The National Catholic Review
The Editors

Climate change is an issue of unusual complexity that requires attention, discipline and international cooperation. Unfortunately, these are exactly the virtues that are in short supply among the world’s leaders at this moment in history. In a country suffering from political paralysis, where our leaders cannot see beyond the next election cycle, climate change demands bold, far-reaching initiatives. In an international community riven by parochial disputes, climate change forces us to look beyond our borders in the interests of protecting the earth for all its inhabitants.

Under these circumstances, deciding how to respond in a fruitful way to the latest reports from the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is a daunting prospect. Yet to ignore it would be disastrous. The report, which was released in two final installments this spring, seeks to refocus international attention on climate change at a time when a sense of urgency seems to be flagging. The Rio+20 conference on sustainable development in 2012 was a disappointment. Legislation to limit carbon emissions is stalled in the United States. The I.P.C.C. report intends to awaken world leaders from a dangerous slumber. It states bluntly that the window for addressing the forces driving climate change is closing quickly.

The report calls attention to the global ramifications of inaction. Not only will sea levels rise and glaciers continue to melt, but climate change threatens to disrupt agricultural production and even destabilize governments. In some quarters, the unrest in Syria has been blamed on a devastating drought that provoked anger among the country’s farmers. In a recent interview, retired Army Brig. Gen. Chris King warned that for the military, climate change “is like getting embroiled in a war that lasts 100 years…there is no exit strategy.” Addressing climate change is also a matter of social and economic justice. The polluting practices of the world’s richest nations have their most pronounced effect on the earth’s poorest inhabitants.

The church has long been concerned about climate change and its effects on the world’s inhabitants. In the first week of May, the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and the Pontifical Academy of the Social Sciences are sponsoring a conference titled, “Sustainable Humanity, Sustainable Nature: Our Responsibility.” The meeting will look at the intersection of environmental policy and human flourishing. “Our idea is not to catalogue environmental problems,” the conference organizers write. “We propose instead to view Humanity’s interchanges with Nature through a triplet of fundamental, but inter-related Human needs—Food, Health, and Energy—and…invite experts from the natural and the social sciences to speak of the various pathways that both serve those needs and reveal constraints on Nature’s ability to meet them.” This language may seem too theoretical to those who prefer to focus on rising temperatures and carbon dioxide levels. But the church knows how to take the long view, and its focus on the human factor may help to broaden discussion of environmental policy beyond think tanks and nongovernmental organizations to religious communities. If world leaders are to undertake the ambitious steps laid out in the I.P.C.C. report, they will need the encouragement and support of people of faith.

Policymakers must now decide what action to take. In the United States, public policy solutions are undermined by public figures who question the legitimacy of climate change science. Yet as the U.S. Catholic bishops wrote in “Global Climate Change: A Plea for Dialogue, Prudence, and the Common Good,” “What we already know requires a response; it cannot be easily dismissed.” That pastoral letter was written in 2001. We cannot wait another 10 to 15 years to act upon its wisdom. The common good is a much-invoked concept in the Catholic moral tradition, but it is especially relevant to the discussion of climate change. The condition of our environment affects everyone living on the planet. Catholic schools and churches should continue to teach and preach on this issue, and if they have not done so already, conduct “green audits” and examine how they can improve their own environmental profile.

According to reports, Pope Francis plans to address the state of the environment in his next encyclical. Perhaps his unique ability to challenge people in a disarming way will mobilize more people to act. The pope has spoken eloquently of the “globalization of indifference,” and here is an issue, surely, where indifference is our besetting sin. “The culture of comfort, which makes us think only of ourselves, makes us insensitive to the cries of other people,” the pope said at Lampedusa. How much more difficult it is to imagine the cries of people who will suffer 50 or 100 years from now. To address the challenge of climate change will require an extraordinary feat of empathy, to think not only of ourselves but of all God’s children, in this generation and in generations to come.

Comments

E.Patrick Mosman | 5/31/2014 - 4:40pm

"Experts tell House panel climate change science isn’t settled"
One hopes that Pope Francis and his science advisers take the opportunity to review the testimony of the experts and seek their advice and counsel before making pronouncements based on biased pseudo-science.
"The House Science, Space and Technology Committee heard from scientists who poked holes in the prevailing catastrophic theory of man-made climate change and said researchers are under pressure to support more alarming scenarios."
“The science is not settled, no,” said Roger Pielke Sr., professor emeritus in meteorology at Colorado State University.
University of Sussex economist Richard Tol told the lawmakers, “Science is, of course, never settled.”

“Some things are more or less settled, some things are not,” said Princeton University geoscientist Michael Oppenheimer. “The question of whether carbon dioxide is 30 to 40 percent above pre-industrial times, that’s settled. The question of exactly how warm the Earth will become as a result, that’s not.”

Daniel Botkin, professor emeritus in biology at the University of California, Santa Barbara, said the U.N. panel’s 2014 report and the White House National Climate Assessment are “scientific-sounding,” but also present “speculative, and sometimes incomplete, conclusions embedded in language that gives them more scientific heft than they deserve.”

“I want to state upfront that we have been living through a warming trend driven by a variety of influences,” said Mr. Botkin. “However, it is my view that this is not unusual, and contrary to the characterizations by the IPCC and the National Climate Assessment, these environmental changes are not apocalyptic nor irreversible.”

Read more: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/may/29/unsettling-house-panel-h...

Arthur Milholland | 5/30/2014 - 1:33pm

Hopefully the Pope's encyclical on the environment will include the damage from war making and war preparations.

