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Archive for Sunday, September 25, 2011

U.S. disbelief in climate change persists, deepens

September 25, 2011

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— Tucked between treatises on algae and prehistoric turquoise beads, the study on page 460 of a long-ago issue of the U.S. journal Science drew little attention.

“I don’t think there were any newspaper articles about it or anything like that,” the author recalls.

But the headline on the 1975 report was bold: “Are We on the Brink of a Pronounced Global Warming?” And this article that coined the term may have marked the last time a mention of “global warming” didn’t set off an instant outcry of angry denial.

‘Desire to disbelieve’

In the paper, Columbia University geoscientist Wally Broecker calculated how much carbon dioxide would accumulate in the atmosphere in the coming 35 years, and how temperatures consequently would rise. His numbers have proven almost dead-on correct. Meanwhile, other powerful evidence poured in over those decades, showing the “greenhouse effect” is real and is happening. And yet resistance to the idea among many in the U.S. appears to have hardened.

What’s going on?

“The desire to disbelieve deepens as the scale of the threat grows,” concludes economist-ethicist Clive Hamilton.

He and others who track what they call “denialism” find that its nature is changing in America, last redoubt of climate naysayers. It has taken on a more partisan, ideological tone. Polls find a widening Republican-Democratic gap on climate. Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry even accuses climate scientists of lying for money. Global warming looms as a debatable question in yet another U.S. election campaign.

From his big-windowed office overlooking the wooded campus of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in Palisades, N.Y., Broecker has observed this deepening of the desire to disbelieve.

“The opposition by the Republicans has gotten stronger and stronger,” the 79-year-old “grandfather of climate science” said in an interview. “But, of course, the push by the Democrats has become stronger and stronger, and as it has become a more important issue, it has become more polarized.”

The solution: “Eventually it’ll become damned clear that the Earth is warming and the warming is beyond anything we have experienced in millions of years, and people will have to admit...” He stopped and laughed.

“Well, I suppose they could say God is burning us up.”

Convincing argument

The basic physics of anthropogenic — manmade — global warming has been clear for more than a century, since researchers proved that carbon dioxide traps heat. Others later showed CO2 was building up in the atmosphere from the burning of coal, oil and other fossil fuels. Weather stations then filled in the rest: Temperatures were rising.

“As a physicist, putting CO2 into the air is good enough for me. It’s the physics that convinces me,” said veteran Cambridge University researcher Liz Morris. But she said work must go on to refine climate data and computer climate models, “to convince the deeply reluctant organizers of this world.”

Global temperatures rose by 1.1 degrees Fahrenheit in the 20th century. And the mercury just kept rising. The decade 2000-2009 was the warmest on record, and 2010 and 2005 were the warmest years on record.

Satellite and other monitoring, meanwhile, found nights were warming faster than days, and winters more than summers, and the upper atmosphere was cooling while the lower atmosphere warmed — all clear signals greenhouse warming was at work, not some other factor.

The impact has been widespread.

An authoritative study this August reported hundreds of species retreating toward the poles, egrets showing up in southern England, American robins in Eskimo villages. Some, such as polar bears, have nowhere to go. Eventual large-scale extinctions are feared.

The heat is cutting into wheat yields, nurturing beetles that are destroying northern forests, attracting malarial mosquitoes to higher altitudes.

From the Rockies to the Himalayas, glaciers are shrinking, sending ever more water into the world’s seas. Because of accelerated melt in Greenland and elsewhere, the eight-nation Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program projects ocean levels will rise 35 to 63 inches by 2100, threatening coastlines everywhere.

The Arctic Ocean’s summer ice cap has shrunk by half and is expected to essentially vanish by 2030 or 2040, the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center reported Sept. 15. Ashore, meanwhile, the Arctic tundra’s permafrost is thawing and releasing methane, a powerful greenhouse gas.

These changes will feed on themselves: Released methane leads to warmer skies, which will release more methane. Ice-free Arctic waters absorb more of the sun’s heat than do reflective ice and snow, and so melt will beget melt. The frozen Arctic is a controller of Northern Hemisphere climate; an unfrozen one could upend age-old weather patterns across continents.

Doubters, deniers

In the face of years of scientific findings and growing impacts, the doubters persist. They ignore long-term trends and seize on insignificant year-to-year blips in data to claim all is well. They focus on minor mistakes in thousands of pages of peer-reviewed studies to claim all is wrong. And they carom from one explanation to another for today’s warming Earth: jet contrails, sunspots, cosmic rays, natural cycles.

“Ninety-eight percent of the world’s climate scientists say it’s for real, and yet you still have deniers,” observed former U.S. Rep. Sherwood Boehlert, a New York Republican who chaired the House’s science committee.

