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Donald F. Boesch
President, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science

Donald F. Boesch

Donald F. Boesch, an oceanographer, is president of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science and Vice Chancellor for Environmental Sustainability for the University System of Maryland. ALL POSTS

Doubts About Us, Not Warming

Scientific understanding of the biophysical process and consequences of global climate change will surely evolve as further discoveries are made and hypotheses are challenged. However, even a Skeptical Scientist would have to conclude without doubt that -- based on evidence, not just theory -- humans are raising the levels of CO2 in the atmosphere, CO2 traps heat, and the planet is accumulating heat.

Naturally, uncertainties increase when projecting temperatures into the future or estimating the effects of warming and other climate changes. However, there is strong evidence and reason that the effects of continued warming are likely to be highly disruptive and that net human emissions of greenhouse gases must be nearly eliminated within the next four decades in order to avoid such disruption.

Nonetheless, blatant disregard of the robustness of climate change science continues in some quarters. Last month, the Washington Post ran a half-page ad by a group that proclaims that nearly doubling atmospheric CO2 levels would actually be beneficial because it would stimulate plant growth. Even major newspapers and broadcast networks run "global cooling" stories when the global mean temperature in one year was cooler than the year before. Other
factors such as El Niño climate cycles, solar radiation and volcano emissions are still operable and will cause such variations among years, just as they have in the past. The fact remains that this decade will be, hands down, the hottest on record. The heat content of the Earth has continued to rise, with most of it stored in the ocean.

Where the biggest doubts reside is on the human side of the global warming equation. Despite the range of uncertainty inherent in computer models used to project future climate, they are far more reliable that the models used to estimate the
economic costs of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Yet we are frozen in our tracks by the mere suggestion that the economic costs of reducing emissions are unaffordable or
lulled into complacency by the vaguest assertion that we can just adapt to the certain
warming. Go figure!

By Donald F. Boesch  |  October 15, 2009; 3:51 AM ET Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg     Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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RichardHode posts: There will be "future generations," only not of humans. Don't worry, there will be other lifeforms so life will go on. I find the thought
comforting.

TS: This is fitting for you. I ask -- Seems a littel disingenuous, since it is after YOUR lifetime, no?

Posted by: truthseeker1 | October 19, 2009 8:48 PM
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@truthseeker1:

Laugh while you can, monkey boy. When the Earth is done with this primate it will be swept away without a trace. After all, we occupy the prominence of fuzz on a peach, more or less, and important only to one another. There will be "future generations," only not of humans. Don't worry, there will be other lifeforms so life will go on. I find the thought comforting.

Posted by: RichardHode | October 19, 2009 12:43 AM
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RichardHode says: Oh well, somehow I feel confident the Earth will go on turning and lifeforms will continue to change and develop, even without the ape that was "made in god's image."

TS: Why speed up the process? Is it because YOU have lived your life and to hell with future generations?


Posted by: truthseeker1 | October 19, 2009 12:33 AM
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SteveofCaley: We are in the middle of an interglacial of an ice age. Brief inspection of the temperatures over the last million years or so shows that we're in the middle of a very unstable time in a chaotic system.

TS: We know from looking at ice cores, etc that the Earth's climate undergoes 120,000 year cycles of ice ages broken by short warm periods called interglacials. The cycle is driven by Milankovitch cycles. Long term changes in the Earth's orbit trigger an initial warming which warms the oceans and melts ice sheets - this releases CO2. The extra CO2 in the atmosphere causes further warming leading to interglacials ending the ice ages.

Meaning the physical causes of the long term cycles are thought to be due to long term cycles in solar radiation hitting the earth:

Now it is true that for the past 12,000 years, we've been in an interglacial. The current trend of the Milankovitch cycle is a gradual cooling down towards an ice age.

Since 1975, we have not seen any significant increase in solar variation-yet there has been a strong increase in temperatures since 1975. (ie. solar variation is predicted to show an increase -- the difference: Milankovitch is where the earth's tilt/orbit affects the solar radiation received by the earth as opposed to the output radiation sent from the sun -- cycles of 11-12 years).