E.Patrick Mosman | 5/22/2014 - 1:17pm

The following article is meant for anyone including America's editors and Pope Francis who do not think that the IPCC is a political organization.
“IPCC Does Not Guard Itself Against Groupthink” – Richard Tol
by Marlo Lewis on April 28, 2014
http://www.globalwarming.org/2014/04/28/ipcc-does-not-guard-itself-again...
"On Friday last week (April 25), climate economists Richard Tol of Sussex University and Robert Stavins of Harvard University separately posted critiques of the process by which the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) drafts, edits, and approves the Summaries for Policy Makers (SPMs) of its huge assessment reports.
Tol caused a stir last month when Reuters reported that, in September 2013, he quit the 70-member team authoring the SPM of Working Group II (Impacts) of the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report (AR5). Tol said he pulled out because, “The drafts became too alarmist.”............
Read the rest of the article for the details.

Francesca G | 5/21/2014 - 11:34am

Anyone interested in mitigating climate change and its effects can take the St. Francis Pledge at http://catholicclimatecovenant.org/the-st-francis-pledge/

"The St. Francis Pledge
I/We Pledge to:
PRAY and reflect on the duty to care for God’s Creation and protect the poor and vulnerable.
LEARN about and educate others on the causes and moral dimensions of climate change.
ASSESS how we-as individuals and in our families, parishes and other affiliations-contribute to climate change by our own energy use, consumption, waste, etc.
ACT to change our choices and behaviors to reduce the ways we contribute to climate change.
ADVOCATE for Catholic principles and priorities in climate change discussions and decisions, especially as they impact those who are poor and vulnerable."

E.Patrick Mosman | 5/20/2014 - 12:04pm

An excerpt from:
The Ideal Climate Citizen North Korea
http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2014/05/the-ideal-climate-citizen-...

"I’m having a hard time telling whether The Guardian is trying to turn itself into The Onion, because they have a climate change piece up today that looks like a deadpan satire: “North Korea: An Unlikely Champion in the Fight Against Climate Change.” Seriously?

Well, there’s North Korea’s enviable carbon footprint to point to I suppose. When you use no energy, the UN bureaucrats will love you. When I have pointed out that the energy use targets of the Climatistas for the year 2050 would involve the U.S. reducing its per capita hydrocarbon use to the level of Somalia, Haiti, and North Korea, the Climatistas usually change the subject as fast as they can, or start yelling the “denier” chant—a neat trick coming from the energy math deniers.
What this piece really reveals is that the Climatistas are not so secretly envious of North Korea, for the obvious reason. Take in a few samples:

Like many poor countries, North Korea, where [climate change] problems are endemic, is least able to cope with climate change impacts. These weaknesses include food insecurity, energy shortages, economic fragility and a rigid political system. So North Korea is using the UNFCCC as a vehicle for projects designed to increase agricultural output and build the resilience of the agricultural system to disasters. . .

The answer? Wait for it—you knew this was coming:

Renewable energy may be the most appropriate vehicle for increasing generation capacity because unlike large centralised fossil-fuels, renewables can be scaled locally which reduces their up-front cost. . .
Most significantly, renewables offer North Korea considerable scope for technology transfer, infrastructure upgrades and income through the Clean Development Mechanism under the Kyoto Protocol. . .

That would be the “Kyoto Protocol” that is essentially defunct? These guys never let go.

While there is revenue potential in the generation and sale of carbon credits, the magnitude of the potential revenue is comparatively small. Together, the projects already online in North Korea account for 193,475 carbon credits. At the EU spot price for carbon credits of $5.66/ton (£3.36/ton) as of July 2013, North Korea’s current portfolio of carbon credits are worth a mere $1m per year.

That’s it! Starve your people and generate carbon credits!"

E.Patrick Mosman | 5/16/2014 - 10:57am

Unfortunately the full article is behind the Times' pay wall but the Subject line tells the story and confirms my previous post that AGW alarmist "scientists" control who is published and what is published on global warming and climate change and sustainable development all are one and the same. Finally the truth is coming out.

London Times Front page Science section
"Scientists in cover-up of ‘damaging’ climate view"

Ben Webster Environment Editor
Last updated at 12:01AM, May 16 2014

Research which heaped doubt on the rate of global warming was deliberately suppressed by scientists because it was “less than helpful” to their cause, it was claimed last night.

In an echo of the infamous “Climategate” scandal at the University of East Anglia, one of the world’s top academic journals rejected the work of five experts after a reviewer privately denounced it as “harmful”.

Lennart Bengtsson, a research fellow at the University of Reading and one of the authors of the study, said he suspected that intolerance of dissenting views on climate science was preventing his paper from being published.
PAYWALL BEGINS
Behind the story:
This bullying of climate-science sceptics must end
When did demonising your opponents become so acceptable?
Published at May 16 2014

E.Patrick Mosman | 5/20/2014 - 11:00am

WOW now Michael Mann the man who hides his data, a man who is part of the Climagate "hide the decline" ,a man whose graph conveniently lost the climate changes from 1000AD through the Middle Ages, a man who fails the scientific integrity test set by Professor Feynman is your expert.

Francesca G | 5/21/2014 - 6:28pm

If anyone is still reading this thread, I suggest taking a look at the following site to clarify Mann's supposed error (which he publicly corrected as soon at it was brought to :
http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2004/12/myths-vs-fact-rega...
The explanation under Myth #4 at the above website specifically addresses how Mann has been misrepresented:
"The second falsehood holds that there are errors in the Mann et al (1998, 1999) analyses, and that these putative errors compromise the “hockey stick” shape of hemispheric surface temperature reconstructions. Such claims seem to be based in part on the misunderstanding or misrepresentation by some individuals of a corrigendum that was published by Mann and colleagues in Nature. This corrigendum simply corrected the descriptions of supplementary information that accompanied the Mann et al article detailing precisely what data were used. As clearly stated in the corrigendum, these corrections have no influence at all on the actual analysis or any of the results shown in Mann et al (1998). Claims that the corrigendum reflects any errors at all in the Mann et al (1998) reconstruction are entirely false." It's easy enough to follow through and check the sources for oneself.

