A Burning Question

2010 ,    »  -   103 Comments
Ratings: 7.75/10 from 67 users.

There seems to be a lot of bewilderment and doubt around climate change in the public. It's a difficult story to swallow and to comprehend what it means for humanity. So what do the ordinary people think about climate change in relation to what scientists are trying to convey? And how has the media portrayed this story?

The confusion about our changing weather sequences and how they influence global forecast is somewhat justifiable. So what is the correlation between climate change and the weather we are having now? Major changes in our climate may not as be as visible to us as fluctuations in our everyday weather. So how do scientists document and assess global climate tendency, related to local weather changes?

Temperature variations due to changing weather circumstances all over the world can be very big. But the worldwide average temperature fluctuates on a much restricted range. So, if a global median temperature was several degrees lower, or even few degrees higher, what kind of weather change would that suggest?

There are so many contradictory views in the public eye. So how do scientists react to the popular understanding, that climate is really unstable but that it's a natural rhythm? What happened with the ozone layer? Most people knew about the ozone layer depletion but very few seem to know how that issue was settled. Climate change is an even bigger scientific adventure and given the intricate nature of it we need to probably relearn the fundamentals of the science behind it.

So how much has the Earth actually warmed up? How long ago did scientists discover the greenhouse gases in Earth's atmosphere? Modern science can actually determine the carbon levels in the atmosphere over recent centuries, but what can scientists tell us about climate variations in the very distant past? And if we had higher atmospheric accumulation of C02 than we have today, what's the consequence for us?

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103 Comments / User Reviews

  1. James Hunt

    The biggest rip off in the history of mankind!

  2. Crab_Nebula

    If you live a cold dreary Northern City, most people are like... Global Warming??? YES!!! Bring it on baby!!..

  3. Kansas Devil

    Kind of a watered down documentary, but it does provide some convincing reasons to believe humans are affecting the climate.
    Unfortunately, government doesn't seem to want to subsidize a solution so that people will find alternative energy supplementation to be attractive.
    But that has not stopped inventive people from finding opportunity. There is a company that will install a solar energy system on people's house for free, sell the energy to the power company and reduce the home owners energy bill as a benefit. But that is still a small business.
    When Walmart begins selling alternative power products in their stores, then we will know the costs are low enough for the average working person.

  4. Fabien L'Amour

    I live in a Northern City and I don't want global warming. What it does is create extreme weather. It does not evenly warm the weather by a few degrees. The weather systems gather more power. Faster winds, heavier storms, longer droughts, quick temperature swings, nothing desirable whatsoever.

  5. Fabien L'Amour

    The main thing to be learned from that documentary is if you want to have an informed opinion on scientific facts, don't go asking people on the street...

  6. Smegtasticus

    Most of the scientific community would disagree with you.

  7. James Hunt

    Thats because most of the scientific community are in the pockets of the corporations!

  8. over the edge

    and you have proof for this?

  9. Fabien L'Amour

    97% of 11,994 peer-reviewed climate science papers agree the current warming is man made. Unless you can provide proof that all those 11634 peer reviewed scientific papers are fraudulent, your affirmation has absolutely no base in reality and has to be dismissed by anyone with an ounce of critical thinking.

    Below is a quote from The Guardian :

    The survey considered the work of some 29,000 scientists published in 11,994 academic papers. Of the 4,000-plus papers that took a position on the causes of climate change only 0.7% or 83 of those thousands of academic articles, disputed the scientific consensus that climate change is the result of human activity, with the view of the remaining 2.2% unclear.

  10. a_no_n

    because it's more likely that an entire field of peer reviewed scientific study is fraudulent than it is for you to be wrong about something right?

  11. jaberwokky

    Is that your own opinion or is that Fox News talking?

    And what did you mean when you said "Who in their right mind would trust a paki?"

    Edit: F*ck me sideways, did you just up-vote your own comment?

  12. jaberwokky

    No, most of the media is in the pockets of the corporations, hence the ignorance akin to what you display.

  13. jaberwokky

    Most of the scientific community would laugh at him.

  14. jaberwokky

    No proof required, Sean Hannity said it was true.

  15. over the edge

    how can i argue with that.

  16. James Hunt

    I don't care I drive a V8 petrol!

  17. Smegtasticus

    Yes, the corporations who pollute and contribute to climate problems and whose best interests would be to DENY global warming, not support it.

  18. User_001

    Really sad there's still debate regarding how climate change is occurring. It used to be that you'd take the expert's at their word since they are experts. Which I do and dismiss the other 1-2% for whatever reasons. Sadly that's not how it works nowadays.

    At least I won't feel guilty with off-springs facing the problems created by our generations.

  19. a_no_n

    ah...V8 of course being the technical term for tiny penis.

  20. James Hunt

    Listen I drive a 35 year old Mercedes and have been for the last 30 years I keep it fully serviced, if I was to buy a new car every 3-5 years how much energy would that consume!

  21. bringmeredwine

    I can relate to that, trust me. If only ensuing disaster wouldn't be the end result.:(

  22. NX2

    Lol, i'd fock them all, It's a brilliant idea. From now on i'll be up voting every single comment of my own, just to keep that rating high and sustain my delusion of grandeur. No need for peer review, really.

  23. a_no_n

    Lol I'd never considered that!

  24. happyMephisto

    Those who deny global warming can be liken to a guy I once new in high school.Who at 38 is still living with his parents and spends most of his time laying around the house playing with him self and watching re-runs of the three stooges.

