Tackling Climate Change: What We Need to Do.

Via Rolly Montpellier
on Mar 12, 2013
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Common Sense
Common Sense

A “Common Sense Revolution”

Common Sense is a pamphlet written by Thomas Paine.

It was first published anonymously on January 10, 1776, at the beginning of the American Revolution.

The phrase “Common Sense Revolution has been used as a political slogan to describe “common sense conservative” platforms in Australia and the state of New Jersey in the 1990s. However, it is most widely known as the name of the political movement which caught fire under the leadership of Mike Harris, the Progressive Conservative premier of Ontario from 1995 to 2002.

It was a time for people to be introspective and take a sober look at the politics of the day, government waste, the role of government, taxation, social services and public debt. There was a sense of urgency about setting the clock back to a more rational approach, about doing things right and doing the right things. Change was in the air! Change was needed!

Crisis of Confidence

We see that same level of urgency in the United States of America. A return to common sense—a Common Sense Revolution—is imminent. The most powerful empire in the world is being challenged from within. And maybe like Rome, the U.S. empire will fail and collapse. There are signs of domestic systemic failure— inequality, economic collapse, chronic unemployment, stagnation, political ineptitude and gridlock. America’s international problems are equally daunting— chronically at war, instability of oil supplies, target for terrorists, loss of credibility and the growth of China.

There’s a crisis of confidence in the heart of Americans. U.S. Citizens have lost faith in their politicians and their leaders. They no longer believe what mainstream media are telling them. They know fundamentally that something is not right. Their democracy is broken; their liberties are curtailed by an overzealous Homeland Security behemoth and the 1 percent own more than the bottom 100 million Americans combined.

Summer of Discontent—the Turning Point

Wildfires
Wildfires

Adding to current political and economic crises is the emerging realization that climate change is a very real threat that can no longer be ignored. Last summer, much of the country witnessed a heat wave never felt by anyone.

The disastrous Colorado fires, the unrelentingly scorching heat and widespread droughts have now convinced dozens of millions of Americans that climate change is real.

The summer of 2012 has done more to galvanize public opinion that climate change has already started than the world-wide campaigns by activists, organizations, scientists, climatologists and environmentalists combined.

Consumers are also feeling it with rising corn and soy prices which are sure to lead to much higher food costs in the future. Climate change is becoming an issue of far greater concern than that of terrorism, war, the economy, gay marriage, abortion, education and gun control. It’s the only issue that truly affects every single living thing on the planet.

Fred Krupp (Environmental Defense Fund and co-author of “Earth: The Sequel”) says that:

One scorching summer doesn’t confirm that climate change is real… what matters is the trend—a decades-long march toward hotter and wilder weather. But with more than 26,000 heat records broken in the last 12 months and pervasive drought turning nearly half of all U.S. into disaster areas, many climate skeptics are reassessing the issue.

According to a recent report in Bloomberg Business Week, a poll taken in July 2012 by UT Energy  shows that 70 percent of respondents now believe that climate change is real compared with 52 percent in 2010. Climate change deniers who say it’s not taking place fell to 15 percent from 22 percent.

Feeling the Fear

Fear is a powerful and primitive human emotion. It alerts us to the presence of danger and was critical in keeping our ancestors alive. The long trends are ominous! For the first time ever, Americans fear the effects of climate change. They wonder if the droughts will persist year after year; they muse over the crop failures, depleting water supplies and aquifers; they’re asking questions about how their children and grandchildren will deal with these conditions as they worsen.

Americans are seeing and feeling the symptoms of global warming like never before in recorded history. In recent years, interest in warming statistics has been overshadowed by more immediate concerns such as terrorism, war and a poor economy. Americans now are starting to feel the fear.

Scott Stenholm reports in Huffington Post that:

this summer has marked the dawn of a new era where a poor economic climate will not only pale in comparison to, but will be exacerbated by, actual climate. Global warming is literally cooking our lakes, rivers and oceans as evident when it was recently reported that hundreds of thousands, possibly millions, of fish have died as a result of water temperatures reaching as high as 100 degrees in Iowa and Illinois at an enormous cost to the fishing industry there.

Fear is a great motivator, it’s the ultimate motivator. As reported by Bill McKibben, in an email sent to subscribers of 350.org:

Just last week, the U.S. climate movement showed us just what it means to organize with courage, even when faced with foes like the fossil fuel industry. Across the country, protests rumbled the industry, and it looks like it’s just the beginning… doesn’t sound like a movement that is paralyzed by its fear. In fact, that sounds like a movement that is ready to end business as usual for the fossil fuel industry.

Photo: Jenna Pope | Forward on Climate Rally
Photo: Jenna Pope | Forward on Climate Rally

We’re slowly accepting that new thinking, combined with courageous political determination, rational bipartisan solutions and American willpower, will be essential to win the war on climate change. Nothing less than the American ingenuity typified by the Manhattan Project, in which the U.S. beat the Germans to the bomb and eventually won the war setting off an unprecedented economic boom, is required. A return to commonsensical solutions that address both climate change and its effects on economic health is fundamentally critical for success.

The Link to Common Sense

To ignite the forces of revolution you need to light a match. Occupy Wall Street provided that spark. Occupy has exposed corporate greed, lawless bankers, massive campaign donations choking the political process, a broken dysfunctional democracy, rising inequalities between the rich and the middle class, and an unsustainable debt load that will be passed on to future generations.

But to sustain a revolution, you need to build a fire. Fear of climate change may just be the fuel that feeds that fire. When fear is present, common sense solutions are sure to follow. One can either be immobilized by fear or motivated to take action. And a growing number of people are recognizing that the warming of the planet is caused by human activity. Fear can be quite paralyzing but can also lead to extraordinary courage in the face of seemingly overwhelming odds.

Seeking solutions that are logical and rational and making decisions that will have a positive impact on our environment is common sense. Rampant economic growth must be replaced by sustainable activities that will not rob future generations of their right to the same opportunities we have enjoyed. That too is common sense.

green peace extreme weather

Emerging Consensus

The recent emergent conservative view is evidence that common sense has a chance to succeed. In the same article, A New Climate-Change Consensus, Krupp establishes the emerging consensus:

Respected Republican leaders have spoken out about the reality of climate change… these views may turn out to be a welcome turning point. For too long, the U.S. has had two camps… one camp tended to preach about climate science … the other camp claimed that climate science was an academic scam designed to get more funding, and to strangle economic growth… constructive conversation rarely occurred. If both sides can now begin to agree on some basic propositions, maybe we can restart the discussion.

Proposition 1 – uncomfortable for skeptics, but it is unfortunately true: Dramatic alterations to the climate are here and likely to get worse—with profound damage to the economy—unless sustained action is taken. As the Economist recently editorialized about the melting Arctic: “It is a stunning illustration of global warming, the cause of the melt. It also contains grave warnings of its dangers. The world would be mad to ignore them.”

Proposition 2 – uncomfortable for supporters of climate action, but it is also true: Some proposed climate solutions, if not well designed or thoughtfully implemented, could damage the economy and stifle short-term growth. As much as environmentalists feel a justifiable urgency to solve this problem, we cannot ignore the economic impact of any proposed action, especially on those at the bottom of the pyramid. For any policy to succeed, it must work with the market, not against it.

Richard Muller, Berkeley Physicist
Richard Muller, Berkeley Physicist

In a 2011 study, funded by climate-skeptical industrialists David and Charles Koch, University of California, Berkeley physicist Richard Muller (also a climate skeptic) confirmed that temperatures have been climbing over the past five decades.  His conclusion:

“You should not be a skeptic, at least not any longer.”

A more recent analysis by Muller’s Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature research team has produced a new analysis of global temperatures over the past 250 years. The conclusion is that “climate change is ‘almost entirely’ due to greenhouse-gas pollution.”

Are we witnessing the beginning of an intellectual revolution?

Can we hope to see the emergence of common sense in our politics and economic systems now focused on perpetual growth? The fear of annihilation, our responsibility to future generations, the threat to survival are basic rudiments of the human species… Humans have been adapting to a changing planet for thousands of years but can we adapt to massive global climate change?

The successful revolution in the final analysis requires conviction of the need for change in attitudes and values. We are not there yet. But it might be a beginning.

In the words of the great Burmese leader Aung San Suu Kyi:

“The quintessential revolution is that of the spirit, born of an intellectual conviction of the need for change in those mental attitudes and values which shape the course of a nation’s development. A revolution which aims merely at changing official policies and institutions with a view to an improvement in material conditions has little chance of genuine success.”