E.Patrick Mosman | 5/22/2014 - 5:42pm

Have you studied the Climategate emails and files?
Have you understood the Climategate's "hide the decline" decision?
Have you studied the works of the scientists that I provided?
Have you verified Mann's 'Hockey Stick" graph yourself or know anyone who has?
What happened to the Medieval Warm Period and the Middle Ages Little Ice Age?
Why is Mann's hockey stick handle not shaped like a capital 'U' instead it is a straight line?
Why do Mann and the U of Virginia refuse to release his data used to construct the graph?
How can anyone verify his work without the raw data?

Francesca G | 5/23/2014 - 12:23am

I have already responded to the Mann's hockey stick graph question elsewhere (yes, it has been independently verified several times.) The other specious questions are collectively answered at http://www.skepticalscience.com/argument.php

E.Patrick Mosman | 5/23/2014 - 8:08am

("independently verified several times.") How as the U of Virginia has refused to release the original data? The epitome of Professor Feynman's "Cargo Cult" science. The "specious questions" were to you not others.

Francesca G | 5/23/2014 - 11:10am

I don't know what conspiracy theory you've glommed on to this time, but -- as I've very patiently explained before -- there are multiple independent studies that reproduce Mann's hockey stick representation. These have been conducted since Mann's original "hockey stick" paper was published in 1999. Paleoclimatology has developed since then. Many other proxy temperature studies have since been conducted by many different groups using different types of data and different methodologies, most have nothing whatsoever to do with the U of Virginia, and they all produce a temperature reconstruction that looks something like a hockey stick. They all indicate that the recent warming trend is unprecedented in the past 500-2000 years (depending on how far the data goes back.) Sorry, but this is what the science consistently and reproducibly indicates. Don't shoot the messenger. I would recommend studying the links I've provided and downloading the papers they reference before continuing this discussion.

J Cosgrove | 5/16/2014 - 5:18pm

I posted a comment below on this attitude in academia to bully people into conformity and why the percentages mentioned to justify scientific consensus cannot be believed. It sounds like the plebiscites in the Ukraine in the last few weeks.

There is a brand new book out last week by a science writer of the NY Times on race and genetics (A Troublesome Inheritance by Nicholas Wade). In the first chapter the author talks about the tremendous pressure to conform in academia on controversial topics. The book is already causing a big stir which I am sure will get more intense. Here is a quote from the first chapter:

Another kind of flaw occurs when universities allow a whole field of scholars to drift politically to the left or to the right. Either direction is equally injurious to the truth, but at present most university departments lean strongly to the left. Any researcher who even discusses issues politically offensive to the left runs the risk of antagonizing the professional colleagues who must approve his requests for government funds and review his articles for publication. Self-censorship is the frequent response, especially in anything to do with the recent differential evolution of the human population. It takes only a few vigilantes to cow the whole campus. The result is that researchers at present routinely ignore the biology of race, or tiptoe around the subject, lest they be accused of racism by their academic rivals and see their careers destroyed.

This is one reason why I have no sympathy for the AGW people. The decks are stacked and they essentially say ok. It may be true that there is warming and it may be true that some or a lot of it is caused by human activity. But the academic and politically bullying that has existed in the world for the last 30 years has prevented an honest attempt to assess just what is happening and I blame all those who support AGW for this travesty.

E.Patrick Mosman | 5/16/2014 - 7:55am

If the investigation finds that the fires were caused by campfire embers or Bar-b-que pits or arsonists does that place them in the category of man-made climate change, nee global warming?

Joe Kash | 5/15/2014 - 2:01pm

Are wild fires a result of climate change or are they due to poor land/forest management?

Francesca G | 5/15/2014 - 4:55pm
Joe Kash | 5/15/2014 - 6:53pm

Francesca,
I looked at the last three links and then stopped. These last three speculated that climate change with increased temperatures in the future will lead to increased fires. I do understand that that is what some think will happen in the future but that is very different than the question about what is causing the current large wild fires. Wild fires are a natural occurrance. Large wild fires are often due to poor land management and past interference with smaller natural wild fires.

Francesca G | 5/18/2014 - 12:16pm

Joe, it is very difficult to predict whether an individual event (tornado, flood, wildfire, etc.) is caused or exacerbated by climate change. When the quantity of those events, however, is clearly increasing over a period of several decades, one can assume there may be an underlying cause(s). Climate models of the past have accurately predicted the increase in wildfires in the American west. A paper in Atmospheric Environment, Volume 77, October 2013, "Ensemble projections of wildfire activity and carbonaceous aerosol concentrations over the western United States in the mid-21st century", by Xu Yue et all, describes some of the statistical techniques used to predict future wildfire activity. The abstract is below:
"We estimate future wildfire activity over the western United States during the mid-21st century (2046–2065), based on results from 15 climate models following the A1B scenario. We develop fire prediction models by regressing meteorological variables from the current and previous years together with fire indexes onto observed regional area burned. The regressions explain 0.25–0.60 of the variance in observed annual area burned during 1980–2004, depending on the ecoregion. We also parameterize daily area burned with temperature, precipitation, and relative humidity. This approach explains ∼0.5 of the variance in observed area burned over forest ecoregions but shows no predictive capability in the semi-arid regions of Nevada and California. By applying the meteorological fields from 15 climate models to our fire prediction models, we quantify the robustness of our wildfire projections at midcentury. We calculate increases of 24–124% in area burned using regressions and 63–169% with the parameterization. Our projections are most robust in the southwestern desert, where all GCMs predict significant (p < 0.05) meteorological changes. For forested ecoregions, more GCMs predict significant increases in future area burned with the parameterization than with the regressions, because the latter approach is sensitive to hydrological variables that show large inter-model variability in the climate projections. The parameterization predicts that the fire season lengthens by 23 days in the warmer and drier climate at midcentury. Using a chemical transport model, we find that wildfire emissions will increase summertime surface organic carbon aerosol over the western United States by 46–70% and black carbon by 20–27% at midcentury, relative to the present day. The pollution is most enhanced during extreme episodes: above the 84th percentile of concentrations, OC increases by ∼90% and BC by ∼50%, while visibility decreases from 130 km to 100 km in 32 Federal Class 1 areas in Rocky Mountains Forest."

