Letters to the Editor

Not ‘all politics’

April 1, 2009


To the editor:

This last Saturday, Cal Thomas writes on climate change, doing his very best to misinform the public. He requests debating climate change and says with as many words that climate change scientists are avoiding such a debate. There is an obvious response to the plea of Cal Thomas. He clearly is unaware that the debate has been going on for decades in the pages of learned journals that Thomas has never read.

For Thomas it is pretty easy to climb the soapbox and address his readers about a subject about which he ignores practically everything. It would be a very different thing to check the original sources, which show how scientists increasingly and steadily accept climate change as real, mostly man-caused and of dire consequences for our societies. Thomas quotes approvingly from such scientific luminaries as Czech President Vaclav Klaus, who believes that the last report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is “all politics.”

Quite the contrary, it is a data rich, easy to understand by nonprofessionals, concise and sober explanation of the science and economics of climate change. For those readers of the Journal-World interested in checking facts themselves, visit www.ipcc.ch/ipccreports/index.htm. The executive summary to which Thomas refers as “all politics” can be consulted there. At the very least it should provide a refreshing contrast with the pontificating of Mr. Thomas.

Soberon is from Lawrence


jaywalker 9 years ago

"mostly man-caused"

You were going along just fine 'til the wheels came off with that line, Jorge.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years ago

Clearly, Tom and jaywalker, you'd benefit just as much as Cal would by visiting the link supplied by the letter writer, although you've all three demonstrated a stubborn imperviousness to information you don't like.


jaywalker 9 years ago

"although you've all three demonstrated a stubborn imperviousness to information you don't like"

Aaah, the pleasant snottiness of bozo in the morning, served ad hominem. Again. Not for nothin', bozo, but you are the last person on these boards who should criticize anyone for being 'close-minded'.

I've read numerous reports from a variety of sources including this one, bozo. My opinion is this is a natural climate shift that man-made emissions are contributing to. My skepticism on just how much influence man-made emissions have comes from the fact that we've only been contributing significantly for 150 years, give or take, an ant fart in time.

jafs 9 years ago

It does seem like a short time, but our technological advances have been quite remarkable.

We are capable of polluting and destroying nature on a scale far beyond any other species.

I imagine if the Industrial Revolution had not taken place that our contribution to climate change would be much less significant.

George Lippencott 9 years ago

It seems to me that while some segments of the population continues to argue about details there is significant progress occurring off in the hinterlands.

There are major initiatives to address many of our carbon producing sources albeit probably not as fast as some would like.

I wonder if that is the real issue. Some people labor under the restriction of having to figure out how to do it while others, lacking true understanding of the magnitude and complexity of the task, continue to demand unrealistic progress by some bench mark date.

Signing up to an artificial carbon reduction level could easily destroy society as we know it. From what I am told many of the Kyoto signers are not meeting the relatively limited goals set there under.

The issue to me is not really politics but science and sociology. How fast can we find new solutions to energy generation and how much sacrifice can we demand from individuals in the meantime without a revolution ?

Brian Laird 9 years ago

Pilgrim2 - I will repeat my comment from the last time you posted this out of context quote - selectively edited to bolster your position. You are the one advocating dishonesty here judging by your actions. Here is the actual Schneider quote from Discover magazine - including the crucial last sentence that you “conveniently” omitted.

“On the one hand, as scientists we are ethically bound to the scientific method, in effect promising to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but — which means that we must include all the doubts, the caveats, the ifs, ands, and buts. On the other hand, we are not just scientists but human beings as well. And like most people we'd like to see the world a better place, which in this context translates into our working to reduce the risk of potentially disastrous climatic change. To do that we need to get some broadbased support, to capture the public's imagination. That, of course, entails getting loads of media coverage. So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have. This 'double ethical bind' we frequently find ourselves in cannot be solved by any formula. Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest. I hope that means being both. ”

Left_handed 9 years ago

Mr. Shewmon,

Don't speak ill of the Goreacle, lest you be stricken with his righteous lightning from the heavens above.

I wouldn't worry too much about it if I were you. Your assessment of the validity of his position is spot on. To paraphrase a statement from the Clinton/Gore years, "It's the sun, stupid."

jaywalker 9 years ago

I don't disagree, jafs.

