The funding of a climate contrarian: the murky case of Willie Soon

REUTERS/Rick Wilking
Since 2001, Willie Soon has received $1.3 million — considerably more than half of his total research funding — from oil, coal or electric utility interests and closely related foundations.

Is anybody out there shocked – shocked! – to learn that a leading scientist among the so-called climate skeptics is being financially supported by oil, coal and utility interests?

I didn’t think so.

And yet, the revelations about Wei-Hock Soon may redefine your impressions of how rotten things are in the science-for-hire game.

Soon, who was educated as an aerospace engineer but is often described as a climatologist, has become something of a rock star in his corner of climate science. He often argues that most of the earth’s current warming trend is more or less a natural response to fluctuating solar radiation, for which human activities need not be blamed.

Soon’s work is frequently cited by congressional climate-deniers like Oklahoma’s Sen. James Inhofe, and by outfits like the Heartland Institute or the George C. Marshall Institute, for whom he is a popular conference speaker and commentator.

Naturally, he has been a regular on the conservative talk shows, and is know widely by his nickname: Willie Soon.

Apart from the sheer political attractiveness of Willie Soon’s view that all the doomsayers are wrong, and that nothing much has to change in the way we burn through the planet’s reserves of solar energy stored as coal and oil, the man has published many scientific papers.

Plus, he works for something called the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. Surely, Harvard University and the Smithsonian Institution wouldn’t put up with scientific tomfoolery or research-funding improprieties on a subject of this magnitude, would they?

Citizen journalism — the investigative kind

Let’s hold that question for a moment and review the new revelations about Willie Soon, his work and his corporate financiers that have turned up in recent days in places like the front page of Sunday’s New York Times.

The Times is actually a little behind on this story; the Boston Globe ran a report a few weeks ago.

Both drew on a body of investigative journalism performed not by their own reporters but by Greenpeace, the Climate Investigations Center and a fellow named Kert Davies, who left the first outfit to found the second.

Davies’ mission is to show how corporate money flows from energy interests to hired “skeptics” like Willie Soon. Here is some of what he obtained through freedom-of-information requests, in a document you can read for yourself:

  • Since 2001, Soon has received $1.3 million — considerably more than half of his total research funding — from oil, coal or electric utility interests and closely related foundations, such as those operated by the Koch brothers. (Conventional funding from government grants or university sources totaled $842,000.)
  • Although direct funding from energy interests has declined in recent years, revenue has been replaced by gifts from Donors Trust, which Davies calls “a dark-money ATM” that gathers and distributes funds from, say, the Kochs without having to disclose much about the money’s origin.
  • Since 2002, all of Soon’s new grants have come from either fossil-energy interests or Donors Trust.
  • In grant reports and other correspondence with funders, Soon has sometimes described his papers, his conference presentations and his testimony before Congress as “deliverables” supported by these grants.
  • According to Inside Climate News, other Greenpeace documents “reveal that Soon and Harvard-Smithsonian gave the coal utility [Southern Co.] the right to review his scientific papers and make suggestions before they were published. Soon and Harvard-Smithsonian also pledged not to disclose Southern’s role as a funder without permission.”

Funders have no influence, Soon says

When reporters have questioned Soon about his funders, he has said simply that his scholarship is not influenced by them, and that he discloses what’s necessary. After reviewing Davies’ materials, however, the Times concluded that:

At least 11 papers he has published since 2008 omitted such a disclosure, and in at least eight of those cases, he appears to have violated ethical guidelines of the journals that published his work….

Environmentalists have long questioned Dr. Soon’s work, and his acceptance of funding from the fossil-fuel industry was previously known. But the full extent of the links was not; the documents show that corporate contributions were tied to specific papers and were not disclosed, as required by modern standards of publishing.

Not trained as a climate specialist

Some of Soon’s story was laid out toward the end of 2013 in a fine, tough profile by the Globe’s Christopher Rowland, beginning with an account of a talk in which Soon exclaimed that scientists who predict sea-level rise as a consequence of global warming are “crazy” and “so out of their minds!”

Never mind that Soon, an astrophysicist, is no specialist on global sea levels, and his most notable writing on the subject was an op-ed article in the conservative Washington Times last year.

He has, nonetheless, established himself as a front-line combatant in the partisan crossfire over rising oceans, melting ice, and other climate issues beyond his primary expertise. Coveted for his Harvard-Smithsonian affiliation, and strident policy views, he has been bankrolled by hundreds of thousands of dollars in energy industry grants.

Soon’s big publishing breakthrough came in 2003, when he and colleague Sallie Baliunas co-authored a “meta-analysis” of 240 climate studies that concluded that global warming during the latter half of the 20th century had been exaggerated in the prevailing consensus. (That paper, I should note, did appropriately disclose that the research was funded in part by the American Petroleum Institute.)

Controversy over the paper’s publication included allegations of methodological flaws and the failure of outside peer reviewers to appropriately scrutinize its claims. At one journal that published it, Climate Research, a handful of editors resigned to protest the decision to accept it.

Soon and Baliunas had plucked weather data from various regions in various centuries throughout history, said their detractors, then incorrectly used that information to make broad conclusions about the temperature of the planet during the so-called Medieval Warm Period, about 1,000 years ago.

But if muttering about Soon and his research has been going on for years in the science and advocacy communities, the facts were in shorter supply before Kert Davies came along and noticed that, as a government agency, the Smithsonian would have to disclose information about the financing of Soon’s work that the funders, the think tanks and Harvard would not.

Keeping an institutional distance                   

What are those institutions  saying today?

Harvard has been quick to point out that, apart from occupying office space on campus, the astrophysics center has no connection to the university, and that Soon is employed only by the Smithsonian. A spokesman told the UK Guardian:

Willie Soon is a Smithsonian staff researcher at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, a collaboration of the Harvard College Observatory and the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. There is no record of Soon having applied for or having been granted funds that were or are administered by the University. Soon is not an employee of Harvard.

It is not entirely clear that the Smithsonian actually pays Soon, but abundantly clear that money may well flow in the other direction, as his grants are charged for overhead. A spokesman there told the Guardian that Soon “is not on a salary” and draws his compensation from the grants he brings in. Also:

Academic freedom is critically important. The Smithsonian stands by the process by which the research results of all of its scholars are peer reviewed and vetted by other scientists. This is the way that the scientific process works. The funding entities, regardless of their affiliation, have no influence on the research.

That was a PR person talking. The center’s director now acknowledges that Soon’s violation of disclosure standards at certain journals, as documented by Davies, was inappropriate behavior. “This frankly becomes a personnel matter, which we have to handle with Dr. Soon internally,” he told the Times.

It will be interesting to watch and see how that goes.

* * *

[Update: The Smithsonian Institution announced by email on Thursday morning that its inspector general is reviewing allegations that Soon “failed to disclose to journals the funding sources for his climate change research.” Looking inward, the announcement said, the organization has engaged an outside expert “to lead a review of Smithsonian ethics and disclosure policies governing the conduct of sponsored research and publication to ensure they meet the highest standards.” Full announcement is here.]

Comments (75)

  1. Submitted by RB Holbrook on 02/24/2015 - 09:25 am.

    But . . . but . . . but . . .

