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Letter: Challenging prevailing ideas on global warming causes

Original post made on Jul 5, 2007


Read the full story here Web Link

Comments (8)

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Posted by Mark Drury
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Jul 5, 2007 at 1:33 pm

Interesting. Since Mr. Cohen mentioned the American Geophysical Union I visited that organization's web site and found the following policy statement regarding climate change, which was adopted by the union's council in December 2003: Web Link. The first two paragraphs of that statement follow:

"Human activities are increasingly altering the Earth's climate. These effects add to natural influences that have been present over Earth's history. Scientific evidence strongly indicates that natural influences cannot explain the rapid increase in global near-surface temperatures observed during the second half of the 20th century.

"Human impacts on the climate system include increasing concentrations of atmospheric greenhouse gases (e.g., carbon dioxide, chlorofluorocarbons and their substitutes, methane, nitrous oxide, etc.), air pollution, increasing concentrations of airborne particles, and land alteration. A particular concern is that atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide may be rising faster than at any time in Earth's history, except possibly following rare events like impacts from large extraterrestrial objects."

So, Mr. Cohen, as a genuinely concerned and interested citizen I would ask that you provide links or references to the "wealth of peer-reviewed scientific evidence ... to counter the hype generated by such propaganda as 'An Inconvenient Truth.'" I hear a great deal about this purported wealth of scientific evidence and the surfeit of scientists willing and able to debunk the human/climate change myth, but as with UFOs and Bigfoot I never seem to get a glimpse of either, though not for lack of trying (and I read widely and don't get my news from television). Regards,

Mark Drury

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Posted by extremely-skeptical
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jul 7, 2007 at 10:01 pm

Mr Drury and others:

There are tons of scientists who say the CO2 warming theory is non-sense. A group in Oregon has a petition signed by over 17,000 scientists who say this is non-sense. This, of course, is not going to stop Al Gore. Lets get ourselves into a frenzy and don't let another minute pass before we stop emitting CO2.

Look at:

Web Link

Use Google to find the other side, which is being out shouted by the politicians, who of course know everything. This will all pass soon enough, but not before Menlo Park and other cities spend plenty to achieve nothing.

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Posted by extremely-skeptical
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jul 9, 2007 at 10:16 am

I just found another interesting site. It is obviously a right-wing site and information there should be taken with much caution. The same should be said for "An Inconvenient Truth". However, some checking revealed some of their statements to be factual.

Our council should not be so smug by just accepting that the currently popular notions being paraded around are gospel.

Web Link

Look at

Web Link

for the petition which 17000 scientists have signed, disagreeing with the currently popular CO2 warming theory.

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Posted by Mark Drury
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Jul 9, 2007 at 12:31 pm

Extremely-skeptical, the second web link in your last post takes one to a page for the "Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine." Had you ever heard of this "institute" before googling for your petition? I hadn't. Turns out this institute, its petition, and the "scientific" paper that accompanies the petition live under something of a noxious cloud, if SourceWatch can be believed. Read the following, especially the section titled "Case Study: The Oregon Petition" about halfway down the page (the National Academy of Sciences rejects any connection to the petition, the paper or its findings):

Web Link

Here is but one excerpt:
Robinson's paper claimed to show that pumping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere is actually a good thing. "As atmospheric CO2 increases," it stated, "plant growth rates increase. Also, leaves lose less water as CO2 increases, so that plants are able to grow under drier conditions. Animal life, which depends upon plant life for food, increases proportionally." As a result, Robinson concluded, industrial activities can be counted on to encourage greater species biodiversity and a greener planet. From the actual paper:

"As coal, oil, and natural gas are used to feed and lift from poverty vast numbers of people across the globe, more CO2 will be released into the atmosphere. This will help to maintain and improve the health, longevity, prosperity, and productivity of all people.

"Human activities are believed to be responsible for the rise in CO2 level of the atmosphere. Mankind is moving the carbon in coal, oil, and natural gas from below ground to the atmosphere and surface, where it is available for conversion into living things. We are living in an increasingly lush environment of plants and animals as a result of the CO2 increase. Our children will enjoy an Earth with far more plant and animal life as [sic] that with which we now are blessed. This is a wonderful and unexpected gift from the Industrial Revolution."

