Guest Column: Is it hot in here or is it just confusing? Climate-change issue muddled

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“Anyone who isn’t confused really doesn’t understand the situation.”

– Edward R. Murrow

I’m usually not one to get easily confused, unless I have been given instructions by my wife. Somehow they always get scrambled.

You would think that information coming from well-respected scientists who live and breathe real facts every day would be easy to understand. However, somewhere along the way, a thick fog set in over the discussion about global warming. For every opinion on one side, there is an opinion on the other side. And both sides say they have the facts to back them up! What are we to do?

I’M NOT A SCIENTIST, but I do remember from my public-school science class in Thomson that a long time ago there was something called the Ice Age. Woolly mammoths and such creatures roamed the planet. It was really cold!

However, something changed. We no longer go out into the back yard to chip out a block of ice to cool our tea. We have to get it from a refrigerator. That’s because the ice melted. Earth was getting warmer, and it has continued to warm.

The big argument today revolves around the extent to which humans are responsible for changing the climate. We no longer can blame it on the woolly mammoth.

Global warming got my attention again when a report by some scientists from the University of Hawaii at Manoa was published in the journal Nature. The authors predict that, by 2047, temperatures around the globe will be hotter than they’ve been everywhere since before the Civil War.

ONE OF THE authors, Camilo Mora, is quoted as saying that “the coldest year in the future will be warmer than the hottest year in the past.” A statement like that can quickly get your attention, especially when you factor in the cost of air conditioning.

I wanted to see just what this would mean to Augusta. How hot is it getting here? How hot is the new cold going to be? Right away, the facts have me confused.

The average high temperature for October in Augusta is 77 degrees. The average low temperature is 52 degrees. To put that in perspective, it’s cooler here now than it was in 1950, when the average high was 80 degrees and the low was 55 degrees.

To look at it another way, the mean temperature is 64.5 degrees, which means there are as many warmer days as there are colder days. In 1950, the mean temperature was near 67 degrees.

So, now I’m really confused. If you follow the thinking of the folks in Hawaii, the average low temperature in October in Augusta will be 77 degrees in 24 years. What are we to make of this – especially when it is cooler here now than it was almost 65 years ago?

THAT MAY BE generously overstating the evolution of our climate, but it points out the clouded atmosphere in which the global warming debate is occurring. Many researchers focus on the polar regions, and map a shrinking ice cap. More recently, though, we’ve gotten reports of growing ice caps, along with increasing polar bear populations in the north and more penguins in the south.

The new report from Dr. Mora’s colleagues in Hawaii suggests growing risks from global warming in the tropics. It’s good information to add into the mix. Respected publications such as National Review, National Geographic and Mother Jones all take us in different directions with their analyses.

SOME WELL-MEANING folks warn us that global warming is a conspiracy theory. More than a third of American voters believe it’s a hoax. But then, nearly as many folks believe aliens exist.

Most scientists agree with my science teacher in the Thomson public schools that the planet has gotten warmer since the Ice Age. There’s even a more recent number to back that up. Average temperatures around the world have climbed 1.4 degrees since 1880. Granted, much of that increase has come in recent times, but it flattened out in 1998.

The United Nations has been trying for years to get a global agreement to limit human activity that may contribute to a warming environment. The world’s big polluters won’t sign on for obvious economic reasons. That didn’t stop mayors in the United States in the past decade from forming their own coalition to address climate issues in their cities.

We’ve all heard about greenhouse gases, carbon footprints and the other terms scientists and advocates toss around. They’re the group that keeps driving the progressive environmental agenda advocated by the president and his Environmental Protection Agency.

NO ONE WILL argue against clean air – just like we all endorse clean water. But competing claims about how hot it is, who’s responsible (if anyone is) and how that will affect us do nothing to clear the air.

It really just leaves us – well, confused.

(The writer – Augusta’s mayor from 1999 to 2005, and a former assistant deputy secretary for the U.S. Depart­ment of Hou­sing and Urban De­vel­op­ment – is retiring at the end of this year as president and chief executive officer of the South­eastern Natural Sci­ences Aca­demy, the research and education arm of Phinizy Swamp Nature Park.)

