By Manav Tanneeru, CNN
Most of the scientific community believes that some warming is occurring across the globe and through some layers of the atmosphere. But why it is occurring and what that means for the future is scientifically and politically contentious.
The temperatures were relatively unchanged from 1880 to 1910, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. They rose till about 1945, cooled until about 1975 and have risen steadily to present day. There are several possible reasons for the warming, scientists say. A change in the Earth’s orbit or the intensity of the sun’s radiation could change, triggering warming or cooling. The reason most cited—by scientists and scientific organizations—for the current warming trend is an increase in the concentrations of greenhouse gases, which are in the atmosphere naturally and help keep the planet’s temperature at a comfortable level.
But there are those who do not share this view, and among the skeptics is Richard Lindzen, a professor of atmospheric sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “We’ve suddenly taken to reading tea leaves,” he said. “When we saw cooling from 1940 to 1970, we were proclaiming global cooling. Since then, there’s been a few tenths of global warming, so we’re proclaiming global warming.” He believes the current warming trend is the result of natural variability, where a planet goes through phases of warming and cooling and the human contribution to it is minimal. “The Earth is always getting colder and warmer,” he said. “It’s always changing. In fact, this is true of any fluid-covered planet.”
By Mike Simonson, on BusinessNorth.com
Not everyone is onboard when it comes to former Vice-President Al Gore’s award of the Nobel Peace Prize last week. Mike Simonson talked to local meteorologists about it.
The weather forecasters all agreed global warming is happening. But they didn’t all agree on whether Al Gore’s movie “An Inconvenient Truth” is part of the answer. WDIO-TV’s Kyle Underwood questions some of the information in the Academy Award-winning film. “We need to be careful about where we get our information on global warming, and this debate unfortunately is driven by politicians.” He and KBJR-TV Meteorologist Carl Spring agree the topic is important to get on people’s radar screens. But Spring hasn’t seen the movie. “And I wouldn’t pay a dime to see it for many reasons. (Why?) Politically. He’s a left-wing nut. And he does things for other agendas.” Spring says Gore exaggerates the impact of global warming. Even so, Fox 21 Forecaster Todd Nelson says the movie was important. “Before the movie, people were kind of talking about it but now that the movie is out there in the mainstream media, people are talking about it every single day.” National Weather Service Warning Coordinator Carol Christianson agrees. She says global warming is a fact since the beginning of the industrial revolution. “Whether you like Al Gore and his politics or not, he probably has skewed a lot of the statistics quite a bit but maybe that’s a good thing to get people to act.” As for Gore’s politics, his political advisors say winning the Nobel Peace Prize will not increase his chances of running for President. Read more here.
By Noel Sheppard, Newsbusters
On Friday’s special, Gore’s claim that global warming has had effects on the frequency and intensity of hurricanes and tornadoes was the first of the nine points examined, as O’Brien brought aboard CNN meteorologist Rob Marciano to discuss the subject. On Friday’s special, Marciano relayed that there are no studies that show “an increase in tornadoes due to global warming,” and contended that there is still debate about hurricanes.
O’Brien brought aboard Dr. John Christy of the University of Alabama, a member of the ICPP who was also featured on “20/20” the same night on ABC. Christy took exception with Gore’s willingness to “speak with certainty” about an issue as unpredictable as climate change, and suggested the Nobel committee was trying to “influence American elections.” He also pointed out the absence of media coverage when a recent study showed that “Antarctic sea ice extent reached its all-time maximum.
About halfway through the show, O’Brien brought aboard political analyst Bill Schneider to discuss poll numbers on the public’s views of global warming. O’Brien began his recitation of the poll results: “This one is a surprise. This is the CNN/Opinion Research Corporation Poll, recent one. ‘Which of the following statements comes closest to your view of global warming?’ we asked. And here’s the response. Global warming is a proven fact, mostly man-made: 56 percent. Global warming is a proven fact, mostly natural: 21 percent. And then, completely unproven: 21 percent. It’s interesting when you lump those bottom two together, isn’t it?” He thought it “interesting” that so many Americans are in a “skeptical realm” even though “more than 90 percent of scientists would say it is man-made and happening.”
