We Need the Facts on Climate Change

Hello, My name is Michael and I have been invited to contribute to Taetske’s Guest Writers page.

 

Have we caused Climate Change?

There is a significant argument going on in the US of A.  It is related to ‘Climate Change” and the lack of trust in the scientific community, the politicians, the President of the United States (POTUS), and the media.  The fact that the world is warming is indisputable.  What is under dispute is, if any part of climate change is related to human activity

 

Our earth is warming up!

Industrial air pollution

Industrial Air Pollution

Ok, I just made a statement that some will argue with, that the warming of the earth is indisputable.  Some will argue that over the last decade, the climate has cooled.  The fact is that the global average temperature has increased by approximately 1.4°F since the early 20th century.  Over the same period of time, concentrations of greenhouse gases (specifically carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4)) have increased.  This is a verifiable fact and is not in dispute.  What is in question is the contribution (if any) of human consumption of fossil fuels (coal, oil and natural gas).

The increase of fossil fuels

Another thing that is indisputable is that humans have been burning more and more fossil fuels since the start of the industrial age (about 1760).  With the advent of the industrial age, we have power generators producing electricity to power mills, factories and light our homes.  Before this age, we used wood (which is regrown so its use is basically carbon neutral), coal on a small-scale, peat and animal dung to heat our homes.  Since the industrial age, we have seen the development of coal-fired boilers to produce heat/steam/electricity and we have developed ingenious ways to consume a product that was initially thought of as a worthless byproduct (gasoline).

 

big city bad air

Big City bad air

 

The website ProCon.org gives a somewhat unsatisfactory but balanced review of 13 issues (both pro and con).  You can find the discussion at www.climatechange.procon.org .  I say unsatisfactory because I would like to see a point-counterpoint argument of each factoid that is presented.  Will one study outweigh the thousands of others?  Who sponsored the studies and what were the basic assumptions when the study was initiated?   I want full accountability and I want to have full access to any and all studies.  Yes, I may not be able to read the all of the documents but there are millions (dare I say billions) of people out there that have a vested interest in the truth.

Many of the documents in favor of human climate change are produced by government-funded studies (see below).  A large part of the articles opposed to human-caused climate change is funded by “non-profit” organizations such as The Heritage Institute and the Koch Brothers.

The web page http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Heartland_Institute reports:

The Heartland Institute, according to the Institute’s website, is a non-profit “think-tank” that questions the reality and import of climate change, second-hand smoke health hazards, and a host of other issues that might seem to require government regulation. A July 2011 Nature editorial points out the group’s lack of credibility:

“Despite criticizing climate scientists for being overconfident about their data, models, and theories, the Heartland Institute proclaims a conspicuous confidence in single studies and grand interpretations….makes many bold assertions that are often questionable or misleading…. Many climate skeptics seem to review scientific data and studies not as scientists but as attorneys, magnifying doubts and treating incomplete explanations as falsehoods rather than signs of progress towards the truth. … The Heartland Institute and its ilk are not trying to build a theory of anything. They have set the bar much lower, and are happy muddying the waters.”[1]

An August 2014 Travis County Texas court ruling highlighted President and CEO Joseph Bast‘s lack of credibility and reliability:

“Mr. Joseph Bast, president, and CEO of the Heartland Institute testified for the Intervenors regarding the Texas Taxpayers’ Savings Grant Programs (“TTSGP”), a school voucher bill that failed in the 82nd Legislative Session. As a threshold matter, this Court finds that Mr. Bast is not a credible witness and that he did not offer reliable opinions in this matter. While Mr. Bast described himself as an economist, he holds neither undergraduate nor graduate degrees in economics, and the highest level of education he completed was high school. Mr. Bast testified that he is 100% committed to the long-term goal of getting government out of the business of educating its own voting citizens. Further, his use of inflammatory and irresponsible language regarding global warming, and his admission that the long-term goal of his advocacy of vouchers is to dismantle the “socialist” public education system further undermine his credibility with this Court.”[2]

 

The Koch brothers

A large portion of supporting funds for the Heritage Institute appears to be from a group of individuals that are interested in limiting the US Governments influence and or control over the economy.  The Koch brothers are part of the Heartland Institute supporters and helped create a broad network of nonprofit groups that control hundreds of millions of dollars flowing into politics.  While they are “very concerned and worried about our government evolving into a very controlling, socialist type of government” they are unconcerned about the preponderance of the evidence that shows climate change must be addressed, whether it is by government help or not.

 

Two weeks ago, a significant document was brought to the public’s attention by the way of the New York Times (https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/07/climate/climate-change-drastic-warming-trump.html ).  This document is titled “U.S. GLOBAL CHANGE RESEARCH PROGRAM” (https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/3920195/Final-Draft-of-the-Climate-Science-Special-Report.pdf ) and can be accessed by clicking on the link just displayed.

 

The coordinating lead authors are from the National Science Foundation, National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) with additional help from:

University of Washington, Texas Tech University, Columbia University, Northern Arizona University, Rutgers University, North Carolina State University, Columbia University, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Global Change Research Program, NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information, NOAA Ocean Acidification Program, NOAA Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Lab, NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory, NOAA National Ocean Service, NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, NASA Langley Research Center, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Naval Postgraduate School Remote Sensing Systems, National Center for Atmospheric Research, DOE Office of Science.

Updated every 4 years

This is an impressive group of well-respected organizations and should not be ignored.  What is more important is that this report was mandated by Congress to be updated every four years so it is not subject to the whims of the current administration.

Final publication of document vetoed by the president?

That is the concern here, that the current President of the United States will subvert or prevent this document from being finalized.  It has gone through 5 separate drafts and, being an environmental engineer and having personal knowledge of how the federal government likes to document what it decides to publish, going through five drafts shows it has performed due diligence to ensure all data is correct.  Now, it is on the President’s desk and the question remains, will he allow the final publication of this document?

As I stated earlier in my discussion, and to quote an old tv program, I want “just the facts, mam, just the facts.”  I think this issue is too important to allow one man to stand in the way of its publication.  I have presented a link to the draft and several other documents for you to have a full understanding of the issues.

 

Comments

Michael

A news flash/update. The President of the United States has just disbanded the National Climate Assessment group, the ones that were mandated by Congress to asses climate change on an ongoing basis. The one just produced will be the last one. Change is necessary if we are to understand the affects of climate change. See the attached Washington Post article: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2017/08/20/the-trump-administration-just-disbanded-a-federal-advisory-committee-on-climate-change/

Aug 21.2017 | 04:59 pm

    Taetske

    Good afternoon Michael,

    Now that is indeed bad news, a so-called setback. Will we be able to avoid the looming catastrophe or is it too late already. It won’t take us long to find out.

    Regards, Taetske

    Aug 21.2017 | 05:14 pm

Ciara

Thank you for putting out this post on climate change. I am an environmental scientist and I find it frustrating and unbelievable how so many independent groups (e.g., Koch Brothers, Heartland Institute, etc.) are allowed to leverage political decisions on climate change. It’s sad to see them promote false and misleading information to the public at large for their own benefit. Many people are misinformed about what climate change even is… the more popular term is ‘global warming,’ which is a misleading term itself. Thanks for sharing your post and keep up the good fight for our planet!

Sep 05.2017 | 08:20 pm

    Taetske

    Good morning Ciara,

    Thank you for visiting my web page.  Yes, a lot of people are uninformed and a lot of those who you think should be informed refuse to believe the numbers because it does not fit with what they perceive.  I applaud your earning your Masters in Environmental Science and working to make a change.  We all need to encourage or even explain to the general public that the little perturbations in the data do not negate the truth of what is being observed.  I think we have seen that climate change has affected weather patterns and will make them much more extreme.  Extremes like heavy snows in New England in May and an increase in the catastrophic hurricanes and cyclones.  Right now we are worried about a new hurricane but India and Bangladesh are suffering from catastrophic storms as well.   Keep up the good work and keep the faith that science will be trusted again.

    Michael and Taetske

    Sep 06.2017 | 02:00 pm

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