Climate scientists plan campaign against global-warming skeptics

Published: Sunday, Nov. 7, 2010 - 12:00 am

Faced with increasing political attacks, hundreds of climate scientists
are joining a broad campaign to push back against congressional
conservatives who have threatened prominent researchers with
investigations and have vowed to kill regulations to rein in man-made greenhouse gas emissions.

The efforts reveal a shift among climate scientists, many of whom have traditionally stayed out of politics and avoided the news media. Many now say they are willing to go toe-to-toe with their
critics, some of whom gained new power after the Republicans won control
of the House in last Tuesday's election.

On Monday, the American Geophysical Union, the country's largest association of climate scientists, plans to announce that 700 climate scientists have agreed to speak out as experts on questions about global warming and the role of man-made air pollution.

Some are prepared to go before what they consider potentially hostile audiences on conservative talk-radio and television shows.

John Abraham of St. Thomas University in Minnesota, who last May wrote a widely disseminated response to climate-change skeptics, is organizing a "Climate Rapid Response Team," which so far
has more than three dozen leading scientists to defend the consensus on
global warming in the scientific community. Some are also preparing a
handbook on the human causes of climate change, which they plan to start sending to U.S. high schools as soon as this fall.

"This group feels strongly that science and politics can't be divorced and that we need to take bold measures to not only communicate
science but also to aggressively engage the denialists and politicians
who attack climate science and its scientists," said Scott Mandia, professor of physical sciences at Suffolk County Community College in New York.

"We are taking the fight to them because we are . . . tired of taking the hits. The notion that truth will prevail is not working. The
truth has been out there for the past two decades, and nothing has

During the recent election campaigns, skepticism about climate change became a rallying cry for many Republican candidates. Of the more than 100 new Republican members of Congress, 50 percent are climate-change skeptics, according to an analysis of campaign statements by the Center for American Progress, a liberal research group.

Prominent Republican congressmen such as Darrell Issa, R-Calif., Joe L. Barton, R-Texas, and F. James Sensenbrenner Jr., R-Wis., have pledged to investigate the Environmental Protection Agency's regulation of greenhouse gas emissions. They say they also intend to probe the so-called Climategate scandal, in which thousands of e-mails
of leading climate scientists were hacked and released to the public late last year.

Climate-change skeptics argued that the sniping in some e-mails showed that scientists suppressed research by skeptics and manipulated
data. Five independent panels subsequently cleared the researchers
involved and validated the science.

"People who ask and accept taxpayer dollars shouldn't get bent of shape when asked to account for the money," said James M. Taylor, a senior fellow and a specialist in global warming at the conservative Heartland Institute in Chicago. "The budget is spiraling out of control while government is handing out billions of dollars in grants to climate scientists, many of whom are unabashed activists."

Ongoing public interest in Climategate has prompted climate scientists to act.

The American Geological Union plan has attracted a large number of scientists in a short time because they were eager to address what they
see as climate misinformation, said Jeffrey Taylor, research fellow at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Colorado and manager of the project.

Still, the scope of the group's work is limited, reflecting the ongoing reluctance by many scientists to venture into politics.

In the week that Abraham and others have been organizing the rapid-response team, 39 scientists agreed to participate, including Richard Feely, senior scientist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; Kevin Trenberth, head of the climate analysis section at the National Center for Atmospheric Research; and Michael Oppenheimer, professor of geosciences and international affairs at Princeton University.

"People who've already dug their heels in, we're not going to change their opinions," Mandia said. "We're trying to reach people who
may not have an opinion or opinion based on limited information."

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It's about time to see reasonable people show some backbone! This article was a little ray of sunshine in my otherwise gloomy news week.
About damn time! Those ignorant jack-asses need to start putting the earth, which is our ONLY home, before their fucking money. The cynical side of me half believes that either they all know perfectly well whats going on and they just don't want to spend money on it, or that their religious beliefs are so important to them that they are willing to sacrifice the earth and everything on it so they don't have to admit that their bible is wrong. I have trouble believing that any of them is sincerely 'skeptical' instead of just being a flat-out denialist because they like to invent their own reality. Like it says in the article, "the truth has been out there for the past two decades" and people persist in ignoring it.
@Lindsey, It certainly seems to be a case of willful ignorance. I hope these efforts can put these so-called skeptics on the hot seat. Maybe then we can show them for the asses they truly are come 2012.

