About the SA Blog Network

Plugged In

Plugged In

More than wires - exploring the connections between energy, environment, and our lives
Plugged In HomeAboutContact

It’s time to accept the facts about climate change and move on

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

Email   PrintPrint

A temperature forecast map of Australia features a brand new color scale to accommodate rising temperatures.

Unfortunately, climate change has become a political issue that is too often distilled down and divided into ideological camps. It is used to rally troops and discredit opposing parties, to further political agendas. It is a political hand grenade that is thrown with reckless abandon to the point that the science itself is questioned.

When David Biello asked last week “what will it take to solve climate change?”, my initial reaction was that we should start by agreeing on what we know about climate change – facts as determined by scientists around the world. After that, we can have rational discussions and spirited debates about how to most effectively curb greenhouse gas emissions.

Because we actually know a lot about climate change! We know that the climate warms and cools over time. We know that atmospheric carbon dioxide traps heat in the form of radiation from the sun. We know that the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has risen as mankind has been burning fossil resources and destroying carbon sinks (forests!). We know that the climate is changing, and that not all of the outcomes will be favorable.

But those with an interest in stalling progress on climate change have been successful by injecting uncertainty into the discussion to the point where you’re arguing these very facts over Thanksgiving dinner.

A new video by scientists Peter C. Frumhoff, an ecologist at the Union of Concerned Scientists, and Kerry Emanuel, a climate and hurricane researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is a step in the right direction. Frumhoff and Emanuel are from different political parties: Frumhoff is a liberal Democrat and Emanuel is currently an independent (formerly a Republican). They both agree on the science of climate change and the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

My point is: climate change is larger than any political party, any political agenda. Let’s agree on the facts so we can move on to finding solutions. Reclaim Thanksgiving dinner.

Hat tip to Andy Revkin over at Dot Earth.


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? Follow on Twitter @davidwogan.

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

Rights & Permissions

Comments 51 Comments

Add Comment
  1. 1. SteveO 8:10 pm 01/13/2013

    David, I sincerely hope that you are right, but my experience is that the deniers can’t talk about it rationally, or even view data without making a value judgement. The genuinely think they are the most rational ones in the room. There is something fundamental happening in discussions on this topic that is different than rationality, and I have no idea what that is. I suspect until we do, we will have deniers regardless of how clear and cogent the data are.

    A test for you (which I kind of did in a little article I wrote and sometimes do when talking with folks): Change the terms so that you are apparently talking about something else. In my case, I’d propose that you are running a manufacturing process, but pick something you and your interlocutors know. You gather data from the process and find these results (present climate data re-structured as manufacturing data or whatever). Changing the process costs money, the data have some stated uncertainty, but come from many different sources using very different data collection methods. After reviewing the risks and threats, ask “Are you justified in changing the process?”

    You will easily get a “yes” answer if you recode climate data that way. Any business would not take the risks of inaction faced with the consequences of it. But when you reveal that the data were actually climate data, and the process change they advocated is actually addressing the probability of anthropic climate change, it is suddenly a different topic and their own conclusion that they should address the process change has nothing to do with it. Even though the world’s climate is a lot more important than a company.

    I, for one, would like to understand how a scientific topic has somehow become or been made political, which in turn means that the non-rational parts of people’s brains get engaged. They then become the vocal advocates in an area in which they have no expertise.

    Then I would patent that technique and use it to become the benevolent ruler of the planet… (j/k)

    Link to this
  2. 2. Gentle Skeptic 9:06 pm 01/13/2013

    One thing that would help is to eschew polarizing appellations such as “the deniers” for people with whom one disagrees. This characterization tends to derail the sort of “rational discussions and spirited debates” the author of this article hopes to engender.

    Link to this
  3. 3. rgray222 9:06 pm 01/13/2013

    It is important for people to understand how and why this issue became politicized so that we don’t go down that road again and focus on the real issues. We need have commonality among all political parties to solve the problems. The global warming issue was fueled by government grant money, anyone who thinks otherwise has not done one iota of research. The universities did not want to kill the golden goose so they put forward erroneous and false data. There is no doubt that this was the outcome that politicians wanted, from their they moved quickly in an attempt to tax people on their erroneous findings. Now we find article after article similar to this one, accept climate change and move on. The truth is there is a lot we do not know, a lot of what we have been told is wrong. We know that the climate has changed and the globe has warmed before the industrial revolution at least three times that we know of. We know that the glaciers have disappeared from the earth at least three times. There is no doubt that greenhouse gases and carbon emissions are not good for the planet but to drive this political truck down a never ending road without much discussion (accept one sided) and debate is only dividing people further apart!

    Link to this
  4. 4. dwbd 9:12 pm 01/13/2013

    We don’t need to “..agree on the facts so we can move on to finding solutions..”. The solutions are already there and quite straightforward. The problem is lots of politicians want to talk-the-talk but ain’t interested in walking-the-walk, since that would jeopardize the Big Carbon donations they get. So what we have instead is $trillions going to Nutty Scams like Solar & Wind Energy, Carbon Capture, Cap and Trade, Agrofuels, Hydrogen Economy, H2 fool cell vehicles, Net-Zero Energy buildings and a whole raft of Energy Efficiency Scams.

    Link to this
  5. 5. Sciencefirstandforemost 9:30 pm 01/13/2013

    ‘I’m right and you’re wrong…let’s move on’

    Link to this
  6. 6. RileyH 9:35 pm 01/13/2013

    The author has listed a few facts which by and large are not “denied” by anyone – that climate changes over time, that a CO2 molcule traps heat, that humans are putting CO2 into the air and that as temp increases this may not be beneficial in 100% of all cases. Who denies these things? No-one I know. However, none of these facts are evidence for the idea that humans have caused the 0.6 deg increase we have seen over the last 100 years or that humans will cause more increases in temperature that will result in disaster, or that we can stop the current upward trend by curbing CO2 emissions. I think there is no evidence at all for these last assertions and I also think that anyone who believes this stuff has rocks in their head.

    Link to this
  7. 7. Sciencefirstandforemost 9:39 pm 01/13/2013

    Climate change will be a prority when science is recognized as such and other so called ‘facts’ are acknoledged as idle speculation.

    Science can meansure that 2012 was the 8th warmest year in recent decades…Science is NOT about then declaring ‘therefore we are all going to perish from drought, drown from rising seas, fall victim to malaria, dysentry, rise in crime, warfare,etc.

    Once Climate Change revolves around actual science then there can be rational discussion.

    Link to this
  8. 8. Sciencefirstandforemost 9:45 pm 01/13/2013

    dwdb: “So what we have instead is $trillions going to …etc”
    I don’t disagree, however.

