Thursday, January 30, 2014

Thoughts on Climate Change Denial in 2014

global-warming-socialist-scamIn 2014, global climate change denial not only persists, but is politically powerful and has effectively prevented the large-scale changes we need to start now to drastically reduce use and reliance on fossil fuels such as oil, natural gas and coal. We need to make this transition to avoid enormous negative changes that will make living conditions much more difficult in the decades ahead on a warmer planet.

Recently, Donald Trump, who tweets to about 2.5 million twitter followers, sent a message about the “global warming hoax” after he watched an NBC News report about the wave of current subzero temperatures in the northeast U.S.

There are a couple of things to note in this episode. First, Trump tweets to 2.5 million people, while climate change activist and author Bill Mckibben tweets to 111,000. Second, Trump distorts reality in a lazy self-referential way without looking at any evidence. Had he bothered to look at any easily accessible long-term temperature data, he would have found that in the past decade far more records (they ran 2-1 in fact) were set across the U.S. for all-time-high temperatures rather than all-time-lows.

Trump’s vast audience reaffirms what we saw recently here on the Adirondack Almanack — that climate change denial runs deep. The intensity of climate change denials has grown in the past decade even as overwhelming scientific consensus has formed that climate change is real, is caused by human uses of fossil fuels, and that major changes are needed to avoid severe negative impacts.

In 2014, 97% of the climate scientists support the conclusion that the earth is warming and that warming is caused by heavy use of fossil fuels. This consensus is based on the work of over 1,300 climate researchers. The world’s leading scientific bodies support this position. Clearly, the science in support of human-influenced climate change is overwhelming.

Established rigorous scientific method is also used by the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The IPCC is based on climate research from around the world. The IPCC made its first report in 1990 and the final draft of its 5th assessment was released in 2013. The final 5th assessment will be released this year. There is no comparable organization of scientists from around the world, and based upon peer review research, for climate change deniers, though they offer up some pale imitations.

Climate change denial has become an industry unto itself. It’s well funded by the biggest and most successful businesses in the history of businesses (as Mckibben stated recently on MSNBC’s Morning Joe). Corporate titan ExxonMobil has shelled out more cash than any other player to sow doubt in the public mind about climate change. They fund “think tanks” like the Heartland Institute, which publishes a series called “Climate Change Reconsidered.” Heartland also spun off the “Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change” (NIPCC) where it has enlisted a handful of climate scientists to sow doubt about the work of the IPCC.

The Heartland Institute famously advertised billboards featuring a picture of the madman “Unabomber” Ted Kaczynski with the quote “I believe in climate change. Do you?”

ExxonMobil’s largesse has also financed a core of lobbyists who cut their teeth for Big Tobacco, where they successfully denied for decades linkages between nicotine and cancer, to work Congress. The strategy of climate change denial has become a cornerstone of current Republican Party orthodoxy. In conservative policy centers from the Heritage Foundation to the American Enterprise Institute, climate change is universally derided as a myth. Republican party leaders repeat the same talking points to deny or downplay the short- and long-term threats of climate change. Research has found that Fox News viewers deny climate change at much higher levels than the general public. Here’s an All Star list of leading climate change deniers financed to sow doubt in the media.

As we saw with the comments in my previous Almanack piece on climate change, there’s a disconnect between meteorologists and climate scientists. Whereas, 97% of climate scientists think climate change is real and is caused by humans, based on some 13,000 peer review studies, only 52% of meteorologists agree. In other words half of the weathermen and weatherwomen on TV may be climate change deniers.

In addition to rejecting the IPCC, climate change deniers reject the scientific consensus based on long-term data collected and analyzed by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the U.S. Global Change Research Program, and other scientific and educational efforts such as Climate Central.

Climate change denial myths are busted everywhere, yet they persist, fueled by ideology and pure profit motives. Skeptical Science is a good site dedicated to debunking climate change denials.

So, where does this leave us? The power behind climate change denial has effectively blunted any action by the U.S. to deal with the root causes of climate change. At a time that we should be leading the world in action, we’re mired in intractable controversy about whether or not climate change is real. Both U.S. consumption of fossil fuels and C02 emissions continue to trend up. Former conservative British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher determined in 1988 that climate change was real, yet 25 years later most American politicians cannot muster the courage to act on climate change, or even, in Governor Andrew Cuomo’s case, mutter the words climate change, despite overwhelming data.

