Global Warming, aka Climate Change

http://climatechange.procon.org/

Without making any judgements, the ProCon page titled “Is human activity a substantial cause of global climate change?” presents both sides of the “Is Earth Getting Hotter Because Of Us?” debate.

Despite the almost even number of Pros and Cons (Pros won 14 to 13), there is a glaring question of credibility from both sides of the argument: Did scientists purposely play “fast and loose” with accepted practices of science data gathering and presentation? Do the oil companies fund the climate skeptics? Is Al Gore right? Is George W. Bush right? The climate skeptics don’t have a celebrity on their side, other than the President who was in charge of our country and its policies during the bulk of the hottest decade on Earth, 1999 to 2009, according to NASA’s Goddard Institute.

That was a decade in which we increased oil drilling operations and “Killed the Electric Car,” as well as started a false war in Iraq for access to its oil reserves. Bush may have accused us of being “Addicted to Oil” but he was pumping the gas the whole time, and hardly doing anything to wean us from our habit, as he made it seem. Our country runs on oil – a lot of money is at stake in this debate.  Global Warming is also an Economics issue, as well as one concerning the Environment.

The debate of “Whose Hot Planet Is It?” has become politicized. When in doubt, ask your local neighborhood climate scientist – and make sure he or she is a highly accredited source with fact & evidence to back up his/her claims.

NASA is one of the sources that believes “We Are Making The Earth Hotter.” The United Nations’ scientists insist with 90 percent certainty that human beings burning fossil fuels is the cause of Global Warming, also known as Global Climate Change.

The source of the argument is just as important as the argument itself. In journalism, we seek highly accredited named sources (3 or more per story, if possible). The Pro-side, or the “Humans = Hotter” polemic, comes with a pedigree of multiple, highly accredited sources—lots of recognizable names, or at least recognizable universities and institutions. To the contrary, the Con-side, or “The Earth Has A Fever” contingent, looks weak by comparison because it lacks highly accredited sources—other than long-time cynic of climate science models, MIT’s Professor of Meteorology, Richard Lindzen .

The “Background” section provides the actual text of the 1988 testimony from James Hansen, Director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies. However, ProCon does not provide the text of Lindzen’s criticism. In fact, on the web page, Lindzen serves only to introduce ideas of criticism without using fact & evidence to corroborate his contrarian position, as he does in the youtube video from the Heartland Institute, titled “Al Gore Snowjob.” That is to say, just because Professor Lindzen states (minute 3:00 of the video) “If it’s Greenhouse Warming you get more warming in the middle of the troposphere, the first 10-12 kilometers of the atmosphere, than you do at the surface” does not negate the fact that global temperature overall is rising – which can lead to disastrous effects for human civilization as we know it.

None of the climate scientist skeptics teach at top-rated universities, other than Lindzen. Other sources are not trustworthy because they have obvious conflicts of interest, like Fred Singer (the Former Director of the U.S. National Weather Service in the Heartland video) who runs the “Science and Environmental Policy Project” with some funding from the oil companies.

SOURCE:

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/hotpolitics/reports/skeptics.html

EXCERPT:

“Affiliations & Funding: Dr. Singer publicly denies receiving funding from energy industry sources, but he has acknowledged previously being a paid consultant for several oil companies. In addition, his organization — the Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP) — has received multiple grants from ExxonMobil, according to a review of Exxon’s own financial documents and Greenpeace’s Exxonsecrets.org. That site also shows that many of the other organizations with which Singer works — Frontiers of Freedom, the Cato Institute, National Center for Policy Analysis — have received large grants from Exxon as well.”

It’s a little trickier to dismiss Max Mayfield, the Director of the 2005 U.S. Commerce Department’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Although, he is known as a hurricane expert that doesn’t make him a climate scientist source for the overall warming of the Earth. His expertise is hurricanes – one effect of the Earth’s atmosphere. From what I have read, Mr. Mayfield is not regarded as a “climate scientist,” but is highly regarded as a hurricane expert (which does not make him an expert on the Earth’s “Climate”).  Mr. Mayfield also served in a politically appointed position in the Commerce Department during the presidency of George W. Bush – the antithesis of Al Gore.

Additionally, Chris Horner from the Competitive Enterprise Institute, also featured in the Heartland video, is not a scientist of any kind. His conflict of interest is Enterprise vs. Environment, $Green$Money$ or Green Earth. Maybe it’s not one or the other, but there is a definite conflict with Mr. Horner as a source.

Lindzen’s April 12, 2006 Wall Street Journal article, titled “Climate of Fear: Global-Warming Alarmists Intimidate Dissenting Scientists into Scilence,” could not be found on the internet, but the headline makes a claim of intimidation that has never been substantiated; and if this article appeared in the Op-Ed section of the WSJ then its content based on fact & evidence is suspect.  This questionable article possibly invalidates the evidence for Con #9: “Ocean acidity levels have risen over the 20th century, but they are not out of the ordinary considering the fluctuations of the past 7,000 years.” This claim is now dubious because it comes from a heavily biased source, possibly from the pages of an Opinion page known to espouse business friendly ideas and a scientist who has been publicly dissenting of Global Warming since the 1980s – before the hottest decade ever recorded in the 2000s.

* Ironically, it is in a WSJ Op-Ed that Lindzen refutes the so-called “experts” from the Heartland Institute video, by asserting that an increase in CO2 causes an increase in temperature, and not the other way around . “Temperature increases first and then CO2 increases”  is what the talking heads in the Heartland youtube clip would have us believe.

SOURCE:

The November 30, 2009 Wall Street Journal Opinion-Editorial written by Lindzen, titled “The Climate Science Isn’t Settled.”

In it Lindzen makes dogmatic claims, such as “It is generally accepted that a doubling of CO2 will only produce a change of about two degrees Fahrenheit if all else is held constant. This is unlikely to be much to worry about.” Instead of providing proof of his assertion, he contradicts himself in the very next sentence when he writes “Yet current climate models predict much higher sensitivities.” Well, then Lindzen’s claim of a temperature rise of only 2-degrees Fahrenheit being “generally accepted” doesn’t hold water because those “current climate models” predict an amplification of the warming effect due to water vapor and clouds. Therefore the generally accepted climate models from the consensus of climate scientists predicts global warming of more than 2-degrees Fahrenheit. And that outcome may be something to worry about for us, but not for Lindzen, evidently.

Furthermore, Lindzen opines that “positive feedback” – the name for clouds inducing heat – exists alongside “negative feedback” – the name for clouds decreasing CO2. Lindzen never corroborates the idea of “negative feedback” with fact & evidence. Rather than using named sources, he relies on “Some [who] have suggested” and “quite a few papers in the literature,” both of which also miss the definition of highly accredited sources. In fact, these flimsy references do not constitute sources in any way, shape or form.

So, we just experienced the hottest decade on Earth, according to NASA. And the United Nations’ top scientists from 130 countries just told us that human beings are (to a 90 percent certainty) causing this warming by burning fossil fuels. But a few climate skeptics from the United States and Canada, most of them not even climate scientists (or climate scientists from any university you’ve ever heard of), tell us that NASA and the global community of climate scientists have it all wrong. Who are we supposed to believe? I’ve got to go with NASA and the consensus of the scientists assembled by the United Nations.

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