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What Tea Party supporters think about global warming

It became a little clearer last week what Americans think about global warming. The Yale Project on Climate Change and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communications brought out the most recent poll on attitudes of likely voters.

The first question asked by the pollsters was designed to identify the party affiliation of the respondents. The question was: "Generally speaking, do you think of yourself as a Republican, Democrat, Independent, Other or No Party/Not interested in politics?" If a respondent answered "Other," then this question was asked. "Do you consider yourself a member of the Tea Party movement, or not?"

There was some commingling of responses. A few Democrats, Republicans and independents "self-identified" as members of the Tea Party, and therefore were put into that category for analysis.

The most useful findings of the survey showed that among all parties responding, members of the Tea Party were less likely to believe that global warming was real or be concerned about it. You can find the full survey here. [PDF]


Not surprisingly, 78 percent of Democrats and 71 percent of independents believe that global warming is happening. A mild stunner was the response of Republicans. A slight majority of Republicans, 53 percent, said they believed it was happening. Only 34 percent of those identified as Tea Party members believed global warming was underway, while more than half of them responded that it is not happening at all.

The survey is instructive and worthwhile reading and seems to show, with the exception of Tea Party members, there is concern that global warming is upon us. The degree to which people are concerned varies from party to party, as does the question of whether the warming is being caused by humans and fossil fuel use.

Head of state Tea Party's views
I wanted to get the perspective of a Tea Party member on general attitudes about global warming, so I gave a call to Randy Liebo, the head of the state Tea Party coalition. Liebo wanted to make sure that I understood that he spoke only for himself. Tea Party members, he told me, are free to think and believe whatever they wish, as long as they agree to three principles: fiscal responsibility, free markets and constitutionally limited government.

There are 49 independent Tea Party chapters in Minnesota and Liebo says there are 3,800 Tea Party Patriot chapters across the country. While certainly a force in politics, the self-identified Tea Party respondents represented only 12 percent of the voters surveyed.

Randy Liebo
MinnPost/Terry Gydesen
Randy Liebo

I have been reporting on these issues for more than 10 years, and while Liebo doesn't speak for the Tea Party, his answers are similar to those I've heard expressed by Tea Party members in public, on television and radio.

I asked him if he thought that it was accurate to say that Tea Party members tended not to believe in the science of global warming. Liebo said, "That's probably true." I asked why he thought that might be true, and he said that it was his opinion that "the science has been around for such a small length of time, and the conclusions have been debunked. That gives rise to questions about whether the data should be trusted and whether we should be making policy on this science."

The science concluding that CO2 warms the planet has been around for 150 years. Liebo is likely referring to more recent science showing that humans contribute, through fossil fuel burning, to greater warming of the planet. That has been generally understood for a half century and there are few, if any, doubters among climate scientists and physicists.

"You have to be crazy to not want to be a good steward of the Earth, but in my opinion there is not enough evidence that man is causing global warming, " Liebo told me. "Making wholesale changes based on what we currently know would not be in the best interest of the country."

What we "currently know" is that 97 percent of all the scientists conducting experiments and publishing peer-reviewed science agree that humans are responsible for warming the planet.

'Climategate' and 'hockey-stick' graph
Liebo was troubled by "Climategate." So were most of the Tea Party respondents to the Yale/George Mason survey. Fox News and other conservative media played up thousands of hacked emails between a climate scientist in England and many of his colleagues. Four of those emails were singled out and misinterpreted, misreported, misconstrued, but the result was a public relations disaster for climate science.

It turns out that several separate and independent investigations found nothing wrong in the emails, and no wrongdoing on the part of the scientists involved. But it still lingers as a misimpression, especially among Tea Party members, according to the findings of the survey.

Liebo told me that the famous "hockey-stick" graph showing a sharp increase in temperatures over recent time had been shown to be untrue. Liebo is a man who says he reads voraciously, but he apparently missed reading the latest finding by the National Science Foundation which upheld the hockey-stick graph as accurate. He failed to read that 12 other independent, peer-reviewed and published scientific experiments duplicated the hockey-stick graph showing increased temperatures over the same time span. Liebo also missed the report by the National Research Council that upheld the hockey-stick graph, and the work of Dr. Michael Mann and his colleagues. Liebo may have read three analyses of the work done by Mann, but likely failed to read the conclusions of reviewing scientists who found those attacks woefully flawed.

Liebo's background is in business, and he says he has seen large companies leave for China and India because of EPA regulations. He says such regulation is forcing businesses out of the United States. Government regulation seems to shape a lot of what he thinks about global warming, and it may be true of other Tea Party members.

