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Here’s Your Global Warming

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The Earth is warming, and human activity is probably contributing to it. Even if this warming turns out to be short-term on a geophysical scale, it will have huge effects on health, and culture and economies worldwide. Unfortunately, many intelligent people, some with political agendas and some merely wrong-headed, argue that there is no broad scientific consensus about global warming and its causes.

I submit the following as evidence for that broad scientific consensus.

First, from the US Dept. of Energy, some background on greenhouse gases:

“In the U.S., our greenhouse gas emissions come mostly from energy use. These are driven largely by economic growth, fuel used for electricity generation, and weather patterns affecting heating and cooling needs. Energy-related carbon dioxide emissions, resulting from petroleum and natural gas, represent 82 percent of total U.S. human-made greenhouse gas emissions.” Link

Next, evidence of climate change from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC):

“An increasing body of observations gives a collective picture of a warming world and other changes in the climate system.” Link

From a National Research Council report commissioned by the Bush Admistration which looked into, among other things, the IPCC’s conclusions:

“With regard to the basic question of whether climate change is occurring, the [IPCC] report notes that measurements show that temperatures at the Earth’s surface rose by about 1 degree Fahrenheit (about .6 degrees Celsius) during the 20th century. This warming process has intensified in the past 20 years, accompanied by retreating glaciers, thinning arctic ice, rising sea levels, lengthening of the growing season in many areas, and earlier arrival of migratory birds. [The IPCC’s conclusion that] the global warming that has occurred in the last 50 years is likely the result of increases in greenhouse gases accurately reflects the current thinking of the scientific community [although] uncertainties about this conclusion remain.” [Emphasis added] Link

and

“Greenhouse gases are accumulating in Earth’s atmosphere as a result of human activities, causing surface air temperatures and sub-surface ocean temperatures to rise. Temperatures are, in fact, rising. The changes observed over the last several decades are likely mostly due to human activities, but we cannot rule out that some significant part of these changes is also a reflection of natural variability.” Link

Next, the American Geophysical Union:

“The global climate is changing and human activities are contributing to that change. Scientific research is required to improve our ability to predict climate change and its impacts on countries and regions around the globe.” Link

And the American Meteorological Society:

“There is convincing evidence that since the industrial revolution, human activities, resulting in increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases and other trace constituents in the atmosphere, have become a major agent of climate change.” Link

Finally, from the American Association for the Advancement of Science:

“Governments and consumers in the United States and worldwide should take immediate steps to reduce the threat of global warming and to prepare for a future in which coastal flooding, reduced crop yields and elevated rates of climate-related illness are all but certain.” Link

and

“Strong new evidence shows that ocean temperatures are rising because of human activity.” Link

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About Jon Sobel

Jon Sobel is an Executive Editor of Blogcritics as well as lead editor of the Culture & Society section. As a writer he contributes most often to Culture, where he reviews NYC theater; he also covers interesting music releases. He writes the blog Park Odyssey, for which he is visiting and blogging every park in New York City—over a thousand of them. Through Oren Hope Marketing and Copywriting you can hire him to write or edit whatever marketing or journalistic materials your heart desires. By night he's a working musician: lead singer, songwriter, and bass player for Whisperado, a member of other bands as well, and a sideman.
  • http://www.templestark.com Temple Stark

    Thank you Jon. Nice Amazon link, too. To think that man’s activity on this earth have done nothing to significantly pollute the earth and harm the ozone is simple foolish that can’t be indulged.

    Where’s all this common sense I heard was all the rage? :-) It applies here as much as science.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    Ah yes, the IPCC report. Done any research on the reaction to this among climatologists? Are you aware that a public letter was issued with signatures from over a hundred climatologists dissenting from the report and declaring it to be politically skewed junk science? Did you know that after the report was completed UN functionaries changed the text of the report and that many of the scientists involved in the original composition of the report subsequently repudiated it?

    If there is such a consensus on global warming, why are scientists forming activist groups to try to stop Kyoto and oppose the IPCC?

    Here are several really well documented and completely damning articles about the IPCC and the political origins of their ‘science’.

    envirotruth
    john-daly

    Apparently MT doesn’t like all my links, so I’ll continue in the next response.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    Try these links for scientists campaigning against Kyoto:

    CO2science
    SEPP

    I believe this quote tells you everything you need to know about what the main motivation behing the IPCC report, Kyoto and the entire global warming issue is:

    “The answer to global warming is in the abolition of private property and production for human need. A socialist world would place an enormous priority an alternative energy sources. This is what ecologically-minded socialists have been exploring for quite some time now.”
    Louis Proyect, Columbia University

  • http://www.morethings.com/senate Al Barger

    Temple, I don’t put much stock in “common sense,” as that seems basically to be merely a way to demand the acceptance of a theory without proof. I don’t need to PROVE this global warming stuff, it’s just common sense.

