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Legitimate Global Climate Change Skepticism?

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Legitimate Global Climate Change Skepticism?

Postby Etryn » Fri Apr 30, 2010 12:39 pm

Hi all,

This is my first post here! Hope I don't break any major rules...

I am an undergraduate studying environmental biology. I've learned about global climate change in many of my classes, and I'm thoroughly convinced with what seems to me to be overwhelming evidence in favor of its existence. Every environmental science/biology professor I've had has lectured about global climate change, and each has personally felt that humans are responsible to at least some degree. While I realize that there are many doomsday criers out there that make the problem appear different that it is, it seems clear to me that anthropogenic increases in CO2 are definitely having some effect on climate, let alone ocean acidification and various other issues.

So here's my question: Why is there so much skepticism? Does it all come from ignorance and politics? I've tried to look into the science behind the skepticism, but essentially everything I find seems immediately wrong based on what I already know. (Just to give a poor example of silly skepticism I read about on the internet, the argument that increased CO2 is helpful to plants and therefore overall a good thing is obviously wrong.) I've also read about cyclical changes in Milankovitch cycles, etc, but I don't really know enough about solar climate forcing to evaluate those claims. So what are the major, scientifically-sound arguments *against* anthropogenic GCC?

Thanks in advance!
"Sit down before fact like a little child, be prepared to give up every preconceived notion, follow humbly wherever and to whatever abyss Nature leads, or you shall learn nothing." -Thomas Huxley
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Postby JackBean » Fri Apr 30, 2010 1:25 pm

And what are your arguments for anthropogenic GCC? Hockey graph? Or increasing sea level, which is lower, than thousands years ago?
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Re: Legitimate Global Climate Change Skepticism?

Postby skeptic » Wed May 05, 2010 4:56 am

People do not like to believe what is not convenient to them. I got into an argument on line about the harm that comes from widespread gun ownership, and showed the statistics that related gun ownership to suicide rates. A number of gun nutters told me I was a fanatic and tried to shout me down. Not one offered any data to support their views, but they were most adamant that they were right. Basically, I offered an opposing view that they did not like. No matter how much supporting data I presented, it was all rejected.

This is what happens with global climate change ideas. People find it inconvenient to believe, and reject such thoughts.

Mind you, the pro-climate change lobby does not always help itself. There have been a bunch of people who have gone way overboard in presenting far too extreme a view, which arouses scepticism.
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Re:

Postby Etryn » Wed May 05, 2010 7:16 am

JackBean wrote:And what are your arguments for anthropogenic GCC? Hockey graph? Or increasing sea level, which is lower, than thousands years ago?


I've read up a bit on the whole "hockey stick graph" conspiracy, but I guess I don't really understand it. From what I know, sea level data and temperature data definitely seem to support global warming. I'm posting here looking for an actual explanation about why they don't indicate that GCC is occurring.
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Postby JackBean » Wed May 05, 2010 8:57 am

if they were real, they would, but they aren't ;)
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Postby Jillo725 » Thu May 06, 2010 12:32 am

It depends on who you talk to. I've been trying to get a straight answer for years myself. Here's what i've discovered.

that 30 years ago we were worried about global freezing because the temperatures were dropping.

that the people who are "against" global climate change feel as if it's a bunch of panic for nothing. that the earth cycles through warm and cold and yes humans may have had a small part in changing this, but it is not as horrible as the "pro-GCC" people make it out to be. They think that the "pro-GCC" people are trying to get a rise out of people because they know if they wave a polar bear in front of people they will care about something (it's called a flagship species).

That's the opinion of the "anti-GCC" people. I put them in quotes because they aren't necessarily against the idea of GCC, they simply want the "pro-GCC" people to shut up, sit down, and stop scaring people.

What's interesting is...the "antiGCC" cant say any of this because they will be considered "ignorant, conservative, and out-of-date"

I personally don't know what my opinions are...do i think that the climate is changing? sure. do i think people need to be THIS scared about it? maybe not. but my vote isn't cast yet.
"There is no adequate defense, except stupidity, against the impact of a new idea."
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Re: Legitimate Global Climate Change Skepticism?

Postby skeptic » Fri Jul 30, 2010 8:01 pm

To Etryn

A lot of people have the ability to ignore good data, if it contradicts their emotion based beliefs. The concept of anthropogenic climate change is emotionally distasteful to many people, because it implies a duty to change their behaviour, in a way designed to reduce carbon emissions. Since these guys do not want to change their behaviour, they deny the climate change.