  25. batvette

    That's real special you can just lump everyone into a group called "deniers" and dismiss them but there are many facets of people who are merely pointing out that this has been promoted by entities with dubious motives whose "solutions" are anything but.
    For my part I'm not bowing down to leftists who were just looking for political capital and don't care that every scheme proposed stands to worsen the problem.
    BTW if you still know that guy in high school that doesn't speak highly of you or the people you associate with.

  26. batvette

    If soothing your personal guilt is your motivation you're only offering another example of why people have questioned the science. Consider climate change research only seeks to confirm its own need to exist and conclusions contrary to that place them out of work- and most of the people who pursued that line of research in college would have done so because they were already convinced of man's guilt in harming the planet.
    So about those "experts".... you mean the ones that liken AGW activism to Pascal's Wager, saying even if the data is all wrong that's okay because man needed to clean up his act anyway?
    Well that sounds great but what if by the time it went from good intents to policies perverted by others with bad intents, the things you thought would fix that problem only made it worse? To be specific the UN and a lot of entities involved are more interested in enacting global socialism which inherently seeks to industrialize third world populations by paving roads, and bringing electricity and other luxury infrastructure to areas that didn't have it before. Hospitals, running water, factories, jobs, industry.
    Weren't we trying to mitigate a problem caused by human industrialization?
    Deny as you like, the fact is since the inception of Kyoto global GGE have not only risen but so has the rate of their rise.

  27. batvette

    Can you provide figures on how many of those experts would see continued funding for their research if they agreed to a consensus that their research was no longer necessary?
    Well that's just what would happen. Wouldn't we all like to have that kind of opportunity for job security to conduct research that only seeks to validate the need for more funding for it- and hide behind the facade of "science" if anyone dares question it.

  28. batvette

    Oh yeah about that study of yours.

    "We find that 66.4% of abstracts expressed no position on AGW, 32.6% endorsed AGW, 0.7% rejected AGW and 0.3% were uncertain about the cause of global warming."

    We'll just assume you didn't really look at the dubious methodology involved. They make it look like 2.2% were undecided when actually 2/3 is the closer figure.

  29. Fabien L'Amour

    That's the silliest analysis of numbers I ever read. What those numbers mean is that 66.4% didn't write in the abstract that humans were responsible for the results.

    It doesn't mean they were undecided, it means they were not mandated to find the cause but get the scientific facts about what is going on.

  30. Fabien L'Amour

    I question your understanding of how research works. Climate scientists often find unexpected results and don't get fired because what they found is not what they thought they would find.

    If you mean they falsified their reports, I think you are the one that need to provide proof.

    Their research was peer-reviewed before being published, you might want to look into that process. That is exactly the questioning process you seem to think doesn't exist.

  31. jerrymack

    Science is giving us fair warning. If we want to survive we had better respond to it, and soon.

  32. Fabien L'Amour

    The vehicle-cycle module in GREET evaluates the energy and emission effects associated with vehicle material recovery and production, vehicle component fabrication, vehicle assembly, and vehicle disposal/recycling. With the addition of the vehicle-cycle module, the GREET model now provides a comprehensive, lifecycle-based approach to compare the energy use and emissions of conventional and advanced vehicle technologies

    Here is an excerpt from the paper : "The life cycle of vehicles and most other products is comprised of five stages: 1) raw material
    extraction and material production, 2) product manufacture and assembly, 3) product use,
    4) maintenance and repair, and 5) end of life."

  33. Fabien L'Amour

    The Argonne study is linked in that article. The link is given on the first page under the name of the scientists, Burnham et al

    All the scientific publications are also cited on page 4 of the same article with online sources.

  34. Fabien Maharaj-Sookdeo

    umm hmm what is the link between the leave pores in millions of years old rock and the carbon composition in ancient times how was that link established, then they plug that data in to an alogritymtgog tingy chart and wada its rising in modern times when you create data the data goes where you choose
    However if the other proxy methods involve measuring carbon data in deep ice samples heritage tree rings and pulling carbon molecule data out of these maybe it would be a stronger linkage to say the fact is this or that.
    Precise means of calculating molecular composition in our past and current atmosphere can be the clincher here Fabien Maharaj-Sookdeo, Trinidad and Tobago BSc Hon Student

  35. S de Vere

    When they changed the "Global Warming" scare to the meaningless and unverifiable" Climate Change" - they gave the game away. A fraud by attention-seeking, power-seeking, government-funded faux 'scientists'

  36. Fabien L'Amour

    Yeah right, the 3560 ARGO buoys distributed across all the oceans of the planet are lying about the temperature they record.

  37. My 2 Cents Worth

    Hey S de Vere, did you hear that the earth isn't flat and not the center of the universe? Look it up...I swear. Scientists collect data. What we do with it, or what we let others tell us what to do with it, is our choice. The rate of climate change is VERY verifiable.

  38. My 2 Cents Worth

    Take a closer look at the planet Venus. Check out its CO2 level and the average surface temperature.

  39. tomregit

    Correlation is not causation.

  40. perfectarc

    seems I've heard this one before. THe Blaze, Fox News, NewsMax, WorldNetDaily. Science literacy, is the problem, not the science.