As for CO2, empirical observations show that CO2 has a warming effect as a greenhouse gas, CO2 is increasing in the atmosphere and the expected warming you would get from greenhouse gases is occuring. Any alternative theory that found a different cause of global warming would also need to explain why the expected (and observed) warming from CO2 has not eventuated.

There has been a 40% in CO2 since the Industrial Revolution. Physical equations show that CO2 has a warming effect as a greenhouse gas.

Posted by: truthseeker1 | October 19, 2009 12:31 AM
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As usual the meowing is not about the Earth at all but the threat to humanity. There is really no need to worry about the Earth, it has taken care of itself through hot and cold for BILLIONS of years. No, what the meowers worry about is Humanity the Incomparable, "the beauty of the Earth, the paragon of animals." They fear this precious beast might not survive the climate change. Oh well, somehow I feel confident the Earth will go on turning and lifeforms will continue to change and develop, even without the ape that was "made in god's image." Just another entry in the long list of species that have gone extinct, in this case a variant of primate, pretty much like an extinct species of lemur. So what else is new in the history of the Earth?

Posted by: RichardHode | October 19, 2009 12:27 AM
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I call down a pox upon both your houses, Big-Endians and Little-Endians.

Not since Cromwell's days have there been such engagement of self-righteousness, each side having divined that they are fighting against Wickedness and Deviltry.

How close we still are to the Witch-hunts of Salem!

Scientifically, climate is a canonically chaotic system, based upon the principles which define such systems.

Chaotic systems react unpredictably (although deterministically.) Whether the summation of positive-feedback and negative-feedback elements leads to global WARMING or COOLING after release of anthropogenic CO2 - actually, that's anyone's guess, and no better than that.

We are in the middle of an interglacial of an ice age. Brief inspection of the temperatures over the last million years or so shows that we're in the middle of a very unstable time in a chaotic system.

A sane discussion would fret over the action to be taken when the operations of a system is almost unknowable. But epistemology and ontology are dull fare for those who have anointed themselves Born-Again on each 'side,' and clash at night.

A pox again I say, on both houses.

Posted by: SteveofCaley | October 19, 2009 12:05 AM
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FACT:

"Since 2007 no scientific body of national or international standing has maintained a dissenting opinion. A few organisations hold non-committal positions."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_warming_consensus

Specifically, the "consensus" about anthropogenic climate change entails the following:

1) the climate is undergoing a pronounced warming trend beyond the range of natural variability;
2) the major cause of most of the observed warming is rising levels of the greenhouse gas CO2;
3) the rise in CO2 is the result of burning fossil fuels;
4) if CO2 continues to rise over the next century, the warming will continue; and
5) a climate change of the projected magnitude over this time frame represents potential danger to human welfare and the environment. These conclusions have been explicitly endorsed by:
the following list of scientific organization with international standing in the sciences (ie who have issued statements in support of global warming):

Academia Brasiliera de Ciências (Brazil)
Royal Society of Canada
Chinese Academy of Sciences
Academié des Sciences (France)
Deutsche Akademie der Naturforscher Leopoldina (Germany)
Indian National Science Academy
Accademia dei Lincei (Italy)
Science Council of Japan
Russian Academy of Sciences
Royal Society (United Kingdom)
National Academy of Sciences (United States of America)
Australian Academy of Sciences
Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Sciences and the Arts
Caribbean Academy of Sciences
Indonesian Academy of Sciences
Royal Irish Academy
Academy of Sciences Malaysia Academy
Council of the Royal Society of New Zealand
Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences

In addition to these national academies, the following institutions specializing in climate, atmosphere, ocean, and/or earth sciences have endorsed these conclusions:

NASA's Goddard Institute of Space Studies (GISS)
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
National Academy of Sciences (NAS)
State of the Canadian Cryosphere (SOCC)
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Royal Society of the United Kingdom (RS)
American Geophysical Union (AGU)
American Institute of Physics (AIP)
National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR)
American Meteorological Society (AMS)
Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society (CMOS)

Posted by: truthseeker1 | October 18, 2009 6:46 PM
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JamesChristian: There are a lot of respected scientists who are global warming skeptics.

