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Letter to NASA is Common Ploy in Climate Change Denial

Credit: Climate Change Encyclopedia

A group of 49 former NASA employees from Johnson Space Center have written a letter to NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden, requesting that the space agency refrain from “unproven and unsubstantiated remarks” regarding how human activities are causing global climate change.

“As former NASA employees, we feel that NASA’s advocacy of an extreme position … is inappropriate,” says the letter. “We believe the claims by NASA and GISS(Goddard Institute for Space Studies) that man-made carbon dioxide is having a catastrophic impact on global climate change are not substantiated.”

The letter was reportedly supported by Leighton Steward from the Heartland Institute, an organization known for its stance of trying to cast doubt on global warming science.

“NASA has always been about looking out to the skies and beyond, not burying our heads in the sand,” climate scientist Michael Mann told Universe Today in an email “This is an old ploy, trying to cobble together a small group of individuals and make it sound like they speak with authority on a matter that they have really not studied closely. In this case, the effort was led by a fossil fuel industry-funded (climate change) denier who works for the Heartland Institute, and sadly he managed to manipulate this group of former NASA employees into signing on to this misguided statement.”

Mann added that 49 people out of tens of thousands of former and current NASA employees is just a tiny fraction, and that “NASA’s official stance, which represents the full current 16,000 NASA scientists and employees, is clear if you go to their website or look at their official publications: human-caused climate change is real, and it represents a challenge we must confront.”

NASA has responded to the letter, inviting those who signed it – which includes Apollo astronauts, engineers and former JSC officials – to join the debate in peer-reviewed scientific literature and public forums.

“NASA sponsors research into many areas of cutting-edge scientific inquiry, including the relationship between carbon dioxide and climate,” wrote Waleed Abdalati, NASA Chief Scientist. “As an agency, NASA does not draw conclusions and issue ‘claims’ about research findings. We support open scientific inquiry and discussion.”

“If the authors of this letter disagree with specific scientific conclusions made public by NASA scientists, we encourage them to join the debate in the scientific literature or public forums rather than restrict any discourse,” Abdalati concluded.

As several different people have noted — including former astronaut Rusty Schweickart who was quoted in the New York Times — most of those who signed the letter are not active research scientists and do not hold degrees in atmospheric sciences or fields related to climate change.

Schweickart, who was not among those who signed the letter, said in the New York Times that those who wrote the letter “have every right to state and argue for their opinion,” and climate scientist Gavin Schmidt added in the article that people stating their views is completely legitimate, “but they are asking the NASA administrator to censor other peoples’ (which is something else entirely).”

The letter from the former NASA employees – including Apollo astronauts Jack Schmitt, Walt Cunningham, Al Worden, and Dick Gordon — chides that since “hundreds of well-known climate scientists and tens of thousands of other scientists publicly declaring their disbelief in the catastrophic forecasts, coming particularly from the GISS leadership, it is clear that the science is NOT settled.”

Schmidt wrote previously on the RealClimate website that he certainly agrees the science is not settled. “No scientists would be scientists if they thought there was nothing left to find out…The reason why no scientist has said this (that the science is settled) is because they know full well that knowledge about science is not binary – science isn’t either settled or not settled. This is a false and misleading dichotomy.”

However, he added, “In the climate field, there are a number of issues which are no longer subject to fundamental debate in the community. The existence of the greenhouse effect, the increase in CO2 (and other GHGs) over the last hundred years and its human cause, and the fact the planet warmed significantly over the 20th Century are not much in doubt.”

For further reading:
Letter from former NASA employees
Letter from Waleed Abdalati
Article by Andrew Revkin in the New York Times
Article by Eric Berger in the Houston Chronicle
NASA’s Climate Change website
Real Climate

About 

Nancy Atkinson is Universe Today's Senior Editor. She also works with Astronomy Cast, and is a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • TiffMich_2000 April 13, 2012, 6:05 PM

    I am glad I am not the only one ashamed to see Universe Today publish such a highly liberal slighted story. For every 50 scientists that allege we have man-made global warming, we can find another 50 reputable ones that say it is not man-made. The earth has constantly gone through natural warming and cooling cycles… period.

    As long as this is a “hot topic” (pun intended), there is a lot of money to be made in “research”.

    • Olaf2 April 13, 2012, 6:18 PM

      What do you mean 50/50?
      It is 49 versus 16,000!

      • Cam Kirmser April 13, 2012, 11:01 PM

        All it takes is ONE.

        Just ONE proof to back up the AGW assertions.

        Why can’t all those thousands provide a SINGLE proof?

        • Olaf2 April 13, 2012, 11:33 PM

          Maybe you start to educate yourself what science really is.

