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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Thanks, doone.

It amazes me that people will cherry pick flawed studies or certain data, then claim that a scientific consensus is irrelevent and the only thing that matters is the evidence. What they really mean, whether they know it or not, is that the only evidence that matters to them is the evidence that supports their own feelings on the subject. They completely ignore an expert consensus that is based on a body of evidence that they claim is so important. They demonstrate a fundamental lack of understanding about how science works, especially with abstract and difficult to grasp fields such as climate science.
How great it would be if everyone just ignored someone else's field of expertise.

It would be like having something wrong with your car and taking it to 10 mechanics, 9 of whom diagnose the same problem. But you ignore them all and instead believe your hairdresser's opinion on it.
This cartoon makes such a very good point. Everybody gets so hung up on global warming, but it is just one of many, many aspects of our overall destruction of the environment. I know the world is disaster saturated, but these things are not going away: overpopulation, mass extinction, habitat loss, deforestation, coral reef death, sudden bee death, air pollution, water pollution, light pollution, noise pollution, and rock and roll music.

We have to fix this. Jesus ain't coming back folks!
Oh my !#@%$@# God! And Christians wonder why we pick on them...
Oh, thank God! What else can we stop worrying about?
Alright! Think of all the iPads we can buy with the U.S. military budget that we no longer need! After all, we ARE a Christian nation and God will protect us, right?


The climate doesn't exist, there is no evidence to support it, it's a hoax perpetrating by godless scientists, because Jesus makes rain go up and down and the tide in and out, never a miscommunication. See there! proof climate change is fake. I recommend shoving the deniers in the Large Hadron Collider and see if an Idiot Boson comes flying out.

All you have then is name-calling and 'arguments' but no real evidence.  The temperature increase corresponds perfectly with the increase in CO2 being pumped out by humans. Do you think all that CO2 has magically disappeared? Since the industrial revolution? Where do you think it goes? It is enoughaccording to all the scientific research, to trap heat radiation from land and oceans causing a temperature increase. 

You spit in the faces of scientists who have critically studied this and looked at the evidence for the last 30 years in fields such as basic physics, geology, glaciology, oceanography, volcanology, satellite monitoring, and climate sciences generally. Further, the great majority of all scientists in relevant fields consider humans the main contributor to the global warming trend we have observed in the last hundred years or so.  Scientists have looked really hard for other explanations: volcanoes, solar activity, cosmic rays, etc, and they just have not found anything else than man made CO2 emissions that can explain the current rise in global temperature.

All the evidence points toward man made global warming. Do you think scientists like this fact? We can either deny it in the hope that we are wrong despite 30 years of hard work or we can start doing something about it. Are you willing to ignore it and drive the bus over the cliff in the hope it will fly? 

Makes it hard to reach people when the exact same scientific observations they are using to argue that global warming is happening was used int he 70s to argue we were coming to a new ice age.

"It's really socialism posing as environmentalism"

Are you saying that environmentalism is class struggle pitting the working class against the bourgeoisie and that ownership of the means of production should be transferred to the proletariat, or are you just pulling labels from a big hat of 'things I think I dislike'?

I actually somewhat agree with you - not in that AGW isn't happening - but that a number of environmentalist seem to have a religious conviction towards the subject. Of course, this applies to both of the groups you term 'Alarmists' and those generally referred to as 'Deniers'. It's difficult to have a reasoned debate in which one party insists on unrealistic solutions and the other denies there's a problem.

You utterly fail to provide any evidence of an environmentalism-socialism link, except your contempt for both. You have no clue of what socialism is, which makes any debate futile.


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