    The world is not the USA. Can Americans ever discuss an issue without making it about internal American issues? China, India, Indonesia,etc. all exist.

    Link to this
  9. 9. Carlyle 9:55 pm 01/13/2013

    I can not believe you had the hide to post that scary temperature map of Australia again that you posted last week. You gave a temp prediction of 122F (50C) for today. The actual reading is only a few hours away. I’ll post it but already it has been radically revised downwards.
    By the way if the ‘FACTS’ were actually accepted it would be the end of the AGW industry as they would show a barely discernable blip that is already fading despite massive new emissions of CO2.
    The present temp at Leigh Creek, SA where the above map forcasts of 122F temp for today was made last week is 62.6F at present with a possible max later in the day of 93.2F Absolutely normal. So where do you get off with the scary & dishonest stories? Bring on the facts.

    Link to this
  10. 10. dubay.denis 9:55 pm 01/13/2013

    “We know that the climate has changed and the globe has warmed before the industrial revolution at least three times that we know of. We know that the glaciers have disappeared from the earth at least three times.”
    The planet’s been around for over 4 billion years, and surely went through many cycles of warming and cooling before we came along. But it’s important to remember two things, first, that humans were not around to experience those earlier climate changes, and we should be happy we weren’t, because it would not have been pretty! Second, those changes were clearly not caused by human activity, but today’s nearly uniquely rapid rise in CO2 is caused by human activity, and is very likely to cause an equally uniquely rapid series of climate changes if we let CO2 exceed 400 ppm for very long, that is, decades. Exactly how much temperatures will rise and where is uncertain, but what is certain is that there will be dramatically more energy in Earth’s climate system than has ever been in it since Homo sapiens evolved, and that is not a legacy we should leave with our children and grandchildren if we can help it, and we can help it.

    Link to this
  11. 11. sammyspade 10:16 pm 01/13/2013

    On many issues, there is typically an intransigent portion of the population. We waste time by endlessly trying to convince them, by trying to engage them in the dialog, by trying to get them to “agree on what we all know”. At some point, you must simply recognize them as the adversary that they are and work around them. History judges favorably those who saw a problem and worked to solve it, and prevailed over fierce opposition. This is where we are. This is what we must do.

    The reasonable have been reasoned with. Now the reasonable must act and solve. Do we really think we’ll be outsmarted by those who can’t even figure out that the planet is warming and humans are the main cause?

    Link to this
  12. 12. ultimobo 10:37 pm 01/13/2013

    last time I looked deniers were not disagreeing about the facts of climate change – they simply felt that it was natural and not man-made – so seems to me the disagreement is not about the facts of climate change, but about the causes of climate change

    move the argument to that – and you might engage the deniers.

    why don’t they want to do something – because it might reduce their profits in the short-term – something they’re not interested in doing until it is required of them by legislation.

    So I think you need government to step up and make the hard decisions – business always says they just want certainty – so a government who says ‘here’s the new rules’ will quickly have business falling into line to meet the new requirement – and quickly profiting from the new environment – such as energy-saving efficiency.

    Someone just has to take the lead – rather that everyone just looking at each other – you first? no – I insist – you first … !

    Link to this
  13. 13. Carlyle 10:42 pm 01/13/2013

    11. sammyspade 10:16 pm 01/13/2013
    Supposing you were one of the enlightened ones. What do you & your congregation propose to do? You see the vast majority of sceptical commentators do not deny that the climate is changing & in fact always has. We are against needlessly burning fossil fuels generating pollution. We are also against wasting billions of dollars on fairytale fixes. Many of us favour nuclear power as the only viable energy alternative. So what is your policy or does it only extend to being critical of those who do not belong to your congregation?

    Link to this
  14. 14. kennethroger 10:52 pm 01/13/2013

    I accept global warming and that much of it is caused by human activity. It’s the “moving on” that is controversial. A more imminent problem is human population growth, also caused by human activity. “Moving on” for that problem is also controversial, but its solution might also solve the global warming problem.

    Link to this
  15. 15. thevillagegeek 10:58 pm 01/13/2013

    14. Carlyle 10:42 pm 01/13/2013
    “So what is your policy or does it only extend to being critical of those who do not belong to your congregation?”

    Using unwarranted comparisons to religous fanaticism to discredit the author of a comment you don’t agree with is verging on an ad hominem attack, and does little for your credibility.

    Link to this
  16. 16. sammyspade 11:05 pm 01/13/2013

    Just the things that people have been suggesting for a long, long time:

    Investment in low-carbon energy such as wind, solar, tidal, and geothermal.
    Investment in biofuel R&D.
    A tax on CO2 to make the cost of energy sources like coal more accurately reflect their true costs.
    Incentives for conservation in homes, businesses, and transportation.
    Combating deforestation.

    You know, the very stuff that climate deniers fight against at every single turn in favor of “drill baby drill.”

    Link to this
  17. 17. sammyspade 11:07 pm 01/13/2013

    And feel free to add nuclear to the mix if the total lifetime cost pencils out.

    Link to this
  18. 18. dwbd 11:30 pm 01/13/2013

    @sammyspade, Solar, wind, tidal, biofuels & geothermal are at the very best bit players, at the worst money pits. Conservation can be effective if done according to rationality rather than the current greenie religion dogma. And Nuclear has a far lower carbon abatement cost than any options you mentioned, and can be scaled up to replace all energy in all locations.

    Link to this
  19. 19. truittjs 11:31 pm 01/13/2013

    You don’t have to be a scientist to realize that logic might be the best path to take here. The first step is to eliminate the road blocks questions like “is the world warming” and “are we the cause”. Why, because the energy put in to answering these questions is delaying effective action that we all should be able to agree needs to be taken.
    So eliminating those questions can we all agree that we should use the latest available technology to reduce the amount of pollution we put into the air we breath? We should be able to transition to these technologies in a sensible way that doesn’t result in economic hardship to businesses and governments. The rich and technological advanced countries should help the other counties transition to these new technologies too. If they don’t transition we should boycott their products.
    While we’re all so concerned with climate change, coal fired power plants around the world are pumping mercury into our food chain. The U.S. Has taken great strides in this area but few others have and we continue to get bombed by pollution from China. The solution isn’t to say I’m not going to do it because you aren’t doing it. We need to work together. We talk about the world economy, we need to start working cooperatively in a way that we all win. Reducing pollution, not just CO2 would be a huge step in improving everyone’s life.

