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Climate change skeptics gathering in Springfield

Tuesday, August 11, 2009 | 4:21 p.m. CDT; updated 4:38 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, August 11, 2009

SPRINGFIELD — Not everyone believes global warming is real, and many of those skeptics will be gathering in Missouri later this week.

The group Scientists for Truth is hosting a meeting on Thursday in Springfield that will bring together a variety of climate change skeptics. Organizer Ron Boyer, a member of the Missouri Air Conservation Commission, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that the conference is a result of his decision to push back against what he calls "global warming alarmists" and give skeptics a public platform.

"The more I looked into this, I found more empirical evidence that the Earth is actually cooling," said Boyer, who runs an environmental and agricultural consulting firm in Fair Grove.

Among the speakers will be Dennis T. Avery, co-author of "Unstoppable Global Warming: Every 1500 Years"; Joseph D'Aleo, former director of meteorology for the Weather Channel; and Marc Morano, the former spokesman for U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., the former chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.

Most scientists believe that Earth is warming due to the buildup of heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere. Many have predicted the world will experience more flooding, droughts and other cataclysmic events unless greenhouse gas emissions are reduced.

Two years ago, members of the Nobel Prize-winning United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concluded with near certainty that Earth's most recent warming cycle was the result of human activities.

"There's not much debate within the majority of the scientific community," said Don Wuebbles, an atmospheric scientist with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign who served on the IPCC and wrote some of its early assessments.

Skeptics often point to solar activity or swings in ocean cycles as the likely culprits behind current climate shifts. Many oppose climate change legislation expected to go to the Senate for a vote this fall that would place limits on greenhouse gas emissions.

Morano runs ClimateDepot.com, a skeptic Web site and news service. He said his speech in Springfield will challenge the notion that there's a consensus among scientists about climate change.

"This is a grass-roots rebellion, and the Springfield conference is a great example," Morano said.

Boyer said last week that about 120 people have signed up for the conference at the Ramada Oasis Hotel, and he's hoping to double that number.

Boyer said his consulting company is funding the conference. He emphasized his views about climate change shouldn't be construed as a position of the state Air Conservation Commission, which develops Missouri's clean air policies.


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