 

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Ed: Lynn Hasselberger

 

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About Rolly Montpellier

Rolly Montpellier is a blogger, writer, activist and the founder of BoomerWarrior.Org. BoomerWarrior is for the socially aware and politically conscious; for the change-makers and thought-provokers; for the light and young at heart; for anyone willing and courageous enough to move forward.

Comments

217 Responses to “Tackling Climate Change: What We Need to Do.”

  1. samitee says:

    I must take issue with several false statements in this article. Please set the record straight and research these talking points before spreading disinformation. "Last summer, much of the country witnessed a heat wave never felt by anyone." This is patently false. The heatwaves and droughts of the 1930s and 1950s were MUCH worse than anything we've seen in the last few decades. The drought of 1988 was much worse than any drought of 2012. Please research this.

    While the fires of Colorado last summer were certainly disastrous, they were not unprecedented like the media claims. The fire of 1898 alone was much more disastrous than last year's fires. That fire burned almost the entire northwest of the state of Colorado. http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?res… Please also see the fires of June 1890 (http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=wZ5XAAAAIBAJ&sjid=wvMDAAAAIBAJ&pg=6365,3344604&dq=fire+sangre+de+cristo&hl=en).

    There were something like 48,000 forest fires in 2012. That is the smallest total since the National Interagency Fire Center started tracking it in 2003. It is almost 25% below the mean and about one fourth of the 1938 total. And please don't argue about acres burned, that has nothing to do with carbon dioxide emissions and much more to do with fire suppression.

    You quoted Fred Krupp in the article – "One scorching summer doesn’t confirm that climate change is real… what matters is the trend—a decades-long march toward hotter and wilder weather. But with more than 26,000 heat records broken in the last 12 months and pervasive drought turning nearly half of all U.S. into disaster areas, many climate skeptics are reassessing the issue." This is nothing but fear based propaganda. The idea that there were more than 26.000 heat records broken means nothing when analyzing how these temperatures were taken and also asking how many cold records were broken? Pervasive drought? Take a look at a map right now and look at all the record cold and snow the country is having. Droughts come and go, there is nothing record breaking about any of this, the facts say otherwise.

    "Americans are seeing and feeling the symptoms of global warming like never before in recorded history." This is more fear based propaganda. Quoting activists like Bill Mckibben who is wrong on almost every prediction he makes and silences debate at every corner is not helping your cause. Please re-examine your position and do some more research because this article is full of misinformation. "Emerging consensus" and "majority rule" is not how science is conducted.

    Stop scaring the children by engaging in irresponsible journalism and please check your facts before posting false information.

  2. Thank you for posting your comment and the link to the 1898 NYT article. The other link provided does not work.

    In the same way that I have quoted from newspaper articles, you seem to put a lot of emphasis on a report from 1898 to dispute the fact that global warming is happening. While it is true that one cannot look at specific events – a drought, a flood, wildfires, super storms – to claim that we are heading for an unparalleled climate crisis, the frequency and intensity of such events are undeniable. To pretend this is not happening is having one's head in the sand.

    When 99% of scientists and climatologists agree what we are facing a warming of the planet and that an increase of 2 degrees will have disastrous impacts for our planet, then what you call fear-based propaganda is in fact factual and realistic. The denial industry spends millions annually to discredit scientific findings and generating misinformation. And you claim that what Bill Mckibben, James Hansen and many others are doing as nothing but propaganda.

    As for the children and grandchildren, what will you tell them in a few decades when they face the dire consequences of our inaction?

  3. samitee says:

    Once again, science is not done by consensus. The claim that 99% of scientists and climatologists agree that we are facing a warming of the planet and that an increase of 2 degrees will have disastrous impacts for our planet is dubious. Do you have a source for that claim? You speak of the "Denial Industry", what about the "Fear Industry" ? It goes both ways. Mckibben, Hansen et al have no data to back up their claims. They continue to move the goalposts when their claims fall flat on their face. Are you aware that the IPCC has recently admitted (finally) that there has been no warming on the planet for the last 16 years? As for the children and grandchildren … again with the fear based propaganda? Do it for the children? Come on, don't you see how laced with fear all of this is?

    Finally, regarding the 2 articles I posted, I posted them to specifically counter your claim about Colorado Fires. I did not post those articles to prove that global warming isn't happening. Nobody needs to prove that such a claim isn't happening, only the scientists who put forth that theory are responsible for proving it's actually happening. Based on their own standards, they've failed and proven their own null hypothesis. Are you aware of this? The articles I posted were in specific reference to your false claims about Colorado Fires. We are not having more or worse fires, droughts, hurricanes, tornados, cold/snow etc. than we have in the past. Sea levels are not rising. The Arctic has more ice today than it did 5 years ago at the same time. Antarctica has more ice than it has ever had in the satellite era. These are EASILY proven facts. Of course there has been some natural warming in recent decades but nobody has even come close to proving that it has anything to do with carbon dioxide. The claim itself is pretty silly when examined closely. These scientists ignore things such as UHI in their calculations. They don't take other factors into account with any reasonable measurements either (such as cloud systems, cosmic rays, or even the sun). Please research some of these facts before spreading more CAGW propaganda.

  4. I suppose I could spend a lot of time providing sources for my claims about climate change risks but you will simply counter with facts of your own to disprove what I'm saying. But that is the nature of debate is it not? There are enough facts and statistics to allow anyone to make a case for or against any issue.

    That said, I will simply dispute your false claim that sea levels are not rising. Sea levels in California – "California's sea levels could be a foot higher in the next 20 years, two feet higher by 2050 and over five feet higher by the end of this century, according to a National Research Council report."

    "Sea levels on the East Coast, from North Carolina to Boston, are rising much faster than the rest of the world, according to the US Geological Survey."

    On Arctic ice, your claim that there is more ice is ludicrous. There are dozens of report and photographic evidence about summer ice melt being the most extensive ever seen. "According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) summer melts on the Arctic ice sheet have been recently breaking records and once the glaciers are gone, they're unlikely to come back."

    The evidence is there for you to see.

  5. samitee says:

    In the interest of spirited, friendly debate, it would be helpful to respond to the specific issues raised rather than counter with something that is irrelevant to what I'm presenting.

    1) For starters, I said nothing about Arctic melt in the recent summers. I simply stated that there is just about the same (if not more) ice today as there was the same time 5 years ago. Do you disagree? Secondly, regarding the claim that summer melts are "recently breaking records", this is patently FALSE. The records broken are only in the modern satellite era (satellites launched in 1979), but we do have data that goes back further than that, satellite and otherwise. 1979 was the year of peak ice in the modern era and one of the coldest years since the 1920s. Don't you think this is a convenient starting point for illustrating a warming trend? The fact is if you go back to 1974, you'll find just about the same amount of summer ice as existed in the summer of 2012. I challenge you to dispute this fact. You are quoting individuals or organizations that are conveniently choosing 1979 as a starting point for their dataset. Did the world begin in 1979? There is PLENTY of documentation that goes back even to the 19th century that shows the Arctic during periods of very low ice (much like we see today). Furthermore, none of this warming has been proven to be caused by carbon dioxide, certainly not the fraction of a percentage emitted by humans. What about all of the other variables such as cloud and ocean systems, cosmic rays, ENSO, and the Sun? And many others? The current ice extent in the Arctic is not "unprecedented" and anyone with a Google search bar in their browser can verify this for themselves. Additionally, we've been bombarded over the last few years that Antarctica is the fastest warming place on earth. Suddenly, it's now the coldest place on earth and experiencing record amounts of ice extent in the satellite era. Your own US Geological Survey says that 90% of the world's ice is contained in Antarctica, yet the warmists focus on the Arctic because it's currently melting. It's a laughable joke, unfortunately.

    2) I had previously asked you for specifics regarding the claim that "99% of the worlds scientists and climatologists agree …" Can you provide the source for this? Usually it's a talking point that's thrown about without any real understanding of where that figure came from. I happen to know that the claim comes from a survey of about 80 scientists or so which certainly isn't a large enough sample of the world's scientists. Secondly, the percentage is 97%, not 99% (of the handful of scientists surveyed). Thirdly, the questions asked in the survey are skewed in a specific direction. It is largely a myth that 97%/99% of the world's scientists agree on anything. But if you could provide some background or a source for this quote, I'm sure your readers would appreciate it.