  41. James Morrison

    Wow. How one sided can you get? We see snapshots of a debate on TV throughout the documentary but every interview was with man-made climate change believers. Every piece of data was provided by the affirmative. There is a ton of scientists out there who have not yet agreed with those on the political side of climate science. We heard Bellamy say it was attributable to the sun's activity. There's an interview for a start. Sadly, no. Just the believers again telling us the sun has a slight effect. As usual, the data was short time-frame also. This interviewer unfortunately seems to be so convinced that the believers are correct that he wouldn't dare interview anyone with a contrary view. As uselessly one sided as an Al Gore presentation in my opinion.

  42. Fabien L'Amour

    I think the climate change deniers get their information from mainstream media exclusively. I would really be interested to know how many actually read even a fraction of the IPCC reports.

  43. Fabien L'Amour

    It's probably because the climate scientists came up with such overwhelming evidence that climate change really exists. Just look at the speed of the increase of CO2 concentration in the atmosphere. You can't gain 70 ppm in 40 years and expect it to do nothing. The gain is almost perfectly synchronized with the increase in global temperatures and both are the fastest increases ever to occur on the planet.

    The solar flares cycles are 11 years long, not 40 years. David Bellamy is a Botanist, what does he know about the intricacies of the sun's activity. If a majority of astrophysicists and astronomers agreed the sun activity was responsible for global warming, you could give credit to that theory. A few guys without any background on the subject are not a reliable source of information.

    If you made a documentary on ocean pollution for example, would you interview a neurosurgeon, geneticist or paleontologist because they said it doesn't exist or is caused by meteorites falling from the sky?

  44. Greg Whitaker

    IPCC reports are political. The scientists that write them represent a fraction of all scientists who study the climate. The majority are skeptical of "global warming."

  45. Greg Whitaker

    Here, I've just placed $100 on a table in front of you. It represents all the gases in our planet's atmosphere. How much of that money is carbon dioxide? Is it $40? Is it $20? Is it $5?

    It's 4 cents. And that's rounding up. Four pennies are heating up our planet? Right...

  46. Greg Whitaker

    I find it disturbing that people have been trained not to think critically because there's always an "expert" around to do the thinking for them.

    You know who taught me to have the above opinion? An expert, of course.

  47. over the edge

    and we need oxygen but we are surviving on $21 (and that is rounding up). or why does it rain when the atmosphere only contains about 25 cents worth of water vapor? a small concentration can make s big difference. if you do not believe me take 3500ppm (3200 mg/m3) in of hydrogen cyanide (approx a third of a penny in your analogy) and tell me how you feel in approx 1 minute. it must be harmless right?

  48. Fabien L'Amour

    More than 2,000 scientists from 154 countries typically participate in
    the IPCC process. Scientists are independently nominated for
    participation in the Panel by their own governments. I guess you can take these 2000 out of the skeptical count. That's a big fraction to begin with.

    Now where did you get that majority information from? Where does that majority of skeptical climate scientists publish their peer-reviewed research papers? I would like supporting evidence for you statement that a majority are skeptical because that is thousands of climate scientists I never heard of. Thank you in advance for your precious collaboration in revealing the truth about that worldwide conspiracy.

  49. Fabien L'Amour

    A transparent polyethylene film of 1/1000 of an inch over a greenhouse is sufficient to elevate the temperature in a greenhouse by 20 Celsius degrees on a sunny day only by bouncing back the infrared radiation inside. Hard to believe such a small thing can have such an effect yet you can prove it easily in your own backyard. It's been scientifically proven that CO2 and Methane reflect infrared radiation back to the earth. The concentration of CO2 increased by 23% in the past 40 years. Name any 23% increase of anything that has no effect whatsoever on anything.

  50. 1concept1

    Climate is constantly changing - nothing new -

  51. 1concept1

    If the four percent is absorbing the light rays as they bounce or deflect back into space - changing the light energy into heat energy then yes this causes an increase in the ambient air temp?

    I would suspect that any excessive amount of carbon in the air will cause an ionization (increased lighting storms - as the result of) ? rendering pollutants harmless - (changing the molecular structure - thru ionization) -

    I am more concerned with the displacement of fresh water around the world in order to bottle water for sale etc. thus (possible) throwing the Natural balance of water dissemination off - ? -

    The money punk in the United States has been selling ship loads of our fresh water out of lake Michigan to mainland China -

    Not to mention - "coke" sucking up our Global water to make soft drinks - and thus farmers in India have no water to water their crops - ? -

  52. Greg Whitaker

    It's not four percent carbon dioxide in the air, it's 0.0397%.

    It takes 10,000 pennies to equal $100. Take 0.000397 * 10,000 and you get 3.97 cents (Remember, you have to shift the decimal place in a percentage number two places to the left before multiplying).

  53. 1concept1

    I read it as 4% not .04, cents - sorry -

  54. batvette

    Of course they don't get fired, are you denying that if a scientific consensus were reached that determined AGW was not happening, funding for AGW research would not drastically be reduced- if not virtually evaporate completely?
    (should I finish with an equal ad hominem as you did and ask if your ignorance of this point was accidental or intentional?)
    As for peer review process, Climategate gave us clear evidence many have sought to both rig it and drum opposition out of the field.

  55. batvette

    How absurd. What they did was only looked at papers that took a position on climate change and extrapolated those papers only to be the overall position of scientists on climate change. They did not ascertain the position of the scientists who published over 66% of the papers.