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Riverman1
86855
Points
Riverman1 12/29/13 - 07:15 am
6
3
Ice Age is Coming

Ole Bob Young is like me, he likes to write about most anything. Yup, the issue of climate change is confusing, but a couple of things we all agree on. The earth has been warmer than it is now. Plus, another Ice Age is coming no matter what we do. The last one was 18,000 years ago I read. If you check maps of the last Ice Age, you will see the glaciers didn't come this far. They stopped in the northeastern U.S. Maybe our emphasis should be on warming things up enough to prevent the glaciers from knocking over skyscrapers in New York instead of worrying about global warming? But realize both goals are exercises in futility.

WalterBradfordCannon
1487
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WalterBradfordCannon 12/29/13 - 07:49 am
4
4
There is a reason for the

There is a reason for the confusion, and it is competing interests that are "marketing" their own science. So, how can you separate the wheat from the chaff? Instead of trying to interpret the climate science yourself, you could do what Lincoln suggested. Have a group of nationally eminent scientists convene the best and brightest scientists working on climate change, and let them provide such an interpretation. Legislate this group into reality and give them an official role to provide guidance on science for national policy. As it turns out, this group is called the National Academy of Science. And, as it turns out, they have released many policy papers on climate change. They are far more reliable than a single scientist, or than a pop columnist in getting things right. Many of them have written a recent policy paper that notes the pace of increase in temperature right now exceeds than of any known climate caused mass extinction event on earth. The Polar Ice Cap is predicted to be devoid of ice in the summer within 5 years (I don't think this will be good for the polar bears). But if you want to read what these scientists who write papers for official scientific guidance of public policy say, it is all free online at

http://www.nap.edu/collection.php?id=34
(Register with your email address and you can download PDFs of any title free).

Science is a tricky business. People spend many years becoming educated enough to make good judgments on the existing state of science. And that's what makes the National Academies so valuable. They will issue consensus statements targeting the laypeople, so that everyone can understand the impact that different issues in science could have on public policy. Of course, their findings are only guidance - politicians are still free to choose whether to use it, or not. But I generally find that guiding my choices by science works out better in the long run than not doing so.

Riverman1
86855
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Riverman1 12/29/13 - 08:25 am
6
3
Walter, I hope you didn't put

Walter, I hope you didn't put any credence in THEIR hockey stick graph that was proven to be wrong.

ymnbde
10016
Points
ymnbde 12/29/13 - 09:27 am
4
3
by their funding shall we know them

by our gullibility do they know us
the complexity is suspended
because the science is too complex for the typical tv format
so it's been transformed into political science
and that really isn't so confusing
if there is global warming, and it is caused by man
the political scientists (posing as real scientists) get funding
if there is no global warming caused by man
their huge bureaucracy does not get funded
the real scientific evidence shows that global warming is a hoax
perpetrated by the political
really, they can't run a simple website
they graduate high school kids who read at an 8th grade level
yet they're to be trusted in matters as complex as weather?

gaflyboy
5035
Points
gaflyboy 12/29/13 - 09:59 am
4
3
Science without politics

seems to be impossible with too many scientists. Just look at the proposed (and imposed) solutions.

Carbon credits: translation "Oh! You have money? Carry on!" IE - wealth redistribution. Does nothing for the environment or climate.

EPA regulations: Gives government the ability to control our lives by telling us what appliances, light bulbs and roofing materials we must use. What we may or may not do on our property. That we may no longer have coal as an energy option. That we must use gasoline that damages our vehicles. That we cannot have a pipeline, but instead must use trucks and rail, even though those forms of transportation are more hazardous to the environment.

IF we could figure out who is seeking answers purely scientifically without political considerations, it would certainly be helpful.

Well written article Mr. Young.

deestafford
28637
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deestafford 12/29/13 - 11:09 am
2
2
Well now. Let's look at some facts:

Well now. Let's look at some facts:

--Global hurricane intensity is at a 50 year low.

--There were more landfall hurricanes in the USA in the first half of the 20th century than in the last half.

--The 2013 Atlantic hurricane season was the second lowest in 30 years.

--The 2013 tornado season was the weakest on record.

--The US forest fire season was the second lowest on record.

--There is almost no net loss of sea ice when ice at both poles are added.

--Antarctica has the most ice ever recorded in Sep '13, the ice there has been growing for 30 years. It has 90% of the earth's land ice with an average temperature of -55*.

--If the entire North Pole, Artic, ice melted the ocean would not rise an inch since the ice is floating ice.

--Greenland has 10% of the earths' land ice. Temperatures were up to 8*F warmer in the past 10,000 years and the ice did not melt then, it won't now.