The cost of inaction fuelled by climate change denial is high. Long-time advocates for action tell us that inaction since the 1980s, during the period that carbon in the atmosphere increased from 350 parts per million (ppm) to 400 ppm, resulted in melting the Arctic. No one knows what the impacts will be as we increase carbon in the atmosphere to 425 ppm, then 450 ppm and up and up.

Other countries, thankfully, are not bogged down in the climate change denial debate and are leading and showing the way. One only has to look at the massive investment by Germany in renewable energy, which now provides over 25% of its energy needs. On sunny days, solar power alone can provide 30-40% of Germany’s needed power, based on the 1.3 million solar energy systems operated by homeowners and businesses. The Germans have set a national goal of providing 80% of its energy demand by renewable resources by 2050. By comparison, in the U.S. there are around 400,000 solar projects in operation.

Spain has made a huge investment in renewable energy, especially wind power, which supplied 21% of Spain’s energy in 2013. This was part of a national energy strategy that helped to reduce green house gas emissions by 23% last year.

One positive long-term trend is that climate change denial enjoys its weakest support among people under 35, analogous in many ways to the divide on gay marriage, among other issues. This was found in a poll managed jointly by a Republican and Democratic polling firms financed by the League of Conservation Voters. By the time this cohort reaches political power it may be too late.

As we start 2014, climate change denial has a stranglehold on American environmental policy. Deniers have prevented any widespread and meaningful actions from taking place, though there are lots of positive independent actions. This is a dismal state for our politics because the costs of inaction will only grow bigger each year.

Photo courtesy Climate Change Denial.

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Peter Bauer is the Executive Director of Protect the Adirondacks. He has been working in various capacities on Adirondack Park environmental issues since the mid-1980s, including stints as the Executive Director of the Residents' Committee to Protect the Adirondacks and FUND for Lake George as well as on the staff of the Commission on the Adirondacks in the Twenty-First Century. He was the co-founder of the Adirondack Lake Assessment Program (ALAP) in 1998, which has collected long-term water quality data on more than 75 Adirondack lakes and ponds. He has testified before the State Legislature, successfully advocated to pass legislation and budget items, authored numerous articles, op-eds, and reports such as "20% in 2023: An Assessment of the New York State 30 by 30 Act" (2023), "The Adirondack Park and Rural America: Economic and Population Trends 1970-2010" (2019), "The Myth of Quiet, Motor-free Waters in the Adirondack Park" (2013), and "Rutted and Ruined: ATV Damage on the Adirondack Forest Preserve" (2003) and "Growth in the Adirondack Park: Analysis of Rates and Patterns of Development" (2001). He also worked at Adirondack Life Magazine. He served as Chair of the Town of Lake George Zoning Board of Appeals and has served on numerous advisory boards for management of the Adirondack Park and Forest Preserve. Peter lives in Blue Mountain Lake with his wife, has two grown children out in the world, and enjoys a wide variety of outdoor recreational activities throughout the Adirondacks, and is a member of the Blue Mountain Lake volunteer fire department.Follow Protect the Adirondacks on Facebook and Threads.

29 Responses

  1. Matt Sisti says:

    Hi peter

    I’m sorry but I stopped reading your article after the first paragraph as I swear I’ve read this about 500 times in the past year alone. To be perfectly clear, the position I hold has no basis in politics and I have no agenda to promote. The problem I have with what you and others have written is your missing the most relevant point. Burning of fossil fuels can not be good for the environment and our world, in general. Heck, sit in your garage with the car running for 5 minutes and you’ll be hard pressed to argue that point. The fact is, we don’t know the facts and by hitching our wagons to linking man to climate change actually politicizes the argument. I have an off grid home. I teach my children, friends and anyone else who will listen the values of a sustainable life style. I spend time in Europe and marvel at how efficient they live their lives and share those experiences with my fellow Americans. We live in the greatest country in the world but we are wasteful and this argument about man induced warming is, in a word, wasteful. I won’t waste your time asking you to explain how, over 8 billion yes (yes, 6 billion is no longer the number) we have had numerous ice and warming ages,all without man. I won’t waste your time asking you to counter the scientific arguments of the earths shifting angle that leads to periodic shifts in temperature nor request your thoughts on how we can pass judgement on 100 years of data, barely a flashbulb in the geographic lifespan of our wonderful planet. Peter, please promote our unified cause by focusing on what is the real problem. We must push an agenda to reduce the consumption of fossil fuels . I am convinced if we do this without linking it to questionable temperature data we might just get there

    • Jesse B says:

      Hi Matt,

      I want to give my respect to your views on sustainability and a lower ecological footprint. If only more people followed the same opinion.