Good points, George. And to add to the complexity of your question, how do we get the newly industrialized nations, the ones we've been helping to rise out of third world status, to forego coal and oil usage? India and China will surpass us in consumption of fossil fuels before long, while Brazil and numerous African nations are increasingly dependent on such resources to further lift them up and into world trade markets. That's going to be an exceedingly tough sell.

bearded_gnome 9 years ago

the writer, George [above] and the UN bluehelmet report actually exemplify the closed-mindedness Cal was writing about!

and the quote above in context when read is at least as incriminating as pilgram2's "out of context" presentation, the last sentence doesn't really help, just ads to the breath necessary to read it.

there once was a time in the natural shift of constantly changing climate of earth that it was warmer than it is now: Greenland was actually green; you could grow wine grapes in the UK.

now, the greenie wheenies want a full-time climate czar to be hired at lawrence city hall to help cut our "carbon footprint" and our [fake] contribution to global warming.

yes, this was at the last city commission meeting.

devobrun 9 years ago

Again, the problem exists because of the lack of rigor regarding climatology and several other new sciences.

Science requires a test. Observation and data is not a test. They are certainly not "facts" as the LTE writer says. Experiments are valued when they are controlled. The more variables controlled, the better the experiment. Climate science controls nothing. Read this wiki description of an experiment and be critical of climate proxies and extrapolations and inductive reasoning: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Experiment

Temperature measurements are not "global temperatures". Read Hansen's own words about the temperature of the atmosphere and the problem of defining it and measuring it.


Thomas's article takes to task the present state of climatology. The people who disagree here are unencumbered by rigor. The IPCC sure isn't concerned by scientific testing. They are fully prepared to continue to model cloud albedo, ocean circulation, solar flux, and many other feedback variables that are not tested. Meanwhile they engage in scare tactics to change political goals.

They don't know. Nobody does. Computer models are abstractions that are used when a test is impractical. Somewhere along the way, people substituted computer runs for test. It is the big lie.

Thomas points this up. The psycho-evolutionary-biological-physicists buy the new way of asserting a notion on the basis trial by jury and computer "experiments", but Thomas doesn't. I agree with him.

jumpin_catfish 9 years ago

Thanks Jorge for the letter to the editor. This blog gets boring and your, in my opinion, goofy left wing dribble just gets everyone all jazzed up and makes this newspaper worth reading. Thanks again.

Jaylee 9 years ago

i agree with this article. not everything is pure political. there are legitimate issues out there, whether or not certain people choose to recognize them as such.

slowing the human race's role in global climate change is one of them in my book.

notajayhawk 9 years ago

Good April Fool's Day letter, Jorge.

"At the very least it should provide a refreshing contrast with the pontificating of Mr. Thomas."

And while your own pontificating provides a contrast to Mr. Thomas's, it's hardly refreshing.

jaywalker (Anonymous) says…

"Not for nothin', bozo, but you are the last person on these boards who should criticize anyone for being 'close-minded'."

Oh, come on now, jaywalker, it's only half the time that boohoozo rejects out-of-hand 'facts' which conflict with his idiotology.

The other half of the time, he doesn't understand them.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years ago

"Computer models are abstractions that are used when a test is impractical. Somewhere along the way, people substituted computer runs for test."

How's that terraforming coming along, devo? We certainly don't want to make any rash decisions based on mere computer modeling. When are you going to give us the "controlled experiment" you demand?

Flap Doodle 9 years ago

Al Gore built a bonfire of spotted owls to celebrate Earth Hour last week?

George Lippencott 9 years ago

bearded_gnome (Anonymous) says…

Blogs are making m feel very stupid

1.) I believe the planet is warming 2.) I believe it does not particularly matter how much we are contributing - I suspect at least some 3.) It is just common sense to do what we can to throttle back on resource use - particularly as the rest of the world demands their share 4.) I am at a blank as to how we can get to the UN recommended reductions in the time articulated without instituting a very coercive dictatorship. (of course, Gore will be exempt) 5.) I am not ready for the dictatorship and I am not alone so I guess we all may get warmer, climate will change and we will, as we have throughout history, adapt. 6.) There will be winners and losers (did I spell it right) as there have always been when things change (and even when they don't) 7.) Yelling about it solves nothing and reflects a shallow understanding as to how we accomplish a response to climate change as I believe that much of the low hanging fruit has been picked and that many solution are underway at a pace that will likely produce a backlash within a year or so (costs of energy). 8.) Keep demanding that we do what we have mostly done or are doing or that we do something unspecified and drive the rest of us crazy!

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