Christiana Figueres, Costa Rican head of the U.N.’s post-Kyoto climate negotiations, finds it “very, very perplexing, this apparent allergy that there is in the United States. Why?”

The Australian scholar Hamilton sought to explain why in his 2010 book, “Requiem for a Species: Why We Resist the Truth About Climate Change.”

In an interview, he said he found a “transformation” from the 1990s and its industry-financed campaign, to an America where climate denial “has now become a marker of cultural identity in the ‘angry’ parts of the United States.”

“Climate denial has been incorporated in the broader movement of right-wing populism,” he said, a movement that has “a visceral loathing of environmentalism.”

An in-depth study of a decade of Gallup polling finds statistical backing for that analysis.

On the question of whether they believed the effects of global warming were already happening, the percentage of self-identified Republicans or conservatives answering “yes” plummeted from almost 50 percent in 2007-2008 to 30 percent or less in 2010, while liberals and Democrats remained at 70 percent or more, according to the study in this spring’s Sociological Quarterly.

A Pew Research Center poll last October found a similar left-right gap.

The drop-off coincided with the election of Democrat Barack Obama as president and the Democratic effort in Congress, ultimately futile, to impose government caps on industrial greenhouse emissions.

Boehlert, the veteran Republican congressman, noted that “high-profile people with an ‘R’ after their name, like Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann, are saying it’s all fiction. Pooh-poohing the science of climate change feeds into their basic narrative that all government is bad.”

The quarterly study’s authors, Aaron M. McCright of Michigan State University and Riley E. Dunlap of Oklahoma State, suggested climate had joined abortion and other explosive, intractable issues as a mainstay of America’s hardening left-right gap.

“The culture wars have thus taken on a new dimension,” they wrote.

Comments

Flap Doodle 2 years, 6 months ago

The earth has been both warmer and cooler than it is now. If all humans disappeared tomorrow, the earth of the future would continue to go through climate cycles where it would be both warmer and cooler than it is now. bozo speculating about poisoning people won't change anything.

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Barry Watts 2 years, 6 months ago

I'm not too worried. We will either evolve or become extinct. It is how it has supposedly happened for millions of years. To the polar bears, I say the same thing. Evolve or become extinct. Survival of the fittest! (Evolutionary theory can be very depressing.)

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camper 2 years, 6 months ago

TBaker says "Thats just pure bunk a child could see through. Water vapor is 95% of the greenhouse gases, CO2 is 3.618% and man made CO2 is even more miniscule, only 0.117%."

I will assume this data is trustworthy. But 0.117% man made CO2 might be an enourmous amount or a miniscule amount relative to the volume or space of the atmosphere. And that 0.117% might just lead to increased water vapor (which has a green house effect). Here is how. If man made CO2 causes even the slightest warming effect, the air will be warmer. Warmer air can hold more moisture. More moisture in the air translates to increased water vapor. Repeat cycle.

And all of this is assuming your source is accurate.

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georgeofwesternkansas 2 years, 6 months ago

The climate change people do not want to change the world. They want to rule it.

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tbaker 2 years, 6 months ago

Jafs - the merit of my logic is self-evident. The same people who cannot explain why a factual event occurred the last time the Earth got warmer simply do not have any credibility when they purport to know what is causing the Earth to warm now. Were they able to prove what caused the last warming event, they would definitely be worth listening to now. Since they can't, they are not. That is just common sense. The bottom line here is we are working with enormous time scales and yet we only have a tiny fraction of data to work with, and the reliability of that data is highly questionable. Assuming the very best case scenario, we have only been accurately measuring global average temperature for maybe the last 60 years, and even with such a generous assumption, freshman statistics will show you that the error rate in temperature samples used is greater than the claimed temperature rise. Back in the late 70s, the same government scientists (who we are supposed to believe now) were trying to scare us with the coming ice age. Remember that? Volcanoes and the ocean itself are by far much larger sources of CO2 and other "greenhouse" gases. Many, many, many multiples of the amounts human activity produces - and this assumes CO2 is causing some greenhouse effect (which it cannot) Just consider it's molecular weight and see if something with that weight can behave the way CO2 is supposed to be behaving. (can't) In the journal "Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS)" published a peer-reviewed article that began: “Data for global surface temperature indicate little warming between 1998 and 2008." Furthermore, global surface temperature actually declines 0.2 °C between 2005 and 2008.” This cooling trend has continued past 2008 despite a warm, El Nino-influenced 2010. The shoddy data collection that is managing to get done is showing the Earth to be cooling - not warming.