  6. samitee says:

    3) This ridiculous claim that "California's sea levels could be a foot higher in the next 20 years and two feet higher by 2050 and over 5 feet hire by the end of the century?" First off, the use of the word "could" is disingenuous at best, and downright misleading at worst. The implication that this thing "could" happen also implies that it just as well "can't" happen. Most of these types of claims will always use creative language such as "if, then" "might" or "could".

    Where is the data and science to back up such a wild claim? You've quoted the US Geological Survey but where is the actual science and data? Or is it automatically true because they are an authority on the matter and need not provide a basis for such tall tales that are obviously based on fear and not science? Let's take a look at some sea level data in California.

    Sea level has actually been dropping in California since the start of satellite measurements 20 years ago. The best available science shows that there will continue to be no sea level rise in California. Satellites actually show us that sea level has remained flat or falling along the entire Pacific coast of the United States. Here's the data so you can see for yourself. http://sealevel.colorado.edu/files/current/ssh_an

    The following data comes directly from the Permanent Service for Mean Sea Level (psmsl.org) Here are just a few examples:

    Northern California Sea Level Rise – http://www.psmsl.org/data/obtaining/rlr.monthly.p
    Crescent City California Sea Level Rise – http://www.psmsl.org/data/obtaining/rlr.monthly.p
    Alameda Tide Guage shows no sea level rise over the last 50 years – http://www.psmsl.org/data/obtaining/stations/437….

    Neither tide gauge in San Francisco Bay shows any sea level rise for the past thirty years.

    CU Satellite data shows that global sea level rise rates have dropped by almost 50% over the last seven years.

    Sea Level has remained mostly flat in California for the last 140 years. Suddenly it's going to rise over 5 feet in the next 100 years? With all due respect, this is nonsensical and not supported by any empirical data. Sea level changes in terms of mm or cm. Perhaps inches at the most. There is no indication from past data/trends that sea level is rising or accelerating in rise. I challenge you to provide data that is a level deeper than "The USGS says". Here is an animated gif that illustrates quite nicely the difference in sea level in La Jolla, CA in 1871 and today. As you'll see, there is very little (if any) sea level rise (142 years). http://i24.photobucket.com/albums/c22/groovejedi/

    There has been no sea level rise in Santa Cruz for at least the last 30 years. Here is the tide guage data so you can see for yourself. http://www.psmsl.org/data/obtaining/stations/1352

    There has been no sea level rise in Los Angeles for the last 30 years. Here is the data – http://www.psmsl.org/data/obtaining/stations/377….

    Sea Levels in Baja California are trending downward. Here's the University of Colorado satellite data – http://sealevel.colorado.edu/files/current/ssh_an

    According to OceanObs, most of the US has seen little or no sea level rise over the last 20 years. Sea level is declining across the entire west coast. Some areas off the east coast have seen sharp drops in sea level. This idea that sea level will suddenly rise a foot over the next 20 years or five feet by the end of the century, let alone rise at all is simply ridiculous (without a MAJOR climate event taking place). Even if sea levels did rise by 5 feet, do you know anyone who lives within 5 feet of sea level in California? This idea that California may fall into the ocean is pure fear-based propaganda and not supported by any empirical data, only computer models and what-ifs.

    Satellites show that the entire US coastline has experienced below average (3mm/year) sea level rise over the past twenty years. Assuming sea level will rise any faster than that goes against all aspects of the scientific method.

    People have been claiming all sorts of doom and disastrous scenarios about sea level for a very long time. Here's just one silly example – "Entire nations could be wiped off the face of the Earth by rising sea levels if the global warming trend is not reversed by the year 2000.” –Noel Brown (1989), ex Director of the UN Environment Program.

    As usual, all speculation, all doom, not supported by any actual measurements, empirical data or science.

    The evidence is there for you to see.

  7. Thank You Samitee for posting your points-of-view. I was debating on whether or not I wanted to walk into this one, and was gratified that yours is the first reply.

    Not only do I fully agree with you, I also feel there is a VERY strong likelihood that we are actually on the verge of going into a new mini-Ice Age. (Let's hope it's mini, anyway!) There are RECORD cold, snow and ice events in many places around the world, yet the media in the USA reports little if anything about it. And we are actually late for the 11,500 year ice-age cycle, to boot. My favorite website on this issue, http://www.iceagenow.info, documents this kind of stuff extensively and daily.

    The figure of 99% of scientists agreeing on global warming has been thrown around for years. Yet there are several HUNDRED climatologists and astrophysicists who disagree, and either way we have been neutral or on the way down in temperatures., just like the latest reports from the British Meteorological group and ASA have had to publicly admit. And the United Nations, I believe, said there are only 2,500 scientists in the world who are fully focused on these issues. So even if it's only a couple of hundred are "skeptics", that's WAY more than 1 percent!

    And DOZENS of climate related scientists have reported that when they started to speak out against the human caused global warming theory, they were threatened with loss of funding or jobs. (That's if they worked for a government agency, university or company receiving funds from government.)

    Everyone loves to point their fingers at oil companies having profit motives, and yes, oil companies have spent hundreds of millions of dollars to study global climate change. Yet the governments of the world have spent nearly 80 BILLION dollars, and with the overt agenda of proving global warming, not for finding the truth from a neutral starting point. PLUS, the oil companies have vested interests in what real and true, because they are the ones who are investing many billions of dollars in infrastructures. If they are too far wrong in their conclusions, they will lose a lot of money.

    Even though I think the oil companies deserve a lot of blame for having bought out the political processes at the federal & state levels back in the 1920s and 1930s, and insulated themselves from TRUE market forces (which have NOT been in significant operation in decades in our country when it comes to big business) by securing government protection.

    But a LOT of scientists, researchers, and so forth are going to have to get a new line of work if the global warming thing is not pursued. So they have a vested interest in keeping the tax payer-funded gravy train going. More so than oil companies. The interesting thing is, most of the privately employed climate scientists I know of who actually make a living selling their data to businesses who MUST have accurate forecasting to stay in business, are mostly predicting far lower temperatures for at least a few years, maybe decades.

    Even Tom Coleman, the founder of The Weather Channel, claims that the human caused global warming theory is a total scam. But he left The Weather Channel long ago, so they stick with the party line.

    Plus, Al Gore owns an consulting firm that will make HUGE amounts of money if the carbon trading treaty & tax goes through. That's why some of the so-called right wing business people have started talking about climate change, because they figured out how to make a lot of money off of it, some of them by becoming clients of Al Gore. …

    And his movie, Inconvenient Truth, was so full of half truths and un-truths it is NOT funny. This is why Al Gore will NOT publicly debate ANY one who does not believe in global arming, because he can NOT win. Courts in England found nine major untruths in the movie, and I have a document describing, in detail, about 35 significant inaccuracies in the movie.

    For me, since I've been reading about this stuff since 1981 or so, when the national news magazines like Time and Newsweek were warning us that we were all going to die of global … COOLING! … the other side of the story has always been significantly censored out of the mainstream media, depending on what is Politically Correct at the time. Like when it was discovered that the hockey stick chart in Al Gore's movie showing skyrocketing temperatures was shown — by amateur mathematicians to start! — to be a complete fraud. Or the Climate-gate e-mails that were leaked showing that the pro-global warming scientists were admitting to each other that they had to hide the actual data to keep the story line going their way.

    And as you know, Samitee, ALL of this is heavily documented, but is not reported in the mainstream media or from the mouths of most politicians, who stand to gain a LOT from their financial sources if the carbon tax treaties & taxes get passed.

    I could go on and on for hours, because there is SO MUCH evidence that the media and our politicians ignore or are in denial about, but I have to get back to work.

    Thanks Again for Posting
    David Scott Lynn

  8. OOPS! I put a comma after http://www.iceagenow.info … so that link will not work. SORRY!
    ~DSL

  9. samitee says:

    Thank you David for your thoughtful response. Naturally, I agree with everything you said with one exception which is the prediction of a new Ice Age. I don't think scientists can predict anything of the sort related to the climate, any better than they could in the 1970s. That decade saw massive propaganda regarding "A New Ice Age". Google a June 1974 article from Time Magazine entitled "A New Ice Age" as one of many examples. This fear based climate propaganda has been going on for over a century. I can point to dozens and dozens of newspaper articles from the early 20th century warning mankind of the rapid ice melt of the Arctic, death to the animals, melting of glaciers, rise of sea level, etc, etc… Today's fear based propaganda from the media and scientific community or anyone who claims that "the debate is over" is no different. People like Tom Coleman who you mentioned (and others) are shunned and ostracized if they don't tow the party line but thankfully we have credible scientists that are working hard to show the public the truth on such matters and not rely on government entities with clear agendas to push. Climategate 3.0 e-mails were released today, coincidentally. More nails in the coffin for this ridiculous theory. But yet the public at large is still very ignorant when it comes to climate change and I'm afraid the media is the main reason. I believe it's important to challenge journalists and writers who assume they understand the issue but are really just victims of propaganda.

