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
Consider an analogy. Some Civil Engineers assess an old bridge and conclude that it has weakened and may be unsafe. We should reduce the loads we put onto and work towards building a new bridge. Then a group of not very bright people in your town start predicting how the bridge could collapse at any moment, the town will be isolated and we will all starve! From this should you conclude that the bridge is perfectly OK just because the town panic-merchants are in a flap? Or should you go ask the engineers?
If you want to form an opinion about AGW, surely the correct approach is to look into the science. Surely this sort of approach is what we do all through life isn't it? Judge the Message, not the Messenger?
Next, who is saying you are bad. Aren't you being just a little over-sensitive. Or reading something into this that isn't there. What is being said is simple. The bridge is weak, we need to take the load off it and then build a new one. No judgements of anyone there, just a description of a necessary couurse of action.
As to a few tenths of a percent change in Solar output. Solar intensity at the edge of the Earths atmosphere is around 1364 Watts/M^2. Allow for the fact that the Earth is a sphere but the frontal area it presents to the Sun is a circle and we have to divide by 4. So average solar intensity over the Entire Earth is 341 W/M^2. 1 tenth of one percent of this is 0.341 W/M^2. In contrast, each doubling of CO2 in the atmosphere produces a radiative imbalance of 3.7 W/M^2, for the effects of CO2 alone. Over the course of a Sunspot cycle, the sun's output varies by 1 or 2 tenths of a percent So your 'few' tenths (depending on how you define few) will have less impact than the amount of CO2 we have added already
So you don't appreciate having your lifestyle questioned? As I've said, the global warming argument has nothing to do with global warming but with our perceived place in the universe.
It is obvious that the deniers, or "skeptics", argument is a backlash against those that would question the free market by claiming that our activity causes harm. This flows from the fact that we are fundamentally a Calvinist nation, in which the free market is the only valid paradigm because it allows god's will to operate, and no man has the authority to refute god's will. Of course, for those who aren't religious there exists Ayn Rand.
So, like I said, this is about not accepting certain truths accepted by the right and nothing to do with the science. At least you admit that. This also indicates that science is trumped by belief overall, whether religious or secular because it's about "me".
One of the first reasons that I was skeptical of the cause of the alleged warming is that the same folks who were screaming the loudest were the ones previously complaining about how much better our standard of living was than so much of the rest of the world. So when these same people all at once come up with some new assertion about how bad I am because my actions are going to destroy the world, I found it all rather suspect.
And once again I ask, so how much would the "few tenths of a percent" solar output increase change our ambient temperature? I would guess by several degrees.
Patrick J. Michaels is funded by fossil fuel interests as indicated in this email. Also, sourcewatch.com states that Patrick J. Michaels "is a largely oil-funded global warming skeptic". And exxonsecrets.org indicate that he has been a member of a long list of right-wing organizations and that 40% of his funding comes from the fossil fuel industry.
sourcewatch.com indicates that S. Fred Singer was funded by the Unification Church, chemical, energy companies, asbestos industry, etc. exxonsecrets.org indicate that he has been a member of a long list of right-wing organizations.
Come on "skeptics", are corporate funded and right-wing group members all you have? Where are the true climate researchers? It really seems that it's the implications of the science that is the problem and not the science simply because I don't see any scientists from the research front in your "proof" for skepticism.
I see basically four options created by the cross referencing of two variables.
(GCCS =Global Climate Change Skeptics)
(GCCB =Global Climate Change Believers)
Variable 1) Action or Inaction
Choice A) The World enters into serious action to address global warming
Choice B) The world has no or little serious action to address global warming
Choice C) The GCCS crowd is correct and GCC is either a minor thing (or possibly even a somewhat "good thing" as many in the GCCS claim)
Choice D) The GCCB crowd is correct and the most dire predictions of the GCCB community are true and climate change will result (quite possibly in our lifetimes) in a much more hostile and un-inhabitable planet
So you have this grid
A (Action) or B (Inaction)
C (GCCS = True) AC =? BC = ?
D (GCCB = True) AD =? BD = ?
Let's examine each choice for it's cost benefit analysis
AC= Serious action taken but he skeptics are right
The cost is great expense taken for many projects that are needless and wasteful. The result is a needless economic burden now and a slowing economy for all. In essence the world suffers an economic depression and pointless resourse re-allocation for no other reason than the intellectual vanity of some nosy tree hugger scientists that have it all wrong)
Nevertheless, at least it turns out that we will leave a bunch of of our infinitely plentiful hydrocarbon resources safely in the ground where we can get back to using them later on once we all finally get past this GCC silliness.
