Some examples of the material the climate change skeptics use to fuel their cause and spread doubt among those who probably don’t want to know.


“Key facts about climate change

  • Burning fossil fuels releases gasses such as carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, creating a ‘greenhouse effect’ and trapping heat.
  • Carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere are at their highest in 150,000 years.
  • The last decade has been the warmest decade in history.
  • If our greenhouse gas emissions are not brought under control, the speed of climate change over the next hundred years will be faster than anything known since before the dawn of civilization.”

from  The Green Providers Directory

Bullet (1) 

Burning fossil fuels does not “create” a greenhouse effect.  The greenhouse effect is absolutely essential for the  maintenance of life as we know it on the planet.  It is naturally occurring and anthropogenic causes only ‘enhance’ or strengthen the effect.  Be that as it may, too much of a good thing often, and in this case, turns nasty.  So please, let us not claim that humans ‘cause’ the greenhouse effect. 

“If an ideal thermally conductive blackbody was the same distance from the Sun as the Earth is, it would have a temperature of about 5.3 °C. However, since the Earth reflects about 30% (or 28%) of the incoming sunlight, the planet’s effective temperature (the temperature of a blackbody that would emit the same amount of radiation) is about −18 or −19 °C, about 33°C below the actual surface temperature of about 14 °C or 15 °C. The mechanism that produces this difference between the actual surface temperature and the effective temperature is due to the atmosphere and is known as the greenhouse effect.”

Bullet (2)

This statement might appear to be silly to some.  Of course, CO2 is higher than it has been for this period.  Why?  Simply because average global temperature and CO2 concentration in the troposphere follow roughly the same pattern.  Their graphs look almost the same.  So, naturally, CO2 has not been this high since the last warm cycle of the glacial/interglacial temperature/CO2 cycle which occurred around 120,000 years ago.

Bullet (3)  “The last decade has been the warmest decade in history” NO.  History goes back a long way.  This statement is inaccurate.  It would be better to say recent history and even better to say the warmest recorded in the present interglacial period.  It is certainly the warmest recorded with thermometers and arguably the warmest as reflected in various ice core samples of the present interglacial period.  Regardless who’s readings you cite, 10 years is not appropriate for climate analysis.  Also, there are several abrupt temperature change phenomenon that affect short term temperatures.  They interact and make short-term temperature predictions difficult.  The primary one is the El Niño/La Niña-Southern Oscillation, or ENSO.  It comes and goes with no predictable period.  In other words it is not synchronous thus unpredictable.  Another is the  Atlantic multidecadal oscillation.  It is associated with droughts in the US Midwest and Southwest – the “dustbowl”  in the 1930’s for instance.

So it is best to remain calm and relatively quiet about global warming when looking out the window and noticing more rain or less rain or when it is colder or hotter.  Whatever you see or feel, it has probably occurred before in living memory.  Far better to stick with the findings recorded and reported by credible scientists such as James Hansen.

Bullet (4)  Sweeping statements such as this are dangerous and invite derision.  We just don’t know.  We have not been here before.  Even looking at the ice cores of the last two or three interglacial periods give us only probability.  Better stick with what we do know and act on that.  CO2 is increasing by 2ppm’s per year. Temperature and CO2 correlate.  Humans definitely contribute to carbon content in the air.  Sea ice and glaciers are melting.  If the tundra thermafrost all melts, tons of methane will enter the troposphere.  That’s enough to justify action to lower our contribution.