    How much am I supposed to trust the measurements and record keeping of arctic ice cap temperatures from 100 years ago, or whatever exactly is supposed to be the basis of these claims?

    More significantly, I’m highly skeptical of the presumptions and assumptions built into the assembling of all these bazillions of data points, and how much they prove anything. I remain skeptical of the ability of scientists to say that average temperatures have risen or fallen by X degrees, and actually have anything like real proof.

    Weather and climate change over time, and this has been true since before there were rich Americans to blame for it. We had a big ass glacier come through Franklin county some few thousand years ago.

    These statements of proof in this post are not any kind of proof at all, but merely assertions by authority figures. It will take more than a handful of Milgram’s assistants in their lab coats making authoritative assertions to convince me of any of this.

  • Matt Rogers

    You are correct about the political situation at the IPCC. Did you hear about the hurricane expert Chris Landsea’s recent defection?

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A29397-2005Jan22.html
    http://www.lavoisier.com.au/papers/articles/landsea.html

    Also, as a meteorologist, it is strange to see major cities like New York City reporting average annual temperatures in this new decade/century that are almost consistently COLDER than most years in the 1950s! I’m still waiting for the dire predictions made by the IPCC in the 1990s for near term major coastal flooding due to rising oceans. If you verify their past predictions, you’ll quickly discover their credibility is quite lacking!

  • http://www.templestark.com Temple Stark

    >>Temple, I don’t put much stock in “common sense,” as that seems basically to be merely a way to demand the acceptance of a theory without proof. I don’t need to PROVE this global warming stuff, it’s just common sense.

    That’s true Al. I agree. Now remember that whenever anyone says, “Well it’s just common sense.” Or “It’s obvious, I don’t need to give you proof / a link.”

    I’m just glad Jon posted this. It may separate those who think they are environmentalists but are proud to drive SUVS and not recycle from those who try to live it as much as they can every day.

  • http://dumpsterbust.blogspot.com Eric Berlin

    At the risk of self-plugging (more than usual), TerraPass is a fascinating idea/company that aims to bridge the gap between the two groups you mention, Temple.

  • http://parodieslost.typepad.com Mark Schannon

    There was a time, not too long ago, that I thought the whole global warming hysteria came about because of just one too many totes off the ever-more powerful pot that’s being sold. (Not to me of course.)

    Let’s face it, we can’t predict the weather tomorrow & chaos theory makes it clear that any long-term predictions are impossible because of too many variables.

    I’m still not sure if human beings are causing climate change, but when big chunks of glacial ice keep falling into the ocean, both poles are showing unmistakable signs of growing thinner and smaller, and I keep losing my hair…I have to wonder.

    It could be natural. We’ve been living for the past 300 or so years with an abnormally stable climate. That’s bound to change.

    So…we have two choices.

    1) Follow the advice of the good Docter Pangloss & tend to our gardens.
    2) Assume something bad might happen and work together in global harmony (standing on a mountain top, all holding Cokes, and singing) to figure out if there’s anything we can do.

    Personally, I’m too old for it to matter much…but I still prefer option 2. If Option 1 is wrong, there gonna be one helluva lot of wet people looking for dry land.

  • http://www.templestark.com Temple Stark

    I’ve read that brilliant piece – at your site first – and it doesn’t seem to actually reduce anything, except the guilt.

    Think about it. IF it was used on a grand scale (and therefore provide enough funds to actually do something about renewable resources) it would mean there are even MORE gaz-guzzlers (as your piece called it) on the road.

    It also relies on people wanting to pay the TerraPass – and really, comnmon sense :-) says that isn’t going to happen and isn’t going to catch on in huge numbers until its too late. Because people could do something about the environment without the TerraPass. Though they are, with more people convinced that hybrid cars = performance and fuel effeciency. But they needed the performance angle before they’d buy.

    Still the guy has the right mindset.

  • http://dumpsterbust.blogspot.com Eric Berlin

    Brillant, eh? Flattery will get you everywhere, Mr. Stark.

    My takeaway from the TerraPass story is that people don’t want to give up their cars, but many do want to do something. TerraPass was profitable right out of the gate, pointing the way for a new breed of for-profit environmental companies.