Liebo told me he was not aware of the investigations clearing those involved in the hacked email controversy, and had not heard that the hockey-stick graph has been proven accurate after repeated attempts to debunk it. He asked me to send him the proof. Liebo said that if the facts warrant, he could change his mind.

No matter what party one belongs to, you can't ask for much more than a willingness to change opinions in accordance with the facts. After he has read the material, I'll report next week on whether the facts had any effect.

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Comments (54)

If the "science" was anywhere near conclusive; if the "scientists" providing "consensus" hadn't so thoroughly shredded their own credibility, leftist warmers wouldn't have to rely on such desperate ploys as this embarrassingly shallow amphigory.

What I’m reading so far is commentary from a Tea Party member whose "voracious" reading must be confined to a very narrow set of authors and interests.

Bureaucracies can certainly be troublesome – as anyone who’s had to deal with a big corporation or almost any level of government can attest – and they can add to the cost of producing a product, but I’d like to know which “large companies” have left the United States for China and India because of EPA regulations. It’s a common theme on the right wing that “job creators” have been forced out of the U.S. due to unreasonable regulatory requirements of the EPA, but I’ve not come across any specifics in that regard. Is the whole approach based on the presumption that no harm was being done to the environment in the first place, and that EPA regulations are perversely designed to drive businesses into bankruptcy?

I also wonder about the wisdom – carrying that “EPA is bad” logic out to its reasonable conclusion – of dispensing with those same “job-killing regulations” so that these unnamed companies can continue to do business here in the U.S. while poisoning the water, polluting the air, or otherwise making people ill, employees and / or customers alike. Assuming, again, that there ARE big companies that have left the U.S. due to EPA regulations, it’s obviously easier politically if those companies are making Chinese or Indians ill instead of Americans, but how do these companies justify the damage done to Chinese or Indian environments in moral terms?

I’ll look forward to next week’s report.

I'm a daily bicycle commuter in Mpls. I LOVE clean air! For perspective please view a free film on You Tube called "Global Warming or Global Governance". Remember when in a debate the first to "name call" lost the intellectual battle and the intellectual winner lost the chance to educate the ignorant person. Be kind.

Another great study topic is Agenda 21. The UN and friends came up with this crack pot jive in '94 at the earth Summit in Rio ' Brazil.

I think companies shipping their manufacturing overseas has more to do with wage costs, material and shipping costs rather than these regulations.

Leftist warmers? When the numbers reported here indicate that a slight majority of Republicans accept that global warming is a reality?

Tell us more, Mr. Swift.

Agenda 21, to be feared and fought against as we once fought against Plan 9 from Outer Space. Why is it that no Tea Party people have ever been allowed to visit Area 51? Maybe we should ask the Trilateral Commission.

I explain it all on my new authoritative You Tube video, "True conspiracies of the Socialist, Obamaist, World Dominating atheist Communists and proof that the devil exists in human form and resides in Rockford, Illinois". View it; you will need no further truth.

Consider me not surprised that those who identify themselves as Tea Party adherents don't believe in man's responsibility for global warming or climate change, whichever title you prefer. The Koch brothers, who fund much of the Tea Party activities, make their considerable fortunes from the production and distribution of fossil fuels and associated by-products. A cardinal rule of politics is you don't bite the hand that feeds you.

It sure must be nice to be able to choose to ignore the scientific research that doesn't yield the results you want.

I find this web site is deleting lots of my comments. I throw quotes at the site's right wing conscience, Swift because he uses them in his spurious argument and you don't post my comment. I'm not using foul language; I'm not using arguments that sink below those of the people I comment on. I think you try to hard to protect those like Swift, who wouldn't offer you the same protections if this were their web site. Example, I bet I can't get on the Rush Limbaugh radio show if they have any hint that I might disagree with him in any way.

James, your comments as well as Liebo's are indicative of, in my opinion, the greatest hinderance people face when trying to discuss this issue.

Deliberately convoluted framing of the issue at hand.

Is the global temperature rising? Much of the reliable data I've seen indicates that may well be true.

Is that happening because people are burning fossil fuels? I haven't seen a single definitive report that supports that conclusion, much less brings "consensus".

"Warmers" refer to those who refuse to even consider that issue, and are instead pushing ahead for remedies to a problem that hasn't been conclusively, or even convincingly identified.

Further, if we look at the remedies being proposed for this non-proven conclusion, most of them involve drastic changes in our activities that result in greater centralized control.

The fact that all of the arguments in favor of AGW are being pushed by leftists, or financially interested parties should, and does give thoughtful people pause.