  56. batvette

    The fact remains the name was changed from Global Warming to Climate Change purely for marketing and PR propaganda reasons. They couldn't appeal to people's fears whenever there was a cold snap or blizzard, so figured if they called it Climate Change they could use their cheap tactics whenever any variation in the weather was happening. Cheap they are, when in the aftermath of tornadoes or hurricanes they suggest the victims of these disasters should blame themselves for it by cooking food for their babies, and lighting their homes so grandma doesn't fall and break her hip.
    Let me tell you something, Mr. Scientist, you are a human too with faults and needs. Your political ideologies will affect your work, and you have to put food on the table like anyone else, and are subject to things like greed, avarice, fame seeking, etc.
    The rate of climate change IS verifiable. You increased it by sending all those manufacturing jobs to China and India.

  57. UnderSiege

    There is NO 'climate debate'. That ended many years ago. Global warming is real and well documented!
    A consensus of scientists who have studied the portentous anthropogenic data support its conclusions. A few heretic scientists (every discipline has one or two) , matter little, except to the ignorant, or those with an economic/political agenda.

  58. shaody

    Undoubtedly the climate is changing and it always has. We humans have only been on this earth for a relatively short evolutionary time. Our activities may be contributing to climate change but we aren't going to do anything significant to make any difference so let's just get on over populating, destroying habitats and doing what we are good at doing - stuffing up the planet. There is no future for humanity. What saddens me the most is the destruction of other life forms that we will be taking with us as we travel down the of extinct to join the 99 percent of life that ever existed on earth has done before us.

  59. awful_truth

    @batvette: Thank you for raising the one point that everyone else wishes to ignore.

  60. awful_truth

    Where to start? First, I really enjoyed this documentary, and it actually delves into all the relevant issues regarding climate change. (except the most important one) If anyone who reads this actually cares, and wants to truly debate this issue, than we must address the following:
    1) What really are the principle key factors impacting the planet?
    2) What changes are necessary to alter our course? (solutions)

    Hypothesis: Climate change (beyond what is normal for earth) is actually real, and humanity's actions are the primary cause of it.

    To verify this with true scientific analysis, we must first find a model for comparison (outside the earth) that does not have human influence.
    Example: We have had orbiters around Mars for well over 20 years, and in that time we have observed it's polar caps receding at a rate comparable to that of the earth. Since I am sure that the vast majority of people will agree with me that we are NOT to blame for this, than it is reasonable to conclude that the primary impact on both planets weather patterns is the sun itself, and factors related to it. (solar variance, orbital variance, milky way location, etc. Other contributing factors are planetary by nature - tilt, atmospheric, and electromagnetic differences between Earth, and Mars)
    Note: This conclusion does not preclude that all changes in earth's climate are sun related, only that the primary one is not humanity.

    Question 1: What can we say, (with certainty) is humanity contributing towards climate change?
    As stated in the documentary, we know that CO2 emissions have dramatically risen in the last 100 years.
    Causes: industrial revolution and associated emissions, declining forestry, and increased human population.

    Although this is a dramatic change, CO2 is the tiniest contributor of greenhouse gases, far behind water vapor, and methane. Thus, how much change in the levels of water vapor, and methane have occurred in the same time period? ( I really don't know, and it never seems to come up regarding the debate of this issue) It would seem reasonable to me that since they are the major contributors of greenhouse gases, their changes (and what causes their variations) should be at the forefront of the information of this debate.
    Note: None of this is a dismissal of scientific evidence regarding CO2 emissions, it's impact on the biosphere, or the validity of the information itself. (only it's level of importance)
    Since it is fair to say that few people would deny the impact our species has had poisoning our environment, and the biosphere, what can we really do to change our behaviour? In other words, how do we act as a global collective to mitigate changes for everyone's well being?
    Well, first you have to have global laws that everyone follows. Although the wealthy elite are on the same page, (global pyramid scheme) their attempt at global domination through the world bank, the IMF, and control of the political forces via American military domination is misguided since their greed caused the problem to begin with, thus it is fair to say that their ideology is not interested in long term survival, only short term profit.
    Corporatism/fascism ( greed - evil) is a terrible construct to base a global society upon, since it ultimately will lead to global slavery. (cheapest labor, best profits) Since corporations (and their owners) will sell the rope to hang us all with if they think they can make a buck, and the laws that have been instituted by their people (sorry, elected officials) to protect the status quo, (cannot be disassembled via peaceful actions), it is reasonable to suggest that changes towards protecting the environment is impossible. (okay, highly improbable)