J Cosgrove | 5/15/2014 - 1:02pm

So what is your point? We have had very cold winters in the Northeast 4 of the last 5 years. And Oregon had near record rains in March. It is mid May and I go out with a jacket on a lot of the time.

I would be more worried what will happen in the valley when they don't plant crops.

Douglas Fang | 5/9/2014 - 12:46pm

This is the second time I put a comment on this blog. Normally, I try to avoid this kind of discussion because it looks eerily like the discussion with the YECs (Young Earth Creationism). You know their tactics.

The main reason that prompt me to speak up is when I saw some comments about the Pope and the Editors of America Magazine, both of whom I hold a very high level of respect. It seems that these bloggers are thinking that the Pope and the smart and intellectual Jesuits are stupid for believing in the propaganda of the climate change alarmists!

As I said in my earlier comment and I repeat here again, for every bogus and dubious argument from the deniers, there are an overwhelming amount of evidence that confirm that the change is happening and it is mainly due to human activities. I agree that cycles of climate change did happen naturally in the past. However, these cycles took a long, long time – tens or hundreds thousands of years. Now, we are experiencing it in our own pathetically short lifetime.

Someone did mention Judith Curry blog. Yes, I agree that she has good credentials as an American climatologist and chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology. However, her point of view is an outlier among the peers and there are multiple articles that point out some of the mistakes in her recent arguments:

http://www.skepticalscience.com/curry-ohc-corrections.html
http://www.skepticalscience.com/curry-ohc-corrections.html
http://scienceblogs.com/illconsidered/2010/11/judith-curry-plants-her-flag/
many more…

In the end, it seems to quite clear to me that all of us, including myself, are subject to the fundamental human weakness: “You believe what you want to believe”. This is a fact, period. The question is that how do you minimize this flaw?

On the climate change debate, I feel that being on the side of the 97% scientists is a safer bet.
http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/8/2/024024/article
http://theconsensusproject.com/#sharePage

(Please don’t demonize the scientists as a whole bunch of self serving, lunatic, colluding individuals. They can say similar things about our priests and bishops too… Critics go both ways)

J Cosgrove | 5/9/2014 - 9:22pm

Please don’t demonize the scientists as a whole bunch of self serving, lunatic, colluding individuals

I won't demonize them but point out some basic human behavior. In the science community and academia in general there is incredible pressure to conform on anything that is political. Tenure, grants, and promotion depend on towing the party line. A lot of science is not political but this one is so I would not use percentages to justify anything they might say on this particular subject.

I once watched a video on global warming a couple years ago sponsored by MIT. Richard Lindzen was the one person on the panel who said that AGW was nonsense. He also was the only one who presented evidence, chapter and verse. The others just used rhetoric. My reaction was "whoa!" Were they afraid to confront Lindzen who is a highly respected atmospheric physicist or did they not really have any data to refute him?

Also if there is indeed a dire problem, the proponents of AGW are acting in the wrong way. They immediately turned it into a political issue in order to make a money grab. If they seriously believed there was a problem, they would have behaved quite differently. The people who are most responsible for a lack of belief in global warming are the people running around saying the sky is falling. They are just not credible. You know their tactics.

Oh and by the way, I am very familiar with YEC's who have some strange views on science but one thing they got right is that Darwinian evolution is nonsense.

Douglas Fang | 5/10/2014 - 12:04pm

J,

Your answer is exactly what I meant in my comment. When the deniers fail to come up with a good argument against the question “Why there is such a high level of consensus among the scientific community about climate change?” – they begin to attack the integrity of the scientists!!!

This is what I experience personally in every conversation with friends, colleagues, and relatives when I ask them this question.

“Darwinian evolution is nonsense” – Well, I have nothing more to say to that.

“People choose to believe what they want to believe”

J Cosgrove | 5/10/2014 - 8:34pm

You should try to keep your arguments to the facts and not use derogatory comments about people you disagree with. You use "deniers" "Koch brothers," "flat earth," "YEC's," “people choose to believe what they want to believe” and "your answer is exactly what I meant in my comment."

My guess is that you think it will somehow make your point stronger by mocking those who disagree. So anyone who does not agree with you must be some type of looney. You then immediately try to inoculate yourself by saying no one can disagree with you on scientists. All of these are logical fallacies and always undermine any argument one makes.

I brought up a prominent climate scientist who disagrees with the conventional wisdom who uses science and data to back up his position and that in a debate the others didn't. Most people would have found that very interesting.

I brought up why there is often conformity of opinions in academia especially on topics that have a political implication. Your question is

Why there is such a high level of consensus among the scientific community about climate change?”

My answer is appropriate. It gets at why one might not take these percentages seriously.

