April 4, 2013

Posts like Ed Rogers’ yesterday are why Al Gore’s Climate Reality is important.

The Gore initiative tries to combat the arguments of those who still deny the scientific consensus that the earth is warming and that devastating changes in our climate have arrived ahead of schedule.

Ed’s post says two things worth disputing. First, he says, public concern over climate change is diminishing. If you look closely at the very poll he cites, you will see that the percentage of people who believe there is solid evidence for global warming has increased in the last four years to 69 percent from 57 percent. Moreover, the percentage agreeing that global warming  is very or somewhat serious — the very question Ed claims shows a decline — has increased by 1 percentage point to 65 percent in the last year. (There was a decline in the number of those citing global warming as “very serious,”  and Ed cited that accurately. But when you add the “somewhat serious” column to the total, it goes up by that one point.) And just this week, a new poll by George Mason and Yale universities shows that a growing number of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents (62 percent) believe the United States “should or probably should” take action to address climate change. The pollsters expressed surprise at how few of the Republicans they surveyed actually agree with their own party’s policy of inaction on climate.

Ed also says what many deniers say: the earth isn’t getting warmer, or hasn’t in the last 15 years. Again, this is extremely misleading. The fifteen-year period is problematic for two reasons: First, it is an arbitrary, cherry-picked time frame; adding just one year raises the calculation of the Earth’s warming trend, and there is no doubt that the Earth has warmed dramatically since the large-scale introduction of carbon. Moreover, the “missing” warming of recent years has not vanished; it simply has been absorbed by the oceans, which fuel our weather and also have been heating up. For a more cogent analysis of the science, check out these summaries.

http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2013/03/25/1768601/in-hot-water-global-warming-has-accelerated-in-past-15-years-new-study-of-oceans-confirms/?mobile=nc

http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2013/03/28/1785461/as-scientists-predicted-global-warming-continues/

None of my wind will convince those who continue to deny, but reality always is worth defending.