      There is also no doubt that periodic oscillations in earths axis and/or variations in solar output can cause climate shifts. However these ARE NOT the cause of changes in temperature we are observing today. Oscillations are understood phenomenon and are ALWAYS accounted for in climate models, along with hundreds of other variables that impact climate regardless of anthropogenic causes (solar activity, volcanic activity, ocean currents). The basis of statistical prediction is accounting for these covariates individually and seeing how they impact the model, until a root cause is determined. And the overwhelming result is that CO2 emissions directly released by humans are causing current changes.

      It’s also false to assume that recent measured temperature data is the only tool, as a plethora of other information can display changes in climate, including ice core samples (that go back hundreds of thousands of years), sediment samples (tens of thousands of years), and physical/chemistry experiments.

      As a scientist, one of the biggest tragedies about this ‘debate’ is the denouncing of science. People (including myself) spend more years than they care to remember on education, learning how to do precise, careful work, and become an expert in a field. So when the work of 97% of the best academics in the world can be utterly disregarded, what is that saying to people? Should we start ignoring the 97% of doctors who say exercise prevents heart disease? Maybe drunk driving is perfectly safe and those 98% of traffic safety experts are wrong?

      If a person says to me, “CO2 emissions are changing the climate, but I think it’s more costly for the U.S. to act alone without first obtaining similar reduction agreements from China and India,” I can 100% accept that position. While I may not agree, at least it’s defensible. But disregarding the conclusions from thousands of experts simply because of their implications, sends a terrible and confusing message.

      • Matt says:


        Very well stated and I’m not qualified to dispute your remarks but I do think you missed my main point. come back to my original argument. Although 97% of the scientific evidence , ie core samples, may suggest a dramatic increase in CO2 levels, you will have a large group on non believers who view the general desire for renewable energy and energy efficiency as a liberal political platform where man, as a scapegoat furthers the agenda. I’m not suggesting this is true at all. I’m simply questioning if we wouldn’t see more progress in global sustainability if we focused on the real issue. Combustion of fossil fuels in our environment are not a sustainable practice regardless of whether it is leading to global climate change. I attended a renewable energy conference early last year and this was actually a common thread in these discussions.

  2. Brendan Wiltse says:

    Linking man to climate change doesn’t need to politicize the argument. Scientists have made that connection, our reaction to it politicizes the argument.

    We know that carbon dioxide traps heat and we know that its concentration in the atmosphere is increasing. That increase is directly attributable to our burning of fossil fuels.

    There are other factors that can change the composition of our atmosphere. Most notably volcanic activity, but we know that it hasn’t attributed to the increase in carbon dioxide, nor has it increased water vapor in the atmosphere.

    The remaining influence on global temperature is the sun. Again, the sun isn’t attributable to the change seen. Nor are the changes in the eccentricity, precession, or obliquity of the earths orbit. The changes in our orbit, along with the position of the continents in the northern hemisphere, is what causes continental glaciers to form. The recent changes are occurring over much to short of a time period to be attributed to a change in the Earth’s orbit.

    If we include all of these factors into a computer model and then run the model back in time, we can only account for the observed change in global temperature if we include the influence of our greenhouse gas emissions. This is a good paper to read:

    Peter makes a good point in the fifth paragraph. 97% of peer-reviewed papers published between 1991 and 2011 that state a position on anthropogenic global warming agree that humans are causing global warming (

    I encourage folks to read the scientific literature or seek out scientists that are giving talks on climate change and ask them questions.

  3. Tony Goodwin says:

    I agree with Matt Sisti that in the current political environment we must simply advocate for reducing CO2 emissions. The compelling reason is that the cost of the oil and coal that produces those emissions can only go up as supplies are diminished.

