10 misrepresentations about climate change

Few scientific fields generate as much controversy as climate change. Misunderstandings, misrepresentations, and outright lies are common. While environmentalists rightly criticize anti-global warming activists for not being truthful, neither side is innocent. Presented here are five common misrepresentations from both sides and the truth about those issues.

Misrepresentations from Climate Change Deniers:

#1: The Earth is not getting warmer.

Who said it? Among others, all of the Republicans serving on the House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee. Earlier this year, Henry Waxman, a Democrat serving on the committee, proposedan amendment calling on Congress to acknowledge that the Earth is warming. All of the Republicans on the committee voted against it.

The truth: According to NASA, the two warmest years ever recorded were 2010 and 2005. Five of the six years tied for the third warmest year ever recorded have been since the year 2000 (2002, 2003, 2006, 2007 and 2009). In other words, last year was the warmest year ever and the whole last decade was the warmest decade ever. The planet is warming.

Global temperature map courtesy of NASA

#2: Humans are not responsible for the Earth getting warmer, it’s a natural process.

Who said it? Among others, former Republican Presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty. In an interview earlier this year, he said “The weight of the evidence is that most of it, maybe all of it, is because of natural causes.”

The truth: In a well-known paper published last year in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, William Anderegg and colleagues found that 97-98% of climate scientists who are most commonly publishing papers support “the tenets of anthropogenic climate change” (that humans and human activity are a major cause of climate change). That sure doesn’t sound like “maybe all” of the evidence is against this idea.

#3: There is no scientific consensus on whether or not climate change is happening.

Who said it? Among others, current Republican Presidential frontrunner and Texas Governor Rick Perry. In a recent Presidential Debate, he said about climate change that ““The science is not settled on this…scientific theory that’s not settled yet”.

The truth: As stated above, 97-98% of climate scientists seem to agree. Additionally, the National Academies of Science of many countries including those of all the G8 nations (United States, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, Japan, and Russia), have issued statements showing that they agree with the tenets of anthropogenic climate change. National academies of other major global economies (such India, China, South Africa, Brazil) have also issued these statements. To be sure, there are those who do not agree, but this is basically as close to a scientific consensus as anyone could reasonably expect.

#4: Scientists lie about climate change and have been caught doing so.

Who said it? Many conservatives and conservative organizations have tried to make political hay of “climategate”. Conservative commentator James Dellingpole called the incident “the final nail in the coffin” of climate change, and said “The conspiracy behind the Anthropogenic Global Warming myth… has been suddenly, brutally and quite deliciously exposed.”

The truth: A NOAA report cleared all U.S. government scientists of any wrongdoing. The National Science Foundation cleared other U.S. scientists of any wrongdoing. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change explained how the so-called “scandal” was overblown and that the specific criticisms leveled against various climate researchers were exaggerated or made up entirely. Three independent panels have cleared these climate researchers of wrongdoing. The “climategate” e-mails do not show any wrongdoing by any climate researchers, and neither does anything else.

#5: Environmentalists and climate scientists lie about climate change so that they can get rich.

Who said it? Among others, Rick Perry. While campaigning in New Hampshire, he said “there are a substantial number of scientists who have manipulated data so that they will have dollars rolling into their projects.”

The truth: Actually, Rick Perry is correct when he says that greed is having a strong influence on the climate change debate. He just identified the wrong side. Energy companies have spent hundreds of millions of dollars influencing the debate. Scientists and environmentalists do not become scientists and environmentalists to get rich.

Misrepresentations from Climate Change Advocates

#6: Hurricane Irene was a result of climate change.

Who said it? Among others, environmentalist and author Bill McKibben. He wrote that “Irene’s got a middle name, and it’s Global Warming.”

The truth: It is indeed extremely rare for a serious tropical storm to hit New England, and while many climate change models predict more storms and more extreme storms, it is impossible to tie any one storm to climate change.

#7: Sea level rise related to climate change is already so bad that many small Pacific islands have been evacuated.

Who said it? Among others, Al Gore in An Inconvenient Truth. “The citizens of these pacific nations have all had to evacuate to New Zealand”

The truth: No such mass evacuations have occurred. They may happen in the future, but it is difficult to predict exactly how much the seas will rise in the future, and different studies have different conclusions. At least one study concluded that many low-lying Pacific islands have actually gained landmass lately.

#8: The only way to save ourselves is a cap and trade system.

Who said it? Among others, the Environmental Defense Fund said “Cap and trade is the most environmentally and economically sensible approach to controlling greenhouse gas emissions…the only certain way to limit pollution.”

The truth: Even though many leading figures from both U.S. political parties once embraced the idea (including 2008 Republican Presidential nominee John McCain), the high estimated cost likely doomed this plan from the beginning. It certainly has no chance of passing in the current political climate, and the very fact that it won’t happen means that it isn’t the best solution. A variety of other solutions, each with their own pros and cons, are available to us, including a carbon tax, increased investment in alternative energy, increased energy efficiency, geoengineering, and planting trees on a large scale. We could even (gasp) use some combination of these ideas. The environmental movement would be well served by advocating solutions that will help the planet and have a chance of passing rather than giving up because their main idea is politically impossible.

#9 The proposed Tar Sands pipeline is the make-or-break moment for the environment.

Who said it? Among others, prestigious climate scientist James Hansen. In an opinion piece, he wrote that if President Obama approves the Tar Sands pipeline, ” it is game over.”

The truth: Extracting oil from tar sands emits much more CO2 than traditional oil drilling, and the currently proposed plan will result in cutting down hundreds of thousands of acres of trees to facilitate drilling. Environmentalists are right to strongly oppose it and to support green energy projects instead. However, many factors contribute to climate change and no one pipeline or drilling project is the be-all end-all for the planet. As we’ve said many times before, if you believe that your side is correct, then there is no need to exaggerate points. The facts on this issue speak for themselves, there is no need to artificially inflate its importance by claiming that one pipeline will be “game over” for the environment.

#10: Anyone who denies climate change is stupid.

Who said it? Among others, British economist Sir Nicholas Stern (author of the famous Stern report about the economic effects of climate change) said that climate change skepticism is equivalent to being a “flat-earther”.

The truth:  Even if we accept without question the premise that climate change is happening, we are responsible for much of it, and we need to act, that does not mean that anyone who doesn’t agree is stupid. In many cases, climate change skepticism can be tied to hearing only one side of the issue, or a natural distrust of environmental or liberal policies. Disagreement or skepticism does not make people stupid even if one side is objectively correct. There are a large number of people in the United States who do not accept the prevailing scientific consensus on climate change. As environmentalists, to a large extent, this phenomenon is both our fault and our problem. If we communicated the facts more effectively, no amount of lies and distortions from the other side would make a difference. Public support will be needed to make any sort of meaningful environmental policy change, and it is our responsibility to convince the public that our side is the right one. The facts are on our side, but you’ll never convince anyone to join you by insulting them.


  1. jim · October 3, 2011

    Comment Removed – Sock Puppet

    • WhySharksMatter · October 3, 2011

      No, it does not say that. We have a responsibility to correct misrepresentations from the other side but we should do that without calling people on the other side idiots.

  2. anon45566 · October 3, 2011

    Don’t they realize yet that their attempt to use junk science to justify their leftist political goals has failed?

  3. Ron Harris · October 3, 2011

    Isn’t it true that the Earth’s long term climate has changed cyclically from colder than we currently experience to much warmer than it is currently? In fact, isn’t it true that the current climate is relatively cooler than normal? If this is true, and I believe it is borne out by scientific evidence, is the crisis one of “rate of change” as opposed to absolute temperature level? Also, doesn’t the evidence show that long term climate changes at a relatively fast pace once it begins? From an ecological standpoint, doesn’t this portray a more robust ability for plants and animals to adapt than is painted by some in the scientific community? Is climate change more important, as a political and lifestyle issue, to the human animal than to other aspects of the Earth ecology?

    • Corey · October 3, 2011

      No Ron, current climate is NOT cooler than normal. The average temperature of the Earth is warming and has been the warmest on record this decade.

    • mDuo13 · October 3, 2011

      (1) Yes, the Earth’s long term climate changes cyclically and we are not at either extreme right now. It’s a complex cycle with intermediate ups and downs involving (to our best guess) some combination of planetary alignment, axial wobbling, and volcanic activity.

      (2) The current climate state is considered an “ice house” state, cooler than the alternative “greenhouse state” in which there is little to no ice on the surface of the planet. I don’t think there is enough evidence to say what the “average” over the lifetime of the Earth is like. However, we have been in this same “ice house” state for all the time that the human species has been on Earth.

      (3) No, the crisis is still one based on the absolute temperature level. The current global climate is warmer, on average, than any time in the past *of humanity*, to our best research, and getting even warmer than that.

      (4) I don’t think there’s particularly conclusive evidence either way to say how the rate of long-term climate change varies. It’s something people are studying right now to the best of my knowledge.

      (5) It depends on what you consider “adapting”. When climate change (or any large-scale environmental change) occurs, some species go extinct, others evolve to the point where they are very different than they used to be, and yet others who were scarce spread to be more populous in the new situation.

      (6) Climate change is important as a political and lifestyle issue because it causes CHANGE in ecology. Flooding and unusual storms, extinction of some species and spread of others species, and other instability are expected results of climate change. However, depending on when anthropogenic greenhouse gas proliferation stops, the results could be pretty extreme for the entirety of the Earth’s ecology. I don’t think we have a good picture of what will happen in the long term if climate change continues.

    • John · November 10, 2011

      Don’t confuse “warmest on record” with “warmest”. At the same time, don’t entirely dismiss evidence just because you mistrust its source.
      Many of the issues in climatology are complex, and no one has all the right answers. Anyone who claims otherwise is trying to recruit a supporter. Or brainwash one.

      Whether global warming is “real” is unimportant. What is important, is insurance. How do we buy insurance that our kids will have a healthy planet? Frankly, we can’t. Too many factors are beyond human control.

      But what if humans ~could~ damage the climate.. ~Could~ we make it better again? Would it be worth trying? Why not? What do we lose if we try? Or, what ~could~ we lose if we don’t try?

  4. josh ross · October 3, 2011

    I agree with a lot in this article. To just accept that people are responsible is just plain iggnorant. THE SUN IS THE BIGGEST FACTOR IN THE RISE OF TEMP! That is why the science is still unreliable. Even if studies show that temps have gone up it does not matter. Recording the temp for 20, 200, or even 2000 years is not long enough to understand the phases and patterns of our largest contributor to our “climate change”, the sun. Also there is now proof that when all this extra moisture is released from the arctic and antarctic, that the clouds will reflect more heat than it will trap, actually causing us to cool. We will not heat up like venus because we are too far away.

    • JPM · October 3, 2011

      Yes the fussion reactor in the sky warms the earth!

    • Tom · October 3, 2011

      If sun was the culprit the upper atmosphere should be warming up but it’s actually cooling. That’s because sun has entered a period of lower activity. What is warming is the lower atmosphere and especially areas around cities.

      Climate is a very complex problem and that’s why scientists keep studying it to refine their understanding. But just we don’t understand something completely doesn’t mean that we don’t understand enough. We don’t understand gravity or electricity completely but that doesn’t stop us from sending satellites or building electronic equipment.