No. The "thousands" of scientists is a Right Wing myth, unless of course your definition of "scientist" means anyone with a general science degree, (veterinarian, dentist, COMPUTER scientist, economist) -- yea you can get to "thousands" then...

now there are a small number of climatologist skeptics. But with many of them there are also financial interests in energy/mining companies, or they have been involved in strong anti-regulation activism against tobacco smoking; else have strong Creation/ID conservative religious views. There are also some retired weathermen type who insist computer models can never tell us anything about the real world.

Eliminate these types, and the # expert CLIMATOLOGY skeptics is a tiny number.

Even counting everyone, they are in a small minority.

Posted by: truthseeker1 | October 18, 2009 6:43 PM
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Renrati: So the polar ice caps and glaciers are melting because the earth is cooling?!!
What a strange, surreal world the conservatives live in. Very Escher like.

TS: Yes, if you SQUINT real hard, you might see a teeny amount of cooling in 2007/8.

But only relative to 1998, when there was a strong El Nino adding to the warming!

http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/cru/info/warming/

Posted by: truthseeker1 | October 18, 2009 6:24 PM
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Donald says: Even major newspapers and broadcast networks run "global cooling" stories when the global mean temperature in one year was cooler than the year before. " That would tend to raise skepticism about the theory, would it not ?

TS: First look at the graph – of average global temperatures over the last 150 years.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Instrumental_Temperature_Record.png

Notice since 1850, the hottest decade on record is this last decade

ie The hottest ten years on record were:

The year 2008 was tenth warmest on record, exceeded by 1998, 2005, 2003, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2001, 2007 and 1997.

1997 and 1998 had a high spike because of an El Nino added to the global heat trend.

So Right Wingers like to say if you take 1998 (the hot spike year) all the years after it were relatively cooler that it.

therefore we are in a cooling period.

Get it?

Of course, the years after 1998 were still hotter collectively than the rest of the one hundred fifty year period before it.

But hey, pay no attention to that man behind the curtain....

Posted by: truthseeker1 | October 18, 2009 6:20 PM
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sbourg55 says:So answer me this: If that's so, then how much warmer is the earth over the last 10, 25, 50 years......and how much was due to AGW and how much due to solar radiation changes? Is that so hard for you to answer, if you're so sure?

TS: Yes they are sure. The models are based on physics, which are THEN checked with the global temperature results.

and yes these have a fair to good correlation when factoring in a number of factors INCLUDING solar radiation, global warming gases including CO2, aerosols, land use...

" The CO2/Temperature correlation over the 20th Century

The broader picture in this scenario is to recognise that CO2 is not the only factor that influences climate. There are a number of forcings which affect the net energy flux into our climate. Stratospheric aerosols (eg - from volcanic eruptions) reflect sunlight back into space, causing net cooling. When solar activity increases, the net energy flux increases. Figure 3 shows a composite of the various radiative forcings that affect climate.

So we see that climate isn't controlled by a single factor - there are a number of influences that can change the planet's radiative balance. However, for the last 35 years, the dominant forcing has been CO2.

http://skepticalscience.com/The-CO2-Temperature-correlation-over-the-20th-Century.html

See their main page for common global warming myths -- rating by what's popular currently in the Right Wing media.

http://skepticalscience.com/argument.php


Posted by: truthseeker1 | October 18, 2009 6:13 PM
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Bruce2359:My doubts arise from living through the '70s and '80s when politicians, newspapers, magazines and TV, were all abuzz that "all scientists agree..." that Global Cooling was our destiny, that the earth was doomed to another ice-age.


That is Myth number 7 on the site below debunking FALSE claims on Global Warming
http://skepticalscience.com

Summary:

"The notion that the 1970s scientific consensus was for impending global cooling is incorrect. In actuality, there were significantly more papers in the 1970s predicting warming than cooling.
see graph at the site to put this in perspective:

Scientific studies in the 1970's re global cooling

Most predictions of an impending ice age came from the popular press (eg - Newsweek, NY Times, National Geographic, Time Magazine). As far as peer reviewed scientific papers in the 1970s, very few papers (7 in total) predicted global cooling. Significantly more papers (42 in total) predicted global warming due to CO2. ..."