A recent paper in "Science" found that 5,000 years ago, at the end of the Holocene Optimum warming, there was 50 per cent less Arctic ice than there is today. Somehow, the planet and polar bears survived. And yet, official climatology tells the public that today’s Arctic melting is “unprecedented” and that polar bears—despite the largest populations ever recorded—are endangered.

Global Warming is a load of horse dung Jafs, designed to scare people and give the government greater ability to control people, but like I said to begin with: I'm all for cleaner, more environmentally friendly ways to do what humans do simply because I have to live in this environment, and so does everyone I care about. These are sound, practical reasons to care about the environment. This is why I giggle when some Global Warmer who laps up this tripe as gospel goes off the rails and accuses me of being irrational.

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Centerville 2 years, 6 months ago

The 'hide the decline' people have no one to blame but themselves. They thought they had a nice little scam going.

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tbaker 2 years, 6 months ago

Yawn......according to KU, there used to be a 900' thick glacier sitting on my property here in lovely Leavenworth county, and it sat there for about 50,000 years. Then one day about 12,000 years ago, it got warmer and the glacier melted. Obviously humans didn't cause this radical climate change. What I find amusing is the fact the very same scienticifc community, whose word on man-made "climate change" we are supposed to accept on faith, are the exact same bunch of people who cannot explain what ended the last ice age.

So please, by all means, bother to tell me why any rational person would pay any attention to the gloom and doom predictions of people claiming man is warming the planet when they can't even explain why the planet warmed the last time.

I won't bother with the rest.

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melott 2 years, 6 months ago

If CO2 has increased about 40% since the Industrial Revolution, can your claim about the fraction of human-made CO2 be correct?

I won't bother with the rest.

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tbaker 2 years, 6 months ago

I'm all for clean air to breathe, water to drink, and food to eat. Everyone I care about is affected by it. If there is a cleaner way to do all the things mankind does, then by all means, lets do it. If cleaning up man's behavior in the name of saving the Earth is your goal, then I suggestr you pack a bag and head for the third world. Start with China. Most of the nasty stuff going into our atmosphere comes from somewhere other than the US.

Just don't tell me man-made carbon dioxide is ruining the planet becuase it is causing some "greenhouse" effect. Thats just pure bunk a child could see through. Water vapor is 95% of the greenhouse gases, CO2 is 3.618% and man made CO2 is even more miniscule, only 0.117%. CO2 molecules in the atmosphere are so diffuse that is impossible for CO2 to cause global warming. Repeat: CO2 can NOT cause warming. If you think the climate is getting warmer, then common sense should lead you to take a long hard look at the number #1 generator of heat in the solar system - the sun. Overlay global average temperature with solar cycles. (this assumes we accurately measure global average temps, and we don't)

Of course the Al Gore crowd won't accept this becuase this whole debate is about giving government yet more control over human behavior. If it turns out the sun is the reason why the earth gets hotter and colder at various times, then it's hard to use climate change as a reason to put more government into people's lives.

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melott 2 years, 6 months ago

This persists the idea--false--that the idea of future climate change is based on extrapolation of current trends. That is not the case. We have been aware that there has been a flattening of the curve, probably due to extra particulates and/or increased cloud cover from cosmic rays. 5 years ago I predicted that the deniers would seize on this affect (the cosmic ray change was somewhat predictable based on solar cycles).

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tbaker 2 years, 6 months ago

The briefest search of the web produces plenty of reasons for the disbelief in climate change to persist:

The Climate Research Unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia in Britain is one of four places in the world where global temperature data sets are compiled. Someone (apparently an insider) hacked into the CRU's computer system, and on Friday posted online 1,079 emails and 72 documents. Dr. Phil Jones, the director of the CRU, has said the emails appear to be genuine.

Dr. Jones and his global warming alarmist colleagues have a fundamental problem: The planet hasn't warmed since 1998, and -- according to satellite measurements -- has cooled significantly in the last two years. The emails indicate how they dealt with it. Blogger Ed Morrissey (Hot Air) summarizes:

"Prominent environmental scientists organize a boycott of scientific journals if those journals publish scholarly material from global warming dissidents.

"The scientists then orchestrate attacks on the dissidents because of their lack of scholarly material published in scientific journals.

"The scientists block from the UN's report on global warming evidence that is harmful to the anthroprogenic global warming consensus.

"The scientists, when faced with a Freedom of Information Act request for their correspondence and data, delete the correspondence and data lest it be used against them.

"The scientists fabricate data when their data fails to prove the earth is warming."

The heart of the scientific method is falsifiability. Scientists share data with each other to see whether or not their experiments can be replicated. By massaging data to meet a preconceived conclusion, and by hiding data from skeptical colleagues, Dr. Jones and his associates were acting more like scam artists.