          • Cam Kirmser April 14, 2012, 12:10 AM

            Irrelevant. You do not know what my background in science is.

            Science REALLY is that one PROOF will establish the veracity of an argument.

            Again, why can’t all those thousands provide a SINGLE proof?

          • Olaf2 April 14, 2012, 12:56 AM

            I do know from your answer that you have no background in science.

            You think that science is some kind of religion and they search for THE TRUTH!

            So go back to the drawing board and educate yourself what science really is, and not the creationists definition this time.

          • Cam Kirmser April 14, 2012, 2:07 PM

            “I do know from your answer that you have no background in science.”

            That must be it.

            I’m just a physics teacher rated highly qualified by the federal government.

            Nope, no science background there…

          • Olaf2 April 14, 2012, 7:59 PM

            Yeah right, and my mum is the queen.

          • Dave123 April 14, 2012, 8:08 PM

            I worry for your students. Most of the high school science teachers I know weren’t capable of doing science well enough to earn a living doing it. “Those who can’t do teach”

          • Cam Kirmser April 17, 2012, 2:18 PM

            Or, their career as a stealth engineer went belly-up when the Soviets caved.

            I worry for the United States when we start taxing and denying the property rights of others based merely upon an UNPROVEN theory.

            You want to insult me? Go for it. However, doing so in no way reinforces your argument.

            Science IS skepticism, but you AGWers swallow the unproven theory as if it were fact without even a nod to skepticism. And, you have the unmitigated gall to accuse me of not knowing anything about science?

            You have a lot to learn about science.

            Oh, but who can teach you? After all, “those who can’t do, teach.”

          • DrFlimmer April 14, 2012, 9:56 AM

            Nope. That is not science. Science cannot prove a theory. I can only falsify it (which is a big difference!). Right now the theory of AGW is passing all the tests. Show the counterargument which brings it to fall! Your claim is against the view of 97% of the experts. Show your argument! Why are humans not causing the heating?

          • Cam Kirmser April 14, 2012, 2:05 PM

            “Science cannot prove a theory.”

            You have got to be kidding me.

            Providing a theory is part and parcel of the scientific method. Then, in order to accept that theory as fact, one then proves it via experimentation that can be duplicated by others.

            If so proven, then you’ve got a fact. If not – as in the case of AGW – then you either change the theory or accept that it remains THEORY, not fact.

          • DrFlimmer April 14, 2012, 4:01 PM

            There is nothing like a proof (as what is commonly referred to) in science. A theory makes predictions which can be tested. If the theory passes the tests it remains valid (not proven).

            What you can do is falsifying a theory (which is something else than proving it).

          • Dave123 April 14, 2012, 8:05 PM

            You dwell in the invincible armor of ignorance. AGW isn’t one thing or one claim. It is what is left when alternatives are disproven. As one alternative explanation after another fails experimental verification all that is left is AGW. And that is scientific proof.

            From a historical perspective, burning fossil fuels was predicted to cause global warming. Warming has been observed on a global scale and no alternative theory can stand experimental challenge, can fit the data. Further, AGWs individual components all have been experimentally validated.

            Just for giggles why don’t you tell us why evolution (which you confess to being an adherent of) is proven and AGW isn’t? Tell us about all the falsifiable experiments…I’ll bet I can do a better job of posing as a creationist than you can defending evolution.

        • IVAN3MAN_AT_LARGE April 14, 2012, 12:27 AM

          Heard about the guy who fell off a skyscraper? On his way down past each floor, he kept saying to reassure himself: “So far so good… so far so good… so far so good.” How you fall doesn’t matter. It’s how you land!

    • Jeff Boerst April 13, 2012, 7:14 PM

      Wrong. As opposed to publishing the opposite which is so conservatively sided? So what, they don’t cover it at all? Liberal does not = wrong… so again… Wrong.

    • Torbjörn Larsson April 13, 2012, 7:33 PM

      No, you cant find as many climate scientists that rejects the main finding of their science, that GW exists and AGW is possible (and ongoing), 98 % of them agrees on AGW.

      Heck, science denialists couldn’t find that many _NASA_ employees as Olaf2 notes. That is 99.7 % against your non sequitur list!

      • Cam Kirmser April 14, 2012, 2:09 PM

        “and AGW is possible ”

        Possible?

        Sure.

        Fact?

        Not so much.

        Facts are not derived by opinion or consensus. They are derived by proof. The AGWers sidestep that little tidbit repeatedly and the uninformed gobble it up.

  • super_earth April 13, 2012, 6:31 PM

    I have read some of the comments here. It’s sad how easily decades of science are ignored by so much people.

    The evidence for CO2 (and to a lesser extent, CH4) is the decisive “control knob” of global temperature is simply overwhelming. Now we are on track to erase tens of millions of years of cooling by returning to early-Cenozoic CO2 levels. Warming MUST happen. The laws of physics are not optional.