--Polar bear population is highest ever recorded with 400% increase since 1950.

--In geological history CO2 has never been a driver of climate.

--CO2 levels were higher in 80% of the past 600 million years.

--CO2 levels were 12 times higher than today in the dinosaur period.

--There were three ice ages with more CO2 than today. One had 15 times more and one had 5 times more.

--CO2 is called a "pollutant" when in reality CO2 is essential for life on earth. If CO2 levels were cut in half it would be close to the level where there would be no photosynthesis. Plants would not grow and most life on earth would perish.

--If CO2 levels double, plants grow more quickly by as much as 50%. Plants evolved in periods when there was more CO2 which requires less moisture and results in less drought.

--Geophysicists estimate three volcanic eruptions, Indonesia (1883), Alaska (1913), and Iceland (1917) spewed more CO2 and SO2 into the atmosphere than all man made in history.

What the entire climate/global warming push is about is power and redistribution of wealth from the productive nations/individuals to the less productive.

When you look at the list of "scientists" who support global warming and look at their fields of study you find that the majority of them have no background in anything related to the field of climate science. Compare that list to the list of those who rightfully deny global warming and you will see 180* difference in qualifications of expertise.

deestafford
28637
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deestafford 12/29/13 - 11:26 am
2
2
There's always this talk about how "fragile" the earth is.

There's always this talk about how "fragile" the earth is when the talkers want to limit our freedoms to protect it. Let's look at how this old earth has withstood some pretty tough situations and still keeps keeping on.

In 1883 Krakatoa erupted with 200 megatons TNT equivalent which is equal to 13,300 of the 15KT atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima in 1945.

In 1815, Tambora, the largest known eruption in recorded history sent so much debris into the atmosphere that 1816 was known as "The year without summer". There were crop failures and deaths in the northern hemisphere resulting in the worst famine of the 19th century.

In AD 535, Krakatora blocked light and heat from the sun for 18 months.

This shows volcanic eruptions can't destroy this "fragile" planet. Then throw in floods, earthquakes, and asteroid strikes and if those destructions can't do it---it's impossible for man to damage the planet. Oh, I forgot to mention hurricanes, tornadoes, lightening strike fires, blizzards, landslides, and avalanches.

Don't confuse pollution with climate. Also, always look at the cost of taking some "it's-good-for-our-health" action than will increase clean air, clean water or what have you from 95% to 97% and ask if that 2% increase is economically worth it. It only is for those who are not footing the bill.

carcraft
27005
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carcraft 12/29/13 - 11:38 am
2
2
President Obama stated a few

President Obama stated a few months past, the rate of earth's temperature is increasing faster than at any time in history "! I don't think he said period at the end so he may have actually thought this was true. A few weeks later Congress convened a panel of "Climate Change Scientists and experts ". Not one of the scientists pr experts would affirm Obama's statement. The global warming crowd started their measurements after the start of the mini ice age in the 1200's. Prior to that mini ice age Greenland was, well, green. Mining was occurring in the Alps where glaciers now reside. This period of time was called the "Medieval Warming period ". Well if you are going to measure climate change starting at one of the warm points or the cold points? Well Global warming "scientist "started at a cold point, end of the mini ice age. Phil Jones of East Angelia University admits the Medieval warming period may have been warmer than now. Of course there is a warming trend, we have been coming out of an ice age for 800 years! We now may be heading back into one!

carcraft
27005
Points
carcraft 12/29/13 - 12:14 pm
2
2
I read an editorial in the

I read an editorial in the Augusta Chronicle years ago entitled "The Train has Left the Station ". The editorial basically asserted that climate change skeptics were akin to flat earthers. I started researching and found out about a French Scientist, Dr. Claude Allegre. He is impeccably credentialed. Member of French Academy of Science. Honory member of American Academy of Science. Climate and weather expert who worked with NASA on moon launches. The more I looked into it the more sckeptical I became . Then the E-mails between Phil Jones and Micheal Mann were released that demonstrated a concerted effort to limit enquiry into opposing veiws. The web site "Watts Up With That " further pointed out the Foley of "Global Warming. The hypocrisy of "Gulf Stream environmentalists " like Gore demonstrated to me they don't even believe their own rhetoric. If the oceans are going to raise and ocean storms get worse all due to green house gas why would you buy an expensive Mansion by the beach that takes enough energy to power the eastern sea board?

blues550
380
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blues550 12/29/13 - 02:15 pm
0
0
But the point is...
Unpublished

The real point of the article, which is amusingly inane, is to somehow keep Cut N Run Young in the news.

