Life Would Be Easier If I Was A Believer

I had one of my semi-annual global warming battles with Ira Flatow today. Ira hosts NPR’s Science Friday. Like the vast majority of Americans Ira believe’s there’s human induced global warming. Me, not so much.

The most interesting part was when Ira wrote, “Geoff, you’re a smart guy. What’s in it for you?”

He believes so strongly he can’t understand how anyone could not. I respect that though it puts me in a difficult position.

I had a similar discussion in the newsroom with Matt Kauffman and Rick Green&#185

I’m not going to go into my reasons now. I have written about them on the blog before.

My life would be easier if I was a believer! All my non-meteorologist friends are global warming adherents. Faith doesn’t come to you just because it’s a desirable trait.


&#185 – Let me be a groupie here for a second. These guys are real newspapermen. It’s a treat to sit in the same newsroom as them every day.

20 thoughts on “Life Would Be Easier If I Was A Believer”

  1. I’m with you Geoff. I believe climate is cyclical. I don’t believe it is effected by how “green” our environment is.

  2. However, I think you must take into account what man-made effects are going on in global warming. Yes, I think part of it is natural; however,I think the process is being accelerated by the man-made pollutants being disbursed into our atmosphere…

  3. Like most science it is not an issue of “belief”, it is simply conclusions drawn from evidence. [For example, one must believe in intelligent design, which is not theory and has no predictive power, but one need not believe in evolution because it is strong theory with great predictive power.] There is really no denying that the atmosphere and the oceans are getting warmer, the evidence is there. Climate change is proving to be solid theory as predictions about the acidification of the oceans, the changes in salinity in the arctic, and other things come to pass. Researchers are paying serious attention to predictions about the Gulf Stream.

    Any time people have said that some environmental system was too big or too stable for our activities to damage it they have been proven wrong.The addition of billions of tons of carbon that had been sequestered for hundreds of millions of years is not environmentally neutral (135 times the amount released by volcanoes per year).

    As you well know Geoff, the consensus about climate change has been building for 40 years. I am constantly amazed that you deny human affect on climate. It should be interesting to see if predictions regarding the effect of the upcoming solar minimum are come to pass. That will either strengthen climate change theory or weaken it.

  4. Me too Geoff. I’ll have to dig through your blog and see what you wrote. I agree with the person above me that said the climate is cyclical. Also, when I see the forces of nature at work (like an EF 5 tornado), I feel as if it’s conceited for humans to think they impacted the climate that much. There’s been pockets of damage for sure but enough to change the climate? No.

  5. for me it’s a distinction without a difference. whether the changes noted are human created or cyclical, there is change. our best case would be that by altering our behavior we can shape the change, because if it is cyclical , we must remember how long earth cycles can be. i wasn’t there for the last ice age…but i just don’t look good in fur…and then there’s the peta problem…so i’d just as soon skip the next one.
    for me any excuse to move toward sustainable sources of energy is a useful excuse. if not to control our climate then to remove the not so subtle forms of extortion that have caused us very real and non theoretical losses of blood and treasure. it is a fun academic debate until someone loses a son .

  6. I highly recommend the Book “Cool It: The Skeptical Environmentalist’s Guide to Global Warming” by Bjørn Lomborg. It’s a calm, reasonable and thoughtful treatment of the global warming question. I guess what I like best about the book is that Lomborg manages to (respecfully and politely) put the concerns about global warming into proper perspective – which is difficult to do with all the hype and emotion surrounding it. Check out the book if you have a chance.

  7. I believe it is both- to what degree, I can’t say. All the human activity on earth must contribute. I am sure climate would have been different if humans never existed. But we have had cyclical changes, out of our control, since the beginning of earth’s existence.

  8. A friend of mine just commented today, “Regardless of the cause(s), there definitely is climate change occurring. And it’s too late to reverse it. We should be putting our energies into learning how to adapt to it.”

  9. Geoff, I also believe that global warming (now known as “climate change”) is cyclical over long periods of time. From what I have read scientists have proved that the earth has warmed and cooled over the millenia – long before there were fossil-fueled machines or the bulging population of humans that roam the earth now. I have yet to read how global warming supporters explain how the earth warmed enough centuries ago to allow farming in Greenland without the influence of today’s level of society.

  10. wow, I’m actually surprised Geoff is not human-induced global warming proponent.. good for him, I’m glad to see people in the industry that at least are willing to admit there more research to be done in this field.