    Denying it today is not much different than creationism, geocentrism or flat-earthism.

    • Cam Kirmser April 13, 2012, 10:43 PM

      Then, explain the Medieval Warm Period.

      • 100 Billion Planets April 13, 2012, 11:10 PM

        Just because the earth warms up without a CO2 increase doesn’t mean CO2 doesn’t warm up the earth.

        • Cam Kirmser April 13, 2012, 11:59 PM

          Then, explain the Medieval Warm Period.

          • David Feitler April 14, 2012, 1:32 AM

            My goodness… that’s really kinda easy. The Medieval warm period was regional weather. It wasn’t global. That’s really about it. Please share with us the peer reviewed literature that shows it’s global. Please don’t reference something in one of the British tabloids misinterpreting say for example a paper about proxy measurements in Antartica.

          • Cam Kirmser April 14, 2012, 1:56 PM

            No, I don’t, because I’ve made no claim.

            Read up on the scientific method; the AGW supporters have made a claim, it is up to them to prove it. So far, all they have is an opinion.

          • Dave123 April 14, 2012, 2:52 PM

            Cam,

            Let me suggest a reference for you- “An introduction to scientific research” by E. Bright Wilson Jr.

            My claim is that you have imaginary notions of what the scientific method is and what proof is…and that because you have these imaginary notions, there is really no having a discussion with you….but there is a value in pointing out where you fail.

          • DrFlimmer April 14, 2012, 4:03 PM

            Indeed.

          • Cam Kirmser April 17, 2012, 2:07 PM

            “but there is a value in pointing out where you fail.”

            In other words, you can’t.

            Fact is not based on opinion, it is based upon proof. You want to believe in AGW? Go for it, no one’s stopping you.

            But, do not presume to dictate to others that they must also accept your faith.

          • Dave123 April 17, 2012, 8:36 PM

            Let’s see- if you were able to have a discussion on this you would have cited peer-reviewed work demonstrating a global medieval warm period. Instead you mis-cite a U. Syracuse paper about a local measurment in Antartica. Of course, there is no peer reviewed work that shows a global MWP…Loehl is the best attempt and it fails…incomplete data and no geographic weighting.

            Let me pile on: Mars isn’t warming. Why don’t you read your National Geograhic article a little more closely- Your man, Abdussamatov claims Mars is warming now (last 3 summers) but later in the article he says (mostly correctly) that solar irradiance has been going down since 1990. You can’t have it both ways. Solar irradiance has rapid effects on temperature- especially when you don’t have heat sinks.

            And then your National Geographic article cites this rebutall as well:

            http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2006/09/060913-sunspots_2.html

            There are other analyses- for example here:

            http://www.skepticalscience.com/global-warming-on-mars-intermediate.htm

            What is interesting about the conclusions (as well as the citations of Fenton 2007 Swast 2006) is that they don’t necessarily conclude that Mars isn’t warming….just the stronger conclusion that there’s no clear evidence of it.

            So Mars isn’t warming and thus there is no reason to question the ground and satellite measurement of total solar irradiance:
            http://lasp.colorado.edu/sorce/data/tsi_coverage.html
            and
            http://lasp.colorado.edu/sorce/total_solar_irradiance_plots/images/tim_level3_tsi_24hour_640x480.png

            these data show no increasing solar irradiance trend to explain the earth’s increase in temperature. Instead, they show a bit of a downward trend.

            And yet the earth keeps getting warmer. Now you could go with Abdussamatov, and wait until 2040…. and see if the sun keeps getting cooler…but in the meantime, the measured energy budget keeps getting warmer…the energy continues to go into the ocean.

            Anyhow…. you’ve run away from these kinds of discussions, doing a little sniping here and there with one myth but ignoring it being shot down….which is why trying to have a conversation is impossible.

            Finally…. do read up on your Popper. And after doing that let’s talk about the notion of scientific proof…which for someone who makes the claim of being a science teacher, you have very oddly not brought up. You’ve had all kinds of reasons and opportunities to say what scientific proof is, and yet you never do.

            So to conclude: There are no viable alternative hypotheses to AGW. They all fail experimental falsification….as you would know if you dug a little deeper.

          • David Feitler April 14, 2012, 1:35 AM

            In the meantime Cam, please explain why we have the infrared signature of CO2 both coming and going, what all the accumulating heat is doing, what is causing the current rise in global average temperatures, the findings of Foster and Rahmsdorf (2011) on the global warming signal amidst the noise, the validation of the global temperature records by the Berkely BEST team….should I go on? Please provide a peer-reviewed physics based alternative explanation for what we observe.