    1) The principle factors are not man made, but are nature's own creation. (we are way to self important, regardless of what science says)
    2) We can influence the situation, but we will never be able to change the course of humanity itself. (we carry the seeds of our own destruction) Since doing nothing is not a solution, the only possibility for humanity's survival, is not a good one, regardless of the catalyst that sets it in motion.
    Natures solutions: asteroids, pandemics, world wide disasters, (volcanic eruptions, tsunami's, etc) or:
    Man made solutions. (nuclear or biological war, or more likely an EMP energy directed weapon that puts everyone back 500 years, (no electronics) where we tear each other apart for survival.
    None of these are desirable, (understatement) but are the only thing capable of interrupting the powers at be from their present course, and reducing human populations to a level that the world can contend with. (This statement is based upon the premise that we are the cause of the Earth's ills - playing the devils advocate)
    Although this is all doom and gloom at it's best, there is possibilities, but they go completely against our nature. They are:
    1) Quit having children so global consumption, and excessive behaviour is eradicated. (make life precious again)
    2) A paradigm shift in economic thinking. (star trek mentality) example: technology for self sufficiency, not a throw away society that lives off the misfortune of others. (sorry lawyers, stock traders)
    I apologize if all this is too depressing for everyone, or creates unnecessary fear, but in reality, it is no different then telling everyone to be 'environmentally friendly' or else; especially when the average person is really quite powerless within the present matrix we are governed by.
    Sadly, those who are here for a good time, not a long time, have decided to enjoy themselves at everyone else's expense, and if we become like Richard Cheney and 'join the dark side', then we quickly forget our responsibility to what matters most. (the future of humanity/our children. - or Cheney's solution, become a hypocrite, and sell your soul)
    On a positive note, nature is a self correcting system, and there is a strong likelihood that humanity has itself gone through cycles we are unaware of. (rise, and fall, start again) One thing for certain, don't worry about the planet, because it has survived much worse than us. The only threat we really pose is to ourselves. If we wipe ourselves out, the planet will return to normal, and die as it is supposed to, when the sun becomes a red giant, and torches us before converting into a white dwarf.
    So, if you wish to make a difference, you have to fight the good fight, put evil where it belongs, (out of power) and have endless vigilance to make sure that it never gains control again. (always waiting to pounce) One thing is for certain; evil is running the world, and until that is addressed, the whole environmental issue is merely academic. (pointless) Take care and best wishes everyone.
    P.S: Evil is unbound, and without rules, and only deems continuous growth as value, on a planet with finite resources, ergo insane! (sounds like cancer to me) Deregulation, derivatives, high frequency trading, sub prime mortgages, interest/usery, fractional reserve equity, well, you get the point. Remember this:
    Alan Greenspan, "let the markets run themselves") Any questions?

  61. Fabien L'Amour

    Even if everybody stops having children, it will take at least a generation for population to reduce in great numbers and the emissions already in the atmosphere will also take a long while to get absorbed back into the earth.

    I think we need to get going removing methane and CO2 directly from the atmosphere. The technology exists, all that is missing is the will and investments needed to get it going on a global scale.

    Also, on an unrelated topic in your post, the sun doesn't have enough mass to go supernova.

  62. Fabien L'Amour

    Thanks for the paper, I read it and found that line on page 23 of the linked PDF document :

    "Crucially, however, it is not possible to reproduce the global warming of recent decades using a solar index alone. This conclusion is confirmed by studies using more sophisticated nonlinear statistical techniques."

    In the conclusion segment on page 35, you have the following statement :

    "However, it is virtually impossible to assign the global warming of the past half century to variations in solar irradiance alone, using either statistical or physical methods."

    It is unprecedented in the past 8000 years but is on par with a similar event 9000 years ago. Yet the current concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere were last found during the Pliocene over 3 millions years ago. It's interesting to note that during the Pliocene, camels lived in the high Arctic and oceans were at least 30 feet higher.

    In view of these facts, I don't think it's logical to attribute the current climate change principally to solar activity fluctuations.

  63. awful_truth

    @Fabian L'Amour: Yes, thank you for correcting my brain lapse regarding our sun. The mass is insufficient for a super nova, but will more likely shed mass with thermal pulses as it converts from a red giant to a white dwarf. (encompassing, and torching the earth) Either way, our planet's life span is not threatened by us. The main point I was trying to express is that people need to forget the idea of 'saving the planet', and call it what it really is, saving ourselves. (if we are worthy enough) Moreover, educating the public regarding environmental issues is pointless until our economic construct is dramatically altered first. Concentrating on the symptoms will have no impact on the root cause. For me, this is always the underlying problem, and I am far from convinced that it can even be corrected, given the history of human nature. The idea of 'will and investment on a global scale' looks good on paper, but it is a long road between theory, and application.
    I do appreciate your optimism though, (a good thing) and often find myself struggling between the idealist, (the potentiality of what could be) and reality of what really is. Take care and best wishes Fabien.

  64. Fabien L'Amour

    No, I don't think Universities across the globe would get rid of their climatology units if a scientific consensus was reached. Maybe less students would chose that specialization of natural science but you have to agree that most current specialists in climate research graduated long before the current situation.

    The "climategate" concerned 1 institution, the University of East Anglia's (UEA) Climatic Research Unit (CRU) in November 2009.

    There were 2 public investigations (House of Commons and Sir Muir Russell for UEA) and 1 independent investigation by Fred Pearce. All investigations concluded that the scientists did not forge their results and they were absolved of blame.

    I removed the ad hominem from previous post, sorry to have offended you.

  65. Fabien L'Amour

    Expressing no position is not being undecided.
    Even if you ignore the 66% that did not express a position, only 83 out of 4000 (0.7%) that did express a position published a clear definite dispute that climate change is not caused by humans.

  66. Fabien L'Amour

    I doubt climate change will wipe us out off the face of the planet. Maybe climate change will reduce the population but killing everybody is a hard task given all mankind survived so far with much less population and minimal means of survival. (Toba Eruption, Last Ice age, The plague, Influenza epidemic). We are not more vulnerable than other large mammals and they have been around for a long time without our means of survival.

  67. Fabien L'Amour

    Scientists didn't send manufacturing jobs to China and India. Corporations CEOs did.

  68. awful_truth

    @Fabien L'Amour: While I don't think we are going anywhere in the near future, I wouldn't put too much stock in our long term survival. (millions of years) Furthermore, mammals (including us) have a long way to go if we hope to compete with our predecessors, (Dinosaurs) who stuck around for 200 million years, not 200 thousand. (humans) I do agree with you that human ingenuity is our best chance, and we better start using it, since a simple extermination event is all that is needed to tip the balance. (solar system still under construction)
    P.S: Technology is a double edged sword, and we are hanging by a thread!