    Secondly, TerraPass let’s you know up front that it prefers that you drive a hybrid, or better yet, mass transit or people power. It’s tying people’s addiction to cars in the U.S. with an easy way to ameliorate guilt and actually doing something beneficial.

  • http://jonsobel.com Jon Sobel

    Well, I provided the evidence, but Dave, you ignore it all except for my mention of the IPCC report. I am aware of the problems with and challenges to the IPCC. That’s why I included all that other stuff which you conveniently ignored. I guess because you had no response? What if I’d left the IPCC out of my post? Would you have been silent?

    And your true delusion comes out here, with your quote about the “abolition of private property.” It’s an old theme – when you don’t have a factual leg to stand on, blame the Commies! Woo woo, everything’s a socialist conspiracy! Talk about living in a fantasy land. Socialism is over, it has lost, it is, more or less, kaput. But you keep seeing it behind every corner. I’ve seen your true colors now, so I am going to relax and let this go.

  • http://dumpsterbust.blogspot.com Eric Berlin

    Jon, I’ve been very happy to see you step up in the political arena of late, and I’m betting many others feel the same. It’s producing a pleasing balance on BlogCritics to match the sometimes overriding commentary from one side of the political spectrum.

  • http://jonsobel.com Jon Sobel

    Thanks Eric, now if we could only leave the land of italics! BTW I looked up two of Dave’s links (the two that worked for me) and both of them – Envirotruth and the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change – are organizations partially funded by ExxonMobil. Accepting their reports is like reading those old reports that say cigarette smoking is good for you, funded by the tobacco industry.

  • http://www.templestark.com Temple Stark

    Kaput,

    not pining! passed on! This way of life is no more! It hasceased to be! It’s expired and gone to meet its maker – if it had one ! ‘It’s a stiff! Bereft of life, it rests in peace! If you hadn’t nailed it to the perch it’d be pushing up the daisies! ‘Its metabolic processes are now ‘istory! Off the twig! Kicked the bucket, Shuffled off ‘is mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleeding choir invisibile!! THIS IS AN EX-societal model

  • Richard

    Hey lets have a tug of war between the 100 climatologists that Dave is quoting to the more than 1,000 scientists from across the nation that have signed the State of Climate Science letter (to Frist and Daschle, 2003). This letter, from experts in the field, outlines the consensus on the anthropogenic component to climate change. In doing so, the letter reconfirms reports by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the National Research Council that the consequences of climate change, which is driven in part by emissions of heat-trapping carbon dioxide, will be both disruptive and costly to the United States.

  • Colin Richardson

    Read your own quotes about the supposed proof of “global warming. They are larded with qualifications and exceptions.
    Science is not “concensus.” Science is a process leading to conclusions based upon facts. Remember, even Einstein’s “theory” IS a theory as is the “theory” of evolution. If those two, after all these years and examination remain theories with doubts, whay should we accept “global warming” as a fact when many who now preach that theory were screeching about a new ice age back in the 1970’s??

  • http://www.templestark.com Temple Stark

    Don’t get started on the definition of theory again. Scientists use “theory” to mean a tried and tested body of work – not just, you know, a hunch.

    t’s the same with the “Theory of Evolution” – tried and tested, backed by scientifically observable and repeatable data (or math in the case of Einstein)

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    Common sense? Common sense suggests that the anthorpogenic component in global warming is so small that it’s meaningless. Humans produce less than 2% of the hydrocarbons that enter the atmosphere each year, as opposed to about 5% for a major volcanic erruption. Saying that we’re a significant factor suggests that another Krakatoa would basically destroy the world instantly – just like the first one did. It did, right? We had an ice age for the last 100 years, right?

    >>I’m just glad Jon posted this. It may separate those who think they are environmentalists but are proud to drive SUVS and not recycle from those who try to live it as much as they can every day.<<

    As for SUVs, let me advertise my next article in advance. Driving SUVs is NOT the issue anymore. Today’s SUVs pollute less than a moped from 10 years ago. Keep an eye out for my article about vehicle emissions later tonight.

    BTW, did you notice that we had an actual meteorologist drop in earlier and get ignored in the sniping? Check back and read comment #5.

    Dave

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    “reduced crop yields”

    Not really!

    If anything, rising global temperatures will INCREASE the amount of arable land on the planet…

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    From here:

    Consider what environmentalist activist Stephen Schneider said in a 1989 issue of Discover: “We have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we may have. Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest.”