    Link to this
  20. 20. engineer238 11:49 pm 01/13/2013

    Its nice to think of this Utopian world where we are powered by solar and wind and the sky is clear and pollution is gone; but the world doesn’t work like that. As much as solar and wind sound like good ideas we also must face the facts about those technologies as well. There is no such thing as an 100% environmentally friendly technology. Every technology affects the environment and has its own form of pollution. The reason we don’t see profound effects from solar and wind as much is because they currently make up about 4% of total electricity generation. To replace our electricity consumption from coal with solar we would need to cover every square inch of an area about the size of Texas with solar thermal plants (the most efficient type of solar). This is just not reasonable. Wind too would require state sized farms. To implement either of these would thus mean the destruction of massive amounts of wildlife. So in reality you would trade the elimination of carbon sources with the destruction of precious ecosystems. The only power source that actually has any benefits to the environment is nuclear; and this is due to the NIMBY effect and governmental regulations. Nuclear facilities own numerous acres but the actually plants only take up a small space. As a result these plants end up protecting local wildlife by preventing anyone from occupying that land with homes or other man-made facilities. Even in Florida, Turkey Point Nuclear Plant is now home to an endangered species of alligator, acting as a save haven from human activities.

    As it stands the best way at reducing CO2 emissions is to not abandoned everything we know for evolving technologies but instead to improve on the technologies we already have. Make cleaner coal plants, keep making more fuel efficient cars, find ways to make our daily lives more efficient. This is has the benefit of being good for the environment and being economically advantageous. If we try to force solar and wind to replace coal it will cost trillions of dollars in added infrastructure and may not actually solve any environmental problems. This however, is not to say that solar and wind shouldn’t have a role to play. Who knows though maybe while we are becoming more efficient we will find an economically feasible way to recycle CO2 back into fuel and complete our own carbon cycle. Already there are ideas of how to do this using process heat from nuclear reactors, maybe we might also find a way to use solar energy to do the same thing. In the mean time the word is not “green” it is “efficiency”. And you know trying consolidate the amount of land we take up would be helpful too.

    Link to this
  21. 21. 12:07 am 01/14/2013

    If the science is so one sided why do we have 16+ years of flat temperatures over the last 16 years and over that same period the carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere still has the same linear upeard march? They are not necessarily cause and effect and, if not, possibly not a man situation.

    Link to this
  22. 22. sammyspade 12:19 am 01/14/2013

    @dwbd – you say, “Solar, wind, tidal, biofuels & geothermal are at the very best bit players, at the worst money pits.”

    That’s an assertion, and not very precise. Let me rephrase and see if you agree or disagree:

    “Solar, wind, tidal, biofuels, and geothermal can not be cost competitive to carbon or nuclear in the next 20 years.”

    Agree or disagree? If the above statement is false, and it’s simply a matter of time before the economics of one or more of those sources surpass current sources, then wouldn’t you agree that we should accelerate that time scale?

    So is the answer to the statement knowable? To some degree, it is. Technological advances follow an experience curve. Some of those power sources have been around long enough to plot their cost/kilowatt on a curve and extrapolate the future costs. Do we end up with competitive costs? Yes.

    It’s a fallacy to take todays costs and assume they are static, as much as taking oil field yields from 1870 and assume no improvement. Why would you make that assumption?

    As to nuclear, you can’t just handwave the political and local opposition that holds up breaking ground on a plant for years or decades. Plus the decade that construction can take. How do you propose to surmount these obstacles?

    Wind, solar, and biofuel are being sited at production scale today without nearly the same level of opposition. Comercial-scale tidal power is now happening. Geothermal’s growing at a 12% CAGR. It honestly doesn’t matter if you argue against these sources, because they’re growing rapidly anyways.

    Link to this
  23. 23. Geologon 12:59 am 01/14/2013

    Is the Hockey Stick graph one of these so-called “facts” on climate change?… (!)

    Link to this
  24. 24. engineer238 1:40 am 01/14/2013


    I have to say your statement about the next 20 years is probably accurate; however, it does not answer what we do right now today.

    There is also an infrastructure problem with wide spread photo-voltaic solar as it as of now inherently produces DC as opposed to AC and thus will affect the loading within the power grid. I would also like to point out that rapid is a bit of a relative term. It is pretty easy to double something when you don’t have very much of that something. So you should be careful with the term rapid, it can be very misleading (i.e. don’t use percents you actually numbers in MW). At current power consumption levels, You will likely see the construction of solar and wind farms to level off at somewhere around maybe between a combined 7-12% of total US power generation. This is not a question of economics but, as I pointed out in a previous post, feasibility. Solar and wind take up a lot of space and by the time you get to around 10%, with the technology available today and even in the foreseeable future, it is going to become increasing difficult to find good places to build them. Hydro-power had the same problem and is a good corollary to other types of “green” sources which require site specific environmental properties. In the case of wind this is high constant wind speeds. In the case of solar this bright constant sunlight for long portions of the day. In the end the capacity factors are the major problems with these tech (20-50% with wind and only 20% at most with solar). We do see opposition to solar and wind in some areas and this will only increase as the land grab for swells.

    As to nuclear it is mostly certain states that have an opposition, and those states can choose not to participate. Many states, while having anti-nuclear groups, welcome the new plants. The red tape holding back nuclear right now is not coming from politicians but from the necessary licensing process through the NRC (Nuclear Regulatory Commision). Politicians in D.C. really have very little say on the construction of nuclear power plants. To build a nuclear plant a vendor must receive a COL (combined licences which allows the construction and operation of a plant at that site for a fixed amount of time). These are not easy to obtain as they NRC must review the site application and verify the safety analysis for the new build. In addition the government often guarantees the loan for the new builds as no nuclear company has the initial capital to build the plant. The biggest issue facing the nuclear industry in the coming decades is how to gain sufficient experience with new design paradigms to ensure safety. This is an ongoing conversation between industry and the NRC that is centered on small modular reactors. When it has been shown that these newer reactors can be built safely then we will have a new generation of reactors with affordable capital investment costs, as well new applications including production of process heat for industrial applications.