    I'd like to add a point number 4) since it was brought up earlier and I missed it in my rebuttal.

    4) "Sea levels on the East Coast, from North Carolina to Boston, are rising much faster than the rest of the world, according to the US Geological Survey."

    Why do the tide gauges not confirm the USGS study? The short answer is the because the USGS study is B.S. Let's use North Carolina as an example (since you mentioned it).

    According to University of Colorado data, <a href="http://(http://sealevel.colorado.edu/)” target=”_blank”>(http://sealevel.colorado.edu/) sea level along the NC coast is rising at a rate of approximately 1.4 mm/year. This is less than one half of the measured global rate of 3.1 mm/year. At this rate, over the next 88 years, sea level would be expected to rise five inches in North Carolina (assuming the rate stays constant of course). But the North Carolina Coastal Resources Commission released a report which says that NC will experience ONE METER of sea level rise over the next century. Now, let's be realistic here. You do not have to be a scientist to understand that this would require an acceleration of 800% over the current rate of sea level rise. Unless an asteroid hits Greenland, this is simply not going to happen. It's basically impossible. It should be straightforward that there are vested interests in reporting misleading information such as this. Keep in mind that this doesn't account for any change in land level movements either.

    Rather than relying on what government entities are stating and then publishing those statements as fact which readers believe, perhaps an attempt to analyze actual station data would be a more responsible form of journalism. Repeating information from government sources without checking the data or questioning methods of biased studies is not real journalism. I'm not trying to engage in any mudslinging but almost every point in this article supporting climate change can be easily demonstrated as false and certainly debated fiercely with science and real world evidence.

    What if we look at other intervals? If you look at station data from Wilmington, NC as an example, you will see rising and falling sea levels since 1962 but there is no long term trend in either direction, certainly not in the order described by alarmists. Sea levels have been falling since 1998 and only rising at .5mm since 1990 (Wilmington station). To claim otherwise is to either be ignorant of the facts or engaging in poor journalism. Take a look at the NOAA's own chart from Wilmington and you will see that sea level is not rapidly rising, but apparently facts don't matter when you're trying to save the world from carbon dioxide. http://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/sltrends/sltrend

    Furthermore, the BEST Muller/Muller study has all sorts of problems with it and has been discredited, debunked and rebutted thoroughly. It is clearly a case of poor data used and incorrect assumptions made. This has been written about all over the web. A simple Google search will provide a lot of information regarding the problems with the BEST study. Even one of the authors of that study has since come out to explain the problems with the assumptions made and conclusions reached. It should not be relied on as any sort of authority on the matter. I'll gladly provide some info on this if anyone is interested…continued in next post…

  10. samitee says:

    Additionally, you made this claim … "While it is true that one cannot look at specific events – a drought, a flood, wildfires, super storms – to claim that we are heading for an unparalleled climate crisis, the frequency and intensity of such events are undeniable."

    Actually, yes…one can deny that the frequency and intensity of such events are on the rise. This is a silly statement that has no basis in fact. Show me that there are more and larger hurricanes today than there were 50, 100, 200 years ago? Show me that there are more fires, droughts, tornadoes, etc. and that they are not only higher in frequency but magnitude as well. Prove your claims. I suspect you won't be able to, only because I was under these same assumptions at one point and then after actually researching these matters deeply, I realized I had been duped. The plain facts are that none of the weather we are experiencing today is any more "extreme" than 50, 80, 100, 150 years ago. If you disagree, please state your reasons why and back it up with evidence. Please give examples to your readers and support them with raw data instead of "The USGS/IPCC/NOAA/NASA says" and thus it must be so.

    Here is the correct link from my earlier post regarding June 1890 fires. http//news.google.com/newspapers?id=wZ5XAAAAIBAJ&sjid=wvMDAAAAIBAJ&pg=6365,3344604&dq=fire+sangre+de+cristo&hl=en

    I would also like to take issue with the author's use of the term "denier" which is really an insult to the intelligence of any human being taking these matters seriously. Using that MSM buzzword "denier" is a subtle attempt to smear anyone who disagrees with a handful of highly paid government scientists and politicians as crazy people, conspiracy theorists, in bed with BIG OIL, etc. and to align them with the likes of Holocaust Deniers. This is absolutely improper, disrespectful and a form of yellow journalism. I'm not implying that you are engaging in the use and implication of this word knowingly but it is one of those "catch phrases" used by the mainstream media that you should avoid in your own writings. Please give respect to the other side of the debate and stop marginalizing people who disagree with you. I'll be happy to continue to engage in friendly debate if you want to address or comment on any of the data I posted. Also, since it's your article, isn't it responsible for you to include sources to the claims you make when engaging in debate with your readers? You are quoting articles that are making wild and inaccurate statements and unwittingly pushing downright propaganda without showing the data/methods of their studies and how they reached their conclusions. With respect, thank you.

  11. samitee – My first reaction is to want to disbelieve what you're saying because I really do believe that our planet is in peril. However, I will not just ignore your response to my article. I will review your comments and follow the links you have provided. I too am searching for the truth.

    I am not able to do that for a few days. So please be patient. I will return to this. Can I ask you what your background is – researcher, scientist, ????? In other words, what are your credentials. (If you don't mind sharing that information)

    Thanks for your comments.

  12. Thanks David for your comments. As I have indicated in my reply to Samitee's latest comment, I plan to research the links and information provided and get back to both of you in a few days. See my reply below.

  13. Auki says:

    Samitee is in denial. Her (his?) arguments are fear based and she is using her shrewd intellect to try and convince herself and other ej readers that climate change isn't real.

    Climate change and the dire threats of climate change are all to real… but I'm not going to waste my time and energy trying to convince the likes of Samitee and other climate change deniers. It would be like trying to convince an alcoholic that they are an alcoholic. Only hitting rock bottom will break the denial patterns of an alcoholic, or for that matter, a climate change denier.

    Those of us who aren't in denial about the reality of climate change need to get on with learning how best to adapt and cope with the increasing perilous situation that is unfolding on this planet.

  14. Auki – I appreciate your supporting comment and I agree with your analogy to the alcoholic. But I have checked the data sources provided in the links by samitee and will get back to him/her in due course.

    The evidence is all around us – you're right.

  15. samitee says:

    Fear based? Hardly. I'm not the one pumping fear into the hearts of the public about wild tales of climate doom, rising sea levels, and such. I have simply posted data to counter the false claims in this article. If you disagree with the data and analysis, please state your claims. Otherwise, you are really doing nothing than repeating fear based talking points such as "dire threats" which are simply not backed by science. I was on board with the theory of CAGW for a long time but the problem is, the data does not support most of these wild claims by politicians and scientists whose jobs and funding rely on pushing this agenda. Climate Change is real. The climate is always changing and has been for millions of years. CAGW theory is something entirely different. Once again, please focus on the details of my arguments and feel free to rebut specifics rather than just saying you disagree without any support for your arguments. Your post is much more fear based than anything I've presented on this page.

  16. samitee says:

    Rolly,

    Thank you for the thoughtful response. I also believe that the planet is in peril and I do consider myself an environmentalist. This is why the CAGW theory hits home with me. It diverts resources in the hundreds of billions, money that is needed to combat real problems, especially in the third world. These problems include things like lack of electricity, clean drinking water and other issues that are directly related to poverty as well as the environment. I would rather see that money go to solving some more pressing issues (deforestation, water and air pollution, etc), than some make believe issue about the world's climate that was thought up by a bunch of elites as another way to steal money and profit off of an artificial economic sector. I would bet we all want the same things when it comes to the environment and the planet, I simply disagree in the weather/climate aspect of things and there are many many well respected scientists on this side of the fence, they just don't get the airtime and are sidelined and labeled as "Fringe", "Deniers", etc. which is sophomoric if we are talking about science.

  17. samitee says:

    It should also be pointed out to the readers the approach of the comment above. Calling someone a denier and then equating that person to an alcoholic and peppering with talking points and catch phrases laced with contempt. The reply is essentially "This person is crazy, climate change is real, and that's the end of it." It's a shame that we cannot have a dialogue about science, data and facts. The discerning reader can surely separate a civilized discussion from an emotional reply that attacks someone who disagrees with the "status quo" so to speak. A little comedy or sarcasm here and there is one thing, but to come here with such a silly response after I've taken time to actually start a civilized debate about specific claims is rather sad, especially for such a wonderful website as this one.