      • shawnirwin April 13, 2012, 11:28 PM

        “Then, explain the Medieval Warm Period.” Sure, give us the data that was collected back then and we will . . . . isn’t that kind of a childish response? Anyone can tell you that there was insufficent data collected back then, you should be ashamed that they have to tell you that now!

        • Cam Kirmser April 14, 2012, 12:05 AM
          • David Feitler April 14, 2012, 1:43 AM

            You do know that the people who published that article reponded to the British tabloid claiming it was evidence for a global Medieval Warm period…

            http://asnews.syr.edu/newsevents_2012/releases/ikaite_crystals_climate_STATEMENT.html

          • shawnirwin April 14, 2012, 4:49 AM

            Good post David . . . . “Several of these media articles assert that our study claims the entire Earth heated up during medieval times without human CO2 emissions. We clearly state in our paper that we studied one site at the Antarctic Peninsula. The results should not be extrapolated to make assumptions about climate conditions across the entire globe. Other statements, such as the study “throws doubt on orthodoxies around global warming,” completely misrepresent our conclusions. Our study does not question the well-established anthropogenic warming trend.” “

          • shawnirwin April 14, 2012, 4:44 AM

            Your link is to “An ikaite record of late Holocene climate at the Antarctic Peninsula”. This is even funnier than your last response . . . . did you think the chemistry or other info would intimidate me? Sorry to bust you bubble, but I am no stranger to chemistry. . . . and . . . when you start calling the data from the Holocene era (around 12,000 years ago) data from the Medieval Warm Period (about AD 950 to 1250), who could possibly take you seriously?

          • Cam Kirmser April 14, 2012, 2:00 PM

            I’m not interested in intimidation, I leave that to your side of the fence.

            I’m also not all that interested in whether or not you take me seriously. You are among the believers and your faith will brook no opposing view, so you attempt to shut it down.

            Use science, rather than faith, and PROVE AGW.

            Simply do that. Otherwise, all you have is an opinion in which you believe, not a fact.

          • Dave123 April 14, 2012, 2:16 PM

            Cam… What alternative hypothesis to AGW isn’t disproved? The facts are the earth is warming. Unless you want to argue with the Koch foundation funded BEST study at Berkely.

            We know the sun isn’t the cause, because the sun is relatively quiet the last few decades, solar irradiance is down.

            We know by lab measurements that CO2 and water vapor are greenhouse gases (as are methane, nitrogen oxides etc). Even sceptics such as Lindzen agree that there’s a ‘naked’ 1 degree C greenhhouse effect from CO2 increases. (This disagreement is about positive feedbacks…and Lindzen both refuses to make any substantive predictions and fails to provide any convincing demonstration the the positive feedbacks are wrong).

            As for faith based stuff….have you heard about the Cornwall Alliance? They’re an evangelical group that has a public declaration of faith that global warming can’t happen because their loving God wouldn’t permit it. Now that’s a real intervention of faith in the business…not some psychological projection.

          • Cam Kirmser April 17, 2012, 2:10 PM

            “The facts are the earth is warming.”

            I do not disagree on that point.

            Where I disagree is on what is causing it.

            Further, I do not deny that Man is, perhaps, a cause. I simply do not know. Give me the proof and I will accept it.

            Before you start affecting people’s lives and livelyhood, you’d better have more to go on than a theory.

          • Dave123 April 18, 2012, 1:38 AM

            Cam, you have no criteria for proof. If you were serious and honest you’d say “here’s what’s missing”. But you don’t. Your examples have been shot down, and yet you don’t get that when your data changes, you must change your position.

            I’m not going to get diverted into a discussion of the politics, and what sufficient evidence is to take political action. Let’s stick to the science.

          • shawnirwin April 14, 2012, 7:28 PM

            If you think that calling the data from the Holocene era (around 12,000 years ago) data from the Medieval Warm Period (about AD 950 to 1250) is good science, trying to prove anything to you is about as productive as installing a screen door on a submarine. Besides the simple fact that I never, in any of my posts, claimed to be able to do that, and, simply pointed out some of the inconsistancies and idiocies in your posts. . .

      • super_earth April 14, 2012, 5:22 AM

        First consider the magnitude of the climate changes involved.

        The medieval Warm Period was a time interval when some parts of the world were anomalously warm, specially (but not only) around the North Atlantic. The “warming period” was, like similar events in the Bronze Age and Roman Empire times, just a moderate warming of around 0.5 ºC.

        CO2 can cause a warming much bigger, of several degrees celsius.

        Now, what caused those warming periods?

        You must know that the fact that CO2 is the MAIN driver of the Earth climate doesn’t mean that it is the ONLY one. There are other, smaller influences, like solar activity and volcanic eruptions.