  5. Autodidactic · October 3, 2011

    Didn’t think many people still bought into this man-made global warming stuff. It’s pretty much on par with creationism to be honest. Are we just supposed to pretend the medieval warming period never happened? Or ice core samples showing much greater co2 levels? Or the fact that co2 makes up like 1/26th of 1 percent of the atmosphere? Or things like ice ages? I don’t understand why these man-made climate change people rarely consider the suns effects on it, I mean the ice caps are melting on the other planets in the atmosphere too.

    • Autodidactic · October 3, 2011

      Meant galaxy not atmosphere.

    • Corey · October 3, 2011

      from skepticalscience.com:
      In the last 35 years of global warming, the sun has shown a slight cooling trend. Sun and climate have been going in opposite directions. In the past century, the Sun can explain some of the increase in global temperatures, but a relatively small amount.

    • Tom · October 3, 2011

      I never read about anybody denying ice ages or the warm medieval period. Can you provide some links?

      You are right that the climate was much warmer in the past. There was a time millions of years ago when earth was mostly desert. Are you saying it’s not a problem or are you saying we are helpless?

      The evidence against sun activity caused warming is that the upper atmosphere is actually cooling. It’s warming only in the lower part where the concentration of CO2 increased. And yes, the concentration of CO2 is small but what does that mean? Would you drink a glass of water with 0.04% of arsenic in it?

    • Autodidactic · October 3, 2011

      No one claimed people were denying ice ages or medieval warming period, don’t put up strawmen. As for the sun theory you should probably look into the recent CERN “CLOUD” experiment. And your analogy about about arsenic in drinking water has nothing to do with anything, not to mention you would be surprised how much arsenic is in water.

    • Tom · October 3, 2011

      I thought you were the one that was saying “Are we just supposed to pretend the medieval warming period never happened?” Who exactly is pretending that or wants us to believe that? I thought you had some links, no?

      And yes, my example with arsenic is pretty meaningless and that was precisely the point. It was supposed to illustrate how meaningless your statement was. Do you really accept as evidence a claim that 0.04% of something is harmless just because the number looks really small? If so you wouldn’t have a problem with 0.04% solution of arsenic or ricin or some nerve gas, would you?

  6. jim · October 3, 2011

    Comment Removed – Sock Puppet

  7. Jim · October 3, 2011

    Why don’t a majority of people in the United States beloeve in climate change? Let me answer that because I am one of them.

    1. It’s absurd to make predictions of climate 10, 50 or 90 years out. That would mean that scientists understand the millions of variables that control earth’s climate. It’s hubris to make such predictions.

    2. Scientists are very often wrong when they make “the sky is falling” kind of predictions. Remeember the “next ice age”, “running out of oi1 by 2000”, caastrphic over-poulation, etc. etc.

    3. Sorry but a consensus of scientists believing something is true does not make it true. Read any good history of science book.

    4. Treating “deniers” as stupid does not help your cause. How about “skeptics” until you PROVE that you are right? You remind people of all those know-it-all kids they knew in high school. Or all those “humans are evil and mother Earth is better off without them” environmentalists. And Al Gore is hurting you much more than you know.

    5. People are going to naturally believe you have an ulterior motive. Money? Maybe. You do receive millions of funding for climate research. Professional advancement? You’re not going to get very far in most universities if you don’t buy drink the climate change kool-aid. Raise taxes on the working classes? Yup, that will happen if you get your way.

    I’d like to be around in 2100 to say “told you so”.

    • Tom · October 3, 2011

      1. Actually predicting climate that far into the future is easier than predicting the weather for next week. Climate predictions are approximations. They don’t tell you what temperature will be on 02.13.2056. It’s like predicting the day of your death is nearly impossible but it’s not unreasonable to say that most people will die after 80.

      2. Scientists are wrong sometimes but so far the track record is on the side of science. The predictions made about the climate in the 70s match what is happening now almost exactly.

      3. Scientists did not vote on whether the temperatures are rising. They did careful measurements and studies. They concluded that the only reasonable explanation for what’s going on is the rise of CO2 levels in the lower atmosphere.

      4. What does a proof mean to you? Science does not prove anything. Science shows overwhelming evidence. Do you have overwhelming evidence to the contrary?

      5. Yes, humans have weaknesses no matter which side they argue. That why you should look at the evidence and the logic and the strength of the argument.

    • Tom · October 3, 2011

      An what if you’re wrong and 2100 is going to be a disaster? Even if I am around to say “I told you so” what good will it be? It’s not like we can decide then to start doing something about it.

  8. Anna L · October 3, 2011

    Actually what I think David is saying is that we need to correct the mistakes and misrepresentations from the other side (and from our own side as well). He does not say that everything the other side says is wrong. He says that we should correct mistakes without resorting to broad spectrum generalizations by calling the other side idiots. And this method can be applied to other hotly debated topics as well.

  9. Southern Fried Scientist · October 3, 2011

    Perhaps “It’s the Sun” should be number 11 on this list. Everyone should check out Skeptical Science, and in particular this post – http://www.skepticalscience.com/solar-activity-sunspots-global-warming.htm – to find out what’s wrong with the “it’s the sun” canard.

  10. sodisappointed · October 3, 2011

    I am so disappointed in this and every other article, regardless of what side of the debate they are on, regarding climate change. You still cannot keep your bias from tainting the article even when you try to be fair.

    First of all #2 in the deniers section…the natural process theory.
    No one can say for sure why the planet is warming or whether the warming trend will continue. But certainly “97-98% of climate scientists who are most commonly publishing papers support “the tenets of anthropogenic climate change”” is not evidence that global warming IS man made…that is only the opinion of those scientist….support in numbers does not make any idea correct. At one point in time 97 to 98% of all doctors didn’t think that smoking was bad for your health.

    Second #3…Scientific Consensus
    Agreed…97 – 98 % is a consensus…but no one has said Eureka!! I have found proof that the current warming trend is man made” until then…the debate is still out.

    Next we go on to lying….While I don’t believe that anyone is outright lying (and this goes for either side) I do believe that the focus of the data is manipulated, be it by the media, PR or scientists themselves…”We found all this stuff that supports our theory…we also found a few things that go against it too, but we won’t mention that” or “See look at this graph, see how well it demonstrates my theory…never mind that it doesn’t actually represent the data I am talking about…it works as a visual to support my findings”

    This will likely never be solved until we actually “Know” what is going on to cause this warming trend.

    With regard to getting “rich” while I agree that no scientist became one to “get rich”…no one became a scientist to be “jobless” or “poor” either. Both sides are funding climate science like crazy and anyone can say that greed is driving BOTH sides of the debate.

    Moving on to the Advocate misrepresentations

    It is clear where you fall regarding the denier or advocate…in your attempt to “call out” the advocates you still go on to generally support the ideas behind each of the statements that are “lies” as labeled.

    You go on in your final statement to clearly state that you feel the “Advocate” is objectively correct. Which is in itself ironically placed within this article as it is a misrepresentation of the term “objectively correct”. Objectively as used in the sentence means “Uninfluenced by emotions or personal prejudices” which is clearly not the case. As an advocate of man made global warming you clearly are emotionally driven to push for change that will stop our influence. You are willing to do whatever is generally agreed will stop the warming and return us to a “normal” uninfluenced climate. Regardless of the fact that we may find in 10 years or so that we were completely wrong and Man has had little to no influence on the climate in any way and it was instead some other influence, you are ready to act now…just in case.

    Now I do not want to confuse anyone, I am completely undecided on whether Man has influence the climate to cause the current warming trend. I cannot make a decision because no one has presented me with solid proof of Man’s involvement in the warm up. I will say that I do believe we are in a warming trend, however temporary or stayed. I am also an advocate for conserving, I do not see anything wrong with using less to live. I personally try to conserve wherever I can and whether that helps out the climate or not is of little concern…it just seems silly to waste.

    I would personally like everyone to stop trying to prove themselves or their argument as correct and instead push for change regarding personal habits. I would rather there be a movement for more people to grow their own food, waste less, reuse more. I know the later items waste less, reuse more are very popular, growing your own food is not as popular a rally cry. However the more self sufficient we can become as individuals the better we will all be in the long run. Instead of monumental change regarding how and were we get energy, lets start focusing on small personal habits that can change right now and do not have to be tied to global warming, but couldn’t hurt the situation either.


  11. jade allen · October 3, 2011

    The warmest year ever….in recorded history! Which is what 130 years!! How old is the earth? 4-5 billion years old!! Is 130 years of weather data enough? Nope. Can you prove that ice core data is accurate? Nope. Although I don’t trust the science, we should alway conserve our limit resources and try to be good stewards to the earth.

    • Tom · October 3, 2011

      Why don’t you trust science? Do you trust the science that made your computer? Or do you just pick and choose which science to trust depending what’s convenient for you?

  12. Joe · October 3, 2011

    There is not enough evidence to say why the earth is warming. With that said, pollution is bad and we should stop doing it. It doesn’t matter how many scientists say something is true, it has to be right and have the data support it. There is not enough reliable data to support the assertation that climatic shift is caused by humans. It is PROBABLY caused by humans. The evidence supports that it could be human activities, but there is not yet enough data to prove this irrevokably true.

    Does this make me a climate change denier? I guess it does, but I still think pollution is bad.

  13. thomas mc · October 3, 2011

    Republicans couldn’t tell the truth if life on earth depended on it. And it does.

  14. jim · October 3, 2011

    Comment Removed – Sock Puppet

  15. Amy · October 3, 2011

    True or not, can we all agree that companies need to clean up their messes? This issue distracts from the plain fact that we are polluting the air land and sea for profit and this behavior is not sustainable. Companies and people should be held responsible for their behavior and morally, we all have an obligation to clean up the way we live.

  16. Jeff · October 3, 2011

    I keep seeing “All” or 97 – 98 % is a consensus. I have asked on many sites for a list of these people. I am still waiting for the list. You also have cited this in your post. Could you please provide me with a list that entails 100% of the climatologist and show me the ones that have personally agreed?

    Just because scientific groups declare that AGW is real does not mean that the members of the group support that same feeling. Is there a current list of polled members and which questions were asked? I would tend to believe that most scientist do indeed agree that there has been a slow warming trend since the Little Ice Age. In fact it looks identical to the MWP and the Roman warm period. Which had temperatures warmer than today.

    The biggest problem with the whole AGW is that Carbon Dioxide has always lag temperature not preceded it.

    Your statement on scientist not getting rich from Global Warming must have overlooked: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/10/03/hansen-rakes-it-in/

    I would love to make an extra million a year.

    How about Mann receiving a grant for 1.8 million for research on Mosquito Vectors. Has Mann received a degree in biology now?

    I started researching this topic several months ago with an open mind. The statement that switched my beliefs was ” AGW is a scientific fact and is indisputable all respected scientists agree.”

    My 3rd grade science book defined this for me “All science is Theory and is subject to change based on currently known evidence and subject to change as new evidence is brought forward”. Nothing is science fact…..

    • Tom · October 3, 2011

      Most of science is based on facts! There would be no science without facts. What science does not provide is proof, just overwhelming evidence.

      FACT: CO2 traps infrared radiation (heat). That was discovered over a 100 years ago.

      FACT: Lower atmosphere and ocean surface is heating up while the upper atmosphere is cooling.

      FACT: The concentration of CO2 in the lower atmosphere increased 50% over the past 200 years.

      What’s your theory?