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    More from the above link:

    “Dr. Fred Singer, president of The Science & Environmental Policy Project in Arlington, Va., says there are four different independent data sets for measuring temperature. First are thermometers at weather stations around the world. They show warming over the past 30 years, but not in the United States. The second are weather satellites. They show no warming. The third are weather balloons. They show no warming. The fourth are called proxy date — tree rings, ice cores, lake sediments, etc. They show no warming.”

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    From the same link:

    In the July 1975 issue of National Wildlife, Nigel Calder warned that “the threat of a new ice age must now stand alongside nuclear war as a likely source of wholesale death and misery for mankind.”

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    From the same link:

    C.C. Wallen of the World Meteorological Organization warned, “The cooling since 1940 has been large enough and consistent enough that it will not soon be reversed.”

    In 1968, Dr. Paul Erlich, author of “The Population Time Bomb” and environmentalist guru, predicted that the Earth would run out of food by 1977 and that the Earth’s 5 billion population would starve back to 2 billion people by 2025.

    Erlich also warned Britain’s Institute of Biology in 1969, “If I were a gambler, I would take even money that England will not exist in the year 2000.”

    Why do we listen to these people?

  • http://jonsobel.com Jon Sobel

    I looked into Landsea’s resignation from the IPCC, referred to in comment #5.

    In my judgment, the lead author whose statements Landsea objected to was guilty of inappropriate hyperbole and poor judgment. This unfortunately reflects poorly on the IPCC. It does not, however, undermine the findings in its reports.

    Perception is important, though. Maybe the guilty party even deserves to have his position of authority taken away. But imagine the headlines then: “UN Commission Bigwig Removed for Politicizing Global Warming.” That would make things look even worse. I don’t see a good choice here.

  • Dan M

    Keep up the “world is ending” hyperbole. remember acid rain? It’s all I heard about as a kid.

    In 1990, the federal govt completed a 10-year study about “acid rain” risks. It was called the National Acid Precipitation Assessment Program (NAPAP). Over 700 scientists undertook one of the largest studies to date and found that “scare mongering” over ‘acid rain’ was “not based on facts” and that it posed “virtually no risk to human health.” Dr. James R. Mahoney (study director) stated, “The more extreme views in both directions expressed by individual scientists and the media have been rendered unlikely to be correct.”

    I may have believed them then, however, in today’s world I am skeptical of all.

    As far as the past post saying referenced websites have a connection to ExxonMobil. Give me a break. need we get into the fundraising tactics and uses of “environmental groups?”

    Issues such as this are simply more of the “extreme on both sides” perpetuating a “Crossfire” political dialogue mentality.

  • http://jonsobel.com Jon Sobel

    Dan, how did you jump from “[global warming] will have huge effects on health, culture and economies worldwide” to “the world is ending”? I think you’re seeing hyperbole where there is none.

  • Dan M

    Let’s not digress. My point was that for many years we have heard “hyperbole” regarding future ecological/environmental adverse effects of man’s ‘selfish capitalistic evil ways.” My assertion points to past rants which have become unfounded, for example, “acid rain.”

    will have huge effects on health, culture and economies worldwide.” I’m sick of it and happened to come across this string which differs from no other regarding dismissal of opposing viewpoints as unknowledgable or simply unenlightened views. There is disagreement. Regardless of majority/minority one should agree to disagree without impugning the integrity or research of another.

  • Dan M

    My second paragraph was meant to start with . . .

    ” (Insert cause du jour here) will have huge effects on health, culture and economies worldwide.”

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    Let’s pretend that we know for a fact that global temperatures will rise, say, 2 degrees Celsius in the next century.

    While this hypothetical scenario is not altogether a good thing, it does have some positives:

    – Much longer growing seasons in Canada and Russia

    – Cheaper transport routes through the Arctic, for longer periods of time

    – Likely increased global rainfall, which could reduce desertification in some places

    – Fewer days where cold weather prevents people from going to work, thereby increasing economic productivity

    – Fewer old people who freeze to death in cold climates during the winter

  • http://jonsobel.com Jon Sobel

    RJ, some of your predictions may well be come true, others may not, but they must be considered with the same reasonable caution with which we approach general predictions about the ill effects of global warming.

    Dan, you’re right, there is quite enough hyperbole about these topics. My post was intended to present a line of argument supporting the claim that there is a general scientific consensus about global warming. Nothing is served when either “side” engages in hyperbole or inflammatory language.