        Contribution of solar activity: between solar activity in the 20th century (in medieval times the activity was similar but slightly smaller) and the Maunder Minimum (peak of little ice age) there is a difference of 0.25W/m^2
        http://sun.stanford.edu/LWS_Dynamo_2009/61797.web.pdf

        Contribution of volcanic eruptions: big volcanic eruptions emit great quantities of SO2 (sulfur dioxide) that form with water vapor sulfate droplets that are lifted by the eruptive column to the stratosphere where they are carried by winds all over the world. Those sulfate aerosols reflect sunlight cooling the planet.

        In Medieval times there were few volcanic eruptions and relatively high solar activity.

        Now, we have the warm early Cenozoic (40 million years ago and before):
        http://www.globalwarmingart.com/wiki/File:65_Myr_Climate_Change_Rev_png

        We are not talking about ?0.5-1ºC variations in temperature, we are talking about more than 10ºC to 5 ºC warmer (in the Poles) than present!

        How do you explain those hot temperatures 40 million years ago without CO2 and CH4?

  • Jeff Boerst April 13, 2012, 7:00 PM

    Wrong.

    • Cam Kirmser April 13, 2012, 10:54 PM

      That is your opinion. However, you state it as fact. Hence, the problem.

  • lcrowell April 13, 2012, 7:01 PM

    Astronauts are pretty gung-ho types of people, particularly from the Apollo period. The whole culture was populated by men, many x-military, with buzz and flat-top haircuts that were by and large into a mindset of damned the torpedoes full speed ahead. Then things started to change in the 70s when it became clear there were some problems. I am sure many of these guys pine for the good ole days before hippies, Vietnam War protests, energy problems, superfund sites and the rest.

    The problem is that few of these astronauts were scientists. Most were engineers, or got degrees in engineering, and were combat pilots. They were clearly competent people at these things. This does not mean they were scientifically educated, and in their careers did little in the way of scientific research. Many NASA employees after the Apollo programs worked for and started up defense contracting companies. With that comes a whole mindset, which is largely conservative, hawkish on war issues, and dismissive of concerns such as with the environment.

    In scanning the posts below I see many of the same canards. I think it is regrettable that this continues to befuddle and confuse the minds of people. The debate over climate change and the role of CO_2 is largely over. This does not mean the science is over, for of course there are avenues of research into future impact of this and what physical means might ameliorate this problem. However, the basis core concept has been essentially established. To argue this matter much further is a bit like trying to maintain Descarte’s vortex theory is a credible alternative to Newton’s.

    LC

    • super_earth April 13, 2012, 9:39 PM

      Totally agree.

      There is one aspect of climate change that is not fully established: the role of aerosol pollution (aka global dimming) from mainly from sulfates and soot (black carbon and organic carbon).

      This is really the greatest uncertainty of climate predictions, because:

      – we do not have a reliable enough record of aerosol emissions –

      -the forcings of them are uncertain (at least much more uncertain than the almost certain knowledge of the action of GHG). There are the direct effect of pollution and the indirect effect on clouds. The effects can cause either warming or cooling, depending of the chemical-optical properties of the pollution particles. All aerosols block sunlight, but dark particles (soot) warm the atmosphere and white particles(sulfates) cool it. It seems that the overall effect is of strong global cooling, enough to cancel half of the greehnouse warming. However, the error bars are large.

      -The future emissions are highly uncertain. In developed coutries this stuff is heavily regulated, because it is highly harmful for the environment and human health. There is the hypothesis that global warming began in the 1970s and not decades before thanks to all the northern hemisphere pollution. When cooling sulfate emissions were reduced, the greenhouse warming was “unmasked”. Today the big polluted areas are China, India, Indonesia, Subsaharan Africa and Amazon Rainforest (the first two because of fossil fuel and biomass burning, the others mainly from agricultural fires). Global warming appear to have slightly slowed in the last decade despite record greenhouse gas emissions, and this cooling pollution could be the cause. Now comes the ugly part: China is finally regulating pollution, and the last Five Year Plan (2011-2015) wants to replace a lot of coal power with natural gas. Natural gas produces almost no aerosol pollution, and this is good for human health and the regional environment, but for climate change could be like opening a dam full of water into the valley downstream full of people.

      This is the kind of things that needs new research, to know how to mitigate them. And it must be done fast enough , because those events are happening right now.

      • lcrowell April 14, 2012, 1:28 PM

        I think some geo-engineering concepts involve placing light scattering aerosol particles in the stratosphere to reflect light out. There was also the observation that during the three day hiatus of flights after 9/11/01 that the reduction in light scattering ice crystals from jet exhaust had a measurable effect in permitting more light to each the ground. I have thought with respect to geo-engineering how we might put panels composed of nanocarbon tubes or fibers woven into a nano-thin “cloth” at L1. These might then Mie scatter light away from Earth and reduce solar irradiance that way.