    We all know that global warming is a hoax perpetrated by Al Gore in league with scientists who are growing rich off grant money that flows to them because of their participation in this hoax. Surely, it should be obvious that Dr. Soon’s research is pure and unsullied, because the Kochs wouldn’t stand for anything less than complete honesty!

  2. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 02/24/2015 - 09:52 am.

    Why would anyone be surprised that scientists were being bought off from both sides of the debate? Pseudo-science is an equal opportunity scam!

    • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 02/24/2015 - 10:10 am.

      There is no debate. Climate change is real.

      There are two sides. One side has 97% of climate scientists, most foreign governments, the Pentagon, and the vast majority of the American electorate, in agreement.

      The other side has Willie Soon, the Kochs, BP, Exxon, Ted Cruz and James Inhofe.

      • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 02/24/2015 - 11:25 am.

        Warmers can’t even claim reliable numbers of their allies.

        “Global Warming Alarmists Caught Doctoring ’97-Percent Consensus’ Claims”

        http://www.forbes.com/sites/jamestaylor/2013/05/30/global-warming-alarmists-caught-doctoring-97-percent-consensus-claims/

        But it’s real….

        • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 02/24/2015 - 02:54 pm.

          Sorry, but an op-ed piece published on Forbes.com, and written by an attorney who works for the Heartland Institute does not constitute a credible source.

        • Submitted by John Clark on 02/25/2015 - 08:38 am.

          Forbes article is missing the point

          No big surprise here, but the Forbes, WSJ and wattsupwiththat broadsides completely miss the point of Cook’s 97% study they refer to. Cook was not trying to make a statement in that particular study that the earth is going to warm by x degrees or y degrees in z number of years. Cook was simply trying to confirm that yes, a vast majority (97%!) of all climate scientists agree that human activity is a cause of global warming. BTW, cook has shown in a separate study, which evaluates numerous other surveys, that most climate scientists agree that man’s contribution to global warming is significant.

          http://www.skepticalscience.com/global-warming-scientific-consensus-advanced.htm

          So cook’s 97% study is actually very important here because, in order to fix a problem, one must first understand that a problem does indeed exist! Seems simple doesn’t it, but this is a huge first step. And Cooks 97% study makes a very compelling case that shows just that. Some past skeptics may have at least come to this realization now. But most deniers simply don’t understand this, even though measurement error/heat island arguments have been thoroughly refuted.

          Once most policy makers concede that climate change is human caused (and hopefully this will happen sometime before the end of this century!), the next step is to get these sane folks on line to actually address the problem. But this obviously is a huge step too! A step that probably won’t happen anytime soon, given the fact that political ideology and vast sums of fossil fuel money are factors that try to prevent any meaningful progress.

      • Submitted by Joe Smithers on 02/24/2015 - 11:46 am.

        debate

        You’re not making a strong case for yourself if you include governments, the pentagon and American electorates. Corruption is evident on all sides.

        • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 02/24/2015 - 03:10 pm.

          Rife (not ripe)

          Each ‘side’ is not equally ‘corrupt.’ Even calling the denier bench a ‘side’ gives it too much credence, but the best that the deniers have got to lob against settled science is the “Climategate” controversy- which is totally, thoroughly, debunked.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Climatic_Research_Unit_email_controversy

          “In response to the controversy, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the American Meteorological Society (AMS) and the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) released statements supporting the scientific consensus that the Earth’s mean surface temperature had been rising for decades, with the AAAS concluding “based on multiple lines of scientific evidence that global climate change caused by human activities is now underway…it is a growing threat to society.”[14]

          Eight committees investigated the allegations and published reports, finding no evidence of fraud or scientific misconduct.[15]”

          • Submitted by Joe Smithers on 02/25/2015 - 01:12 pm.

            corrupt

            It shouldn’t take much convincing that governments are corrupt. I don’t think it’s totally out of this world that corruption exists among governments.

            • Submitted by Todd Hintz on 02/25/2015 - 04:29 pm.

              Clean Sweep

              No one doubts that there is corruption in government, just as there is corruption in all segments of society. Look hard enough and you’ll find that even the most virtuous person has a few skeletons in her or his closet. Doing 40 MPH in a 30 MPH zone, jaywalking, or what have you.

              The fallacy comes in though when you try to paint this in binary terms: black or white. To imply that the entire government is corrupt is not any more true than saying the sweet little old lady down the block has never done anything wrong in her life. It makes for a nice story at the bar, but it simply ain’t true.

              What you’re inferring is that because there are elements of the government that are corrupt, then all elements are corrupt. And I’m sure if you dug around a bit you can find a scientist here and there that made a bogus study or padded his expense report with a trip to the local peep show. But that’s hardly cause to condemn the entire system and to make that claim just paints you as a crabby grouse grumbling in his beer about the gub’mint. Nothing credible is added to the discussion and the claims are–rightfully–kicked to the curbside.

              If you have any real evidence to bring to the attention of the readers, by all means post them here with a source and we’ll take a look at them.

      • Submitted by Scot Wilcoxon on 02/24/2015 - 12:10 pm.

        0.3% consensus not 97%

        You should do a search for “97% of climate scientists”. The most recent study was 0.3%, not 97%, and included a 30,000 year old man.
        http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/09/03/cooks-97-consensus-disproven-by-a-new-paper-showing-major-math-errors/
        http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052702303480304579578462813553136

        • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 02/24/2015 - 02:58 pm.

          Sorry, but an op-ed the WSJ, written by two members of the …Heartland Institute…, and a climate denier blog, do not constitute a credible source.

          • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 02/24/2015 - 04:46 pm.

            But you readily cite Wikipedia. Lol.

            • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 02/24/2015 - 04:57 pm.

              So do you- most recently in Eric Black’s article on Revisionist History.

              I know that Wikipedia should not be considered to be scholarly website, but that’s also why I included the footnotes for specific reference. most importantly, 15.

              15. ^ Jump up to: a b The eight major investigations covered by secondary sources include: House of Commons Science and Technology Committee (UK); Independent Climate Change Review (UK); International Science Assessment Panel (UK); Pennsylvania State University first panel and second panel (US); United States Environmental Protection Agency (US); Department of Commerce (US); National Science Foundation (US)

  3. Submitted by Louis Hooffstetter on 02/24/2015 - 09:53 am.

    To qualify as a ‘Scientist’, one must follow the scientific method:

    1) Propose a theory or hypothesis
    2) Gather and evaluate data objectively
    3) Reach an unbiased conclusion
    4) Share your data and methods freely so others can replicate your findings (or not).

    To be a scientist, you don’t need an advanced degree, you simply need a good scientific understanding of a subject, and follow the scientific method. (Einstein developed his theory of relativity while working as a Patent clerk. He was a trained physicist, but the fields of relativity and quantum mechanics did not exist at the time). An engineer, geologist, mathematician or layman can be a scientist provided one adheres to the scientific method.

    Many so called ‘climatologists’ fail miserably to qualify as scientists: Michael Mann for example, author of the infamous IPCC paleo-temperature ‘Hockey Stick’, deleted tree ring data that did not agree with his theory, then statistically torturing the remaining data, and finally spliced in modern temperature data that did agree with his theory. For years thereafter, he steadfastly refused to release his data and methods to researchers who questioned his work. This is not a scientist, this is a modern day Witch Doctor.

