Why Universe Today Writes on Climate Change

Article written: 9 Apr , 2014
Updated: 23 Dec , 2015

Online science reporting is difficult. Never mind the incredible amount of work each story requires from interviewing scientists to meticulously choosing the words you will use to describe a tough subject. That’s the fun part. It’s just after you hit the blue publish button, when the story goes live, that things get rough. Your readers will tear you apart. They will comment on any misplaced commas, a number with one too many significant figures, and an added space in between sentences. They will criticize and not compliment.

Now I’m not saying this isn’t welcome. By all means if I have misspoken, do let me know. I need to be on top of my game 100% of the time and readers’ comments help make that happen. They can improve an article tremendously, allowing readers to carry on the conversation and provide a richer context. Thought-provoking commenters always bring a smile to my face.

But then there’s online environmental reporting. From day one, reader comments made me realize that I needed to develop a thicker skin. I won’t go into the nasty details here, but in my most recent article, readers asked why Universe Today — an astronomy and space news site — would report on the science and even the politics regarding climate change. Well dear readers, I have heard you, and here is the answer to your question.

Universe Today is a dedicated space and astronomy news site. And I am proud to be a part of the team bringing readers up-to-date with the ongoings in our local universe. But that definition covers a wide variety of subjects, some might even say an infinite number of subjects.

On any given day authors from our team might write about subjects from planets within our solar system to distant galaxies. We want to better understand these celestial objects by focusing on their origin, evolution and fate. And in doing so we will discuss research that utilizes physics or chemistry, biology or astronomy. We might even write about politics, especially if NASA’s budget is involved.

I argue that writing about the Earth falls into the above category. After all, we do live on a planet that circles the Sun. And unlike Venus, where thick skies of carbon dioxide and even clouds of sulfuric acid make the surface incredibly difficult to see, we can directly study our surface, even run our fingers through the sand.

Intensive geologic surveys of the Earth below your feet help astronomers to understand the geology of other environments, including our nearest neighbor Venus and distant moons. We now know Enceladus has an ocean because of its combination of two compensating mass anomalies — an effect we see here on Earth. Perhaps one day this research will even help us understand geologic features on distant exoplanets.

Any study, which helps us better understand our home planet, whether it looks at plate tectonics or the sobering effects of global warming, exists under the encompassing umbrella of astronomy.

Now for my second, philosophical, argument. On the darkest of nights, thousands of stars compose the celestial sphere above us. The universe is boundless. It is infinite. We stand on but one out of 100 billion (if not more) planets in the Milky Way galaxy alone, which in turn, is but one out of 100 billion galaxies in the observable universe. We live in complete isolation. It’s both humbling and awe-inspiring.

Carl Sagan was the first to coin the phrase “pale blue dot” and in his words:

“Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.

The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.

It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.”

Sagan argues that we have the moral duty to protect our home planet. This sense of obligation stems from the humble lessons gained from astronomy. So if Universe Today is not the appropriate platform to write about climate change I’m not sure what is.

All comments welcome.


64 Responses

  1. Pete says

    Very well stated. The stirring words of Carl Sagan do indeed remind us how precious and fragile our home world is — and yet it has its place, however tiny and remote, in the cosmos.

  2. As the publisher of Universe Today, I stand by this 100% – great article Shannon. There are so many aspects to climate change that relate directly and indirectly to astronomy and space exploration. Satellites are used to capture the data, space agencies are at the forefront of research in this field. The Earth is a planet, just like the other 7 planets in the Solar System, and the deep understanding of weather systems and climate change is key to research into planetary systems.

    It’s rare in this field when research can directly affect the lives of human beings. Nobody’s life changed when dark energy was discovered. But climate change has a real impact on everyone on the planet.

    And if you think it’s political, remember… I’m Canadian. Unfortunately, we’re some of the worst greenhouse gas emitters in the world. And furthermore, we have huge regions already being deeply affected by the changing climate.

    • FarAwayLongAgo says

      No, it is anti-astronomy! It is completely human-centric. Humans control the climate. Just like the astrology that planets control the destiny of indivual humans. I I I, just me in the center of the universe. Yeah, sure!

      The climat panic people have totally ignored the influence of the Sun, that little astronomical object you know, on our climate. And what do you mean that climate change, in the actual form of ZERO degrees global temperature change last 18 years, have had an impact on the planet? How could it have had? How does no change in temperature melt polar ice? When it comes to climate politics, you just repeat phrases you’ve heard, without using your brain, and that is just sad to see.