@Adriana - thanks for the link!
Have you read any of the papers regarding climate science?
Indeed I have. What is your opinion about the oceanic cooling from the new subsurface buoys? What is your opinion of the Lindzen-Chen radiance paper? What do you think about the mediaeval warm period, and the little Ice Age, both of which occurred without CO2 correlation. What exactly makes you think the science is settled?

Well, as you edited your post after I wrote mine... What does the genome, or any of the other subjects have to do with climate science? Is that some sort of appeal to authority, or something? What does quantum mechanics have to do with climatology?

No, I don't read articles about aerodynamics before I get on a plane. What an absurd point.

How about we turn this back on you. What papers that YOU have read indicate to you that climate change is anthropological?
1) Wow... People actually think this is a line of argument? Could you show me the counter line of argument regarding aerodynamics? There is no argument against aerodynamics because it has been tested, verified, and has MASSES of evidence in its favour. Are you saying that anthropological global warming has ZERO evidence against the motion?

2) As to the consensus, I believe I have stated before that science is NOT done on consensus. It is not a majority vote. Science is NOT a democratic process. There ARE scientists who do not agree that the debate is over regarding AGW, so why are YOU ignoring them?

3) Could you please state, and link to the post where I stated there was a conspiracy? Please, just one post where I have said there is a conspiracy regarding AGW... I am not the one labeling people because of their stance on science. I am not the one calling people denier, or believer. I am not the one who says the science is settled, or that the debate is over. I am the one saying let the science speak for itself, and make sure that it isn't those with the loudest voice that are considered right. I am the one saying a campaign against climate skeptics is unscientific, as the science should be leading the way, not who has the most banners, or who can get on the most TV shows. Why exactly does that make me a nutjob?

4) Where in this thread have I stated that we should carry on polluting, carry on destroying the environment, that it would be bad if we went green, or that I want clean air to breathe, etc? I'm afraid you are talking about entirely different subjects that AGW there old chap. I haven't said a single word about ANY of these things, and yet you feel it is OK to come on here and get hysterical for no reason whatsoever. I have talked about NOTHING but the science. I haven't said anything about a conspiracy, about money, or about any political process that has happened.

You say "what is it with you F people"... I say what the F (apparently a big F means something), that you feel you should come rushing in here, read what I have written, and then write that pile of F nonsense that has nothing to do whatsoever with what I wrote. What, exactly, is wrong with your reading comprehension.

So please, I would like you, as you are going to talk to me like that, answer each of my questions.

a) Where did I mention a conspiracy?
b) Why are you ignoring the scientists that do not think that AGW is either a settled science, etc?
c) Where I said anything about pollution, trees, forests, or bunnies?
d) Where I mentioned money or power?
e) Why you feel it is OK for you to just make this stuff up and pretend I said any of it?

f) Why you feel the need to get abusive?
I hope that media coverage & public perception stats are based on the US? Cause around here, I only noticed some sidenotes about some minor mishap or something because of some loonies wish to deny yet another thing evil science found out.

Heck, I seem to recall news about findings about our glaciers round here...

Wow, for some reason absurd beliefs stil astound me. Just recently we had Homeopathy loving Atheist on the German Atheist News Blog I frequent.

AndyM - I randomly looked into one of those links you provided. That was no way a scientific paper, rather a lame ass power point presantation converted into a pdf.
@ AndyMeanie When scientists, who are sceptical about specifics of climate science, put forward research on which they base their scepticism, then they are taken seriously. Very seriously - especially if they work in a relevant field. And they continue to be taken seriously until the research is analysed and reproduced. Some is valid, in which case it is absorbed into current understanding, and models and theories adjusted accordingly; however, much has been shown not to be. This has been the case with all new fields of research, throughout scientific history; there are always a small minority who oppose the consensus, no matter what the theory proposed. Minority opposition is no indicator of the validity, or otherwise, of any scientific theory. And the presence of scepticism about specifics is not an indicator of scepticism about the generality, though it suits the climate denial lobby to portray it as such.

