Global Warming: Deniers vs Skeptics

By Mark Kneubuhl-

(May 12, 2012)  In terms of the science, I don’t think there are many true global warming “deniers” out there anymore; just more lobbyists who are supported by skeptics and special interest.  Glen Beck still claims to be a denier but I think it’s more about ratings.

In my mind there is a huge distinction between a denier and a skeptic. Skeptics actually have an optimistic leg to stand on in that climate scientists concede the other part of their research that for the most part, demonstrates human induced global warming.

And considering that our grandchildren and perhaps children will all have a lot to lose if those super-computer models are correct, the only way I can explain today’s skeptic is those who wear convenient blinders made from a good dose of optimistic rationalization.  And honestly, I don’t blame them.

It’s no fun to believe that our world will be toast within decades.

A recent survey of 1008 adults and conducted by the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication revealed that a large majority (nearly 2 to 1)now believe that global warming made a number of recent extreme weather events worse.

Just five years ago, the polls were consistently split between believers and non-believers.

This survey neither supports or refutes the scientific evidence of human induced global warming , it just proves that today, more people believe that global warming will have an effect on our planet.

In yesterday’s New York Time, James Hansen , director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies stated that if Canada proceeds with its planned exploitation the oil in its vast tar sands reserves… “it will be game over for the climate”.  He states that tar sands contain enough carbon to increase the carbon concentration in our atmosphere by 50% over today’s levels.

If these reserves are used, Hanson claims that the long term effect will be a 50 foot rise in sea level, the disintegration of the ice sheets would accelerate out of control, global temperatures would become intolerable and 20 to 50 percent of the planet’s species would be driven to extinction.

In the short term he predicts: “The Western United States and the semi-arid region from North Dakota to Texas will develop semi-permanent drought, with rain, when it does come, occurring in extreme events with heavy flooding.  Economic losses would be incalculable. More and more of the Midwest would be a dust bowl. California’s Central Valley could no longer be irrigated and food prices would rise to unprecedented levels.

Hanson’s Conclusion: “The science of the situation is clear — it’s time for the politics to follow. Every major national science academy in the world has reported that global warming is real, caused mostly by humans, and requires urgent action. The cost of acting goes far higher the longer we wait — we can’t wait any longer to avoid the worst and be judged immoral by coming generations.”

I would echo that conclusion only to add some advice to remaining skeptics:  Please take off the blinders.

 

Most recent paper: Climate Variability and Climate Change: The New Climate Dice

10 November 2011 J. Hansen, M. Sato, R. Ruedy

 

 

 

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Posted by at May 12, 2012
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