    Scientific research is judged on its merits, not on its funding. If a scientist disagrees with a study, he/she challenges the data and/or methods. Good research withstands scientific scrutiny. Irreproducible, unscientific, Witch Doctor BS does not.

    Dr. Soon is a bona-fide scientist. He follows the scientific method and freely shares his data and methods. His research clearly indicates the Sun has much more influence on our climate than carbon dioxide.

    Ron Meador (the ‘author’) should be ashamed to put his name on this slimy ‘cut and paste’ hit piece. This article was written by government funded climate advocates and given to numerous media outlets as part of an organized campaign to smear Dr. Soon. The author(s) were forced resort to cheap smear tactics because Dr. Soon’s data is solid and his results are replicable. In short, his research is unassailable.

    • Submitted by Robert Ramirez on 02/24/2015 - 11:02 am.

      REJ DUP AF You write:’To qualify as a

      You write:

      ‘To qualify as a ‘Scientist’, one must follow the scientific method:

      1) Propose a theory or hypothesis
      2) Gather and evaluate data objectively
      3) Reach an unbiased conclusion
      4) Share your data and methods freely so others can replicate your findings (or not).’

      Your over simplification of the scientific method is misleading. The method is:

      1. Observation and description of a phenomenon or group of phenomena.

      2. Formulation of an hypothesis to explain the phenomena. In physics, the hypothesis often takes the form of a causal mechanism or a mathematical relation.

      3. Use of the hypothesis to predict the existence of other phenomena, or to predict quantitatively the results of new observations.

      4. Performance of experimental tests of the predictions by several independent experimenters and properly performed experiments.

      You leave out the essential part of ‘use of the hypothesis to predict the existence of other phenomena, or to predict quantitatively the results of new observations.’ Which Willie Soon and others fail miserably at.

      Also you write:

      ‘To be a scientist, you don’t need an advanced degree, you simply need a good scientific understanding of a subject, and follow the scientific method.’

      This also is incorrect. Merriam-Webster states it best – “a person who is trained in a science and whose job involves doing scientific research or solving scientific problems”…. a subject matter expert. Which is why Einstein qualified with his work in physics, that which he was extensively trained in, and Soon does not with climate science.

      ‘An engineer, geologist, mathematician or layman can be a scientist provided one adheres to the scientific method.’

      Of the above list you posted, the geologist is the only scientist.

      Perhaps you would feel comfortable and prefer a urologist to perform open heart surgery on you and conduct research on cardiovascular issues?

      ‘His research clearly indicates the Sun has much more influence on our climate than carbon dioxide.’

      No one has ever disputed this claim. What the denialists refuse to see is that CO2 is the regulator of water vapor in the atmosphere. Water vapor is our major GHG, and it takes small amounts of CO2 to make large effects on water vapor, as demonstrated over 100 years ago through experimentation by physicists.

    • Submitted by Robert Ramirez on 02/24/2015 - 11:24 am.

      Not quite….

      You wrote:
      [To qualify as a ‘Scientist’, one must follow the scientific method:

      1) Propose a theory or hypothesis
      2) Gather and evaluate data objectively
      3) Reach an unbiased conclusion
      4) Share your data and methods freely so others can replicate your findings (or not).]

      This is simplistic and misleading. The actual scientific method is:

      “1. Observation and description of a phenomenon or group of phenomena.

      2. Formulation of an hypothesis to explain the phenomena. In physics, the hypothesis often takes the form of a causal mechanism or a mathematical relation.

      3. Use of the hypothesis to predict the existence of other phenomena, or to predict quantitatively the results of new observations.

      4. Performance of experimental tests of the predictions by several independent experimenters and properly performed experiments.”

      Step 3 is especially important and one that separates a good theory from conjecture. Soon and his followers fail at this and step 4.

      You write:
      [To be a scientist, you don’t need an advanced degree, you simply need a good scientific understanding of a subject, and follow the scientific method. (Einstein developed his theory of relativity while working as a Patent clerk. He was a trained physicist, but the fields of relativity and quantum mechanics did not exist at the time).]

      A scientist is a subject matter expert. Therefore, as a trained physicist, Einstein qualifies and his proposals were accepted. Perhaps you feel comfortable with a urologist performing open heart surgery and conducting research on cardiology issues?

      You write:
      [An engineer, geologist, mathematician or layman can be a scientist provided one adheres to the scientific method.]

      Of this list you posted, only the geologist is a true scientist.

      You write:
      [His research clearly indicates the Sun has much more influence on our climate than carbon dioxide.]

      No scientist, to my knowledge, has ever refuted that the Sun has the greatest impact on our climate. However, what the denialists refuse to see is the effect CO2 has on water vapor. Water vapor is our most plentiful and a very powerful GHG. CO2 in the atmosphere regulates water vapors behavior. This has been verified by physicists through experimentation over 100 years ago.

    • Submitted by Bill Gleason on 02/24/2015 - 11:25 am.

      I just want to point out

      that a few “loaded” words are being used here.

      Gather and evaluate data objectively.

      Objectively? Someone who is taking money from an oil company, for example, has a conflict of interest.

      Reach an unbiased conclusion

      Unbiased? Same comment

      As Mr. Shakespeare said: “Aye, there’s the rub.”

      Why exactly did Willy hide the source of his money, and violate accepted standards of many of his published papers? The answer is obvious.

  4. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 02/24/2015 - 09:54 am.

    I guess this makes the point

    of government scientists saying whatever it takes to keep the gravy train rolling, eh?

    • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 02/24/2015 - 10:26 am.

      No

      It makes the point that companies that extract fossil fuels from the Earth have been paying whichever ethically-challenged scientists they can find in order to advance their own financial agenda at the expense of humanity’s shared future.

  5. Submitted by Colin Brownlow on 02/24/2015 - 10:41 am.

    Oh for the love of mike

    First – let’s deal with the so called hockey stick. Anyone with access to climate data can fairly easily reproduce the hockey stick. You don’t need to massage the data to do so.

    Second – as Mr. Hoofstetter correctly states reproducibility of studies and findings is a critical part of the scientific method. The reproducibility is clearly on the side of the human caused climate change side. Hoon and other climate deniers have repeatedly been caught cherry picking data and blatantly ignoring contradictory data.

    Third – Mr. Hoofstetter ignores a key element of the scientific method. Decision making based upon weight of evidence. Evidence from multiple well conducted studies, multiple lines of investigation and analysis from multiple researchers and panels is given far greater weight than data and analysis from a single source. So on one hand we have a vast array of published scientific studies and analyses supporting man-made climate change. On the other we have few studies – primarily reanalysis of other’s work – supporting the climate change deniers.

    Four – There have been numerous studies no in the medical/pharmaceutical area that show that even prestigious researchers are in fact influenced – sometimes very strongly by who supports their research. I don’t see why this wouldn’t be the case with the climate area. And before we get to the argument about this cutting both ways – there is a very important difference between the climate denier funding and main stream scientists. As Ron Meador has pointed out, and as Susan Perry in her column has pointed out – much of industry funded advocacy science requires the researcher to allow the funder to review the research before it is published. That simply is not the case for public funded research.

    • Submitted by Scot Wilcoxon on 02/24/2015 - 12:23 pm.

      Easy does not mean correct

      You’re right, anyone can reproduce the hockey stick. That doesn’t mean it is valid.

