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The turning point—it’s becoming chic to be a skeptic January 31, 2009

Posted by honestclimate in Discussions.
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The turning point—it’s becoming chic to be a skeptic

From JoNova, Janaury 28, 2009

This must be it, surely, the point where being a skeptic has more scientific cachet than being a believer. The trickle is becoming a flood. We are reaching the stage where independent scientists will want to make sure they are known to be on the skeptical side of the fence.

None other than James Hansens former supervisor at NASA has just announced that not only is he a skeptic, but that Hansen is an embarrassment to NASA and was never muzzled. In a message to the Minority Office at the Environment and Public Works Committee, Theon wrote:

“I appreciate the opportunity to add my name to those who disagree that global warming is man made, …I was, in effect, Hansen’s supervisor because I had to justify his funding, allocate his resources, and evaluate his results”

“Hansen was never muzzled even though he violated NASA’s official agency position on climate forecasting (i.e., we did not know enough to forecast climate change or mankind’s effect on it). Hansen thus embarrassed NASA by coming out with his claims of global warming in 1988 in his testimony before Congress,”

Retired senior NASA atmospheric scientist, Dr. John S. Theon

Theon joins a growing list of over 650 prominent skeptics. Here’s how the list is becoming a story all of it’s own, and the drive to publicly announce skepticism is picking up pace.

Dec 11, 2008: Marc Morano released an updated list of 650 skeptics, it’s a 230 page pdf file with quotes and qualifications listed from skeptical prominent scientists that even includes past and present IPCC authors. As people became aware of the list, the clamour began from those who want to join in. 11 scientists joined the list in the next two weeks including Dr Schaffer, and Dr Happer (below).

Dec 19, 2008: Dr Schaffer, Professor of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology Uni of Arizona, has authored more than 80 scientific publications and authored the paper “Human Population and Carbon Dioxide.”

“The recent lack of warming in the face of continued increases in CO2 suggests (a) that the effects of greenhouse gas forcing have been over-stated; (b) that the import of natural variability has been underestimated and (c) that concomitant rises of atmospheric CO2 and temperature in previous decades may be coincidental rather than causal,” he added. “I fear that things could easily go the other way: that the climate could cool, perhaps significantly; that the consequences of a new Little Ice Age or worse would be catastrophic and that said consequences will be exacerbated if we meanwhile adopt warmist prescriptions. This possibility, plus the law of unintended consequences, leads me to view proposed global engineering ‘solutions’ as madness.”

Dr. W. M. Schaffer, Professor, Uni of Arizona

Dec 22, 2007: Dr Will Happer, Professor at Princeton University and former Director of Energy Research at the Department of Energy from 1990 to 1993, and has published over 200 scientific papers.

“I had the privilege of being fired by Al Gore, since I refused to go along with his alarmism. I did not need the job that badly… I have spent a long research career studying physics that is closely related to the greenhouse effect, for example, absorption and emission of visible and infrared radiation, and fluid flow… Fears about man-made global warming are unwarranted and are not based on good science.”

Dr Will Happer, Professor, Princeton

January 7th, 2009: Jack Schmitt—the last man to walk on the moon, announced he was a skeptic.

“As a geologist, I love Earth observations,” Schmitt wrote, “But, it is ridiculous to tie this objective to a ‘consensus’ that humans are causing global warming when human experience, geologic data and history, and current cooling can argue otherwise. ‘Consensus,’ as many have said, merely represents the absence of definitive science. You know as well as I, the ‘global warming scare’ is being used as a political tool to increase government control over American lives, incomes and decision making…”

Jack Schmitt, Geology PhD, Harvard, NASA Astronaut

This is probably the sweetest of the lot in a way. As Marc Morano points out, back in 2006 Al Gore said “The debate’s over. The people who dispute the international consensus on global warming are in the same category now with the people who think the moon landing was staged on a movie lot in Arizona.”

Back then, being a skeptic was supposedly equivalent to being a nut-case. Now, even those who’ve landed on the moon dispute the concensus.

The momentum is growing. History will record this cold northern winter as the season when being known as a skeptic became scientifically hip, and being labelled a ‘believer’—scientifically uncool (as it should be) .

I say: scientists everywhere, be proud of our standards, stand up and be counted. Rise against Dark-Age-reasoning, political pressure and the call of government grants.




1. uncommonscolds - January 31, 2009

All scientists are, or should be, skeptics. I’m not a scientist, but I do teach research skills and evaluation of sources at the college level. What convinces me is peer-reviewed evidence and/or evidence by recognized agencies. All is subject to revision, of course, as new evidence comes in.

Here’s a link to a Jan. 26, 2009 article from NOAA (I’d write it out, but all people interested in climate know the acronym): http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2009/20090126_climate.html

Here’s the abstract for the study, written in the typically scintillating scientific style:

The severity of damaging human-induced climate change depends not only on the magnitude of the change but also on the potential for irreversibility. This paper shows that the climate change that takes place due to increases in carbon dioxide concentration is largely irreversible for 1,000 years after emissions stop. Following cessation of emissions, removal of atmospheric carbon dioxide decreases radiative forcing, but is largely compensated by slower loss of heat to the ocean, so that atmospheric temperatures do not drop significantly for at least 1,000 years. Among illustrative irreversible impacts that should be expected if atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations increase from current levels near 385 parts per million by volume (ppmv) to a peak of 450–600 ppmv over the coming century are irreversible dry-season rainfall reductions in several regions comparable to those of the “dust bowl” era and inexorable sea level rise. Thermal expansion of the warming ocean provides a conservative lower limit to irreversible global average sea level rise of at least 0.4–1.0 m if 21st century CO2 concentrations exceed 600 ppmv and 0.6–1.9 m for peak CO2 concentrations exceeding ≈1,000 ppmv. Additional contributions from glaciers and ice sheet contributions to future sea level rise are uncertain but may equal or exceed several meters over the next millennium or longer.

This if from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences: http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2009/01/28/0812721106.abstract

The whole study is available there. Happy reading.

Have a nice day.


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