Global Warming, one more time

About a month ago, I joined everyone and their hippy mothers by writing a post expressing my concern about global warming. Since then, there's been a heavy flow of writing around the subject. Notable events included:

* The IPCC releasing a summary report [pdf] stating that it is "very likely" that climate change is caused by human activity. For those wondering wtf "very likely" actually means, it means better than 90%, which is pretty freaking likely.
* The US speculating that "putting a giant screen into orbit, thousands of tiny, shiny balloons, or microscopic sulphate droplets pumped into the high atmosphere to mimic the cooling effects of a volcanic eruption" could be a possible means of dealing with global warming. [via The Guardian, report is here in pdf format]
* The NOAA coming out and saying that 2006 was the "Warmest year on record"
* Vinod Khosla saying, "He should see his proctologist to find his head, and you can quote me," referring to the chief executive of Nestle, the food giant, who had questioned global warming. [Link via Valleywag]

There's still a substantial amount of resistance to the whole global warming thing, which I find pretty surprising. For a random sampling, check out these responses to Fred Wilson's blog, or the comments on this Arstechnica article.

Without being a climate expert, it's hard for me to join in the fray and provide long-winded proofs of anything. I can, however, point to the fact that there seem to be people on the "we're not doing it" side that seem to be actively trying to manipulate the conversation so as to change the way that this story plays out [article here, same as above]. While I'm sure there are very intelligent people that believe that anthropogenic climate change is just a mass-media conspiracy, I find myself made increasingly skeptical by the fact that they need to cover things up in order to make their point.

The American Enterprise Institute just sent out a letter offering scientists $10,000 plus travel expenses to write criticisms of the IPCC's findings. The paper they hope to sponsor will "thoughtfully explore the limitations of climate model [forecasting] outputs as they pertain to the development of climate policy..." The letter goes on to criticize the IPCC for being "resistant to reasonable criticism and dissent and prone to summary conclusions that are poorly supported by the analytical work."

Some scientists have criticized the letter, as it is actively soliciting papers with a particular outcome. The American Enterprise Institute receives funding from Exxon ($240k in 2005, $1.6m in total), which they claim represents less than 1% of their total funding. More than 20 of its staff members have worked as consultants for the Bush administration. Lee Raymond, a former ExxonMobil head, is the vice chairman on their board of trustees.

The Exxon connection is considered significant, as there is a widespread perception that Exxon is actively funding agencies in an effort to cloud public perception on the dangers of public warming. To date, Exxon has spent $16m on funding for 43 "organizations that seek to confuse the public on global warming science," according to the Union of Concerned Scientists.

[Sources: CNN and the Guardian]


  1. Anonymous said...

    I need to get on this.  

  2. Eagle in NYC said...

    Dear Emily Litella,

    Feel free to post your "Never mind" retraction at your earliest convenience.  


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