Posted by: truthseeker1 | October 18, 2009 6:07 PM
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"In the 1970s, scientists were absolutely sure that carbon emissions were causing global cooling ...."

As I responded to the same claim in another thread:

No, wrong. A few scientists had a hypothesis which was disputed by many and never found general support.

But a failed hypothesis has been turned into a big lie. I don't know if hofbrauhausde (which reminds me, I need to get to Huntington Beach next weekend for some Octoberfest beers) is a victim of the lie or one of the liers himself, but he's trying to raise the noise-to-signal ratio, and that's not in the public interest.

Posted by: j2hess | October 18, 2009 5:27 PM
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My doubts arise from living through the '70s and '80s when politicians, newspapers, magazines and TV, were all abuzz that "all scientists agree..." that Global Cooling was our destiny, that the earth was doomed to another ice-age.

Then there were the unending predictions of catastrophes, like species dying out at alarming rates, electric transmission lines causing cancer, and so on - all later proven false.

Catastrophe, crisis, alarm! If you wonder why us non-scientists don't believe politicians and the scientific community, it's scare-tactics and the quest for billions to fund research.

Posted by: bruce2359 | October 18, 2009 1:08 PM
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Mr. Boesch: Let me get this straight. You have absolutely no doubt that human CO2 production is causing global warming. So answer me this: If that's so, then how much warmer is the earth over the last 10, 25, 50 years......and how much was due to AGW and how much due to solar radiation changes? Is that so hard for you to answer, if you're so sure? I just don't think we should ruin our economy even more, by preventing use of our fossil fuels. We are in major financial trouble, and you all are fiddling around thinking and hypothesizing about windmills....literally.

Posted by: sbourg55 | October 18, 2009 12:54 PM
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It's really pretty simple for those with more than 14 brain cells. Global warming happens. It happened before there were enough humans to affect it, and it is happening now that there are. It is a natural cycle, but humans have reached the point where we are exacerbating the event. Either we do something to offset the exacerbation, or we live, or not, with the effects.

To judge those who are trying to influence the public on the issue, one only has to look at what they couch their argument in. If they are referring to the monetary cost of action, then they are the greedy, self interest people. If they refer to the human cost of doing nothing, then they are the more selfless, who care more about people than money.

At this point, the question is, which one are you?

Posted by: TRACIETHEDOLPHIN | October 18, 2009 12:41 PM
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Those skeptics claiming that "thousands of scientists" are on their side in denying global warming are deluded fools. Proportionally, the number of scientists who have accepted the evidence is much, much larger than the deniers (on the order of 100-1).

Furthermore, those who feel that anthropogenic CO2 is too insignificant to be causing the climate changes are obviously ignorant of the facts. The Earth's climate is a CHAOTIC SYSTEM. A 3 percent increase represents a HUGE IMBALANCE in a chaotic system -- more than enough to send things spiraling into runaway changes that will prove hostile to life.

Posted by: leftcoastblue | October 18, 2009 11:55 AM
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Those skeptics claiming that "thousands of scientists" are on their side in denying global warming are deluded fools. Proportionally, the number of scientists who have accepted the evidence is much, much larger than the deniers (on the order of 100-1).

Furthermore, those who feel that anthropogenic CO2 is too insignificant to be causing the climate changes are obviously ignorant of the facts. The Earth's climate is a CHAOTIC SYSTEM. A 3 percent increase represents a HUGE IMBALANCE in a chaotic system -- more than enough to send things spiraling into runaway changes that will prove hostile to life.

Posted by: leftcoastblue | October 18, 2009 11:53 AM
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If you absolutely don't believe that global warming is happening, and that acts of man are responsible, then perhaps you could look at this from another angle. That angle begins with one simple fact: Fossil fuels are finite. They are going to run out.