  69. David Faubion

    CO2 is the main culprit by the fact of its huge, rapid increase. H2O vapor is more of less a stable fact relative to co2. ch4 is breaks up into a simpler form: co2

  70. batvette

    Read the last paragraph of the conclusions section and the "future issues" box. This is why I say they've waffled (as the primary scientist in this study, Solanki, had come out some years ago and blamed solar variation for the bulk of warming) as on one hand they suggest a conclusion solar variation can not fully explain warming BUT also conclude they don't have enough data to make a conclusion.
    I agree with your final statement and would suggest greenhouse gases are a large contributor but won't jump to blame human generated CO2 when so many that do have consistently ignored solar variation and the related issues of methane gas releases and undisclosed releases of industrial sourced GG. Such as those released in manufacturing of electronics, etc.
    As I said solar variation alone does not explain the current warming, what's happened is likely a residual effect that's driving CO2. A runaway loop, the poles melt, methane is released, the poles melt more, the planet warms, causing CO2 rises, etc.
    What bothers me most is the attitude "we've got to do something, anything, now" being promoted recklessly by ideologues and grasped by policymakers at the UN and leaders of third world countries looking to profit over this.
    The result will be a plummeting of standards of living in industrialized nations, a transfer of conventional polluting industries to third world countries who will not regulate them as they were here, and one big cesspool of a polluted earth as third world countries were given a free pass to harm the world as industrialized nations used to.

  71. batvette

    I don't have the figures in front of me but methane gas content in the atmosphere has risen drastically since the mid 19th century. Something like 50-75% of its starting level.

  72. batvette

    Wholly illogical conclusion, mistaking correlation for causation. Just because the rise in CO2 is more drastic than the other factors does not mean it's the culprit when CO2 is also driven by warming. It might just mean it's the most sensitive indicator.

  73. batvette

    Equally to blame was Bill Clinton's bizarre pro-China commerce policies and overly restrictive environmental regulations.
    Note one of those Clinton policies was booking trade junkets to mainland China for corporate CEOs who were solicited for campaign contributions for plane seats on these junkets. (right wing conspiracy theorists will tell you that's what got Ron Brown murdered. While I abhor such silliness I have to admit there are a lot of strange things surrounding his plane crash, including that the only two people on the ground with any technical authority over the locater beacon at the field, both killed themselves within weeks of the accident, in unrelated suicides. Whoa)
    Clinton's China friendly policies extended even further, to facilitating military intellectual property transfers by Loral Space Systems and Boeing/MD during their merger. He was sanctioned by Congress, including almost all the Democrats, over these actions.

  74. batvette

    Yeah and we can naturally expect that since ideologies drive people's desire to publish their views, those who chose to promote their position would be skewed toward approving it. Just like people don't get on the internet and rant about how happy they are with companies but sure do when they get ripped off by them.

    The fact is that study used flawed methodology and presented its conclusions dishonestly trying to minimize those flaws.

    This quote as posted by you:

    "The survey considered the work of some 29,000 scientists published in 11,994 academic papers. Of the 4,000-plus papers that took a position on the causes of climate change only 0.7% or 83 of those thousands of academic articles, disputed the scientific consensus that climate change is the result of human activity, with the view of the remaining 2.2% unclear."

    I will assume was not edited by you with an intent to deceive but it does just that. It leads one to believe there is a 97% consensus in the scientific community and that is clearly BS. By its own methodology the percentage of approval is something like 32%.
    Furthermore the overall tone of these people is that they are on a mission to silence and minimize dissent, and that calls into question whether they are acting scientifically at all.

  75. batvette

    I think you're avoiding admitting an uncomfortable point by again answering the question a different way than asked.
    If a consensus were reached that AGW were not happening why would governments and corporations fund any research on the matter when there are so many other pressing issues?

    The obvious answer is that they would not. If AGW were declared to be not happening the majority would be looking for a new line of work in a pretty short time, when contracts for existing research ended. The "current situation" sees unprecedented attention and funding being directed toward their life's work, which would otherwise be an obscure and forgotten field.
    It is illogical to deny there is every reason for bias to enter their research. This is a unique problem to this line of science, proving something is a problem that needs to be studied or should be forgotten about.
    If your job were to conclude whether or not your job needed to exist, what would your work look like?
    Taken in addition to the probability ideologues would select this field in college with the idea they could save the planet because they believe man was harming it, it's hard to imagine these people are ever going to be objective. They aren't robots.
    These things must be considered if we're going to be fair about oil corporations affecting research. Everyone's got some stake in this and it's not just Shell and Exxon that are worthy of distrust. I have as much reason to suspect an Anglia CRU researcher courting grants from Siemens AG.
    On that subject I guess OJ was innocent too because he was absolved.
    I can think for myself and many in the scientific community were appalled by their behavior. I know the specific issues and they showed a concerted effort to rig the peer review process and marginalize dissent.

    To disclose my position I am a skeptic not a denier. I feel the science is suspect and this has been promoted dishonestly for politics and ideology and there is scientific basis to question AGW.
    Furthermore if AGW is happening the policies alleged to mitigate it have been promoted by ideologues with confused and often self defeatist intentions and entities who wish to personally gain.

  76. batvette

    Fair enough the argonne study is indeed exhaustive. I'll trust lacking bias.

