Article for December, 2008 to the Rico Bugle

On Global Warming

The subject of Global Warming, climate change, and the like has heated up since I last wrote about it back in September 2007. It's time we all became more familiar with the issues. The IPCC site (www.ipcc.ch/) is a one place to start. It collects the work of thousands of scientists and presents it well. In sum, it makes these six points:

1. CO2 levels ARE rising (100% chance of this claim being correct)

2. Global Warming IS happening. (95% chance of this claim being correct)

3. CO2 levels DO tend to drive the earth's temperature higher. (90% chance of this claim being correct)

4. An increase in the earth's temperature is NOT a good thing. (No chance limits stated)

5. Humanity IS the driving factor in increasing CO2 levels. (90% chance of this claim being correct)

6. It MAY be possible to do something about this. (No chance limits stated)

Now a typical denier may call in question any of points 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6. Since there are still some of these around, among them many on the extreme right, the young earth crowd, Rush Limbaugh, Fred Singer and even one member of Congress (Inhofe, Republican from Oklahoma), you may want to check out their claims. There is little evidence for their positions. For comparisons of this kind, see the continuing discussions at

www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/05/start-here/

This site is a commentary site on climate science by working climate scientists for the interested public.

Yes -- there are anti-GW sites. Generally, reading them with a dash of skepticism and common sense will reveal how shallow they are. Here are a few; google can find many more:

www.globalwarming.org/
www.globalwarminghoax.com/news.php
www.globalwarmingheartland.org/

I recently read the book THE POLITICALLY INCORRECT GUIDE TO GLOBAL WARMING, by Christopher Horner. 345 pages of ad hominem attacks, muddled thinking, suspect "cherry picked" data, and adjectival (shrill) editorializing. It reminds me of the many books on the "young earth" published by The Institute for Creation Research. Published in 2007, it is already out of date.

By the way, this ought NOT be a political issue. Alas, it seems it is. A news release 10/30/08 showed that 51% of Republican supporters are skeptical about (or uninvolved with) climate change compared to just 19% of Democratic supporters. A comprehensive set of rebuttals to Inhofe, Singer, Limbaugh, and other GW contrarians may be found at

http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2004/12/index/#Responses

A reputable blog which discusses the issues is at http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/

A reputable government site is www.epa.gov/climatechange/

An NOAA site with Q's and A's is at www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/globalwarming.html

Spode's letter last month, supposedly from the year 2048, indicates the contrarians won out. If his letter is genuine, then I suspect Houston and New Orleans joined Florida in becoming sea bottom. Not to mention Holland, Bangladesh, many Pacific islands. Estimated deaths, 100.000. Estimated displaced persons 1,000,000,000.

John Burgeson


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