The 16 scientists who signed the Wall Street Journal editorial are a minority, but they're not outliers. They're not "flat earthers." They're not "scared of science." They are, quite simply, distinguished scientists with a dissenting opinion.
And their opinion deserves our respect.
Following are the scientists and engineers who signed the WSJ editorial.
Claude Allegre, former director of the Institute for the Study of the Earth, University of Paris
J. Scott Armstrong, co-founder of the Journal of Forecasting and the International Journal of Forecasting
Jan Breslow, head of the Laboratory of Biochemical Genetics and Metabolism, Rockefeller University
Roger Cohen, fellow, American Physical Society
Edward David, member, National Academy of Engineering and National Academy of Sciences
William Happer, professor of physics, Princeton University
Michael Kelly, professor of technology, University of Cambridge
William Kininmonth, former head of climate research at the Australian Bureau of Meterology
Richard Lindzen, professor of atmospheric sciences, MIT
James McGrath, professor of chemistry, Virginia Tech University
Rodney Nichols, former president and CEO of the New York Academy of Sciences
Burt Rutan, designer of Voyager and SpaceShipOne
Harrison H. Schmitt, Apollo 17 astronaut and former US Senator
Nir Shaviv, professor of astrophysics, Hebrew University, Jerusalem
Henk Tennekes, former director, Royal Dutch Meteorological Service
Antonio Zichichi, president of the World Federation of Scientists, Geneva
I am not a distinguished climate scientist, but those who know me will admit that I do have some understanding of science and technology, as well as a lot of experience differentiating fact from blown smoke.
Armchair basic physics would indicate that pumping CO2 into the atmosphere MIGHT cause the average temperature at the surface of the Earth to increase. When and by how much is up for grabs, however.
Following the research over the past 30 years (in both scientific literature and popular media) has indicated that results leading to the conclusion that we are headed for a climate catastrophe are inconclusive at best. In fact, the most likely conclusion is that the effect is miniscule, and drowned out by other drivers. The reports of imminent disaster smack of politically motivated pseudoscience.
Those who like to confuse correlation with causation should note that historically warm periods (e.g., the medieval warm period) correlate with good times for human society, and cool periods (e.g., the Little Ice Age) correlate with social disruption, famine and disease. So, if CO2 warms the planet, what makes you think it's a bad thing?
J. Williams, your last paragraph points out something that I have also pointed out, which is that the personal agenda of many of the fanatics seems to be based on something other than climate concern. Aren't some of these the same folks who were screaming about how guilty we were that we were living in comfort while others weren't, perhaps 15 0r 20 years back? Does anybody else recall that bunch of noise? And now they have something that at least has a scientific sound to it, correct or not.
Remarkable post Charles. As I am looking at the responses, i.e. comments, I see 46 screens with various viewpoints. In my opinion, this is one of the best things that could happen--we discuss the pros and cons of the argument. Personally, I feel the documentation supports global warming as a fact. My doubt is that we on earth are significantly contributing to that warming. Quite frankly, my mind is not made up and I'm still looking for the "smoking gun" that tells me we are the culprits. Great post Charles.
C'mon, Jeff. CO2 is heavier than air. That's why it's down here, and not up there. All the plants love it, and so I'm a big fan. You'll have to work harder to prove your theory, if you think you can.
Global warming is not proven by some incidental correlation with the modern generation of so-called greenhouse gasses. Do I need to say the words? Correlation is not causation. How do you explain the correlational melting of the ice caps on Mars? Little Green SUV's? That's just snarky, and I'm sorry.
Ok, I'm not a climate scientist. But I am old enough to remember the big Global Cooling Scare of the 1970's. Do we really think we are all so much smarter now? In my investigation I have found that the effects of CO2 holding in atmospheric heat are a log. Once you get near the top, the warming effects are barely perceptible even if you double the atmospheric gas. It flattens out due to physical or chemical response in the system and is actually counteracted then. The anthropogenic global warming elite seem to believe their science story is infallible. They probably also believe we can finally make Marxism work. Ok, that's another cheap shot. But that is the nature of colleagial debate at this level, right?
Let us not totally succumb to the conceits of our chauvinism. And I mean that in the nicest possible way.