      For example: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Holocene_Temperature_Variations.png
      That graph shows several temperature estimates, but with a resolution of 300 years our current temperature change wouldn’t even show up. You have to paste our present temperature on the graph with different data… which is what the original hockey stick did.

      Also, don’t forget to hide the decline, whichever decline your data has.
      http://climateaudit.org/2014/09/06/the-original-hide-the-decline/
      http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/09/29/hide-the-decline/

      • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 02/24/2015 - 04:55 pm.

        These are your sources?

        A blog published by a former mining company executive with no credentials in climate science, and another blog that is noted for its bias and inaccuracy run by a weatherman ?

        Very convincing, I’m sure.

    • Submitted by Louis Hooffstetter on 02/24/2015 - 12:48 pm.

      Colin is correct that medical/pharmaceutical research has been shown to be strongly influenced by funding, but does not believe this is happening with government funded climate research. I wish that were true. Not only is this happening with government funded climate research, it is much, much worse.

      Climate scientists who do not view CO2 as a major influence on our climate are not only denied state funding, they are fired and persecuted for their views. One example (of many) is Dr. William M. Gray, Professor Emeritus of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University. Dr. Gray is NOAA’s top hurricane forecaster. He has issued exceptionally accurate Atlantic basin seasonal hurricane forecasts since 1984. But Dr. Gray has been forced to be self-funded since 1993, when Al Gore cut off his NOAA funding. Why did Al Gore cut off government funding from such a notable researcher? Because Dr. Gray stated publically that based on his research and decades of experience, he is unconvinced CO2 is a primary driver of our climate.

      Dr. Heidi Cullen of the Weather Channel went further and tried to get Dr. Gray and other climate scientists who agree with him stripped of their certifications and licenses. Dr. Cullen publically stated: “If a meteorologist has an AMS Seal of Approval,… (they) have a responsibility to truly educate themselves on the science of global warming… If a meteorologist can’t speak to the fundamental science of climate change, then the AMS shouldn’t give them a Seal of Approval.”

      Dr. Gray is one of the few people who truly understand how the Earth’s climate actually works. This vilification of good scientists as ‘deniers’, and attempts to ruin their livelihood for disagreeing with the government approved ‘consensus’ is fascism, not science. So let me repeat:

      Scientific research is judged on its merits, not on its funding. If a scientist disagrees with a study, he/she challenges the data and/or methods. Good research withstands scientific scrutiny. Irreproducible, unscientific, Witch Doctor BS does not.

      As for Michael Mann’s Hockey Stick, the facts speak for themselves. For years, no one could reproduce Mann’s Hockey Stick because for years he steadfastly refused to make his tree ring data and methodology public. Keep in mind that his research was paid for by our tax dollars. Furthermore, there is no question whatsoever, that Mann threw out recent tree ring data that did not support his theory (that temperatures have increased dramatically in modern times) and replaced it with temperature data that did. This is not the work of a scientist; it is the work of a Witch Doctor.

      • Submitted by Dan Hintz on 02/24/2015 - 02:58 pm.

        Ridiculous

        Dr. Gray isn’t even a climatologist. The person who you are claiming is one of the few people who understands how earths climate works is not trained in the area nor does he conduct research in the area.

        What you are claiming about Michael Mann is completely false.

        http://www.forbes.com/sites/alexknapp/2011/08/24/climategate-scientists-cleared-of-wrongdoing-again/

        Not only is there no evidence of wrongdoing, but unlike Gray, Mann actually works in the field of climate sceince. Anyone who is really interested in the scientific method and letting the facts speak for themselves would recognize that Mann is infinitely more credible than Gray on this topic.

  6. Submitted by joe smith on 02/24/2015 - 10:48 am.

    I am always surprised by the folks who claim this is settled science. I am interested in climate change and have had weird obsession with weather my whole life. I read all I can get on this subject and to the best of my ability to sift through the crap both sides have good points and neither side has come close to predicting what will happen. I have no idea how much ice is on our polar caps (like everyone else, never been there with an ice auger to check) but the ice is still there. In mid 90’s many experts said it would be gone in 2015. Very few of the long term predictions have been accurate on either side. If they were so wrong over the past 20 yrs, why would I believe them as to what 2035 will look like. I do know the weather is always changing, my 60 yrs of living in northern Minn has proven that. What I have no idea about is what causes it.

  7. Submitted by Colin Brownlow on 02/24/2015 - 10:54 am.

    And if you really want to see the evidence

    Strongly commend the following presentation for anyone wanting a scientific summary of the case for and against climate change:
    http://static.stthomas.edu/jpabraham/?utm_source=ustredirect&utm_medium=Vanity&utm_campaign=Abraham%20Presentation

  8. Submitted by Jay Willemssen on 02/24/2015 - 11:41 am.

    Do heat-trapping gases trap heat? Who knows?

    So “controversial”.

    If someone can’t understand something a 3rd grader could easily demonstrate at a science fair, then they shouldn’t be forming and expressing opinions about it.

  9. Submitted by Scot Wilcoxon on 02/24/2015 - 12:03 pm.

    Money for me but not for thee

    Oh, so it’s not okay for people to get funding except from… where?
    Research by Greenpeace is unfettered from influence, surely, so all of the work from its research divisions can be trusted.
    http://www.greenpeace.to/greenpeace/

    • Submitted by Joe Smithers on 02/24/2015 - 03:05 pm.

      funding

      Apparently perception is not reality. According to the author if someone is funded by certain groups they are automatically corrupt and no one funded by proponents of climate change is. Right.

      • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 02/24/2015 - 04:53 pm.

        No

        It’s not that funding from any group automatically exempts whatever research is being conducted from being credible; it’s that funding that’s HIDDEN, and influences a report, DOES exempt said report from being credible. Soon is shirking his ethical responsibilities.

        From the article:
        “When reporters have questioned Soon about his funders, he has said simply that his scholarship is not influenced by them, and that he discloses what’s necessary. After reviewing Davies’ materials, however, the Times concluded that:
        At least 11 papers he has published since 2008 omitted such a disclosure, and in at least eight of those cases, he appears to have violated ethical guidelines of the journals that published his work….
        Environmentalists have long questioned Dr. Soon’s work, and his acceptance of funding from the fossil-fuel industry was previously known. But the full extent of the links was not; the documents show that corporate contributions were tied to specific papers and were not disclosed, as required by modern standards of publishing.”

        And this gem:
        “Since 2002, _all_ of Soon’s new grants have come from either fossil-energy interests or Donors Trust.

      • Submitted by Todd Hintz on 02/24/2015 - 05:04 pm.

        Fun Ding

        A government grant isn’t issued based on getting predetermined results–the scientist gets paid for doing the work no matter what the conclusion is. Grants funded by the energy companies, on the other hand, are reviewed by those companies and adjusted before they’re even released for publication. I’m sure you can see how that can taint the results as the scientist isn’t free to follow the data to its logical conclusion.

        Now if you know of some NGOs (Non-Government Organizations) that are funding research and are using the same dubious methods, by all means post them here so we can take a look at them. If someone is up to no good I would love to shine the spotlight on them just like we are doing for Mr. Soon.

  10. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 02/24/2015 - 01:09 pm.