In reality, neither Robinson's paper nor OISM's petition drive had anything to do with the National Academy of Sciences, which first heard about the petition when its members began calling to ask if the NAS had taken a stand against the Kyoto treaty. Robinson was not even a climate scientist. He was a biochemist with no published research in the field of climatology, and his paper had never been subjected to peer review by anyone with training in the field. In fact, the paper had never been accepted for publication anywhere, let alone in the NAS Proceedings. It was self-published by Robinson, who did the typesetting himself on his own computer. (It was subsequently published as a "review" in Climate Research, which contributed to an editorial scandal at that publication.)

None of the coauthors of "Environmental Effects of Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide" had any more standing than Robinson himself as a climate change researcher. They included Robinson's 22-year-old son, Zachary, along with astrophysicists Sallie L. Baliunas and Willie Soon. Both Baliunas and Soon worked with Frederick Seitz at the George C. Marshall Institute, a Washington, D.C., think tank where Seitz served as executive director. Funded by a number of right-wing foundations, including Scaife and Bradley, the George C. Marshall Institute does not conduct any original research....

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Posted by Richard
a resident of another community
on Jul 9, 2007 at 3:47 pm

Here is another report on the fraudulent petition referred to above. This is from the Union of Concerned Scientists, a reputable organization concerned with developing sound science-based policy.

Web Link

A quote from the site listed above is:

Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine

The Marshall Institute co-sponsored with the OISM a deceptive campaign -- known as the Petition Project -- to undermine and discredit the scientific authority of the IPCC and to oppose the Kyoto Protocol. Early in the spring of 1998, thousands of scientists around the country received a mass mailing urging them to sign a petition calling on the government to reject the Kyoto Protocol. The petition was accompanied by other pieces including an article formatted to mimic the journal of the National Academy of Sciences. Subsequent research revealed that the article had not been peer-reviewed, nor published, nor even accepted for publication in that journal and the Academy released a strong statement disclaiming any connection to this effort and reaffirming the reality of climate change. The Petition resurfaced in 2001.

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Posted by JustWondering
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Jul 10, 2007 at 3:29 pm

If 17,000 scientists supposedly signed this petition, how come we continually hear from only a literal handful (Frederick Seitz, S. Fred Singer, Patrick Michaels, the Idso clan)?

Sounds like they sent out 17,000 emails and claim that they all signed it and only remove a name if someone finds out they're on this list and complains. (Or perhaps these are the names of dead scientists?)

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Posted by alekaneleno
a resident of Portola Valley: Los Trancos Woods/Vista Verde
on Jul 15, 2007 at 4:10 pm

Actually, the world has been both hotter and colder (would we prefer global cooling?). It cannot be "destroyed" by these phenomena. Current political arguments notwithstanding, humans really don't like change, and are easily panicked by doom mongers.
We might as well get used to the current warming, since there's really not much we in the US can do to change it given global energy demand trends. Greenhouse gases will continue to increase even if we shut down and froze in the dark. It may take centuries to run out of fossil fuels and dissipate their effects.
Perhaps most of the problem is that there are already at least ten times as many people as the earth can comfortably support --- not to mention habitat destruction in the natural world. We're not unlike bacteria in a petri dish fouling our own home and running out of space.
Although it is undoubtedly politically incorrect to suggest this, deporting all 12 million illegal aliens would be the most rapid and effective step the US could take to reduce global warming. It is still cold at high latitudes during most seasons, and everyone demands warmth, transportation, and energy.

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Posted by extremely-skeptical
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jul 28, 2007 at 10:26 pm

I just found this very interesting article titled:

Climate Momentum Shifting: Prominent Scientists Reverse Belief in Man-made Global Warming - Now Skeptics

You can read it at:

Web Link

Looking at the credentials of those who are now questioning their earlier statements, I am now even more than ever convinced that this whole green house gas issue is blown way out of proportion, and is being used for political purposes.

A letter in the Almanac recently talked about consensus among scientists being a main reason to believe in all this CO2 warming. Well anyone who has been involved in science knows full well that consensus is not science.

There is no doubt that the earth is indeed warming. It was warming over 500 years ago also. There should be very serious questions about why it is warming, and just because politicians tell us it is due to CO2 emissions, should not make us take that as gospel.

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