To #8---Bill, you're being way too kind calling Thomas Swift MNPost's 'rightwing conscience'.
Does the right wing even have a conscience?
If it did, it might sound a lot like Mr. Swift, puffing and huffing and using words like 'amphigory' while having absolutely nothing of substance to contribute.
The best part of Thomas Swift's presence here is nobody really needs to pay attention to it. He's all sound and fury, signifying zilch. And I say that with all due respect.

I would be curious to see what Mr. Liebo thinks once he reads the information sent to him. Does he adjust his thinking? If he doesn't, then what are his sources? What are his arguments? Please follow up on this Mr. Shelby.

#9
Johnny Quick, you haven't seen a "definitive" report because you haven't read a single report. If you actually cited specific studies and showed us the flaws in the methodology then perhaps you would be seen as a credible person. Thus far, you have failed.

We are eagerly awaiting...

The most troubling thing reported in this article is that more than half of TP'ers don't believe that warming is happening at all. I truly do not understand how anyone can say that as an honest opinion. It truly baffles me. If warming isn't happening, why is all the fraking ice melting? Don't these people have eyes? Don't they believe the evidence of their own senses? All you have to do is look at before/after photos of glaciers and arctic regions 100 years ago vs. today - or read yesterday's news item that arctic ice is at an all time low - and the loss of ice is shockingly apparent. One must be deeply in denial of reality to look at that and say the globe is not warming.

Which is why I can't take them seriously. If you're going to look at an overcast, cloudy sky, and tell me it's clear and sunny, well - all I can do is laugh, and then ignore you.

I do hope Mr. Liebo is being honest when he says he's open minded and will take another look at the facts - as reported by genuine scientists, not oil company shills - and adjust his opinion accordingly. That would be refreshing.

As to whether human activity is influencing warming, there are abundant lines of research out there all pointing to this conclusion, and I'm not going to review them here - especially since it wouldn't convince any denialists anyway. But, I have yet to hear the denialist spin on the heat trapping properties of greenhouse gases, principally CO2 and methane. I'd really like to know - do they deny that these gases have the physical property of trapping heat? This has nothing to do with climate science, I'm just talking about the physical property of a gas. If they deny such a property exists, well, I'd love to hear the reasoning - and the whole new branch of physical science they've invented. If they acknowledge that, yes indeed, these gases do what they do, then I'd also love to hear their explanation of how you can pump massive amounts of heat retaining gases into an atmosphere and not have the atmosphere heat up. I'm serious here, if you deny the human contribution to warming, then somehow you've got to explain how greenhouse gases are, in fact, not greenhouse gases.

As for Mr. Swift's last paragraph in #10, I guess all climatologists are leftists and have some kind of financial interest in climate change. Leaving aside the obvious absurdity of that statement (it may resonate with dittoheads, Mr. Swift, but not with people who apply reason), do you really want to bring up financial interests? The sector with by far the biggest financial interest in this issue is the oil industry and related industries. Are you suggesting that they are virtuous and would never do anything to keep their gravy train rolling? No more than the tobacco companies did in the face of the cancer link, eh? Best be careful with this. Many times I have googled anti-AGW speakers and writers, and usually within just a few clicks, their ties to the oil industry, or conservative groups backing the oil industry, is laid bare.

Look to the beam in your own eye...

Do I believe in climate change? Yes. I also believe in tsunamis, volcanoes, and earthquakes.

Mankind has always traditionally believed that these phenomena are due to man's sins against the god(s). Before our "scientific" age, people used to sacrifice animals and grains as penance for their sins. Now we have institutionalized penance with cap and trade. We've come a long way, haven't we, from the darkness of a superstitious belief that man causes all of nature's "punishments." **sarc**

A poll by the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communications. Hmmm. A good, long Counterpunch article mentions the considerable financial support George Mason U. gets from oil tycoons Charles and David ("Funding for 'Nova' is supplied by") Koch, along with their founding of the Cato Institute and multimillion-dollar contributions to all kinds of right-wing pressure groups, not to mention the Tea Party Express. See

http://www.counterpunch.org/2011/09/12/the-koch-whisperers/#.Tm9rgto_Gy8...

I'm mildly surprised and pleased to hear that Mr. Liebo has at least promised to keep an open mind on this. Mr. Swift seems to have his mind made up.

