000 ppmv in some geological eras, for example, during the Ordovician Period (Scotesse; 2002. Avildsen et al; 1998). When CO2 in the terrestrial atmosphere has reached densities this high in the past, life flourished abundantly. Consequently, we cannot consider such a high concentration of atmospheric CO2 as “pollution”.

    CO2 is the basic nutrient for plants and other photosynthetic organisms. Plants form the base of every food chain. Thus, the greater the density of CO2 in a given environment, the greater will be the production of food for plants and of the animals that feed on them.

    In recent times it has become fashionable to relate CO2 to global warming, but water in its liquid or gaseous phase absorbs, stores and emits heat 4 times (400%) more efficiently than CO2. If, therefore, by this property water is not considered a pollutant, CO2 then cannot be considered a pollutant either.’ … GK

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  20. 20. marclevesque 5:24 pm 09/10/2012

    4. G. Karst

    “We commonly think of pollutants as contaminants that make the environment dirty or impure. A vivid example is sulphur dioxide, a by-product of industrial activity. High levels of sulphur dioxide cause breathing problems … Carbon dioxide, on the other hand, is a naturally occuring gas that existed in the atmosphere long before humans. Plants need it to survive. The CO2 greenhouse effect keeps our climate from freezing over. How can CO2 be considered a pollutant?”

    A broader definition of pollutant is a substance that causes instability or discomfort to an ecosystem.

    the 2007 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that determined that greenhouse gases fit within the Clean Air Act definition of air pollutants.

    “To focus on a few positive effects of carbon dioxide is to ignore the broader picture of its full impacts. The net result from increasing CO2 are severe negative impacts on our environment and the living conditions of future humanity.”

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/is-co2-a-pollutant.html

    http://yosemite.epa.gov/opa/admpress.nsf/0/08D11A451131BCA585257685005BF252

    Link to this
  21. 21. Cramer 6:39 pm 09/10/2012

    The essay by Nasif Nahle is an excellent example of a red herring.

    Here’s another definition for pollutant by The American Heritage Science Dictionary: “POLLUTANT: A substance or condition that contaminates air, water, or soil. Pollutants can be artificial substances, such as pesticides and PCBs, or naturally occurring substances, such as oil or carbon dioxide, that occur in harmful concentrations in a given environment. Heat transmitted to natural waterways through warm-water discharge from power plants and uncontained radioactivity from nuclear wastes are also considered pollutants.”

    Read carefully: Warm water discharged from power plants can be considered a pollutant. Like NASIF NAHLE, I can also produce an essay about the benefits of warm water, but that doesn’t mean warm water can’t screw up the ecological balance of a river.

    Link to this
  22. 22. Doc Stephens 7:54 pm 09/10/2012

    The notion of a balance in nature is a convenient argument. Unfortunately, it is a cliche without merit. Rivers, the atmosphere, oceans, the pond down the street, and my armpit are all constantly changing, never to be the same as before. Adding warm water to a cold stream changes that stream differently than it would have changed without the warm water being added. Likewise, there is no perfect atmospheric balance that we should attempt to reestablish. The secret to a productive human future is adaptating to a constantly changing world. Most importantly, we should start planning for a rather abrubt ending to our current interglacial. It is going to be a potentially catastrophic challenge for our species.

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  23. 23. Ungolythe 10:02 pm 09/10/2012

    To minimize the impact of C02 emissions by saying that life was doing great during the Ordovician is like telling the citizens of New Orleans to not worry about approaching hurricanes because the area was once completely submerged by water and things were going swell for the inhabitants at that time. Yes, life did flourish during the Ordovician but it would have been impossible for humans to survive at that time.