      • Member
        Todd Main says

        A fundamental aspect of the human mind is that we often reach a conclusion that aligns with our beliefs, then ignore the facts that contradict our conclusion. Congratulations, you’re human.

      • Olaf says

        Yeah sure, and the pollution is also to be blamed on the Sun
        And the deforestation is also blamed on the Sun.
        And the species dying out also blamed on the Sun.
        Hey even my high living costs are blamed on the sun.

        Just open Google maps. Look at the satellite images, and tell me that humans have ZERO effect on the environment.

      • Your cholesterol… that’s also the Sun’s doing.

      • Random63 says

        Well said FarAwayLongAgo….a little harsh, but well said.

    • Member
      Aqua4U says

      Thanks Frazer! You the man!

    • Member
      Brett Simon says

      Hi, Fraser. I don’t claim to know much. Right now, I am reading NASA’s 2014 Strategic Plan in which Objective 2.2 clearly states, “Advance knowledge of Earth as a system to meet the challenges of environmental change and to improve life on our planet.”

      NASA does astronomy and space exploration, too, right? 🙂

  3. ioconnor says

    Please don’t write about climate change. Just state it your position and move on. Embroiling yourself in endless arguments detracts from the Universe Today. Remember if you wrestle with the pigs you’ll end up getting dirty while they’ll end up enjoying it.

    • We just post about the new science whenever it comes up. Haters and anti-sciencers can start up their own websites to rant about whatever they like. But they don’t get a platform here.

  4. Ringshot says

    I don’t mind articles on climate, I just hate this whole idea of “settled science”… it’s ridiculous! I’ve looked at many sites and I find the arguments against Anthropomorphic Global Warming (which is really the issue here) are compelling.

    So here is my challenge to UniverseToday: use your research talent and some time to do a good, unbiased article on the arguments against AGW. I’m not saying do a hit piece on why these people should be banned from public discourse (as some of your commenters call for), just present the arguments and the main players and let the readers decide.

    I would enjoy reading such an article, but I’m sure your “Climate Change” orthodoxy readers would “tear you apart”; still, it’d be a nice change of pace…


    • Tometheus says

      Anthropomorphic Global Warming

      I’m sorry, I had to laugh at that.

      (I’m picturing a planet with baby arms and legs stumbling around like a toddler with its climate rapidly changing reflecting its emotions.)

  5. Manu says

    As a merciless commenter of the first category, I approve of this article =)

  6. Member
    geckzilla says

    I am for climate change reporting as well as moderation of anti-science comments in the comments section. I sometimes try to comment on things I am knowledgeable about to dispel some confusion and that is hard enough without having to write an entire article. Thanks for the work you do.

    • rkarl39 says

      So you are for silencing the voices of those who do not agree whole heatedly with “global warming”, eh hmm, excuse me, “climate change”? Debate is the foundation of scientific process and closing your mind to other people’s findings simply because they do not match your beliefs would be blasphemous to Galileo, Copernicus, and the likes. Some in the scientific community have turned out to be who they hated the most throughout history, religious-like Zealots persecuting dissenters. That being said, I will leave you with a quote from one of the co-founders of Greenpeace because he obviously knows more than you and I both and likely even more than the author of this article.

      Dr. Patrick Moore, co-founder of Greenpeace testifying before congress:
      “After 15 years in the top committee, I had to leave as Greenpeace took a sharp turn to the political left, and began to adopt policies that I could not accept from my scientific perspective. Climate change was not an issue when I abandoned Greenpeace, but it certainly is now. There is no scientific proof that human emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) are the dominant cause of the minor warming of the Earth’s atmosphere over the past 100 years. If there were such a proof it would be written down for all to see. No actual proof, as it is understood in science, exists. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) states: ‘It is extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century.’ ‘Extremely likely’ is not a scientific term but rather a judgment, as in a court of law. The IPCC defines ‘extremely likely’ as a ’95-100% probability’. But upon further examination it is clear that these numbers are not the result of any mathematical calculation or statistical analysis. They have been ‘invented’ as a construct within the IPCC report to express ‘expert judgment’, as determined by the IPCC contributors.'”