There is a lot of evidence that, at present consumption rates, crude oil production will reach a peak very soon (some geologists think we're already there). Natural gas will not be far behind, as most natural gas fields are associated with nearby oil fields. Coal, a bit more abundant, could last another century. But any way you slice it, they all will be gone in a few generations. Plus, much of the process of extraction for these fuels leads to environmental degradation (for example, mountain-tops being dynamited), political and military instability (does anybody think we would have invaded Iraq if they had no oil?), and pollution of the atmosphere. So, we need to wean ourselves off these fuels anyway.

So EVEN if you don't believe the climate science, these facts can't be ignored. I happen to agree that global warming is anthropogenic. So it's just another reason for me why we should decrease use of carbon-emitting technologies and move to renewables. Because soon, we really won't have a choice anyway.

Posted by: PrairieDog60 | October 18, 2009 10:50 AM
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Mr. Boesch's take on global warming is spot on. The science of CO2 is no longer debatable. The atmosphere is warming rapidly. That the "average" human intellect chooses to ignore, refute and/or hypothesize happy endings to this never-ending assault on our biosphere is nothing short of a death sentence for future generations.

Earth has happily stored carbon based energy deep within for millions upon millions of years. The climate remained relatively stable and unchanged, a feature that allowed the human race to evolve, grow and prosper. Prosper, I believe, to the point that we honestly believe we are destined to carry on for eternity.

What a laughable assumption that is. As the most fragile of creatures, it is our "superior" intellect that keeps us alive. Superior to what, Nature?

When our intellect fails us on so critical an issue about our own survival, we are doomed. Mr. Boesch is correct: the remaining doubt is about humans, and our collective reluctance to own up to a deadly mistake in releasing carbon based energy into our life sustaining atmosphere.

Posted by: howjensen | October 18, 2009 10:07 AM
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I am not a climatologist, but is it possible that the destruction of the Artic polar cap is releasing cold temperatures that are affecting our weather down here and giving us some cold termperature reasons that the doubters like to seize on as evidence against global warming. That we might have some illusory colder years just before the bigtime warming starts?

Posted by: GeneWells | October 18, 2009 9:38 AM
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Conrad, please provide a list of the "thousands" of scientists who do not think global warming is occurring.

Saying that something exists, without any evidence presented, does not make it true, even in alternate realities.

Posted by: megman | October 18, 2009 9:14 AM
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From the Washington Post, today, Sunday, possible lowest recorded temperature for this date ever at Reagan National Airport.

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/capitalweathergang/

Posted by: nuzreporter | October 18, 2009 9:04 AM
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Global warmimg is clearly happening right now, the evidence is overwhelming. However, what is not clear is the ultimate outcome, the effects could be much worse than ever anticipated.

The silly notion that increased Co2 levels might be beneficial for plant growth, thusly reducing the carbon dioxide load, doesn't take into consideration the toxic effects of algal blooms and the death of oceananic biology, which would decimate fisheries and cause an up-the-chain effect on the world's food chain.

The imponderable results of man-made weather changes, that began with the beginning of the industrial age, can only be bad news. Instability in a closed system leads to further instability and there is nothing more closed than the Earth's biosphere.

Ignore the warnings at all our peril, it may even be too late to make much of a difference with methane from warming oceans and melting permafrost adding a much more hazardous warming gas to our already over-polluted air. Maybe we should all hope the dumb skeptics are actually right, or, maybe we should just bend over now and kiss our proverbials goodbye.


Posted by: icurhuman2 | October 18, 2009 7:02 AM
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Al Gore’s film was proven to be a farce. He refuses to address these errors. The falling ice scene was not taken by his team but from someone else who created a movie and the whole scene was fabricated. The foundation of Global Warming as “presented to the public” was based on a lie.

There are a thousand scientists every bit as qualified to argue this case so far the supporters of Al Gores lies are winning. When, you stop supporting lying come back for the debate. The Al Gore’s have got to be thrown out and exposed. You better clean up your own mess first. Then let’s have a debate. This whole thing is at ground zero. There is no credibility to be given to the advocates of Global Warming.

