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Global Warming Is Still On

Industry shills have been working overtime over the last week to try to resurrect global warming denial from dead. They’ve been taking advantage of a recent cold wave in the Midwest and Eastern United States to try to convince people that, because January has been cold in some places, global warming must not be real.

Right wing publications are spreading word that only half of Americans believe that global warming is due to human activity. They seem to forget that science is not based upon public opinion polls, but rather, examining the evidence and proving that ideas make sense. Remember, about half of Americans still aren’t willing to accept that biological evolution through natural selection is taking place – 150 years after the publication of On the Origin of Species.

If global warming deniers want to look at opinion polls, they ought to consider polls of people who actually know what they’re talking about – scientists who study climate. Researchers at the University of Illinois have just released the results of a survey of earth scientists on the subject of climate change.

82 percent of the earth scientists surveyed concurred with the statement that human activity been a significant factor in global warming. Among those “climatologists who are active in research”, that number rises to 97 percent.

Who are the 18 percent of earth scientists who disagreed with the idea that people have significantly contributed to global warming? Count among their number petroleum geologists, who work for the big oil companies, helping them to find oil, and meteorologists, who study short term weather events rather than climate.

To bring the issue back from opinion to empirical reality, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration reports that December 2008 (just three weeks ago) was the sixth warmest December ever recorded, and that 2008 as a whole was the eighth warmest year on record.

Thermometers don’t lie.

10 comments to Global Warming Is Still On

  • Keith

    A few problems here.

    first, the majority of scientists who agree that climate change is real and that humans are the cause are so-called “climatologists”. The study of “climatology” is nascent. Brand new. To base opinions on unfounded science is premature to say the least.

    Second, look into the Petition Project. 31,000 American scientists, of which more than 9,000 PhD’s have sworn that global warming is false. Many of the signers currently work in climatological, meteorological, atmospheric, environmental, geophysical, astronomical, and biological fields directly involved in the climate change controversy. The study you speak of above questioned less than 4,000 scientists.

    Third, regarding the NOAA report. “The year 2008 tied with 2001 as the eighth warmest year on record for the Earth, based on the combined average of worldwide land and ocean surface temperatures through December, according to a preliminary analysis by NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C. For December alone, the month also ranked as the eighth warmest globally, for the combined land and ocean surface temperature. The assessment is based on records dating back to 1880.”

    So what we see here is a warm year in 2001, a decline in temperatures for the next 6 years then a spike which ties with 2008 and you see an increase there?

    I see a steady decline in global temperatures since 2001 with 2008 being an exception to the trend.

    • Keith, your comments show an ignorance of the very concept of climate. Climatology is not at all “brand new”. Climate also isn’t a prediction of a straight up or down trend. Climates include a lot of variability, with a combination of seasonal and multi-year cycles taking place against the backdrop of larger shifts in trend.

      What we see here is that 2001 was the hottest year on record, and since then every year has been almost as hot. What we see here is that all of the top warmest years on record have been in the last ten years.

      Try again, Keith, and come back with a petition that doesn’t rely on chemists and medical doctors to make professional pronouncements that are completely outside of their fields of study. They counted dentists as “scientists”, Keith. Dentists.

      • Karen

        Here we go again. The deniers like to drag out the petition project run by the “Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine” (OISM), an institute outside a town of about 1200 people in rural Oregon. The OISM has eight faculty, two of whom are dead (yes, dead), and two of the living ones are sons of the founder/director; there are no classrooms and no students. The “peer reviewed journal” is published by the “American Association of Physicians and Surgeons” (AAPS). The executive director of the AAPS is a “professor of clinical medicine” at (can you guess?) the OISM. The journal is not indexed (or even listed) in any database of scientific literature nor is it available from major research libraries (and probably not minor ones, either). People who sign the OISM global warming petition are listed with the qualifications they themselves specify, with no verification. Cursory inspection shows that many of their “qualifications” are remotely relevant, if at all. Finally – Keith would have us reject climatology as a “nascent” discipline, and then recognize a trend based on his selective citation of 8 years of data.

      • Ryan

        Green Man, Ice Ages are FAR more destructive to life on earth than global warming. In fact the human population of the earth is expected double desipte global warming in this century. If the effects of global warming were so bad this would not be possible. If there were an ice age we would be lucky if it was only cut in half. So yes, in comparison to an ice age, global warming is like a day at Disneyland.
        And I remain committed to my assertion that overpopulation is the greatest threat to the earth.