      And one more to put it in perspective:
      Climate Depot: “You have to pity the UN. The climate events of 2013 has been one of the most devastating to the UN’s political narrative on global warming. Both poles have expanding ice, with the Antarctic breaking all time records, global temperatures have failed to rise for 15 plus years, global cooling has occurred since 2002, polar bear numbers are increasing, wildfire’s are well below normal, sea level rise is failing to accelerate, tornadoes are at record lows, hurricanes are at record low activity, Gore’s organization is flailing and losing donors amid layoffs, former climate believers like Judith Curry are growing more skeptical by the day. I doubt many will be frightened by the UN IPCC, simply a political body masquerading as a scientific group. The thrill is gone.”

  7. Member
    tonyross says

    Thanks for all you do and the articles. I see great value in reading about climate change and I find your article was great in explaining its value/validity. Thanks for sharing. … and people, if you don’t want to read about climate change, well, go elsewhere and stop complaining.

  8. dalibor.free says

    I’ll try not to generalize and write this entirely from my point of view.

    I don’t see a problem with articles discussing climate change ocurring on this site, nor any other site/blog that discusses scientific topics. However, for some reason, these articles are written in a very different rhetoric compared to the rest of the posts. And this goes for both the article itself and the comments below.

    They try to bring up emotions:
    “Sobering IPCC Report”
    “Yes this report is sobering”

    They try to urge:
    “There is still time.”
    “The time for action is now”

    They try to convince us of reality with words and not only facts:
    “The evidence the world is warming is indubitable”

    I don’t see this in any other articles, only the ones on climate change. First of all, this is tiring. Second of all, the emotions are brought up efficiently, which can be seen in the comments section. I think discussion is an integral part of an article, but the quality of emotionally-infused posts goes down rapidly. Third of all, I don’t form my opinions by reading words such “indubitable evidence”. Apart from the fact that evidence should be doubted (this is how science works), I form my opinons by reading careful explanations of what we see, why we see it and what it _suggests_.

    From my experience, the contents and character of discussions are primarily reflections of the contents and character of the article.

  9. M. Malenfant says

    First of all I apprevciate this Blog, which I visit regularly – though commenting only rarely.
    I also appreciate coverage of Climate Change as topic and second your respective argumentation. A view on earth as a planet alongside resarch on other planets is well suited.

  10. MrsWhich says

    Thank you for this post and for your posts on climate change. I love this blog, and I think all the writers here have been doing a great job.

  11. FarAwayLongAgo says

    I do not understand how this blog post relates to anything about the fact that IPCC have established that temperatures have not increased druing the last two decades inspite of CO2-levels having increased exponentially. The relationship CO2/temperature is obviously not at all as simple as was once believed in the 1990s.

    There’s no reason to believe that the increase in the number of living human beings and the degree to which each and everyone of us are industrialized, would somehow make the climate worse. More humans and more industry is good for us. The climate doesn’t care, the global temperature doesn’t move an inch because we humans make our lives better and better by employing our ingenuity and cooperation. Just look at the global temperature record for the last two decades.

    And the grotesque abuse of late Dr. Sagan and his image of the “pale blue dot” for the political reasons of wanting to abolish energy production, abolish transports, abolish space flights, abolish efficient agriculture in order to try to go back to the stone ages hoping that the global average temperature would get “better” if we did so, that is worse than impolite to intelligence and honor!

  12. Member
    Aqua4U says

    Thank you Shannon! I always find your writing well spoken and enriching.. so does the wife! We really appreciate you taking this stand and using this forum as an opportunity to express the need for the climate sciences. Your words may may even influence (some of?) those whose interests and investments lie in social, political and earthly usury? Even the greedy have hearts? But I wouldn’t count on it… brain dead is brain dead. No wonder there is a fascination in ‘zombies’ and ‘vampires’ these days?

    P.S. We ARE the 99%!

    • rkarl39 says

      And your understanding of science is just as strong as those leading the Inquisitions in the early days of modern science. You claim those who do not whole-heartedly agree with climate science have interests and investments in unethical dealings and call them greedy all while wondering if they have a heart. Continue marginalizing and labeling all those who do not agree with you because it must comfort you in some way. Do you do this because you intend to maintain the new scientific orthodoxy and stomp out any dissenters like the Catholic Church in the 15th and 16th centuries?

  13. Tony Mach says

    If you want to write about climate change (and climate science), go ahead.