There is a brand new book out this week by a science writer of the NY Times on race and genetics (A Troublesome Inheritance by Nicholas Wade). In the first chapter the author talks about the tremendous pressure to conform in academia on controversial topics. The book is already causing a stir which I am sure will get more intense. Here is a quote from the first chapter:

Another kind of flaw occurs when universities allow a whole field of scholars to drift politically to the left or to the right. Either direction is equally injurious to the truth, but at present most university departments lean strongly to the left. Any researcher who even discusses issues politically offensive to the left runs the risk of antagonizing the professional colleagues who must approve his requests for government funds and review his articles for publication. Self-censorship is the frequent response, especially in anything to do with the recent differential evolution of the human population. It takes only a few vigilantes to cow the whole campus. The result is that researchers at present routinely ignore the biology of race, or tiptoe around the subject, lest they be accused of racism by their academic rivals and see their careers destroyed.

I mentioned evolution for a reason especially since you brought up YEC's. Believers in Darwinian evolution in university science departments have a higher percentage agreement than global warming but this overwhelming perception is nonsense. How do I know that? I have been reading about it for 15 years and know the science backwards and forwards. Want to discuss protein formation, I can give you both sides of the argument. Want to discuss species formation, I can discuss both sides of the debate. etc...

I have been debating YEC's for about 10 years so I know them fairly well too. Their science is screwy on nearly everything except on Darwinian evolution where they pretty much got it right.

I pointed out the inconsistent behavior of those proselytizing about global warming. If they really thought it was as serious as they say it is, their behavior would be completely different. Those who advocate for changes in behavior due to global warming fail to make reasonable policy recommendations. Till that happens nothing is going to happen which is why I said the ones causing the skepticism are the most vocal advocates of AGW. They are not interested in a solution only a political advantage.

Douglas Fang | 5/12/2014 - 3:35pm

J,

My English may not be refined if I call a spade a spade, especially because I am not a native English speaking person.

I see that you are making the same fallacy that you accuse me of.

For example, “You then immediately try to inoculate yourself by saying no one can disagree with you on scientists”.

First, I did not say that I always agree with the scientists. I just said that if there is a very high level of consensus from the scientific community, then we need to take it very seriously (safer bet). You came up with a very dubious argument that this level of consensus usually results from political and peer pressure! Then you use a quote from a science writer, not from a scientist as if this is an authoritative or reliable source.

I receive this kind of answer so often from people around me (friends, relatives, etc.) who don’t even know what a green house effect is! How do you call this style of argument? “Intellectual laziness” is something that pops in to my mind.

Based on your of argument, for any topic that receives a high level of consensus from the scientific or academic community, then this topic should be brought under question for possible political or peer pressure. Similarly, if a scientist proposes a theory that is rejected by most of his/her peers, he/she should begin to complain/suspect that this rejection is due to political or peer pressure?

Again, as I said the critics go both ways:

1. There is a very good article about the theory proposed by Dr Richard S. Lindzen
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/01/science/earth/clouds-effect-on-climate...
“Today, most mainstream researchers consider Dr. Lindzen’s theory discredited. He does not agree, but he has had difficulty establishing his case in the scientific literature. Dr. Lindzen published a paper in 2009 offering more support for his case that the earth’s sensitivity to greenhouse gases is low, but once again scientists identified errors, including a failure to account for known inaccuracies in satellite measurements.
Dr. Lindzen acknowledged that the 2009 paper contained “some stupid mistakes” in his handling of the satellite data. “It was just embarrassing,” he said in an interview. “The technical details of satellite measurements are really sort of grotesque.”
Last year, he tried offering more evidence for his case, but after reviewers for a prestigious American journal criticized the paper, Dr. Lindzen published it in a little-known Korean journal
Dr. Lindzen blames groupthink among climate scientists for his publication difficulties, saying the majority is determined to suppress any dissenting views. They, in turn, contend that he routinely misrepresents the work of other researchers”

2. Political and peer pressure
http://www.sciencemag.org/content/328/5979/689.full.pdf
Based on this letter written by a group of scientists: “We also call for an end to McCarthy-like threats of criminal prosecution against our colleagues based on innuendo and guilt by association, the harassment of scientists by politicians seeking distractions to avoid taking action, and the outright lies being spread about them” – it seems that the pressure, especially political one, is from the other side (meaning the deniers, not from the alarmist ones – I.e. the story about NC legislature to ban any study about rising sea level…)

3. Change of view

How about the story of Prof Richard Muller, a physicist and climate change skeptic who founded the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature (Best) project, said he was surprised by the findings. "We were not expecting this, but as scientists, it is our duty to let the evidence change our minds." He added that he now considers himself a "converted skeptic" and his views had undergone a "total turnaround" in a short space of time
http://www.theguardian.com/science/2012/jul/29/climate-change-sceptics-c...
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/30/opinion/the-conversion-of-a-climate-ch...

Does it seem that Prof Muller is under any kind of political or peer pressure when he changed his mind???

Some words about Darwinian evolution – it looks like that you totally discredited it while at the same time, you quote the book written by Nicholas Wade, who seems to promote the idea of human continual evolution to adapt (Darwinian basic ideas about evolution) to changes to a whole new level! What do you make of that?

In the end, I feel strongly more than ever that the statement about this fundamental human psychological flaw is correct:
“People choose to believe what they want to believe”

J Cosgrove | 5/12/2014 - 6:25pm

Some words about Darwinian evolution – it looks like that you totally discredited it while at the same time, you quote the book written by Nicholas Wade, who seems to promote the idea of human continual evolution to adapt (Darwinian basic ideas about evolution) to changes to a whole new level! What do you make of that?

First of all the two things are completely unrelated. Second I do not say that Darwin's ideas are not useful for some trivial things relevant to evolution.