For instance, in an email Nov. 16, 1999, Dr. Jones told three other scientists: "I've just completed Mike's Nature trick of adding in the real temps for each series for the last 20 years (i.e., from 1981 onwards) and from 1961 for Keith's to hide the decline." ("Mike" is Dr. Michael Mann of Penn State University, author of the "hockey stick" graph of global temperatures which Canadian researchers Stephen McIntyre and Ross McKittrick demonstrated to be fraudulent. "Keith" is Dr. Keith Briffa of the CRU, whose temperature graphs from tree ring data from Yamal, Russia, also have been shown by McIntyre and McKittrick to be unreliable.)

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whatthehell 2 years, 6 months ago

What I find interesting is how many of the usual posters become strangely quiet in the face of basic common sense and facts that are not refuteable. My personal favorite is to take all those facts and common sense and apply it to american politicians who insist it isn't so. Doesn't that suggest that they are idiots or bought and paid for by special interest lobby? How can it not be one of those two when the "math" is so straightforward. What is scariest and most reprehensible is that they live by the old adage that if you tell a lie often enough it will be accepted as truth.

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ivalueamerica 2 years, 6 months ago

The switch of belief has everything to do with politics and little to do with science.

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its_just_math 2 years, 6 months ago

Indeed humans are a major factor in global climate change. The way Al Gore and various environmentalists went about addressing the issue is what bothers me. But overall, mother nature will scrub us clean and not bat an eye whenever she is good and ready. We are too cocky as humans. We have no idea of the true power of natural forces. Some want to think they do, like Al Gore, but they don't.

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gatekeeper 2 years, 6 months ago

It seems hard to believe that people still deny basic science. To understand the ignorance, all you have to do is remember that there is an entire museum about creationism in KY and they have many exhibits explaining how man and dinosaurs lived together in harmony until the great flood. How can you expect these people to understand basic scientific fact when they think man rode dinosaurs and every word of the bible is fact? My favorite exhibit there is where a velociraptor is peacefully watching a lady by a creek. Of course, he had no desire to eat her because they coexisted peacefully. Laws of nature mean nothing to these idiots.

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melott 2 years, 6 months ago

Excellent post, snap. This is just like the creationists showing how evil and wrong evolution is because it led to Social Darwinism.

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whatthehell 2 years, 6 months ago

tragic story that has nothing to do with this article or the discussion.

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Flap Doodle 2 years, 6 months ago

In climate news from Uganda: "Climate Change May Kill People Eventually But Carbon Credits Eliminate The Wait! A followup to Andy's sidebar headline from this weekend. Arson and murder, brought to you by environmentalism. Which now resembles a stereotypically nasty form of corporate imperialism. This is a NYT link, just so you know. KICUCULA, Uganda — According to the company’s proposal to join a United Nations clean-air program, the settlers living in this area left in a “peaceful” and “voluntary” manner. People here remember it quite differently. “I heard people being beaten, so I ran outside,” said Emmanuel Cyicyima, 33. “The houses were being burnt down.” Other villagers described gun-toting soldiers and an 8-year-old child burning to death when his home was set ablaze by security officers. Yikes! How awful! What on Earth for? Across Africa, some of the world’s poorest people have been thrown off land to make way for foreign investors, often uprooting local farmers so that food can be grown on a commercial scale and shipped to richer countries overseas. But in this case, the government and the company said the settlers were illegal and evicted for a good cause: to protect the environment and help fight global warming..." http://minx.cc/?post=321843

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Armored_One 2 years, 6 months ago

Nobody disagrees that carbon, methane and other such chemicals trap heat.

Nobody disagrees that there are greater concentrations of those chemicals in the air than any time in recorded history.

Nobody can agree on what effect it is going to have. This staggers the imagination.

If you can't release heat, then obvious the temperature rises. The denser the concentration of what is retaining the heat, the greater the temperature rises.

Last I knew, if the temperature rises, that means it's warmer. Since these chemicals surround the globe via the atmosphere, then logic requires the next step to be that it will cause a global warming effect.

The lack of logic isn't what scares me, though.

It the fact that no one seems to have ever used a thermometer in their lifetime. Are we in the Dark Ages and no one bothered to tell me? Sheesh, thanks a lot people. LOL

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camper 2 years, 6 months ago

Human activity, minimized by some, can cause environmental changes. Farming practices and lack of soil conservation contributed to the Dust Bowl. Just one small example, but proof that yes, us humans can be detrimental to the environment that we live in.