    Before I give you further thoughts, I just wanted to you to know from what position I make my comments. I am decisively “pro-science” – science is a wonderful way to learn about the reality of the world. I know about evolution, and I think that the result of evolution is something wonderful and very very worthy of protection. I like to learn about the history of our solar system. My political background is/was decisively “Green”, and over the years it moved somewhat to a more capitalism- and conservative-critical and anti-imperialist point. I try to be a humanist, and if there is something that makes other humans suffer we should work together to lessen that suffering. I write this to make it clear that I am not a Koch-brothers/fossil-fuel paid shill. As a matter of fact, until about 2007 I was quite worried about “the climate” and our Earth.

    However, something changed over the last years, I learned and I had to move on. When I read today in a publication something about “the climate” – or to be more precise when I read climate alarmism – I mentally mask off that part. Not because I “deny” climate (change) or global warming – as a matter of fact, I am quite convinced that CO2 is a greenhouse gas, and furthermore I am equally convinced that the CO2 released on industrial scale by humans increased temperatures in the world somewhat. But only somewhat.

    Over the years I had to come to the conclusion that the CO2 alarmism (and all the other alarmism that comes with it like sea-level rise, and glacier retreat, and desertification, and hurricanes, and tornadoes and so on ad infinitum) has been hugely blown out of proportion. I have neither time, energy, nor interest to engage much in the climate “debate”, and in fact I think it is quite a waste for me to do so. I can not make a good argument in a simple comment, as the problems I have seen over the years in climate science (and climate reporting) are numerous, and there are many many more real, man-made problems in the world that would mandate our attention.

    For said lack of energy, time and interest on my part, I can only offer you one pointer: The blog “Climate Audit” by Steve McIntyre. In it you will find some – and really only some! – of the problems we have today with “climate science”. Obviously some commentator will grown at the name McIntyre (he who must not be named in the climate “debate”), and you are free to ignore my pointer and continue to repeat what is the current majority opinion in climate science. But should you choose to critically, but without pre-formed biases, investigate the problems he raises in McIntyre’s blog, then you will learn more about the world you live in – or so I hope.

    As I said, I think any more participating by me in this climate debate is a waste, and I will ignore climate postings, here and in most other places. I gave you one pointer which should be enough, and you can choose to continue like before, or you can try to dig deeper – it is up to you.

    PS: I think reducing the topic of “the environment” and its destruction to CO2 alarmism is huge mistake, a mistake that will hurt the environmental movement big time.

  14. philw1776 says

    No problem with science stories on our evolving climate and the complex interplay of natural and anthropogenic influences. Where it becomes tiresome is when it transitions into hysteria and calls for political solutions. Let’s keep the focus on what we think we know and how we know it.

    Even the esteemed Carl Sagan was susceptible to coloring his science with his anti-war politics (nothing wrong with his opinion) writing articles before the 1st Gulf War on how the burning oil wells that Saddam did indeed ignite would cause a nuclear winter. It did not.

    • Windfall says

      Even the most insightful get it wrong sometimes. Carl Sagan discussed this at length in a chapter of his book “The Demon-Haunted World…” and even referenced specifically how he was wrong about the breadth of the effects of burning oil wells. I disagree, however, that this means it was colored with his politics as he had legitimate reasons to believe his postulations were correct.

      • rkarl39 says

        You do realize Carl Sagan also said this: “In science it often happens that scientists say, ‘You know that’s a really good argument; my position is mistaken,’ and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn’t happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion.”

  15. westof113 says

    Mastery of orbital space has given us the gift of perspective. Space-based satellites have given us a comprehensive way of looking at our home planet in unprecedented detail and over time. The data generated by such observation has led to discoveries and understanding of trends in many fields of study. From any sane person’s point of view, our little biosphere is THE most important part of the Universe Today or any day. There’s a reason that the major space agencies of the world are leading the scientific study of the Environment. Of course, Universe Today should cover the science that Earth observation satellites make possible.

  16. Member
    Jason Blankenship says

    Personally, I have no problem with the site posting information on “climate science”, but I do have a problem with this kind of absolutist position, that it is 100% human caused, and that we need to stop driving cars, stop using coal, and start living like it’s the Middle Ages again. There is A LOT of information out there that refutes much of what mainstream scientists say, and it is done by reputable scientists, so it would be nice to see that information presented as well.

