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AP Verdict - science trumps GW deniers


    Smog in Beijing, China, December, 2009. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

The Associated Press recently completed a thorough review of the stolen emails that provoked a firestorm of allegations and accusations of fraud from the global warming denial community, and concluded that as embarrassing and unscientific as some of the messages were, ". . . the exchanges don't undercut the vast body of evidence showing the world is warming because of man-made greenhouse gas emissions."  Does that end the controversy swirling around "Climategate," which began November 19 upon the publication of a few emails hijacked from the influential Climate Research Unit (CRU) located at the University of East Anglia in England?  No, of course not.  Most of the deniers are fanatics, and are unlikely to ever admit that humans cause global warming, or even that the warming trend, which is well documented, exists at all.  They are much like the creationists in their zeal and insistence that the science is wrong, a hoax, a fraud, and their stubborn refusal to acknowledge the mountains of evidence to the contrary.

What has struck me most in this bizarre episode is how the deniers accuse scientists of what they themselves are guilty of, and that they seem oblivious to this stunning irony.  One has only to read a blog post and comments on the subject to witness how scurrilous and unfounded the denials are, charging thousands of climatologists around the world with perpetrating a colossal hoax for reasons which make no sense and for which there is not a single shred of evidence to back them up.  It is they who are making their case up, not the scientists.  It is they who lie and distort, who manipulate and manufacture false data, who dismiss the massive amount of persuasive evidence with an arrogant flick of the hand or shrug of the shoulder, without so much as looking at it.  It is they who have the most to hide in whatever emails pass between them that we don't see - it is bad enough what we do see.  They have absolutely no scruples, no compunctions against attacking the messengers and scientists involved in all the research, the thousands of people who have so painstakingly put together an irrefutable case for a cataclysmic threat to this planet over the coming century.

Only a fool would deny the science, try to bury it, ignore it, dismiss it.  The risk is too profound.  After all, if the science does prove to be overstated, if global warming were to prove modest and fairly innocuous over the coming decades, would our precautions against it be harmful to us?  Of course not.  We are embarking on a remarkable mission to replace fossil fuels, whose emissions not only include greenhouse gases, but toxic pollutants as well, with clean, renewable alternatives like solar power and wind, and nuclear power if we can resolve the issues that currently make it so costly to generate safely.  Furthermore, fossil fuels, especially oil, are depleting rapidly, becoming increasingly expensive to extract.  They won't last forever.  We must find alternatives.  Fortunately, the most prodigious energy source of all - the sun - is a virtually inexhaustible and limitless source, if we would only get off our duffs and harness it.  So our response to global warming is win-win, no matter how serious or not the threat.

Not so if the deniers have their way, and they are prevailing in this "debate," as polls show the public is becoming less and less convinced that global warming is real, or if it is, that it represents a serious threat.  Nature doesn't care what we think.  It will take its course.  If we do nothing, and if the scientists are right, or even half-right, we face a catastrophic future for which there will be no antidote.  And what if it is worse than what they predict?  Once the greenhouse gases have been released into the atmosphere, except for water vapor,  they linger for a long time, 100 years for carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide, a dozen for methane.  They don't fall back as rain.  Temperatures will continue to climb for decades after we finally stop emitting them, until an inferno-like equilibrium is reached.  Weather will become volatile, violent, extreme and unpredictable as atmospheric energy increases.

We have nothing to lose, and everything to gain by developing a vast new world of renewable energy sources.  There is no excuse for delay.  None.

 

Comments

  • Sam 4 years ago

    "What has struck me most in this bizarre episode is how the deniers accuse scientists of what they themselves are guilty of, and that they seem oblivious to this stunning irony."

    You can't have a "concensus" without debate. And there lies the problem. There has been no debate. I have yet to see a climate debate anywhere, on any news channel or public broadcasting channel. The science is settled of course.

    How about this: We use the trillions of dollars that the carbon credit derivative business and UN control will suck out of the world economy for developing alternatives to fossil fuels. If this was about saving the planet, that is where the money would be going to. Not to new financial instruments that have the potential to make the housing bubble look like a boom. But the belief in AGW and the current trend toward global regulation of carbon really isn't about saving the planet, is it? If it were we would all have windmills on our property and solar panels on our rooftops.

  • David H 4 years ago

    Spot on, Sam!

    There has never been a debate. The warmists grabbed the high moral ground early on and totally stifled all debate. As a scientist I know that it was next to impossible to get a contrary paper published up until recently. However, over the last 12 months I note that there are far more peer reviewed scientific papers coming out discounting the link between CO2 and warming than there are going the other way. So much for the consensus.

    I note that many scientists are now putting their own opinions / findings on the net. Dare I suggest that a substantial proportion of the "deniers" are in fact scientists?

  • Bob 4 years ago

    This invaluable review by AP was written by Seth Bornstein, who himself is mentioned in the very emails he's reviewing. Still, I'm sure we can rely on his impartiality.

