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
"frankly the fact is the only thing that will convince me is a steady rise of global temps in lock step with CO2 levels"
This is an unreasonable thing to expect. What is reasonable is that the total heat content of the whole climate system should rise somewhat in line with CO2. It may not rise in complete lockstep because CO2 is causing an imbalance in energy flows into & out of the Earth. But total heat content doesn't follow this excatly because other factors affect where the heat goes and some parts of the system, notably the oceans take a long time to accumulate enough heat to increase their temperature enough to restore the radiative balance.
This graph however does show a steady rise in total heat for decades. Note that what you are probably thinking of as temperatures, air temperatures, is just one small part of the lower section of the graph. The oceans are the main game.
The dip around 2000 is associated with the big El Nino of 1998. The ripples at 1992 and 1982 are the eruptions of Mt Pinatubo & Mt Agung. Is that consistent enough agreement for you?
And just as a comparison, this rate of warming works out to over 2 1/2 Hiroshima Bombs per second since 1970. So more warmth than could have come from anything other than a change in the Earth's radiative balance with space.
Just to change the debate slightly, before I have to get to my work, even if CO2 is a problem, it is unlikely that any efforts will reduce the emissions in the near term. The global economics dictate that the world will utilize every bit of hydrocarbon fuel that can be obtained at a profit.
Given that assumption, what would be the best course of action?
One answer is Climate Modification. Several schemes have been put forward to try to control the global temperature, such as putting millions of tons of Sulphur Dioxide I think it wasinto the air. This is a similar mechanism that occurs when a volcano emits the same gas and has an immediate although not long lasting effect on the atmospheric temperatures.
So is anyone willing to pony up money for some Terraforming experiments? Be sure to take out some insurance against the lawsuits that might follow.
One can find arguments for and against anything on the net.
I am a software engineer and I know that software models of physical processes have limitations that are not necessarily apparent to their creators. Just look at the stock market. One can find any number of systems designed to predict the rise and fall, some even work. Some work for some time periods and then there are others that just get lucky.
Sorry, Dave, but I respectfully disagree. The "skeptics" are in a vast minority. They're the dissenters. They're the ones being told the the science is settled. They're the ones having their papers rejected and having their jobs threatened, even at major universities. They're the ones being told they are "scared of science," despite their lives having been spent in science. If you want to say that the preponderance of science is on the side of the majority, I'll agree with you. But if you want to say that dissent should be treated this way, I don't agree. And while I don't like some of their latest rhetoric, I don't expect them to lay down when they're being barraged like this.
Unfortunately you appear to be repeating opinions from others that are wrong.
A few basic facts. Water vapour is 25-100 times the level of CO2 at sea level. But its relative concentration drops of rapidly with altitude. By the time you reach the stratosphere CO2 is still the same percentage of the atmosphere - 390 parts per million - but H2O has dropped to 5-10 parts per million. Averaged over the entire atmosphere H2O is around 10 times the level of CO2. But the 'radiative forcing', the effect that a GH gas has on the planets energy balance is roughly logarithmic - for each doubling in the concentration of a GH gas it increases by around the same amount. So on that basis a back-of-the-envelope calculation says that H2O is maybe 3 and a bit times the impact of CO2.
A more detailed recent study looking at this, Schmidt et al 2011, puts the % contribution at H2O 50%, Clouds 25%, CO2 20%, other GH Gases 5%
Or you could look at this site at the University of Chicago. http://forecast.uchicago.edu/Projects/modtran.html
This uses the commercially available program ModTran to allow you to calculate the outgoing Infr-Red Spectrum of the Earth for differing conditions. And the area under the curve is the total flux of IR in Watts/M^2. Run it with the default settings - the site is a bit old so it uses CO2 at 375 ppm. Notice the large notch in the center of the spectrum between wavenumbers of 600 & 800 due to CO2. Then run it again setting CO2 to 0 and look at the difference.Not really just a few percent is it?
ModTran is developed under licence to the US DoD, The Air Force GeoPhysical Laboratory to be exact, who own many of the patents for it. And the results from this and many other academic versions of these 'radiative transfer' calculation codes give an incredibly good fit to what is actually observed from space. The incredible match between calculation and observation of this is the principal evidence that we understand the GH Effect.
People often think that the GH Effect is just about the absorption of IR by the GH gases near the surface. But an even more important aspect is how eventual radiation to space at high altitude is modulated by GH gas levels.