    In closing, please don’t ignore the fact that most of the “climate scientists” are vehemently anti-capitalist, and are calling for quite draconian steps to be taken, particularly here in the United States. These people are asking for measures that will kill many jobs here and drive up the cost of fuel, food, and energy bills, to levels that will cause many people an extreme amount of financial burden, while virtually ignoring the extreme amount of emissions and pollution from countries like China, India, and Russia. In effect, they are for penalizing the United States, crippling our economy, driving people into poverty, and causing huge burdens onto our citizens, while giving the rest of the world a pass. I’d like for a bit more impartiality, on BOTH SIDES, and more transparency.

  17. Nice article Shannon. I agree 99.999%. (Hey, one should always leave room for error!)

    As someone who’s written on NASA climate research here several times, I can say that Universe Today is NOT an “alarmist” site (and there are some out there.) We post about the findings and the analysis thereof, and do not wax into arm-flailing conjecturing. Universe Today does its utmost to remain on the scientific end of things, not the political. Of course, all the writers here are human and are entitled to their own personal opinions (but, as Moynihan said, not their own facts.)

  18. Member
    Brett Simon says

    Great article, Shannon. Right now, I am reading NASA’s 2014 Strategic Plan in which Objective 2.2 clearly states, “Advance knowledge of Earth as a system to meet the challenges of environmental change and to improve life on our planet.”

    This is straight from NASA website. People are allowed to cherry pick what they like or want to hear about NASA (just as they are with you and UniverseToday), but it doesn’t mean this topic isn’t relevant in EVERY WAY.

  19. The wisest thing to do is to stay away from climate change. It’s too politicial and will only create noise. The universe is big, so there’s plenty else to write about. Just as you likely sometimes remove a tough paragraph from an article before you post because you anticipate that people would just pluck it apart, and/or you realise that the article will be just fine without the paragraph, be confident that Universe Today will be just fine without climate change.

  20. Blueberrysky says

    Politics has now become stagnant, out dated and obsolete. Politics is a crap shoot were people try to vote in the most charismatic person they believe will do the right thing. Time for people in the U.S. and the world over to adopt a new way of dealing with problems on our planet. I say let’s bring back the Technocracy movement were we put Scientist and Engineers (people who are qualified) in the position of power to make vital decisions based on Science to make the world a better place.

    It’s time we end opinion based politics and move into a more emergent society where science and technology, which are based on facts, is used to make important decisions.

  21. Dennis says

    Perhaps ignoring climate change is the answer to the Fermi Paradox. That would be sad.

  22. Forty says

    Thanks for this clear statement, Shannon. And keep on with the good and needed work.

  23. One of the things I love about astronomy, is that it is more than looking at the stars. It touches in some way on almost all science discipline’s. One criticism: I frequently read that man-made climate change is a threat, couldn’t climate change be a threat, no matter the cause?

  24. Random63 says

    I agree we have a “moral duty” to protect the planet, but this site also has a moral duty to present good science. Global Warming or Climate Change, or what ever new “cause” the politicians come up with for new taxes and claim it is science is not good science, but pseudoscience.

    Climategate and the fact that sensors were placed in various areas to guarantee abnormal readings have pretty much destroyed any credibility of the Global Warming folks. I live near the beach and I am still waiting for my front yard to become ocean front property.

    Universe Today and it’s writers do a wonderful job covering astronomy and I use their site often in my classroom (I now teach science), but you have done quite a lot of damage to your credibility pushing Global Warming over the last few years. Global Warming is pseudoscience, nothing more, just a tool for a global taxation and not worth ruining the prestige of this website and it’s writers.

    • The problem with your comment is that we ARE presenting all the good, peer reviewed science on climate change. When 9.7 out of 10 climate scientists agree that the Earth’s climate is warming and humans are part of the problem, the peer reviewed science refuting that is few and far between. In fact, in over 2,200 peer-reviewed articles about climate change by over 9,000 authors, published between November 2012 and December 2013, just one author and one paper rejected human actions as the cause.

      It’s like, if you went to 10 doctors and 9.7 agreed on your prognosis, but you decided to go with the one guy who mostly agreed with the other nine, but thought there was a 30% chance your condition could be caused by something else.

      And keep in mind that real climate scientists have spent their career studying the climate and are staking their reputations on their work. While they do get funding for their work from the National Science Foundation, NASA and other science groups, they are not being funded by the $1 billion being spent every year by the fossil fuel industry and other groups trying to deny science and oppose action on climate change (read more about that here: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/dec/20/conservative-groups-1bn-against-climate-change ) much like the tobacco companies did in the 1960’s and 70’s in an attempt to muddy the waters of real science.