  77. Fabien L'Amour

    OK, that is you point of view. Obviously, I cannot provide proof they are or aren't biased, how many are biased and how many would end up without research grants if a scientific consensus was reached that their is no evidence global warming exists.

    In view of the current evidence though, it does exist so I have no idea how it would go away all of a sudden without a global scientific conspiracy to manipulate thousands of climate related peer-reviewed scientific papers in the past 20 years.

  78. Fabien L'Amour

    Ok, I better understand your position, thanks for the clarification.

  79. Fabien L'Amour

    CH4 breaks down mostly to CO2, it's lifespan in the atmosphere is roughly 8.4 years.

  80. David Faubion

    We homo sapiens poked some big holes in the layer of protective ozone in the stratosphere, in a short length of time. The spike in UV emissions onto Earth is a factor in warming. What then is so shocking, surprising and unthinkable about our destroying life and habitability on the planet with our co2 emissions? Each of the 7.5 billion of us exhale: breath out, on average, .5 tons of co2 per year. Our plant-based agriculture is a gross co2 emitter after you factor all the fossil applications involved.

  81. awful_truth

    @batvette: Thanks batvette. I really was interested to see some numbers on it. After reading several of your posts, I agree with much of what you have said. This does not mean I am dismissing our poisoning of the biosphere, only that I have 'intellectual skepticism' regarding our knowledge of solar variation. One thing for certain, anything we do will not effect us for quite some time. What I have seen on it states that temperature has a 800 year delay from changes in CO2. The same cannot be said of the sun. If anyone doubts this, how long do they think it would take for us to feel the effects if the sun just suddenly winked out? Take care, and best wishes batvette.

  82. awful_truth

    @David Faubion. Thanks for responding David. I am curious. If water vapor is a greenhouse gas and constitutes some 4% of the atmosphere, do you believe even a dramatic change in CO2 which doesn't compose 1/10 of 1 percent would seriously impact us? (a serious question) Note: I will be away for several days, and look forward to reading your reply when I return.

  83. awful_truth

    @batvette: A terrific point batvette!

  84. Fabien L'Amour

    My understanding is that water vapor has an atmospheric cycle of 9 days so it cycles the heat out of the atmosphere quite quickly and it forms clouds that reflect a good portion of the solar radiation back to space. A cloud-free Earth would absorb nearly 20 percent more heat from the sun and would be about 5 Celsius warmer.

    On the other hand, CO2 has a variable atmospheric lifetime of 30 to 95 years so each additional molecule in the atmosphere will radiate heat back to the surface for a long time and CO2 has no albedo.

  85. David Faubion

    Albedo is the reflective property of clouds and ice, the vast frozen islands that once covered the Arctic and bounced a lot of radiation back into space or onto co2; but, at least it bounced it rather than absorbed it as liquid h2o does. Albedo and kudos to all ye who post.

  86. batvette

    There is every logical reason to conclude the current consensus was reached through ideological and job security motivated "conspiracy"- which requires no secret pacts or any of that. If you attended a convention of Catholic priests, would you expect you'd see an objective viewpoint on the existence of God if you polled them? Of course not.
    This is why climate change research does not justify the special consideration given other fields of scientific research, in that everyone who pursued the field had to be a true believer to make that choice.
    That is unless I missed counting all those atheist Catholic priests. Nobody devotes their life's work toward researching something they believe does not exist.
    The most obvious example being people like the (former) NASA scientist James Hansen, who fits the "environmentalism as my religion" mold. The guy's out getting arrested chaining himself to fences at coal mines, stuff like that. You think he approached his work with objectivity? Guys like that don't let facts get in the way of their noble mission to save the planet. They'll skew the facts any way they see fit to advance their agenda and if they're wrong about climate change they're okay with that because they feel they're still working within the save the planet ideology.
    Ideology driven activism is scary. It caused the "shipbreaking" debacle going on in Indian Ocean coastal nations.
    I'm sure the European Union activists who feared an Exxon Valdez in their waters can sleep well at night knowing their push to ban single hulled tankers virtually overnight overwhelmed the salvage industry when it rendered 2500 registered hulls obsolete.
    Amazingly Greenpeace has pages on their site about shipbreaking... though no story on how members of their EU region were the primary cause.

  87. Fabien L'Amour

    I can't agree with your analogy with religion. The scientific data is there to back up published climate research, religion is based on pure faith. Unless you can prove in some way they published fraudulent data on a large scale to reach a fake consensus, it is a conspiracy theory without supporting evidence.

    I don't argue that there are extremists like James Hansen on both side of the climate change debate but there is a large consensus amongst thousands of climate scientists that the current global warming is mostly man made.

    Not related but I don't like, trust or support Greenpeace in any way. In my opinion, it's not an environmental organization but a 100% political entity with bad positions on just about anything they get involved in.

  88. batvette

    See there you go trying to place this issue above any discussion of bias by merely using the word "scientist".
    It's as if you consider these people robots, or believe people choose their careers and life's work randomly, without any concern over what that life's work might be accomplishing.
    It's hardly a surprise people pursue careers in cancer research to make their life's work mean something. Yet not one single project they undertake could come close to curing cancer.
    As for the analogy being irrelevant, just google "environmentalism as religion" and Hansen, their poster child, can hardly be dismissed as an extremist- in fact as one of the more powerful figures in it all the fact nobody saw anything wrong with an ideologue in that position reveals how many people are blind to this problem. He's hardly alone, we can find a number of climate change researchers making problematic statements concerning the moral importance of convincing everyone their opinions are above reproach and must be accepted or the planet is doomed. Finally you use the word "conspiracy theory" seemingly oblivious to the meaning of an ideological movement. If I want to save the planet, and you want to save the planet, and 37 guys at Berkeley and Stanford all want to save the planet, you don't think we all need to hold secret meetings to discuss how we're going to do this do you? Aren't we all just going to do what we do in pursuit of a common goal? Aren't we going to bump into each other in instituitions, and online forums, and slap each other on the tookus agreeing with each other and squashing dissent?

