Another day, another climate-science fracas! This recent article in the NYTimes got me so irritated, I wrote a long letter to one of the authors. The other author, Justin Gillis is so heavily invested in his role as “Scourge of the Deniers,” that I didn’t bother to include him in my correspondence. Here’s my bit:
Dear Mr. Schwartz:
Rapid and long-lasting climate change is a topic of growing concern as the world looks to the future. Scientists, engineers and planners are seeking to understand the impact of new climate patterns, working to prepare our cities against the perils of rising storms and anticipating threats to our food, water supplies and national security. Scientific evidence has demonstrated that the global climate is warming as a result of increasing levels of atmospheric greenhouse gases generated by human activities. A pressing need exists for information that will improve our understanding of climate trends, determine the causes of the changes that are occurring and decrease the risks posed to humans and nature.
This paragraph is quite vague, and falls far short of the central statement of the IPCC in it’s statement for policy makers. What can we glean from it?
- Human society is concerned about climate change. (They are also concerned about the weather… )
- Scientists (at least some) are worried, and are trying to think ahead. They want to be ready for “rising storms” and “threats to our food supply” (It speaks of threats and risks, not certainties.)
- The earth is warming (or at least, it has warmed) as a result of industrial discharge of CO2.
- More research is needed on the causes and the risks.
- Just how much has it warmed in the last sixty years due to CO2. (The IPCC only says “most of the observed warming is due to human activity.” Elsewhere, it speaks of multiple activities that are to blame. Vague, vague…)
- How much warming is due to deforestation and urbanization?
- Why has the warming halted/paused/stopped (whatever you want to call it) for seventeen years?
- What conclusions must we draw if the warming does not resume, as predicted by the IPCC?
- How reliable are the computer projections?
- How is the IPCC “Best Guess” derived from the wide array of model ensemble output? And why should we not place our confidence in those GCMs that have matched the global surface temperature anomaly for the last seventeen years? The low-end of the projection range?
It may be that Senator Inhofe is an anti-science, anti-intellectual, but even a broken clock tells the right time twice a day! I’m sure he loves his mother and thinks murder is a bad idea, so there is no shame in agreeing with him now and then. I shouldn’t have to say this, but such is the rabid politicization of this topic that I must say it: I voted for Obama, Al Gore, and Clinton. I don’t watch Fox news (or TV). I know the Earth is round, and that Hitler murdered six million Jews, and I accept Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection as the best explanation for the development of life on earth that we have. There, am I a rational person?
Mr. Soon may be guilty of breaking the rules on disclosure, and if so, he should be treated as any other offender would be. It is certainly no secret, however, that he has been funded by “fossil fuel” corporations. Although I feel you must sup with such sponsor-devils using a long spoon, can you imagine a researcher with his views getting funding at any university these days? And like politicians, sadly, professors are all in the fund raising game.
- We don’t have a very certain idea of what has driven the recent warming
- The attacks on Mr. Soon’s ideas are dogmatic.
- If Mr. Schmidt is speaking for The Consensus, they have a pretty weak case for alarm regarding CO2 discharge.