      I think our credibility would be damaged if we didn’t publish the clear message that the peer reviewed science is showing about the climate.

    • paul585 says

      Climate science is not pseudo science and is an insult to the thousands of people all over the globe who devote their time and energy to the study of climate.
      Temperature measurements are made everywhere, on the ground, in the air and from the bottom of the oceans. Not just from “heat island” cities where I heard one quite eminent “scientist” claim. Do they really think we are that stupid?

      Remember it is not just america that’s putting money into this. In fact a lot of your ie American money was and is going into the denial pot! And if anything the USA was quite late in coming to the table to really research this. Your individual contribution might amount to a few cents so far. But don’t worry we (the rest of the world) will do the science for you if you’d rather spend your money on something else and time will prove we were right.

      Scientists by and large are not well paid and don’t do it for the money or the prestige. I could of earned more money working in a call centre.
      The simple fact is: there was a theory that CO2 in the atmosphere could cause runaway global warming. The concentrations have been rising since systematic observations began. Since all other activity that could account for such a rise, volcanic activity, rise in vegetation etc have been ruled out human activity would seem to be the cause. If people think that we are incapable of changing our atmosphere and its processes remember we did it with ozone depleting chemicals – fridges mostly. The world got together and banned them (ODC’s not fridges) and now the ozone layer is beginning to recover. We can do the same with greenhouse gases and perhaps make the world a better place along the way, but only as long as we are not too late. Which we might be, thereby making the solution even more expensive. Thats worth a couple bucks a year surely. Oh! But wait. If there’s no disaster then nothing for those big industrial combines to overcharge governments (ie your money) for trying to put it right. I expect they want it to happen. After all these CEO’s earn enough not to worry – they’ll be safe. Will you and your family?

      Finally this web site is for an international audience not just America or an American agenda. I expect most of us who are not American would rather not have our coverage of this very important issue censored. Keep up the good work Shannon!

  25. Dangbert says

    Random63 is right, pretty much across the board.

    Having said that, let me add, Climate Change is a fact of life, in fact its been going on since the birth of the planet. What has tainted and tarnished the “Crusade” we are now seeing against Man’s contribution is the unequal application of a corrective. The developed countries, which just happen to be liberal democracies, are being asked to hobble their economies, while the greatest polluters are pretty much left free to continue to do what they wish.

    What we are witnessing is “possibly” a change in climate (odd how the phrase ‘Global Warming’ had dropped out of vogue) and a possible human component, though miniscule, in that change. The truth is, Earth’s climate has never been steady and unchanging. IF we are on the cusp of another change, it is just that “another change,” we will be inconvenienced by it. We would be much better served by working to both mitigate its effects than hobbling those economies which are in the best position to enable such mitigation.

    This whole scenario reminds me of one of the folk tales from my childhood – Henny Penny

    • Random63 says

      Well said Dangbert and thank you.

      I teach my kids to use the scientific method and to read the original data and evaluate the methodology used if possible.

      I also teach them to “follow the money.” If a scientist received a grant from a corporation/government that is looking for a particular outcome, and lo and behold the scientist comes up with that very outcome, be suspicious. Scientists can and are bribed every day via grants. They are human too, and hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants are very tempting.

      It’s up to us to ensure that they are being true to the scientific method and methodologies, and just not accept their word for it.

      • Random63 says

        One other thing…..

        I also teach my kids that when a statement is made and followed up with “the science is settled” effectively trying to shut down debate before the debate can actually begin i.e. peer review, beware. The science is NEVER settled due to the influx of new methods of collecting data, and the new data it generates.

        Speaking of data, it’s interesting that the Sun and its effects are always left out. Global Warmers always blame Humans. Why not compare climate data of the other planets in our Solar System and see if they are seeing any of the same trends that Earth is. Are they and the Earth cooling? Warming? Staying the same? Do all the trends diverge? We have had probes around many of these planets long enough now to compare it against the Earth data we have of the last 20-30 years.

