By Pat Sajak
The subject of man-made global warming is almost impossible to discuss without a descent into virulent name-calling (especially on the Internet, where anonymity breeds a special kind of vicious reaction to almost any social or political question), but I’ll try anyway. I consider myself to be relatively well-read on the matter, and I’ve still come down on the skeptical side, because there are aspects of the issue that donít make a lot of sense to me. Though I confess to have written none-to-reverentially on the subject, I want to try to put all that aside and ask ten serious questions to which I have been unable to find definitive answers.
We’ve faced environmental issues throughout our history, but it’s difficult to remember one which has gained such ‘status’ in such a short time. To a skeptic, there seems to be a religious fervor that makes one wary. A gradual ‘ramping down’ of the dire predictions has not led to a diminution of the doomsday rhetoric. Are these warning signs that the movement has become more of an activist cause than a scientific reality? See Pat’s 10 questions here.
By Syun Akasofu, International Arctic Research Center
We encounter scientific terms, such as climate change, global warming, the greenhouse effect, and carbon dioxide a few times every day in newspapers, radio broadcasts, TV news, as well as in conversations among people. It must be the first time in the history of science that a specific scientific field has gotten so much attention from the public. As a scientist, I am pleased about the public’s interest in science. Unfortunately, however, I am afraid that this great interest by the public in climatology is largely the result of a proliferating number of confusing stories in the media that are based on misinterpreted information about the greenhouse effect of carbon dioxide.
If the IPCC wants to represent this particular scientific field to the world, they are responsible for rectifying the great confusion and misinterpretation of scientific facts in the mind of the public. See Syun’s recommendations here.
Dr. Syun-Ichi Akasofu, IARC Founding Director and Professor of Physics, Emeritus, was the the director of the International Arctic Research Center of the University of Alaska Fairbanks from its establishment in 1998 until January of 2007. Prior to this Syun was the Director of the Geophysical Institute (1986-1999) where Dr. Akasofu concentrated his effort on establishing the institute as a key research center in the Arctic.
By Adam Satariano and Jeanmarie Todd, Bloomberg
James Hansen, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, said the planet is at a “tipping point” that could lead to rising sea levels, severe droughts and floods, and reduced fresh water supplies if world leaders don’t act to reduce emissions such as carbon dioxide. He criticized the fossil fuel industry for resisting efforts to stop warming.
“It’s just been taken as a God-given fact that we’re going to burn all these fossil fuels and let the CO2 into the atmosphere, and you can’t do that if you’re going to keep this planet resembling the one that we’ve had the last 10,000 years,” Hansen said. Coal is the largest source of electricity in China and the U.S., the world’s two biggest energy consumers and emitters of greenhouse gases. China burns coal to generate 78 percent of its power, and the U.S. gets 52% percent of its power from coal. For more go here. Note how the authors assume Hansen is a spokeman for all scientists. For our Department of Energy views the future of coal go here.