WalterBradfordCannon
1487
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WalterBradfordCannon 12/29/13 - 03:14 pm
4
4
The problem is everyone wants

The problem is everyone wants to think they are smart enough to interpret the data on climate science. The problem is that few are smart enough, and almost none of those have the relevant training. Riverman1, the hockey-stick graph was not a product of the National Academies of Science. They DO enlist the help of people smart enough, and with the relevant training, to make a statement on climate science. It is incredibly egotistical and narcissistic to think you know more than they do about climate science because you can spout a half dozen statistics. They are specifically asked by the Academies to interpret ALL relevant data. Just go to their site, and read what they have to say about it. It is as close to an unbiased opinion as you are going to get.

deestafford
28637
Points
deestafford 12/29/13 - 03:54 pm
1
2
If the global warmists are so accurate and smart...

If the global warmists are so accurate and smart why have no of their models even be able to predict the current climate using their models and assumptions? If they can't predict the present, how can they use the same models to predict the future?

Now Riverman and I may or may not be as "smart" as those "experts" but both he and I can read, study, and interpret all sides of the issue and come to the conclusion of hundreds of climate credentialed scientists that global warming is a hoax.

Many of these "expert" global warmists exist only on the funding they get from those who have a vested interest in wealth distribution in the name of "saving the planet"...which doesn't need saving.

Bulldog
1333
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Bulldog 12/29/13 - 04:27 pm
1
2
I have never bought into the claims

I have never bought into the claims by any of the "Henny-Penny" crowd because they have never published anything in the way of data sets that even begin to suggest global warming, much less who is responsible. All we get are "interpretations". When the conclusions become so cryptic that we need someone else to interpret them for us, when I have to be just a bit skeptical... I have used complex statistical analysis all my professional life to control sophisticated testing systems. I know BS when I smell it...

Bizkit
32894
Points
Bizkit 12/29/13 - 04:38 pm
5
1
I have no doubt the climate

I have no doubt the climate is changing-that is the history of this planet. But I doubt there is anything we can about it now. Most estimates are decades to hundreds of years for a major shift in policy to have any effect. The good news is the earth will continue and so will life-cold spells or warm spells life continues-just maybe not us. If we humans are the culprit the problem will likely solve itself with our demise. It is inevitable the human
"species" will become extinct-all species are predicted to become extinct on average so many million years or so. Dinosaurs were like the Roman Empire of life and lasted a long time-doubtful we humans will last as long.

WalterBradfordCannon
1487
Points
WalterBradfordCannon 12/29/13 - 05:38 pm
3
1
I somewhat agree, bizkit.

I somewhat agree, bizkit. Anyone who has used complex statistical analysis all his professional life AND has looked at the various data sets would be pretty clear on the issues. And dee stafford, the remarkable thing about the climate change scientists is how accurate their models HAVE been - and again this is something you could assess by looking at their models and predictions and comparing them to reality. Global temperatures are spot on, Arctic sea ice loss is much greater than predicted, and sea level rise is on the upper end of what is predicted (most of that comes from changes in water density with temperature, not from ice melting).

Denying the obvious, that the climate IS warming, and that the balance of the evidence strongly suggests humans are the major factor, is silly. What can be done about it, given the climate of political cooperation across nations (or lack thereof), is something else.

But I forget. Basing ones beliefs on scientific findings is a bastion of the liberal elite, and should be disregarded in favor of one's own gut instincts, or truthiness.

allhans
24005
Points
allhans 12/29/13 - 07:00 pm
3
1
Nothing new here.....

Nothing new here.....

carcraft
27005
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carcraft 12/29/13 - 09:10 pm
1
0
Walter, why the lack of

Walter, why the lack of warming for the last ten or so years? Why was the Medieval warming period warmer than now dispite an increase in green house gas? Why are climate scientists continually wrong in thier predictions? Why are we now at the point where global warming models are at their extreme end of statistical significance? Oh I know, we just believe the junk science right?

carcraft
27005
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carcraft 12/29/13 - 09:30 pm
1
0
Little Lamb
46903
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Little Lamb 12/29/13 - 09:37 pm
3
0
Smoke and Mirrors

WalterBradfordCannon posted:

Science is a tricky business.

Real science is not tricky. But junk science that pretends to predict the future is tricks, magic, fortune telling, quackery, etc.