  17. John · October 3, 2011

    I agree wih amy totally, and I am still unsure about climate chage. One interesting fact about funding for science, that on a recent grant form to get funding for DNA research, they asked about personal belief in global warming. Yea because the two topics really are related. If you say no to these questions, you research does not get funded. That is how they get these 95% scientific community beliefs. Very tricky.

    • WhySharksMatter · October 3, 2011

      Most grant agencies do not choose to fund people based on those people’s personal beliefs (with the exception of certain NGOs). They fund based on the quality of the proposal, and the PI’s past track record as a scientist.

  18. Anon · October 3, 2011

    This is more of the left’s agenda to misrepresent the facts in order to exert more control over people and make the left’s special interests billionares (GE, Al Gore, etc.) The “climate experts” are cherry picked to provide the answers the left wants. The truth about climate change?

    Climate change is controlled primarily by cyclical eccentricities in Earth’s rotation and orbit, as well as variations in the sun’s energy output. “Greenhouse gases” in Earth’s atmosphere also influence Earth’s temperature, but in a much smaller way. Human additions to total greenhouse gases play a still smaller role, contributing about 0.2% – 0.3% to Earth’s greenhouse effect. Approximately every 100,000 years Earth’s climate warms up temporarily. These warm periods, called interglacial periods, appear to last approximately 15,000 to 20,000 years before regressing back to a cold ice age climate. At year 18,000 and counting our current interglacial vacation from the Ice Age is much nearer its end than its beginning.

    If you think that generating green house gases will warm the planet, you should be making them as fast a possible since the next ice age is coming. However, there is really not much you can do to affect it.

    Don’t be fooled by these leftist global alarmists. They are only in it for there own gain and it is not the truth.

  19. Justin · October 3, 2011

    @ Southern Fried Scientist

    I question your Skeptical Science Link as to the Sun is not the cause. Look at the graph and the references. The authors or data generators change at the exact year the the sun temperature and the Earth temperatures start to deviate. Please review this then tell why they are different if they are different. Sometimes you have to be skeptical of skepticalscience…

  20. MFA · October 3, 2011

    WSM,the only thing I would pick a bone with is this statement:

    “If we communicated the facts more effectively, no amount of lies and distortions from the other side would make a difference.”

    As someone who has followed anti-evolution arguments since the usenet days, and now keeps an eye on the many-headed anti-science arguments, I would have to say that NO amount of effectively communicated facts will made a significant difference in either the quantity or prevalence of the lies and distortions from ‘the other side’.

    I agree that most deniers are not idiots and should not be treated as such; but most deniers do seem to be driven by ideology and riven with mistrust, both of which diminish the acceptance of fact, and tend to reinforce the rejection of fact pattern analysis.

    That doesn’t mean one shouldn’t continue to make clear, concise explanations available. We should of course try to educate those whose denial is based mainly on lack of information or interest, and thereby win their support for doing things that might mitigate AGW; but we cannot expect that many, let alone most, AGW deniers will respond to logic or argument. Evidence indicates otherwise; just look at the comments above.

    • WhySharksMatter · October 3, 2011

      “we cannot expect that many, let alone most, AGW deniers will respond to logic or argument. Evidence indicates otherwise; just look at the comments above.”

      Which further advances my argument that we (including me since I’ve now written a post about it) are doing it wrong.

      There are certainly some people who will never agree with AGW, but there are likely many, many more who would agree with it if it was presented correctly.

  21. mememine69 · October 3, 2011

    Comment removed – Sock Puppet

  22. mememine69 · October 3, 2011

    Comment removed – Sock Puppet

  23. mememine69 · October 3, 2011

    Comment removed – Sock Puppet

    • WhySharksMatter · October 3, 2011

      It’s always fascinating to me that climate change deniers throw around names of the few respected (or semi-respected) scientists who agree with them as if they prove some major point, but completely ignore the names of the 100x as many climate scientists who do not agree with them.

    • Gr · October 3, 2011

      I agree with you to an extent but, on the other hand from grade school on alternate theories are rarely examined. Scientist are put on track to believe and thus prove “science” from a very narrow view point. Consider how much money certain groups (including the WH) pay to persuade researchers.(who funds the research, who pushes both solar and oil)
      Sharks do matter and so does the climate. The way we (humanity) care for the Earth is bordering insanity. We need to place vital land air and sea above big-screen tvs and political rhetoric, agreed !

  24. mememine69 · October 3, 2011

    Comment removed – Sock Puppet

    • WhySharksMatter · October 3, 2011

      What are you talking about? In what way are scientists not acting as if climate change isn’t a real crisis?

    • Autodidactic · October 3, 2011

      “I presented exact quotes and links to those quotes, many from influential people. I’m not really sure how you could possibly conclude that no one is claiming that climate change isn’t happening even without these links and quotes.”

      That’s a bit disingenuous, the quote from Rick Perry says the science isn’t settled, the link you listed for the Republicans voting against ““warming of the climate system is unequivocal,” just as abundant scientific evidence confirms.” is not even the entirety of the amendment that was shot down. You did not list one quote of someone denying climate change happens or is happening.

  25. Nick · October 3, 2011

    Will the earth survive global warming? Yes.
    Will life survive global warming? Yes.
    Will out civilization survive gloabal warming?
    Probably not.
    7 billion people have to eat. Change the rainfall pattern so that places we used to farm don’t get rain the way they used to, and there’s going to be problems. Raise your hand in the air if you think that India, Pakistan and China won’t get into a nuclear if the Indus river fails to support the population that it used to, or if the the Ganges delta floods and the population of Bangladesh tries to move to India, or if the Yangtze river fails.
    What would the United States be capable of if its citizens were facing persistent famine becuase the Midwest became a desert? ANYTHING.

    We stand on a knife edge, and our civilization can fall ust as easily as Rome did. Will you, your children and grandchildren live through the end of Western civilation? That’s the stakes!

    To say that “oh, its natural, let nature take her course is the utmost in foolishness. Those with nuclear boms are not about to let nature take its course if nature dictates that they should all starve to death.

    Just what do you think brought about the end of the Roman empire? Or put Attila the Hun and Genghis Khan on the attack? Collapsed the Mayan empire?

    Oh yeah, natural climate change. It can put paid to our civilization too. Denial is the utmost in foolishness.

  26. CHL · October 3, 2011

    Whether it’s deserved or not, no one believes those global warming quacks anyway. Especially me. The world may be warming. But so what. It’s been warm before.

    • Tom · October 3, 2011

      Yes, it’s been warm before and you should thank God that you weren’t around. It was mostly desert.

  27. Roma · October 3, 2011

    Hmm… I would like for everyone who has said “it has not been proven” to stop for a second and let me fill them in on how science ACTUALLY works, because we clearly do not understand how scientific theories are developed within the scientific community.

    NOTHING in science is proven. Nothing. Instead, scientific models are produced that reliably, and accurately describe our world, usually described as ‘working theories’. Those models are created, shown to peers, torn-apart, and remade until a community consensus is created. 97%-98% is a STRONG consensus, very strong. You will always have a few who do not agree. No scientist will have an eureka moment, which is a very Hollywood idea, complete rubbish. Over used example, but, gravity has never, probably will never, be proven. Gravitational theory is only a consensus of scientists, but we clearly see the effects, we have a very good model of the effects of gravity, the effects and the strength of gravity. To dismiss gravitational theory, like climate change, despite the evidence for the existence of both phenomena is ludicrous. Which leads me into the next point.

    Deniers. There is a vastly difference between a skeptic and a denier, and skeptic is often misused especially on the internet. A skeptic follows the evidence and arrives at the conclusion based upon the evidence. A denier usually is someone who starts out with a conclusion and picks the evidence to support their conclusion. The wonderful thing about science, when done correctly, is how it controls for bias. You can chose not to believe what you want but it does not change reality. If you are a true skeptic, set aside your bias, your feelings, I think you will find the evidence for climate change is enormous. Finally, if you think the evidence is not good enough, remember: you, (most) politicians, other discipline scientists are not climatologists; you probably do not know what you are reading about, how to understand the data, or how to work it into a prediction. Let scientists make the scientific decisions, not your gut, not government policy.

    Other notes: Sure people will make money from the enactment of climate change policies, BUT the counter-view has an equal if not more motive to ‘wish-away’ climate change. Bad argument from final consequences. Additionally, we have a vested interest, whether it is man-caused or not, to keep our climate as it is; human society, commerce has existed in this climate since inception; change is probably not in the best interest of humans. If there is a real ‘hole’ in climate change a scientist will point it out, there is WAY more recognition in tearing down a prevalent theory than accepting it, that is how you get grant money; you don’t get grant money by accepting theories and exploring the mundane. Finally, there is no money in it for scientists, people do not go to school for 8+ years and choose and to be a working scientist for the pay, trust me on that.

    • Gr · October 3, 2011

      Some good points. Science has “proven” the earth has undergone “climate change” in repetitive cycles. It is possible that human activity has accelerated the thousand/million/billion year cycle by 20-50 years.
      When the truth is based on assumptions “proven”, it become truth based on the fact that belief systems become embedded and resistant to change. Entire nations once thought that Communism would be the ideal system, thats what they were taught from their schools media etc.. was it true? Another analogy to that line of thinking: the “strong consensus” of doctors (at one time) was that smoking was harmless, possibly even healthy!

    • Mollie Qular · October 4, 2011

      The “doctors and smoking” analogy has been used in this debate several times It is a bit tiresome. It’s not really the best analogy for any argument attempting to provide a case against a consensus reached based on the preponderance of scientific evidence, since most doctors changed their minds once the evidence (including results of scientific research by those pesky scientists–you know, scientific evidence) that smoking causes cancer and other health issues became overwhelming.

    • Autodidactic · October 3, 2011

      Not sure what the point of your entire post was, who is claiming climate change doesn’t happen, everyone is talking man’s effect of climate and the amount of it, your whole post was directed at some non-existent climate change deniers. Then you claim only the climatologists know how to look at the facts then say if the deniers looked at the evidence they would agree with you.

    • WhySharksMatter · October 3, 2011

      ” who is claiming climate change doesn’t happen…your whole post was directed at some non-existent climate change deniers.”

      I presented exact quotes and links to those quotes, many from influential people. I’m not really sure how you could possibly conclude that no one is claiming that climate change isn’t happening even without these links and quotes.

    • Roma · October 3, 2011

      “some non-existent climate change deniers.”

      Uh there are a LOT of them out there.

      Sorry maybe I made it hard to understand. What I was attempting to get to is that, the people who know what they are talking about, who understand it inside and out, find the evidence convincing. If a denier is willing to set aside their preceoptions, understand the science, read the evidence, even a little, you can find the evidence convincing.

    • Roma · October 3, 2011

      You have good points too. However, science is allows for huge overturns in theses ‘truths’ and when it happens it is big news! Right now science is pointing us towards a certain conclusion it would be wise to assume this position as well. Sure gravity fits quite well right now, EM theory has allowed us to communicate almost instantly like right now. But all of this is just ‘truths’ of consensus, but they work, very well, it has allowed for all this technology. There are scientists out there working to disprove out current model of physics, there is even some suggestion recently that aspects may be wrong. So should we quit using the electricity just because we haven’t worked out the kinks still yet, quit launching rockets because gravity just because we haven’t fully explained it? People are quick to accept a scientific consensus when it fits their needs, but as soon as it snaggs with a (not to be belittling) ‘sacred cow’ they are quick to point out the blemishes. It is very wishy-washy stance to take.

