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  • By Chris Megerian

    In the two decades since Ben Santer helped write a landmark international report linking global warming and human activity, he’s been criticized by politicians, accused of falsifying his d […]

    • When I read articles concerning Donald Trump I always get the feeling he may be more open to persuasion than at first appears. The two difficulties are that he is often starting from a position very different to the average politician and has a somewhat unusual world veiw that is somehow parallel to much conventional wisdom but not necessarily in opposition to it.

      This means to me that Ben Santer has exactly the right idea but will have to find ways of getting to present the case and in the right way to match Trump’s way of thinking, so he actually understands what’s being presented and ergo, it is right. If that can’t be done then Trump will conclude it really must be a hoax after all.

      I don’t envy Mr Santer’s position in this, if he actually gets the chance to tackle Trump properly, there’s a huge responsibility involved to get the argument right.

    • @OP – “Imagine, if you will, that you devoted your entire career to doing one thing. Doing it as well as you possibly can,” Santer said. “And someone comes along and says everything you’ve done is worthless.”

      Worthless self-deluding ignorant people do this all the time! –
      Disparaging other people is how they boost their egos and bolster their delusions of superiority!

      You only have to look at the profoundly delusionally ignorant – like Ham and Hovind, disparaging the world’s top expert scientists across a whole range of subjects – biology genetics, nuclear physics, geology, astronomy, cosmology – to realise that actual talent, expertise, years of study and professionalism, has no merit in the psychologically projected closed minded backward mentality of such people!

    • Tim Smith,
      I often times have the same feeling. It is almost as if he thumped his chest and swore at the sky the entire time he ran and swung the shit head vote his way. Then, when it comes time to do anything at all that he promised during campaign, he shrugs and says “we’ll see”.

      The issue that I have is that I do not think it actually matters. Here is what I “read between his lines”:
      His stance that global warming is not true as described by science is actually his saying “money profits and commerce take a top priority with me and i do not give a damn if my profits fuck up your earth.” however, he realizes that if he says this he sounds like a greedy prick. If he just jumps onto the tagline that it is undecided, he gets to loot the earth and not look like a prick. Well, let’s be honest he IS a prick.

      BTW, i think that a large percentage of the climate change deniers are poured from this stock. They have stake is exploiting the resources that earth offers and the hell with everyone’s “science”. I’d respect and understand them much more if they’d just say that instead of venturing to criticize sound science and career scientists who are doing fine work.

    • Except for some very stupid people, there are no true climate change deniers. The Koch brothers, for example, are well aware of the climate change mechanism. It is just they are old. What matters to them is marginal profits from sunset fossil fuel investments. What happens 10 years plus from now does not matter. They will be dead.

      Trump took millions of dollars from the Koch brothers to pretend to be a climate change denier. What we have to convince Trump of is delay is suicidal. It is not worth millions of Koch dollars. The catch is Trump has already taken the money. He has already spent it. He can’t give it back.

    • There are certain simple incontrovertible easy to comprehend aspects of global warming, which if yours truly can grasp anyone can if, that is, they’re willing to heed unwelcome news.

      Volcanoes are a natural source of CO2, and it’s known how much they produce annually, about 200 million tons, but the total amount occurring each year is in excess around 29 billion tons, and the only other source for that magnitude is the burning of fossil fuels by humans.

      If however, those straight forward facts are unacceptable to anyone then the case can be opened out to include Carbon decay rates, the effects of Cosmic Rays on Neutrons and Protons etc, but I think that when it comes to the crunch that’ll prove unnecessary.

      Er, unless of course…

    • What is truly tragic is that all these scientists who claim that the earths atmosphere is gradually getting warmer display either total ignorance of human ecology or they in fact are the deniers.

      What is needed is a thorough examination of the BASIC CAUSE of climate change and to stop dwelling on the symptoms (ie: global warming). Yes, global warming is completely verified by climatologists around the world. The evidence is there and cannot be denied. But global warming is a RESULT not a basic cause. Global warming is the cause of many environmental problems. However it is overpopulation that is the basic cause of global warming and unless we address this problem, ALL efforts to solve environmental problems will be simply pouring water uphill.

      Ignoring human population growth is the real denying, and those who ignore population growth are the real deniers. If population growth deniers continue to dominate our politics, religions, schools, media, and by others who are wealthy and powerful, we will march relentlessly toward global destruction regardless of all efforts to solve environmental problems.

    • cbrown @ # 9

      The Earth’s population has indeed approximately doubled in the last seventy or so years and that increase undoubtedly contributes to the amount of fossil fuels being burnt now, but although that burning is a corollary of population growth, it’s the amount of CO2 which causes warming, not the number of people, the same number of individuals could burn a lot less carboniferous material; from which it follows that although we need to control the size of the population, it alone, isn’t the primary cause of global warming, the excess of carbon 14 is.