I am not sure we are at a whole new level, or that Wade thinks that is so. No one has shown that humans have progressed to a new level over time. We are certainly at a much higher level than a chimp on a lot of characteristics, our supposedly closest relative.

Darwin's ideas do work on simple things. The usual definition of evolution is a change in the allele frequency of a gene pool over time. That can certainly happen fairly quickly with some populations and may be due to an adaptation to a new environment. So for things like this, Darwin's ideas do work. Also I can see how it might affect humans as they migrated to different parts of the globe and faced different environments. Some went north where dark skin may be a disadvantage and Wade and others hypotheisize that this is the reason for light skin color. I have no problem with that. Or with a lot of other variations between groups.

But the problem is when people extrapolate beyond the simple observation to a much more complex phenomenon. In the human example used by Wade, the alleles haven't changed much from sub-population to sub-population but the physical appearance and often the behavioral activity has changed in some observable way. Wade hypothesizes that there are behavior changes as well that are the result of allele changes due to adaptation to a different environment or political system. Researchers have been able to find alleles that are the cause of some of the phenotype differences but not all. But there is almost no identification of alleles leading to behavior differences. He does identify one associated with violence. Wades expects that future studies will reveal more.

But none of this leads to a new species which is what the real evolution debate is about. Darwin's book was titled the "Origin of Species." He had no basis to make this claim and nothing in science today can point to the origin of a new species except for trivial instances. They certainly arose but how is still very much a mystery. There is no coherent science that can illustrate how complex capabilities arose over time.

Why because it all has take place at the molecular level in the genome as new coding regions for proteins and regulatory elements have to arise. These molecular patterns are incredibly complex. No one can point to how these complex elements arose. There are what are called, "just so" stories but this is not science but at best speculation and few who know the facts really believe they could arise by the gradual processes that Darwin hypothesized. It is often joked that evolutionary biology is the only science where one's imagination is treated as evidence.

Any way this is too long and off topic. But the relevant point is that most scientist believe in Darwin's ideas of evolution but I have never met one who could defend this belief when pushed to it. My guess is that the same thing is happening with those who support AGW. They probably do not know the true amount of the warming (does anyone?), the comparison with past temperatures?, the potential harm, if any, from the warming?, or what is the best policy to implement? As I said before the people that should be blamed for any impasse are the ones seeking to wring money out of the electorate or to exert more control. That pretty much describes the left in the world.

Joe Kash | 5/9/2014 - 5:57pm

Douglas,
The problem is when people use rhetoric rather than arguments. Calling people "deniers" and comparing critics to "Young Earth Creationism" is not a way to discuss science constructively. Judith Curry might have some opinions that you agree with and some that you might disagree with but I have never read comments from her where she tries to belittle those who disagree. Curry is clearly not a denier and she clearly should not be compared to "Young Earth Creationism". It's a two way street in this highly politicized topic. We should both not "demonize the scientists as a whole bunch of self serving lunatic, colluding individuals." Hear Hear!

Francesca G | 5/8/2014 - 1:34pm

I live in the American West and have seen a huge increase in wildfires in my lifetime. I have friends in California who have seen the same thing. The number of severe weather events is clearly increasing, as we can see by the ever-increasing number of tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, droughts, etc., on Earth. If this is hard for us in the US, I can only imagine how hard it is for poor people in the Third World. I am so grateful we have wonderful, intelligent Pope Francis to help lead the way in addressing this extensive social problem.

Joe Kash | 5/8/2014 - 5:53pm

I am guilty of posting a comment without evidence but I was told that wildfires are much more common on public land than on private/commercial land. It seems that those who stand to make a profit are much better at land management than the government. Those who make a profit stand to lose significant money if their lumber gets burned up in a fire.

E.Patrick Mosman | 5/8/2014 - 3:07pm

If one makes claims about "ever-increasing number of tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, droughts" it is necessary to provide factual data to support the claim. Since none was presented the following data on hurricanes is readily available and does not support the claim of "ever increasing hurricanes".

"The National Hurricane Center (NHC) provides information on major U.S. hurricanes during the past 100-plus years.According to the NHC, 70 major hurricanes struck the United States in the 100 years between 1911 and 2010. That is an average of 7 major hurricane strikes per decade. What are the trends within this 100-year span? Let’s take a look.
Let’s split the 100-year hurricane record in half, starting with major hurricane strikes during the most recent 50 years.
During the most recent decade, 2001-2010, 7 major hurricanes struck the United States. That is exactly the 100-year average.
During the preceding decade, 1991-2000, 6 major hurricanes struck the United States. That is below the 100-year average.
During the decade 1981-1990, 4 major hurricanes struck the United States. That is substantially below the 100-year average, and ties the least number of major hurricanes on record.
During the decade 1971-1980, 4 major hurricanes struck the United States. That is substantially below the 100-year average, and ties 1981-1990 as the two decades with the least number of major hurricanes.

During the decade 1961-1970, 7 major hurricanes struck the United States. That is exactly the 100-year average.
Incredibly, not a single decade during the past 50 years saw an above-average number of major hurricanes – not a single decade!
Now let’s look at the preceding 50 years in the hurricane record, before the alleged human-induced global warming crisis.
During the decade 1951-1960, 9 major hurricanes struck the United States. That is above the 100-year average.
During the decade 1941-1950, 11 major hurricanes struck the United States. That is substantially above the 100-year average.
During the decade 1931-1940, 8 major hurricanes struck the United States. That is above the 100-year average.
During the decade 1921-1930, 6 major hurricanes struck the United States. That is slightly below the 100-year average.
During the decade 1911-1920, 8 major hurricanes struck the United States. That is above the 100-year average.
Global warming alarmists and mechanical engineers at obscure Minnesota universities may lie, but the objective data do not lie. During the past 5 decades, an average of 5.6 major hurricanes struck the United States. During the preceding 5 decades, and average of 8.4 major hurricanes struck the United States."
http://www.forbes.com/sites/jamestaylor/2012/09/05/dont-believe-the-glob...
"The 2011 hurricane season comes to a close today and for the sixth year in a row, no major hurricanes -- category 3 or higher -- made landfall in the United States.
The season had 19 tropical storms, exceeding NOAA's prediction of 17. However, the number of actual hurricanes fell below forecaster's predictions."