    Link to this
  25. 25. way2ec 1:41 am 01/14/2013

    Galileo had the data and the science right but the deniers won in the short term. Some refused to even look through a telescope. I think this particular science “debate” threatens world views in much the same way as the heliocentric world view threatened so many power structures in Galileo’s time. Deniers are threatened in deep and fundamental ways. Some other parallels might be evolution and especially our own evolution as primates, and the predicted shock when extraterrestrial life and especially intelligent life is found. If we as global citizens ever do cooperate to solve the threats of global climate change no one can imagine the changes in global power politics. The deadliest war in American history was the Civil War. Granting full human rights to slaves was the change that the “deniers” fought then as they sought to protect their “way of life”. Burning the carbon sinks of our planet is POWER. Who dares challenge that power let alone change it. My guess is that there will be a mad dash to get in on that power NOW before climate changes bring down whole ecosystems and political systems along with them. We are already at peak oil and billions of people want private transportation NOW. Coal burning is accelerating as billions of people want electrical power NOW. The East Coast is rebuilding using fossil fuels and where will the timber come from? Water will be redistributed using fossil fuels. I’d like to imagine Texas sized solar generation in the deserts of Africa but can’t imagine the change in geopolitical power. I have NO issue with the deniers who post here at SciAm. Their tiny voices that keep saying PROVE it and who will be dead long before the really big climate changes kick in are nothing compared to the utter SILENCE of those who profit from this totally non self sustaining system. The same mindset that used 9/11 to declare war on Iraq and take us into the Middle East World of Oil hardly cares what will become of Bangladesh. Maybe when Beijing can’t breathe they might take air pollution more seriously, but I doubt they will slow down their coal consumption any time soon. No, let our local deniers continue with their conspiracy theories and who jump on a predicted record high temperature that didn’t materialize while another continent burns, while the East Coast rebuilds and waits for the next superstorm. Its like reading about the arguments used to “condemn” Galileo. 300 years later one of the Popes more or less “apologized”.

    Link to this
  26. 26. Carlyle 2:09 am 01/14/2013

    thevillagegeek 10:58 pm 01/13/2013
    so you do not like being compared to religious extremists.

    What then do you say about the terms:
    1. SteveO 8:10 pm 01/13/2013 deniers.
    12. ultimobo 10:37 pm 01/13/2013 deniers
    16. sammyspade 11:05 pm 01/13/2013 climate deniers

    I think I smell a hypocrite. Otherwise why have these posters not received your criticism. People on the side of querying the climate scientists & pointing out their errors receive much worse abuse. Also we are often faced with censorship. My posts are frequently deleted even when I have made no aspersions. If you care to go to the wattsupwiththat site today you can read about some prime examples.

    Link to this
  27. 27. priddseren 2:43 am 01/14/2013

    We have one side of Global warming who is following an ideology. Specifically ideology as spoken by their priests who follow blindly their computer models. So called deniers are not following an ideology unless you believe a certain expectation of real science and proving theories is somehow an ideology. It is incredible. Warmists claim evil humans are causing the earth to warm, .00004430 (or whatever) degrees and the fix is carbon taxation and elaborate plans to engineer the biosphere with all of that tax money. Yeah right. I read one post claiming we humans have not experienced warming and cooling before, guess he doesnt know about the last ice age, the medieval warming, the little ice age. Another claims only now has ever seen such massive warming and massive concentrations of CO2, clearly that guy never heard of the PETM, which was far warmer and higher in CO2 than any prediction of today.

    The most ridiculous nonsense of all is the warmist belief in their own arrogant claim they know everything about the atmosphere and can definitively pin this warming specifically on CO2, to the exclusion of all other possible sources of heat or combination of factors. Mention the fact 7 billion humans today are in fact producing all kinds of heat on their own (bodies, homes, cook fires, offices, factories, car radiators…) and this is totally ignored. Bring up the fact their ridiculous plans like carbon sequestering will bury atmospheric O2 in the ground and the warmist finds this to be a side effect we can live with, according to the models all will be ok.

    The facts are warmists measure so little of the atmosphere and know even less about how it all works on the planet, there is no realistic way for them to know what the “normal” temperature of earth really is nor what the CO2 concentration should be. In fact, it is likely an impossible answer to discover.

    You warmists are incredible in you promotion of your dogma. If you just replaced global warming with “dark age religion here” and the methods and actions you take are right in line with that medieval religions nonsense. Belief instead of fact, ridicule of anyone who questions the masters and as this article does attempts to debunk the otherside by simply claiming if you don’t have faith in what we say, you must be stupid so lets move on and ignore them. Even the ridiculous claims by priests in the medival period of buying your place in heaven by paying the priest off is happening with warmists. Pay the warmists their carbon tax, buy “carbon offsets” and you will be saved or at least not yelled at by the warmists because you paid your 30 pieces. Heck you people claim Armageddon is coming. Sort of amazing how Armageddon claims by various groups about Dec 21st 2012 were laughed at yet armegeddon as predicted by the warmist climate models somehow are legitimate enough to pay them their carbon offset money.

    Wamists, the fact is the planet appears to be warmer than in was a few decades ago. It warrants efforts to minimize human impact were possible and mitigate for those effects. It warrants experiments to find causes, especially “natural” causes because we can mitigate for those and the same mitigation works for the manmade part. You warmists are basically full of nonsense, as long as you people keep claiming armegeddon and the variety of calamities that will occur(all of which also total theory) and as long as your only solutions are regulations and taxation with claims to restrict everyone’s lives until fantasy alternatives come on the scene. Frankly, when your only answers involve money, politicians and restriction then the problem you are solving is at best suspect, at worse a total scam. Money, politicians and restricting freedom have never resulted in fixing anything. In fact, it could be argued, money, politicians and restrictions of freedom are the cause of your problem with CO2.

    If you want to be taken seriously, then start producing proof that doesn’t involve your computer models, start looking at all likely causes(sorry but in the same 100 years, we have gone from less than 1 billion heat producing humans to 7 billion, this is likely the reason the planet is warming) and most of all, start producing facts and solutions that dont involve government, politicians, taxed money or anything else like this. As long as politicians and their stolen money are involved, your entire claim has no more relevance than a holy book.

    Link to this
  28. 28. engineer238 3:06 am 01/14/2013


    Yeah… I wouldn’t through intelligent life in there… there aren’t many good models or even statistics to even make an educated guess on that. Scientist who use statistics to predict intelligent life are actually and often times admittedly taking and optimistic shot in the dark. Putting in analogies about finding intelligent life detracts from the scientific validity of your argument.

    Also I would be careful about using record high temperature as there is evidence that temperatures during previous era’s, especially those more than 10 million years ago, were higher than today. That also implies that global warming will not in fact destroy the earth, it might simply lead to a different climate type, likely oscillatory, and over a long period of time life will adapt to the new behavior. We on the other-hand may or may not survive global warming. The ability of mankind to adapt to and survive any type of climate change should be the real concern with curbing global warming. I would also be careful about the “facts”, because while there is sufficient evidence to support the idea that humans are in fact contributing to global warming, there is still sufficient debate about to exactly what degree and which activities are the primary culprits.