        • But Ryan, there’s not a threat of an Ice Age for thousands and thousands of years. Global warming is the present threat.

          It’s as if you’re arguing against maintaining effective sanitation by saying that, although a lack of sanitation would result in the spread of terrible disease, those plagues would be like a day at Disneyland compared to having continent-wide fires as the result of an asteroid strike like the one that killed off the dinosaurs. Then, you’d say, let’s not worry about a lack of sanitation – there may some benefits, such as not having to pay for toilets, and all that soap! So, no sanitation – just remember the asteroid that will probably come, some time a long long time from now.

          What sharp, sharp reasoning skills you have.

    • Ryan

      What good is being a climatologist if the climate is static? So when 97% of them say that global warming is REAL, they are actually saying that they REALly want to keep their jobs. Just think of how easy it would be to cut the budget for research that the researchers say is of no value.

      Since the last ice age the earth has been warming. That’s good. The effects of an ice age would make global warming’s effects look like a day at Disneyland.

      Finally, with so much emphasis on CO2, what about the increased deforestation to make room for buildings, roads, and farmland. Evidence shows these areas to heat up much faster. Maybe the earth can’t support so many people. If the problem is overpopulation, would the climatologists be able to say that, or would that be beyound their area?

      • Actually, deforestation is not separate from rising carbon dioxide levels. They’re related, and yes, climatologists study multiple variables, not just atomospheric carbon dioxide.

        Rising sea levels are one of the consequences of global warming, and what do rising sea levels bring? They bring us island nations sinking under the waves, and coastal communities devastated by storms like… oh, what was that called… oh yes, Hurricane Katrina. Is that your version of Disneyland?

        How about dead and dying coral reefs due to ocean acidification? That’s linked to atmospheric carbon dioxide, and it’s already been observed having an impact on the Great Barrier Reef, among other places. Are dead coral reefs your idea of Disneyland?

        How about Darfur, then? Did you know that the fighting in Darfur is due to the desertification of the area, as part of climate change? Is the fighting in Darfur what you think looks like a day at Disneyland? I didn’t know that Disney had developed a Genocideworld exhibit.

  • What fools. You base your findings on an “internet survey”, and you sincerely believe that only those that decided to answer the survey were the only scientists that matter, or that these 3000+ scientists among a population of 6 billion represents a “majority.”

    All I can say is Thank GOD for Global Warming! Else can you imagine the freezing temperatures we’d have to put up with without it?!?

    I mean – good lord, 12 below 2 days ago was far lower than I cared to witness!

    But at least one good thing has come out of this, Al Gore is making a ton of cash off it! Good old albert won’t be going hungry anytime soon! Yippee!

    • Jim, think for a moment: Do you understand the difference between weather and climate? Does a field really become a wetlands whenever it rains? Is Kentucky a desert if it has a drought for a month? You may not like temperatures of minus 12 degrees, but that doesn’t mean that they’re outside of a normal temperature variation. To understand a climate, you need long-term measurements, such as those that show that December is the sixth-warmest December since 1880, when they first started keeping reliable measurements of temperature.

      What you deride as an “internet survey” is in fact nothing like the silly CNN news quiz surveys, or a Cosmo survey. If you actually read about the research instead of just skimming, Jim, you’d know that only qualified scientists were invited to take the quiz, and each one was sent a private password to authenticate their true identities. The sample isn’t out of 6 billion, because there are not 6 billion earth scientists – or do you believe that we’re all born earth scientists. The study was focusing on people who actually have some claim to expertise in the study of climate, rather than people who have formed their opinions by watching TV news.

      Above all else, these are not my findings. They’re the findings of professional researchers at the University of Illinois. Can you explain, in terms of the actual research, why the findings don’t fit what the researchers claim they found? Give it a shot, Jim. First you’ll have to read the research, of course.

  • I was interested to find the irregular times blog. 20 years ago I had a book published on different economic concepts to point the way to a sustainable world economy. Someone who liked the book contacted me this year to suggest that I update and re-publish it as a blog. She set up the blog, and the book is now complete on the blog in a series of postings. There are now also additional pieces on global warming and other subjects. Here is the link:

    http://www.economicsforaroundearth.com

    With all good wishes,
    Charles Pierce

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