"The 2012 Atlantic hurricane season was extremely active, tied with 1887, 1995, 2010, and 2011 for having the third-most named storms on record."

"The 2013 Atlantic hurricane season was the first Atlantic hurricane season since 1994 to feature no major hurricanes,[nb 1] and the first since 1968 to feature no storms of at least Category 2 intensity."

With regard to floods and droughts no factual data was provided to support the "increasing" observation so you may have missed the following comment in an earlier post:
"Some scientists and politician were probably wondering if the Mid and South West would be the next Sahara during the decade long drought, 1931-1939, known as the Dust Bowl years and when the Okies began the migration to California. Hard to believe but only a few year before the drought began, 1927, the same area suffered a period of torrential rain storms that resulted in one of the greatest Mississippi River floods in history. Mother Nature was very active before before politicians and the government employed and funded “scientists” discovered that CO2 was the culprit causing “climate change, nee global warming”
I leave it to you to do "due diligence" on the historical records on wildfires and tornadoes which may support or refute your claims.

Francesca G | 5/8/2014 - 3:22pm

Patrick, I recommend the following web sites for further information:
http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2011/11/the-ipcc-report-on...
http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2014/03/the-most-common-fa...
http://www.nwf.org/Wildlife/Threats-to-Wildlife/Global-Warming/Global-Wa...
http://www.skepticalscience.com/extreme-weather-global-warming-intermedi...
http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2013/20130905-extremeweatherandclima...
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/dec/18/2013-extreme-weather-...
You use the dustbowl in the 1930s in the US in your efforts to prove a point. Please note that, while the 1930s were unusually warm in the US, the decade was not particularly warm for the earth as a whole. Also, I notice you have only researched hurricanes that have struck the US. Perhaps this site will be helpful to you:
http://www.skepticalscience.com/hurricanes-global-warming.htm

Bill Parks | 5/8/2014 - 12:07am

I just uploaded 5 videos of a panel of experts on climate change. Please watch at: www.youtube.com/beyondthebulb They contain irrefutable scientific evidence that the climate is changing due to the dramatic increase of carbon dioxide from burning carbon fuels.

Francesca G | 5/8/2014 - 1:37pm

Bill, I would also encourage others to read this quick "cheat sheet" of responses to common arguments made against global warming: http://grist.org/series/skeptics/
It rebuts all the "usual suspects," such as "CO2 leads not lags," "there's been no global warming since 1998," etc.

Francesca G | 5/8/2014 - 6:25pm

Climate Depot? Ah, yes. Marc "the Moron" Morano's little prank. Marc Morano has no training whatsoever in climatology; in fact, his credentials are a B.A. in Political Science. He is purely ideological, scientifically illiterate, and doesn't appear to have any scruples about posting absolute nonsense. He tends to go along with the views of the "potty peers" -- British aristocrats Nigel Lawson and Lord Monckton, neither of whom is a scientist. The information in that link contradicts empirical evidence and is thoroughly unreliable. I would suggest getting information from more credible sources, particularly scientific journals. Geographical Research Letters is good, as is the International Journal of Climatology. Online, realclimate.org presents good information from qualified climatologists. NASA and NOAA websites are also good sources of accurate information.

Francesca G | 5/8/2014 - 8:24pm

Patrick, further to my previous comment, I took a closer look at the Climate Depot article you cite, which is based on a graph apparently produced by Lord Christopher Monckton. Monckton frequently cites data without attribution. This graph appears to be linked ... somehow ... to this website: http://data.remss.com/msu/monthly_time_series/RSS_Monthly_MSU_AMSU_Chann...
So, can we trust Monckton to know what he's doing, especially when one compares his graph to information from NASA GISS at http://www.giss.nasa.gov/research/news/20100121/? The answer is an emphatic no. I would suggest that all readers watch this presentation by Professor John Abraham, who has published approximately 80 journal papers, conference papers, and patents: http://www.stthomas.edu/engineering/jpabraham/

In it Abraham dissects a number of claims made by Christopher Monckton -- who has not published a single, peer-reviewed science paper on any topic. Time and again, John Abraham shows that Monckton is either really clueless or really dishonest. Monckton frequently refers to scientific papers and claims that they back up his statements. Again and again, Abraham contacts the author(s) of these papers and clarifies the theses and claims of their papers. Again and again, the authors clearly agree that Monckton has either misunderstood or misrepresented what they have said. Monckton's rather bizarre response to Abraham's presentation was to try to initiated "disciplinary charges of wilfull academic dishonesty amounting to gross professional misconduct" against Abraham. Abraham's university (U of St. Thomas) responded: "The University of St Thomas respects your right to disagree with Professor Abraham, just as the University respects Professor Abraham's right to disagree with you. What we object to are your personal attacks against Father Dease, and Professor Abraham, your inflammatory language, and your decision to disparage Professor Abraham Father Dease and The University of St Thomas." Further evidence that Monckton MAY be a bit of a snake oil salesman are indicated by his penchant for filing for a patent on a "therapeutic treatment": http://bbickmore.wordpress.com/lord-moncktons-rap-sheet/
This is all very well, except that so much climate science denial is based on claims that Monckton makes. He is truly unqualified, has been thoroughly discredited, and is a bit of a joke in climate science circles, yet many who deny the findings of climatologists rest their beliefs on things he has said or written.