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  24. 24. G. Karst 10:45 pm 09/10/2012

    Tsk Tsk conflating heat pollution with water being the pollutant. So with oil contaminated water… it is the water which is the contaminate?!? Well, I guess it’s true if we were discussing engines. Do I really have to rebut this nonsense? I choose not to. GK

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  25. 25. Ungolythe 10:56 pm 09/10/2012

    @geojellyroll, why the vitriol against people of faith? Do you actually hear Obama saying that God told him to do something? You do realize that there are degrees of “religiosity”, for lack of a better term, that people practice? There are plenty of Christians who don’t really believe in the Virgin Mary, Adam and Eve, the flood etc…but do believe in the life and teachings of Jesus. Would you rid us of the science and progress brought to us by scientists of faith? Yes, there are also plenty of scientists who are atheists, which is perfectly fine by me, yet aren’t militant in their attacks on “non-atheists”.

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  26. 26. jackofalltrades 10:09 am 09/11/2012

    Question for political bums to ask
    Is it wise to quit farming a piece of ground,because the river will rise and flood the field ? Would it not be better to figure out how to build a levy to control flooding? If greenhouse gasses are changeing the weather should you not be figureing out how mankind can surive the change instead o telling us ,we are all dead? Yes we have and allways have had problem , the differnce in then and now is the amount of complaining about them is greater that the figureing out how to live with them.Cars when first produced created automoble accidents, not a good thing. Rules of the road came along and most of us avoid accidents.Complain about a problem and it will get worst,finding a solution to the problem is harder work.The easy way is not allways the best,and America for all it’s pride and Freedons can not do it alone.A world problem can only be cured by the world’s people no one government can.The scientist have worked together in the past,something political bums have never done. I now call on the scientists to do it again. and figure out how we can live without things we can not do,like mass starvation,polulation reduction,loss of all tec.

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  27. 27. Cramer 2:45 pm 09/11/2012

    Mr Stephens puts up a straw man. I never claimed that nature was NOT dynamic. Here’s another straw man for you: implying from what you wrote, pollutants do not exist, we should simply adapt to the changes resulting from the so-called pollutants. Or is that what you actually believe? I won’t put words into your mouth.

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  28. 28. delspace 6:07 pm 09/13/2012

    In response to G. Karst: Your math is as bad as your science. 5000 ppm is NOT 5%! 50,000 ppm is 5%. At 1% CO2, a person at rest is not at risk, but if that same person were to attempt to do heavy work or exercise, they would immediately be in danger with heavy breathing because the high CO2 in their blood stream from heavy work would not exchange fast enough to prevent respiratory stress.

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  29. 29. tsnell 7:12 pm 09/13/2012

    The whole discussion of CO2 as a poison / non-poison is irrelevant. What’s at issue is the blanket effect of CO2 on the earth’s radiation of heat out into space. The more CO2 the more blanket, and the warmer we get, the greater the chance for radical climate change including drought, melting glaciers (the source of critical fresh water in many areas of the world), and so forth. To suggest that we humans have done little to contribute to this problem is to put one’s head in the sand. The combination of the relatively recent vast increase in human population and the introduction of the industrial revolution and it’s massive increase in the burning of coal, oil, and gas are the major contributors to this problem. A 1 or 2 degree rise in earth temperature may not seem like much, but to complex systems like climate and ecology it can have a massive effect. I’ve only touched on the beginnings of this topic, but it will have to do for now.

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  30. 30. KJM 7:23 pm 09/13/2012

    G. Karst.
    When one performs mouth to mouth resuscitation that diluted Oxygen is all that’s available to you. When the Para-Medics arrive they bring a bottle of Oxygen, not a bottle of CO2.

    Link to this
  31. 31. tucanofulano 7:51 pm 09/13/2012

    4 Doc Stephens

    Amen, brother!

    “There’s what you know you know, what you don’t know you know, what you know you don’t know, and then there’s Obama with what you don’t know you don’t know”

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  32. 32. G. Karst 12:07 am 09/14/2012

    delspace says:

    “In response to G. Karst: Your math is as bad as your science. 5000 ppm is NOT 5%! 50,000 ppm is 5%”

    Thanks for correcting the decimal point slip. What year are you predicting atmospheric CO2 will reach 10,000 ppm? I want to cancel the yard work, for that day. GK

    Link to this

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