For many years, there were no "definitive" or "conclusive" studies which linked smoking cigarettes to lung cancer and other diseases. As far as I know, there are still no scientific studies which "prove" that you will get lung cancer if you smoke cigarettes. The tobacco companies were nailed legally because they lied about their own studies which showed the high risks associated with smoking. Despite the risks, many people in fact continue to smoke. Does Mr. Swift propose repealing laws that prevent smoking in bars, restaurants, airports, on airplanes, trains and buses or other public places because there are no "definitive studies" connecting lung cancer to exposure from tobacco smoke?

The thing about "definitive studies" whatever they are is that the consequences of delaying action while waiting for them is too grave while the consequences of taking present action are relatively mild. For example, what are the consequences of disapproving the Keystone XL pipeline? Or cap and trade regulation or some other carbon tax based system of regulation? Sure, the price of energy goes up modestly now, as much as it fluctuates because of speculation every month. But in the meantime, we can gradually modify behavior and investment in energy efficient/noncarbon based forms of energy to reduce the amount of CO2 emissions.

It's one thing to maintain a healthy skepticism about unproven science. It's another to oppose modest efforts to avoid possibly catastrophic results from behavior that needs to be modified anyway. Or is this really about some people's idea that owning and driving an Escalade is a constitutional right?

Most anti-AGW speakers, writers and thinkers are concerned about personal freedom and libery, not corporate ties. What I think is a fib within the fib is that "97 percent of scientists conducting experiments....". I would like a study on that number.

Please don't make a mockery of the issue by using your high horse Mr. Shelby. You and I both know the real reason many conservatives don't believe in climate change. I for one am open to the idea that we might be contributing in one form or another. However, the reason many on the right deny the science (or claim to deny the science) is because we are worried about the policies and increased government that would be bandied as a "climate change solution". We, too, want to be good stewards of the land. We just see different ways of achieving this goal.

"If you actually cited specific studies and showed us the flaws in the methodology then perhaps you would be seen as a credible person."

I have no idea who "Johnny Quick" is, big shooter. Is this directed to me, or Shelby?

I'll give you this hard, verifiable fact to chew on in either case. Since 1998 year over year global temperature (averaged) shows no discernible warming.

Now, there's lots of explainations for this, but the only one I'm interested in hearing is how, if our luxurious lifestyles are the cause, and only cooking tofu over dung fires is the cure does this square with the narritive?

Is there a celestial "pause" button out there somewhere?

Terry, #11, I had some other comments about Mr Swift but they weren't posted by the moderator. They were funnier for sure as well.

Seems pointless to argue science with guys like Liebo. He may claim to be open minded but the sky would have to go dark from carbon and then if there weren't a trail leading to a specific chimney, he stil wouldn't believe. These are the new flat earthers. To them the question of whether the earth was round was unsettled because no one had proved it by circumnavigating it. Their eyes told them the earth was flat and that was all they needed. Remember many of these same climate deniers are believers in the pseudo intellectual pursuit of "creation science", ask Perry about that. Their faith informs them that the Bible is literally true and that Darwin is not. For them faith is the strongest evidence. Using your mind and believing your eyes is a sure sign of lack of faith and evidence of your own damnation. May a tornado land on my head for saying that.

Global warming seems an easy call to me. How can 300+ continuous years of burning fossil fuels NOT raise the temperature?

But regarding the various regulations that people object to: I'm old enough to remember when the skies over Los Angeles, Denver and other cities were so brown you could barely see the mountains.

I remember when the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland caught fire.

I remember the photos of waste pipes gushing frothy masses of toxic chemicals into the Great Lakes.

THAT is why we have the EPA and all these environmental regs that people are now objecting to. The nation -- both Democrats and Republicans -- decided that we could no longer live like that.

Global warming is false because it mustn't be true. Accepting the science means accepting the implications, namely that humans have to make changes we don't want to make. If regulation is always bad, then addressing a problem that requires regulation is a contradiction. It means making changes to the way we live when we don't want to, and throwing away the tried and true way we've always lived --- burning as much fuel as we want, throwing our garbage (greenhouse gases in this case) wherever we want.

To those folks who think that yeah, maybe the planet is warming but surely it is not our fault, I have to ask - where do you think those billions of tons of CO2 -go- when we burn fossil fuel? Does it just disappear somewhere as fast as we create it?

As Don said, the discovery that CO2 in the atmosphere keeps heat on our planet is 150 years old. Now, add an extra 30 billion tons EACH year of previously-buried CO2, stir well, and see what happens going forward.

You can argue over a million small details, emails, and graphs all day long, but it's a little harder to argue over 30 billion tons of new C02 each year. In my humble opinion, at least.

"As for Mr. Swift's last paragraph in #10, I guess all climatologists are leftists and have some kind of financial interest in climate change."