However, something which seems to be overlooked regarding the dabate over CO2 and climate change is that this is not new science, and there was no controversy over it until it began to threaten the large energy companies, which is when many of the sceptics emerged.

The field of carbon dioxide and climatic warming potential was first studied in the early 19th century, and was periodically studied over the next century (notably by Tyndall and Eckholm). It was revived in the 1930s, and became largely accepted with the work of Gilbert Plass and others in the early 1950s.

Of course, at that time no-one worried, because they assumed that it was irrelevant, as the future was going to be entirely nuclear, and fossil fuels were the old technology. As that vision of the future was proved false (at least in the medium-term, until we master fusion technology), the continuing research, and our growing understanding of its possible implications, became a threat to the energy companies who could see the threat to fossil fuel production, without the nuclear industry to replace those profits. Reliance on renewable sources implies lower energy consumption, and greater energy efficiency. Hence, the rise of the controversy.

Anyway, what exactly would be so bad if we went greener, even if (in an absurd world) the global warming wasn't anthropological?

Fighting global warming will divert, eventually, trillions of dollars from other crucial problems such as curing various pestilent diseases, eliminating poverty, helping the various underclasses overthrow their oppressors, etc., etc., etc.

So, they had better be right.

crucial problems such as curing various pestilent diseases, eliminating poverty, helping the various underclasses overthrow their oppressors

You understand of course that rapid climate change would make all of those problems worse, and more? Not to mention, the technology of future solutions (e.g. reduction of carbon footprints with wind and solar power) could eventually be made affordable enough for those third world countries, and we in the west could lead the way and produce such products, if we could just plan further ahead than the next quarter's corporate earnings or real estate/stock market bubble.

@ AndyMeanie I'm a little unclear as to whether you have read any of the papers or research topics you quote above, or whether you lifted some references from a climate sceptic website. I'm totally unaware of any paper by Lindzen and Chen, however there is a well-known paper by Richard Lindzen and Y S Choi on radiance, which has been heavily criticised for its methodology, as it only took data at the tropics, yet makes assertions about global feedback mechanisms, and, as the authors have had to admit, the study inherently only allowed consideration of negative feedback and not positive feedback. You'll find a good critique of the paper here

Furthermore, the study has no actual relevance to the debate about the nature of climate change; it is an analysis of climate sensitivity, which you should know if you had actually read it, instead of, perhaps, taking the "end of the AGW scam" misrepresentation by climate deniers at face value? Lindzen is, indeed, a climate sceptic, but the paper you appear to quote is simply relevant to the sensitivity of climate modelling, not to causes of warming, which is an entirely appropriate subject for debate, and is so amongst the modellers themselves.

Your comment about the subsurface buoys is a little puzzling too, as it seems to be a reference to the National Data Buoy Centre research programme, which is run by NOAA, one of the most outspoken research institutes on climate change; they are firm in asserting that climate change is anthropogenic (anthropological? - not sure what you think anthropology has to do with climate change).
Have you read any of the papers regarding climate science?

Do you have the training to even know what you are reading? How many papers have you read? Are you currently studying and/or working in climate science? How many papers do you read a month on the subject? What work do you do in this field of study?

Sheesh. Climate scientists spend years studying and then working in their fields to understand and stay abreast of all the scientific data and developments. The fact that you may have read a paper or two does not carry any weight. And even if you have read hundreds? What if you ARE a climate scientist who has spent years studying, working, and staying abreast of climate science? Want to know where that puts you? In a very small minority that disgarees with the consensus. So, even if you had all the qualifications, it really doesn't matter unless you are publishing papers that scientifically counters and invalidates the conclusions of the consensus of experts in that field.

So. Who should I, a layman with basic science knowledge, trust on the issue of climate science? Some guy on the internet with unkown credentials and who asks silly things like "have you read any papers regarding climate science?", or the conclusions of a majority of experts in the field?


I can say that the experts put together a very compelling case for their conclusions and it is not something you would get from reading a few research papers. It is the aggregate of data that tells the story.



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