    • Gr · October 3, 2011

      Thank you. Some how two seemingly conflicting views can both be correct.
      I would like to say that illiterate barbarians did not cause global warming, it was the sciences of the “advanced” man.

    • Roma · October 3, 2011

      I’m sorry, what? Do you not agree with something?

    • Marvin Cooley · October 4, 2011

      If climate change is ever to make it in the USA as an important and necessary problem that needs serious attention then the first thing that has to happen is it must have creditable spokespersons. The current self styled advocate is tainted just a bit. He comes across as a high pressure used car salesman. He probably does more harm than good. The second thing is that true and honest economical solutions must appear.
      For example I personally have investigated bio fuels and have concluded that even the best of them is not a viable alternative. Tax dollars spent on them is a waste. Henry Ford was successful through many trial not because the government tax dollars help him, in fact he government caused much harm to his efforts, but because he had a vision and convinced others to invest their time and money in that vision. There are hundreds of thousands of individuals working on making a viable and economical solution to create the internal combustion engine that can run on water. Someone will make it happen and the entire world will know about it on the internet. The photovoltaic industry is advancing to becoming less expensive and more efficient without tax dollars.
      The economy and market will find the needed solutions not so much because of the fear of anthropogenic warming results but because the cost in geopolitical and economical terms warrants it. China, for example, does not like being dependent on oil shipped from the middle east. Also the increasing need for food in the developing economies will depend on economical fuels for food production and sustainable methods of farming that require no petrol based fertilizers nor chemical pesticides. Those methods exist now. They will advance because there production cost are less.
      The investment in solution must come from private sources and carbon taxes and other government meddling will only create delays for real solutions. The current 500 million boondoggle is a prime example of government waste and only hurt for real efforts in finding solutions.
      If I were studying the environment or was doing research in that field I would switch to sustainable agriculture related fields because the need for food will come much faster than need to save the planet.

  28. Gr · October 3, 2011

    Scientist also agree that global warming has occurred many times , even before human existence.
    When our Pres. attempted to lift the ban on international whaling we should have realized taking sides is worthless. Censorship of peoples thoughts NO WAY, logical debate and consideration for our environment YES.
    The “Green” movement was supposed to be the next trillion $ bubble — it just hasn’t worked out. The powers to be and their biased followers are angry (followers more sincere then their leaders).
    Clinton Tech Bubble, Bush Housing Bubble, Obama Debt, failed Green Bubble….

    • WhySharksMatter · October 3, 2011

      Whaling? Housing bubble? What are you talking about, friend?

    • Gr · October 3, 2011

      How we blindly follow those we decide to trust, eg We thought Pres. Obama would champion the green movement instead he tried to overturn the international ban on whaling. Should we trust his sincerity concerning global warming?
      From a human perspective our very existence depends on maintaining the environment.
      But to some politicians and professors for that matter the word “green” as in campaign-cash !

  29. Tom Read · October 3, 2011

    Whenever I hear somebody use the term ‘junk science’ I can’t help but think they are peripheral people who have no idea what they are talking about. It is a stupid classification, because the term is so non-specific that it means absolutely nothing. It certainly contributes nothing to any legitimate debate.

    • WhySharksMatter · October 3, 2011

      Did we talk about “junk science” in this post? I’m confused.

    • Gr · October 3, 2011

      “Junk science is faulty scientific data and analysis used to advance special interests and hidden agendas.”

      Dr. Paul Roderick Gregory, professor of Economics and a research fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford, has written a must read article in Forbes, titled “Can We Really Call Climate Science A Science?” (New Nostradamus of the North)

  30. Mike · October 3, 2011

    A misrepresentation by the zealouts (may as well go on the opposite side of the insult spectrum) should be the “97% consensus” we keep hearing about. Over 10,000 scientists were invited to take this survey and only 3,146 answered. So that 97% could easily become 30% if the remaining 7,000 scientists were on the opposite side of the debate.

    Either way, the climate is changing slightly. But is global warming (not climate change, there is a difference) really the reason? Many say yes and many say no. The global warming argument is getting nowhere. Advocates instantly dismiss the scientists who have far more knowledge and experience because they don’t agree and skeptics instantly disagree with the scientists who agree with the argument who also have far more knowledge and experience. Let’s let the real scientists debate this.

    (I am not insulting anyone who is posting on this page, they are speaking their minds on a popular subject. It’s just time for the scientists to come to a conclusion and either resolve the possible issue or get working on other issues that are pressing.)

  31. Jeff · October 3, 2011


    The Author of the article is yet to provide me with the list of all the scientist who state this as fact. You as well have cited this % in your comment. Could you please provide me with this list as I requested in my above post? I really would take the time to contact all of these people to gather their input on the subject. You seem to be sure of this “97%-98% is a STRONG consensus” I am sure you have a list somewhere in a bookmark that cites all the scientist if possible would you “please” provide me the information so I can continue my research!


    • WhySharksMatter · October 3, 2011

      Jeff, the 97-98% statistic comes from this paper:

      It does not include the names of these people or their contact information (other than the author of the paper, who you are welcome to contact). If I had contact information for these people, I would not freely distribute it over the internet to someone I did not know. Sorry.

    • Roma · October 3, 2011

      No unfortunately I do not, I was just citing something someone in another post said, unjustly so in hindsight. Unfortunately such consensus numbers are kind of misleading. You might find groups who try to quantify such consensus but it is really, really hard to do such a thing. What I might suggest if you are really interested in such a thing is to look at some of the leading scientific, peer-reviewed journals in climate change and take a survey of the number of papers providing evidence for and evidence against. That is a really good way to judge the scientific consensus of a topic. Additionally, if there are many articles on it, it is still new and controversial in the community. Even better would be is to ask a climate scientist if you local university has one, he would have a good judgment on the validity of such numbers.

  32. John · October 3, 2011

    ‘If the shoe fits…’

    The definition of stupidity is doing the same thing over and over again – and expecting different results.

    By that definition – regarding climate change – we all are stupid.

    However – I think it’s safe to say the propaganda screams funded by deep corporate pockets scapegoating science and scientist to deny human caused climate change – well – they are beyond merely stupid – rather – they have chosen to be (without any remorse) Stuck On Stupid.

    Look, I’m a veteran so allow me to spell it out for you scientists. War has been declared against you – and while it’s officially undeclared – it is a war none the less…

    Suddenly the sound and fury from the few against you makes sense – they are waging war against you – the first casualty of any war is truth – so that they can win the ‘hearts and minds’ of the ignorant. (ignorance is not the same as stupidity – however, in this case – the ignorant are being manipulated and misled by the stupid).

    So scientists – here is my advise – put aside the papers and graphs and take up arms – if your going to win this war – then you need to become warriors…

    And crush the stupid enemy that started this war against you.

    And make no mistake – if you lose this war – then we all lose….

  33. mememine69 · October 3, 2011

    Comment removed – Sock Puppet

    • WhySharksMatter · October 3, 2011

      As stated in this post, I don’t believe that “carbon trading markets” are the best way to go forward. I’m not really sure why you are fixated on them unless you read the title of the post without reading the rest of it.

  34. ncooty · October 3, 2011

    I wonder how many armchair climatologists are also their own armchair dentists, amateur neurosurgeons, “common sense” barbers, etc.

    In what other areas of their lives do they flaunt 98% agreement of professional scientists?

    Do they not brush their teeth, because only 9 out of 10 dentists recommends it? (They’re not going to fall for that liberal toothpaste conspiracy headed by George Soros.)

  35. Erik · October 3, 2011

    Even a 100% consensus among climatologists in support of their own working HYPOTHESIS (yes, AGW is still a hypothesis!) is truly meaningless without the support of ALL earth scientists. First, climatology is a TINY community, and every branch, be it anthropology, paleontology, geology, etc., has a strong vote on this matter since they all rely on each other. And there is NOT a consensus among all earth scientists!

  36. trex · October 3, 2011

    I find it entirely frustrating that leaders are not taking this as a serious threat to humanity. Politicians are much more effective communicators than scientists and I think the problem is communication. If 97-98% of scientists who studies this are making these assertions with data to back up their opinions then why does everyone with less knowledge and information weigh in with one sided arguments against it?

    This is a complicated issue and it needs some serious study. For example, I have yet to see a study dealing with the effects of warming atmosphere and oceans on the earth’s crust. This might help to explain increased volcanic and seismic activity (that’s just an assumption based on my observation of recent volcanic eruptions and earthquakes but I’d love to see the data).

  37. Jeff · October 3, 2011


    Thanks for the information! I now see where they get their statistics. I do however disagree with the interpretation that the 1,300 scientist then reduced to 900 scientists by statistical analysis of the amount of papers published are a consensus. I would been a lot less skeptical if I saw a list with thousands of names with their own statement on the subject.

    With so much at stake and so much controversy why has this simple thing not been done? If you want me to change my life I really need more than 900 nameless people saying I should. In the denier camp it is claimed that a paper opposing the position of the 900 takes an act of God and Congress to get peer reviewed.
    If that is true would the data of the concensus be screwed in the direction of AGW proponents?

    Again thanks for the information,


    • Roma · October 3, 2011

      So you know, what you are describing is called the ‘File Drawer Effect’ 😉

      If it “takes an act of God and Congress to get peer reviewed” then that is usually a good sign that the evidence presented is not convicing enough to consider publishing. I find this phrase misleading though, usually papers being sent to say, Nature, are first peer-reviewed by peers in the university before it is sent to Nature where it is sent to a bunch more peers for further review. If the peers find the paper wanting, it is rejected otherwise it is published. The HARDEST things about presenting a counter proposal is that you have to make a REALLY good case or have some hard-hitting evidence when the consensus evidence is so heavy. “Extraordinary claims require Extraordinary evidence.”– Carl Sagan.

    • Tom · October 4, 2011

      So why would it be so hard for the deniers to get peer reviewed? Is it because there is an overwhelming consensus supporting AGW? Why can’t they get their fellow deniers to review it? Maybe they are hard to find…

      I think you answered your own question.

  38. trex · October 3, 2011

    The sun is not the only major source of heat…the reactions in the core of the earth generate a substantial amount of heat and only a relatively thin layer at the surface (the crust) is not liquid. The crust is solid because the surface temperatures cool the surface of the earth. The questions are:

    1.) Isn’t the core’s thickness related to the average temperature of the atmosphere and oceans?

    2.) Do the effects of global warming significantly impact the thickness of the crust?

    3.) What are the implications or risks (more volcanic activity, seismic resulting in more earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions)?

  39. sodisappointed · October 3, 2011

    @ Roma

    Let me clear up a few things. I fully understand the meaning of Scientific Theory and am cognizant of the fact that nothing is “proven”. I apologize for my misuse of the word “proven”. But let’s face the facts that the public majority is going to refer to a situation as “proven” if they agree with the data. For instance we will use your example of gravity. While Gravitational theory isn’t “proven” the majority of people in the world agree that gravity is real and we can feel the effects of it.