Posted by: conrad031 | October 18, 2009 6:02 AM
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The days of the spontaneously combusting watercourses (Cuyahoga, Hudson) are kind of gone, for the most part, but people want to have industry, and heat, and light, and there's byproducts from that that aren't good for people or, like the bumpersticker says, other living things. But, can we get beyond the bumpersticker in the climate debate, or are hard, verifiable facts kind of confined to the sidelines and people 'in the know', rather than sharing out all the info publicly, because as with the issue of healthcare, there are words aplenty, but not much in the way of demonstrated results, meaning, as usual, the figures don't lie, but liars figure, and I figure there's a lot of money in The Environment, lots of dollars being spent here and there for this or that government grant, but in between they discover other Inconvenient Truths like temperature recording stations that are painted dark colors duly recording a higher average temperature than their lighter-shaded counterparts, and such results being submitted as hard evidence of global warming. The cities we were told would be under 6 feet of water by now are still habitable, the moon generally still seems to be in its' regular orbit and all, and we haven't seen any polar bears go floating by holding onto life rings or wearing their little orange floaties.

Recently, there was some sort of news story talking about the arctic thaw, something that happens every year, but this year, sciencers are extra-special excited because the ice is thin, and first-year ice, frankly, the polar ice cap is a very LARGE area, and I don't think hyooo-mannz have in their possession to melt that much ice, even if they built a big nookilurz, with super-size heating elements on it, and planted it on the ice directly, or if the ChairForce turned their space-based microwave death-beams on it. It's BIG. REALLY big.

In other words, I take a more skeptical view on the whole thing. I think conservation is a good thing, but sometimes, in politics, people have ulterior motives that they like to keep concealed until the opportunity is ripe, so, as usual, believe a third of what you read, and half of what you hear, because even Ph.D's get carried away with themselves, and end up consuming their own Kool-Aid, as it were.

Posted by: walkerbert | October 18, 2009 1:33 AM
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I don't know much about climate science. But I know a lot about political and economic power, and so do we all.

Would any of us be surprised if a highway exit was built at a location that benefited a business that donated a lot of money to the party in power? Would any of us be surprised if a polluting industry got an extra ten years to clean up its damage after a ruling by the appropriate agency? Would any of us be surprised to find out that wealthy businesses have undue influence on our tax legislation? Then why should we question the idea that huge corporations are willing to put us at risk (to a real but unquantifiable degree) in order to make more money, and that government would tend to respect their wishes?

Scientists have nothing to gain from making statements that anger big business. In fact, there are plenty of scientists who go along with big chemical companies and other major polluters. There are plenty of scientists who turn their interest in plants or insects into profit for agribusiness. Scientists are not saints. The only reason that all reputable scientists are willing to take a stand on anthropogenic climate change is BECAUSE IT REALLY MATTERS. Because they see that fudging the truth on this issue to go along with industry would be a monstrous crime.

Why is the Washington Post taking its stand? Because, like the current rather moderate White House, like the business-oriented nations of Europe and Japan, they have grasped that this issue is not one more issue they can dodge and duck and delay, like say world hunger or nuclear weapons or human rights. This one is huge and inexorable.

Only those who are paid to say otherwise and those who delight in their individualistic orneriness are still deniers of anthropogenic climate change. And they should be ashamed of themselves, as their ancestors certainly will be.

Posted by: lamaryates | October 18, 2009 1:03 AM
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So the polar ice caps and glaciers are melting because the earth is cooling?!!

What a strange, surreal world the conservatives live in. Very Escher like.

Posted by: renrat1 | October 18, 2009 12:54 AM
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In my last comment when I use quotation marks I should add that I was paraphrasing, not actually quoting.

Posted by: murphysboro | October 17, 2009 8:50 PM
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Regarding the money trail: On the surface I must say that it doesn't make any sense that the scientists and professors would be paid off. When compared to the energy industry they have very little to gain. The scientific community is notoriously hard on its members when it comes to upholding values like honesty, following rigorous testing procedures, etc. If a professor or scientist sells out or does some poor science he/she will get reamed out by peers. What motivates most scientists is prestige and being ahead of the field. Not towing some party line or making profits.

However the coal and gas industry just have to pay for commercial time and they can claim anything they want. There is no scientific peer review process. Their ONLY motive is profit. I can' blame them for that. That is capitalism.