    Given that seemingly a majority of the population denies the reality of climate change, they need to be hit hard with the economic reality that over time prices for fossil fuels will rise – the rise will just be much slower if we conserve now.

    Now I come to my next point that will, for many readers, negate all that I have said above. The big reality is that in my view “environmentalists” are held in contempt by a majority of the population. Environmentalists are perceived as rich, over-educated individuals who have nothing better to do in their lives than to stop projects they don’t like. These projects would include the major 1980 Olympic project and years later the Keene Stewarts shop. In both cases, serious environmental issues were alleged without ever becoming a problem.

    I would conclude by asking that environmental advocates be very careful of the causes they take on. Greater selectivity will, I believe, give environmentalists the true credit that they deserve and perhaps even allow the reversal of some recent decisions

    • Joe says:

      The survey link posted here a while back suggested that, among US citizens, only 23% are skeptical, and that is a peak since 2006. The question asked about ‘global warming’.


      So, Tony, that’s far from a majority as you suggest.

      The question is why relatively small minorities get the traction they do on many issues these days (see Tea Party Congress). I find that puzzling. If 77% agreement on this issue isn’t enough to support change, would it take?

      We have similar problems here in the Park where a small faction can, well, you know the story….

    • Paul says:

      I repeat a part of a comment I made here earlier since I think what Tony says here is closely related:

      We should all take the time to listen to this NPR story on the famous bet between Paul Ehrlich the biologist at Stanford and Julian Simon the economist at Maryland.

      This is a very interesting quote in the story and one that says something about this “discussion” here:

      “But Paul Sabin at Yale says, personally, he worries a lot about the environment. And he wonders if the bet actually poisoned the waters, helping to set the stage for a world where environmental debates are framed by the extremes — one side warning of certain catastrophe, and the other saying everything is going to be great.”

      If you want to win an argument sometimes you have to think very carefully about how you frame it. Remember many people just tend to gravitate toward taking a side when the other side comes out in a very forceful way. In my opinion that is part of the reason that the people here who are correct are losing the day. Many environmentalists come from that “in your face” kind of protester ilk. I saw a good example here where someone talked about wanting to re-enter what he called the “Adirondack Wars”. When you frame it like that you are already putting yourself in a terrible position to convince anyone (other than your friends) of anything:

  4. Paul B. says:

    Germany is realizing that relying on solar/wind while phasing out nuclear is forcing them to increase reliance on coal or face intolerable energy costs.

    Spain has drastically cut renewable subsidies because they are BROKE.

  5. Onno says:

    I agree with Matt that there are many reasons to switch away from fossil fuels, not just because burning them is altering our atmosphere and climate. Like many climate change deniers, though, Matt conveniently ignores fundamental and indisputable facts, and throws up the smoke screen of geologic time, etc. Burning fossil fuels adds carbon dioxide to the air. Carbon dioxide traps heat. We know that we have steadily and dramatically increased the amount of carbon in the air. We know that climate records directly correlate with amounts of carbon in the air. Saying that there is still doubt about climate and the burning of fossil fuel is exactly like saying that there is still doubt about the link between cigarettes and cancer. We know how. We know why. And we have lots of evidence.

    • Matt says:

      Hi Onno

      Not sure you read my message carefully. I’m not denying climate change. Where was that said? My point is simple. If we want to promote cleaner, renewable fuels we are losing ground by linking it to climate change. Have you or the others not paid attention to how business works in Washington? When you set up sides through blame then strong, adversarial positions will develop. When you state the burning of fossil fuels leads to global warming you link responsibility and we all know some people hate to be responsible so they fight. This is what we have . I do not dispute mans role in global warming, in fact, I state here with no reservations that I lack the knowledge to form an opinion. I am , however, convinced that holding the position of man made global warming has, right or wrong, created the firm battle lines that have been drawn and have diluted the argument against the use of fossil fuel

  6. Peter:

    Good piece and denial is everywhere; especially with a cold, frigid winter irrespective of the facts. When we were able to gain the House of Representative passage of the American Clean Energy and Security Act in 2009, there was actually hope for action, but that stalled in the Senate and President Obama has done little if anything to break the logjam. Now the House is Republican and Tea Party led and won’t renew.