All A's are B's

Some B's are C's

All C's are A's

Yup, that is what we call an invalid argument alrighty...

"Leaving aside the obvious absurdity of that statement"

And the fact that I never made it...

"The sector with by far the biggest financial interest in this issue is the oil industry and related industries. Are you suggesting that they are virtuous and would never do anything to keep their gravy train rolling?"

Nope. That's why I read studies financed by energy companies with the same jaundiced eye I read the ones from places like East Anglia, whose financing wholly depends on supporting the preferred view of the governments providing the funding.

Karl (#19) I guess I am skeptical. Conservatives deny the science because they don't like the proposed solution? Wouldn't it be a lot more productive to propose and discuss an alternate solution, if that's really what bothers you?

Isn't it kind of like saying "My doctor recommended chemotherapy because he said I have cancer. I don't like that approach, and would prefer to treat it with surgery only. Therefore I deny the existence of cancer, and malign my doctor's intentions."

Mr. Swift: My comments were directed at your decision to equate acceptance of the existence of global warming as a "leftist" phenomenon, despite evidence that even many Republicans consider global warming to be a real phenomenon. You chose to respond with a lecture which ignored my point.

The problem is not, in my opinion, the "Deliberately convoluted framing of the issue at hand" but resort by too many to ad hominem attacks on advocates of either position. Your initial post falls within that category.

Yes, there are two fundamental aspects to the issue: Is the earth growing warmer? If so, why?

Based on my reading, I've concluded that the first question must be answered in the affirmative. You aren't completely convinced, but acknowledge irt "may well be true."

The proposition that human activity is a significant cause of the increase in global temperatures appears to me to be sufficiently convincing to warrant measures to reduce the human impact. Reasonable minds can differ as to what those measures might be.

You, it seems, are not only not convinced that human activity is a cause, but appear to be convinced that human activity is not a cause. In that, you appear to be riding the same horse as those you contemptuously refer to as "warmers".

Johnny Quick, you're pulling numbers from nowhere, and your evading the issue. NASA has shown the last decade to be the warmest. When looking back further than just the last few years, you can provide whatever you want.

However, talking about temps going back from 1998 doesn't prove much of anything, does it?

But, nice evasion. We're still waiting on your deconstruction of at least one, but preferably more studies. You talk a good deal but you provide no evidence of "junk science."

We're waiting for your comprehensive analysis...

I think the most obvious question for Mr. Swift is simply, why does he get to decide what is "conclusive" instead of 97% of expert climate scientists? The opinion of one random crank over that of hundreds of thousands of people who spend their entire lives researching the matter? Would he disagree and forgo treatment if 97% of oncologists thought he had cancer?

There's a whole 'nother subject to be studied and articles to be written about the current campaign against the EPA and all practitioners of "job killing onerous regulation."

You quote Mr. Niebo as bringing such regulations into the conversation, as does every Republican who is a public figure or a member of the Congress or the Legislature. They all call regulation a major stumbling block in the effort of corporations (with pure hearts, I'm sure) to create jobs.

They wish to kill not just the EPA but the FDA and every other agency designed to protect consumers from unsafe food and water and medicine, from dangerous working conditions in mines and factories, and from the potential loss of our forests, lakes and rivers and the various species of animals who live in them.

"NASA has shown the last decade to be the warmest."

Doh! Now you've really stepped in it, Big Shooter.

"Our analysis differs from others by including estimated temperatures up to 1200 km from the nearest measurement station."

http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/2005/

See Big Shooter, the AGW shell game is more than just whippin' out numbers...the trick is twirlin' 'em around and assuring folks it's not junk science all while keepin' a straight face.

Experts suggest tryin' it out in a mirror at home before takin' it out on the road.

There is a new clean energy technology that is 1/10th the cost of any other energy technology. Don’t believe me? Watch this video by a Nobel prize winner in physics: http://pesn.com/2011/06/23/9501856_Nobel_laureate_touts_E-Cat_cold_fusion/

Still don’t believe me? It convinced the Swedish Skeptics Society: http://www.nyteknik.se/nyheter/energi_miljo/energi/article3144827.ece

LENR using nickel. Incredibly: Ni+H+K2CO3(heated under pressure)=Cu+lots of heat. Here is a detailed description of the device and formula from a US government contract: www.lenr-canr.org/acrobat/GernertNnascenthyd.pdf

Still don’t believe me? A major US corporation has bought the rights to sell the 1 megawatt Rossi E-Cat, and it will be announced late October in the US, with the unit hitting the market in November. How can any fossil fuel compete with such cheap energy (and clean to boot!).