  11. It absolutely blows my mind how someone with such a scientific mind and appreciation for science in every other area can be a wholesale denier of human-induced climate change acceleration. Yes, climate is cyclical, but the facts overwhelmingly show that man-made carbon emissions are accelerating the rate of the earth’s current warming cycle at an alarming rate. (For a good overview, see and visit all the embedded links)

    Climate-change denial is also putting huge roadblocks in front of the movement to sustainable energy. Moving away from fossil fuels in favor of sustainable energy sources (e.g. wind, solar) is just plain common sense.

    Those who insist upon keeping their blinders on are contributing to the premature extinction of life on earth as we know it. Which I know sounds radical and alarmist, but is the simple truth.

    1. Smoe –

      I am not a denier. I am a skeptic. There’s a significant amount of room between those two.

      I’ve said many times I am still behind most of the societal changes proposed by GW advocates. I want the environment pristine in the abstract, not because I believe we’re melting down!

  12. Glad someone’s got the guts to be a skeptic, Geoff.

    Four things.
    1. The human race has a huge ego to think that they can manage to affect everything.
    2. Any sort of recorded weather history goes back maybe a couple hundred years. Detecting a trend in such a small sample (compared to how long the planet has been here) is ridiculous.
    3. Has anyone considered that when the climate changes (whether natural or man-made), then for every place where the weather gets worse, there will probably be a place where the weather gets better? (Perhaps the smart folks are buying up cheap land in Greenland.)
    4. I think we might have a lot bigger problem brewing that’s being signaled by all these earthquakes and volcanoes. 🙁

    1. 1. people said we couldn’t deplete the hardwood forests. We did. People said we couldn’t collapse ocean fisheries. We have. People said we couldn’t pollute the atmosphere, we did (look at the smog of the 60’s and 70’s, look at the current depletion of ozone). There is a long history of humanity dirtying its environment to the point of damage to civilization. As we have advanced technologically our ability to dirty and damage has increased. It is not ego at all to think we can damage the atmosphere and affect climate. It is science. It is proven foolishness to think we cannot damage the earth through thoughtless action.
      2. Through the study of ice cores, tree rings, fossilized tree rings, sediment cores from lakes and ocean bottoms, gasses trapped in glacial ice,and much more, we are able to draw strong conclusions about climate (not “weather”, there’s a big difference) going back tens of thousands of years. And the reality of recent climate change is substantiated through a whole lot more than weather records. It cannot be said enough, this has absolutely nothing to do with local weather, it has absolutely nothing to do with how cold or hot a particular season is. This is about the average temperature of the atmosphere and the oceans and the effect that will have on other phenomena.
      3. Have you thought about what happens as the deserts grow? What happens when the tropical glaciers, which provide drinking and irrigation water for tons of people are gone? Have you thought about the extinctions that are going to happen as populations of plants and animals run out of more northerly lands or higher elevations to shift to (this is already being observed). Have you thought about how the coastal lands of Greenland will be flooded as the ice sheet melts and sea level rises? It is not just aobut “good weather” and “bad weather”. The US military has already commissioned reports on how to deal with social breakdown as a result of climate change. If they take it seriously shouldn’t you?

      1. 4. As for the odd comment on earthquakes and volcanoes, there are no more of those occurring than are statistically expected. It is a pretty fixed number, they just have been clustered and in unfortunately populated places. The “end times” are not here, and never will be.

  13. It’s fascinating to see how many posters are “shocked” that Geoff is, as one poster puts it, “a wholesale denier of human-induced climate change acceleration”. (That is a mouthful) The man is actually sticking his neck out there as a skeptic of human induced global warming. Do you know how many meteorologists feel the same way he does? Most of them feel the same way. You heard right. Most side with Geoff but they would be committing career and political suicide if they spoke against human induced global warming. There is no hard evidence that humans are impacting the Earth’s climate on a global scale. It’s a lie and a big one. Look at the cover of Al Gore’s movie, An Inconvenient Truth. It displays a hurricane being connected to a smokestack. He toured college campuses to packed houses with huge pictures of Hurricane Katrina asking if we want a repeat of what happened in Louisiana. Hurricanes come in cycles. Go to this link for me.
    You will clearly see the National Hurricane Center record. There is no increase in storms or intensity hitting the United States over the past 150 years. This one fact may be eye opening for some of you.

  14. I agree, Geoff. Skepticism is the way to go. I actually just wrote a paper a year or two ago on how no evidence backs anthropogenic global warming.

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