To the Editor:
The recent letters by Michael Mann (“G.D. Holcombe misinforms readers about climate change,” 12/18/2015) and Jeffrey Bada (“Paris Climate Conference, 2015,” 12/4/2015 and “Professor Bada Responses,” 12/24/2015) did more to reveal the arrogance and bias of leading global warming alarmists than anything I or any other climate realist could write.
Lakeland Times readers should take note of the name-calling by Mann and Bada (“unhinged,” “charlatans,” “deniers,” “liars”) and their refusal to acknowledge as legitimate any disagreement with their recital of global warming dogma. Anyone who disagrees with them is “uninformed” or has “close ties to fossil fuel interests” or has “parroted baseless talking points that have no place in honest scientific discourse.”
What’s wrong with this picture? Few if any real scientists use terms like these to refer to people who disagree with them. Real scientists know science is a process of discovery, that disagreement and new discoveries are to be expected and encouraged, and no one has a monopoly on the truth.
The plain truth is that most climate scientists do not subscribe to Mann’s and Bada’s extreme views and inflated claims of “high confidence.” Surveys and abstract-counting exercises reveal extensive disagreement and uncertainty among scientists regarding the causes and consequences of climate change. (See Why Scientists Disagree About Global Warming for a good summary of the research.)
Reporting in Nature in April, Quirin Schiermeier wrote, “There is a misconception that the major challenges in physical climate science are settled. ‘That’s absolutely not true,’ says Sandrine Bony, a climate researcher at the Laboratory of Dynamic Meteorology in Paris. ‘In fact, essential physical aspects of climate change are poorly understood.'”
Schiermeier goes on to write, “large uncertainties persist in ‘climate sensitivity,’ the increase in average global temperature caused by a given rise in the concentration of carbon dioxide,” citing Bjorn Stevens, a director at the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg, Germany.
Judith Curry, a professor and former chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology, wrote recently: “[T]here is a great deal of work still to do to understand climate change. And there is a growing realization that unpredictable natural climate variability is important.”
The four volumes in the “Climate Change Reconsidered” series, produced by the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) and published by my organization, The Heartland Institute, cite thousands of peer-reviewed articles and studies revealing the extensive uncertainty acknowledged by Schiermeier, Bony, Stevens, Curry, and so many other credible sources. Those volumes, written by some 50 scientists from 20 countries, prove beyond any doubt that there is a lively debate taking place in the scientific community about mankind’s role in climate change.
Are all these scientists wrong? Are the 31,000 scientists who signed the Oregon Petition saying “There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate,” all on the payroll of fossil fuel companies?
Or maybe, more likely, Mann and Bada are wrong.
Lakeland Times readers would be well-advised to avoid the advocacy sites relied on by Mann and Bada to defend their global warming dogma, and check out instead such independent and much more reliable sites as www.wattsupwiththat.com, www.thegwpf.org/, and www.climatechangereconsidered.org.
These sites welcome debate and new discoveries, and let readers weigh the research and make up their own minds. That’s what real scientists do.
Joseph L. Bast
The Heartland Institute