WalterBradfordCannon posted:

Many [scientists of the National Academy of Science] have written a recent policy paper that notes the pace of increase in temperature right now exceeds than of any known climate caused mass extinction event on earth.

The problem is that there is no known climate-caused mass extinction event on earth, ever. Such a thing cannot be known. It can be postulated, it can be theorized, it can be asserted out of thin air, it can be debated, it can be a tenet of faith. But no one can know such a thing.

Little Lamb
46903
Points
Little Lamb 12/29/13 - 10:11 pm
1
0
A Little More Pollution

Try reading this for another perspective:

More Pollution

The trouble about predicting the future is that things keep changing on you.

Read it slowly and thoughtfully. The concluding three paragraphs need to be thoroughly digested.

carcraft
27005
Points
carcraft 12/29/13 - 10:15 pm
1
0
When climate scientists

When climate scientists predicted increased storms, didn't happen. Predicted rare snow in England, it snowed. The Best study seems to indicate no warming for the last ten years. Climate scientests testifying before Congress would not sware under oath thatt temperature is increased more rapidly over the last ten years as Obama stated.

harley_52
23959
Points
harley_52 12/29/13 - 10:35 pm
0
0
Global Warming Is A Myth...

...created by left-wing ideologues hell bent on all the typical buzzwords (income equality, social justice, etc.). The goal is to rob the rich and reward the poor, all while making the ruling class fabulously wealthy and exempt from the very rules they create for the rest of us.

The best scientific evidence available indicates the earth is cooling, not warming. No matter. The cultists insist the cooling is the result of, you guessed it, global warming.

We are not dealing with a scientific, or climatic issue here. It's a political issue. You will never convince the ideologues the earth isn't warming because their political agenda is advanced by warming being a "fact."

It isn't, but it doesn't matter.

Vote wisely.

Little Lamb
46903
Points
Little Lamb 12/29/13 - 10:39 pm
1
0
Vote Libertarian

You've got to reject both the Democrat and the Republican parties. John McCain endorsed Man-Made Global Warming, and Mitt Romney punted on the issue.

Little Lamb
46903
Points
Little Lamb 12/29/13 - 10:46 pm
1
0
Shame

This factoid provided to us by deestafford should bring shame upon the Obama administration, because his EPA Director declared CO2 a pollutant:

--CO2 is called a "pollutant" when in reality CO2 is essential for life on earth. If CO2 levels were cut in half it would be close to the level where there would be no photosynthesis. Plants would not grow and most life on earth would perish.

CO2 is not a pollutant. Instead it should be called a "nutrient" because it is the essential molecule that allows green plant growth.

But,let's face it, the Obama administration has no shame.

carcraft
27005
Points
carcraft 12/29/13 - 10:56 pm
0
0
Little lamb, of course he has

Little lamb, of course he has no shame, Obama lied over 30 times to the American people to pass his health bill. Nothing happens with out CO2. Try making bread with out CO2 production. Try making alcohol with out CO2 production. Manufacture anything or exercise with out CO2, can't happen. If law allows control of CO2 you can control life.

corgimom
34022
Points
corgimom 12/29/13 - 11:33 pm
0
0
The global warming thing is

The global warming thing is just the latest fad.

Remember Zero Population Growth?

Little Lamb
46903
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Little Lamb 12/29/13 - 11:45 pm
0
0
Carl Sagan

How about Carl Sagan's nuclear winter?

carcraft
27005
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carcraft 12/30/13 - 06:40 am
0
0
Corgimom, this isn't the

Corgimom, this isn't the latest thing, this is a power grab to put our necks under the extreme boot of tyranny!

Asteroid Miner
2
Points
Asteroid Miner 12/30/13 - 08:03 am
0
0
Money spent to confuse you

"Institutionalizing delay: foundation funding and the creation of U.S. climate change counter-movement organizations"
http://drexel.edu/%7E/media/Files/now/pdfs/Institutionalizing%20Delay%20...

The fossil fuel industry is hiding the billion dollars it spends each year now, to cover up Global Warming.

Truth: Some time in the first half of the 2050s, there won't be any food in the grocery store. Your children and grandchildren are going to die of starvation because Global Warming makes the rain come at the wrong time.

harley_52
23959
Points
harley_52 12/30/13 - 11:53 am
0
0
"The Sky Is Falling"...

It's all the fault of the United States, especially white males there.

We owe the world reparations.

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