  89. Fabien L'Amour

    Nice essay but it would get demolished in a court of law. It's an awful lot of assumptions and suppositions. It's not the word scientist that matters, it's published peer-reviewed research data. If anyone wants to prove climate change doesn't exist, they need to prove the data gathered is false.

  90. awful_truth

    I apologize for the delay Fabien, I have been away. Thank you for your response, and the information you provided. Question: If you had to make a prediction, what in your opinion will be the long term fall out, even if we started scaling back our emissions today? I am of the mindset that re-forestation is our best alternative for reducing CO2 levels, (absorption) beyond technological innovation. (as in my previous post, I am unconvinced that we could effect corporate change that will alter our present course.

  91. awful_truth

    Thank you for your response David. (and the link) I find it an interesting idea regarding the belief that population increase is due to 'better weather'. I was always under the impression that our numbers were quite stable until the industrial revolution, where our manipulation of energy allowed humanity's population to flourish, where mass food production/distribution became global. (first with steam, than coal, but huge increases in population after our utilization of fossil fuels) Since the population of the planet has almost tripled since I was born, (50 years ago) I was under the impression this was the cause. Could it be a combination of multiple factors? Let me know what you think! Take care.

  92. David Faubion

    The human population growth 8k years ago with the start of the agricultural revolution and civilization--allowed humans to survive: the numbers of humans to increase, steadily but slowly, relative to the 19th C. This was due equally to warming, largely due to agricultural practices (deforestation, irrigation, composting) which reduced the frequency and severity of the cyclical ice ages on Europe and Asia.
    My sense is that you are talking about the population "explosion" and the corresponding co2 upsurge due to the sharp, prolonged glut of industrial processes using toxic carbon when burnt as fossil fuel.
    Biology notes that when a species feels endangered it over-procreates. Social sciences note that that the poorest people: generally the people most exposed to pollution and untreated disease contribute most to over-population.

  93. happyMephisto

    @batvette;e.g. enjoy your weather.

  94. awful_truth

    I completely agree with your assessment regarding those who will be first hit. I have always been somewhat surprised that the majority of the population tend to reside on coastlines, considering we can't drink the water, and are most susceptible to extreme weather conditions. (earthquakes, tidal waves, hurricanes, etc) If what you say is correct regarding changing weather patterns, I fear there may be few safe places for people to set up home, where they still have plentiful water, and food supplies. I guess in the final analysis, we (humans) are in for rough road in the near future. Thanks for the link Fabien, I will check it out!

  95. awful_truth

    Your assessment regarding endangered species tending to over-procreate is sound. One only need look to countries in Africa, and this is a common solution. (or maybe things are so bad, everyone just wants to get laid for momentary happiness) Animal life tends to go in cycles as well, dependant on food availability, and the number of predators present. Oh, yes, I was referring to 'population explosion' as opposed to a gradual increase in population. I am still convinced that there is a direct correlation between energy production, and the dramatic increase in human population. Perhaps our unwillingness to get off fossil fuels will prove this correct when it becomes far more difficult to acquire, and our number drop accordingly.

  96. Fabien L'Amour

    We definitely can't sustain the present population without fossil fuels. About 80% of the energy used by humans comes from fossil fuels. Unless we hurry up in finding other economically viable energy sources to replace those trillions of watts elsewhere, there will be a population reduction when we run out of fossil fuels. Of course, a lot of the energy we use is not vital for life, so the extent of the reduction might not be a complete reversal to the pre-industrial population level.

  97. Shemish

    Quite simple:
    there are two components of this issue:

    1. Climate change is real and it is something to do with the Sun. We live in much more complicated system as you think. Earth is not a center of it! Cosmo is. We have no influence on that.

    2. Yes, we do pollute our planet. But it has nothing to do with what "climate change" experts are trying to convince us. It's propaganda and birth of a another industry and guilt.

    Pollution and Sun, two different topics here.


  98. kmerget

    Nice rebuttal of the clear points he made though, shows some real knowledge on your part.

  99. Fox

    You hit the nail on the head.

  100. Richard Neva

    Global warming is a hoax. Billions have been wasted on this foolish idea. They say that carbon dioxide is a poison and we need to do away with it. Yet any high school chemistry class will tell you that we need carbon dioxide to live! So many foolish ideas abound in this world!

  101. RealityBites

    Wow. You really don't understand it, do you.

  102. Michael

    Try finding any scientist that hasn't sold out to corporate America. Climate change isn't a new phenomenal. But Profiting through fear mongering is. Carbon footprint is no more
    Damaging then the one left from a few blundering astronauts .

  103. winter

    The sun heats the earth which is the only reason life can exist here. However-

    The sun is middle aged. As it burns off it's reserves of fuel, as do all stars, and begins slowly frying the earth, people are going to find out what climate change is really all about. Nothing can stop this process. No taxes, no professors, no climate scientists, no asshole environmental groups. Time to shut the **** up and be grateful for what you have.

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