February 18, 2010

Global Warming: I Can Be Skeptical But Not A Denier

As you might expect, I have been reading, with great interest, everything I can about "Climategate." It is believed a hacker broke into the computers at the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit ("CRU")and released 160 megabytes of confidential files onto the internet. 160 megabytes translated into about 1000 emails and 3000 other documents by some accounts. Assuming these emails are the real deal, it pretty clear why the CRU wanted to keep these emails confidential. The emails suggest some sort of a conspiracy or collusion amongst scientists who were exaggerating climate warming data and interfering with the peer review process. There is discussion they destroyed information, manipulated data, and disclosed to the public data they knew was incorrect. One of the emails even proclaimed some joy in the death of John L. Daly in 2004. Daly was an early skeptic of the global warming chatter, and the email proclaimed, “In an odd way this is cheering news.”

In this interview I saw on YouTube, Ed Begley Jr., a staunch global warming advocate, gives me permission to be skeptical about global warming, but not a denier. Have a look.

The CRU's Director is Professor Phil Jones. Since I'm allowed to be skeptical, but not a denier, here's an interview with Professor Jones from just a few days ago. Its a fairly long Q&A, but worth reading. Professor Jones comments on warming data taken from 1860-2009. He divided this span of years into four different time periods and says, "the warming rates for all 4 periods are similar and not statistically significantly different from each other." He still maintains there has been warming, and the warming is man made. He also agrees "Natural influences (from volcanoes and the Sun) over this period could have contributed to the change over this period. Volcanic influences from the two large eruptions (El Chichon in 1982 and Pinatubo in 1991) would exert a negative influence." As I said, this is a good read, especially toward the end of the Q&A where he explains what he "meant" in the emails he sent asking others to destroy evidence and "hide the decline." This is fascinating stuff. I'm guessing we haven't heard the end of this, and I'll have more to write about in the future.

I'm still a skeptic. What about you? Leave a comment and let me know what you think about all this.

The Photo above is from Getty


Anonymous said...

The problem with the false reporting on the global warming research is the momentum to combat the causes (or now, potential causes) will stall or, even worse, fail. It's already happening. The fact that major gas companies and even States are pulling out of agencies and committees established to clean-up and prevent future pollutants should be a warning sign to everyone. This is going to end up being a bigger problem in the long run. The fact the research may be inaccurate doesn’t mean companies now have a free run and can do whatever they want. There still needs to be some type of regulations to keep the cleanup going and the environment safe from future problems. You may be right about the global warming issue but I now think we have more of a crisis then we did before.

Brad Friedman said...

I agree with you there needs to be some environmental regluations followed by companies, and individuals (car emissions, etc.) and believe each state ought to enact laws that are in accord (or tougher) with Federal guidelines. I think this is important for our health, and the health of our children and our grandchildren. I think we should have clean water to drink and fresh air to breath. I just don't think these regulations should be put in place because of some misplaced fear that without the regulations there will be "Global Warming" and the ice caps will melt. We are talking about two different things here.

Benny said...

Global warming - A term that undoubtably stirs feelings of concern, skepticism and anxiety among other things. The bottom line is that we’re right to feel all of the above. We should be concerned. The planet is our habitat and without it life ceases to exist. I think we can all remember when we were kids and took our first shots at a fish tank, turtle or colony of sea monkeys. If you’re still following me I think you will agree that without heavy adult supervision (which some of us never got) our beloved pets died sooner than we would’ve liked. What was the cause? Forgot to feed them? Clean the water? Balance the Ph? Whatever the “end” cause was it was likely a food supply-chain or environmental catastrophe that was the culprit. How many aquarium pets did we have that truly died of natural causes or old age? Be honest. The fact of the matter is that we rely heavily on our environment for the sustainability of life. We learned about the fragility of life when we were all very young for a purpose and the lessons continue to haunt us as adults when terms like “global warming” are tossed out there. But what can we do about it?

Brad Friedman said...

Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment. Frankly, I've never thought to compare the entire planet and all its inhabitants to those Gerbils I had in fifth grade. Interesting thought though. I do agree with your Lion King reference and the analogy to the "Circle of Life." This has proven to be quite a thought provoking topic!

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