    Methane for instance is a more severe greenhouse gas than CO2; this is based on the energy storage capacity difference between the two molecules. Others identify cities as a culprit for local climate change. The recent rise in temperature also pre-dates the industrial revolution and there was also an increase in global temperature during the dark ages. It is thus reasonable to assert that a portion of the current global warming would have happened without the presence of humans. Increases in global temperature of 0.019C/yr is not unexpected assuming minimal human impact before 1900. With a current global trend of 0.6C from 1980 to 2010 the contribution of human impact can be bound between 6%-100%; so taking an average we could guesstimate a 53% human impact. The actual human impact is likely less than 50% but still significant.

    There has also not been definitive evidence to put the emergence of so called super-storms entirely on global warming. Events like the recent super-storm Sandy can be expected from the meteorological history of the US. Every 50-100 years on average the northeast US is hit by a major storm, with records dating back to early colonies (you can actually wiki this).

    Its very easy to call people names like deniers; however, in reality many people who are called deniers may acknowledge the role of global warming but are not unreasonable in the weight they give to the human contribution. They may also not see it as a severe problem for the long term survival of the planet. Personally my take is that when you know you are contributing to a problem you should try your best to not exacerbate the problem and even reduce your contribution. This doesn’t mean go out and build tons solar plants which still leads to more new pollution; this means driving less, watching less TV, growing some plants for fresh air, or even turning off the AC on nice days. These types of actions actually address problems in an extremely positive way and don’t cost any money. As it turns out our environmental problems are more a product of our behavior not the energy source we use. Even the things we buy to save the environment like solar-cells produce toxic waste that effects the environment somewhere. In the case of solar cells this is arsenic. The only sure way to reduce pollution is to simply consume less.

    Link to this
  29. 29. Carlyle 3:09 am 01/14/2013

    O.K. the facts are in. Regulars will know I have been calling foul on the Australian heat map published in this article & the earlier article linked to claims last week that an area the size of Tasmania that is 35 thousand square miles, would break the al time record for the area & reach 122F (50C) today.
    So what did we get? 89.6 F (31.7C)
    So we got the screaming false prediction but will we get a public withdrawal from this author or the original BOM site? Not likely. If the author had been interested in the truth, he could have checked for the revised forecast that I have been predicting but that would be too much to expect when you can carry on with a scary story. The original story & map were cantered on Leigh Creek, South Australia & it is for that weather station that the above figures are given. What if we search further afield. Well then we get 39C (102.2F) maximum for the whole state in a very restricted area.
    Here are the facts: › Australia › South Australia › Observations
    Maximum temperatures were generally well below average apart from a few centres in the far north.

    So who has credibility? These false predictions will in future turn up as fact. That is the whole corrupt AGW pattern. I await the excuses with weary resignation.

    Link to this
  30. 30. Carlyle 4:01 am 01/14/2013

    25. way2ec 1:41 am 01/14/2013
    Galileo had the data and the science right but the deniers won in the short term.
    What you seem to be unable to comprehend is that Galileo had the facts. AGW adherents only think they do. Many of their FACTS are in fact fallacies. That is why it is you that is on the wrong side of the fence.
    Very few people deny that the world is slowly warming. As it has since the Mini Ice Age.
    It is even rarely disputed that humans have an effect on the climate. What is in contention is the degree of human contribution, the mechanism (CO2 does not cut it or the temp would be going up in lock step with CO2 increases & they are not) & the best way to cut down pollution without forcing people back into an idealized utopian way of life that never existed & never will. At the same time we have a responsibility not to hinder people in under developed societies from progressing to a better lifestyle. All this is possible along with natural downward pressure on population that naturally follows education, health & human rights freedom that only democracy has ever delivered. You see we are the idealists. Not your camp.

    Link to this
  31. 31. thejerk 5:31 am 01/14/2013

    Why exactly is global warming bad? You warming guys never have given, as far as i can tell, a convincing argument that global warming is bad. Aren’t rain forests located in warmer climates? I hate the cold and have never quite figured out why you guys think you can make the seas stop rising. Lol. Talk about deniers. Woo hoo, we’ve finally figured out how to teraform aye.

    Link to this
  32. 32. Carlyle 6:32 am 01/14/2013

    31. thejerk
    5:31 am 01/14/2013 :)
    In fact the Sahara desert & Australias arid heart were fertile well watered regions in warmer wetter times. Not to mention Greenland & Patagonia, Siberia, Alaska & many other regions.

    Link to this
  33. 33. curmudgeon 9:24 am 01/14/2013

    Actually the Sahara is the classic case of actual man-made climate change. Rampant over-farming turned the previously fertile soil to dust bowls, changing the local climate irrevocably toward the arid. It is also ample proof of the fact that climate change is bafflingly complex and that doing the right thing is often the worst possible and most disastrous policy. It is the hubris of those that have the ‘answers’ to the ‘problem’ that most persuades me that whatever the ‘facts’ we should treat the anti-carbon lobby with the same, equally justified, distrust as Big Oil!

    Link to this
  34. 34. curmudgeon 9:32 am 01/14/2013

    I have to agree that the wholly misleading temperature scare represented by the map which is appended to the top of this article completely undermines it. If nothing else, when will SciAm get the difference between weather and climate. The hottest ever recorded temperature in the UK occurred in 1976, the coldest ever in 2011. By the complete lack of logic with which the Australian temperature panic was coughed up by this once proud publication that means that we’re in the grip of an unprecedented global cooling!

    I’m assuming however that the decision to reproduce the map here was not the decision of the author but the increasingly errant editorial staff in which case shame on them!

    Link to this
  35. 35. Sisko 9:37 am 01/14/2013

    David Wogan writes a plea that we should adopt utter insanity and discontinue any scientific discussion and simply accept his system of belief. Does he have any other religious dogma everyone should adapt to also???

    Let’s review Wogan’s points and see if they make ANY rational sense.
    He writes we should:
    1. “accept facts as determined by scientists around the world.”

    My response- which scientists? There are many different views on the topic as knowledge has increased as the issue has been studied. There is a consensus on the basic concept of AGW but no consensus on the rate of warming unless one includes a huge margin of error that includes a very benign rate of warming and a rate that might be of concern. There is absolutely no scientific consensus on what the net harms or benefits will be around the world. Wogan, please be truthful and tell readers that!

    2. “After that, we can have rational discussions and spirited debates about how to most effectively curb greenhouse gas emissions.”
    My response- So only after we accept Wogan’s or a certain list of individuals views on the science, can we decide what to do on policy issues. Wow, does that make sense to anyone rational?