Regarding the finding that only 35 percent of Americans see global warming as an “immediate threat,” Schneider fretted that “our political system can deal with the problems only if people see an immediate crisis,” and contended that “it’s unlikely much can happen unless people sense a crisis, and the only time they’ve sensed it is in Hurricane Katrina, and of course then, government did not work.” Read more here.
By Christopher Monckton of Brenchley for SPPI
A spokesman for Al Gore has issued a questionable response to the news that in October 2007 the High Court in London had identified nine “errors” in his movie An Inconvenient Truth. The judge had stated that, if the UK Government had not agreed to send to every secondary school in England a corrected guidance note making clear the mainstream scientific position on these nine “errors”, he would have made a finding that the Government’s distribution of the film and the first draft of the guidance note earlier in 2007 to all English secondary schools had been an unlawful contravention of an Act of Parliament prohibiting the political indoctrination of children.
Al Gore’s spokesman and “environment advisor,” Ms. Kalee Kreider, begins by saying that the film presented “thousands and thousands of facts.” It did not: just 2,000 “facts” in 93 minutes would have been one fact every three seconds. The film contained only a few dozen points, most of which will be seen to have been substantially inaccurate. The judge concentrated only on nine points which even the UK Government, to which Gore is a climate-change advisor, had to admit did not represent mainstream scientific opinion.
The Viscount Monckton of Brenchley, an expert witness in the UK legal case condemning the movie, compiled the science-based list of 35 errors in Al Gore’s discredited climate movie An Inconvenient Truth in response to recent inaccurate public comments by Gore’s environment advisor relative to the High Court’s findings. Said Monckton, “Each of Gore’s 35 errors distorts or exaggerates in one direction only – toward unjustifiable alarmism. The likelihood that all 35 would fall one way by inadvertence is less than 1 in 34 billion. Gore’s movie is not only inaccurate but prejudiced. The movie is unsuitable for children. It should not be shown in schools.” Read full report here. See thoughts from Newsbusters on this paper here.
By Daniel B. Botkin
Global warming doesn’t matter except to the extent that it will affect life—ours and that of all living things on Earth. And contrary to the latest news, the evidence that global warming will have serious effects on life is thin. Most evidence suggests the contrary.
You might think I must be one of those know-nothing naysayers who believes global warming is a liberal plot. On the contrary, I am a biologist and ecologist who has worked on global warming, and been concerned about its effects, since 1968. I’ve developed the computer model of forest growth that has been used widely to forecast possible effects of global warming on life—I’ve used the model for that purpose myself, and to forecast likely effects on specific endangered species.
I’m not a naysayer. I’m a scientist who believes in the scientific method and in what facts tell us. I have worked for 40 years to try to improve our environment and improve human life as well.
I believe we can do this only from a basis in reality, and that is not what I see happening now. Instead, like fashions that took hold in the past and are eloquently analyzed in the classic 19th century book “Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds,” the popular imagination today appears to have been captured by beliefs that have little scientific basis. Read more here.
By Jeff Poor, Business & Media Institute
This professional organization that prides itself in its Code of Ethics hosted a one-sided global warming session at its annual event. The organization’s Code of Ethics, already scarce in the media’s climate coverage, includes among its stated principles: (1) Distinguish between advocacy and news reporting, (2) Support the open exchange of views, even views they find repugnant, (3) Examine their own cultural values and avoid imposing those values on others.