By the way, here is a current survey of all the companies that are bringing LENR to commercialization: http://www.cleantechblog.com/2011/08/the-new-breed-of-energy-catalyzers-...

It seems that "Big Shooter" Thomas Swift is shooting blanks.

I hear that's what happens when the globes get too warm and kill off life as we know it.

I'm not sure where the 97% figure comes from in this article, but 97% did agreed with/endorsed AGW as shown in a systematic review of the literature done at Stanford on the opinions of over 900 climate researchers:

""When you look at the leading scientists who have made any sort of statement about anthropogenic (human-caused) climate change, you find 97 percent of those top 100 surveyed scientists explicitly agreeing with or endorsing the IPCC's assessment [which asserts the reality of human-caused global warming]," he said. That result has been borne out by several other published studies that used different methodology, as well as some that are due out later this summer, he said."

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100625185428.htm

Warming is likely. The question is whether it is a dire problem requiring drastic solutions. The honest answer is that we do not know. Moreover, environmentalists have the self-created obstacle of having claimed for decades that all of their concerns are cataclysmic. Obviously, their mothers never read them The Boy Who Cried Wolf.

Indeed, costs are difficult to predict, but inasmuch as we can predict them, the costs of climate change appears to be quite substantial, especially when compare with mitigation:

"First released in 2006, the report put these costs at 1 percent of Gross Domestic Product. Then, in 2008, as it became clear that Earth's climate was changing faster than many had forecast, Stern upped the estimate to 2 percent of world GDP.

While he acknowledges that this cost presents a challenge, he asserts that without this investment the world economy faces a possible climate change-induced recession that would cost 20 percent of world GDP."

http://www.csmonitor.com/Environment/Bright-Green/2010/0104/The-comparat...

And while we can thank environmentalists for educating us on the reality and dangers of climate change, it's not just a bunch of hippies who are worried about it anymore. Most of the world's largest 500 businesses have, for example, begun to factor climate change into their businesses in substantial ways (http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/sep/14/worlds-largest-firms-c...). Others in the financial and insurance industries have draw a more explicit link between climate change and costs:

"One new twist in the whole discussion of global warming is the arrival of a corps of sharp-penciled financiers. Bankers, insurers, and institutional investors have begun to tally the trillions of dollars in financial risks that climate change poses. They are now demanding that companies in which they hold stakes (or insure) add up risks related to climate change and alter their business plans accordingly. For utilities like Cinergy that could mean switching billions in planned investments from the usual coal-fired power plants to new, cleaner facilities."

"Insurers in particular are staggered by their mounting bills for hurricanes, floods, fires, hailstorms, disease, heat waves, and crop loss. Many scientists agree that higher temperatures are causing more powerful storms and perhaps intensifying extreme weather events, ranging from drought and wild fires to ice storms.

Even tiny weather changes bring awesome costs. A slight uptick in intense storm activity could boost annual wind-related insured losses, to as much as $150 billion a year -- an increase equivalent to two or three Hurricane Andrews in an average season, according to a 2005 study by the Association of British Insurers. Indeed, insured losses from catastrophic weather events have already increased fifteenfold in the past 30 years. "Risk of climate change is real. It's here. It's affecting our business today," says John Coomber, CEO of insurer Swiss Re."

http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/05_50/b3963401.htm

And then there are the geopolitical costs. That group of tree-hugging liberals, the National Intelligence Council and the Department of Defense, see climate change as a very significant potential threat:

"The National Intelligence Council, which produces government-wide intelligence analyses, finished the first assessment of the national security implications of climate change just last year.
It concluded that climate change by itself would have significant geopolitical impacts around the world and would contribute to a host of problems, including poverty, environmental degradation and the weakening of national governments."
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/09/science/earth/09climate.html?pagewante...

Here's a video by the DoD on the threats presented by climate change:
http://science.dodlive.mil/2010/12/09/video-how-dod-is-responding-to-cli...

Richard,

The alarms sounded by environmentalists in the 70 triggered a huge response that has relieved and prevented a variety of environmental catastrophes. It's not the case that predictions didn't come true, the predicted catastrophes were avoided or mediated. We cleaned up the air, water, and emissions, started recycling, etc. We are now seeing what happens when you ignore environmental science- it's called global warming. The wolf crying analogy doesn't hold... we're back to simple denial.

@#31, Mr. Swift
You've got the twirling down.

You post:
"Our analysis differs from others by including estimated temperatures up to 1200 km from the nearest measurement station."

