Don’t Like: People/Organizations Who Claim Global Warming Isn’t a Scientific Fact

I almost have to tip my hat to the NeoCons. It’s really amazing. They’ve politicized and distorted an issue that I thought was pretty much un-distortable.

Global Warming is a scientific fact. The overwhelming majority of scientists have confirmed this including the IPCC and every single prominent country within the National Academies of Science. Yet the more evidence we gain over the years, the more people seem to make up reasons to disagree. A recent poll showed fewer people believe in global warming then they did 10 years ago.

And there’s key word in there: “believe”. That’s what this is all about now. The issue has been politicized into red and blue. The Bush admin has adopted the notion of that it’s a scientific debate and not an established scientific fact. First of all, yes, there are individual scientists who offer theories of dissent, but their minority cannot be stressed enough. Better yet, almost any one of their theories and examples can be refuted by any student with a couple of oceanography classes under their belt. That’s not hyperbole either. Most dissenters use evidence that is self-contained and not reflective of system based changes. How so? This is an extreme example but recently a scientist cited the lack of devastating hurricanes last summer as evidence global warming wasn’t true (since global warming raises water temperatures which strengthens hurricanes). What said scientist failed to mention was that el nino/la nina has been wreaking havoc on weather patterns and other parts of the world were suffering from the extreme weather patterns at the time. This example of the “contained example” is completely indicative of the kind of thinking the anti-global warming folks are using.

Look, I understand someone seeing Global Warming and going “Eh, who cares, I think there are more important things.” That’s fine because it’s an personal and ethical decision based on the facts. But to use an agenda to distort the obvious scientific reality is an insult. The republican war on science is a complete travesty.


7 Responses to Don’t Like: People/Organizations Who Claim Global Warming Isn’t a Scientific Fact

  1. mick says:

    Nothing in science is an established fact. Every notion is at all times subject to immediate falsification. That is how science works.

    Something that is a fact beyond questioning is Truth, not Science.

  2. mick says:

    And you need some basic astronomy. You might learn that there is a naked star in our vicinity that powers our climate and its current motion is towards cooling the planet.

  3. mgss says:

    I know that nothing in science is an established fact. However, that’s why I was careful to use the phrase “scientific fact” which implies an theory that has been proven true repeatedly (even with a minority dissenters). And yes, Science becomes outdated with newer models and future research, but to use that as evidence in and of itself of discounting what we believe to be a fact is completely negligible to the importance of scientific accuracy in the first place.

    As for your Naked Star example, you are indeed correct. Except for one thing, the cooling effects of H1504+65 are going to be much more gradual and over much longer time period than w the negative effects of global warming. Global warming has a 30-70 year window for major effects. The Naked Star cool is working on a much, much longer time scheme and its effects will be minimal.

    By the way, thanks for assuming I know nothing of astronomy. I actually do. I also love when people make assumptions about a person based on knowing nothing about them.

  4. You’re absolutely right. Global warming is real, it’s man-made, and it’s dangerous.

    Unfortunately some powerful forces are arrayed against acceptance of the truth. These include fossil fuel industries, which are trying to forestall reductions in the consumption of carbon-based fuels, and those who are opposed to government regulation for purely ideological reasons. The campaign to sew the seeds of doubt is not dissimilar to the efforts by the tobacco industry to confuse the public about the health risks of smoking. In fact, some of the same “scientists” who worked for tobacco companies are at the forefront of the global-warming misinformation campaign.

    The slow progress of global warming (decades for noticeable changes) and the large amount of noise in the climate system make it easy to deceive the scientifically unsophisticated. And the cost of reducing greenhouse gas emissions is likely to be large, which frightens some and angers others. Alas, the cost of NOT reducing greenhouse gas emissions will be vastly greater.

  5. lrbinfrisco says:

    The proof that there is a consensus among relevant scientists that man is responsible for most of the increase in global temperatures that we’ve seen in (pick a time frame here, I’ll arbitrarily choose 50 years) is pretty underwhelming. It’s even doubtful that there is a consensus among IPCC Group I scientists, which are the only group qualified as relevant scientists. The proof that there is a consensus among prominent scientific societies, many of their members who would not be qualified as relevant scientists, is very strong. But this is far from equaling a consensus among relevant scientists. I definitely think that a large number of scientist support AGW theory. But I also feel that a large number of scientists question at least parts of the AGW theory if not the entire theory.

