US scientists to speak out on climate change

Nov 08, 2010 by Kerry Sheridan
A melting glacier in Ecuador. Hundreds of US scientists are joining a mass effort to speak out on climate change, experts said Monday after skeptics gained political ground with last week's Republican wins in Congress.

Hundreds of US scientists are joining a mass effort to speak out on climate change, experts said Monday after skeptics gained political ground with last week's Republican gains in Congress.

The moves signals a bold approach by scientists, typically reluctant to get involved in , as US President Barack Obama's efforts to set stricter penalties for polluters face near-certain defeat in the legislature.

Scientists involved insisted the mobilization was not in direct response to conservative gains in power and did not aim to influence public policy, but would offer the opportunity to present the facts when needed.

"I think it is important for scientists to assure that the public and policy makers have a clear view of what scientific findings are and what the implications of those findings are," said Princeton University scientist Michael Oppenheimer.

"To the extent that some members of the new majority in the House have exhibited a contrarianism to science, I think it is a good way to have a scientific community there to help keep its facts clear."

One group of about 40 scientists has been mobilized as a "rapid response team" to dive into the often hostile media environment and try to correct misinformation about , said organizer John Abraham.

"We did not form this to take a stance against skeptics. However if a skeptical argument is put forward that doesn't agree with science, we will refute that," said Abraham, an associate professor at the University of Minnesota.

Abraham said there was a wide gulf between what the majority of scientists accept as fact about climate change and what the American public believes.

"This is in response to a real disconnect between what is known in the scientific community and the consensus among the general public," he said.

"Ninety-seven percent of top scientists are in agreement, but the public is split about 50-50."

Indeed, a study by Yale University in October found that 50 percent of Americans know global warming is caused mainly by humans and just 19 percent understand that carbon dioxide can linger for thousands of years after it is emitted.

Another group convened by the American Geophysical Union consists of about 700 scientists who were on call to answer climate science queries for reporters covering the 2009 UN conference on climate change in Copenhagen and plan to do so again.

"AGU has been working over the past year on how to provide this service once again in association with the upcoming UN Climate Change Conference in Cancun, Mexico," which takes place November 29-December 10, the group said on its website.

Big oil and coal companies invest millions of dollars each year lobbying Washington that strict regulations on polluters would slash jobs and cause energy prices to spike, vastly outspending environmental groups.

As many as half of the 100 new Republican members of Congress "deny the existence of man-made climate change" while 86 percent oppose any climate change legislation that would boost government revenue, according to a recent post on ThinkProgress, a blog by left-wing think-tank the Center for American Progress.

And Obama's plan to pass a "cap-and-trade" bill to impose the first US restrictions on carbon emissions blamed for global warming faced hearty opposition even in the previous Democratic-controlled Congress.

However, blurring the line between science and policy-making stirs unease among some scientists.

Judith Curry, who chairs the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology, said she has signed on to neither initiative.

"Scientific disagreement on a subject as complex as climate change is going to go on forever, and it should. Disagreement sparks scientific progress," she said.

"Trying to quell scientific disagreement because you are concerned about diminishing the political will to act on your preferred policy is bad for both the science and the policy."

Curry argues science should be more transparent in the wake of last year's release of thousands of so-called ClimateGate emails, in which scientists expressed their inability to explain what they described as a temporary slowdown in warming and discussed ways to counter the campaigns of climate change naysayers.

The emails, intercepted from scientists at Britain's University of East Anglia, a top center for climate research, were seized upon by skeptics as evidence experts twisted data in order to dramatize global warming.

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User comments : 19

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bbd
2.1 / 5 (7) Nov 08, 2010
a study by Yale University in October found that 50 percent of Americans know global warming is caused mainly by humans


"know" ??? This is BS.
ekim
5 / 5 (1) Nov 08, 2010
"Global warming is a hoax!"
Just kidding. But if it were a hoax ,it would be the greatest hoax of all time. Scientists ,politicians ,business from around the globe joining together to deceive. Billions spent on developing windmills ,solar panels and electric cars. Entire industries created ,millions working away to perpetuate the lie. And for what you say? So people will see a movie made a man who could get even win an election.
marjon
2.2 / 5 (10) Nov 08, 2010
"Judith Curry, who chairs the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology, said she has signed on to neither initiative.

"Scientific disagreement on a subject as complex as climate change is going to go on forever, and it should. Disagreement sparks scientific progress," she said."
She must have tenure.
It is refreshing to see courage in the world of science.
omatumr
2 / 5 (8) Nov 08, 2010
In his farewell address to the nation on 17 Jan 1961, former President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned that: "The prospect of domination of the nation's scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present – and is gravely to be regarded."

". . . public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite."

That is why "Hundreds of US scientists are joining a mass effort to speak out on climate change" !

The cause of climate change is explained in this paper ["Earth's Heat Source - The Sun", Energy & Environ. 31 (2009) 131] arxiv.org/pdf/0905.0704

And in short video: www.youtube.com/w...e_Qk-q7M

With kind regards,
Oliver K. Manuel
Former NASA Principal
Investigator for Apollo
ekim
4.2 / 5 (5) Nov 09, 2010
Oliver K. Manuel
You have an impressive resume. However most of you recent work seems to be only focused on the sun. I haven't seen any data that you have collected that pertains to earth or it's climate. Your Iron Sun theory is interesting but I have yet to see any concrete evidence supporting it. Perhaps in time.
Yvan_Dutil
5 / 5 (5) Nov 09, 2010
Well actually, the iron sun theory is completely ridiculous. It is disproved but a huge amount of fundamental observation in astrophysics. However, since Dr Manuel do not understand those, he reject them. Similarity with the so called climate change debate is obvious.
ekim
not rated yet Nov 09, 2010
"Judith Curry... has signed on to neither initiative.
...disagreement on a subject... going to go on forever...
She must have tenure.