      • jjasensio says

        Hello Random63. I agree with your advice: “follow the money.”. But do you really think that also many big organisations are not economically very interested on denying the global warming/climate change? I have no idea where the money comes from or goes to. But I am sure that the hell of money is flowing from BOTH sides. If you think that money is the reason of all this issue, fighting uncritically for one of them against the other is playing the play of one part. You have of course the right to do it. But I would advice you to follow your own advice…

      • Random63 says


        I agree that some opponents of Global Warming are being funded by entities, but the point I’m trying to make is to clear out the funders and just look at the science. I do follow my own advice, and disregard anyone that has a financial gain to see a certain outcome no matter which “side” it is.
        Far too often science and the scientific method is corrupted by funders that are seeking justification for their agenda, and far too often scientists are willing to take the money and perform for those funders. How can science have any credibility if that is allowed to continue?

        Anyway, glad to have you join the discussion.

      • paul585 says

        Most of the climate change “denial” money is coming from the states. I think it quaint that you suppose that there is a worldwide conspircy of scientists in order to get more funding. Our wages stay the same whatever happens so we have got nothing to gain.
        I would say look to your own country’s recent history that basically went into Iraq and trashed it. Where was the money trail in that? Leading right back to the big industrialists who are now in there rebuilding the infrastructure that they blew apart in the first place. I imagine they are essentially following the same business model only this time instead of a country in the middle east it will be worldwide and the disruption will be enormous and costly with consequently massive profits and bonuses to them. They think they have something to gain from letting the world go to hell. Don’t forget from a life perspective Mars is a failed planet. There is no inalienable law that says it couldn’t go equally as badly here.
        To follow the money you have to have your eyes open unless it’s the smell you are following and there’s an almighty stink coming from the “do nothing until it’s too late” camp

  26. Doug Allen says

    Since yesterday’s comment did not make it through moderation, I’ll try again.
    For those interested in cosmology, astronomy, and especially for those numerate and scientifically literate, the American Physical Society (APS) is re-evaluating its statement on global warming/climate change in a transparent manner we should all applaud. Their re-evaluation includes the online transcript of an all day interview of six prominent climate scientists by the APS review committee. No where else can you find such up-to-date information about the science.

    The APS charter requires a review of their statements every 5 years ,and you can read a transcript of that interview on the APS web site. For those of you with strong opinions, but little knowledge of climate science, which includes most people, I think,, here is a chance to learn about climate science issues from experts who are civil, respectful of different estimates and opinions, and mostly agree. I promise you will come away with great admiration for the difficulties of climate science in the super-charged political environment and climate wars that exist, to which Universe Today recently became a participant.
    Here is the APS site URL- http://www.aps.org/publications/apsnews/updates/statementreview.cfm
    And here is the transcript URL-

    I will be using the transcript as a homework assignment in the Global Warming/Climate Change course I teach fall semester, and I highly recommend it.
    Doug Allen
    OLLI Furman University

  27. RUF says

    I also completely agree with Random63, and applaud his clear and well-said comments. A line must be drawn between science and psudo-science.

    Many people believe in astrology, UFOs, and ancient aliens — and they claim to have “proof.” Luckily, those topics aren’t discussed here. “Climate-change” is problematical at best — but anthropomorphic climate change should be right out.

  28. paul585 says

    Random 63 Last time I heard Good ol US of A was the number 1 emitter of carbon dioxide and has the largest carbon footprint. China will overtake you in a couple years but right now the USA is top of the tree. Don’t you know anything?

  29. stevenso4 says

    Every climate sceptic when asked about the cause of the 0.8oC rise in temp says “it’s part of a natural cycle” which is akin to telling someone who’s sick in hospital well, we can never know what’s ailing you: it’s simply part of nature.” This is preposterous folly that underscores the sceptic camps lack of understanding of cause and effect – and basic science. If there is a rise in temp it must have an identifiable cause. I have yet to see a sceptic (in the UK) identify what they think is the cause of warming if it isn’t CO2. The Sun: has the Sun brightened enough t make the Earth warm by this extent: that would be an impressive rise in luminosity; are there more sunspots now than 100 years ago? Absolutely not. Why not simply accept that if you put a gas into the atmosphere that absorbs energy then the temperature will rise. I wouldn’t go to my doctor bleeding from a gunshot then argue that I had a Cold. The argument is not that we are causing the current rise in temperature; it’s what (if anything) we want to do about it. This may be harsh but if you are a climate sceptic you really have to put up (the science to validate your position) or shut up. If there is peer-reviewed science that contradicts the general and overwhelming consensus on climate change/global warming then please can I see it? I want to see the data on which the contrary arguments are built. I have asked climate sceptics for this in the past but have come up empty handed.

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