    3. “We know that the climate warms and cools over time. We know that atmospheric carbon dioxide traps heat in the form of radiation from the sun. We know that the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has risen as mankind has been burning fossil resources and destroying carbon sinks (forests!). We know that the climate is changing, and that not all of the outcomes will be favorable.” My response- I agree with everything that Wogan has written on that point. What we do not know is what the rate of warming will be in the actual system or if the actual warming will result in net benefits or harms to the USA.

    We also know that it is very UNSCIENTIFIC to demand that the discussion should stop on science and that calling people deniers is clear prejudical and the products of small minded people unable to get into detail about the actual science.

    Link to this
  36. 36. davidwogan 10:18 am 01/14/2013

    Popping in here to clarify a few things..

    On The Map: the decision to include it in this article again is my own – not some secret cabal of editors at SciAm. Why did I choose to use it again? Because it is relevant. Carlyle, I appreciate the perspective you bring from Australia, but keep in mind that the map was a forecast – something that can change. We have weather forecasts all the time that are incorrect here (ours usually involve rain). The larger point is that this is one data point in a long-term trend of a warming planet. Australia isn’t representative of the world, but I see a similarity from where I am (Central Texas). Our climate is expected to become warmer and drier as the overall climate warms.

    As for “moving on”, I don’t mean that the discussion should stop. Quite the opposite. The conversation SHOULD continue. But how effective is the conversation with the back and forth?

    Has anyone watched the video?

    Link to this
  37. 37. Sisko 10:50 am 01/14/2013

    David Wogan

    So do you now actually agree that we should have a better understanding of what the actual rate of warming will be and the actual impacts of that warming before deciding to implement actions that may be very expensive and not actually favorably change conditions?

    If not, why not? Why would you try to convince people to implement policies before they know enough to make reasonably informed decisions? Do you KNOW what the rate of sea level rise will be? Is it possible that it could go down, stay constant as well as rise?

    Link to this
  38. 38. engineer238 12:35 pm 01/14/2013

    @David Wogan
    I wasted the two minutes of my life to watch the video in the article. There was nothing of substance; it was merely two men on opposite sides of the political fence saying global warming is bad and you should believe because the politically driven machine says so. The video obviously has a political agenda and uses clever devices to try and persuade an audience to a certain point of view without using any facts. This approach works when the audience is both trusting and does not have any background in the facts of the situation. One such device used in the video is the drawing of a wind farm, which is a subtle piece of propaganda for wind power. The video also shows pictures of oil rigs and coal plants in conjunction with a forest fire; an obvious attempt to try and have the viewer associate fossil fuels with the idea that their continued use will somehow cause widespread wildfires. This isn’t climate science, its the science of propaganda. Where are the facts in the video? The makers of the video try to supplement facts by saying that scientist and the national academy of sciences saying global warming is real. The implication is that the scientist are saying that the politically driven pop-culture idea of global warming is real. This is obvious propaganda. Had the video wanted to be credible it would have laid out precisely the facts on which scientist agree. I’ve had to present debatable scientific theories to audiences before and what is contained in this video would not fly in a scientific environment. For anyone with an actually background in science that video would be both insulting to their intelligence and an obvious piece of ideological propaganda.

    You know this article and that video were actually a waste of the readers time. I’m like most other people are not against global warming, we simply and rightfully so as justified by the scientific community are uncertain exactly what extent human impact has and whether that impact will increase indefinitely. If you and people who think as you do want to blame the human race and demand we all think exactly like you well then we need some facts with the scientific arguments that support them. No more of this “believe me because I’m right” non-sense. We need facts. You can’t just say CO2 traps heat you need to say why and talk about how much heat it is known to trap. You actually look like you have done your research. You wrote an article that titled “It’s time to accept the facts about climate change and move on” yet you provide one paragraph of facts and that’s it. Your graph doesn’t even count because as you said yourself it is a prediction, of which we the audience must be skeptical until you provide a context which includes when the date of the forecast, the computer model used to generate it, the group that actually generated, and other predictions the same group has made. That is how science and science journalism works effectively. You need to have substance. You would have served your cause much better by writing an article titled “The facts about global warming: what we know and what’s unsure”. You could have then outlined with proper citation what the actual scientific research shows on global warming along side of what is still uncertain, and could have done so in an objective way as required by true science. Science does not have an agenda. And I know that writing an article like that is difficult; it requires time and energy and actual research, but don’t be so lazy. No offense but this article probably took you very little effort and did nothing to help the discussion of global warming.

    Next time if you want to help your cause write a good article, spend a few weeks doing the research and present the facts in objective fashion. If you do this then you will not cause and uproar and people may actually start listening to you and maybe you will find that people actually agree more on global warming than disagree. You might also then find exactly on which issues there is a divide both in the public and in the scientific community.

    Link to this
  39. 39. cleanwater2 1:19 pm 01/14/2013

    As much as the pretend scientist of the world who accept by consensuses that the “greenhouse gas effect exists” because they have used manipulated circumstantial evidence. All these pretend scientists have not produced a “credible experiment that proves that the Hypotheses of the GHGE exists.
    There is an experiment that proves that the Greenhouse gas effect does not exist. This experiment which has been technologically reviewed by Ph.D physicists (at least 4). Ph.D. Chemical engineers (at least 2 at last count) and others Ph. D’s in other fields The experiment is found on the web-site http:// click on the blog tab then on page 3 of 12. . It is titled “The Experiment that failed which can save the world trillions-Proving the greenhouse gas effect does not exist”

    The Greenhouse Effect Explored
    Written by Carl Brehmer | 26 May 2012
    Is “Water Vapor Feedback” Positive or Negative?
    Exploiting the medium of Youtube Carl Brehmer is drawing wider attention to a fascinating experiment he performed to test the climatic impacts of water in our atmosphere.
    Carl explains, “An essential element of the “greenhouse effect” hypothesis is the positive “water vapor feedback” hypothesis. That is, if something causes an increase in the temperature this will cause an increase in the evaporation of water into water vapor.”

    Another important website is www. The Great Climate -G3 The Greenhouse gas effect does not exist
    Global warming stopped 16 years ago, Met Office report reveals: MoS got it right about warming… so who are the ‘deniers’ now?

    By David Rose

    PUBLISHED: 20:12 EST, 12 January 2013 | UPDATED: 20:13 EST, 12 January 2013

    Comments (85)

    Last year The Mail on Sunday reported a stunning fact: that global warming had ‘paused’ for 16 years. The Met Office’s own monthly figures showed there had been no statistically significant increase in the world’s temperature since 1997.

    We were vilified. One Green website in the US said our report was ‘utter bilge’ that had to be ‘exposed and attacked’.

    The Met Office issued a press release claiming it was misleading, before quietly admitting a few days later that it was true that the world had not got significantly warmer since 1997 after all. A Guardian columnist wondered how we could be ‘punished’.

