LETTER: Climate change skeptics should be heard

Friday, December 18, 2009 | 11:45 a.m. CST

This is in response to George Kennedy’s article of Dec. 18 in the Missourian. I strongly disagree with his assertion that the skeptics of climate change are “willfully ignorant."

As a professional engineer who has worked for 40 plus years in the energy technologies, I have educated myself on the climate cycles of the Earth and the historical causes of such cycles.

The debate on climate change revolves around two questions:

1.  Is the climate of the world changing?

2.  Is human activity causing this change?

The answer to the first question is a strong yes. The climate has been undergoing cycles of change since the beginning of time. Meteorological records show that the Earth undergoes rising and falling temperatures on a somewhat cyclical basis. Those who remember the 1970s might recall that some in the “scientific community” were worried about a coming ice age and were considering coating the polar ice caps with soot, to absorb more solar heat. Does this sound somewhat like an idea recently put fourth by our energy secretary to paint our roofs white to reflect more solar heat?

The answer to the second question is certainly no. Again, records show that changes in the climate are largely traceable to natural occurrences, such as sun spots (solar storms) or atmospheric contamination, as from volcanic eruptions. There is something about the current generation of zealots who think they are capable of changing everything that happens during their lifetime, even the climate. We must realize that we humans are tiny specs in the universe and that some things are beyond our control. The climate of the Earth is one of these things.

Mr. Kennedy would do well to listen to the skeptics of man-made climate change. Their ideas just might be based on credible science, rather than a “consensus” among grant recipients and those who stand to make money from this global warming bogeyman.                      


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Tim Dance December 18, 2009 | 12:00 p.m.

Seems like the oil/energy industries have their useful idiots out in full force.

(Report Comment)
Martin J Kasper December 18, 2009 | 2:11 p.m.

Everytime I discuss climate change with a "warmer", I receive namecalling in response. I also receive a comment about the scientific community "consensus." At one time, I was the state's representative on Climate Change and was assigned the task of reviewing articles and research regarding Global Warming. There is no "consensus" in the scientific arena. I collected just as much material on both sides of the argument. I have worked as an environmentalist for 20 years. I am all for improving our environment. However, our time shouldn't wasted on a "maybe." Time should be spent on real-time environmental issues such as: the Texas-sized trashbin full of plastic in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, the dead-zone in the Gulf of Mexico from the polluted Mississippi River, regional haze problems from aeresols in the atmosphere, etc.
From the research I have read and from my eduation in Earth Science and Geology, I have found the earth actually is warming. It is rebounding from a cooling trend, The Little Ice Age, which itself rebounded from a warming trend. However, the Earth is not warming now any faster than prevoius trends over the last 3000 years. As a matter of fact, this trend is rather slow compared to many others. Starting in 600BC, the temperature rose 4.5 degrees F and then dropped 5 degrees in a span of just of 200 years. The Earth and its wildlife survived it fine. Our current warming trend since about 1700AD years has raised the temperature only 2 degrees. If the earth heats up another 2 degrees by the year 2100, it would be well within the normal ranges. The average Earth temperature over the last 3000 years is about 73.3 degrees. We are currently below that. Please, "warmers", before calling me a name and saying that I am an "idiot" or that I work for an energy company, or I do not want my kids to see a polar bear, show me some data from YOUR research. Be independent and find out for yourself. Journalists and politicians are not Atmospheric Scientists, neither are Al Gore, Darryl Hannah, Sean Hannity or George Kennedy for that matter.

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro December 18, 2009 | 2:31 p.m.

But what about all those cute and cuddly Polar Bears?
("To save the polar bear from extinction, the U.S. must enact strong legislation that reduces the greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming. Individuals can help by reducing their personal energy use and by advocating for legislative action on global warming at the federal, state and local levels. To avoid the worst impacts of global warming, lawmakers must enact policies that reduce U.S. global warming pollution 2% per year, leading to about an 80% reduction by mid-century.")
Source and more:

(Report Comment)
Jonathan Zonk December 19, 2009 | 3:57 p.m.

"Sun spots (solar storms)"
Hundreds (if not thousands) of studies have attempted to correlate sun activity with global warming. Every significant correlation model has fallen apart when more detailed or corrected data has been added. It is a secondary effect at best -- all the more reason to address the primary, anthropogenic CO2 production.
"volcanic eruptions":
Humans annually produce about 45x more CO2 than any recent annual volcanic activity.
Please, go reeducate yourself some more -- you dismiss thousands of man-years of analysis and experimentation with 2 discredited reasons for global warming. Indeed, maybe the label “willfully ignorant" isn't so far from the truth, after all.

(Report Comment)

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