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melott 2 years, 6 months ago

That's certainly the silliest thing I have seen in years. The Mars thing just shows how desperate these folks will get to rationalize their denialism.

It reminds me so much of creationism. "So if people came from monkeys why are there still monkeys?' The same brilliant thinking.

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conservative 2 years, 6 months ago

The biggest problem I have with the scientists who insist that climate change is being caused by humans is that during the same time period that they point to earth's rising temperatures and shrinking ice caps, the same effects were noted on mars. with similar effects being seen in the same same time frame on mars it certainly points to a difference on a much larger scale than humans can influence.

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conservative 2 years, 6 months ago

While it is possible that our little planet heating up is happening there are real problems with the sources that insist it is being caused by man's actions. Yes studies have shown that CO2 can increase temperatures but it is hardly the only factor in change. Does that mean we shouldn't do everything we can to promote advancement of nonpolluting technologies? No, but we also shouldn't destroy our own economy by trying to do things instantly and unilaterally. Second problem is that yes global warming doomsayers are correct that you can't point to one storm of 12 inches of snow and say see global warming is a myth. What they fail to mention is that climate change is constantly happening in cycles that cover thousands of years (with or without man's presence) and that it is just as incorrect to point to a 30 year trend and say it's proof of global warming.

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whatthehell 2 years, 6 months ago

To those that would suggest climate change is natural and we really are being arrogant in saying there is little we can do about it? Cmon. Really? Those ice cores, what do they tell us, that some of the climate change has has occurred slowly and some of them rapidly? SO the rapid changes happened because a really big rock hit the earth (we have the dents in the earth as proof), releasing huge clouds of dust and blocked out the sun, cooling the planet, or super volcanoes erupted resulting in the same. The warming trends resulted from the ends of the resulting ice ages of the aforementioned "disasters" and happenned more slowly. The warming / changing that is going on now is happening quickly. It IS a result of human activities.. It HAS to be us, just look around at all the ecological changes that are happening, embrace the notion that it is us and that we can do something about it. All of us in small ways every day, and we as a species in larger ways. The US can lead on this and make a difference in the entire world or simply watch as the environmental damage/evidence mounts every year.

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Flap Doodle 2 years, 6 months ago

"To anyone having the least little doubt about climate change..." As the headline writer did, you are misstating the question. You are confusing the fact that the climate is always changing with the theory that human activity is causing the climate to change.

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whatthehell 2 years, 6 months ago

Ok so.... what the hell? Let's apply a little common sense approach here. To anyone having the least little doubt about climate change, I would ask some very simple questions: Is there any doubt that human activities are the sole cause of the massive trash islands in the worlds oceans? No because they are dead zones of PLASTIC. Is there any doubt that the dead zones at the mouths of the worlds largest rivers are the result of human activities? You know, the areas that used to be home to some of the worlds most diverse and populous wildlife? No, there is no doubt humans CHANGED these areas because of all the crap that we pump into the rivers settles in these areas... our fertilizers and toxins end up here and create areas with little to no life in them. We did that. Does anyone dispute the physics that C02 does in fact trap heat or that we have in fact released C02 into the atmosphere in huge quantities since the industiral revolution? If you come home and find your door broken and your TV gone do you need a detective or scientist to prove to you that you have in fact been ripped off? Wake up, look around at what we know for facts and completely disregard any thoughts or arguments of any sort of any person that argues against the obvious such as Bachman or Perry or most republicans. This is not to say the Dem's are TODAYS perfect solution, I don't mean to make this about politics.

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Mike Ford 2 years, 6 months ago

it's apparent that we have luddites in our midst and the crazy floods, giant tornadoes, big snows, and long droughts mean nothing to the corner preacher wannabes unless they can spin it to their advantage or listen to politicians purchased by oil and energy conglomerates. Why practice conservation when these people want the apocolypse to justify their religious visions like I see channel surfing on channel 22....to them thinking is an option not a necessity and the preachers and am radio feed on this....if we're all on the titanic why not let them run to the front of the boat with their denial....

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llama726 2 years, 6 months ago

Worst case scenario: We make some changes that lower our energy consumption and thus help us save some money. We're wrong, and the planet is fine. What's the downside?

Best case scenario: All of the above, except the planet wasn't fine, and our changes at least mitigate the damage that could be coming.

Seems silly to go into much more depth than that.