All that being said, I invite people who claim these scientists are "paid to say global warming is anthropogenic" to do the research and prove me wrong. Post a link to a site that is non-partisan and can not be traced back to some industry. We could all benefit.

Finally, it is not my job in the comment section of this article to present the science. I am not that qualified. It has already been presented to you. There are thousands of research papers on this subject in libraries across the world. I just ask you all to open your minds and spend some serious time in a university library (not the internet), as many are open to the public but you just can't check stuff out, and do the research. This way instead of continuing to attack the messenger and parrot coal-industry commercials you can present valid arguments. Maybe even make a website. If your research is solid then scientists and tax payers will thank you as you have just helped save us a lot of money. If not, expect to get your *** handed to you by people that are much more intelligent than you and are experts in the field.

Posted by: murphysboro | October 17, 2009 8:47 PM
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The problems are so much bigger than I am and there are so very many experts of pro and con, some with education and others obviously without. All I know for absolute positive and without any doubt.... This planet will be much worse off after I leave it than it was the day I arrived. That is a shame!
Posted by: motiv8ed
**********************************************************************************
Yes at 70 I witnessed the same earth you did, but they have not, they can not compare to that which was never known.

This is why history repeats it self, you don't know it til it happen and then it is to late.

Well they will not listen, sad isn't it.

Takes my breath away.

Posted by: ORNOT | October 17, 2009 7:16 PM
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The computer models that are relied on for the dire predictions are wrong over and over again. The same people who make the models the basis for their draconian solutions would never invest their own money based on similarly shoddy financial models. I don't care about the conspiracy theories on either side. I just want to see a public debate of the actual science. All we ever hear is "the debate is over," or "thousands of scientists say," or "the science is clear." When will the folks making the GWG claims actually address the seams in the "consensus" science??????

Posted by: phiggits | October 17, 2009 12:39 PM
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The earth's climate has been changing, for worse or for better, since the beginning of time. With millions of years of history, and some of the world's best minds, scientists have not been able to make accurate determinations of: Why the Sahara Desert was once tropical and now is not; Why Iceland and Greenland were once tropical and now are not; Why America's Southwest once was at the bottom of the ocean and now is not, etc.

However, one thing that we do know for sure is than man's activities are creating less than 3% of the CO2 that is in the atmosphere. And, that if we discontinue ALL of man's activities that create CO2, that it would have virtually no impact on anything.

How can a few "scientists" with only fifty years or so of data possibly claim that they know that man is creating climate change, when fifty years of data is not even a drop in the scientific bucket?

It is time to look behind the claims and see who is paying these Global Warming scientists to come up with their unreasonable conclusions.

Posted by: mike85 | October 17, 2009 11:49 AM
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David Wojick's lengthy commentary has several errors.
1. We have not known about rising CO2 "for a century". Keeling started measuring it on Mauna Loa in 1958, so it is 50 years. Data had not previously been measured systematically.
2. Most of the earth is not molten. Its heat is being slowly lost over time because radioactive elements produce less decay products than they used to.
3. The impact of CO2 is not conjecture but the prediction of powerful climate programs. They all show significant T increase for this century.
4. We know that global warming gases are important. That is what has been keeping our earth warmer than it otherwise would be for billions of years.

Posted by: essene | October 17, 2009 11:05 AM
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Childhood memories bring back visions of traveling through dense forests with wildlife all around, the air had an earthy smell to it that you cannot find today. Rivers and streams were bounded by lush plant life, and the waters were clear and full of fish, waterfowl and all sorts of wildlife that love the water. The foliage was all shades of greens.
Today much of it has a brownish tint and the tops of many trees, especially the taller ones, show signs of dying, without foliage and a stark look of disease.
The waters are no longer clear, and many of the "streams" no longer exist, there is however the occassional fish and other wildlife found in and around our major rivers.

The problems are so much bigger than I am and there are so very many experts of pro and con, some with education and others obviously without. All I know for absolute positive and without any doubt.... This planet will be much worse off after I leave it than it was the day I arrived. That is a shame!

Posted by: motiv8ed | October 17, 2009 10:43 AM
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Is it just me, or does this whole thing read like a paid advertising section?