I assume you are somehow suggesting that the NASA data is inaccurate or doesn't agree with the other data showing that the globe is warming. That suggestion would be an outright lie. The statement you quote indicates that NASA's analysis includes MORE data over a BROADER geological range than other studies. The sentence following the sentence you quote indicates that the data is ACCURATE. And, still, the answer is the same. It's getting hot out there no matter what your method of measuring is.

Rachel, please re-read the comment I was responding to. Some people find it helpful to know what the topic of conversation is before jumping in.

@#38, Mr. Swift

No innate comprehension difficulties on my part. If you feel that I have misunderstood your intent, then please explain, as your post in a context other than what I've understood would make even less sense.

Costs are difficult to predict, but inasmuch as we can predict them, the costs of climate change appears to be quite substantial, especially when compare with mitigation:

"First released in 2006, the report put these costs at 1 percent of Gross Domestic Product. Then, in 2008, as it became clear that Earth's climate was changing faster than many had forecast, Stern upped the estimate to 2 percent of world GDP.

While he acknowledges that this cost presents a challenge, he asserts that without this investment the world economy faces a possible climate change-induced recession that would cost 20 percent of world GDP."

http://www.csmonitor.com/Environment/Bright-Green/2010/0104/The-comparat...

And while we can thank environmentalists for educating us on the reality and dangers of climate change, it's not just a bunch of hippies who are worried about it anymore. Most of the world's largest 500 businesses have, for example, begun to factor climate change into their businesses in substantial ways (http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/sep/14/worlds-largest-firms-c...). Others in the financial and insurance industries have draw a more explicit link between climate change and costs:

"One new twist in the whole discussion of global warming is the arrival of a corps of sharp-penciled financiers. Bankers, insurers, and institutional investors have begun to tally the trillions of dollars in financial risks that climate change poses. They are now demanding that companies in which they hold stakes (or insure) add up risks related to climate change and alter their business plans accordingly. For utilities like Cinergy that could mean switching billions in planned investments from the usual coal-fired power plants to new, cleaner facilities."

"Insurers in particular are staggered by their mounting bills for hurricanes, floods, fires, hailstorms, disease, heat waves, and crop loss. Many scientists agree that higher temperatures are causing more powerful storms and perhaps intensifying extreme weather events, ranging from drought and wild fires to ice storms.

Even tiny weather changes bring awesome costs. A slight uptick in intense storm activity could boost annual wind-related insured losses, to as much as $150 billion a year -- an increase equivalent to two or three Hurricane Andrews in an average season, according to a 2005 study by the Association of British Insurers. Indeed, insured losses from catastrophic weather events have already increased fifteenfold in the past 30 years. "Risk of climate change is real. It's here. It's affecting our business today," says John Coomber, CEO of insurer Swiss Re."

http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/05_50/b3963401.htm

And then there are the geopolitical costs. That group of tree-hugging liberals, the National Intelligence Council and the Department of Defense, see climate change as a very significant potential threat:

"The National Intelligence Council, which produces government-wide intelligence analyses, finished the first assessment of the national security implications of climate change just last year.
It concluded that climate change by itself would have significant geopolitical impacts around the world and would contribute to a host of problems, including poverty, environmental degradation and the weakening of national governments."
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/09/science/earth/09climate.html?pagewante...

Here's a video by the DoD on the threats presented by climate change:
http://science.dodlive.mil/2010/12/09/video-how-dod-is-responding-to-cli...

Yes, earth's climate has changed considerably over geological time scales, however, in this case we're changing earth's climate on human time scales. It's a subtle point I fear isn't understood by enough people.

In the end, the point that needs to be realized is that humans are not destroying the planet, the planet will be fine for billions of years after our insignificant species has done away with itself, we are however, destroying our ability to live comfortably on this planet. That is a bipartisan issue.

There is one thread that I find troubling,
Science is science, one can chose to believe or not believe, but science is still science.
The point being just because you don't believe does not make it not true. Science is the search and process of proving a truth.
In short, feel free to dispute facts but have facts, truths science to dispute with. You can not dispute science with opinion because it is based on facts. The science of Astronomy tells us the earth will rotate on its axis and the sun will appear to rise in the east and set in the west. This is not an opinion this is a fact, you can chose to say that the science (about this fact) is not proven yet, but that opinion is definitely not based on fact truth or science, and is just that an opinion which has about as much gravity as one grain of sand over another on a beach. And from this perspective (opinion)about a relative proven science is a choice to chose ignorance over enlightenment.

Dr. Ivar Giaever, Nobel Laureate, resigned from the American Physical Society over the society’s position on global warming.