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blindrabbit 2 years, 6 months ago

Part of the reason for disbelief in the U.S. is the fact that a few individuals who profit from the energy industry sway the common sense of the portions of the population that are skeptics of anything that is not religiously based. As an example, most of the political skeptics are either stockholders, consultants or politicians from energy producing areas. Two of the most vocal, never mind if they make sense, are Rick Perry, Governor of Texas, and his neighbor Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma. Interestingly, these two states have borne the brunt of drought and range fires as well as unusually violent spring weather the last several years. Both of these individual are exponents of fundamental religious dogma that justifies man's reaping and raping the environment as long as it is OK by God. They will continue to deny because the allure of money from polluting industries overpowers the evidence and their open-mindedness.

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Cait McKnelly 2 years, 6 months ago

People who deny global warming rank up there with Holocaust deniers. It's not like the evidence isn't all around us; melting ice caps, the severest drought ever seen in the SW US, water becoming nearly as precious as oil, an ozone layer so destroyed in the Southern hemisphere that Aussies and Kiwis refuse to go outside without long sleeves, hats and sunscreen in 110F temps. The toll it's taking on flora and fauna in the environment is tremendous but deniers refuse to recognize that toll, even when it's hung on the end of their noses. They will continue to deny it until our own country faces famine that will make Somalia, Angola and Ethiopia look like Thanksgiving bounty. On a side note, it does make me wonder what the super rich like the Kochs will do when that comes about. Money is neither nutritious nor hydrating.

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worthlessljworldposter 2 years, 6 months ago

The reason for climate denial is obvious: GOD. How can my god allow this to happen? Every single one of you goddies belong on the picket lines with Evilboro Bastard Church members, and probably would be there if you had nothing left to lose. "Thank god" most of them are old. Too bad science probably won't be able to control greenhouse gas levels until summers start breaking 120 in NYC (60-70 yrs), but you can bet those goddies will be "praising god" for the technology when we get it. Not at all surprised climate denial blew up when Obama was elected.

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Richard Heckler 2 years, 6 months ago

The USA is 5% of the worlds population consuming 25% of the world's energy...

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Richard Heckler 2 years, 6 months ago

Killing the ozone layer = dangerous impact:

Protecting the Stratospheric Ozone Layer

Ozone can be good or bad depending on where it is located. Close to the Earth's surface, ground-level ozone is a harmful air pollutant. Ozone in the stratosphere, high above the Earth, protects human health and the environment from the sun's harmful ultraviolet radiation. This natural shield has been gradually depleted by man made chemicals.

Ozone in the stratosphere, a layer of the atmosphere located 10 to 30 miles above the Earth, serves as a shield, protecting people and the environment from the sun's harmful ultraviolet radiation. The stratospheric ozone layer filters out harmful sun rays, including a type of sunlight called ultraviolet B. Exposure to ultraviolet B (UVB) has been linked to cataracts (eye damage) and skin cancer. Scientists have also linked increased UVB exposures to crop injury and damage to ocean plant life.

Scientists have been monitoring the stratospheric ozone layer since the 1970s. In the 1980s, scientists began accumulating evidence that the ozone layer was being depleted. The ozone hole in the region of the South Pole, which has appeared each year during the Antarctic winter (our summer), often is bigger than the continental United States. Between 1978 and 1997, scientists have measured a 5 percent loss of stratospheric ozone-a significant amount.

The 1990 Clean Air Act required EPA to set up a program for phasing out production and use of ozone-destroying chemicals. In 1996, U.S. production ended for many of the chemicals capable of doing the most serious harm such as CFCs, halons, and methyl chloroform.

Unfortunately, it will be about 60 years before the stratospheric ozone layer heals.

Because of the ozone-destroying chemicals already in the stratosphere and those that will arrive within the next few years, stratospheric ozone destruction will likely continue throughout the decade. September 24, 2006, tied for the largest ozone hole on record at 29 million square kilometers (11.4 million square miles). The year 2006 also saw the second largest sustained ozone hole.

The Clean Air Act includes other steps to protect the ozone layer. The Act encourages the development of "ozone-friendly" substitutes for ozone-destroying chemicals. Many products and processes have been reformulated to be more "ozone-friendly." For instance, refrigerators no longer use CFCs.

Sometimes it isn't easy to phase out an ozone-destroying chemical. For instance, substitutes have not been found for CFCs used in certain medical applications. The limit on the production of methyl bromide, a pesticide, was extended because farmers did not yet have an effective alternative.

For more information about stratospheric ozone, visit www.epa.gov/ozone.

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Flap Doodle 2 years, 6 months ago

Wasn't global cooling going to be the end of the world as we knew it a few decades ago?

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Richard Heckler 2 years, 6 months ago

Who can reduce global warming emissions?

We can—together.

Our individual efforts are important, but the biggest impact on climate change will come from large-scale changes—well-reasoned international, national, and regional policies; thoughtful, systematic efforts to reduce polluting fossil fuel energy sources and unsound land use practices; and steady progress toward a cleaner, sustainable future.