Posted by: KDWALKER1 | October 17, 2009 9:23 AM
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Donald says

"Even major newspapers and broadcast networks run "global cooling" stories when the global mean temperature in one year was cooler than the year before. "

That would tend to raise skepticism about the theory, would it not ?

Posted by: US-conscience | October 17, 2009 8:55 AM
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Panelist Donald Boesch's "Doubts About Us, Not Warming" once again presents what we may call the Simple Anthropogenic Global Warming hypothesis or SAGW (but with an oceanic twist). SAGW says CO2 is a GHG and is rising, the climate is warming, so CO2 is the cause. This is the beginning of the scientific debate, not the end. We have spent $60 billion trying to figure out if this hypothesis is true, so far unsuccessfully.

To do this he first says "However, even a Skeptical Scientist would have to conclude without doubt that -- based on evidence, not just theory -- humans are raising the levels of CO2 in the atmosphere, CO2 traps heat, and the planet is accumulating heat."

That is it as far as presenting the science, simply SAGW. He admits that there may be some uncertainty in predicting the future (no kidding). He then suddenly says "Nonetheless, blatant disregard of the robustness of climate change science continues in some quarters." That CO2 is a GHG and is rising is not what today's climate science is about, for we have known this for a century, nor is there anything 'robust' about today's climate science. Climate science is trying to figure out why climate changes and so far has failed to do so.

Boesch claims that "The heat content of the Earth has continued to rise, with most of it stored in the ocean." He probably, hopefully, does not mean the heat content of the entire, mostly molten, Earth, but rather of the thin film ocean-atmosphere system. That ocean heat content has risen over the last 150 years is at best conjectural. (There is some systematic evidence that it has risen recently near the surface.) If it has this is no different from the fact that the atmospheric temperature has risen. The question is still why (see my prior posts on this)?

Just as with atmospheric temperature, or heat content (which is different), changes in ocean heat have to be explained as they occur. Waving one's had and saying it must be the CO2 is not science, it is conjecture. It is SAGW disguised as science. In fact we know very little about heat in the ocean over the last century, far less than about heat in the atmosphere. We have only a handful of studies, based on very poor data. If we can't explain relatively well known changes in the air, how can poorly known changes in the water resolve our uncertainty? They can't.

David Wojick
http://www.climatechangedebate.org

Posted by: DavidWojickPhD | October 17, 2009 7:46 AM
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There are a lot of respected scientists who are global warming skeptics.

That the Washington Post would deny this FACT by refusing to give any of them voice on this panel is disgusting.

Its like the old Pravda - faithfully spewing the party line.

Our extremely complex climate system is NOT fully understood yet, and anyone who tells you differently is blowing hot air.

Who predicted the current record breaking solar quiet we are experiencing right now? NO ONE! That's who. Yet the lack of sunspots continues for the third year in a row (a 100 year record).

When the sun stayed quiet for long periods (10-20 years or more) in the past - it ushered in severe COOLING.

And even the IPCC is now saying that ocean currents (with 40 year cycles) will likely over-whelm all CO2 warming for another 10-30 years.

Their precious "models" failed to include or accurately predict either of the above factors. If they had, we would have started hearing the excuses long before now.

What else have scientists and their models failed to take into account?

Posted by: Parker1227 | October 17, 2009 6:35 AM
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Problem for this entire forum is that it ignores thousands of scientists who have as much evidence of cooling as the manufacturers of the "warming crisis" have of warming. Follow the money. Every advocate of the warming theory draws his endowment, salary and political control from the warming side of this issue.

Perhaps if Al Gore wasn't shilling for the theory that's building a personal fortune for himself and his pals, not to mention introducing the Left-Wing control over our lifestyles the Left has desired for so long, it could be better believed. Every single contributor in this series is in hock to the side of warming, albeit with minor lip service to the degree of warming. Without ANY explanation to the fact that warming halted in 1989 and in fact cooling is now in great evidence. Sorry, Gents. It's a sham.

You may now resume your regularly smug and self-serving lecture to the rest of us now.

Posted by: JamesChristian | October 17, 2009 3:58 AM
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