    Now if we compare gravity to anthropogenic climate change in the current landscape there would be a majority of scientist that agree that gravity is real and a majority of everyday common persons that did not or were not sure. Take that one step further now and let’s say not only do the scientists agree with gravitational theory they also say that because of gravity society faces collapse in the not too distant future, unless we make these drastic changes to society, lifestyle, and economy. In addition to that there are some scientist that argue gravity isn’t real, and a few more that argue gravity is real but poses no threat and then compound the argument with two media facets trading blows to determine who is right and who is wrong. I doubt that you will get a majority consensus outside of the scientific community that gravity is real. And that is just a simplified version. That is why I say that unless the science is “proven” or otherwise so overwhelmingly obvious that there is no likely other explanation there will be no acceptance of the drastic changes advocates pose.

    Lastly no one seems to be able to answer the question of…What if we do decide to act and we do everything in our power to stop global warming and the earth still warms? What if acting causes an acceleration what if acting causes a severe drop in temperature? Why is the overall urge to jump blindly into action when we don’t even know the consequences if any that the actions will pose.

    So many instances in the past can be referenced where supposed “good” actions have been followed only to reveal that those actions actually cause the situation to become worse and more complicated. In those instances inaction would have been the better response.


    • Roma · October 3, 2011

      I want to address your points in “Lastly no one seems to be able to answer the question of…” because I think sometimes people get this tied up with “Is it real?” and we end up talking past each other. What I am arguing really against is the people who say it is not real. Now what to do about it, I really don’t know nor do I have the expertise to even been speculation. I think the concept of capturing our greenhouse emission would be a good start and I cannot foresee a reason who it might have some other unintended consequence as before the 1800s there was little CO2 to speak of and the climate was peachy then. It could be in part of some natural cycle that we haven’t considered yet and we have to adapt but I don’t foresee and reason except financially, why we shouldn’t capture our emissions. How to do that because more of a political, economics, society issue and steps outside climate science.

    • Gr · October 3, 2011

      That captured CO2 may even become a more valued resource. “is it real” regardless we cant take that gamble, in general we need to provide better care for our world.
      “climate was peachy [1800]” That was prior to mankind’s rapid scientific “advancements”.
      Peace and happiness to you.

    • Erik · October 3, 2011


      Your comparison of AGW to the gravitational theory is misplaced. Nobody disputes gravity’s effects, just as nobody continues to test Newton’s mathematics since they’ve been long proven to the point of becoming theory. What you do see, however, is a constant and frenetic tweaking and tuning of the AGW math in an attempt to create a solid model. And nobody has done that yet.

      Yes, the globe has warmed, but if the warming is totally normal (which the geologic record would strongly suggest), then there’s NOTHING we can do about it, and it’d be hugely burdensome on the global community to fight a losing battle. It’d be far for more wise to adapt.

    • Tom · October 4, 2011

      Gravity and physics research in general is different as far as science goes because gravity can be tested and retested as many times as we want.

      CO2 traps heat, that much has been tested in the labs all over the world a long time ago. However you can’t take a duplicate Earth, inject it with a bunch of CO2, wait a 100 years and see what happens. You can’t even look at another planet that is almost identical to Earth but with a rising levels of CO2 because we don’t know of any such planets.

      One thing that scientists can do is to build very accurate computer models of Earth and test them with different levels of CO2 and speed up time. However any model is just an approximation and a simplification and we might be missing something important.

      Another way to test the hypothesis is to look into the past when the levels of CO2 were different and see what was going on. However we don’t have very precise data from the past and some important details might have been different back then like no people belching gigatons of CO2 into the atmosphere every year.

      Because of the impossibility of setting up climate experiments for the whole planet climate change will never be as certain as gravity and it’s unreasonable to require the same burden of proof. However even when faced with incomplete data we are routinely able to be convinced beyond reasonable doubt. Most scientists are convinced in case of the climate change.

    • Erik · October 4, 2011

      You’re certainly right-on with the current state of the AGW model, however, you’re not right with regard to it’s accuracy. Predicting the past, as modelers often do to test their math, provides only marginal indication of future accuracy with complex systems. Even physicists who computer-model the behavior of structure fires routinely build full-scale replicas to gauge true outcomes, and these are systems far simpler than global climate.

      As an engineering geologist, I work in a field that models landslides, and despite the advancement of modeling software, it’s all too easy for a desk jokey to calculate the existence of a landslide when one doesn’t actually exist (or vice versa). In many cases, the outcome is dependent on the subconscious (or not) notion of the engineer who must often assume input values (soil strengths, bedding orientation, etc.) when real data isn’t available… this is strikingly similar to how AGW models are run.

    • Tom · October 4, 2011

      I didn’t make any claims as to the accuracy of the models. Just the opposite. Since the nature of the problem forces us to use models instead of experimenting on the real thing there always will be a problem of accuracy.

      The question is how confident do you have to be in prediction of a disaster to take any precautions. Geologists keep predicting the big one for LA and San Francisco and builders keep spending a lot money to keep up with expensive and intricate codes. So far no big one. Is everyone making their home earthquake proof a fool? Are the models that keep predicting the big one coming soon wrong and should be discarded? Maybe we could save some money by starting building bridges like everywhere in the country.

      At some point you accept the uncertainty and simply err on the safe side.

  40. John · October 3, 2011

    ‘Yankee doodle went to town…’

    This intense focus on consensus is a straw man argument. If one doesn’t believe their is a real consensus among real scientists regarding climate change – then – why not look at the data yourself?

    ‘…Riding on a pony…’

    If one doesn’t understand the data – then isn’t a good idea to have a climate scientist explain it to you (which, by the way, has been thousands of times in thousands of different ways already).

    ‘…Stuck a feather in his hat…’

    Bottom line – many of the deniers here have been repeatedly told by a screaming minority not to trust climate scientists. So it comes down to no matter how many time the facts are presented – such facts are always going to hard to see when people have their heads up their asses.

    Here’s another way to break the straw mans back. How many scientist’s are in consensus that climate change is human caused and how many skeptics are saying that it isn’t human caused???

    Well, what is it – 97% for AGW and 2% against AGW? Okay, maybe it’s 3% against AGW. And now – PLACE YOUR BETS, FOLKS…

    ‘And Called It Macaroni!’

    As to the so called deniers – the earth is also flat – I, for one, haven’t forgotten just a few short years ago many of y’all where a hootin’ and a hollerin’ that there climate change thing wasn’t even a happenin’ – don’t y’all feel foolish now?

    By the way – I’m also very adept at singin’ ‘Camptown Races’ and am available for birthday parties, bachelorette parties, and Bar-Mitzvahs.


  41. trex · October 3, 2011

    I think it is ironic that people think that they have to change their lives to be proactive and do something about an impending problem. At this point your way of life (or your children’s lives) will be drastically changed if you do nothing.

    At the very minimum, look at the facts and not the political sides, because this is not about politics. There is a reason why most politicians are lawyers and not scientists, because the only facts that are tangible to them are the ones that support their convictions.

  42. sceptic · October 3, 2011

    Why don’t i trust climate change research?
    Because too much of it is shoddy work, both for and against climate change.

    The error bars people, the error bars! Error bars have meaning and when you make your conclusions you need to take that into account.

    Example of a common mistake in the several papers i have read:
    The temperature of the world increased by .05 +/- .1 C over the specified number of years. Therefore global warming is true.

    It is just bad research, not that the anti global warming research is any better. It’s just too soon to tell. Maybe when we get some qualified researchers working on it.

  43. John · October 3, 2011

    Well, Septic…

    Are you a ‘qualified researcher’?

    I got a simple way of making clear the earth is a warmin’.

    Is the Artic Ice disappearing? Well…yes it is…
    Are many glaciers world wide a disappearin’? Why…yes they are…
    Was the last decade the warmest on record ever? Uh…yeah, that’s true…
    Is there an insane drought turnin’ Texas into the Sahara o’ America? Yessiree!

    Septic – pull your head out of your butt – you’ll see better…

  44. mememine69 · October 3, 2011

    Comment removed – Sock Puppet

  45. MT · October 3, 2011

    scientific consensus. Does this equal scientific fact? I did not realize that science could be put to a vote.

    Has there ever been a scientific consensus that turned out to be false?

    • Roma · October 3, 2011

      Kind of. What happens is scientists make theories that describe phenomena they see occurring. The evidence to support these finds are said to be facts. They then write papers describing their theory. Then the papers are looked over by peers in their own field, looking for mistakes. If mistakes are there, your peers will gladly point them out because they are basically competing against you for funding and recogintion. Eventually there are thousands, million of papers on a topic and most of the papers will describe the phenomena with the exact same mechanism. This is then called a consensus. Scientists through independent and competitive means have arrived at the same, REPEATABLE, mechanism for the description of some event.

      I did a quick google search but didn’t find a change of consensus nor can I think of one. You might say the evidence against the Luminiferous Aether might be a overturned consensus but I don’t know if it was a consensus really. If we don’t find the Higg Boson we might have to discard the Standard Model completely or maybe just change it.

      But consensus does not have to be the ‘end’. Sufficient evidence can turn part or all of a consensus. Which would be really exciting. Science is always changing, improving, retesting. So a consensus is really a fancy way of saying that ‘given our current understanding this is how this phenomena occurs’. With new evidence that might change the consensus.

    • Erik · October 4, 2011

      Please understand there is only a consensus with regard to the AGW hypothesis among climatologists. This does NOT translate to scientific theory accepted by the whole of the EARTH science community.

      There have been numerous broadly accepted hypotheses that have been later disproven. Prior to the Continental Drift hypothesis developed in the early 20th century (which later became Plate Tectonic Theory in the late 60’s), the CONSENSUS among earth scientists was that earth’s features were permanently fixed. And prior to that, many scientists believed the earth was only 4,000 years old based on poor interpretations of the Bible.

      Another current hypothetical model that would appear to have a consensus is that prions cause CJD (mad cow disease). Many in the field of virus research actually disagree that prions actually exist. You can’t always trust the media.

  46. mememine69 · October 3, 2011

    Comment removed – Sock Puppet

  47. mememine69 · October 3, 2011

    Comment removed – Sock Puppet

    • Mollie Qular · October 4, 2011

      Scientists gave us computers and the Internet, developed vaccines against polio and diphtheria, envisioned MRIs and x-rays and put us on the moon and conceived the space shuttles and developed genetic technologies that free innocent men wrongly accused of crimes and put guilty people in jail, and created structural clothing that shimmers like morpho butterflies and gave us cameras and solar panels and designed surveillance efforts for the West Nile virus, avian influenza and guidance to save entire species and vitamins and x-ray technology and the PCR reaction, and sequenced the human genome and all the other genomes and each and every day work tirelessly to answer questions and solve problems, and all you can do is castigate them. Go home and throw out everything out that did not emerge in some way from the mind of a scientist. You will not own much. If you ever end up in a hospital, refuse any
      treatment that benefitted from the input of a scientist, if you think they are so very evil. Go on, live your life without products that scientists gave humankind, if you can.

      You can start by logging off your computer.

  48. Jeff · October 3, 2011


    You watched the Gore telethon and believed it?

    Is the Artic Ice disappearing? Well…yes it is…
    ” Just like it did in 1930, however this years summer melt was not a record breaker and the arctic is gaining ice as we speak at a recorded breaking level. ”

    Are many glaciers world wide a disappearin’? Why…yes they are…

    ” Greenland Glacier melt is estimated at .01% Freaking Huge! Have you researched the fiasco about the Hemalays Glacier, I have. Ever wonder why Greenland is called Greenland? This is a stretch but I betting that it was Green when the Viking’s decided to move there and name it. ”

    Was the last decade the warmest on record ever?
    ” Ever? Really, Are you using Mann’s data chart that “somehow” eliminated the Medevil Warming Period, the Roman Warming Period as well as the Little Ice Age?