  18. samitee says:

    TODAY – Arctic ice area is at a ten year high for the date, and has blown away the previous record for ice growth by more than half a million km^2 (in the modern satellite era).

    You can see the raw data here – http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/timeserie

    Obviously, this means nothing when comparing to the average, we are still below the mean. But remember, that is with 1979 (the year of peak ice and the coldest year in the United States in the last 80 years) as the starting point. Convenient for showing warming trends and keeping averages where you want them, no? 🙂

    It also shows that last year's summer melt was extreme (thus winter ice growth is so high). But if you go back further than 1979, you will find plenty of years with similar summers and similar Arctic melt conditions as we see today.

  19. @LazarLA says:

    Rolly, Your article is excellent, thank you.

    I always appreciate a fact based, well-sourced and thoughtful analysis and I share your sentiments and concerns about our inaction on what is likely the greatest challenge humankind will face.

    I'm not so impressed, however, with the arguments submitted by some of your responders. They appear to be straight off of well-known climate denier blog WUWT (operated by a former TV weather personality) There are far too many arguments for me to respond to here, so I'll just stick to 5 main points, listing my sources at the bottom.

    I'll provide my response in a separate post.

  20. @LazarLA says:

    Response continued.

    1. IT'S REAL: Carbon Dioxide is a heat trapping gas, acting like a blanket over the earth. More carbon dioxide = a thicker blanket. Right now, atmospheric carbon dioxide levels are the highest in at least 650,000 years, and perhaps even 5 million years. Temperatures are also high, and increasing. The rate of increase is higher than they have over the past 11,000 years, and as a result fo the increasing temperatures, glaciers and icecaps are melting and sea levels are rising.

    2. IT"S US: Humans burn oil, coal and gas for energy – and we burn a LOT of it. Burning fossil fuels takes carbon that was safely underground and puts it into the atmosphere. So far, we have added about a trillion tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

  21. @LazarLA says:

    3. IT'S BAD (and will get worse): Droughts, floods, heatwaves, storms and forest fires are increasing in intensity and quantity. These climatic events, let's call it "climate chaos" , will continue to get worse as the amount energy in the atmosphere increases due to the heat trapping effects of carbon dioxide.

    4. There is broad SCIENTIFIC AGREEMENT (Industry, Religion and the US Military agree too).
    Science:
    -34 National Academies of Science across the world
    -All accredited scientific agencies (about 200) that have anything to do with climate or atmpshere (there are NO dissenting organizations)
    -Between 95% and 98% of practicing climate scientists (according to 3 different studies)

    Industry: All major oil companies, all major automobile manufactures, Dow Chemical, Walmart, Coca Cola and many, many others.
    Religions: All major developed religions, including Catholicism, Islam and Judaism,
    US Military: All branches of the US military

  22. hmmann says:

    Being a latecomer to this debate, there are many comments to reply to, but I will begin with samitee’s first comments. In addition, due to space constraints, I will have to divide my first comment into two entries.

    Samitee said: “I must take issue with several false statements in this article. Please set the record straight and research these talking points before spreading disinformation. "Last summer, much of the country witnessed a heat wave never felt by anyone." This is patently false. The heatwaves and droughts of the 1930s and 1950s were MUCH worse than anything we've seen in the last few decades. The drought of 1988 was much worse than any drought of 2012. Please research this.”

    I think what Rolly was referring to is the fact that 2012 was the hottest year ever recorded in the US (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/09/science/earth/2012-was-hottest-year-ever-in-us.html?_r=0). 34,008 daily high records were set at weather stations across the country, compared with only 6,664 record lows. 2012 is now acknowledged as the hottest year in US history by at least 1 degree centigrade, a huge difference between it and the next hottest year. There were more 100 degree plus Fahrenheit temperatures recorded than ever before in 2012. So, in terms of temperature, Rolly’s statement was not false, just poorly worded. However, in terms of extent of areas afflicted by drought considered severe or worse, the 1930s and the 1950s had some worse years than 2012, with 2012 ranking 5th. 1988 did not rank in the top 5 in terms of severity and extent (http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/comment.html?entrynum=2188).

    The drought of 2012 and the many other extreme weather events around the globe represent an increase in the frequency of extreme weather events, a phenomenon predicted by climatologists decades ago (http://sciences.blogs.liberation.fr/files/10-ans-dextremes-climatiques.pdf and http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2FBF0061… and http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/qj.497… and http://sciences.blogs.liberation.fr/files/10-ans-… and http://www.skepticalscience.com/lessons-from-past… and too many others to list).

    It just makes sense that as temperature and moisture are added to the atmosphere (http://www.pnas.org/content/104/39/15248.full.pdf and http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg2/… extreme weather events are more likely as increased atmospheric moisture favors more frequent and more severe flooding, and higher temperatures favor more rapid drying for, which in turn favors more droughts.

  23. @LazarLA says:

    5. We CAN FIX IT (if we act now): We have to get off of fossil fuels and move to a clean energy system. The sooner we do it, the better for our climate system, our health, our economies and our national security.

    re the deniers above, I'll simply repost the words of Ethics Professor Donald Brown:

    "Words fail us about how to characterize the magnitude of the harm that is being done in the name of ideology. It is too absurd on its face to think that any reasonable observer can seriously conclude that climate change science is a hoax or that the consensus view that humans are causing climate change has been debunked.: in fact we are looking for the right metaphors to simply describe the sheer harmfulness of what has been happening.. We would appreciate ideas on this issue. Only poets can approach this task until we come up with the right metaphor.”

  24. hmmann says:

    A number of factors converged to produce the “Dustbowl” of the 1930s. Drought in the southern, southwestern, and Midwest of the US is favored by La Ninas, when upwelling water causes much of sea surface temperatures in the tropical Pacific to be relatively cool. Drought is also favored by warmer than average Atlantic mid latitude sea surface temperatures. Both phenomena act to alter the path of the jet stream causing fewer storms in the above-mentioned areas of the US (usually not all at once), and both phenomena were in operation during the 1930s drought.

    Also human influence played a role in the severity of the droughts of the 1930s. As Dr. Jeff Masters says in his blog: “However, the full intensity of the drought and its spatial extent could not be explained by ocean temperature patterns alone. Only when their model included the impact of losing huge amounts of vegetation in the Plains due to poor farming practices could the full warmth of the 1930s be simulated. In addition, only by including the impact of the dust kicked up by the great dust storms of the Dust Bowl, which blocked sunlight and created high pressure zones of sinking air that discouraged precipitation, could the very low levels of precipitation be explained. The Dust Bowl drought had natural roots, but human-caused effects made the drought worse and longer-lasting. The fact that we are experiencing a drought in 2012 comparable to the great Dust Bowl drought of the 1930s–without poor farming practices being partially to blame–bodes ill for the future of drought in the U.S.”

    Comparing the recent drought with those of the 1930s and 1950s is not really instructive, especially considering that the current drought may or may not be just beginning. It really depends more on La Niña – El Niña oscillation. La Niñas occurred in 1932, 1933, 1934, 1937, 1938, and 1939, and in the 1950s, La Niñas occurred in 1951, 1955, 1956, and 1957.

    Samitee said: “There were something like 48,000 forest fires in 2012. That is the smallest total since the National Interagency Fire Center started tracking it in 2003. It is almost 25% below the mean and about one fourth of the 1938 total. And please don't argue about acres burned, that has nothing to do with carbon dioxide emissions and much more to do with fire suppression.” Samitee, would you please provide links to these statistics!

    From what I found, according to the National Interagency Fire Center, total number of wildfires in the US in 2012 was 67,774, with records dating back to 1985 (http://www.nifc.gov/fireInfo/fireInfo_stats_totalFires.html). However, as you suggest, this was an unspectacular year for the number of wildfires. Samitee says that “And please don't argue about acres burned, that has nothing to do with carbon dioxide emissions and much more to do with fire suppression.” However, I would take issue with that statement. Wildfire acreage is significantly and consistently greater in the last decade than the two decades before. (I seriously doubt that fire suppression technology and methodology has declined during this time span.) There are many reasons for this: the fire season is two and a half months longer than it was in the 1970s; as temperatures have been rising, the snow pack has been melting earlier; there has been significant and unprecedented snow pack decline causing a general drying of the Rocky Mountain area (http://www.opb.org/news/media/uploads/pdf/2011/snowpackpaper%5B1%5D.pdf); partly due to the warming temperatures, pine beetles have spread further and wider than ever before, killing large stands of forest and creating perfect conditions for the spread of wildfires. I submit that the warming is due to the rising concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere, an efficient absorber of the emission of infrared radiation from the earth. Solar radiation and cosmic rays cannot be correlated to the current climate dynamics of the planet. The number of wildfires is less important because their origin is predominantly by lightning strike, unintentional human starting of fire, escape of prescribed fires, or arson, none of which is relevant here.

    samitee said: “Quoting activists like Bill Mckibben who is wrong on almost every prediction he makes and silences debate at every corner is not helping your cause. Please re-examine your position and do some more research because this article is full of misinformation. "Emerging consensus" and "majority rule" is not how science is conducted.”