    We will see the results of his executive action under the EPA to control greenhouse gas emissions under other means. Their actions will be mired in the courts no doubt, but there have been some recent victories.

    Here in New York State, we still have yet to finalize a NY State Climate Action Plan. The CAP is “interim” and ought to be a top priority of the Andrew Cuomo administration, but it is hardly mentioned – and needs a revival campaign by the civil and environmental as well as business sectors.

    So too, we do not have a real CAP for the Adirondacks with any real teeth; and yes, there is only so much a regional approach can achieve, but it is still worthwhile to move forward. The Adirondack Park Agency has never truly commanded any significant regional discussion of the impacts and options to reduce the use of green house gas emissions park wide or statewide impacting the region. The transportation sector — so important to the park – is never addressed, as well.

    So, there is much work to do on every level. Recognizing greenhouse gas emissions appropriately as pollutants is key and EPA on the federal level, and DEC on the state level need to push forward appropriate regulations that makes sense with the support of the NY Attorney General and a committed environmental, civil and business community.

    To their credit, the APA and DEC, and the Adirondack CAP have made good headway promoting energy efficiency and biofuels-biomass options. The Adirondack Clean Energy Conference is advancing the dialogue, as well, but we have far to go on all fronts.

  7. Paul says:

    “So, where does this leave us?”

    It is really quite simple. From what Peter lays out here I would say that it seems pretty clear that the people who are wrong are winning the battle. So what can you do in a case where you are losing and losing is really not an option?

    It seems to me that the only solution is to do things that the other side will support.

    First carbon sequestration is something that even oil companies can support. It can work, it is working. Most of our efforts and investments should be focused here. Like Peter describes the situation is dire we are quickly running out of time. I personally don’t think that we should waste any more time trying to get people to buy into alternative energy sources that they think are too expensive, and don’t fit the grid system that we have here in the US adding further to the complexity of the switch to these other alternatives.

    We should also be reducing our emissions by switching as much coal produced energy over to natural gas. This switch allows us to lose our dependance on imports and save huge amounts of money on things like avoiding paying for conflicts overseas. This money can then be used to make the long-term switch to alternative energy sources including the monumental task of upgrading the energy grid that is required.

    The other alternative is to continue to try and convince people who cannot be convinced and allow the planet to fry as we argue. This is a good plan if you are these people who makes a living arguing with others but it does not help the rest of us.

  8. Pete Klein says:

    As long as the human population continues to grow, the demand for all forms of energy will continue to grow and the cost of that energy will be the major reason to use one source of energy or the other.
    I don’t know what the future will bring but I do know the future always brings change. I also know the following facts. At some point in time humans will cease to exist no matter how smart we think we are. But odds are the Earth along with other forms of life will continue to exist long past the last human has died.
    Yes, we are making a mess of things. Every creature on the planet has a tendency to over breed. In the so called natural world, corrective action is usually provided by a predator that restores some balance. Without predators,we would be overrun with vegetarians. Now we have become the top predator and we need to control our numbers. If we don’t no number of “green” solutions are going to solve anything.

  9. Paul says:

    We have vessels now that cruise the planet quietly and safely and we hardly notice them. They are producing all the power they need and producing zero carbon emissions.

    The current class of nuclear powered submarines we have go for at least 25 years before they need any new fuel.

    Along with sequestration I think we should consider smaller nuclear power based plants. Ones where if there is the rare event of a problem it isn’t a disaster we cannot easily contain.

    These could be used as we continue to develop larger nuclear reactors that are safe and clean. Many are in production right now. France generates 75% of its electricity (some of which it exports) while creating zero carbon emissions while doing it. Why should we wait around while tea partiers and environmentalists argue about solar power? Is it just so we can get another book written by this guy or that. One talking about how the world is headed towards collapse while another argues: “don’t worry he happy”!

    • DM says:

      Paul you are 100% correct.

      I am not an expert on climate change.

      However, I am an expert on power generation.

      Nuclear power is the solution to emissions, but the boogie man factor will never allow that solution to be realized. In fact, we are going to see a huge reduction (particularly in NY) in the amount of generation that comes from Nukes. Fitz is shut down, Indian Point and Ginna will both go offline in 2-3 years (mark my words), and Nine Mile Point won’t be far behind.