    Additionally, I would add that what is considered to be a “scientific fact” and what is not is very subjective. Many climate scientists consider climate scientists to be a very immature science with significant unknowns in how elements of th eclimate interact to form the total climate. This would make it very unlikely for a theory of what is the major driver of climate to extremely uncertain and a very unlikely candidate for a “scientific fact”. It is entirely possible for a scientist to believe that AGW is our best educated guess on what’s driving the climate, but still not consider it to be a “scientific fact”.

    Also, scientific observations of global temperatures show that there has been no meaningful increases over the last decade. Recent scientific predictions by IPCC climate modelers are calling for no warming and possible cooling over the next 10 years. The general explanation that I’ve seen is that natural forces have become much stronger than manmade influence. So even though made made C02 outputs have increased significantly over the past decade and most likely will increase significantly more over the next decade, natural forces have increased even more significantly in the opposite direction. Now this may be a temporary effect, or it could hearld the AGW theory being proven wrong.

    Finally, most if not all scientific facts have started with those who believed against the grain of accepted scientific facts and persisted in proving them wrong. But many times it took years or even longer for the proof to be generally accepted. Copernicus had proof that the earth revolved around the sun, but it wasn’t generally accepted for a while.

    So I would conclude that there is the possibility for those to oppose AGW based upon scientific principles and historical precedents. Unfortunately AGW has been exploited by those on both the left and the right to promote agendas not directly related to AGW. Which one a person considers to be the worst is a very subjective judgement. What appears to me to be needed is more concentration on scientific principles, more open debate among scientists without name calling and with arguments based on scientific observations, more research needs to be done, and more tolerance of skeptism needs to displayed. Skeptism is a vital and necessary part of science and should work either to disprove an idea or to more strongly confirm it. For me personally, despite diligently searching answers, I haven’t found any convincing proof of AGW. But I’m open to accepting it if in the future I come across convincing proof. However, the politicalization of this subject has lessened my willingness to trust most involved in the process. I need more and stronger proof than if this issue had not been so highly politicized.

  6. mgss says:

    Irbinfrisco. First of all, very good comment and I’m happy you seem to have an extensive background in the subject. I should mention that the little blog entry I wrote was pretty pretty generalized mostly cause I didn’t have a lot of time, and frankly this is a blog and not a paper I wrote. That being said I wanted to mention that I’ve worked with scientists in regards to the “cooling” issue. The cooling seems like the random event of the earth “correcting” itself and as you say natural forces moving in the opposite direction. This might be the apparent case on the atmospheric level, but that largely ignores the roles of the ocean. To illustrate:

    The real danger of global warming is not the actual warming, but the very cooling you are pointing out. The most basic of research indicates that it is due to the polar ice caps melting cold water into the oceans. The oceans have always acted as the world’s temperature regulator and in a very short time span the worlds ocean temperature has gone down significantly. The cold water increase has caused fantastically odd weather patterns and the sporadic coolings responsible for the idea of the “general cooling” you mention. (Also the above reference to the Naked Star on the astronomical level). A lot of this has been confirmed by the rapid acceleration in our el nino/la nina cycles. Even worse, Further ocean temperature drop WILL completely cause a change in direction to ocean currants, which in turn have been responsible for the ushering of every mini-ice age and major ice age we’ve had in the earth’s recent history. As I continually say, this is not hyperbole. People have to use wholly systemic thinking and that is often the exact problem with climate research. The evidence is always too contained and you have to look at geology, oceanography, and astronomy too.

    I completely understand your reservation on a philosophical level. But I feel like it’s just that, a philosophical approach to the nature of identifying reality. With your Copernicus example I realized something, as far as global warming research has come I still feel like those who illustrate it are still Copernicus. I know how snotty the scientific community can be and how infighting can cripple it. But in all my years working within the field my colleagues have only been approached by companies who wish to politicize it in the conservative direction. The API and AEI especially comes after people offer ridiculous amounts of a cash for papers against global warming and no one has ever, ever born witness to that in the confirmation of global warming direction. Of course I know a lot of people talk of global warming people and groups who have absolutely no scientific background, but it’s nothing, NOTHING like the manipulation I’ve seen from the right. I really don’t know what to say.

  7. William says:

    A couple notes:
    1. Neocons love warming. It gives them an excuse to legislate and tax. I’ll bet they can even prove marriage reduces warming and plan to require marriage to reduce warming.

    2. It stopped warming 10 years ago. The 1930’s were the warmest period, with 1934 being the warmest year. This does not fit the CO2 models.

    3. The oceans are cooling.

    4. The last 16 months it has been significantly cooling. April was BELOW the 100 year average.

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