2010-12-15 Climate Change
- Unusual cold spells in some parts of the world (including where the author lives) are not evidence against global warming.
- global sea levels have risen 17 cm in the past century
- rate has doubled in the last decade
- consistent rise in global surface temperature since 1880s
- most of which has taken place since the 1970s
- top 700m of ocean have warmed 0.302°F since 1969
- Ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica have both lost mass
- Glaciers are retreating worldwide, including the Alps, the Himalayas, the Andes, the Rockies, Alaska, and Africa
- The sudden jump in temperatures during the industrial age does suggest it is caused by humans
- Warming effect og "greenhouse gases" can be demonstrated in a laboratory; industry has been pouring these gases into the atmosphere
- Increase in global temperature correlates with measured rise in atmospheric "greenhouse gas" concentrations
- There are two types of global warming skeptic:
- Those who don't know all the evidence (or perhaps feel that there is insufficient evidence for a conclusive answer?) -- but these folks are generally aware of the limits of their knowledge, and remain open to the idea that GW might be human-caused
- Those who reject GW on ideological or dogmatic grounds (e.g. James Inhofe)
- GW deniers on the Internet tend to be on militantly right-wing blogs engaging in epistemic closure
- On the question of whether "a growing number of eminent scientists now believe climate change to be wrong", an article in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS) found only 2.5% of top climate scientists were skeptical of anthropogenic global warming
- Media nonetheless persists in reporting GW as a hoax, fraud, conspiracy
- Definition of conspiracy theory; radical GW deniers see GW as a conspiracy to implement global socialism
- There is a difference between (a) a global conspiracy to implement governmental reform using an imagined threat as justification and (b) conspiracy between those opposed to GW because countermeasures would harm their interests (despite benefiting everyone in the long run); there is plenty of evidence for b, but not for a.
- Exxon Mobil pours millions of dollars annually into GW denial groups
- Groups promoting anti-GW sentiment: The Heartland Institute, The Heritage Foundation, The George C. Marshall Institute, The American Enterprise Institute
- Koch Industries is an example of a multibillion-dollar enterprise which makes most of its money from activities contributing to GW. They have formed several anti-GW groups, including Americans for Prosperity -- which in turn provided key organizational tools for the Tea Party
- Looked at a certain way, this is a perfectly reasonable response from an industry whose interests are threatened. Lessening dependence on fossil fuels will not make us less prosperous overall, but will make these powerful players less prosperous. because new energy forms mean new industries in which the old players aren't as well-positioned.
- On the question of Climategate:
- A handful statements were found which seemed incriminating when taken out of context
- Six independent investigations exonerated the scientists involved and found that no data had been falsified, fuged, manipulated, or exaggerated.
- Media continued to report the matter as "climate fraud".
- Very little media coverage on Koch Industries' donations to anti-GW groups.
The comic concludes with a brief summary of the bad stuff that is likely to happen at this point.