Global Warming & Man’s Influence

Opinion: How to learn the truth

G Raymond PeacockSouthampton, PA, USA  — Before I took a closer look, I, a semi-retired Industrial Physicist, was a denier of the connection between global warming and human interaction. I was not alone in being so.

After all, many of the present deniers, like some conservative politicians, use  a claim like the climate has always been changing and the Earth warms and cools all the time, or some similar reasoning.

I knew that the climate has been warming on average, but not much more about the subject. I thought there was a real issue about man’s influence and the expected consequences because the way the media treated the subject as a real argument; but I had not checked the science.

The Web provides access to mountains of information and data. It should be enough to help me better understand and reinforce my beliefs.

I have decades of research, literature searching experience and engineering and metrology knowledge.  I could to do a literature review to support my denial.

Not too surprising, I discovered that indeed, I had not paid attention to the science and that there is ample scientific proof of the problem and its potential impacts on mankind.

Further, the counter arguments are not science-based and seem to fall generally into categories of  illogical arguments, like “argumentum ad hominem” or cherry-picking facts or denial without any real supporting facts.

There is so much information on the Web that any open-minded person should be able to discern true from false or misleading statements relating to scientific matters. It’s even easier if you understand what constitutes scientific evidence and good science practice.

The “argument” about the reality of Global Warming and man’s culpability in it, or not, should be a reasoned discussion between technological peers, not a political issue or a matter of name-calling as some of the prominent deniers do, way to much, in my opinion.

The vast, overwhelming majority of  scientists agree.

Many of the research finding on Global Warming are archived in databases at US Government agency websites like NOAA and NASA. That seems unusual to me when the Trump Administration seems to be among the strongest supporters of the denier arguments. It’s like a thumb in their eye.

I only hope that those data do not suddenly vanish one day after the Administration decides to chop their budget or close them down under some pretense.

Is Global Warming, its causes and expected problems for our planet real or not? Simple as that.

The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), have an excellent series of articles on their website that speak to this issue.

Check: How Do We Know that Humans Are the Major Cause of Global Warming?”(http://www.ucsusa.org/global_warming/science_and_impacts/science/human-contribution-to-gw-faq.html#.WTb-7MllDMU), it’s a really concise overview of this critical component of a reasoned and reasonable discussion,

I’ve heard counter arguing deniers dismiss the UCS as “leftists” “panderers of pacifism” and a lot worse. But I have not found any real scientific argument to support their views on this subject.

Since many of the deniers are conservative politicians, née lawyers, I was reminded of a legal technique that I have heard, that went something like: “When the Law is on your side, argue Law, when the facts are on your side argue facts, and when neither is on your side, just argue!

To me, it seems the strongest argument the deniers have in their repertoire is just argue! That is as about as far from reasoned, peer reviewed science as one can get.

An interesting website, DeSmogBlog.com gathers information of denial and its sources. Check out https://www.desmogblog.com/global-warming-denier-database.

It has the self-proclaimed mission:

“Welcome to the DeSmog Climate Disinformation Research Database where you can search and browse our extensive research on the individuals and organizations that have helped to delay and distract the public and our elected leaders from taking needed action to reduce greenhouse gas pollution and fight global warming. Choose a tab below to view the lists of climate science denier individuals and organizations.”

It has a database of many deniers, among which are Steve Bannon. It is a most interesting read, if you have the time, at: https://www.desmogblog.com/steve-bannon.

Grist, self-described as “a beacon in the smog — an independent, irreverent news outlet and network of innovators working toward a planet that doesn’t burn and a future that doesn’t suck.” It has a wonderful webpage entitled “How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic: Responses to the most common skeptical arguments on global warming”.

It’s online at http://grist.org/series/skeptics/ .

ScepticalScience has a similar support tool to help steer the neo-deniers into to understanding the obfuscation of their mentors and back into scientific realty at “Global Warming & Climate Change Myths”:  https://skepticalscience.com/argument.php.

To quote from lead-in  to the webpage:

Here is a summary of global warming and climate change myths, sorted by recent popularity vs what science says. Click the response for a more detailed response.

“You can also view them sorted by taxonomy, by popularity, in a print-friendly version, with short URLs or with fixed numbers you can use for permanent references.”

Another informative resource is online at at the Center For Climate Change Communication, George Mason University.: https://www.climatechangecommunication.org/journal-articles/how-to-inoculate-the-public-against-misinformation-about-climate-change/.

It provides access to many scholarly reports and surveys on the subject, many that seem to have been bypassed in the media frenzy over the “debate”.

Bottom line:

  1. Man has been proven responsible for Global Warming and the projected consequences require that we reduce Carbon Dioxide emissions from fossil fuel use before we reach the “tipping point”,
  2. The only real uncertainty, as far as I can learn, is that among scientists there is no clear agreement as to when that will occur, either 100 or 1000 years, or somewhere in-between, and,
  3. We need to curtail Carbon Dioxide emissions now and in the future because of Carbon Dioxide’s 400 plus year residence time in the atmosphere. That means that the tipping point could be on us before our efforts will no longer make a difference and Earth will become like Venus, as Stephen Hawking recently described.
  4. We are on the cusp of inevitable disaster and the sky is not falling, yet, but it sure will if we don’t make changes.

That’s enough for now. This article is from a small sample of the resources and facts that I have found online. I hope this summary is not too long or repetitive.

We will be publishing educational articles regularly for the forseeable future in an effort to help inform the technology-oriented public and perhaps a few others about the problems and solutions involved in solving the Global Warming problems, now that I better understand the science and that the doubters do not seem to deal in objective reality.

G. Raymond (Ray) Peacock
Editor & Publisher
grp@MrPyro.com

July 13, 2017

Comments are closed.