By Zachary Shahan | 04 November 2011, 14:58 BST
Given the ridiculous strings of comments we receive here on CleanTechnica from time to time regarding global warming (claims that it's not happening or isn't caused by humans), I thought I should share some important global warming information with you all (information I hope will help you to find some clarity on this issue and will help you in such discussions when you find yourself in the midst of them).
While these commenters are mostly (or probably entirely) just "trolls" (people posting "inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum, chat room, or blog, with the primary intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion") who come in from other sites, I think it's important our readers know some basic facts about global warming (since it is a, if not the, leading driver of cleantech globally). So, below is a repost of a recent article I wrote on sister site Planetsave explaining how we know global warming is caused by humans.
First, though, I've got a few other things to share. (Mind you, though, you can often discuss the matter for days with a troll without them budging in the face of scientific facts, so don't hold your breath...).
Here are some links to other posts that I think are useful ongoing resources:
On common climate science myths promoted by trolls:
On the false scandal referred to as "climategate":
(Short summary: Truthfully, it was a scandal, as emails covering the course of over a decade were stolen and pieces of them were published out of context in an effort to frame the scientists. While at least 7 independent evaluations have determined there was no misconduct in the scientific work of the researchers and their conclusions are as sound as ever (or even more so), many global warming deniers still claim that there was misconduct, and I'm sure many confused citizens who don't follow the issue still think so, as well.)
Also, it's worth noting that a recent study by a leading global warming skeptic and professor of physics, Richard Muller, and funded by some major fossil fuel interests (i.e. the Koch brothers) to "check the work" of thousands of climate scientists found essentially the exact same warming trend as the scientists Muller was "skeptical" of. He has acknowledged this and, thankfully, the mass media has reported on it. But global warming deniers who were once in love with Muller and the project have now turned on him. In the graph below, Muller's study is the one with the black line titled Berkeley:
More on that:
|These Groups Say The Danger Of Manmade Global Warming Is A . . .|
|U.S. Agency for International DevelopmentUnited States Department of AgricultureNational Oceanic & Atmospheric AdministrationNational Institute of Standards and TechnologyUnited States Department of DefenseUnited States Department of EnergyNational Institutes of HealthUnited States Department of StateUnited States Department of TransportationU.S. Geological SurveyU.S. Environmental Protection AgencyUniversity Corporation for Atmospheric ResearchNational Center for Atmospheric ResearchNational Aeronautics & Space AdministrationNational Science FoundationSmithsonian InstitutionInternational Arctic Science CommitteeArctic CouncilAfrican Academy of SciencesAustralian Academy of SciencesRoyal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Sciences and the ArtsAcademia Brasileira de CiénciasCameroon Academy of SciencesRoyal Society of CanadaCaribbean Academy of SciencesChinese Academy of SciencesAcadémie des Sciences, FranceGhana Academy of Arts and SciencesDeutsche Akademie der Naturforscher Leopoldina of GermanyIndonesian Academy of SciencesRoyal Irish AcademyAccademia nazionale delle scienze of ItalyIndian National Science AcademyScience Council of JapanKenya National Academy of SciencesMadagascar's National Academy of Arts, Letters and SciencesAcademy of Sciences MalaysiaAcademia Mexicana de CienciasNigerian Academy of SciencesRoyal Society of New ZealandPolish Academy of SciencesRussian Academy of Sciencesl'Académie des Sciences et Techniques du SénégalAcademy of Science of South AfricaSudan Academy of SciencesRoyal Swedish Academy of SciencesTanzania Academy of SciencesTurkish Academy of SciencesUganda National Academy of SciencesThe Royal Society of the United KingdomNational Academy of Sciences, United StatesZambia Academy of SciencesZimbabwe Academy of ScienceAmerican Academy of PediatricsAmerican Association for the Advancement of ScienceAmerican Association of Wildlife VeterinariansAmerican Astronomical SocietyAmerican Chemical SocietyAmerican College of Preventive MedicineAmerican Geophysical UnionAmerican Institute of PhysicsAmerican Medical AssociationAmerican Meteorological SocietyAmerican Physical SocietyAmerican Public Health AssociationAmerican Quaternary AssociationAmerican Institute of Biological SciencesAmerican Society of AgronomyAmerican Society for MicrobiologyAmerican Society of Plant BiologistsAmerican Statistical AssociationAssociation of Ecosystem Research CentersBotanical Society of AmericaCrop Science Society of AmericaEcological Society of AmericaFederation of American ScientistsGeological Society of AmericaNational Association of Geoscience TeachersNatural Science Collections AllianceOrganization of Biological Field StationsSociety of American ForestersSociety for Industrial and Applied MathematicsSociety of Systematic BiologistsSoil Science Society of AmericaAustralian Coral Reef SocietyAustralian Medical AssociationAustralian Meteorological and Oceanographic SocietyEngineers AustraliaFederation of Australian Scientific and Technological SocietiesGeological Society of AustraliaBritish Antarctic SurveyInstitute of Biology, UKRoyal Meteorological Society, UKCanadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric SciencesCanadian Meteorological and Oceanographic SocietyEuropean Federation of GeologistsEuropean Geosciences UnionEuropean Physical SocietyEuropean Science FoundationInternational Association for Great Lakes ResearchInternational Union for Quaternary ResearchInternational Union of Geodesy and GeophysicsIntergovernmental Panel on Climate ChangeWorld Federation of Public Health AssociationsWorld Health OrganizationWorld Meteorological Organization||American Petroleum InstituteUS Chamber of CommerceNational Association of ManufacturersCompetitive Enterprise InstituteIndustrial Minerals AssociationNational Cattlemen's Beef AssociationGreat Northern Project DevelopmentRosebud MiningMassey EnergyAlpha Natural ResourcesSoutheastern Legal FoundationGeorgia Agribusiness CouncilGeorgia Motor Trucking AssociationCorn Refiners AssociationNational Association of Home BuildersNational Oilseed Processors AssociationNational Petrochemical and Refiners AssociationWestern States Petroleum Association|
|"FACT" organizations from Is There a Scientific Consensus on Global Warming?, SkepticalScience.com.
