Unfortunately, Climate Change Denial Continues

by Duane Nichols on July 20, 2013

Real Global Warming

Unfortunately, Climate Change Denial Continues

Commentary by S. Tom Bond, Retired Chemist & Resident Farmer, Lewis County, WV

In spite of near universal agreement among climate scientists that the earth is warming and the cause is human activity climate warming denial is strong among those influenced by the energy business.

Interestingly, forced winds of change are blowing through Reuters’ environmental coverage. One of its three regional environment correspondents “is no longer with the company” and the other two have been ordered to switch focus, people inside the agency say.

Fox is big on climate change denial. America Live host Megyn Kelly cut away from Obama’s environmental speech after several minutes, saying that Obama’s assertion that “the planet is warming and human activity is contributing to it” is “not the full story.” Kelly then turned to climate denier Chris Horner of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, an organization that has financial ties to the fossil fuel industry. Kelly and Horner both pushed the false notion that recent short-term temperature trends undermine the scientific consensus that climate change is ongoing.

The Koch brothers, David and Charles, have quietly funneled $67 million to climate change denial front groups that are working to delay policies and regulations aimed at stopping global warming.

Some $120 million was routed through two trusts, Donor’s Trust and the Donors Capital Fund, operating out of a generic town house in the northern Virginia suburbs of Washington DC. Donors Capital caters to those making donations of $1M or more. The funds, doled out between 2002 and 2010, helped build a vast network of think tanks and activist groups working to a single purpose: to redefine climate change from neutral scientific fact to a highly polarising “wedge issue” for hardcore conservatives.

Two familiar names in West Virginia are under the spell. Take Rep. Shelley Moore Capito first. Despite a widespread scientific consensus, the West Virginia Republican said she’s “not convinced” that human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide are leading to global warming that will alter the planet’s climate in ways that could be dangerous. “I’m looking at the studies, and trying to understand it,” Capito said in a phone interview. “But I’m not convinced that the urgencies or the doomsday predictions are factual.”

And now consider Rep. David McKinley.  Many scientists have disavowed past climate change research, McKinley said, and he’s waiting for valid science to convince him there’s a problem and whether man is to blame. “This is an issue that people are using to try to stop the production of coal and the burning of coal in America, and we’ve got to find ways to stand up and say no to that,” he said, calling for more independent research. “I don’t want to listen to Al Gore tell me from a political standpoint that global warming is caused by man because I don’t think he can support it.”

Once again this quote seems appropriate: “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” (Upton Sinclair)

We are at the point of huge change in public awareness, like the change that occurred when most people came to realize the earth was a sphere, not flat. This time the recognition is that the earth is finite, you can’t dump carbon dioxide into the atmosphere with out affecting its composition and physical properties. You cannot extract minerals forever, because they too, are finite. We cannot continue without using waste products for starting materials, and we cannot operate forever with without new sources of energy.

See also: EcoWatch and the Union of Concerned Scientists, among many others.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Nada Beneke July 23, 2013 at 1:33 am

Most scientists do not agree with you that man is causing the earth to warm.  Sun bursts la nina and el nino cause weather change. At best humans maybe affect .05 percent of the warming and cooling of the earth. What about anarctica?


S. Tom Bond July 23, 2013 at 1:35 am

This is my answer:

I have no idea what the source for your initial statement is, but it is incorrect.  An hour in front of a computer, searching with any search engine should convince you. I must explain that Science (with a capital S) is a great debating society.  There is no king or legislature that makes laws, people argue about evidence.  Many of the scientists of Galileo’s time died before they were convinced the earth goes around the sun, not the opposite.  It is still like that.  In general, one’s opinion merits more serious consideration if they have studied the field in which a statement is made, and even more if they have been doing work on the particular physical variables being studied.  Occasionally some evidence is so clear that almost everyone concedes immediately, but it is far more likely to take some time, perhaps decades, before complete agreement is reached.
Rest assured every idea is thoroughly looked at by many able, well trained and eager people, looking for any detail to find fault with in original claims.  Finding fault builds one’s reputation.  It is a very unlikely place to find a conspiracy.
Today there is a huge industry  for denial of climate change.  Are they successful? 155 elected representatives from the 113th Congress have taken over $51 million from the fossil fuel industry that is the driving force behind the carbon emissions that cause climate change. “The 30 climate deniers in the Senate have taken  $20,957,534 in dirty energy contributions while the 70 Senators who haven’t denied the science have only taken $11,944,009 in career contributions. On average, Senate deniers took $698,584 from dirty energy while other Senators took $170,629.”  Where it comes from is detailed in the article you commented on.

As for the Antarctic, two things are going on.  Cold air is confined by the huge size and high altitude of much of the continent, but warmer currents are intruding under the floating ice shelves, melting it from the underside.  This is observed by those working there.  There is a possibility of break off of huge sheets which will be driven north by currents.  Effects on the creatures under the ice due to warming has been observed.

The upper side, still cold, is building up.  The center of Antarctica is normally a cold desert, with precipitation in the range of a few millimeters.  Now however, the precipitation is increased, with some buildup at the surface, since the air that blows over the continent now contains more moisture evaporated from warmer seas further north.
This process is also observed in the northwest Himalayas , where wetter winds are being driven to the high altitudes , causing more snowfall.  Around the rest of the Himalaya glaciers are receding.

Why is the rate of temperature change slowing?  The differential between air and ocean surface is enough now to transfer heat to the ocean rapidly.  Water requires much more heat to change it’s temperature than air does, so the ocean is being warmed slowly.  Is this measureable? Yes it is.  The very coldest water at the bottom of the ocean is now about 0.7 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than it was before the industrial age.


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: