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Politics can’t hide science of global warming

Published 9:36am Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Global warming. These two words incite greater passion than almost any other phrase in our current political environment.

They have become part and parcel of the culture wars that pit Republicans versus Democrats, and liberals against conservatives.

What is lost in this argument is that this is, first and foremost, a scientific debate. Admittedly it is a scientific debate with political ramifications, but the essential questions all fall within the realm of scientific inquiry.

Ironically, while the political debate is complex, the basic science is rather straight forward.

In 1859 John Tyndall discovered that water vapor, carbon dioxide and other carbon molecules could trap heat. It was recognized as early as 1899 that the burning of fossil fuels would elevate CO2 levels in the atmosphere and could lead to increased temperatures.

Examination of ice cores in Antarctica going back 800,000 years in time show the correlation between rising CO2 levels and temperature is nearly perfect.

In the past these changes were driven by subtle shifts in the earth’s orbit which gradually increased earth’s temperature and released stored carbon from arctic tundra and the earth’s oceans. Now CO2 levels are rising at a much faster rate largely because of the burning of fossil fuels.

Ice core records from Antarctica show that prior to the industrial revolution CO2 levels had not gone above 300 parts per million in 800,000 years, but just this year we reached 400 ppm. This level had not been seen since the Pliocene era three million years ago when world sea levels were at least 30 feet higher and world temperatures were 3.6 to 5.4 degrees warmer.

Even worse, unrestrained burning of fossil fuels will lead to CO2 levels of 600 ppm by 2050.

While one would not realize it by reading the mainstream press, the consensus on climate change among scientists is remarkable. Every National Academy of Science from every major country, and every scientific society that studies climate have concluded that man-made climate change is underway.

Two recent reviews of the peer-reviewed climate literature found that more than 97 percent of scientific articles on the subject agreed that human activity is warming our planet.

The scientific debate is over, but the political debate continues, and it is driven by powerful special interests seeking to protect their enormously profitable industries. They seize on isolated facts and distort them to mislead the public, just as tobacco companies for years distorted the science on the harms of smoking.

Climate scientists like Michael Mann have been vilified by politicians, despite being vindicated again and again by their universities. Those who deny climate change almost never publish their findings in peer-reviewed scientific journals. In fact a recent review of climate literature found of the 13,950 articles on climate change from 1991 to 2012 only 24 challenged the idea that climate change was real, and that it was driven by human activity.

In other words the scientists who support man-made climate change could fill Ohio University’s Convocation Center, while those who deny it would not fill my high school classroom (there would be six seats left over).

This does not have to be a culture war issue. Simple steps taken by our government can unleash the creativity of our entrepreneurs and the power of capitalism and the market place. Most of all, if we do not begin to act now the steps we will be forced to take in the future will be far more drastic.

The real question is can America still deal with big, complex problems rooted in science. I believe in American democracy. I believe we can.

Robert McCollister

Ironton

 

  • mickakers

    79Tiger; JUST TEASING!!! Take care.

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  • mickakers

    As a PS: If nothing else, discretion is the better part of valor.

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  • mickakers

    May I suggest a search on Alan Caruba, Wikipedia has an article for starts. He is a bit simplistic in his comments and lacking in scientific knowledge, vision and foresight.

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  • mikehaney

    Ms. McCarty, the latest in a long line of environmental fanatics to run the agency, was forced under questioning to admit that current and proposed greenhouse gas regulations are not there to protect the public but to influence “the international community” to reduce their CO2 and other alleged emissions. Not only do the regulations have no basis in science, but they exist to keep the environmental war on energy use going and to pressure developing nations such as China and India. Within the past month, the citizens of Australia rose up and threw out the politicians who imposed a “carbon” tax on them. The new prime minister has shut down the “climate ministry” that existed to enforce it.

    And while most of the world wasn’t watching, the United Nations was seeking to impose, once again, an international agreement similar to the failed and defunct Kyoto Protocol to limit CO2 and other greenhouse emissions, based on the BIG LIE! The 44th Pacific Islands Forum, held in the Marshall Islands, was intent on “an ambitious future climate regime to be finalized in 2015.”

    That is what must be understood. These people will not give up until they have no other option. They will continue to exploit the ignorance of people regarding the actual science, penalizing them by driving up the cost of energy use, by closing down energy industries, prospective projects, and the jobs they provide,

    They sustain the malignant ethanol scam that is ruining engines as this is being written. They are behind the useless solar panel and wind turbine industries that produce so little actual electricity they are a negative drag on the national grid. You, however, are picking up the tab for their mandated use. They practice a form of child abuse to tell children the Earth is doomed if their mother uses a plastic bag to bring groceries home from the supermarket.

    The world’s BIGGEST LIE has been exposed and it will have to be exposed again and again until a stake is driven into the evil heart of the “global warming” hoax.

    © Alan Caruba, 2013

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  • bobmc2

    Actually there is a simple explanation for the end of the last ice age, its beginning, and the beginning and end of all the others. The ice ages were caused by subtle shifts in the earth’s orbit called Milankovitch cycles. They cause gradual cooling and bring on ice ages over very long periods of time. They also bring about the end of the ice ages as the shifts cause gradual warming which releases carbon stored in the arctic tundra and in the oceans which leads to much greater heating. Of course the climate has long term cycles, these have been studied by scientists for years, but remember these changes are forced by changes in the earth’s orbit. They are forced they do not occur at random. Now they are being forced by man’s emissions of carbon.
    As to the earth cooling, the last decade was the hottest in the temperature record. The ten hottest years ever recorded have all been in the last fifteen. They are in descending order 2010, 2005, 2009, 2007, 1998, 2002, 2003, 2006, 2012, 2011 (data comes from NASA). So how could the earth be cooling? In fact the last month with an average temperature lower than the 20th century average for that month was February, 1985, that’s 342 consecutive months of temperature above the 20th century average.