"FRAUD" organizations are petitioners v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Endangerment and Cause or Contribute Findings for Greenhouse Gases under Section 202(a) of the Clean Air Act.
And, now, a short piece on global warming and how we know it's being caused by humans (some of the reasons why all of the scientific bodies above support this climate science "consensus"):
By Zachary Shahan
Nothing surprising here, but with a global warming skeptic that deniers were absolutely in love with a few months ago (Richard Muller) finding that the world is warming in his Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature study (BEST), the out-right deniers have kicked him out of their cult and are also claiming that his study was useless. Just a reminder, this is what leading global warming denier Anthony Watts wrote before the results were out:
I'm prepared to accept whatever result they produce, even if it proves my premise wrong....the method isn't the madness that we've seen from NOAA, NCDC, GISS, and CRU....That lack of strings attached to funding, plus the broad mix of people involved especially those who have previous experience in handling large data sets gives me greater confidence in the result being closer to a bona fide ground truth than anything we've seen yet. Dr. Fred Singer also gives a tentative endorsement of the methods....Climate related website owners, I give you carte blanche to repost this.
Now, with the results out and the media actually posting feature stories on the fact that we now know (as if we didn't before) that the world is warming, fossil-fuel front group the Heartland Institute is out trying to confuse people again....
James Taylor (no, not that James Taylor), senior fellow for (anti-)environment policy at the Heartland Institute, has a completely inane op-ed published in Forbes this week that essentially says: "Oh, we knew the earth was warming - no one denied that - we just don't know if it's from humans or how much it will warm in the future." Looks like deniers are finally dropping their first line of denial, but it's of little, little, little surprise that they're still trying to stop us from acknowledging that the warming is human-caused and acting to stop it. (I mean, that is his job after all. He works for the fossil fuel industry, and though he is essentially working to murder countless people who will die from global warming inaction, he is dutifully doing his job.)
But back to the inane arguments, just in case you don't follow the science enough to know that the claims are out of this world:
Just as it's been known for decades that the globe is warming, it's also been known for decades that humans cause it. But over the course of these last decades, the evidence has grown so strong that nearly ever (if not every) overarching scientific organization in the world has stated this is the case. No, not just all those career climate scientists, but overarching bodies evaluating the work those scientists have done.
The Washington Post actually published a great op-ed on this part of the story this week.
Broadly speaking, here are two reasons why the Earth could be warming up. Either more heat is reaching the Earth's surface, or else less heat is escaping out into space. On the first, there's no evidence of a significant increase in heat reaching the earth. True, solar activity can shift from year to year. But satellite data shows that total solar irradiance has declined slightly in the past 30 years, even as the planet continues to warm. Scratch that theory.
So something's keeping the heat in. Physicists have long known from lab experiments that greenhouse gases like carbon-dioxide can absorb certain frequencies of infrared radiation and scatter them back toward the Earth. We also know these gases are increasing in the atmosphere, largely due to the burning of fossil fuels (checking this involves some fairly straightforward chemistry). And, indeed, satellite data has shown that less and less infrared in the specific frequencies in question is escaping out into space, while more is bouncing back to the Earth's surface. There's your culprit.
Now, that's the quick and simple, and for those of you not satisfied with the quick and simple, here's more below (images after the list):
I posted on 10 indicators showing that humans are causing global warming a long time ago, mostly reposting the great work of folks over at Skeptical Science. Here are the "fingerprints" proving the case (some of the images are for items listed, some are additional points):
Now, the only way someone could deny that the world is warming due to the greenhouse effect (which is caused by humans burning more fossil fuels) is by ignoring the evidence (lying), not looking into and finding the evidence, or being so incapable of understanding science that they don't understand the evidence. I'm not going to conjecture which one of those Taylor is, since I don't know him personally, but he is clearly one of them if he thinks global warming isn't caused by humans.
Now, for his second point, that we don't know how much the world is going to warm, that is true, of course. However, the climate scientists warning us that it is going to be catastrophic warming if we don't change course soon have been tremendously more accurate in their projections for decades than global warming "skeptics" like Taylor. However, even they have been underestimating the warming and effects in some cases!
No, there is no comfortable reality where "this is not happening and there's no evidence the future won't be catastrophic if we don't change course." Sorry, Taylor. No one wants to be facing this challenge. But we are. Hiding under your blankets when your house is on fire isn't going to help anyone. Telling your wife and children there is no fire in the house isn't going to help anyone. It's only going to make the situation that much worse.
Source: Clean Technica