    What is really funny is that there is the absolute ignoring by the deniers of the fact that continuing business-as-usual means REALLY BIG BUCKS for the oil/gas/coal driven industries.

    We are to believe that the enticement of those trillions promote honesty in the deniers, and the we are to believe the petty cash being spent on climate change research contaminates all the research being performed.

    Yeah, right.

  11. Submitted by Joe Smithers on 02/24/2015 - 01:36 pm.

    Shocking!

    Very shocking that there is corruption involved in the climate change debate. Ok, well not really. I’m sure if the author cared to look he would see just as much corruption from the other side but it is obvious the author does not want to point that out.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 02/24/2015 - 05:45 pm.

      Both sides always do it

      Really, that has got to be the single most tiresome argument trotted out in the history of American political discourse. Anyone who says “both sides do it” is telling me he has no response, refuses to admit he is wrong, and is just going to deny what he doesn’t want to hear.

      As Mr. Kuschel suggests, if you have evidence of rampant corruption “on the other side,” bring it out–let’s see it! Can’t find it? You’re just sure that it’s there, because–why?

      Who benefits from research showing global warming? Scientists growing fat on government grants? You must not know how government grants work, but why would those grants go to scientists who advance warming? Is it all a plot by Al Gore, who couldn’t find any other way to get rich? Who ultimately benefits? Now ask who benefits from the denialist viewpoint? Dr. Soon seems to be getting a lot of money from the extractive industries. Could they have some financial motive in playing down the destructive effects of climate change?

      There is a good analogy here to the science of tobacco and health. The tobacco companies hired numerous scientists and physicians to conduct research to counter the science that warned of the health risks of smoking or tobacco use. Were their results in any way suspect? Why–would oyu argue that there was “just as much corruption” on the anti-smoking side?

  12. Submitted by Kurt Nelson on 02/24/2015 - 02:25 pm.

    24 articles

    Of 13,950 peer reviewed scholarly articles on climate change written between 1991 – 2012, 24 were penned by climate change deniers Of those authors, they were cited a total of 121 times over 21 years – not exactly a ringing endorsement for those claiming to have backup to their argument. The average citation for the other 13,926 was 119 per article. Which side has more credibility within the scientific community do you think.

    The deniers keep trying however, and their lame attempts must be very comforting – science is scary so I understand why they continue to hide behind false hope.

  13. Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 02/24/2015 - 06:26 pm.

    Can anyone answer?

    My wild guess is that none of the commenters here is a climate scientist so let’s put this subject aside. What I would like to know is how come no one is talking about positive things climate change will bring (i.e. fewer winter road accident, longer gestation period for crops, less heating costs….)? Logically, there should be some, because obviously if we were talking about a few degrees DROP in temperature, we would have been inundated with “ice age” predictions… Please note that this question does not question the science of the climate – just the politics of that.

    On the other hand, imagine someone trying to predict in 1850 how many horses will be necessary in 1950…. That person may take into account population growth, trade growth, increased demand due to increased wages, even new stronger horse breeds. That will be very scientific because it will extrapolate every conceivable data available… it just will not be able to account for automobile invention. And what if the government started building horse barns on the basis of that prediction?

    • Submitted by Kurt Nelson on 02/24/2015 - 07:51 pm.

      Really

      You think that one need be a climate scientist to understand the issue – get real.

      So, a longer growing season huh, you think that’s a good thing, but what happens when the pollinators come to do their thing, but the flowers have come and gone – I’m sure you have an answer, I’ll wait.

      Climate change is not only warming, some places will get colder, I know, its hard for you to understand that, but…then there is rainfall, Will we continue on the trend of multiple inch rainfall events, overwhelming infrastructure, and running off because the ground cannot leach all that moisture.

      You mention the cooling, so often mentioned by those ignorant of science, There was a single article in Time (not really a scholarly journal, but if that’s how you view it, knock yourself out), Since that single article, there has been no other peer reviewed journal articles supporting that supposition, but you might know more – I’d love to read what you have to say about it.

    • Submitted by Todd Hintz on 02/24/2015 - 08:09 pm.

      Benefits

      There certainly are some benefits to global warming, such as warmer winters that mean less heating, longer growing season at this latitude, and so on. Unfortunately, they’re offset by other aspects, such as more cooling required in the summer, pests that are no longer killed by cold weather, crops that fail due to droughts or too much rain too quickly, just to name a few. And that’s before we get into the catastrophic aspects of global warming, such as mass famine, mass migrations, infrastructure destruction, and warfare as social, political, and economic systems fail.

      So there’s that to look forward to.

    • Submitted by Neal Rovick on 02/24/2015 - 08:35 pm.

      Not a farmer, either…If

      Not a farmer, either…

      If warmer temperatures are good for crops, why is the most fertile land at the line of Iowa and north?

      And, if you go further north, do you have the same daylight hours and is the growing season the same length of time? How far up into Canada does fertile soil really extend?

      And what happens when agriculture depends on relatively free water and there is persistent drought and the ground water is depleted?

      It is really astounding that people are so unknowingly dependent upon the specific conditions that have allowed the flourishing of modern civilization.

      Don’t look at the abandoned cities in the desert regions of the world.

      Pretend that a world of 7 billion can pick up and move to the new green place.

      • Submitted by Todd Hintz on 02/25/2015 - 09:02 am.

        Farming

        Deniers have tried to make the claim that farmers can simply pick up and move north if their land in the south becomes untenable. That position ignores a lot of very basic items:

        -The land is already owned and being farmed by someone else.
        -Land even farther north is bogs, which doesn’t lend itself well to wheat or corn.
        -We have a lot of infrastructure built up in the south to support our farmers. Even assuming you could get land in the north, all of that would have to be replicated.
        -There’s no guarantee we would get the proper rainfall at the proper times even if people did move.

        It’s astounding the lengths people will go to in order to stick their heads in the sand, fingers in ears, and sticks in their eyes to pretend that climate change is not a real phenomenon. No amount of evidence is great enough to convince them. And no claim against climate change is too trivial to ignore, no matter how spurious it is nor how thoroughly debunked. It’s like they’re in a separate universe where logic is bent and twisted like a Salvador Dali painting.

  14. Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 02/24/2015 - 09:29 pm.

    Interesting

    Mr. Nelson, I am sure you also understand the theory of relativity and Bohr’s duality principle… you don’t need to be a scientist to get all those simple things…. Anyway, you seem to claim that the climate change will lead to extra hot weather, extra cold weather, more rain, more drought, more hurricanes (didn’t happen in the last three years but that is beyond the point) or, in other words, anything that is bad for a mankind… almost like it is God’s act of revenge… Interesting!

    Mr. Hintz, have you read about any comparative analysis of positive vs. negatives? I haven’t seen any… As for all those catastrophic events, see may analogy with the horses…

    • Submitted by Neal Rovick on 02/25/2015 - 07:53 am.

      Have you ever been cold in a desert? It is possible to be cold in a warm climate.

      Have you paid any attention to the various super-typhoons (yes, they are hurricanes) that are occurring in the Pacific?

      Do you know that a warm (yes, unusually warm area creating an unusually wet atmosphere) area of the Atlantic provides the moisture that has given the large snowstorms that have been plaguing the NE this winter?

      Do you realize that the cold weather we have actually indicates that circulation patterns driven by the jet stream are behaving in very different ways than they have in our history.