        Clearly we can’t go back to polluting the air with sulfur compounds. We will return to the problem of acid rain. I suspect we will be forced into geo-engineering before long. I think we may have already “blown it” with respect to avoiding AGW run-away by just reducing our carbon footprint. Projected requirements on carbon reductions mean we must reduce our carbon output by 50% by mid-century. I have a hard time imagining that will happen.

        This means we are caught in a bit of a trap. For the CO_2 we have released into the atmosphere, and will doubtless dump more in the future has a “half life” of over 500 years. Excess CO_2 will be here for quite a while. We are then likely caught in the need for geo-engineering for the foreseeable future, and if we stop because of a decline in our civilization (dark age) then we face a radically different planetary environment that could pound us down further.

        It is amazing that this cosmic freak show called the human race has engaged in this sort of uncontrolled experiment to change the climate of this planet.

        LC

  • Torbjörn Larsson April 13, 2012, 7:29 PM

    It is sadly a too easy ploy. Among such a large group of people you will find at least as many science denialists from evolution over vaccines to general relativity.

    And of course NOAA has never made a statement on “catastrophic impact”, you can’t find it on their site or in the IPCC Workgroup II of IPCC climate science reviews they contribute to. (At least in the 2007 IPCC review.) They merely confine themselves to the science, which is a current man made GW regime and its many times but not always severe impact on nature and society.

    New letter:

    “Climate scientists criticize NASA for unproven and unsubstantiated remarks on rocket science and its policy. Draft of new rockets, without faulty computer models based on unobserved hydrodynamical streamlines and notions of “catastrophic impact” of manned space missions on capsule pressure, is suggested.”

  • Cam Kirmser April 13, 2012, 10:42 PM

    The signatories to the letter are absolutely correct.

    No one has subjected anthropogenic global warming to the rigors of the Scientific Method. Until someone does – with independently verifiable results – all AGW is, is someone’s opinion, that’s it.

    AGW is a politically driven agenda whose adherents demand the stifling of those who dare oppose them. Is that science?

    No, it is not.

    Science embraces skepticism, it does not muzzle it.

    Those who oppose AGW are muzzled by those who support it. They are muzzled by loss of funding, unsupported dismissal of their arguments – using the word, “ploy,” to minimize their words leading the less informed to be wary of the opposition rather than trying to understand their words.

    This is NOT science.

    • 100 Billion Planets April 13, 2012, 11:07 PM

      Tell that to the polar bears.

      • shawnirwin April 13, 2012, 11:30 PM

        Cam probably figures that Noah led T Rex onto the Ark too.

        • Cam Kirmser April 14, 2012, 12:13 AM

          I am adherent of Evolution. You probably believe that Venus came from Jupiter’s Red Spot.

          Wasn’t that productive, mm?

          • WaxyMary April 14, 2012, 1:57 AM

            Cam,

            You mean the Great Red Spot is not the origin of young Venus, wow.

            You are a GRS/V Denier, you must read all about that at http://www.firmament-chaos.com/

            I think John Ackerman is providing three of his books freely as PDFs for those interested in the source of all terrestrial planets (I’ll cut to the chase here, spoiler alert, it is the large icy worlds we think of as gas giants). Really, I have talked to the guy, he is sincere in this ‘belief’ he is writing these books about. That doesn’t make him any more accurate though than the current paradigmatic ‘history’ we are uncovering with our probes, optical inspections and plant-a-foot science missions.

            Mary

          • Cam Kirmser April 14, 2012, 2:13 PM

            Are you serious?

            The first part of your post sounded like sarcasm, but, reading on, it seemed otherwise.

            You actually believe that Jupiter – a gaseous planet – produced Venus – a rocky planet?

            Is this true, or are you simply an expert in sarcasm?

          • WaxyMary April 14, 2012, 3:10 PM

            Cam,

            Expert, hardly, but you really need to get out more, expose yourself to ideas both strange and wild, see the common thread with which all of humanity weaves its myths.

            Additionally, you may have your leg back, here.

            Mary

          • Cam Kirmser April 17, 2012, 2:04 PM

            Again, you actually believe that Jupiter – a gaseous planet – produced Venus – a rocky planet?

          • WaxyMary April 17, 2012, 4:06 PM

            Cam,

            It would seem you have had a bit of trouble locating the leg you offered and I pulled and then handed back. Try harder to retain your body parts please. I have no need of this, your leg.

            Mary

      • Cam Kirmser April 14, 2012, 12:11 AM

        Show me a polar bear scientist, and I will.