The bottom line is that you have presented nothing to refute the current science. This is typical of the denier position.
I do thank the denier community for illustrating how they work, making claims without providing any evidence. This is THE problem with the US, even those that should know better, engineers, reject the scientific process in preference for ideology and inuendo.
So, the question isn't whether the "skeptics" are right, but what good can come of a nation that operates like this?
The bottom line is, you think man made CO2 is causing global warming. I don't.
I have debated this extensively and frankly the fact is the only thing that will convince me is a steady rise of global temps in lock step with CO2 levels which I am convinced is simply not going to happen. I don't have the luxury of further debate as there are more pressing matters demanding my attention.
Over 31 thousand scientists and engineers like myself have signed a petition to the government against the anthropogenic effects of CO2 on global warming.
I am all for reducing pollution in all aspects and keeping the planet and local ecosystems clean, viable and as pristine as possible. But we do need energy for improving everyone's standard of living.
We are experiencing climatechange. It is natural and to be expected. The climate has always been changing one way or the other. Once there were glaciers covering large parts of North America and New York City. At other times the entire Midwest of the US was a large shallow sea.
Man made CO2 emissions are just not physically capable of being a significant contributor to climatechange or to global greenhouse gases. CO2 levels in the atmosphere have been much higher in past millennia. I have even heard that at one time you could grow tomatoes at the North Pole. CO2, if anything it is a lagging indicator for climatechange. CO2 is also good for plants and promotes higher rates of growth and more photosynthesis and therefore more oxygen production. That is what a greenhouse is intended to do.
The money trail indicates that on both sides of the issue there are funding considerations that are getting in the way of good science. Call it Media Science, Junk Science or Pop Science it is not Real Science which encourages debate, theories that are then tested and data analyzed thoroughly to determine the results in an environment free of suasion by anything other than knowledge and reason.
If you want to find out any other notes from me on the net google ivank2139 and Ivan S Kirkpatrick etc.
I use to believe the GW hype. I even went and created a survival kit after watching "An Inconvienient Truth". My turning point was when I discovered the treasure trove of emails from the GW camp a few years later. A bunch of my coworker engineers and I used MS Visual Studio to search the entire .zip file of emails looking for certain keywords. After a couple days of analyzing the emails, it was pretty clear to us that the evidence used by these particular scientists in the GW camp was lacking, mainly by their own admission and attitude in the emails. I'd be glad to post the .zip file again to anyone interested in doing their own study of them and coming up with their own opinion. In the meantime, I still recycle, but I don't go around worrying about GW like those skeptics do. Nature will do just fine with or without us. In the meantime, enjoy life and don't worry about skeptics...the world will never run out of them.
So you've studied this extensively and written a lot of comments! I bet you have.
Where are the links to your research? I don't see any. As for the "GW" crowd's bad work, where's your proof? I don't see anything that identifies anything in specific, but that's not surprising.
Here's another take on the problem, why not read the scientific literature? Why not let the experts outline the problem and suggest solutions? I know why, and it has to do with religious beliefs that exalts man above accountability and free market ideology that implements that belief.
So, come on Ivan, I challenge you to post anything in the scientific literature that supports your contention. Let's see it.
I have studied this extensively and written lots of comments and arguments on this subject.
Most of the GW crowd is basing their analysis on computer models that are not very good. Tehy might be the best we have but one has to undeerstand these have little predictive value in as complex a science and situtation as Earth's climate.
but here's another take on the problem. Let's say you had $50 Billion to spend on making the earth a better place. Would you spend it on CO2 reduction or on improving the access to clean fresh water for the inhabitants that don't have it?
I would rather see the money spent on the water problem and let the science on CO2 being the driving factor in GW be subjected to a couple more years of research.
One of the first rules is, Don't panic! The second is to understand the problem thoroughly, formulate theories and test them to determine the true cause and effect relationships before spending $50 Billion or more on a solution.
We are closer to the inception of an Ice Age than we are to GW being a problem.
Who's to say the current cimate is optimum anyway?
California’s plan to mandate an electric vehicle market isn’t the first such undertaking and certainly won’t be the last. But as the Golden State ratchets up for its next big step toward zero-emission vehicle status in 2018, it might be wise to consider a bit of history.
By now, most followers of the electric car market know that another Tesla Model S caught fire in early February. The blaze happened in a homeowner’s garage in Toronto. After parking the car, the owner left his garage. Moments later, the smoke detector blared, the fire department was called, and the car was ruined. To date, no one knows why.