    Read more:–deniers-now.html#ixzz2HyOqnSmq
    Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

    Link to this
  40. 40. dkahn400 2:16 pm 01/14/2013

    curmudgeon – Where do you get those dates from?

    The highest daily maximum temperature record for the UK is 38.5 deg C in Faversham, Kent on 10 August 2003. The lowest daily minimum temperature record is -15.9 deg C in Fyvie Castle, Aberdeenshire on 29 December 1995.


    Link to this
  41. 41. dkahn400 2:26 pm 01/14/2013

    “cleanwater2″. For an analysis of David Rose’s highly misleading piece in the Daily Mail see potholer54′s video at

    Link to this
  42. 42. cleanwater2 3:20 pm 01/14/2013

    Global warming stopped 16 years ago, Met Office report reveals: MoS got it right about warming… so who are the ‘deniers’ now?

    By David Rose

    PUBLISHED: 20:12 EST, 12 January 2013 | UPDATED: 20:13 EST, 12 January 2013

    Comments (85)

    Last year The Mail on Sunday reported a stunning fact: that global warming had ‘paused’ for 16 years. The Met Office’s own monthly figures showed there had been no statistically significant increase in the world’s temperature since 1997.

    We were vilified. One Green website in the US said our report was ‘utter bilge’ that had to be ‘exposed and attacked’.

    The Met Office issued a press release claiming it was misleading, before quietly admitting a few days later that it was true that the world had not got significantly warmer since 1997 after all. A Guardian columnist wondered how we could be ‘punished’.

    Read more:–deniers-now.html#ixzz2HyOqnSmq
    Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

    Link to this
  43. 43. Sisko 4:09 pm 01/14/2013

    Because there has not been any significant warming in 16 years does NOT mean that there will not be warming in the future. What it does demonstrate is that those who claimed that the fully understood the earth’s climate system and KNEW how much it would warm by when and where, were WRONG in their assumptions and we need to learn more.

    That does not mean we need to throw a bunch of additional money at the issue when we do not have money to waste. There are smart, “no regrets” policies that can be implemented. These include construction and maintenance of robust infrastructure. As an example, look at how much less damage would have happened as a result of both Katrina and Sandy.

    Most of the damage from these storms would have been avoided if their infrastructure had been maintained properly. Look at south/southwest Asia as another example. Thousands are killed there every year due to severe weather. That WILL NOT CHANGE regardless of what happens with CO2 unless the local government make it a priority. it is NOT a US problem to resolve.

    People, please read more and comment less if you are poor informed.

    Link to this
  44. 44. Carlyle 4:59 pm 01/14/2013

    David Wogan.
    Some relevant points. Number one is that I appreciate that you allowed my posts to stand. Many of my posts get deleted.
    Number two is that the bias that your article displays is typical of the media in general. You remark that the map was only a forecast & they can be wrong. Yes. It is a common tactic that grabs the all important shock headlines but is never retracted with similar headlines. Therefore mission accomplished.
    Third. The article has resulted in what for AGW proponent is becoming more & more common. Rejection & exposure. As I said before. I do appreciate the opportunity I & others have had to express our views. Too many times we do not get the opportunity. Generally newspapers for example give limited if any opportunity.
    Finally. I regard the results as excellent with many relevant facts & thoughtful comments being expressed.

    Link to this
  45. 45. Sisko 1:31 pm 01/15/2013

    There is a great deal of analysis that has shown that GCMs do a poor job of forecasting. I hope you realize that these models forecast far more than temperature and that forecasting changes in annual rainfall is more important than temperature change. Try reading more than the propaganda at skeptical science.

    You fail to address my basic simple point- if the model that was used to make a prediction in a peer reviewed paper is not providing reasonably accurate forecasts, then the paper is demonstrated to be utterly flawed in the premise for its prediction of future harms. Sault writes: “just because we can’t predict the weather in Podunk, AR in 2040, doesn’t mean we have NO IDEA what we can expect for a 1C or 2C rise in temperature by then!”
    Sault- if the writer of a paper say that the people in Podunk AR are going to suffer harm do to global warming because crops will not grow because AGW will cause a drought, but after 10 years there is no evidence of a reduction in rainfall, do the conclusions of the paper make sense? NO

    BTW- Judith Curry is a highly respected climate scientist who is only pointing out that many others are inappropriately drawing conclusions without sufficient evidence. Sault- I have never argued the basic physics, but it is NOT the basic physics that leads to concerns about global warming.

    There are two major points that lead to the concern.
    1. Is the theory that the initial warming will increase due to secondary forcings that will increase the rate of temperature rise.

    2. The second is that other conditions besides temperature, important to the lives of humans; will change in ways that will negatively impact the lives of humans. These are primarily, sea level rise, changes in rainfall patterns, and more severe and more frequent storms.
    The issue is that there is very little evidence to support these fears.
    Temperatures have been rising, but not at any alarming rate.
    Sea level has been rising, but not consistent with any feared rate of rise and not much if any differently that it has been for thousands of years.
    Rainfall patterns have not been remarkably different from historical levels around the world.
    There does not seem to be any pattern of increasing severe storms.

    Sault wrongly writes: “You have 98% of the world’s climatologists and EVERY MAJOR scientific and technological organization on one side.” That is simply untrue. There is NO CONSENSUS on the rate of warming that can be expected +/- say .5C and there is NO CONSENSUS regarding what will happen to harm humans as a result of it warming.

    Link to this
  46. 46. Crasher 4:58 pm 01/15/2013

    Hey all you expert deniers and anti science people, the IPCC is meeting in Tasmania. Why don’t you go to that meeting to peddle your dribble. If you have any valid data I am sure they would want to know about it. Dribbling your rubbish here is really a waste of your valuable time. Go to a real science meeting and make an effective comment.
    I am sure they are in need of a good laugh.

    Link to this
  47. 47. Carlyle 12:55 am 01/16/2013

    46. Crasher
    4:58 pm 01/15/2013 Democracy AGW style. They pre screen the delegates. Contra views not welcome. Would love to stay & chat some more but you are flogging a dead horse & I can not stand the stench.

    Link to this
  48. 48. Midwest67 1:31 am 01/16/2013

    There is something paradoxical about this issue that what seems patently obvious on one side seems patently false on the other. I live in the Northern Midwest, and my memories, and those of my ancestors, tell me the world is warming. Family photos of glaciers I visited in the 1970s and 80′s versus today tells me something is happening, that combined with very different summers and winters than we’ve ever experienced. These basic impressions, and perhaps an inclination to trust science and research make me predisposed to believe the world is warming and we are the cause.