Learn more : http://www.ucsusa.org/global_warming/solutions/big_picture_solutions/big-picture-solutions.html

http://www.ucsusa.org/global_warming/

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Richard Heckler 2 years, 6 months ago

Global Warming Contrarians* Why has it been so difficult to achieve meaningful solutions? Media pundits, partisan think tanks, and special interest groups funded by fossil fuel and related industries raise doubts about the truth of global warming.

These deniers downplay and distort the evidence of climate change, demand policies that allow industries to continue polluting, and attempt to undercut existing pollution standards. UCS fights misrepresentations of global warming, providing sound, science-based evidence to set the record straight.

Learn more: http://www.ucsusa.org/global_warming/science_and_impacts/global_warming_contrarians/

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Richard Heckler 2 years, 6 months ago

*Global Warming Science & Impacts What does the science say about global warming and what are the connections between climate data and the changes we see around us—and those we expect to see in the future? Learn more: http://www.ucsusa.org/global_warming/science_and_impacts/impacts/

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Richard Heckler 2 years, 6 months ago

Global Warming

The Earth is warming and human activity is the primary cause. Climate disruptions put our food and water supply at risk, endanger our health, jeopardize our national security, and threaten other basic human needs. Some impacts—such as record high temperatures, melting glaciers, and severe flooding and droughts—are already becoming increasingly common across the country and around the world. So far, our national leaders are failing to act quickly to reduce heat-trapping emissions.

However, there is much we can do to protect the health and economic well-being of current and future generations from the consequences of the heat-trapping emissions caused when we burn coal, oil, and gas to generate electricity, drive our cars, and fuel our businesses.

Our country is at a crossroads: the United States can act responsibly and seize the opportunity to lead by developing new, innovative solutions, as well as immediately putting to use the many practical solutions we have at our disposal today; or we can choose to do nothing and deal with severe consequences later. At UCS we believe the choice is clear. It is time to push forward toward a brighter, cleaner future.

*What is Global Warming? When CO2 and other heat-trapping emissions are released into the air, they act like a blanket, holding heat in our atmosphere and warming the planet. Overloading our atmosphere with carbon has far-reaching effects for people everywhere. Learn more: http://www.ucsusa.org/global_warming/global_warming_101/

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Richard Heckler 2 years, 6 months ago

Why the disbelief?

It all boils down to money and shareholders. The energy people have nice subsidies on their platters = impossible to go broke. Isn't odd this industry claims it is losing money if they only clear $50 billion in a year instead of $65 billion in a previous year = consumers are suckers.

Energy consumers pay for use,pay for subsidies,pay for insurance,pay for golden parachutes, pay for bailouts of mismanaged corporations and pay shareholders. Consumers NEED TO DEMAND nationalized energy across the board. Our cost of living would drop and the cost of goods should drop as well.

The insurance industry won’t insure against nuclear power plant accidents. Nuclear power plant operators rely on a government-backed "Price-Anderson" insurance scheme that limits their liability in the event of an accident or attack.

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its_just_math 2 years, 6 months ago

The Gore and Obama pitch are identical. Those who bought into it are identical; ideologically speaking.

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camper 2 years, 6 months ago

Just step away from the politics and the pundits (George Will's of the world), look at satellite photos of the polar ice caps in recent decades, look at CO2 measurements, permafrost melt and ask yourself a question. This is what I do.

I will never associate myself with the deniers. I truly hope they are right. But if by chance they are wrong and there are terrible consequences (probably long after we are gone), the deniers will go down as possibly the most foolish humans to ever walk the face of this earth. Is anything sacred to them if they are willing to ignore and deny something as important as this? Can they see beyond the small window of time they live in, not worrying about future consequence?

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Mike Ford 2 years, 6 months ago

can't have it both ways...I will not leave the stage due to the power of dumb... dumb is what you advocate for...right??? liberty...are you admitting you don't get the intellect of people like Einstein??? that's what I thought.....

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melott 2 years, 6 months ago

Yes, but numbers of people do have an impact on public policy. So when the deniers (whose style so, so much resembles that of creationists) deny the anthropogenic climate change, they do prevent us doing much about it. And that will affect everyone, and generations to come, not just the deniers. Just like fear of cretinists denies our children a good education in biology. Except the climate change problem is worse than one country having ignorant children.

The fossick thing is a standard cut and paste. The 70's ice age thing was mostly a media thing, not a scientific concensus. A few people thought it was a problem, and Newsweek and others seized on it. Whereas now we have much more information and a scientific consensus.

