Viewpoint: To climate deniers — Need for change is nowAll the Latin phrases in the world ("Try to keep the debate from going nowhere," Bulletin, Jan. 16) cannot alter the fact that deniers of anthropogenic global climate change are demonstrably wrong.
By: Joyce Denn, Viewpoint Writer, Woodbury Bulletin
All the Latin phrases in the world ("Try to keep the debate from going nowhere," Bulletin, Jan. 16) cannot alter the fact that deniers of anthropogenic global climate change are demonstrably wrong.
We can argue motivation, cui bono, back and forth, but Thomas St. Martin offers no proof for the veracity of the deniers' claims.
Some assert, for example, that solar forcing is driving climate change, rather than greenhouse gases. However, according to the World Radiation Center there has been no increase in solar irradiance since at least 1978, when satellite observations began.
This means that for the last 30 years, while the temperature has been rising fastest, the solar output has not changed. Moreover, according to the Max Planck Institute, which has been reconstructing the solar irradiance record of the last century, there has been no increase in solar irradiance since around 1940.
So, contrary to what the skeptics say, mean global temperatures have been rising despite, not because of, solar activity.
Others point to thickening Antarctic ice as proof that claims of man-made warming are bogus. On the surface, that looks like a good reason for skepticism. However, it ignores some important facts, namely, that Antarctica is an extreme desert, and an extremely cold place.
Warming of even 30 degrees C still leaves Antarctica with temperatures below zero.
Global warming models predict increased precipitation which, in an environment as cold as Antarctica's, will present as snow and ice, so, increasing ice thickness in Antarctica is actually consistent with anthropogenic global warming.
Moreover, while the ice in Antarctica may be getting thicker — the evidence for that increase is not at all certain — the ocean ice is breaking up, a result of increasing ocean temperatures.
I could cite and refute additional arguments, but, as of now, not a single attempt to invalidate anthropogenic climate change has held up to careful analysis.
Some deniers point to Senator Inhofe's (R- Okla.) Environment and Public Works blog, which cites 400 “prominent” skeptics of anthropogenic global climate change.
Among those “experts,” however, are computer programmers, social scientists, engineers and others without any expertise in climate science.
Even among the climatologists Inhofe names, some, like Gwyn Prins, Steve Rayner, George Waldenberger and others, are not even skeptics of man-made global climate change.
Prins and Rayner state, "We face a problem of anthropogenic climate change, but the Kyoto Protocol of 1997 has failed to tackle it," clearly not a repudiation of man-made global warming.
Waldenberger went so far as to request that Inhofe remove him from his list of global warming skeptics.
Then, of course, there are other "experts" like Chris Allen, weather director at WBKO, the ABC affiliate for south-central Kentucky, who writes: "Do you honestly believe God would allow humans to destroy the earth He created? Of course, if you don't believe in God and creationism then I can see why you would easily buy into the whole global warming fanfare." Clearly a man of science.
I cannot speak for the motivations of global climate change deniers, but I can defend the science of anthropogenic climate change.
It is real, it is happening right now and, if anything, it is proving to be even worse than predicted. We need to act now, before it is too late.
Denn is a resident of Woodbury.