I agree. This ongoing debate gives Judith Curry something to debate . She may have her job forever.
lengould100
3.5 / 5 (4) Nov 09, 2010
Ms Curry etc. misunderstand the issue. I absolutely agree that "AGW" is not now definitely proven, and may never be. HOWEVER, I consider the odds that it MAY be in fact true to be sufficiently high that we MUST take whatever rational actions are available to us economically to avoid it.

That clear enough?
marjon
2 / 5 (4) Nov 09, 2010
Ms Curry etc. misunderstand the issue. I absolutely agree that "AGW" is not now definitely proven, and may never be. HOWEVER, I consider the odds that it MAY be in fact true to be sufficiently high that we MUST take whatever rational actions are available to us economically to avoid it.

That clear enough?

What rational actions?
ekim
5 / 5 (1) Nov 09, 2010
What rational actions?

I for one favor Thorium nuclear reactors. Not only for power generation ,but to reduce existing nuclear waste.
General Fusion shows promise in their reactor design.
Genetically modified photosynthetic organisms could be grown for their bio-fuels while feeding off of captured carbon dioxide.
Solar and wind work well for peak periods of power consumption.
Geothermal ,hydro and tidal power work well as a steady base.
Smart power meters installed in homes could provide customers with options to save cash and level power consumption. Eliminate the flat rate and charge based on supply and demand.
Continue to support research ,discovery and innovation.

marjon
1 / 5 (1) Nov 10, 2010
"The latest complaint from scientists comes in a report by the Interior Department's inspector general, which concluded that the White House edited a drilling safety report in a way that made it falsely appear that scientists and experts supported the administration's six-month ban on new deep-water drilling."

http://news.yahoo...il_spill
This is what happens when you get down in the muck with politicians.
Ravenrant
not rated yet Nov 14, 2010
As the bible predicts, the sheep will inherit the earth. And they ain't too smart, and it's gonna be a warm wet earth, hope they like it that way.

I live on a hill about 7 miles from shore, it's gonna be beach front soon.
paulthebassguy
5 / 5 (3) Nov 14, 2010
"Ninety-seven percent of top scientists are in agreement, but the public is split about 50-50."


This statistic means only one thing - if you know and understand the facts you believe in climate change. One reason so many people don't belive in climate change is that the facts require scientific knowledge to understand (that they don't have), so instead form their opinion based on emotions and hearsay.
marjon
1 / 5 (3) Nov 14, 2010
he facts require scientific knowledge to understand

What facts?
If they are so readily available then there should be NO scientist in disagreement.
A 'forcing function' is not a 'fact'.
marjon
1 / 5 (3) Nov 17, 2010
""There's always been a level of frustration with the difference between what scientists know and what people think we know," says Scott Mandia, a professor of physical sciences at New York's Suffolk Community College and another leader of the rapid response team. "We have to accept much of the blame. It's not good enough to publish information in journals and expect it get out.""
http://motherjone...response
For all you education elitist snobs out there, are you satisfied a community college professor is a leader of the rapid response team?
Skeptic_Heretic
3.7 / 5 (3) Nov 17, 2010
For all you education elitist snobs out there, are you satisfied a community college professor is a leader of the rapid response team?
Which rapid response team? You mean the one that was built by people who've actually studied the paperwork, oh my!

No one cares where he teaches, the question is, is it factually accurate.

Marjon, if the anti-agcc camp's research and evidence are so strong, where are their published research papers?
marjon
2.3 / 5 (3) Nov 17, 2010
where are their published research papers?

Where is an ubiased journal?
""Nobody is interested in solutions if they don't think there's a problem.
Given that starting point, I believe it is appropriate to have an overrepresentation
of factual presentations on how dangerous (global
warming) is, as a predicate for opening up the audience to listen to what
the solutions are. ”Al Gore, Grist Magazine, May 9, 2006"
"Why “Global Warming” is now called
“Climate Change”
• The quiet realization that the new data does
not fit the model predictions.
– No Greenhouse Gas Model predicted the recent
cooling. No model could have predicted the
medieval warming or the ‘little ice age”.
– The branding change coincided with the end of real
“scientific consensus”*."
http://wattsupwit...ysis.pdf
http://rps3.com/P...ange.htm
marjon
2.3 / 5 (3) Nov 17, 2010
Unbiased journals?
"The cause of disruptive climate change, unlike ozone depletion, is tied to energy use and runs through modern society. " AGU
"Emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities are changing the atmosphere in ways that affect the Earth's climate." APS

Here we have publishers of major journals stating AGW is fact so why would they want to print any papers that do not support their position?
Why would any science based organization take such an anti-science position?

"But the science of global climate change is far from settled — large uncertainties remain regarding the rate of change and the scale and distribution of impacts."
http://www.nature...000.html
Maybe this journal will be fair?
Skeptic_Heretic
5 / 5 (2) Nov 17, 2010
Where is an ubiased journal?
If your science is sound, there's no place for bias because it cannot be refuted.
Here we have publishers of major journals stating AGW is fact so why would they want to print any papers that do not support their position?
Ask the same biased journal writers why they accepted Hubble's observations and theories, or Einstein's, or just about anyone who made a major breakthrough in cosmology. Again, if your work is sound, it proves itself beyond bias.

The quiet realization that the new data does
not fit the model predictions.
But it was published and the theory was adjusted, wasn't it? Your statements of bias are immaterial to the discussion. Even the papers that brought forth new streams of data brought out change in the perception of science, didn't they.

In short, come back when you've actually done the work.
FYI: none of your denialist heroes published the new observations. The AGCC crowd did. LOL Bias.