Joe Kash | 5/8/2014 - 10:23am

For very intelligent discussions concerning climate research check out Judith Curry's blog: http://judithcurry.com/

Also there is a great interview of Judith Curry by Russ Roberts at Econtalk.org: http://www.econtalk.org/archives/2013/12/judith_curry_on.html

In real science sceptism is encourage. That is why popular climate "science" is not real science. Sceptism is not allowed. Check out the Steyn vs Mann lawsuit to see how vile this issue has become.

http://judithcurry.com/2014/02/22/steyn-et-al-versus-mann/

E.Patrick Mosman | 5/8/2014 - 11:37am

"irrefutable scientific evidence" hardly 'irrefutable" since there has been no warming for 17 years as CO2 had a slight increase, the Arctic and Antarctic ice caps are recovering and/or growing, all of the islands in the Pacific and Indian oceans doomed 20 years ago to disappear are still thriving and the doom and gloom end time is a moving target. Politicians and government funded bureaucrats had the final approval on the latest and all previous IPCC reports. So where is the science? Please provide the names of the scientists on the panels you taped so their scientific background, employment and government funding can be checked out.

E.Patrick Mosman | 5/9/2014 - 8:08am

The head of the IPCC confirms that there has been no global warming for the last 17 years as CO2 had a slight increase.
http://www.forbes.com/sites/larrybell/2013/02/24/yes-we-should-defund-th...

"Trenberth perhaps best known for writing the Climategate email which went "The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t."
So Trenberth admitted, as did the head of the IPCC, that there was and still is a lack of global warming.

Mr Phil Jones head of the infamous Climategate British CRU also made the same statement and added that he had no explanation for the pause. He later modified his stand apparently under pressure from fellow alarmists.

Francesca G | 5/9/2014 - 8:06pm

E. Patrick Mosman writes, "The head of the IPCC confirms that there has been no global warming for the last 17 years as CO2 had a slight increase."
Patrick, sorry but the idea that Rajenda Pachauri confirmed that global warming has ended was actually an April Fool's Day joke: http://www.csmonitor.com/Environment/Bright-Green/2009/0401/scientists-w...
The hoax includes: "After revoking the 2007 prize from Gore and the IPCC, the Nobel committee retroactively awarded it to the more than 31,000 people who signed the Oregon Petition – an appeal challenging the notion that there exists a scientific consensus regarding global warming – 'for their efforts to pursue pure, objective science that is free from the influence of any special interest group.'" :-)

Francesca G | 5/10/2014 - 10:46am

Patrick, a lot of climate sources pull the same April Fool's Day joke every year.
Your link contains a guest post by none other than "potty peer," Christopher Monckton, whose qualifications I addressed above. He is aided and abetted by none other than David Rose, a tabloid journalist who also lacks scientific credentials and who provides a graphic without scientific citation, but which appears to have been produced by none other than ... Christopher Monckton. Nobody in the business takes either of these two clowns seriously.
In his post, Monckton misunderstands the term "global warming pause." This term refers to slowed -- not halted -- warming since 1998. The reasons for this are understood and include, for example, aerosol pollution (which reflects sunlight back into space), an 11-year solar minimum, and unusual trade wind patterns in the Pacific. In spite of these mitigating (and temporary) factors, the past decade was the warmest on record.

E.Patrick Mosman | 5/10/2014 - 7:48pm

Typical liberal warmest alarmist technique, ignore the message, attack the messenger
So who is your expert:, Al Gore,
Al Gore a nonscientists, a C university student, a divinity school
dropout, a lawyer with no science studies, a majority owner/investor
in a company selling 'Carbon Credits' with a vested interest in
limiting CO2 for profiteering and the producer of a movie that the
British Courts found to have 9 or 11 inaccuracies and could not be shown in British schools
without identifying and an explanation of the inaccuracies.
Michael Mann
Michael Mann used statistical legerdemain to eliminate the Mediaeval Warm Period and the Middle Ages Little Ice
to give a straight handle on his Hockey Stick graph.
The ClimateGate Cabal
Anyone who has perused the Climatgate emails and files would find that
there is a small cabal of US and UK government employees and government
funded academics who control whose and which papers are accepted by the
IPCC science groups and even have the power to control the peer reviewed
papers that are published in science publications to the point of having
an editor removed for accepting a paper which challenged the consensus view.
There were discussions on deleting emails and other correspondence to avoid
providing them to a FOIArequest.
The only real debate on AGW took place at the Oxford Union in 2010 and
global warming supporters lost. Lord Monckton and his team won.
Oxford students are more observant of factual presentations than
propaganda.

wattsupwiththat.com/2010/05/24..
Since then any mention of a debate sends Al Gore into hiding and the
so-called AGW scientists scurrying back to their ivory towers or tax
payer funded government offices.crying the debate is over to prepare
another “peer reviewed”(by colleagues, friends or even relatives)
Chicken Little “The sky is falling” doom and gloom scenario for world
disaster.

Francesca G | 5/11/2014 - 10:20am

I am not being alarmist but factual. I am not launching personal attacks but examining the credentials of people whose word you take for granted. You can ignore Al Gore entirely and look at the credential of climatologists who have PhDs and have published extensively in peer-reviewed journals. It's not about "winning or losing." It's about studying science. If you want to overturn the consensus, you need to point out what you know that these people, with their expertise and experience, have overlooked. I would be delighted if anyone could do that, but Monckton or David Rose just aren't doing it for me.

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