    Please provide references to you statement concerning Bill McKibben. And regarding emerging consensus, the consensus about climate change has been emerging for over 200 years, since scientists such as Fourier (http://www.aip.org/history/climate/co2.htm ) began to understand that gases in the atmosphere might trap heat received from the sun, and later, Tyndall discovered that CO2 in the atmosphere trapped infra red radiation (http://www.aip.org/history/climate/summary.htm). The consensus has emerged over the past 200 years because the evidence has steadily grown supporting anthropogenic global warming! Any theory that evidence does not support will not survive the rigors of science, but anthropogenic global warming has not only survived, but thrived as an answer to the current climate change!

  25. hmmann says:

    samitee, perhaps you might read this tract by Dr. Jeff Masters: http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/comm

  26. hmmann says:

    samitee said: “I did not post those articles to prove that global warming isn't happening. Nobody needs to prove that such a claim isn't happening, only the scientists who put forth that theory are responsible for proving it's actually happening. Based on their own standards, they've failed and proven their own null hypothesis. Are you aware of this?”

    I don’t know where you came up with this, but if you believe science has the capability of measuring global temperatures, then you must believe that the planet has warmed about 0.8 degrees centigrade since the beginning of the industrial revolution. Anthony Watts and his team of deniers tried to prove that US temperature records are unreliable (http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2009/05/surfacestationsreport_spring09.pdf). NOAA convincingly debunked Watt’s assertions (http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/about/response-v2.pdf). I invite you to read the rebuttal by NOAA.

  27. hmmann says:

    What follows here are a series of comments describing why climate scientists, in the 2007 IPCC publication stated that there is 90 to 99% confidence that the globe is warming and humans are the cause:

    The atmospheric concentration of CO2 has increased considerably in the last 150 years. Climatologists are confident that CO2 has increased from about 270-280 parts per million by volume (ppmv) to the current level of about 395 ppmv. Ice core data from Antarctica suggest that atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases are likely higher now than at any time in the last 800 ka (ka = kilo annum, or thousand years) (http://www.nature.com/nature/journal…ture06949.html). There have been 8 glacial cycles since then (http://www.labmeeting.com/paper/6497…rctic-ice-core) consisting of glacial and interglacial periods. We are now in an interglacial period known as the Holocene Epoch (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holocene). Atmospheric CO2 concentrations have ranged between 180 ppmv during the coldest times of the glacial epochs, to about 280 ppmv during the interglacial periods. The last glacial period ended approximately 11.65 ka. At that point, there was a dramatic warmup at the end of the Younger Dryas stadial (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Younger_Dryas; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stadial), continuing for about 1.5 ka (preBoreal Warmup). From that time period until about 1850, the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere remained near approximately 280 parts per million by volume (ppmv). In the late 1800s, the concentration of CO2 began to rise, reaching 300 ppmv some time around the late 1930s, and is currently about 389 ppmv (http://co2now.org/index.php/Current-…id=22&Itemid=1. (The average CO2 concentration for 2009 may be slightly lower.)

    Couple that with the continuous measurements of CO2 not only at the Mauna Loa station, but also numerous stations around the globe (http://scrippsco2.ucsd.edu/research/…heric_co2.html; and NOAA carbon cycle measuring stations: http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/dv/site/map1.html) which show CO2 concentrations now nearing 390 ppmv, and scientists are extremely confident that atmospheric concentrations of CO2 has dramatically increased over the past 150 years, after it had been fairly stable for approximately 10 ka.

  28. hmmann says:

    The rate of increase of atmospheric carbon dioxide has dramatically increased during the last 150 years. During the last ice age, the fastest rate of CO2 change was on the order of 30 parts per million by volume per millennium (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/5314592.stm; http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/conten…t/291/5501…. The current rate is approximately 1.8 ppmv per year, or approximately 1,800 ppmv per millennium. So the current rate exceeds fastest natural rates of CO2 change by about 60 times.

    In addition, since Charles Keeling began recording CO2 concentrations in 1958, the rate of CO2 increase has increased from about 0.7 ppmv per year to the current rate of about 1.8 ppmv per year.

  29. hmmann says:

    Scientists are confident that the rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration is due to human activity (principally from fossil fuel use, coal burning, and deforestation). In the 1950s, when scientists were first investigating the capability of the decay of the carbon isotope carbon-14 (C-14) to age date ancient materials, Hans Suess, an Austrian physical chemist, discovered an anomalous decrease in the carbon-13 and carbon-14 isotopes in tree rings (Suess, 1955, Radiocarbon Concentration in Modern Wood, Science p 415-417). This corresponded to the use of fossil fuels, which contain no C-14 and less carbon 13 (C-13) than air. C-14 is radioactive and has a half-life decay rate of 5,730 years. Therefore, since fossil fuels are millions of years old, the C-14 that was in them completely decayed millions of years ago. Since fossil fuels have no C-14 in them, the emission of CO2 from the burning of fossil fuels should therefore, decrease the C-14/C-12 ratio in the atmosphere. Atmospheric C-14, measured on tree rings, dropped by 2 to 2.5 % from about 1850 to 1954 (This became known as the Suess Effect.), when nuclear bomb tests started to inject C-14 into the atmosphere. This observed isotopic trend fits CO2 emissions from fossil fuels. However, the trends are not compatible with a dominant CO2 source in the terrestrial biosphere or in the ocean.

    In addition, there is about 2% less C-13 in plant material than in the atmosphere because plants prefer C-12 over C-13 and are more likely to incorporate it, for example, tree rings.(Suess, 1955; Park and Epstein, http://www.plantphysiol.org/cgi/reprint/36/2/133; Francey et al., 1999, A 1000-year high precision record of d13Cin atmospheric CO2, Tellus, 51B, 170–193) Since fossil fuels, which humanity has been burning in earnest since the beginning of the industrial revolution, are also derived from plants, they too have a lower C-13/C-12 ratio than the atmosphere. The burning of fossil fuels lowers the isotopic ratio of C-13 to C-12 in the atmosphere. Even though plants prefer C-12 over C-13, they do take in C-13 at a predictable rate, and they track the changes of the carbon isotope ratio in tree rings. Scientists have been able to make graphs based on the C-13/C-12 ratio in tree rings going back thousands of years. It has been shown that the present ratio is lower than it has been over those thousands of years. The ratio declines just as CO2 levels began to increase around 1850, which is what would be expected if the increased CO2 is due to fossil fuel burning.

  30. hmmann says:

    On top of the isotopic evidence, we also know from historical records of human activities. From the beginning of the industrial revolution, we have been burning fossil fuels and cutting down forests at a rate that far exceeds anything before. Scientists know that the burning of fossil fuels and the destruction of forests injects CO2 into the atmosphere. The amount of fossil fuel burning and the amount of land deforested is well accounted for. The rate of CO2 production from these processes injects CO2 into the air faster than natural sinks for CO2 can remove it.

  31. hmmann says:

    The increase in greenhouse gases changes the earth’s radiative energy balance. Taking into account the spherical shape of the earth and the earth’s albedo, the energy flux absorbed by the earth is 239.7 W/m^2. How much energy does the earth have to dissipate to maintain the energy balance? Answer: 239.7 W/M^2 (http://www.atmo.arizona.edu/students…tionBudget.pdf; http://www.cgd.ucar.edu/cas/Trenbert…rTrenberth.pdf). How does the earth get rid of that much energy? By emitting radiation in the infrared part of the light spectrum at the top of the atmosphere. What are the major absorbers of IR radiation, water vapor (~75%) and CO2 and CH4 (~25%) (http://www.sciencemag.org/content/330/6002/356.abstract). Water vapor remains at a pretty constant mass in the atmosphere, as precipitation and evaporation are essentially in balance. But because CO2 is non-condensing and has a long residence time in the atmosphere (http://www.pcsn.ca/pubs_2007/Montene…t.,%202007.pdf; http://geosci.uchicago.edu/~archer/r…plications.pdf, http://www.sciencemag.org/content/330/6002/356.ab… it’s concentration in the atmosphere been rising steadily over 150 years. Before that CO2 was essentially in balance in the atmosphere. But since the industrial revolution, CO2 has been added to the atmosphere much faster than it returns to earth (http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/1110252). It just makes sense that as the atmosphere accumulates more CO2, that more IR radiation would be absorbed and returned to earth, causing it to warm. The combination of graphs from different groups of scientists studying climate and paleoclimate independently supports that contention (http://www.globalwarmingart.com/wiki…Comparison_png).