    • Dave123 April 14, 2012, 2:07 PM

      It would be more interesting if you would commit more errors like citing the Syracuse paper…you know for all those assertions of yours provide some backup.

      Who has lost funding? Please give us a list. Who hasn’t been able to publish? Given that this is about those 49 ex-Nasa employees, who tried to publish and was turned down?

      How is it that Christy and Spencer and Pielke continue to get funding and publish (despite having their papers shot down by the evidence at every turn). You need to up your game Cam. Present evidence and names….not assertions.

  • Cam Kirmser April 13, 2012, 10:53 PM

    “I believe in climate change.”

    As do I. Thing is, I believe it is due to the forces of Nature, rather than Man.

    In the future, the Earth is going to heat up. This is a FACT of nature, As the Sun ages, it will get hotter. At some point, the Earth will be turned to an ashen cinder.

    • DrFlimmer April 14, 2012, 9:51 AM

      Sure, but this is not going to happen until roughly a billion years from now. The quite rapid heating we observe RIGHT now is not caused by the sun. It is caused by a lot of CO2 that is added to the atmosphere. Strangely humans put a lot of CO2 into the atmosphere. A connection?

      • Cam Kirmser April 14, 2012, 2:02 PM

        “The quite rapid heating we observe RIGHT now is not caused by the sun. ”

        Prove it.

        You’ve asserted a FACT, now prove its veracity.

        • DrFlimmer April 14, 2012, 3:58 PM

          The output of the sun is relatively steady. Other planets in the solar system do not heat up (what they should if the sun would be the cause).

          • Cam Kirmser April 17, 2012, 1:59 PM

            Like the steadiness of sunspot activity?

            As for other planets not heating up – well, here ya go;

            http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2007/02/070228-mars-warming.html

          • Dave123 April 18, 2012, 1:34 AM

            Cam, I’ve got a detailed reply to you elsewhere on mars heating up. It is not a strong citation regardless since Abdussamatov holds that the sun has been cooling since 1990 AND that mars is heating now. Contradictory positions as written in the article. Of course, it’s possible (entirely possible) that the reporter got it wrong…but without a primary article cited that’s alittle difficult to tell. But the burden is on you here. You’d better show that the reporter got it wrong.

            Now, why not cite your evidence that variation of insolation with sun spots is statistically signficant with regards to long term trends? Correlation isn’t causation, but absence of correlation is most definitely evidence for lack of causation.

            And do let us know why, if satellite measurements can be trusted to show the earth’s temperature rise, the lack of a warming trend in the sun since 1970 is somehow suspect. What’s wrong with that program…

            Oh wait, the only thing that’s been demonstrated wrong with satellite data is that Spencer and Christy managed to mess it up for 10 years, making it look like there was cooling when in fact there was warming. (And you wonder why they have no credibility except in the denialist camp).

  • oldenvguy April 14, 2012, 3:51 AM

    Let my try this another way. How many of you astronomy enthusiasts followed the research that led to the discovery of the accelerating expansion of the universe? Pretty heady stuff. But once you get a handle on parallax, the notion of standard candles, how Cephid variable stars function, doppler and red shifts, and finally how super novae fit in, it really does make sense, even to those of us that aren’t professional cosmologists. Now, let’s use the same reasoning to explain the postulated greenhouse effect. CO2 accounts for somewhere between 5 and 25 % of what is thought to be the rise in temperature of the earth. (By the way, how do you take the temperature of the earth? And my grad school joke of placing a rectal thermometer in Burbank, CA is is tasteless now as it was back then.) And then, (to steal from a popular cartoon) a miracle happens. Water vapor comes to the rescue and balances the necessary thermodynamic criteria. But how? If anybody knows for sure, speak up and settle this damn issue once and for all so we can all go home. Otherwise, I’m going to remain more concerned with golf course irrigation in Phoenix than CO2 as the prime cause of climate fluctuation. BTW, settled science needs no grants. What’s the point, if it’s settled.

    • Dave123 April 14, 2012, 2:09 PM

      Why don’t you go buy “Planetary Climatology” by Pierrehumbert? Read up a little.

      • oldenvguy April 14, 2012, 7:47 PM

        Thank you, not a bad idea. But does one really need to read a text book to be adequately informed on this topic? (I’m retired now and am a bit more inclined towards, say, a Grisham novel). In any event, for example, popular literature sufficed for securing a layman’s understanding of the the research surrounding the accelerating expansion discovery that I referred to.

  • SJStar April 14, 2012, 6:59 AM

    I have a better theory (not meaning personal, though).

    I do see a correlation, where R^2 = 1.0000!

    The more the CO2 is in the atmosphere, the dumber the people become.