An excerpt from his resignation letter:

Thank you for your letter inquiring about my membership. I did not renew it because I can not live with the statement below:
“Emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities are changing the atmosphere in ways that affect the Earth’s climate. Greenhouse gases include carbon dioxide as well as methane, nitrous oxide and other gases. They are emitted from fossil fuel combustion and a range of industrial and agricultural processes.

“The evidence is incontrovertible: Global warming is occurring. If no mitigating actions are taken, significant disruptions in the Earth’s physical and ecological systems, social systems, security and human health are likely to occur. We must reduce emissions of greenhouse gases beginning now.”

In the APS it is ok to discuss whether the mass of the proton changes over time and how a multi-universe behaves, but the evidence of global warming is incontrovertible? The claim (how can you measure the average temperature of the whole earth for a whole year?) is that the temperature has changed from ~288.0 to ~288.8 degree Kelvin in about 150 years, which (if true) means to me is that the temperature has been amazingly stable, and both human health and happiness have definitely improved in this ‘warming’ period.

Yet another crack in the consensus dam.

Very good response #44,
A couple notes: Dr. Giaever's Noble prize was in the study of Superconductors not climate change,he also worked extensively for GE.

This is no disrespect nor does it say he he is not a very intelligent guy.

Seems a lot of folks have already forgotten about the terms acid rain, smog? Are these real facts or "Religious/faith based concepts?"

The 2nd point is philosophical, by reducing our emissions if we error, we error on the safe side (less) if we don't, we could error on the not so safe side, (more) what would we prefer to pass to our children liabilities or assets?

The point of my comment was to refute the idea of consensus. Until we can agree to discuss the issue, how can we hope to move forward?

The true denialists are those who deny that there is something to discuss.

0.8 degrees warming over the last 150 years does seem amazingly stable, considering the physical space between measurements, and the resolution, accuracy, and repeatability of the instruments.

re: #46 pointing to someone outside the field says nothing at all about consensus by those who specialize in the field.

#47:

If you are going to discredit Dr. Giaever, let's hear it.

Your AGW consensus supporting comment is just another denial in a long parade of such denials that there is something to discuss. I think these denialists are poisoning the dialogue, as they continue to claim that there is nothing to discuss.

Thomas Swift's comments on this thread seem to have less to do with the science of global warming and more to do with his fear of government control. "whose financing wholly depends on supporting the preferred view of the governments providing the funding.:

WE are the government. The Constitution begins "We the People"; Lincoln stated in his Gettyburg address: "that these dead shall not have died in vain... and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."
Don't like what those you have elected to represent you in government are doing? Get involved; most importantly, get informed; and become an active participant in this unique people's government.

"The point of my comment was to refute the idea of consensus. Until we can agree to discuss the issue, how can we hope to move forward?" Two points: the consensus in the scientific community is roughly 97%. Since it is not unanimous, you will of course find exceptions, so in quoting one your argument has no traction since it's never been a question of unanimous consensus. Second point: who cares what economists, physicists, neurologists, carpenters or actuaries think of the science of anthropogenic climate change? What I care about is the community for whom climate is their subject matter, aka climatologists. So your argument has two fatal flaws - Giaever was speaking of something far removed from his field.

Theo:

I hear 97% parroted, but have never seen that number backed up. That seems to be the fatal flaw in your argument.

I discuss this because I believe there is still something to discuss. Why do you discuss a topic that is all decided?

0.8 degrees warming over the last 150 years does seem amazingly stable.

0.8 degrees warming in the last 150 years? I don't think so. Show your documentation.

Rose,

See #34 about the 97% figure. The article even tells you where to get the actual published study. It would pay you to read the whole thread, before you go accusing others of denying anything.

Mr. Hoogeveen:

I looked for a source I thought you’d like, so I will provide a quote from the EPA website: “The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) State of the Climate Report and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Surface Temperature Analysis indicate the average temperature of the Earth’s surface has increased by about 1.2 to 1.4ºF since 1900.

That is for the past 111 years, and in Fahrenheit degrees. However, this is science, and in science we use Celsius degrees, unless we need smaller degrees to help us exaggerate. In Celsius, the temperature warming range is 0.67 to 0.79 degrees. I know you are fond of the hardiness zones provided by Arbor Day, because they have 5 degrees resolution, but you are misusing the maps.

According to the link you reference, the 97% number is based on 79 individuals who list climate science as their area of expertise and who have published >50% of recent peer reviewed papers on the subject. Seems like a small sample of rabid warmers, who are writing all of the sensationalist papers that get relayed by the media to the general public.