  32. hmmann says:

    I just realized that these links will not work in their current form, so here is a list of some of the links to those references:
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/200
    http://www.sciencemag.org/content/308/5727/1431.a
    http://www.sciencemag.org/content/308/5727/1431.a
    http://www.globalwarmingart.com/wiki/File:1000_Ye

  33. hmmann says:

    According to radiosonde and satellite data, the earth’s surface and the troposphere are warming, but the stratosphere is cooling (http://www.climatescience.gov/Library/sap/sap1-1/finalreport/default.htm). Data from many contributors, including the
    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
    National Center for Atmospheric Research
    University of Alabama at Huntsville
    Yale University
    Remote Sensing Systems
    U.K. Meteorology Office
    University of Maryland
    U.S. Department of Defense
    University of Michigan
    MIT
    NASA

    have confirmed that globally:

    Surface temperature has increased at a rate of about 0.12°C per decade since 1958 (temporal extent of balloon data), and about 0.16°C per decade since 1979 (temporal extent of satellite data);

    In the tropics, temperature has increased at a rate of about 0.11°C per decade since 1958, and about 0.13°C per decade since 1979;

    Tropospheric temperature has increased at a rate of about 0.14°C per decade since 1958 according to the two balloon-based data sets, and since 1979, estimates of the two balloon and three satellite data sets range from about 0.10 to 0.20°C per decade,

    In the tropics, temperature increased at a rate of about 0.13°C per decade since 1958 according to the two balloon-based data sets, but since 1979, estimates range from 0.02 to 0.19°C per decade based on the two balloon-based data sets and three satellite data sets

    But temperature in the lower stratosphere has cooled at a rate of about 0.37°C per decade according to the balloon data sets

    Since 1979, estimates of this decrease are about 0.65°C per decade for the balloon data sets, and from 0.33 to 0.45°C for satellite data sets.

    According to the model for a warming earth due to increases in solar irradiance, the lower stratosphere should be increasing in temperature, which isn't happening. According to the model for anthropogenic global warming due increased greenhouse gases, the stratosphere should be cooling, which is happening. So the fingerprints of the dynamics of warming support anthropogenic global warming by increased greenhouse gases, not from solar variation.

  34. hmmann says:

    Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere absorbs and re-emits infrared radiation in all directions, most strongly at 15 microns wavelength, much of which returns to earth. So, as the density of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases increase in the atmosphere, two things should happen: there should be less infrared radiation escaping from the top of the atmosphere, particularly the band around 15 microns, and there should be an increase in the amount of infrared radiation returning to earth.

    The first of these conditions is described in the following explanation from the book “Climate Change” by W. J. Burroughs:

    (See Figure 2.3 here: <a href="http://books.google.com/books?id=396wYGZIY7AC&pg=PA17&lpg=PA17&dq=Burroughs+1991+figure+2.3+atmospheric+spectrum&source=bl&ots=XsaDNSKuT9&sig=Shj1T7VoKK9ZvJoxdJsI5rLWDn0&hl=en&ei=7OgPS47HB9CUtgeZwbTDBA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CAgQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=Burroughs%201991%20figure%202.3%20atmospheric%20spectrum&f=false&quot; target="_blank"&gt <a href="http://;http://books.google.com/books?id=396wYGZIY7AC&amp;…” target=”_blank”>;http://books.google.com/books?id=396wYGZIY7AC&amp;…

    Quote:

    "The impact of the most important radiatively active trace constituents shows up clearly in the spectrum of terrestrial radiation observed from space. This spectrum holds the key to understanding how changes in these important trace gases exert control over the climate. Taking the example of the CO2 band centered around 15 µm, the curve shows that, where this gas absorbs and emits most strongly, the radiation escaping to space comes from high in the atmosphere where the temperature is low (typical ~220 K). Where the atmosphere is transparent on either side of the CO2 band (often termed atmospheric window regions), the radiation comes from the bottom of the atmosphere or the Earth’s surface, which is warmer (typically ~287 K). This means that, if the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere increases, owing to human activities, for example, the band around 15 µm will become more opaque and effectively broaden. This will make no difference where the absorption is strong. But, in the other parts of the band the increase in absorption and emission will reduce the amount of terrestrial radiation emitted by CO2 to space as more of it will come from the cold top of the atmosphere. But, for the Earth’s energy budget to remain in balance, the amount of terrestrial radiation must remain constant, so the temperature of the lower atmosphere has to rise to compensate for the reduced emission in the CO2 band. This is the basic physical process underlying the Greenhouse Effect. It applies to changes in the concentration of all radiatively active gases, and is central to how the temperature of the Earth adjusts to the amount of energy received from the Sun."

    So, as Burroughs describes, there should be a reduced amount of radiation escaping the earth at the top of the atmosphere around the 15 µm band. As described in an issue of Skeptical Science <a href="http:// (http://www.skepticalscience.com/news.php?n=70)," target="_blank"> <a href="http://(http://www.skepticalscience.com/news.php?n=70),” target=”_blank”>(http://www.skepticalscience.com/news.php?n=70), researchers found less radiation escaping at bands absorbed by greenhouse gases in 1997 than in 1970 (Harries, et al., 2001; Griggs et al., 2004, extended the period to 2003; and Chen et al., 2007, extended the period to 2006).

    As described by Chen et al., 2007:

    Quote:

    "Previously published work using satellite observations of the clear sky infrared emitted radiation by the Earth in 1970, 1997, and in 2003 showed the appearance of changes in the concentrations of well-mixed greenhouse gases over this period. Thus, the greenhouse forcing of the Earth has been observed to change in response to these concentrations changes. In this present work, this analysis is being extended to 2006… "

    The second effect, an increase in downward directed longwave radiation, was also covered in the Skeptical Science blog. The latest of the articles referred to in the Skeptical Science blog post was by Wang and Liang (2008; <a href="http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2009JD011800/abstract)" target="_blank"&gt <a href="http://;http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2009JD…” target=”_blank”>;http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2009JD… who found that data from about 3,200 meteorological stations around the world indicated an increase in downward longwave radiation of about 2.2 Wm-2 per decade from 1973 to 2008. They suggested that these data resulted from increases in air temperature, atmospheric water vapor, and CO2 concentration.

    So it appears that both conditions have been occurring in the atmosphere for at least 3 or 4 decades. These phenomena provide clear additional reasons why climatologists are very confident that the activities of humanity are causing the planet’s temperature to rise.

  35. hmmann says:

    smite said: "The fact is if you go back to 1974, you'll find just about the same amount of summer ice as existed in the summer of 2012. I challenge you to dispute this fact."

    I challenge you to support that assertion. Where is your evidence? What publications confirm this?

    Tell us about satellite data that precedes 1979!! And then tell us about the other data!! You have made a lot of unsupported statements!! Show some support!!

  36. hmmann says:

    Cloud and ocean systems do not add heat energy to the planet, therefore, they will not cause long-term temperature rises as we have seen over the past 150 years.

  37. hmmann says:

    Solar variation and cosmic rays have very poor correlation to global temperature change. Cosmic rays have been shown to have a negligible effect (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1364682611000691). The highest total solar irradiance since it has been recorded was the solar maximum of 1958, right smack in the middle of the temperature flatline of the 1945-1975 period. Since temperatures have rapidly risen, total solar irradiance has decreased — a terrible correlation and clearly not the reason temperatures have risen!!

  38. rabiddoomsayer says:

    It is warming, that we are getting record global temperatures in a non El Nino period should scare us all. It is us, based on the natural cycles we should be cooling we should be entering a mini ice age. It is going to be bad, 2 degrees is not safe but we will not be able to keep within a two degrees of preindustrial temperatures.