    It’s hard to understand how another person, given similar facts and experiences does not see what to me looks obvious, and so it is for many and what should be a dialog turns into name-calling.

    I think before we can have a dialog, or decide what to do, we have to make an attempt to understand the other side, so here is my understanding of the other point of view:
    * scientists and their institutions are tainted by political motivations (grants, etc) in their findings
    * the nature of climate science does not allow traditional experiments, which are easily validated, but are based on models and projections that are hard to verify and subject to bias
    * There is disagreement and alternate evidence about the correlation of carbon levels and temperature in the past, and no assurances that projections of future carbon levels will have the predicted impact on temperature
    * the suggested solutions involve expansion of government, regulation, and taxation and curtailment of individual freedoms and restrictions on enterprises, and unprecedented and unlikely level of international cooperation.
    * if temperature was rising, it is unclear what negative (and positive) impacts would be and how these would be distributed globally
    * if it were possible to take actions to reduce carbon, and temperature, other countries might not go along, and by utilizing less expensive sources of energy, might gain in power at our expense
    -There are probably more/better points than these, but for those who feel human-caused climate change is a farce, have I captured at least some of the core elements of the argument?

    Now, let’s assume I am right, and climate change is happening.Let’s say we continue to be divided on this issue. What happens then? Here are some possible scenarios:

    Organized around the objections above, here are some possible outcomes and actions:
    * biased climate science/disagreements on causes and effects: probably the way this gets resolved is the evidence of warming becomes so obvious and pervasive that a large consensus develops. There may be disagreements on causes (human vs. natural). The downside is by the time it’s totally obvious, 10 – 20 years from now, many changes are irreversible, but that at that point, society may be more willing to take concerted action than today.
    * government/freedom issues. Decisions that lower costs and essentially preserve the status quo are easy (e.g. if Solar in Arizona becomes price competitive with fossil fuel) Also, point remediation moats and sea-walls for costal cities will be broadly supported. Broad-based decisions to lower overall carbon production only make sense if adopted by India, China, Europe, some of these countries may view the negatives of warming as less bad than the positives of development (case in point, pollution in Beijing this week)
    * Positive/negative impacts – humans will likely evolve our economy to maximize positive impacts while minimizing negatives(e.g. move North if climates improve, increase irrigation, move away from low-lying areas, develop new crops, etc.)
    * International cooperation. It seems unlikely that countries who are impacted in totally different ways (Maldives versus Russia) will agree on the same solutions, and it seems unlikely anyone will adopt a solution that seriously disadvantages their economy or destabilizes their political system.

    Take aways:
    -global warming is going to happen. we can’t agree even in the US, and a global consensus on what is happening, what to do and who pays for it is unlikely. What can we, in the free world at least, do?
    -forecast what actions now are most advantageous. If you have beachfront property, now might be a good time to sell.
    -we ought to look at spot solutions to the most avoidable damage. where can we build moats and sea-walls? Can we improve DE-salinization and irrigation and develop crops that can thrive in more diverse conditions. Can we preserve some species, even if in a “zoo” in the hopes of later re-introduction in a future age (think: wolves back in Yellowstone)
    -Attempt to get political support to price at least some externalities into the cost of energy. It might be hard to capture a global externality (e.g. a carbon tax), but might be easier to heavily tax a fuel that generates more local impacts (smog, carbon, or drives military expenditures). This would allow alternate fuels to proliferate at least where they make sense economically
    -efficiency standards impose some higher costs, but with minimal impacts. The new corvette gets 30 mpg but still delivers 500+HP. Campaigns to reduce fuel imports may appeal to a broader consensus
    -take minor steps that allow technology to proliferate and develop. If any alternate fuel achieves ‘breakout’ economics, it will surely replace the encumbent. But for the foreseeable future, economic competition may make unilateral action away from cheap fossil fuels both useless and suicidal.
    -Consider geoengineering solutions. Ocean seeding and other techniques could be low-cost and could reverse some impacts of warming (but surely with negative side effects. If global warming impacts are severe, and if geo-engineering works, it may be our only option.
    -Last, we need some logic in our decision making. People who doubt global warming are seriously concerned about turning over decisions to ‘us’ when they see solar farms and offshore wind farms subject to protest from the same people who are saying the planet is warming. At some point, we need to raise the level of decision-making literacy to the point where we can use wind, solar, nuclear and fossil where they make sense.

    In short, if you believe in global warming, you have to admit that we live in diverse political and geopolitical system. Name calling isn’t going to work and there is a large segment that just as clearly sees we are wrong as we are right. Steps are going to be required to minimize the damage (if we are right) they just aren’t likely to be what we’d like to see — the whole world powered by windmills and solar panels — we have to get used to that fact and get working on what will work.

    Link to this
  49. 49. Carlyle 5:31 am 01/16/2013
    The contribution of ordinary soot to global warming is much higher than previously thought, according to a comprehensive new assessment, which ranks so-called “black carbon” second only to carbon dioxide in terms of its warming impact on the current climate.
    Released online Tuesday by the Journal of Geophysical Research, the four-year study roughly doubles most previous estimates of the warming that occurs when carbon particles absorb solar radiation, heating the atmosphere as well as melting snow and ice. Black carbon’s impact on climate is larger than that of methane and roughly two-thirds that of carbon dioxide, the principle greenhouse gas, according to the study.

    So. If soot has two thirds as much effect as CO2, for every 1 degree of warming attributed to AGW, the CO2 contribution has been lowered by 40%. BUT BUT BUT…Two more effects like that & CO2 will be having a negative effect on temperatures. What a joke :)

    Link to this
  50. 50. Postman1 8:22 pm 01/16/2013

    Carlyle “Would love to stay & chat some more but you are flogging a dead horse & I can not stand the stench.”
    LOL! Made me laugh, one of those deep belly laughs, Thanks! I will have to borrow that one. I was born and raised in ranch country and on horseback, but I never heard that before. G’day!

    Link to this
  51. 51. Carlyle 10:13 pm 01/16/2013

    It’s my own original Postman1 & you are welcome to it. It was probably triggered by a cartoonist back in the ’50s who had one sketch that in particular resonated with me. I was raised on a farm too. His sketch showed an old farmer, standing on top of the carcass of a dead cow, being dragged by a draught horse. He had halted to talk to another farmer & his family in a car that had pulled up alongside. I can not remember the caption but by the three legged stance & drooped sleepy look on the horse, they had been stopped with the accompanying cloud of flies for quite a while. The other farmers family were not looking pleased. :)

    Link to this

Add a Comment
You must sign in or register as a member to submit a comment.

More from Scientific American

Email this Article