However, when the panel was confronted with the question of maintaining the balance between reporting the news and playing the role of advocacy journalist, Greenwald, one of the panelists, offered the standard talking points. “I think the facts are actually quite compelling,” Greenwald said. “We advocate one thing, but a lot of what we do is just report the facts … A lot of scientists worked on that question [if global warming was just natural] and did very sophisticated analysis that are sort of hard to explain because a lot of it is about pattern analysis and if you look at the pattern of global warming and try to find some sort of explanation, the only explanation that actually works for it is the greenhouse gases. We need help from journalists to explain to the public what is at stake and how we are going to be able to move forward,” Greenwald said. “And I guess finally is to where I could use some help is on cap and trade because cap and trade is what we’re talking about doing as the centerpiece”.
But even the highly-respected former Federal Reserve chairman and economist Alan Greenspan questioned in his book, “The Age of Turbulence,” the validity of a cap and trade system’s impact as an effective means to fight global warming. “Yet as an economist, I have grave doubts that international agreements imposing a globalized so-called cap-and-trade system on CO2 emissions will prove feasible,” Greenspan wrote. “There is no effective way to meaningfully reduce emissions without negatively impacting a large part of an economy,” Greenspan wrote. “Net, it is a tax. If the cap is low enough to make a meaningful inroad into CO2 emissions, permits will become expensive and large numbers of companies will experience cost increases that make them less competitive. Jobs will be lost and real incomes of workers constrained.” Read more here.
By Robert Bryce on Counterpunch
Facts don’t matter. Only spin matters. That’s the main conclusion to be drawn from the fact that Al Gore was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize last week.
My complaint has nothing to do with the science of global warming or whether or not the current warming of the planet is due solely to manmade causes. Rather, it’s this: Gore won the prize even though his documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, concludes with one of the most blatantly absurd statements ever committed to film. Just before the final credits, in a segment that advises viewers as to what they might do to help slow global warming, the following line appears onscreen: “In fact, you can even reduce your carbon emissions to zero."ù
Again, the point is not whether or not I agree with Gore’s view on warming. Instead the objection stems from this obvious point: We humans breathe. And in doing so, we emit carbon dioxide. The idea that we can somehow negate the gas that results from our respiration--through the legerdemain of carbon credits, or compact fluorescent light bulbs, or fleets of Toyota Priuses is simply not possible. And the fact that none of the dozens of smart people involved in the production of the movie--including, particularly, Gore himself--paused to consider the veracity of their declaration leaves me agog. Read more here.
by Matt Schantzen, Sun Star Reporter
The auditorium of the Reichardt building was the setting last Thursday for a presentation by Alaska’s most respected skeptic on global warming, Dr. Syun-Ichi Akasofu, adding more ammunition to a current debate filled with propaganda and vitriol from both sides. In the presentation: a mixture of data sets, satellite images, and straight-forward examples to buttress his argument, the soft-spoken Akasofu picked apart many conclusions that have been brought forward by the scientific community regarding this politically-charged topic. The lecture began with various graphs showing that the Earth’s average surface temperature has been rising since the beginning of the industrial age, however, this information was put into perspective by historical climate data.
For example, an episode of climatic warming roughly one thousand years ago, known as the Medieval warm period, showed average global temperatures to be slightly higher than today, roughly seven-tenths of a degree Celsius. This difference between today’s global average and the temperature one thousand years previous is roughly the same difference in temperatures between the beginning of the industrial age and today. From this data comparison, it was Akasofu’s conclusion that the current warming trend falls within natural fluctuations. Before we fully understand the natural processes that are at work, it is difficult to make the assumption that human activities are responsible for the current warming, said Akasofu.
This lack of understanding of climatic processes has led to a dearth of conflicting information that has been released by the scientific community, often supplemented by computer models that show the Earth’s global temperature in a runaway mode exacerbated by human activities. These models often have the data inputs of rising carbon dioxide levels from the burning of fossil fuels in industrial activities and applications. This issue of using carbon dioxide levels tied to temperature as an input in the computer model skews the results of the computer model, stated Akasofu. This is a common problem with computer models, regardless of the application, because the computer does not understand the whole system involved, it can only model something based on the inputs given. Read full details here.