    Uh…yeah, that’s true…
    Is there an insane drought turnin’ Texas into the Sahara o’ America? Yessiree!
    ” Have you ever researched the Dustbowl? The central plains have always had extreme weather. Weather not climate change.”

    I don’t care that much for macaroni but you can have it spoon fed to you if you please!

    I have been nothing but polite and inquisitive in my posts, you on the other hand…..


    • Tom · October 4, 2011

      There were always fluctuations in arctic ice but now they ARE at the lowest levels recorded. They are low to the point where several shipping companies are planning opening ship routs to Asia through Canada. That was never possible before in human history. Sure, at one point in history of the earth there were on polar ice caps at all. But it was not a recorded history, not even human history.

      How do you know that 0.01% is huge or small? I pointed it before. Would you drink 0.01% solution of arsenic? Is 0.01% of radioactive plutonium in the air huge or small? The point is that you can’t just look at a number to draw conclusions. You need to know the significance of the number.
      And yes, Greenland was once green as far as there was enough grass to raise some sheep and cows on the southern tip. Timber (and everything else) however had to be imported.

      The last decade was the warmest in the RECORDED history. It might have been even warmer than the medieval period but as people of your ilk rightly point out that data cannot be very certain.

      Dustbowl was bad but the current drought is even worse than that. The reason we don’t see much dust this time around is because scientists came up with soil conservation strategies. Good thing that wasn’t dismissed as just another “theory”.

  49. mike · October 3, 2011

    The exact opposite of this article is true. The facts on your side are made up. The best climate scientists that exist are still beginners. Get over it.

  50. John · October 3, 2011

    oh brother, lord give me strength…

    “Say, why didn’t Obama mention the greatest crisis imaginable (climate crisis), in his state of the union address?”

    The black man in the white house – our President – snuff’s out Bin Laden… o’course, we can’t give President Obama credit for that achievement because he wasn’t born in the USA…

    On the other hand – The President wants to eliminate tax loopholes for oil and coal companies – leveling the market for zero carbon renewables – which has nothing to do with battling climate change and is all about socialism!

    Riiiiight – scapegoat Obama – nothin’ like an unjust lynchin’ to keep the people in line…

    “For that matter, why did the thousands of scientists warning us of impending DOOM just sit there and not react to Obama’s snub?”

    I dunno – cause the Congress has screamed ‘Hell NO YOU CAN’T’ at him for the last 3 years. But hey – that’s okay – Congress can fabricate a crisis and bring our nation to the brink of default, because – you know – they’s a fightin’ socialism!

    blame, blame, blame, blame, do nothing, do nothing, do nothing, know nothing, no nothing, no nothing…

    Hey,Schultz’s mini-me, I have a Hershey chocolate bar for you.

    and another straw mans back is broken…
    Thank You, Lord!

  51. jmt · October 3, 2011

    I can’t believe some of you. Sounds like this became a religion for some of you. I hope you dont decide to strap a bomb on yourselves.
    So far i noticed non of you ever posted any documentation about what you have said and by the way you explain yourselves you are not a scientist but rather a laymen at best. So let me enlighten you a bit. This will be short because i am leaving work but i will continue later.
    1) Little Ice Age. Started about 500-700 years ago. Read here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_Ice_Age
    World temps changed by +/- 4 degrees f. We have been exiting this period for the past 300 years. This means that temps have been rising for the past 300 years!
    2) In the 1970’s the hippies called it Global Cooling. All the studies proved incorrect. They changed the name to Global Warming and changed the science to match. Read here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_cooling
    3)Climate DOES CHANGE. This is the only thing scientists agree on. The question is if we are causing it or not. If you are making the link of higher CO2 causes higher temps your correct in a test tube but NOT ON EARTH. every single record from ice cores to sediment cores proves that temp changes CO2 and NOT the other way around.
    Anyway i have to go but if there are any real scientists here please specify your title and WHO pays you.
    IDIOTS. The earth is fine.

    • John · October 3, 2011

      Uh…jmt…Wikipedia isn’t documentation…

      Oh- no source at all for number 3 (hey, nice to see you lead by example)

      Your correct – the earth is fine – it’s the climate that’s fucked up…

      Oh as to the ice / sediment core data – shouldn’t we be entering another cooling period – but were not.

      Hmmmm, i wonder why…

      Oh! And I did notice the slight about ‘this became a religion for some of you’. Gave yourself away there, didn’t you, Inquisitor?

      I’m really sick and tired of the outright lies and implication that scientists are nothing more than new type of religious zealots…

      You deniers, on the other hand, well – it does fit you rather well…
      And the witchhunt continues…

  52. John · October 3, 2011


    You watched the Gore telethon and believed it?

    NOOOOPE! See my post to Septic…oh look – you already have!

    Is the Artic Ice disappearing? Well…yes it is…
    ” Just like it did in 1930, however this years summer melt was not a record breaker and the arctic is gaining ice as we speak at a recorded breaking level. ”

    Came close to being a record breaker, didn’t it? Com’on now – you can tell us the truth…

    Are many glaciers world wide a disappearin’? Why…yes they are…

    ” Greenland Glacier melt is estimated at .01% Freaking Huge! Have you researched the fiasco about the Hemalays Glacier, I have. Ever wonder why Greenland is called Greenland? This is a stretch but I betting that it was Green when the Viking’s decided to move there and name it. ”

    Dude – what are you smoking? “This is a stretch but I betting that it was Green when the Viking’s decided to move there and name it.”
    That isn’t even a stretch – it is absolute fantasy, though.

    Was the last decade the warmest on record ever?
    ” Ever? Really, Are you using Mann’s data chart that “somehow” eliminated the Medevil Warming Period, the Roman Warming Period as well as the Little Ice Age?

    Onooooos! Yous gots me! Them scientists wit their ice cores and measurements are lying to me! Blame da Mann!
    Dude – seriously – what the hell are you smokin’?

    Uh…yeah, that’s true…
    Is there an insane drought turnin’ Texas into the Sahara o’ America? Yessiree!
    ” Have you ever researched the Dustbowl? The central plains have always had extreme weather. Weather not climate change.”

    Hey – we agree. Weather is not climate. So – is drought the result of weather or climate? Ah ha! Maybe you should take another hit on that bong – seems to be helpin’ ya think better…

    I don’t care that much for macaroni but you can have it spoon fed to you if you please!

    Shucks – you don’t wanna hear me sing ‘Camptown’?

    I have been nothing but polite and inquisitive in my posts, you on the other hand…..

    Okay – and your comrades get a pass – right?

    Welcome to the War, Jeff – choose your side – but choose wisely…
    I’m a lit’em up that are Stuck On Stupid.

  53. Brian · October 3, 2011

    When did the people who don’t believe in a proposed theory “deniers”?

    Look, until you get the pro-AGW people off the government tit, and people that use 10x the same “dirty energy” that an average user consumes then you will have a difficult time convinencing the public of your theory.

    My problems with this theory is all computer models and advocates have been wrong on CO2 retention levels (and CO2 minimal role as a green house gas due to atmospheric volume), ice cap melting, and didn’t Al Gore say that manhattan island would be under water in 2010?

    You have the every people advocating “GW” setting up schemes to make millions of dollars off it. Are they reinvesting their money towards clean energy or prevention? I would bet they are probably fund the very research to keep lining their pockets.

    I find that “GW” is used a propaganda to fund green energy (which I support for other reasons than “GW”)research which has proven to be still in its infancy and complete unfundable by private parties due to it lack of implenmentation and effectivness.

    I thought this article was a direct example of a projected attack against Republicans and people who have yet to be convieneced of “GW”.

    Good day and God bless.

    • Brian · October 3, 2011

      Oh… One last time for everyone. COMPUTER MODELS?
      How if all the data provides vaild proof that this new attack towards corps and industry (“GW”) is correct… Then why are they always wrong?

  54. John · October 3, 2011


    The thin veneer of appearing ‘civilized’ really doesn’t work anymore. Deniers knock down a hornets nest of data and facts – and then don’t expect to be stung. And I think it was clearly stated earlier the difference between a skeptic and a denier…

    Unfortunately, way too many deniers are posing as skeptics.

    Case in point – many of the deniers here shut the hell up when i made the comparison between the percentage of scientists for AGW compared to those against it. I didn’t just break that straw mans back – I blew his head off.

    I wouldn’t have to resort to such measures if – well – the deniers were honest. But that’s probably the main point – How can a denier be honest with anyone when they can’t even be honest with themselves…

    In any case, this other tack of ‘quiet’ belittling and thinly hidden contempt for AGW in repeating the word ‘theory’ – well – it reminds me of the scopes monkey trials of a previous era…

    And, imo, scientists have been too kind in trying to gently break the news to everyone regarding AGW…and I can understand their frustration when they are repeatedly attacked for presenting their findings.

    And last – what attack on corps and industry are you talking about? After all – some energy corporations have lead the attack against AGW and have a minority of ‘scientists’ on their payroll scapegoating others…

    Ironic, isn’t it? The very few ‘experts’ claiming AGW is a conspiracy by the majority to make money – are actually being paid to write such propaganda…

    So I’ll try something different.

    You’re right, Brian. Collecting data and making models doesn’t work – not for evolution, not for weather predication – hell, not even for discovering new sources of oil. It didn’t work when building the atom bomb and it doesn’t work for nuclear power plants. Such models also do not work in genetics and they sure as hell don’t work on Wall Street…

    Uh – scratch Wall Street – they don’t use science…

    Hell, even the scientific models used for creating the IC chips to have computers and cell phones, and satellites and GPS doesn’t work.

    It’s all one big conspiracy to make money. Just like no bid contracts for Halliburton…

    As for politics, well, there are no real conservatives left in the Republican party – we’ve all been purged out by the NeoCons and their Tea Party Collaborators…sucks – but true. Nothin’ but Rinos left.

    I dunno, Brian. All I can tell you is that blind faith is bad – very bad.
    The AGW consensus isn’t based on blind faith – or any faith for that matter – it’s based on a science. And overall, the model is correct.

    That is the simple truth.

    • Autodidactic · October 3, 2011

      Glad this john guy is on the side of the people that believe in man-made global warming. He seems to have some major delusions of grandeur his quote:
      “”””””(Case in point – many of the deniers here shut the hell up when i made the comparison between the percentage of scientists for AGW compared to those against it. I didn’t just break that straw mans back – I blew his head off.

      I wouldn’t have to resort to such measures if – well – the deniers were honest. But that’s probably the main point – How can a denier be honest with anyone when they can’t even be honest with themselves…) “”””””

      After doing nothing more then “refuting” jeff by saying he must be smoking dope over and over again. Then using the logical fallacy appeal to authority over and over again. Then he says weather is not climate, which according to NASA the only difference is the amount of time you are measuring it, which would be about the equivalent to saying microevolution is not evolution.

      Sucks both sides seem to have clueless people trying to debate things they know very little to nothing about.