    It is not so important that the climate is changing but it is the RATE of that it is change. Sure, CO2 levels have been many time in geological history even higher than they are today. I.e. One occurrence was about 15 million years ago. The world then was a much different place, where sea levels were much higher than today, and the natural world reacted over aeons to reach some balance point.

    Humankind in the last 150 to 200 years has changed the atmosphere and the surface of the Earth. It has exploited the natural resources the Earth holds, and has modified the planet more than nature ever has.

    The question remains. How much more change can the Earth tolerate before it bites back? Do we want to have a stable climate and a sustainable future or want to have to live in a controlled environment because the Earth can no longer support us?

    Frankly I don’t give a toss about if climate change or the rising greenhouse gases are real or not, but what I do give a crap about is the continued abuse of our planet, its long-term future, and the ability for it to absorb human-made abuse. Its the ‘could’ve, should’ve, would’ve’ arguments here that are important, not the never ending crap of simple rhetorical spin and conspiracy theories.

    Climate change is clearly the ‘tip of the iceberg’, however, it is not the only pinnacle or apex of the planets woes.

    Also, Science is never about pure absolutes, it is mostly about probabilities of outcomes. (It seems all the central arguments on climate change forget the probability rises for a poorer outcomes , of course, unless you do something about it. Chances of a poorer outcomes are, according to present scientific evidence, are for more likely.)

    What is much worst, is when the tipping point is reached, the physical changes to the system are more unpredictable (subject to chaos theory), also meaning making corrections via human intervention to correct it plain impossible.

    [Anyone who does not totally understand that, doesn't understand how environmental systems work, nor understand the scientific arguments of climate change! If you don't understand this, it is better just not to say anything at all.] It is the real danger of a runaway climate, that commenters should be aware of!!!

    Here the idea of a “bottomless Earth” is an illusion — and dangerous illusion. Humanity has made sure that its consumption is greater than what it puts back, meaning resources are dwindling, while the population continues to grow. At some point their must be a finite end. You either prepare for it, or you become extinct. It is that darn simple.

  • Prism2Spectrum April 14, 2012, 1:09 PM

    Are we doomed to rising sea-levels, in view of ” sinking” archipelagos;
    will Polar Bears simper in decline, as Polar Ice capes melt-away
    (and “Emperor”s lose their crown in Antarctic night of warming days)?

    Is Industry of man’s Technology really to blame?
    Those rising smokestacks, the modernity of today;
    And the ubiquitous emissions of car, bus, and train?

    Some say, “Yea!” Others, Scientifically, say, “Nay!”
    Whose to tell? Can anyone really, definitely say?
    As another passing storm ebbs slowly away.

    For some possible answers, one site to peruse:

    http://www.climatedepot.com

    • SJStar April 14, 2012, 1:49 PM

      You sir are an utter scumbucket!

      Too stupid to understand the science, so all you can do is deny it because it does click in your dismal little mind. …another possible answer, it you are a total fruitloop!

      Did your mother smack you too hard or something?

      Also what’s with the fracking advertising?

      • Prism2Spectrum April 14, 2012, 4:27 PM

        To SJStar: The only part of your extremely insulting comment I will address, is the charge of “ADVERTISING”: Disqus Bio allows only about three sentences. So, just in passing, distant reflections of who I am (preferring to remain private) – as tied into some UT article of recent impress, and personal comment – I insert into the “Bio” space a QUOTATION: relevant (tenuously, or strongly – in my mind) to the article which inspired it, with glint of who I am, like indistinct reflections in a mirror.

        That’s it.

        “Advertising”?! Since when is adding a quotation (some may find interesting, or informative) advertising?

        (IF you are refering to “links”, then see open addition above.)
        ________________________________________________________________________

        You may want to review the following (I have not flagged you) under

        “Forum Rules, FAQ, and Information:

        Rules For Posting To This Board

        2. Civility and Decorum”
        _____________________

        A reading may serve you well.

  • jim fulkerson April 14, 2012, 7:35 PM

    The letter states, “…it is clear that the science is NOT settled.”

    Science is never settled. It’s baffling at to why this small group of former NASA employees would frame the discussion as if areas of study and debate are “settled” when a better grasp on the phenomena is reached.

    I have a feeling that most of these people have an understanding of scientific process, but let personal politics, faith and bias encroach on this understanding. Not one scientific organization disagrees that human-contributed climate change is happening. This small group – with the Koch brothers funded Heartland Institute – is again trying to create an image of controversy where there is none. It is worth comparing to the Discovery Institute and “Intelligent Design”.

  • General Tsu April 16, 2012, 8:50 PM

    “not much in doubt” So after all the talk, all the claims, all the ‘settled science’ comments, the bottom line in the last sentence confirms… that there is still doubt.

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