      Talking about wind and solar is a great hypothetical, but in 5 years we in the North Country are going to have a real problem, not a hypothetical one.

      Did you read the other story about ISO predicting a 27% increase in customers’ bills next month due to natural gas pricing… think about what your bill is going to do when 6,000MW of generation comes off line, with nothing teed up to replace it (we could cover the entire ADK park with windmills and not make up 6,000MW)

  10. Adarondax says:

    Well-meaning global warming deniers will argue that climate change is nothing new. The climate has been changing for millions and billions of years. However, the way it has changed in the past 160 years *is* new. There is no historic precedent for the 3-way correlation of the rapid rise in atmospheric CO2, the burning of carbon-based fuels, and the Earth’s increasing temperature.

  11. Buddy Boyd says:

    Trump’s problem is that Scotland approved the construction of wind mills for electricity production off the coast of his new resort there, and he hates them. On the other hand I am all for ‘green’ energy, and I think we should harness the wind that blows through the Adirondacks and build wind mills here. This would create good paying, sustainable jobs so people who want to live and work here can. Of course, as stated elsewhere, the grid needs to improved, but that would bring more jobs too.

  12. DM says:

    The whole premise of this article is completely incorrect, and manipulative (not shocking as it came from Peter Bauer).

    “In other words half of the weathermen and weatherwomen on TV may be climate change deniers”

    This is a perfect example of pulling the portion of the data that he wants, and then making a huge jump to get to a conclusion that fits his theory.

    Nearly every “point” that is made is done in this way… half-truths based on cherry picking of info.

    The data actually says that only 4% of those polled believe that global warming is not happening.

    Which is my point on the whole point of this article being flawed. He is saying (in a very slimy way without actually saying it) that corporations are duping the American public into thinking that climate change is not taking place. Which is wildly statistically inaccurate.

    The overwhelming majority of Americans believe that global warming is happening, the problem is.. THEY DON’T CARE.

    Something like 75% of Americans think there as strong evidence that the Earth is warming, yet these same people ranked it last when asked if it should be one of the Presidents top priorities.

    It isn’t that Americans are being fooled by Republicans, or big oil, or anyone else. It is that they have bigger issues right now. That is your cue to say “This should be the biggest concern for everyone.. it’s our world, and our children’s future. We should be looking at replacing our generation needs with wind and solar right now”

    That is fine for you to have that opinion, for two reasons. One; you have a very nice life, and have the luxury to pick such issues to worry about , and two; you know absolution nothing about large scale electrical generations, and what this country truly needs in that arena.

    • Adarondax says:

      Frontline did a report on the groups who shifted the direction of the climate change debate.

    • John Warren says:

      I’ll just leave this here:

      Republicans vote to deny climate change

      “The House Energy and Commerce Committee Tuesday voted down an amendment that would have stated conclusively that climate change is occurring.”

      “E&C Committee members voted 24-20 against the amendment, introduced by Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) to H.R. 3826, the Electricity Security and Affordability Act. That bill, if it makes it through Congress, would put an end to EPA regulations on emissions for new power plants until technologies like carbon capture and storage are commercially viable in at least six states for one year. It passed in Tuesday’s committee, but the amendment, which would have placed on the record that the committee accepts that climate change is happening and is caused by greenhouse gas pollution, did not.”

      “Twenty-four E&C members — all Republicans — voted against the amendment. Among them was E&C Chair Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), who has said before that he doesn’t think climate change is caused by human activity, and Joe Barton (R-TX), who also questions humans’ role in climate change. In total, the Republicans who voted to deny climate change have accepted about $9.3 million in career contributions from the oil, gas and coal industries, according to analysis by the CAP Action War Room.”

      • Paul says:

        It is pretty scary to see what republicans and democrats in the house are spending their time voting on these days?

        This helps make my point above. Forget about trying to convince these guys. These politicians on both sides of the isle are just wasting precious time.