      It’s a complex world, and we are venturing into unknown territory.

    • Submitted by Kurt Nelson on 02/25/2015 - 09:09 am.

      Nope

      I don’t understand the theory of relativity (although A Brief History helped), and most likely neither do you.

      Climate science is not easy, and there are certainly elements out of my reach, but I need only look out my window to see the effects of climate change. In my work, I’ve been lucky to have traveled the world, and have seen first hand for example glaciers and snowfields receding (I wonder, does warmth melt snow and ice), Ski areas in Austria now cover huge (acres and acres) areas of snow with reflective white tarps in order to ensure proper snow for their seasons. They used to not have to take such extreme measures – but now they do, why, because the world is getting warmer.

      I’ve helped (modestly helped) with U of M researchers in northern Minnesota, who are now planting hardwoods, where 20 years ago, suggesting that idea would have gotten you laughed out of the forest. The boreal forests are shifting north, and the deciduous forests are filling in (they like it warm, and now the Arrowhead region is warm enough to support those species). Not speculation, just fact.

      I don’t believe every suggestion presented by climate scientists, and remain skeptical about some things, but, the proof is there, staring us in the face, and denying that is willful ignorance masquerading as a theory.

    • Submitted by Todd Hintz on 02/25/2015 - 09:15 am.

      Analysis

      Yes, I have seen several comparisons of climate change pros & cons. It took about two nano seconds yesterday with a Google search to pull up all the studies you would care to read.

      Your horse analogy is all very pretty, but that’s all it amounts to. You’re stuck in the weeds of the climate change debate, twisting and turning hither and yon as you try to escape the one issue you should address square on: the evidence. This is the reality we have to face today, not some hypothetical fantasy utopia you hope will materialize a hundred years from now. If you think the current situation doesn’t exist, then you need to produce evidence that supports that position.

      And if you think that global warming is indeed real, as the evidence supports, but you don’t think we need to do anything about it, then you need to produce evidence that supports that position instead. I have to warn you that it had better be pretty compelling in order to counter all the evidence some of the greatest minds in the world have come up with.

    • Submitted by Todd Hintz on 02/25/2015 - 09:18 am.

      Horses

      Oh, and to directly address your horses analogy, the government did indeed build a lot of barns in the 1800s. You can still see two of the remaining horse stables and a mule barn down at Fort Snelling. When the army mechanized in the 1930s, the horses were phased out and garage doors were installed on the stables to make it into a motor pool. You can still see the doors on one of the stables today.

      In other words, the government adapted to the changing times. You should consider doing the same.

  15. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 02/25/2015 - 09:27 am.

    Science and scientists

    There’s been some back and forth regarding who is and isn’t a scientist, and whether or not being a scientist in one field can confer expertise in another field.

    To begin with, the mere knowledge and application of scientific method does not make one a scientist any more than changing you own oil make one a mechanic, or fixing a faucet makes one a plumber. So no, familiarity with the scientific method does not make one a scientist because science is actually a credentialed profession.

    Einstein for instance WAS a professional scientist. Yes he worked in the patent office for a time but he sought and obtained multiple advanced degrees in physics. No scientific publication in the world, then or now, would have considered publishing a General Theory of Relativity submitted by a patent clerk with no scientific credentials.

    As for specialization, a scientists is not a scientist any more than a Doctor is a Doctor. You wouldn’t let a cardiac surgeon operate on your brain anymore than you would seek rocket science advice from a psychologist. Familiarity with the scientific method isn’t the point. Specialties exist for a reason, in any given field of science there is an ongoing body of work utilizing specific methodologies and literature, astro-physics and particle physics are doing different work with different tools and methodology, it’s not all just “physics” or “science”. Scientists who work in one field simply have a better understanding of the literature and ongoing methodological problems than someone specializing in something else.

    Now this doesn’t mean that a scientist can’t study something outside of their credentialed field, but when THAT scientist consistently produces results that are at odds with the consensus in the field competency and credentials are legitimate concern, not a “hit” job.

    Finally, the thing that REALLY separates actual scientists from anyone merely applying the scientific method is actual research. Scientists apply for grants to conduct research and publish their findings in peer reviewed journals. Alternatively there may be scientist in the private sector who do unpublished research but even corporations don’t hire geologists to develop new blood pressure medications, and you still have to drug trials that have to conform to a variety of methodological demands.

    Finally finally as long as were talking about scientific method, one basic basic basic premise of scientific method is that it takes extraordinary evidence to support extraordinary claims, and overturn a scientific consensus. We’ve actually had scientific consensus on climate change for almost two decades now and that consensus is stronger now than ever before. Any scientist claiming to refute that consensus at this point needs to provide extraordinarily clear and non-refutable evidence to support that claim. This is why a guy’s field of expertise, methodology, and integrity are (or should be) subject to additional scrutiny when they challenge the consensus. Mr. Soon’s work just meet the required standard, his work is dodgy and possibly fraudulent.

  16. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 02/25/2015 - 09:50 am.

    Growing seasons

    It’s not just about longer summers, in order to grow crops you need water and land. Floods and drought don’t give you bumper crop yields and flooded farmland along coastal regions isn’t helpful either. This is why no one is predicting that climate change will end world hunger. Extreme climate events are more disruptive to food supplies than beneficial.

    Even in the Oceans, warmer waters are severely disrupting the ecosystem and having a huge impact on fisheries.

  17. Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 02/25/2015 - 08:10 pm.

    Evidence

    I always like when people have firm beliefs… but I have not seen global warming supporters who would call themselves “believers.” However, they use a term “denier” while, in fact, most people who disagree with the doomsday scenarios are “doubters.” Of course, all reasonable people are supposed to be doubters but that is another story. Sure, I will hear that the global warming is a proven science so all those agreeing with that are “knowers” but remember that by definition scientific experiments can be reproduced which is not the case here. And 50 years ago it was a proven science that we would run out of oil by 21 century…

    If someone in a scientific community would have an experiment that seemingly proves that the theory of relativity is wrong or incomplete (as at some point the Newton’s system was found to be incomplete or as non-Euclid geometry was accepted along with Euclid one), it would be looked at on the basis of its merit. However, anyone who doesn’t fully, completely, without doubt, agree with the global warming theory is immediately called a denier, ignorant, and backward. And that animosity and anger on the side of people who accept that theory against others almost proves that they are not themselves 100% sure, that they know that they believe in it to certain degree, that the theory has many weak points… They act as zealots rather than rational people…

    Mr. Rovick, I am not a farmer but I can guess that the most fertile land location depends on many factors. I also think that tropical forests are pretty fertile – and it is hot there (and some crops like it). I do know about typhoons and this page http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Typhoon shows that there is no real increase in their numbers (and as I said there is real decrease in hurricanes in the last three years – those that Mr. Gore predicted would wipe out Florida). And polar vortexes have happened before… Sure, one may try to explain all the blizzards and extreme cold with the global warming but again that seems more like attributing everything to God than a scientific explanation. But I do agree with you on one thing: It’s a complex world, and we are venturing into unknown territory so let’s not pretend that we know all the answers.