Thank you. A very well written and thoughtful response. I am totally with your line of thought. To be sure there are fanatics on both sides of almost any issue and climate change is no different. As usual, the real truth, will lie somewhere in between. I am of the opinion, that folks who believe the data and theories are incontrovertible are fooling themselves. Anyone who thinks for a minute that they have complete understanding of a highly complex system with many thousands of degrees of freedom is daft. As engineers we have trouble getting a handle on a system with four or five degrees of freedom.
Is the climate changing? Yes, by all appearances it is. As an avid downhill skier, I lament the lack of snowfall in the Northeast (in general). How much of that is due to human involvement is another question all together. Unfortunately, the climate change studies was changed from an academic pursuit to a political one in large part by Al Gore and his army of people determined to save the world no matter what it costs.
The cynic in me also tends to believe that the most fervent supporters, are also in positions to have the most to gain from a professional and/or financial point of view.
I have yet to see any "scientist" show their results of Step #4 of the Scientific Method as applied to "global warming". And I'm fairly certain no one will ever be able to. Therefore it will always be an open ended theory that only long term history can give any creedence to. And considering the last 16 years have shown a net "flat line" on global temperatures, with some major drops in global averages during that period, I'm definitely skeptical. Whatever happened to the "global cooling" scholars of the 1970's?
The basis of the belief in global warming or global climate change is a set of computer models predicting certain changes due to an increase in greenhouse gases, principally CO2 and CH4, but also including H2O. The validity of the belief rests in part upon the accuracy of the models. Recently James Hansen, a NASA scientist and advocate of global climate change stated the average temperature of the earth has been essentially unchanged for the last 10 years. This does not agree with the computer models and their predictions. If the trend continues, the error between the prediction and the observed data will exceed the tolerance limits of the models. This does not necessarily mean the global climate change theories are wrong or the skeptic are correct. However, it does mean that the global climate change advocates do not understand the reality of our climate as well as they claim to and the science is not settled.
If you are a scientist and are presented with data that does not match your theory, you can refine the theory or show how the data is not applicable or show how the data is wrong. What you can NOT do and still claim to be a scientist is to resort to ad hominem attacks on your critics. That is not the act of a scientist but of a fanatic.
First and formost, my main concern is who really support the idea of global warming and how the plan to deal with it. First, many of the most vocal supporters of "climate change" are the green and pink hair, body pierced "OWS" crowd (The "lady gaga" types). The individuals that were critical of the editorial probably never seen, much less solved a differential equation (ok, I havn't solved one since the 80's, but at least I once could). Most of the supporters of "climate change" have an agenda. Heck, it has recently come to light that Al Gore's net worth matches Mitt Rommneys. Folow the money and power and you will see some other their motivations for the Green Economy. The oil companies may be "greedy", but the other side is just as every bit dishonest and greedy. My concern is how they want to "solve" the problem. By transfering all economic control to the government, who with its infinite wisdom, will then dole out resources to each of us "according to our needs" (and our party affiliation).
So, you still have nothing to refute global warming science I see . Instead you post absolute nonsense.
If you are a physicist, and that is becoming a rather large if, then you know that you are required to provide evidence for this "theory", not simply state it. Those that performed the research supporting anthropogenic global warming have done that. Their data aligns very well with the theory that we have caused this climate change event through our use of fossil fuels.
Your problem is that you can't refute their science. It's very sad that you continue this nonsense rather than acting like a physicist.
My theory is that there is a race of green people who live in the core of the Earth and from the time when the surfrace humans had the technology to detect them (early siesmographs for instance) and the methods they use to live in such a harsh environemtn, they have employed advanced shielding techniques to remain mostly undetected. However, there is a telltale sign of their presence and that is the heat produced by the shielding. There is a warming trend that began at the time the shielding became necessary. The correlation is nearly optimal and far better than the green house gas correlations.
According to to you, if you disagree it is now your job to prove that my theory is not correct. You can not simply point out flaws in my methods or errors in my measurements and demand more details. You must prove the green people do not exists or at the least, do not produce heat with shielding. Please give references to your research and detailed refutations.
(Note: You will fail. This is the grue-bleen paradox of the phiolosophy of science. And the reason it is not my job to prove alarminsts are wrong. This is also why the true believers are a serious PITA).
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