The global warming denialist’s last stand.


The Heartland Institute, a public policy research group in Chicago opposed to regulatory approaches to environmental problems, is holding a conference in Times Square on Monday and Tuesday aimed at exploring questions about the cause and dangers of climate change.

The event will convene an array of scientists, economists, statisticians and libertarian commentators holding a dizzying range of views on the changing climate — from those who see a human influence but think it is not dangerous, to others who say global warming is a hoax, the sun’s fault or beneficial. Many attendees say it is the dawn of a new paradigm. But many climate scientists and environmental campaigners say it is the skeptics’ last stand.

The world has seen some extraordinary winter conditions in both hemispheres over the past year: snow in Johannesburg last June and in Baghdad in January, Arctic sea ice returning with a vengeance after a record retreat last summer, paralyzing blizzards in China, and a sharp drop in the globe’s average temperature.

It is no wonder that some scientists, opinion writers, political operatives and other people who challenge warnings about dangerous human-caused global warming have jumped on this as a teachable moment.

According to a host of climate experts, including some who question the extent and risks of global warming, it is mostly good old-fashioned weather, along with a cold kick from the tropical Pacific Ocean, which is in its La Niña phase for a few more months, a year after it was in the opposite warm El Niño pattern.

“The current downturn is not very unusual,” said Carl Mears, a scientist at Remote Sensing Systems, a private research group in Santa Rosa, California, that has been using satellite data to track global temperature and whose findings have been held out as reliable by a variety of climate experts. He pointed to similar drops in 1988, 1991-92, and 1998, but with a long-term warming trend clear nonetheless.

“Climate skeptics typically take a few small pieces of the puzzle to debunk global warming, and ignore the whole picture that the larger science community sees by looking at all the pieces,” said Ignatius G. Rigor, a climate scientist at the Polar Science Center of the University of Washington in Seattle.

Some scientists who strongly disagree with each other on the extent of warming coming in this century, and on what to do about it, agreed that it was important not to be tempted to overinterpret short-term swings in climate, either hot or cold.

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4 Responses to The global warming denialist’s last stand.

  1. earthpal says:

    Looking forward to the outcome Matt.

    Whether people agree with human-induced GW or not (and you know I do), it still remains that humans are raping the planet and destroying eco-systems and extinguishing whole species. That is not sustainable so we’d still need to do many of the things we are already doing to tackle climate change.

  2. dinosaur says:

    Well the other day in Winnipeg the high was 20 below the normal. now in the summer if our highs are 20 above normal that will be proof of global warming but when it’s below its

    “mostly good old-fashioned weather,”

    got it,

    Ps you left out that the antarctic ice sheet was bigger than ever on Oct 01 2007 and that there are fewer hurricanes in the 1990s than the 1950’s. So Katrina was just weather too. funny how turnabout of the same tactics is not to be allowed.

  3. matt says:

    The Arctic & Antarctic ice sheet info is interesting but unfortunately such recent growth is not seen as part of a trend, just a blip in the warming trend.

    Good point EP that CC is a wake-up call to general destruction of many things by humans, particularly of natural habitat. All matters environmental are linked via a giant web of life. Too many humans choose to ignore this fact. Nice and cozy that way I guess.

  4. Pingback: Marginalized Action Dinosaur » Denialists last Stand, well I can’t stand it.

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