    Please see the recent article on 'Watts Up With That' for more details.

  • Sam 4 years ago

    "What has struck me most in this bizarre episode is how the deniers accuse scientists of what they themselves are guilty of, and that they seem oblivious to this stunning irony."

    You can't have a "concensus" without debate. And there lies the problem. There has been no debate. I have yet to see a climate debate anywhere, on any news channel or public broadcasting channel. The science is settled of course.

    How about this: We use the trillions of dollars that the carbon credit derivative business and UN control will suck out of the world economy for developing alternatives to fossil fuels. If this was about saving the planet, that is where the money would be going to. Not to new financial instruments that have the potential to make the housing bubble look like a boom. But the belief in AGW and the current trend toward global regulation of carbon really isn't about saving the planet, is it? If it were we would all have windmills on our property and solar panels on our rooftops.

  • jallen 4 years ago

    Citing the AP journalists as authorities is ludicrous. Words are not the language of science. Mathematics is the language of science. Journalists posess very little in the way of quantitative analytical skills.

    One should wait until quantitative analysis of the data, methods, and algorithms are performed -- under the scientific ethics of full disclosure, data sharing and transparency. At that point we can draw conclusions about what the efforts at CRU prove or disprove

  • Shawn 4 years ago

    I understand the logic that says "I don't care if AGW is real, it is good to reduce CO2 output anyway"... unfortunately this logic ignores the human suffering that may result from taxing a harmless gas. The idea that extra CO2 will result in dramatic warming is a dis-proven hypothesis. See joannenova.com.au/globalwarming/the_skeptics_handbook_2-3_lq.pdf pages 4,5&8.

  • Paul Mason 4 years ago

    Feel the COLD!

    Since the environmental scientists have been caught falsifying their data, the man in the street should just look around at the SNOW, and FEEL THE
    COLD!

    I predict that within 4 years, Al Gore and the Global Warmers will be defending themselves against criminal charges of fraud.
    Berni Madoff was a piker compared to these guys.

  • UK skeptic 4 years ago

    Bob's comment is the key one:
    "This invaluable review by AP was written by Seth Bornstein, who himself is mentioned in the very emails he's reviewing. Still, I'm sure we can rely on his impartiality."

    Sic transit...

  • Climate-denier-gate nontroversy 4 years ago

    First the denialists ignored the debate, wishing it would go away. Now they complain "there wasn't any debate". Great strategy. Now that we're actually close to doing something about it, they are hysterical and their disinformation War on Science is in high gear.

    The science is out there, if you care to inform yourself.

    realclimate dot org

    skepticalscience dot com

  • Climate-denier-gate nontroversy 4 years ago

    "over the last 12 months I note that there are far more peer reviewed scientific papers coming out discounting the link between CO2 and warming than there are going the other way"

    That's a bald-faced, pants-on-fire lie.

  • Art 4 years ago

    Sam - I love your comment that there has been no debate. Where have you been over the past 20 years? And

    Bob - I love your comment that somebody whose been mentioned in the news has no standing to pass judgement because of that mention. You just disqualified your own contribution to this nonsensible discussion. And...

    Jallen - I love your comments that because journalist aren't scientist they can't accurately report the words of scientists in their studies. I guess that means that since you haven't personally interpreted the numbers there can be no reporting of them.

    All nonsense, and therein lie our real problem. Too many people who, if left to their own devices, would be happy to revert to burning witches in Salem as the only means to confirm a woman's innocence of the allegation.

  • Geno 4 years ago

    Russel Krause (The Author) said: "Temperatures will continue to climb for decades after we finally stop emitting them, until an inferno-like equilibrium is reached." Talk about scare-mongering. The shy is falling! The sky is falling! Run for your lives!

  • Bill 4 years ago

    The AP has spoken. Forgive me if I don't take the word of some science-illiterate "journalists" that the science of global warming is settled. Most journalists I've met, and I've known quite a few, can't explain the difference between fission and fusion. Their opinion on the science of global warming is about as valuable as ice cubes are to eskimos.

  • Guybrush Threepwood 4 years ago

    Russel, nice picture there, you realize that Co2 doesn't cause smog right? In fact those particulates contribute a cooling effect, but you're the science crusader. Maybe I and the 10's of thousands of qualified scientists who refute dangerous global warming are ignorant of something you know.

    So I'd LOVE to hear your scientific understanding of how 100/200 ppm extra Co2 can cause global disaster, please enlighten us ignorant skeptics!

  • Guybrush Threepwood 4 years ago

    To Climategate-denier, feel free to jump in if you can offer a scrap of scientific evidence yourself!

  • Owl 4 years ago

    I think AP have just discredited themselves.

  • Potter, D. 4 years ago

    Mr. Russell Krauss, have you taken the time to read through some of the Emails? Have you taken the time to look at programmers notes that were released? Have you looked at the program code?

    If not then you really need to stop writing and start reading and studying the "hacked" & released information before writing again.

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