    Mr. Hintz, I never said that farmers can pick up and go but I can guess that a minimal increase in average temperatures may increase the crop. And of course more snow will also help, at least in some places… Can you give me a few references to websites comparing pluses and minuses which you said you easily found? And my horse analogy was exactly about the evidence – because there is no evidence showing what will happen in a hundred years – and there cannot be since no one can predict the future. We can talk about today’s reality but not, as you noticed, “hypothetical fantasy ANTI-utopia you FEAR will materialize a hundred years from now” – I have changed a couple words but otherwise your thought is very valid. Because how can anyone provide EVIDENCE that something must be done if we are talking about the future? Even the greatest minds cannot do that. And the government in the 1800’s built the barns for EXISTING horses, not possible future surge in their numbers…

    Mr. Nelson, I do not know where you live but I live in Minnesota and, looking out of my window, I can see the third winter in a row that is way colder than average… Your example of the Alps is also interesting because it shows that people adapt when things happen and it works just fine. And your evidence that some species are growing now where they have never done that suggests that positive effect may be real. Now, I appreciate your admission that climate science is complicated and you are skeptical about some things. The point is: So am I. And while I can understand the physics of carbon effect, the evidence that that IS the main climate driver is less convincing. But the most bizarre are the attempts to predict what would happen in 100 years and force us to do something to prevent it. I personally think that in 10-15 years oil use for energy production will be reduced to almost nothing because new technologies will take over. So it is all good to work on those new technologies but it is unreasonable to try to push coal plants out of business now.

    And one final thoughts: The mankind survived the Ice Age when its only technology was fire so I am sure it can survive global warming so please don’t panic because panic usually doesn’t result in smart decisions.

    • Submitted by Neal Rovick on 02/25/2015 - 08:56 pm.

      1 Tropical forest land is not fertile.
      2 The intensity of hurricanes in the Pacific have increased.
      3 The meandering jet stream is a predictable outcome from the reduction in temperature differentials from north to south.

      And a final thought for you…

      SOME people survived through the ice age. Mostly by being very mobile and living a hunter/gathering life style in the best region they could travel to.

      Tell me how that works with 7 billion people dependent on industrial-scale agriculture and fixed-location amenities and assets.

    • Submitted by Todd Hintz on 02/26/2015 - 07:18 am.

      Survival

      This issue isn’t whether or not Mankind will survive, but rather will society survive. Strap on your seat belts, folks! It’s going to be one heck of a wild experiment!

    • Submitted by Karen Sandness on 02/26/2015 - 11:34 pm.

      You wrote:

      “Mr. Nelson, I do not know where you live but I live in Minnesota and, looking out of my window, I can see the third winter in a row that is way colder than average…”

      I grew up in Minnesota and Wisconsin in the 1950s and 1960s. In those days, this winter and even th last one would have been considered warm.

      Up through the early 1980s, days in which the air temperature high was -20°F or less were common, mostly in January, but also sometimes in December and February. One day, when I was 12 years old, I walked home three blocks from school, and when I stepped into the house, my glasses whited over. Without thinking, I pulled them off, taking bits of skin along with me.

      I remember playing broom ball in college on a day when the high was -8° in a winter where the temperature did not go above zero for two weeks.

      One morning that year, I woke up to hear the radio announcer saying, “It’s currently twenty-seven below zero.”
      I remember one New Year’s Eve, probably in the mid 1970s, when it was -22°, so my brother and his girlfriend, stayed in with our parents instead of going out.

      The news from the East Coast reminds me that in 1982, we had two 18″snowfalls on two consecutive days. In those much younger days, I was willing to go out and walk if the daily high temperature was above -10°. There were several days when it was less than that.

      Those were the kinds of winters I left behind when I moved to Oregon in 1984. I moved back for family reasons in 2003, and in preparation, I bought two pairs of snow boots. I didn’t need them for two years, and all the older members of my family, people in their eighties and nineties, thought it was very strange, and it made them rather uneasy, not that they liked cold weather (they didn’t), but the new pattern seemed wrong somehow.

      Since I moved back, we have had exactly two of the kinds of traffic-stopping snowstorms that used to be routine here.

      Oh, yes, the climate has definitely changed in the past thirty years.

  18. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 02/26/2015 - 09:01 am.

    Well…

    “And one final thoughts: The mankind survived the Ice Age when its only technology was fire so I am sure it can survive global warming so please don’t panic because panic usually doesn’t result in smart decisions.”

    Humankind didn’t survive the ice age by denying it existed until they all froze to death. They even those “primitive” humans had the capacity to recognize a threat and respond to it. From Pompei to the Titanic people who refuse to recognize obvious signs of danger tend not find themselves amongst the survivors.

    So the same people who “panic” at the absurd proposition that Saddam Hussein was a budding “Hitler” on the rise brimming with WMDs, warn us against panicking in the fact of overwhelming evidence. Don’t worry, all that rumbling, lava, and smoke spewing out of that volcano means nothing, what worries me is all this talk about “evolution”! And so it goes.

  19. Submitted by Jim Halonen on 02/26/2015 - 09:24 am.

    Doom and Gloom

    Put on your historical thinking caps, folks. How many crisis scare stories have ever panned out? Global warming is more of the same, just with more technological wizzardry, that’s all.

    • Submitted by jason myron on 02/26/2015 - 03:13 pm.

      Yeah, the flaw in your theory, Jim

      Is that there were never seven billion people on the planet before, nor was there 200+ years of an industrial revolution to go along with it. This isn’t the ranting of some apocalyptic religious preacher, this is real life that affects our entire ecosystem…why you people can’t wrap your heads around that is baffling to me.

    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 02/27/2015 - 10:39 am.

      Yes, please, put your thinking caps on.

      All warnings are not equal. There’s a difference between decades of accumulated data and ignorant hysteria. When the same people who issues historical warning about “attacks” on Christmas, Iraqi WMD’s, and Obama Care driven economic collapse, dismiss Climate Change as just another trumped up scare story, look at who’s been on the wrong side of history.

  20. Submitted by Jay Willemssen on 02/26/2015 - 02:53 pm.

    2014 – another record year

    from NOAA’s Annual State of the Climate:

    “The year 2014 was the warmest year across global land and ocean surfaces since records began in 1880. The annually-averaged temperature was 0.69°C (1.24°F) above the 20th century average of 13.9°C (57.0°F), easily breaking the previous records of 2005 and 2010 by 0.04°C (0.07°F). This also marks the 38th consecutive year (since 1977) that the yearly global temperature was above average. Including 2014, 9 of the 10 warmest years in the 135-year period of record have occurred in the 21st century.

    The 2014 global average ocean temperature was also record high, at 0.57°C (1.03°F) above the 20th century average of 16.1°C (60.9°F), breaking the previous records of 1998 and 2003 by 0.05°C (0.09°F). Notably, ENSO-neutral conditions were present during all of 2014.”

    Clearly tens of thousands of thermometers are in on this “hoax”.

    It is so painfully tiresome for people to entertain the “skeptics”. They only argue for ideological reasons.

  21. Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 02/26/2015 - 11:28 pm.

    Not too bad

    Mr. Rovick, I provided a proof of my statement about hurricanes and typhoons. Will you please provide a proof of your statements? As for 7 billion people, I don’t see how it is relevant… A large refrigerator can serve cold drinks to thousands of people if it gets hot… Technology helps, doesn’t it?

