With the Live Earth concerts rolling and the wingnuts whining in the woodwork, I thought it might be useful to give the Shakers one of the best links I’ve seen for the facts about global warming. Just in case you find yourself contending with wingnut talking points. (The acronym being WTP, interestingly enough.) The New Scientist (May, 2007) had an excellent and complete rebuttal of WTPs: Climate Change: A Guide for the Perplexed. They cover everything.
From what I’ve seen without looking for it, the wingnuts seem to have moved away from the “hockey stick graph is false” bullshit. I guess because the new facts, with that nasty liberal bias they have, insisted on landing higher and higher up the curve until they got into the handle and then blew right off the top of the graph. (I’m exaggerating, but not by much.)
Now one favorite line is, “The glaciers are too NOT melting. Or if they are, only a bit. Or if it’s a lot, then it has nothing to do with global warming.” Suuuure. And the reason blacks average less income than whites is because A has less education, and B is short, and C lives in a part of town where the wages are lower, and D was ill from stress after being let go at his company. Discrimination has nothing to do with it. Fact: in a statistical relationship there will always be other factors besides the main one. The other factors have less of what the scientists call “explanatory power.”
Another one is, “Mars and Pluto are warming too! It’s nothing to do with humans.” As the New Scientist points out in its smackdown: “If increased solar output really was responsible, we should be seeing warming on all the planets and their moons, not just Mars and Pluto.” “The Sun’s energy output has not increased since direct measurements began in 1978 ”
They love bringing up Antarctica. Antarctica is cooling! Well, no, not exactly. The landlocked middle is cooling because the ozone hole (Remember the ozone hole? Still there.) has altered wind patterns and prevents warmer air from reaching the middle.
Another favorite: “The scientific link between [global warming and] increased tornadoes and hurricanes isn’t proved.” It’s logically impossible to prove a link between a specific hurricane/tornado and increased warming because the relationship is statistical. New Scientist: “It is a bit like throwing dice: getting one six proves nothing, but if sixes keep coming up more often than the other numbers, you know the dice is loaded.” “[T]he consensus among experts is that global warming will not lead to more hurricanes overall, but will increase the average intensity of storms. A growing number of studies of hurricane records suggest this trend can already be seen.”
But, of course, arguing against the facts is much less satisfying than simply throwing fact-free putdowns at Al Gore. Typical example (this one is someone named Ann Loder): “Al Gore’s environmental alarmism — much of it since heavily questioned — no doubt plays better in Beverly Hills.” Not among real people, of course. Only among those pencil-necks in Beverly Hills. And I’m sure Gore’s facts are heavily questioned … but only by the likes of Loder who seem to have trouble finding their bottom with both hands.
In actual fact, over 99% of climate scientists (not lawyers, not astronomers, not gym teachers, climate scientists, agree that global warming is real, is here, and is caused by human activities. (The Science link is from 2004. The 99% number is from tallying the viewpoints expressed in published papers. The consensus is even more solid now.)
You won’t see data on consensus in the media because agreement is boring. Fights raise ratings. Degree of consensus is something that, sometimes, you need a scientific background just to find. Kind of sad, really.
Update: Damn. I forgot the best / worst (depending on how much you like being terrified) link of all. BBC graphic of projected temperatures:
Other links: RealClimate.org, a site for climate scientists to discuss the issues with each other and non-scientists.
A Nov, 2005 post of mine that discusses, among other things, what the likely prognoses for Earth mean, on the ground. It goes way beyond drowned cities, believe me.