A difference between this and the cretinist movement is that the climate denier thing is well-funded. In this case it more closely resembles the big lie campaign against the link between tobacco and lung cancer, emphysema, etc. You can't believe how hard it was to get the anti-tobacco warnings and other things out there, in face of all that.

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yourworstnightmare 2 years, 6 months ago

Doubter: Someone who is not convinced until they have seen the data and/or heard opinions of experts.

Denier: Someone who cannot be convinced despite the data and the opinions of experts.

Rick Parry and his ilk are deniers, plain and simple.

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voevoda 2 years, 6 months ago

Science is based on evidence and logical reasoning. The facts don't change even if a majority choose to "disbelieve" it, because scientific truth isn't a matter of belief, it's a matter of fact. For a long time in the past, most people believed that smallpox was caused by an imbalance in the body's humors, or by miasmas, or by sin. But that didn't change the fact that it was caused by a microbe. So Republican candidates can "disbelieve" all they want; it won't change the facts.

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Mike Ford 2 years, 6 months ago

I laugh as Denier Candidate Perry's state prays and begs for water and denies science... how Texas of them....I laugh as Oklahoma Senator He!! No Imhofe rails against global warming even as the people in his state who support alternative fuels to fossil fuels that Oklahoma has try to with futility to convince Mr, Stubborn otherwise. Haskell has had Alaska Native elders come to Lawrence for almost a decade talking about the changing of their environment due to man and yet the loudest and the dumbest gain the stage...only in america....

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Liberty_One 2 years, 6 months ago

The problem is the people trying to convince the public on this have done a terrible job. When we are told that the Arctic ice cap is shrinking and that is proof of global warming people learn things like that the Antarctic ice cap has been growing. Neither of these things alone proves it one way or the other, but the fact that the ice cap melting was one of the ways this was sold to the public makes it seem like those behind it were lying by omission. When we hear about record hot summers as proof and then get record cold winters, again, even though neither proves anything definitively, if the public is being sold on one as being "proof," then when the other happens it is also assumed to be proof as well.

The truth is that on this topic I and most of the rest of us have no clue. The science is simply too complicated to understand without years of study. We have to judge the sources, and when the sources get caught fudging information like the hockey stick graph it looks like a lie. Combine that with all the funding at stake and there is a motive to lie. That doesn't mean that it's wrong, but I'm saying that if it isn't wrong the people putting this forth have done a terrible job of it.

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ihatelv 2 years, 6 months ago

Climate change, yes. Man made global warming, no.

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Ron Holzwarth 2 years, 6 months ago

Someone with a firmly held opinion is never bothered by facts.

I thought everyone knew that.

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Flap Doodle 2 years, 6 months ago

The climate does change. It has not been static at any time in recorded history. Ice cores and other data from pre-recorded history show cycles of change in the earth's climate. What the headline is doing is confusing that with the myth that humans are responsible for the current changes. Experiments at CERN suggest that the big blazing ball of fire in the sky has a lot to do with our weather. The sun changes too. http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/08/24/breaking-news-cern-experiment-confirms-cosmic-rays-influence-climate-change/ No matter how much the Goreacle rages, cosmic rays don't care if we give up technology and all go back to living in hollow trees.

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Fossick 2 years, 6 months ago

"But the headline on the 1975 report was bold: “Are We on the Brink of a Pronounced Global Warming?” And this article that coined the term may have marked the last time a mention of “global warming” didn’t set off an instant outcry of angry denial."

Perhaps because it was right in the middle of hysteria about a new ice age:

"A survey completed last year by Dr. Murray Mitchell of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reveals a drop of half a degree in average ground temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere between 1945 and 1968. According to George Kukla of Columbia University, satellite photos indicated a sudden, large increase in Northern Hemisphere snow cover in the winter of 1971-72. And a study released last month by two NOAA scientists notes that the amount of sunshine reaching the ground in the continental U.S. diminished by 1.3% between 1964 and 1972... Reid Bryson of the University of Wisconsin points out that the Earth’s average temperature during the great Ice Ages was only about seven degrees lower than during its warmest eras — and that the present decline has taken the planet about a sixth of the way toward the Ice Age average. http://sweetness-light.com/archive/newsweeks-1975-article-about-the-coming-ice-age

No one denies that climate changes. You can't have dinosaurs or ice ages without it. Since we're apparently not going to get an ice age any time soon, I look forward to the return of the dinosaurs, personally.

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Flap Doodle 2 years, 6 months ago

There's no paper here. Anybody got a carbon credit to spare?

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melott 2 years, 6 months ago

Interesting that we're the only country where this is a big issue. Maybe that's because our per-capita carbon footprint is so large.

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