    You can cherry pick data, change measurements, but that does not change the reality. Take the number of fires you need to know how that statistic is prepared, go look it up, merged fires count as one fire. Then consider the area burned, worst ever? Looking at one thing can give misconceptions, look at the total picture.

    Consilience is where different lines of evidence point to the same conclusion. It is not only the tens of thousands of scientist working directly on climate, there are the many related fields where climate change is obvious. There is still real debate, on how bad it will be.

    Expect the picture to get worse. We have changed climate forcing well over an order of magnitude faster than anything in the paleo climatic record and yet we expect the resultant changes to be slower. There are very worrying signs that the rate of change will be faster than important parts of the biosphere will be able to cope with.

  39. Judy Anderson says:

    Thank you for the post. I think we can keep it quite simple. Data are coming regularly from around the world confirming this this is a significant warming. Check out NOAA too. The good news is that conserving energy will help the US and we know that coal is hugely polluting even if you don't care about the climate. It's health and the economy.

  40. grmcpherson says:

    We've triggered ten self-reinforcing feedback loops, nine of which are irreversible. They lead us straight to near-term human extinction. Study the evidence: http://guymcpherson.com/2013/01/climate-change-su

  41. hmmann says:

    Let's see, we know the earth has warmed about 0.8 degrees centigrade; we know that global temperatures began their rise about the same time as humanity began adding large amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere; we know CO2 absorbs infra red radiation emitted from the earth's surface; we know that less infra red radiation of the spectral wavelength absorbed by CO2 is leaving the top of the atmosphere; we know that there is increasing amounts of infra red radiation returning to earth, which would be expected with increased CO2 in the atmosphere, but not with increased solar luminosity; we know the lower stratosphere is cooling, which should not happen if warming of the earth's surface was being caused by increased solar luminosity; we know Arctic sea ice is melting away (and we know it wasn't anywhere close to this bad in 1974 as samitee said; I've noticed he hasn't offered any references to back up his assertion); we know that nearly all the planet's glaciers are receding, many at a rapidly accelerating pace; we know that the total solar radiation of the sun has been decreasing while the planet has been heating up; we know that cosmic rays have a negligible impact on climate; and there is a huge amount of additional evidence indicating anthropogenic global warming is happening!!!! None of these HUNDREDS of climatologists you spout off about have offered any kind of satisfactory alternative explanation for why these phenomena are happening!! THAT'S BECAUSE THERE IS ONLY ONE EXPLANATION THAT SATISFACTORILY EXPLAINS ALL THESE PHENOMENA – ANTHROPOGENIC GLOBAL WARMING!!

  42. hmmann says:

    smite said: "I don't think scientists can predict anything of the sort related to the climate, any better than they could in the 1970s. That decade saw massive propaganda regarding "A New Ice Age". Google a June 1974 article from Time Magazine entitled "A New Ice Age" as one of many examples."

    This is utter bullshit!! As the paper "The Myth of the 1970s Global Cooling Scientific Consensus" by Peterson, Connolley, and Fleck (http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/pdf/10.1175/2008BAMS2370.1) points out climate scientists understood the cooling effects of sulfate aerosols, which the industrialized world was pumping out in massive quantities at the time (much as the Chinese and the Indians are doing today), but they also knew the warming effect of CO2, and that CO2's residence time in the atmosphere is far longer than sulfate aerosols. They also understood that the Northern Hemisphere, where by far most of the sulfate aerosols had been produced, had cooled more than the Southern Hemisphere (you can see this on Northern and Southern hemisphere temperature graphs of the last 100 years (http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs_v3/Fig.A3.gif). Peterson et al. point out that a review of climate science literature from 1965 to 1979 shows this myth to be false and is a result of selective misreading of the texts by both some members of the media (Time and Newsweek) at the time and by some observers today. So, THE GLOBAL COOLING MYTH IS FALSE!!

  43. hmmann says:

    From the post above:

    "Additionally, you made this claim … "While it is true that one cannot look at specific events – a drought, a flood, wildfires, super storms – to claim that we are heading for an unparalleled climate crisis, the frequency and intensity of such events are undeniable."

    Actually, yes…one can deny that the frequency and intensity of such events are on the rise. This is a silly statement that has no basis in fact. Show me that there are more and larger hurricanes today than there were 50, 100, 200 years ago? Show me that there are more fires, droughts, tornadoes, etc. and that they are not only higher in frequency but magnitude as well. Prove your claims. I suspect you won't be able to, only because I was under these same assumptions at one point and then after actually researching these matters deeply, I realized I had been duped. The plain facts are that none of the weather we are experiencing today is any more "extreme" than 50, 80, 100, 150 years ago. If you disagree, please state your reasons why and back it up with evidence. Please give examples to your readers and support them with raw data instead of "The USGS/IPCC/NOAA/NASA says" and thus it must be so. "

    Here is a NASA graph indicating an increase in the distribution of measured (observed, not modeled) summer temperature. The graph indicates that temperatures have shifted in the direction of hotter extremes: http://www.farmingfirst.org/2012/08/nasa-study-li

    So, we know there is more heat in the atmosphere. Santer et al., 2007 have shown that the total atmospheric moisture content over oceans has increased by 0.41 kg/m2 per decade since 1988. Anyone who has even slight knowledge of meteorology knows that when you add heat and moisture to the atmosphere, you increase the fuel available for higher energy events. So basic atmospheric physics tells us that the potential for higher energy events is greater now than it has been in the past. The extra heat in the atmosphere also provides more energy for more rapid evaporation, favoring the development of drought conditions. The increase in the last couple of decades of extreme weather events suggests that this increase of heat and moisture is beginning to effect our weather.

    Do either David or Samitee dispute that putting more heat and moisture increases the potential for higher energy weather events? (BTW, sorry samitee for the autocorrection spelling which I can't seem to undo; I am not intentionally spelling your user name smite).

  44. Larry – Thank you for the comment/response.

    I was not familiar with the WUWT blog until now. Quite the collection of mostly useless material. It only tells some the truth some of the time, appearing to be credible on the one hand, but lacking honesty on the other.

  45. Judy – you're right about the data. As years go by, the supporting data is overwhelmingly showing the environmental degradation of the planet. And even if all the data turned out to be wrong, does it not make sense to want to improve the air we breathe, the water we drink, the oceans from which we eat the fish. It's not just about the climate as you say. There is a huge economic potential in moving to the next generation of energy to replace our dependency on destructive fossil fuels.

    Thanks for the comment

  46. Your response provides much information in support of the predominant belief that climate change is real. You have brilliantly countered many claims made by samitee that the posted article was nothing but "fear based propaganda".

    Your thorough coverage of droughts – from the dustbowl of the 1930s to modern day conditions – leaves me concerned about the next decades. As you say, "The fact that we are experiencing a drought in 2012 comparable to the great Dust Bowl drought of the 1930s–without poor farming practices being partially to blame–bodes ill for the future of drought in the U.S.”

    Your material provided on wildfires contradicts the information provided by samitee. One's perspective is of course shaped by the information available at the time. Perhaps he/she did not have the right data is support of the the argument presented.

    Thank you for providing the many links (in part one of your response) about the frequency and intensity of storms as well as predictions made by climatologists decades ago, most of which are now a reality.

    Much appreciated.

  47. The debate is not whether or not we are facing severe climate change crises in the coming decades. The only debate is how do we best mitigate against it. Is it by being in denial, clinging to hope, praying for a Godly intervention or using the known technologies – solar, wind, tidal, geoengineering, conservation, etc – to urgently effect the changes needed. The evidence on the ground is convincing.

    Thanks for your comment

  48. rabiddoomsayer says:

    Preparation and mitigation are so very urgent. But if we continue to refuse to see how bad it will be, then our preparations may come to naught. Take sea level rise, many are still quoting the IPCC Report than only considers thermal expansion already we know that is a considerable under estimate, the ice sheets are loosing mass and will contribute much more than that over the next century.

  49. hmmann says:

    David said: “And DOZENS of climate related scientists have reported that when they started to speak out against the human caused global warming theory, they were threatened with loss of funding or jobs. (That's if they worked for a government agency, university or company receiving funds from government.)”

    David, please provide some documentation for this. From what I know, it’s been the exact opposite, the government, at least during the Bush administration, harassed, intimidated, threatened, censored, and suppressed climate scientists that expressed or wrote pro-anthropogenic global warming evidence and/or documentation. This was described in detail in the Union of Concerned Scientists document “Scientific Integrity in Policy Making: An Investigation into the Bush Administration’s Misuse of Science.” http://stephenschneider.stanford.edu/Publications