BC= No or little action is taken and the skeptics are right we should not have taken any action
The cost is zero and thus the world gets to keep right on buzzing along growing and consuming and polluting like there is no tomorrow. The people that deny GCC the most are the ones that benefit the most becasue they reap great rewards of both financial and material benefit. The world has another economic boom Wooo! Hooo!
The down side to the boom is that we end up draining the last remaining easy oil and natural gas resources
AD = Well it turns out the worst GCC predictions were as bad or nearly as bad as we feared but the world has responded in time to the great crisis with great action equal to the task. Carbon emissions are slowed to a trickle, and alternative technologies are implemented the world suffers great economic strain and hardship but at least a sizable portion of society will survive in a new harsher somewhat less habitable planet. The world changes but at least our children and grand children will have a fair chance of undoing the damage that has been done.
Since we stopped emitting CO2 for fuel we have instead learned to find other better non fuel applications for our planets last remaining sources of cheap hydrocarbons and now we know that it is important to recycle those resource and instead of burning them we make a better world where plastic is plentiful and relatively cheap.
BD = Well it turns out the worst GCC predictions were as bad or nearly as bad as we feared but the GCCS crowd was just too powerful it was able to control the message long enough and delay any practical action so long that we will all be left to suffer the worst of the ravages that GCC will throw at us such as rising oceans constant severe storms in come place constant droughts fires and unbearable heat in other places. Some places rivers and lakes completly dry up and in others flooding is so severe it erases whole landscapes. Overall the severe heat and excessive humidity lower crop yields in one place and the floods and high winds destroy them in other places. Great Diaspora come about.
But to make things even worse, we don't have much hydrocarbons left even nfor emergency applications or for medicines to or plastics and all the other thinhgs we will need to deal with our harsh new world.
Now if you are a betting sort where inaction can either result in either a nightmare world we don't want to live in or another few years of boom town celebration (and remember you are betting not just your life but that of the whole of the planet.
Which of these choices seem the smarter?
I would rather risk having a needless depression than I am willing to play a game that has a 25% chance of ending the world as we know it.
This is not a Zero Sum Game.
Here in the real world actions (and inactions) have real world consequences.
I find the assertion that "the sun only plays a minor effect on the earths weather" to be an amazing statement. Plus the assertion that "a change of a few tenths of a percent would have little effect". Once again I am asking "where else does our heat come from?"
Besides that, I don't think that either Bush or Al Gore had anything to do with the aberrations in this most recent sun-spot cycle.
There are very elaborate mechanisms described for Ozone depletion, none which have been confirmed in the laboratory to my knowledge, but they were used to strike fear in the hearts of many and caused the cancellation of the development of the SST (although Britian and France were undetered). Now we are told that "the sun is not much of a factor". So an obvious corellary question to ask if the Sun is such a small contributor, why were the Ozone holes of such import (other than reduction to the ultraviolet protection). But in the science of ozone depletion, the methane of bovine flatus is not a bad player. When Methane breaks down in the atmosphere, it forms CO2, Water Vapor and Ozone. So the CO2 is bad because it is a "greenhouse" gas, but the Ozone is good because it replenishes what the CCF have supposedly destroyed. And now we are told that Water Vapor is "bad" because it, too, is a "greenhouse" gas. So the AGW folks have another one to hit us with and what will Nebraska do with the carcasses of all the cows killed to prevent global warming. Indeed, the Nitrogen compounds released from the rotting flesh may actually deplete the rest of the Ozone. There has been some recent South American studies of the Antarctic Ozone hole that cast doubts on true depletion by CCFs.
But there is another model inadequacy issue to consider. Since the last Ice Age, how much ice melted? The ice is supposed to have been a mile thick. If indeed so much ice has been melting, what effect on Global temperature does the ever reducing ice have? The latent heat of fusion is 80 calories, if memory serves me right and so every molecule of ice melted keeps 80 molecules of water from increasing their temperature by one degree. This certainly has had an affect on global temperature up to some point in history, and when did that affect actually end (if it did).
The melting of the total ice on the earth reminds me of the mortgage amortization curve. You make payments for many, many years seeing only slight decreases in the principle, then you get out to the last couple of years and bang! you suddenly pay it off fast. If the melting of polar ice has had a slowing affect on the global temperature rise, the effect will be dimenishing as the total amount of ice is reduced through melting. So we may have more than CO2 to worry about.
Again, its the models and what they consider and their fidelity to the natural phenomenon. Present models exclude cloud effects. They are CO2 centric because CO2 is the pre-ordained enemy. The models are not validated and calibrated, therefore they are speculation. I've done modeling and I'm underwhelmed with their trustworthiness.