  55. aallison · October 3, 2011

    Nice try, but the argument (at least to agnostics like myself) is not about whether climate change is happening, but it’s cause. The downside of the AGW view is that if it’s wrong, resources which should be being devoted to living with climate change are instead being devoted to a futile effort to prevent it. Wouldn’t it be wise to at least consider the cost of being wrong?
    There are at least two reasons why it could be: the Earth’s climate history shows multiple rapid warmings (and coolings) before the, fueled by burning fossil fuel on a previously unheard-of scale, Industrial Revolution; and, there appears to be a misunderstanding of the solubility of CO2 in water. The supposition that increasing atmospheric CO2 causes temperature increase is, to put it politely, questionable: open a bottle of room-temperature soda to see the truth of this. I’ve seen precisely zero evidence that increased CO2 is not a result, rather than a cause, of climate change.
    Another thing which has bothered me for a while is the sheer scale of climate physics. Consider if you will the fact that, every single day, thunderstorms dissipate more energy that all the nuclear explosions to date. Does a finger in the dyke comes to mind?
    Something else that worries me is the fact that atmospheric CO2 on the east coast of the USA (over which the prevailing winds are westerly) is lower, that’s right LOWER, than on the west coast. How can this possibly be, given that the USA is (allegedly) responsible for 40% of global CO2 emissions? It’s the photosynthesis (of the most intensively cultivated continent on the planet) stupid!
    What the climate alarmists should be doing is greening the planet. Here are a couple of examples of how to do so: stop the decimation of rain forests, especially in S. America and do to as much of the Sahara as possible what Israel has done to the Negev, i.e. make it green.

  56. John · October 3, 2011

    Hi Alice,

    I shall go down the rabbit hole with you…

    “The supposition that increasing atmospheric CO2 causes temperature increase is, to put it politely, questionable: open a bottle of room-temperature soda to see the truth of this. I’ve seen precisely zero evidence that increased CO2 is not a result, rather than a cause, of climate change.”

    Um…basic science / chemistry – C02 is called a greenhouse gas for an important reason:


    Open a bottle of soda? Wot da fuuuuuuu??? You can’t be serious, but just in case…

    Your soda ‘model’ as a comparison to climate change just doesn’t work (and I’m being polite). However, excess C02 is being absorbed by the oceans, making them more acidic…not good – not good at all…

    Thunderstorms? Your confusing weather with climate…

    Ummm…climate doesn’t care about ‘east’ coast or ‘west’ coast – and neither does C02. (Yeaa Boiyyz!) okay – my last (remark) was uncalled for…

    Climate alarmists should be greening the planet – okay – why limit that standing order to climate ‘alarmists’??? I dunno, maybe BP and Halliburton can help us green the planet – you know – by cleaning up the oil in the Gulf. No???

    Rain forest in South America – ummm – what about the temperate forests in North America – don’t those count???

    ummm…the Sahara isn’t in North America…

    um – as for the Negev:
    “85% of the Negev is used by the Israel Defense Forces for training purposes. In the remaining portion of the Negev available for civilian purposes, a large number of citizens live together in close proximity to a range of types of hazardous infrastructure, which includes a nuclear reactor, 22 agro and petrochemical factories, an oil terminal, closed military zones, quarries, a toxic waste incinerator Ramat Hovav, cell towers, a power plant, several airports, a prison, and 2 rivers of open sewage.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Negev

    You have a choice, Alice – take the red pill and continue as you are – take the blue pill and continue down the rabbit hole…

  57. Autodidactic · October 3, 2011

    Was curious as to how they came up with the so-called consensus for climate scientists agreeing with the whole man-made global warming hoax, and also how many climate scientists there actually were, and I came upon the actual paper. Apparently all you people who are basing your entire belief in man-made global warming are basing it on the opinions of just 79 people:

    . In our survey, the most specialized and knowledgeable respondents (with regard to climate
    change) are those who listed climate science as their area of expertise and who
    also have published more than 50% of
    their recent peer-reviewed papers on the
    subject of climate change (79 individuals in total). Of these specialists, 96.2%
    (76 of 79) answered “risen” to question 1
    and 97.4% (75 of 77) answered yes to question 2

    You are being misled, here is the link first to the site a few people have been using to back up their claims for evidence of AGW: http://www.skepticalscience.com/news.php?n=296

    Then here is the non peer reviewed article they got the numbers from: http://tigger.uic.edu/~pdoran/012009_Doran_final.pdf

    I was trying research the amount of scientists who believe this AGW hoax vs the ones that don’t and came upon that, there is a petition of like 32,000 scientists, 9,000 of them PHD’s the majority of them not climate scientists but intelligent, educated scientists that signed the petition rejecting AGW. If you’ve a problem with most of them not being climate scientists remember that only 20% of the ICCP scientists are climate scientists as well.

    Hopefully some people will look into it some more, I don’t understand how so many seemingly intelligent people are falling for this stuff.

  58. WTF · October 3, 2011

    Comment Removed – Sock Puppet

  59. Anna L · October 3, 2011

    Being in grad school, I sadly did not have the time to really delve into all the arguments in depth, but there are a few points people have to keep in mind. No science can prove 100% that something will not occur. We cannot prove a negative 100% because that would be against the definition of scientific theory. So is it possible that global warming does not exist? Sure, but again please present proof. In order to get your point in whatever debate you need to be civil and just focus on the proof that the other person is presenting as opposed to their character. Lets leave the mudslinging to the politicians

  60. R James · October 3, 2011

    The graph shown under point 1 is from NASA GISS. It should be noted that this is in conflict with the other main data sources (Hadcrut, RSS, UAH). Also note that GISS admits in writing that they are not the best authority on global temperature, and refer to Hadcrut as the authority.

    It’s interesting that all the models predicted warming over the past 10 years, but it hasn’t happened. Therefore the models are either wrong, or we need to wait longer for data to substantiate them. At this stage, it’s all hypothesis with no real data to support it.

  61. Gabriel Atega · October 3, 2011

    There is climate change, and it is caused by a number of variables that include long term continuing changes that people have nothing to do with: 1. The swing from Ice Age to Thermal Maximum; 2) The changes of the seasons; 3) The Earth’s wobble; 4) Gravity, as in the movements of the Moon, Sun, Jupiter and the whole of the solar system as it affects the levels of radiation that the sun generates (sunspots) and the changes in the behavior of water from vapor to rain to snow/ice to biosphere to rivers to oceans and the whole of the hydrologic cycle.

    There are human activities that have changed the face of the planet: 1) deforestation; 2) building of cities and concentrations of human populations; 3) energy consumptions that cause the extraction of buried elements to come to the surface including fossil fuels, minerals, waters from aquifers, etc. Deforestation is the biggest climate changing factor. Young people have not seen the extent of the forests 6 decades ago and would be unable to appreciate what has been lost. And those that lived 6 decades ago has failed to appreciate the extent of the forests of the 4 generations of people before them going back to before the steam engine was invented.

    The problem that has caused the skepticism has nothing to do with climate change per se but as to what is or what are driving the changes in the climate. To claim that it is driven by solely by CO2, is to ignore that it is not the only product of human activity that can bring the changes in the climate. CO2 as emitted by cars and trucks, is insignificant when compared to changes that is caused by the loss of the forests. The debate on CO2 is diverting focus away from the real problem which is the loss of the Earth’s forests, and thus diverting attention from the real solution which is to stop the cutting and begin restoring the forests to as close as it was in the last century. The CO2 distraction is costing so much attention away from the real solution.

    If we restore the forests, all CO2 will disappear. If we restore the forests, we will replenish the aquifers. If we restore the forests, we will bring back living forms to levels that existed in the past. With the forests we will be producing more oxygen and taking out CO2; we will be reducing the amount of moisture in the atmosphere that is causing destructive storms, heavy flooding and snowfall; we will be laying out a carpet of wind cushions to take the harshness that has characterized the climate patterns that are developing today. If we will restore mangrove or coastal forests, we will be cooling down the waters that are along the coasts of all islands and continents by shielding these waters from solar radiation; the benefit will be the cooling of waters that help restore coral that live along or near the coasts.

    Let us take care of the forests and all the concern about CO2 will vanish.

  62. Anna L · October 3, 2011

    I will have to agree with the last post. We should really do something, and then we can see if it had an effect and adjust our data. This whole head in the sand mentality is really not getting us that much further. I think we need to realize that something is happening and then try to halt it and then readjust models, and see where we are. Currently we arent doing very much.

  63. Gabriel Atega · October 3, 2011

    The thing with the money arrangements that are seen as solutions to climate change is that it distracts from the real need for every country to bring back as much as it can of the forests that it has lost.

    Carbon trade allows some people and countries to escape from the real obligation that is to bring back the forests that they once had. We cannot pay our way out of it.

    The solution is to identify lands that should have forests again or those that can be made to bear forests to make up for the lands that humanity has taken away for its settlements, agriculture and wood production. This identification has to be locally specific so that people can identify with it. Verifiability of forest restoration accomplishment is a must to keep us from being deluded by cosmetic reforestation.

  64. John · October 4, 2011

    @ Autodidatic:

    “Apparently all you people who are basing your entire belief in man-made global warming are basing it on the opinions of just 79 people:”

    You really should read the sources you post – reading really is fundamental.
    To that end, I’ll repost your source you used to prove ‘The Great AGW Hoax’…

    Examining the Scientific Consensus on Climate Change

    The objective of our study presented here is to assess the scientific
    consensus on climate change through an unbiased survey of a large and broad
    group of Earth scientists. An invitation to participate in the survey was sent to 10,257 Earth scientists…

    With 3146 individuals completing the survey, the participant response rate for the survey was 30.7%. This is a typical response rate for Web-based surveys…

    It seems that the debate on the authenticity of global warming and the role played by human activity is largely nonexistent among those who understand the nuances and scientific basis of long-term climate processes. The
    challenge, rather, appears to be how to effectively communicate this fact to policymakers and to a public that continues to mistakenly perceive debate among scientists.

    1. This was just a survey
    2. In any case, over 3,000 answered it
    3. They agree AGW is occuring – period.

    Autodidatic – the next time you accuse scientists of promoting a hoax, perhaps you should go look in the mirror first…

  65. Mike · October 4, 2011

    Three question about climate change is really whether anything can or should be done about it. Earth’s climate is always changing. Man made contributions are negligible in the long run. At best, we can delay warming a little. But given that glaciers are much worse and we are still at risk of another deep freeze, maybe we shouldn’t even do that.

  66. John · October 4, 2011

    Hi Gabriel,

    I can appreciate rebooting the carbon cycle by planting more trees. But forests can only absorb so much carbon – there is a limit to biological carbon absorption…

    To really reset balance – it must be coupled with zero-carbon energy sources…

    And since we’ve now breached the natural methane hold – I think the best we can hope for is climate mitigation. Imo, AGW can not be reversed now…

    We’ve already exceeded the tipping point (methane release – nasty, nasty feedback loop)…

  67. dan · October 4, 2011

    Despite the opinions of the author, the purpose of this is to look at a hot topic with caution of extremes for both sides. Statements about all scientists getting rich off of climate change or that all deniers are idiots only work against the supposed goals of both sides. If this were an objective, rational argument the skeptics would want more conclusive evidence on why we need to act now. And the environmentalist would be trying to show that there have been studies that show some warming. BUT, this isn’t rational, so the real reason is that republicans think that the enviro-liberals are going to tax their brains out in the name of their cause, so they deny the source. Now its a political stance, and unfortunately has turned into many people distrusting ‘science’ like it’s a dirty word. Science doesn’t work in proofs- math does. And unfortunately, climate analysis is completely estimating possible outcomes based on past data- making it a lot more like probability or educated conjecture. The people who want a eureka moment will never get it. Most republicans will never accept climate science because its only foreseeable outcome is increased government regulation and involvement, because that’s the only option environmentalists put forward. This nothing but political radicalism and hate wrapped in a shroud of ‘science’. The conviction of both followers make me only see radicals and conspiracy theorists, not Americans looking for answers. Common ground, understanding of other opinions (though you may disagree), and action via compromise are the only ways we will move forward in this century. The change is coming- not in favor of either side of this debate, but toward a middle ground. just maybe not in the next few political cycles. I really hope its coming.