Being skeptical of the details of climate change is fine. Skepticism is a part of the scientific process. Pioneers in science have to question everything. However, there is a difference between healthy skepticism and outright denial of good data. Only those who think with their emotions deny good data.

The data clearly shows the world, on average, warming at about 0.08 C per decade, and sea levels rising at about 3 mm per year on average. Warming in the high Arctic has been running at about 0.3 C per decade on average, which implies serious problems on the way. This has been happening for the past 35 years. This is good data. In addition, CO2 has been rising over a much longer period at about one part per million by weight per year.

Experiments have shown the greenhouse effect. If infra red is passed down a tube containing CO2, then the warming of the gas is much higher than in a tube containing air. The effect can be, and has been quantified, and the extra warming of the Earth's atmosphere from this cause, with a higher level of CO2 can be, and has been calculated. The result is consistent with observed global warming.

As a result, the conclusion that observed global warming is due to human release of greenhouse gases is almost certain. The United Nations International Panel on Climate Change, which include the world's top climatologists, have stated clearly, that the probability of human released greenhouse gases being responsible for global warming is 90%.

The data is clear cut. The conclusions are clear cut. Those who oppose this are simply those who, for their own personal emotional reasons, find it inconvenient to accept the data and conclusions.
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Re: Legitimate Global Climate Change Skepticism?

Postby JackBean » Sat Jul 31, 2010 8:20 am

skeptic wrote:The data clearly shows the world, on average, warming at about 0.08 C per decade, and sea levels rising at about 3 mm per year on average. Warming in the high Arctic has been running at about 0.3 C per decade on average, which implies serious problems on the way. This has been happening for the past 35 years. This is good data. In addition, CO2 has been rising over a much longer period at about one part per million by weight per year.


You mean data, which were selected to support the GW?
BTW not long time ago, in Science was article that, I think, in Izrael was some time ago the sea level much higher, so 3 mm per year are not much...

skeptic wrote:Experiments have shown the greenhouse effect. If infra red is passed down a tube containing CO2, then the warming of the gas is much higher than in a tube containing air. The effect can be, and has been quantified, and the extra warming of the Earth's atmosphere from this cause, with a higher level of CO2 can be, and has been calculated. The result is consistent with observed global warming.


I'm sure you know, that plenty of other gases have much higher greenhouse effect than CO2, don't you? And the effect is not additive.
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Re: Legitimate Global Climate Change Skepticism?

Postby skeptic » Sat Jul 31, 2010 10:14 am

Jack

You are obviously a climate change skeptic. Nothing wrong with that, as long as you accept good data and the obvious conclusions to be drawn from good data.

The data I posted was not selected. The world, on average warms at 0.08 C per decade. That is a simple fact. Arctic regions warm at 3 times that rate. Also a simple fact. These come from thermometer readings, not political speeches.

Over geologic time, sea levels rise and fall. So does temperature. In the last interglacial period, 120,000 years ago, temperature reached 2 to 3 C more than we currently experience. That is a datum that really has no bearing on this debate. It does not alter the fact that, at present, the world is warming and that this warming is due to human release of greenhouse gases.

Sea level in Israel? I am not familiar with the information you quoted, but it does not matter anyway. There is little doubt that sea levels have been a lot higher than the present many times. In Miocene times, sea levels were many metres higher than the present. So what? That does not change the fact that current sea level rises are unwelcome.

Other gases being more potent as greenhouse gases compared to CO2? Sure. Methane is lots more potent, as is nitrous oxide. However, CO2 is the one that has increased most and has the greatest impact on warming.
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Re: Legitimate Global Climate Change Skepticism?

Postby TheSymphofBiology » Mon Aug 02, 2010 12:33 am

JackBean would hate this guy: http://www.youtube.com/user/greenman3610. BTW, I'd recommend that channel to anyone who gives the slightest credence to climate skeptic arguments. Their arguments don't withstand much scrutiny.
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Re: Legitimate Global Climate Change Skepticism?

Postby viki78 » Thu Jul 14, 2011 12:00 pm

Well, I think people are not climate change skeptics, because they know the climate is always changing. But they do not believe humans are the chief cause of global warming, any more than humans were the chief cause of the Ice Age. They are legitimate doubters of anthropogenic (human-caused) global warming.
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