Representation of the 11 Signs of Climate Change (www.epa.gov)
CONTRIBUTING EDITOR BILL BRITTON’S ARTICLE ON CLIMATE CHANGE sure stirred up some contention.
Here is one particular exchange with a reader followed by more several more spicy emails:
“Mr. Britton and Mr. Hardy: With no verifiable temperature increase in the last 20+ years…In its 2012 Special Report on Extreme Events, the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says there is “high agreement” among leading experts that long-term trends in weather disasters are not attributable to human-caused climate change.
This really throws a monkey wrench into…scare tactics: we better cool the planet or all of Florida will be wiped out by massive hurricanes caused by global warming! Or the President’s threats – Global Warming is a greater national threat than ISIS!
You really should consider who you tie your wagon to when there are folks out there claiming that half of Florida will be under water by 2020 and other dire warnings – it’s strains your credibility.
The picture of the polar bear on Vero Communiqué is another good example of distorted information used as a scare tactic and sadly used in classrooms to indoctrinate children. Your charts from NOAA are fine (although I don’t trust them anymore than I do the Dept. of HUD, DOT, EPA, etc. because they are all dancing to the tune of the same piper). But what we need are your suggestions about what we can do that will truly drop the temperature .1 degree and then what it will cost to do that.”
Mr. Britton’s reply: “We all have an agenda. Mine happens to be based on the science I read and understand as a layperson.
Global warming (misnamed “climate change,” for some reason) is a theory. Any scientific theory amounts to a conclusion based on the best available evidence. In other words, it is never final. (Think of Newton’s theories on mass and motion being displaced, or augmented, by Einstein.) All we can look at with some certainty is the empirical evidence and draw conclusions from that.
Facts: (1) the Arctic and Antarctic ice sheets are melting at an accelerating rate (the Arctic is almost ice-free year round);
(2) glaciers are disappearing the world over (look at photos of Alaska from 100 years ago);
(3) sea levels are rising because of ice melt and seawater expansion (both Miami and Jacksonville are looking at raising seawalls because of the measured rises);
(4) there has been no slowdown or “hiatus” in global warming over the past ~20 years, despite a solar minimum from 2007 to 2009 (see http://www.sciencemag.org/content/348/6239/1066.summary);
(5) the heat-trapping effect of CO2 is well-established: 280 parts per million in 1800, 400 ppm today;
(6) an increase in ocean acidification of 30% from the absorption of increased atmospheric CO2;
(7) the northward migration of animal and plant species in response to moderating temperatures at lower latitudes. Now some claim that any rise in global temperatures is part of a natural cycle—another theory and one that has some validity. In other words, ignore the above mentioned evidence and count on Mom Nature to restore balance. But what if these global-warming naysayers are wrong?
Beyond the risks of denying human-caused climate change is the fact that Earth is running out of fossil fuel (coal, oil, natural gas). There is no more being made, despite the silly claims of some. Earth’s vast fossil fuel reserves were formed during a unique period in the geologic past. And make no mistake; they will be exhausted.”
Reader reply: “Here’s where we really part company. I’m not letting someone proclaim that we’re running out of oil, gas and coal and get away with it. Thomas is such a neophyte. He sent me an email earlier saying that he didn’t write the article…and believes some of it but not all. What a baby.”
MEANWHILE, being a neophyte, we found this on the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) website, “Global Climate Change / Vital Signs of the Planet:” (http://climate.nasa.gov/scientific-consensus/) “Multiple studies published in peer-reviewed scientific journals1 show that 97 percent or more of actively publishing climate scientists agree: Climate-warming trends over the past century are very likely due to human activities. In addition, most of the leading scientific organizations worldwide have issued public statements endorsing this position.” To access the nearly 200 worldwide scientific organizations that maintain climate change is likely due to human activities please use this link: http://opr.ca.gov/s_listoforganizations.php
1. J. Cook, et al, “Quantifying the consensus on anthropogenic global warming in the scientific literature,” Environmental Research Letters Vol. 8 No. 2, (June 2013); DOI:10.1088/1748-9326/8/2/024024 Quotation from page 3: “Among abstracts that expressed a position on AGW [Anthropogenic, or human-cause, Global Warming], 97.1% endorsed the scientific consensus.