  68. Donny Halverson · October 4, 2011

    If you think global warming is a fact, spend a winter in New York City.

    • Matt · October 4, 2011

      Sorry mate, but NYC is not representative of the world. It is as meaningful as saying spend a summer in Malaga if you don’t think global warming is a fact.

  69. John · October 4, 2011

    I dunno, Dan,

    ‘This nothing but political radicalism and hate wrapped in a shroud of ‘science’.’

    First, if your referring to AGW as political radicalism – then your wrong. Political radicalism is what we are witnessing from the Tea Party Clan – and you know – I haven’t seen any of them compromise on anything – even when they’ve been shown to be wrong most of the time – such as their view on AGW.

    ‘Common ground, understanding of other opinions (though you may disagree), and action via compromise are the only ways we will move forward in this century.’

    Quick – someone tell Congress and the Tea Party. Good luck with that.

    Your beating around the bush by stating it’s ‘educated conjecture’ – falling short of calling it a ‘theory’. So let’s just completely clear the air – Is AGW science – or not?

    Rhetorical question. AGW is not mere opinion – it’s science.

    As far as answers – better yet – solutions to this growing peril we all face, I’m sidestepping the deniers and doing my part on the ground getting the real work done.

    So don’t ask me to hold them by the hand and pamper the deniers – it is far better to tell them flat out they are wrong. I know they don’t like that fact – but then again, they don’t seem to like a lot of simple facts.

    And last – both the CIA and our Military are preparing now for the impacts of climate change.

    If they are preparing – ‘eureka’ – then we should be too.

  70. Jeff · October 4, 2011

    Gabriel Atega,

    I agree with your wish to restore the forests. But I think you look at Carbon Dioxide as a poison. Its not! When CO2 levels drop below 220ppm plants/trees stop growing, most trees actually like the CO2 levels in the upper 400ppm range and higher. Most commercial greenhouses add CO2 to increase growth rates.

    I made a comment on another blog asking how many trees it would take to reduce CO2 levels to 1800’s level. I was provided with a study that stated it would take one trillion trees.

    From the information that I have been able to find I think the next time we see a drop in the CO2 levels will be the onset of the next ice age as the oceans cool the ability for them to sink CO2 is increased. The puny amount of CO2 we put in the atmosphere is like a drop in the bucket to the overall effect of the natural carbon cycle.

    And I promise I will not feed the Troll…

  71. John · October 4, 2011

    I dunno, Jeff – maybe I should ask a real scientist…

    The other answers seem to be confusing CO2 absorption with CO2 storage, the question is not asking about storage. Rainforests and woodland are good CO2 sinks as the trees contain large carbon stores in their trunks etc as previously identified above, but once a rainforest or woodland is mature it does not take up much CO2, as trees must die (and then rot, releasing CO2) to make way for new trees to grow, so the net usage of CO2 is negligable.

    Most grasses are C4 plants which are much better adapted to capture CO2 and convert it to useable carbon compounds than C3 plants (rainforest plants are C3 plants), in this respect grasses are better at ABSORBING CO2, in the same time period and area. A grassland is not good at storing it, as stated above, seasonally grasses tend to die releasing their CO2 back into the atmosphere, but storage was not the question, so I believe the correct answer is grass.

    The question askes “of the same area” both rainforest and grass of the same area are absorbing the same amount of sunlight (only the canopy of a rainforest absorbs sun, thats why there is little growing on the ground in a rainforest, very little light penetrates, thus there is little photosynthesis, and thus there is little CO2 absorption). If the same area of vegetation is absorbing the same amount of sunlight (think of a birds eye view of both, there is the same area of “green”), but the grass is more efficient at using that light to fix CO2 because it uses C4 photosynthesis then it will as a result be absorbing more CO2, it’s as simple as that.

    I am a Biologist
    also see http://wc.pima.edu/~bfiero/tucsonecology…
    for discussion of the different kinds of photosynthesis

    As for the puny amount of CO2 we have put into the atmosphere – your right -humans have increased the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere by about 40% over the past 150 years – drop in the bucket!

    >trolling my eyes<

    Source (with purdy pictures!): http://www.greenoptions.com/a/how-much-global-warming-are-humans-causing

    So – where's your source, Jeffrey?

    • Autodidactic · October 4, 2011

      John, you really should re-read that, like I said the study shows that only 79 of them were climate scientists. And that is where they get the consensus of climate scientists agree with it.

  72. gary · October 4, 2011

    while i’m sure we as a spiecies are adding co2 into the air. why is it some people overlook the obvious, what removes it from the air? trees and plants right? well how come everyone is complaining about all the things that release co2 in the air, but fail to mention all the trees world wide that have been cleared and not replaced. my opinion (yes i get one like everyone else) is that yes we are increasing the co2 on the planet, but its because we are removing the things that filter it out. if you removed your air filter in your vehicle how long would it run? 6 months? a year? 5 years? certainly not as long as if you replaced it and kept it clean. don’t get me wrong i’m not a “tree huger” but this is what makes sense to me. more co2 requires more trees and plant to filter it.

    • John · October 4, 2011

      Hi Gary,

      I agree more trees should be planted – but it’s not enough on it’s own.

      Think of it this way:

      The car is left running in the garage emitting CO2 into the house. To counteract it, ferns are added to absorb the extra CO2.

      Eventually, the house is filled with ferns – and no more can be added. But the car is still running…

      In short, there simply isn’t enough space in the house to absorb all the extra CO2 released from the running car.

      Earth is our house – fossil fuels are the running car. This is why I stated earlier that planting trees must be coupled with zero-carbon energy sources.

      We have to shut down the car in order for the ferns in the house to keep the CO2 in balance. And that’s fine – I have no problem switching to an electric car. (fueled by solar panels, of course)

      Maybe that’s not a good analogy – but it’s the best I can offer.

    • Lumberjack · October 4, 2011

      You are correct, it is not a good analogy. Keep in mind that ferns need CO2 to produce oxygen. Cut out the CO2,plants wilt, no oxygen, then what?
      Things are not as simple as all that!

    • Tom · October 4, 2011

      Lumberjack, yes, they are pretty much that simple. Plants used to cover pretty much the whole planet without any help from humans. Plants decompose and release CO2 back keeping things in balance.

  73. Al Bore · October 4, 2011

    Comment removed – Sock Puppet

  74. Al Bore · October 4, 2011

    Comment removed – Sock Puppet

  75. Al Bore · October 4, 2011

    Comment removed – Sock Puppet

  76. Southern Fried Scientist · October 4, 2011

    The use of sock puppets to create the appearance of a false majority is a desperate ploy by those with nothing of value to add to a conversation and is expressly forbidden by the comments policy. Any commenter who uses sock puppets forfeits the right to post on this site.

    Commenters Al Bore and Mememine69 are the same person. Their comments have been removed.

    Commenters WTF and jim (not to be confused with Jim) are the same person. Their comments have been removed.

  77. Lumberjack · October 4, 2011

    I am convinced that climate change is happening, it has been happening since the beginning of time. What is causing it, however is another issue.
    I keep hearing about the CO2 causing the greenhouse effect. The green house effect is a FACT, what is not a fact is the effect of more CO2 in the air. Everybody agrees that more CO2 prevents heat from escaping into space. This is Infrared Radiation, not visible light. So, if more CO2 prevents more heat from escaping, why does it not prevent more IR (heat) from entering the atmosphere in the first place? I don’t think that CO2 acts like a heat diode, working only in one direction. Also, What effect does the sun have on climate change? It appears to me that a simple angle change of the sun (summer to winter etc) has a huge effect on temperature in any spot on the globe.

    • Tom · October 4, 2011

      Lumberjack, if you don’t understand something maybe you should learn about it instead of concluding, I don’t understand therefore it must be false or stupid.

      Sun light enters the atmosphere mostly in form of visible light. Some of it gets reflected back into space by the clouds and the surface but a lot of it gets absorbed by the ground and water. The ground doesn’t keep absorbing it. Eventually it releases it back but it doesn’t release it as visible light any more it releases it as heat. CO2 and other greenhouse gasses are transparent to visible light and let it through but they trap momentarily infrared light (heat). When they release it it goes in both directions, towards space and back towards the ground. The heat directed towards the space can escape (if not trapped by another CO2 molecule). The part reflected towards the ground and ocean will heat it up again and so the cycle continues.

  78. John Hartz · October 4, 2011

    Suggested reading:

    “With Deaths of Forests, a Loss of Key Climate Protectors” New York Times, Oct 1, 2011


    This in-depth article about the relationships between forests and CO2 is part of an ongoing series, Temperature Rising. Articles in this series are focusing on the central arguments in the climate debate and examining the evidence for global warming and its consequences.

  79. John Hartz · October 4, 2011

    “The amount of warming caused by the anthropogenic increase in atmospheric CO2 may be one of the most misunderstood subjects in climate science. Many people think the anthropogenic warming can’t be quantified, many others think it must be an insignificant amount. However, climate scientists have indeed quantified the anthropogenic contribution to global warming using empirical observations and fundamental physical equations.”

    Source: “How do we know more CO2 is causing warming?”, Skeptical Science, Sep 3, 2010


  80. Iolani · October 4, 2011

    As to #7 – Pacific Island evacuations, Kiribati is preparing its high school students for occupations in other countries because sea level rise and increased salinity are already adversely impacting its agricultural base.

  81. Jeff · October 4, 2011


    I could not find a reporting station for that island chain but i did find one close. This station is just a bit over 500 miles from the islands.


    I agree they should be preparing. In 100 years the water will have risen just a little more than 6″ at the current rate. However if you look at the chart you might notice for the recent data set the sea level has actually dropped.

  82. John Hartz · October 5, 2011

    Here’s another recent article about how climate change is impacting the small island nations of the South Pacific.

    “South Pacific Faces Water Shortages, Fouled Reserves Linked To Climate Change,” Huffington Post, Oct 4, 2011


  83. SplatterPatterns · October 5, 2011

    Item #9 (Alberta Tar Sands) – The material extraction method used is not drilling, rather open pit mining.

  84. Jon Flatley · November 15, 2011

    I’m a meteorologist and have researched climate change. I write about it also and have strong opinions on the matter.

    What digs me is why this is even called a “debate”? The earth is warming. Period. Just look at the data. Look at how rapidly ice is being lost at the poles. The sea is rising around 1.5 inches per decade and will accelerate.

    I believe the “climate change debate” is going through the same ringer as the debate on “whether or not the sun revolved around the earth” (Copernican theory), the Theory of Relativity, and the Plate Tectonics theory. You’d look foolish to debate these classics today – and I can only imagine “climate change” will command the same overall acceptance someday.

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