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    • Lil Hilary

      Thanks Bob for your well thought our explanation of the facts from NASA. Always a good source when doing research on climate change. The one thing that scares me the most is the rate that it seems to be speeding up over the past 10 years. I worry about prolonged droughts and our water supply.
      Then you have these deniers running around with their GED’s literally trying to waster energy for spite…..odd little minds!

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  • mikehaney

    Environmental scientists look at pollution and other environmental problems and come up with solutions. They figure out what is in the air, water, and soil to make sure that the environment is safe. They also give advice on how to clean the environment. For example, they might design a safe way to get rid of trash.

    Some of these workers mix environmental science with other sciences, such as chemistry or biology. Environmental chemists find out if different chemicals hurt the environment. Environmental biologists focus on protecting animals and plants.

    Some environmental scientists help to make laws about protecting the environment. They also help companies follow the laws.

    Environmental scientists work in laboratories and offices. They also work outside, taking measurements. They use math and computers.

    Environmental scientists sometimes work long hours. Some must travel to work in the field. They might dig dirt, chip rocks, or do other physical things. Scientists who look for oil often work in foreign countries.

    In addition to doing science, many of these workers write reports and help find money for their projects.
    How do you get ready? Back to Top Back to Top

    All of these workers need a college degree, and most need a graduate degree. In college, they study geography, environmental science, chemistry, biology, earth science, and physics. They also study math and statistics so that they can understand measurements and data. People who want to make laws about protecting the environment also take law classes.

    In addition to taking classes, scientists have to learn how to work with other people. They also need to practice speaking and writing so that they will be able to explain their research.

    Workers also need computer skills. They also need to know about the latest tools and technology for studying the earth.

    Students can start getting ready by taking science, math, and computer classes. They can also read books about rocks, the earth, and the environment.
    How much does this job pay? Back to Top Back to Top

    In May 2008, the average yearly wages of environmental scientists were $65,280.
    How many jobs are there? Back to Top Back to Top

    Environmental scientists held about 85,900 jobs in 2008. Many worked for governments.
    ———————————
    Can hear the professor now. Ladies and gentlemen, just remember; if you can’t find a problem, you’ll put us all out of a job.

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  • mickakers

    79Tiger; I find your comments a bit immature and lacking. Did you really read this article and think about it? Did you wear a helmet when you played football?

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    • http://www.tytandan.com 79Tiger

      Well Mick, I consider your comment childish and without reason. And if you ever saw a football game I played in you wouldn’t have asked me such a stupid question.

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  • http://www.tytandan.com 79Tiger

    Geronimo, they no longer call it global warming. Evidence shows that the warming has not been taking place for the last 15 years. So now it is called global climate change. We learned in school that global climate change was spring, summer, fall & winter. That has never changed. If one believes man causes global warming how then does one explain the warming that brought the end of the last ice age long before man existed? They can’t because it cannot be explained.

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  • Lil Hilary

    Robert, it’s so refreshing to see a science based letter like yours..thank you.

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  • Geronimo

    I knew this article was too deep for mikehaney ,79Tiger as well as myself. Neither of the three of us are intelligent enough to even discuss Global Warming . Back to the books before I comment further , which probably won’t happen.

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  • http://www.tytandan.com 79Tiger

    Global warming has nothing to do with science. If it did, it wouldn’t have to be made up as it is. It is a fairy tale and only the child-like believe it.

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  • mikehaney

    Churchville, VA—The naïve advice of ardent activists can kill. Last spring, Paul Beckwith of Sierra Club Canada predicted that the Arctic seas would be ice-free ice this summer. (So did Britain’s BBC network) This exciting adventure opportunity attracted a variety of yachts, sailboats, rowboats, and kayaks owners to try sailing the fabled Northwest Passage.

    As a former sailboat owner I can understand their excitement, but my heart aches for the agonies they now face. The Arctic sea ice suddenly expanded 60 percent this fall, after the coldest summer in the modern Alaska temperature record. The passage is now impassable. More than a dozen of the boats are trapped, apparently even including a group of tiny American jet-ski “personal watercraft” that were attempting to cross from the east coast of Russia to the North Atlantic. Arctic observers are now warning that even Canadian icebreakers might not be able to rescue them.–Dennis Avery, Canada free press

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  • mikehaney

    If any business were to submit a prospectus as patently false and deliberately dishonest as the ones used to advance the cause of the global warming industry, its directors would all be in prison by now. (C Jeff Randall)

    Does that mean Ed Davey should have followed Chris Huhne into the slammer for his claim to Andrew Neil on BBC Daily Politics the other day that in “a recent analysis of 12,000 climate papers…of the scientists who expressed a view 97 per cent said that climate change was happening and that it was human-made activity.”?

    Not quite, unfortunately, because nothing Davey has said there is technically untrue. A better candidate for prison, actually, would be whoever tweets under the name @BarackObama. When he Tweeted: “Ninety-seven percent of scientists agree: #climate change is real, man-made and dangerous” he was promulgating a demonstrable untruth.

    No one has ever doubted that climate changes.—Canada Free Press

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  • mickakers

    Robert McCollister; I cannot compete with your scientific knowledge, but my common sense tells me me you are correct. Thank you for this informative article. Where have you been? Your contributions are important.

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