    Mr. Hintz, life is a wild ride. We have ISIS, Ebola, Iran, flu… and we have them NOW. Will society survive those things? Isn’t it more urgent than a flood that may (or may not because there is no evidence for the future) happen in a hundred years? And you still didn’t provide any references to the website comparing positives and negatives of the climate change…

    Mr. Udstrand, I do not see lava and rumbling, just freezing wind and snow… and maybe a degree of a warming up over the century per Mr. Willemssen’s statistics – not exactly Pompeii like picture.

    • Submitted by jason myron on 02/27/2015 - 07:00 am.

      Seven billion people not relevant?

      Good lord, man. Your refrigerator is not a contained ecosystem with fluctuating climates, oceans, billions of living species, all releasing methane and CO2, with a ball of hot plasma about 100 time the size of the earth heating it. As for you only seeing what’s in your backyard, do you need to see gravity too to know it exists?

  22. Submitted by Todd Hintz on 03/01/2015 - 03:15 pm.

    Skeptics

    The March 2015 issue of National Geographic has an article just on the science skeptics, including climate change, evolution, and the vaxers. It’s worth picking up an issue if you don’t subscribe.

  23. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 03/02/2015 - 10:20 am.

    Not “skeptics”- “deniers”

    People who claim they don’t “believe” in some scientific theory or another, or people play debate games pretending to argue against scientific evidence are not “skeptics”, they’re deniers.

    Skepticism is about withholding judgement until sufficient evidence is presented. Skepticism renders belief irrelevant by demanding evidence. Belief on the other hand renders evidence irrelevant, the exact opposite of skepticism.

    When people claim they don’t “believe” in something they’re demanding more evidence, their declaring their intention to ignore the evidence. Arguing with such people is rather like trying to explain algebra to a dog, they’ll play debate games but they won’t make a legitimate effort to examine the evidence.

    We really need to get this clear in this country. Refusing to believe something is NOT skepticism, it’s the antithesis of skepticism.

    Now this doesn’t people can’t believe stuff or disbelieve stuff, but we make rational discourse impossible when equate faith with skepticism.

  24. Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 03/02/2015 - 06:24 pm.

    Beliefs and not

    Mr. Hintz, it is a very interesting article showing what beliefs are. So it says that “…the consensus of the world’s scientists: The planet’s surface temperature has risen by about 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit in the past 130 years, and human actions, including the burning of fossil fuels, are extremely likely to have been the dominant cause of the warming since the mid-20th century.” The end of the description of what the consensus is. But after that the article goes on about how important it is to do things to prevent future problem. But that was not listed in the consensus (at least as described by the author) – it is the author’s conclusion which is not a part of the consensus! By the way, do you have any references to any website discussing positives and negatives of the climate change? You said you were familiar with them.

    Mr. Udstrand, so you said that “Refusing to believe something is NOT skepticism, it’s the antithesis of skepticism.” That sounds interesting if you apply this to atheists…. On the other hand, it is an admission that you just “believe” in global warming, just as I said. As for evidence, is it possible to have the evidence of what will happen in the future?

    • Submitted by Todd Hintz on 03/02/2015 - 10:46 pm.

      Climate Change Beneits

      Ilya,

      Here you go.

      http://bit.ly/1aJo6IV

    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 03/03/2015 - 09:33 am.

      Well, there ya go

      ““Refusing to believe something is NOT skepticism, it’s the antithesis of skepticism.” That sounds interesting if you apply this to atheists…. On the other hand, it is an admission that you just “believe” in global warming, just as I said. As for evidence, is it possible to have the evidence of what will happen in the future?”

      Perfect example. The fact that we have people around who have no coherent concept of either faith or evidence is undeniable, dare I say even obvious. People who believe in God because they think they see overwhelming evidence of God’s existence have no viable concept of evidence or faith. Religion is about making a leap of faith despite the lack of evidence. Skepticism is the antithesis of faith. Skepticism withholds judgement until sufficient evidence is presented. Faith accepts a proposition despite the lack of evidence.

      I’m not an Atheist because I’m skeptic, I’m an Atheist because I choose not to make THAT particular leap of faith. I make other leaps of faith, just not that one. We all need a little faith to get by.

      This has nothing do with skepticism. Any proposition that equates religious faith with scientific method, theories, or evidence simply creates an incoherent discourse. I don’t “believe” in climate change, I’m convinced by the preponderance of evidence that the climate change model is valid. Should the evidence change, I would reconsider my endorsement. My endorsement of climate change models isn’t based on a leap of faith, it’s based on convincing evidence. If you don’t see the difference between accepting the mathematical fact that 2+2=4 and accepting Jesus as your personal savior I’m afraid I just can’t help you.

      Our problem isn’t Skepticism, our problem is people who either do not know how, or simply refuse to examine evidence. Arguing with such people is a waste of time once get beyond the example of incoherence that they provide. We don’t need to “win” these arguments so much as we need recognize them for what they are, a toxic distraction. You never win an argument with someone who has no coherent concept of evidence, the best we can do as a society and a civilization is stop wasting our time playing debate games with important public policy decisions. Our problem is that too many people are confused about the difference between faith and skepticism, belief and theory, etc. Arguing with confused and intransigent people won’t move the ball forward. However, decreasing the number of confused people by educating them regarding clear distinctions between religion and science, faith and evidence, skepticism and religion, etc. may yield a society that’s actually able to have rational conversations about really important problems and policies.

      By the way, can we have evidence that predicts the future? Yes. It’s called probability theory. But there we are dealing with math again, so if you don’t understand the difference between evidence and faith you’re probably going to have trouble understanding probability. Suffice to say that if I throw you out of a plane without a parachute at 30,000 feet, I can predict you will fall to the ground and die. Does that mean I “believe” in gravity?

  25. Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 03/03/2015 - 08:39 pm.

    Evidence and probability

    Mr. Hintz, thank you for a lesson in internet search but this is not what I was asking for. You provided the references to the opinions of people you would call deniers so you do not trust those sites anyway. I wanted a comparison compiled by a global warming supporter… just to make it more scientific with pros and cons…

    Mr. Udstrand, have you checked the scientific models of the warming? Have you verified that computer programs used for that do not have glitches? Have you ever read an article of Mr. Soon to make your own opinion? I am sure you have not and since you are not a climate scientist, you just believe what they say since you do not have any other choice because if 2+2=4 is simple enough for anyone to understand, climate is not. And all your talking about those irrational and confused people shows just one thing: you are sure that your belief is right and theirs is wrong and therefore any debate is useless. But you made up your mind without even checking their point of view which is not very liberal approach to life. See, I made several points in my comments here but you did not attempt to answer a single one of them…

    By the way, it was you who said that “Refusing to believe something is NOT skepticism; it’s the antithesis of skepticism.” So do you mean that you are practicing the antithesis of skepticism as you said you do not believe in God? You did not distinguish in this statement of yours what kind of beliefs you were talking about.

    Now, the theory of probability… I am afraid you misunderstand it. If you fall out of airplane at 30,000 feet, you will fall to the ground and most likely die (I think there were cases when people survived) but not because of the probability but because of the law of gravity and the human body construction. Probability deals with random things – check the definition; it is not evidence based. Evidence is something that can be observed and obviously nothing can be observed in the future. And there is no universal law in climate change that guarantees events to happen in a hundred years – just ask any climate scientist.

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