Among scientists who expressed a position on AGW in their abstract, 98.4% endorsed the consensus.”
THEN THIS EMAIL:
“The temperature, four seasons, weather, etc. are directly related to the distance from the sun (controlled by God/mother nature. Currently the axis of the earth is changing – the North Pole is getting closer to the sun (the ice melting as a result) and the South Pole getting farther away (getting cooler and more ice is forming.)
Most of the predictions of doom and gloom (e.g. sea levels rising), are based on faulty computer module/predictor. If the actual temperature data is analyzed, it seems we are in an official cooling period, because of decreased sunspot activity. That is why they changed the term global warming to climate change.”
It is difficult to separate subjects like climate change, cap and trade, acts of God, politics etc. when they are all tied together but separated in the education system.
Currently, China leads the world in pollution/CO@ production and nothings is being done to limit that: so we, as the lowest carbon producers in the industrialized world limit ours further?”
THEN THIS email came in citing a July 8, 2015 article in thegrardian by Susan Goldberg, US environmental correspondent:
“ExxonMobil, the world’s biggest oil company, knew as early as 1981 of climate change – seven years before it became a public issue, according to a newly discovered email from one of the firm’s own scientists. Despite this the firm spent millions over the next 27 years to promote climate denial.” Here is that link: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/jul/08/exxon-climate-change-1981-climate-denier-funding?CMP=ema_565
THEN THIS EMAIL:
“Just this week we obtained records (http://www.judicialwatch.org/document-archive/air-force-documents-3964_001/?utm_source=EmailDirect.com&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=6-26-15+weekly+update+Campaign) that show President Obama’s April 22, 2015, Earth Day trip to give a global warming speech in the Florida Everglades cost taxpayers $866,615.40 in flight expenses alone. Though billed as an opportunity for the president to talk about climate change (http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2015/04/18/obama-to-visit-florida-everglades-on-earth-day-to-talk-about-climate-change/?utm_source=EmailDirect.com&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=6-26-15+weekly+update+Campaign) press reports show he used the speech to attack potential 2016 Republican presidential candidates. The records came in response to a Judicial Watch Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed on April 23, 2015.”
THEN THIS EMAIL:
If this photo by Ira Meyer Photography doesn’t shake your bones, it’s time to wake up to the living nightmare of industrially accelerated global warming. The Arctic ice is quickly turning into a lake – displacing and disappearing countless polar bears, who depend on the ice for habitat.
Meanwhile, most nation states are just happy about new geopolitical trade routes through the Arctic, and the opportunity for new underwater drilling and oppression of Arctic Indigenous peoples.
If this moves you to tears, don’t just agonize: organize! Deep Green Resistance is building a culture of resistance to industrial ecocide. We are advocating for the dismantling of the industrial economy. All species are our family – not just humans.
Image: Mother polar bear holding her cub on a small floating iceberg surrounded by water by Ira Meyer: “I was sailing aboard the Akademik Sergy Vavilov in Olgastretet (Olga Strait), Svalbard, when we spotted this mother polar bear and cub on a small ice floe. Not wanting to disturb them, we approached slowly, never coming closer than 150 yards. We spent 5-10 minutes observing and photographing them. There was no other ice in the immediate vicinity. They were about 10 miles from shore.
An adult polar can swim in the neighborhood of 60 miles without stopping. The cub can also swim, though not as far. The mother can also piggyback it for periods of time.
I have spoken with a fair few more knowledgeable people than myself about the cub’s situation, with opinions being split 50/50 as to its likelihood of survival. The key determinant factor would likely be how tides and wind moved other ice.”
THEN THIS EMAIL:
From The Guardian newspaper 5th May 2015:
“There was less ice in the Arctic this winter than in any other winter during the satellite era, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientists said on Tuesday.”
Everyone’s all riled up.