        The companies developing (and implementing on a relatively large scale) sequestration technology should go and talk with the “big oil” guys and explain to them how this technology will help them more easily and safely extract their raw materials and turn CO2 into things like plastics (other products that oil companies are interested in). All of this being done while we are REMOVING carbon from the atmosphere and solving the man made warming problem. They can do all this while republicans and democrats sit around on their hands having stupid votes that do nothing to solve the countries problems.

  13. Noel Drindak says:

    Hi Peter,

    I’m a Fox News viewer (O’Reilly mostly) but I also watch Morning Joe regularly. I wasn’t sure about climate change, but was interested in learning more. I’m currently taking an online course, “Energy, the Environment, and Our Future”, taught by Dr. Richard Alley from Penn State. (The course is a MOOC — stands for Massive Open Online Course). Dr. Alley has served on the IPCC, and he did a show for PBS called “Earth, the Operator’s Manual” — you may have watched it. The one-hour video does an excellent job of making the case for climate change, without getting preachy or political. I think that anyone who doesn’t believe in climate change would come away with a different point of view if they watched it. It can be viewed online at

  14. Pete Klein says:

    DM makes good points and then gets slammed for making them.
    Believing or not believing in Global Warming is not important. Reducing pollution is important, global warming or no global warming. Fact is: not only does global warming rank low on the minds of most people, there are some people who would love for the climate to be warmer.
    Also, concerns about global warming and even pollution are lower on the lists of concerns than is the price of energy. This is true worldwide.
    This insistence that everyone must believe in Global Warming reminds me very much people who insist you must believe in “their God.”

    • Matt says:


      Wonderfully stated. Thanks. My point from the start

    • Noel Drindak says:

      Pete Klein says, “Believing or not believing in Global Warming is not important”. On the contrary, it’s vitally important. Until people understand that global warming is real, that it’s caused by burning fossil fuels, and that it threatens our future existence on earth we won’t make the needed changes. For the 400,000 years before the industrial revolution, CO2 in the atmosphere oscillated between 180 and 280 ppm. We’re currently at 400 ppm and the earth’s temperature has increased by 1 degree F. On our current path we’ll soon be at 560 ppm, twice the maximum for the last 400,000 years and enough to increase the earth’s temperature by 5 degrees F.

      The first degree of warming didn’t have large effects, but each degree of warming is worse than the one before it. Five degrees of warming will bring species extinctions, widespread droughts, crop failures from both drought and heat stress, and rising oceans.

      Our lives are enriched by our use of energy. Energy keeps us warm in winter and cool in summer. It makes us mobile, powering trains, planes and automobiles. We use energy to refrigerate our food and also to cook it. We use energy to manufacture the things we use in everyday life. We need energy.

      We can have all the energy we need without using fossil fuel, using a combination of wind, solar, and nuclear energy, but we must have the will to make changes. Until people understand the results that burning fossil fuel will produce, they won’t have the will to make the necessary changes.

      • John L says:

        Wow, when was the last time you heard a wind and solar guy touting NUCLEAR energy. What has that ‘green’ movement come to??

        • Noel Drindak says:

          Hi John,

          We still need power when the wind isn’t blowing and the sun isn’t shining. Nuclear is the only only current option that dosen’t produce CO2. Maybe someday we’ll be able to store enough energy, but it’s not going to be soon.

  15. Paul Bedrey says:

    I had to double check the date of this article. Its dated January 2014 but by the statements I could have sworn it was written in 1998. You speak of facts and data but choose to ignore the real world data that shows a pause in temperatures of at least 15 years. This pause happened while CO2 levels are not only higher but the rate of increase has accelerated. The Climate models that were used to make future predictions have badly missed real world temperatures since 1998. They are on the verge of falling outside the 95% confidence band.

    I keep hearing 97% consensus but know of no scientific poll that discounts the “no opinion” line. In that other poll of meteorologists roughly 71% who were also Climatologists thought change was manmade so I consider that the true number not 97%.

    Of the countries you mention the US has reduced CO2 levels the most. This was largely due to a switch to gas from coal for electric generation.

    Let me conclude by reminding you that science is never settled or the debate over. Any theory is only good as the data. Many theories thought initially to be gospel and having “consensus” have been overturned by subsequent data.
    Its still too early to tell but if the next 15 years are anything like the last your theory is disproven.

  16. Lester Jorgenson says:

    The evidence and support for human-caused global warming keeps growing.