      I’ve attempted to understand the published data sets, but their sheer number is bewildering to a non-scientist like myself, however, I think there’s a correlative pattern concerning fossil fuel use since circa 1850 and solar activity during that time span, but quite what that amounts to I have no idea!

    • cbrown #9: What is truly tragic is that all these scientists who claim that the earths atmosphere is gradually getting warmer display either total ignorance of human ecology or they in fact are the deniers.
      What is needed is a thorough examination of the BASIC CAUSE of climate change and to stop dwelling on the symptoms (ie: global warming). Yes, global warming is completely verified by climatologists around the world. The evidence is there and cannot be denied. But global warming is a RESULT not a basic cause. Global warming is the cause of many environmental problems. However it is overpopulation that is the basic cause of global warming and unless we address this problem, ALL efforts to solve environmental problems will be simply pouring water uphill.

      cbrown says it all. Some comprehensive combination of conservation, recycling, weather-proofing, fuel effciency, renewable energy infrastructure and world population reduction and stabilization at [arguably] around 2.5 to 3.5 billion people would probably achieve a favorable outcome.

      Stafford Gordon #10: The Earth’s population has indeed approximately doubled in the last seventy or so years … Actually world population is closer to tripling in those 70 years

    • Can a federal government scientist in California convince Trump that climate change is real?

      Answer: Yes, it’s possible; but he still won’t do anything about it. Trump is interested primarily in his own self-aggrandizement, and has proven himself to be an irresponsible and unstable man. Got that? Public pressure might have some effect, but that is unlikely as well.

    • However it is overpopulation that is the basic cause of global warming and unless we address this problem, ALL efforts to solve environmental problems will be simply pouring water uphill.

      Agreed but overpopulation will not be solved before climate change drastically and dramatically reduces population. Even if we adopted a world wide 1 child policy to deal with overpopulation the results would take generations to fix. We don’t have that long with climate change. I completely agree that population is the biggest issue, we could all burn coal and petrol to our hearts content if there were only 100 of us. Trouble is short of slaughtering billions the population problem is something that will have to be worked out of a longer time frame than climate change gives us. Both issue need dealing with obviously.

      Ignoring human population growth is the real denying, and those who ignore population growth are the real deniers. If population growth deniers continue to dominate our politics, religions, schools, media, and by others who are wealthy and powerful, we will march relentlessly toward global destruction regardless of all efforts to solve environmental problems.

      Who out of the worlds climate scientists, environmental scientists is arguing that human population is not an issue? No-one as far as I can tell doesn’t tell. Don’t create a straw-man. I have believed that overpopulation and overconsumption has been an issue since I’m a teenager, this has been generally supported by all the public intellectuals from David Attenbourgh to David Suzuki, all the climate scientists I have read on the subject likewise acknowledge the issue even those who have become famous promoting doing something about climate change like Tim Flannery wrote a whole book the future eaters on the problems with overloading the environment with larger populations than an environment can support. I know of no scientific deniers just pragmatists that know the time line for dealing with climate change is now. bringing down population to avert this particular crisis needed to happen several generations ago. We need to reduce consumption, encourage low populations and deal with eliminating carbon from the atmosphere now.

    • overpopulation will not be solved before climate change drastically and dramatically reduces population. Even if we adopted a world wide 1 child policy to deal with overpopulation the results would take generations to fix. We don’t have that long with climate change.

      How long do we have, Reckless Monkey?

      Who out of the worlds climate scientists, environmental scientists is arguing that human population is not an issue? No-one as far as I can tell doesn’t tell. Don’t create a straw-man. I have believed that overpopulation and overconsumption has been an issue since I’m a teenager, this has been generally supported by all the public intellectuals from David Attenbourgh to David Suzuki,

      Reckless Monkey. Technically you’re right. Few scientists are obtuse enough to “argue” but they feel embarrassed talking about overbreeding because it nibbbles at the edge of reproductive rights “principles”; affronts our myoptic narcissism nurtured by a sense of exceptionalism , and questions our place at the center of the universe transcending mere animal nature. How many articles appear on this RDF site devoted to overpopulation? We all seem hopelessly preoccupied with nailing some backwoods congressman in a drive by shooting for denying global warming then sounding off like Tarzan in a B-movie. cbrown hit the nail on the head when he said, [unless we reduce overpopulation] “ALL efforts to solve environmental problems will be simply pouring water uphill.”

      As for over-consumption, I generally agree we westerners could live simpler lives in smaller houses, drive smaller cars (bicycle or walk); consume less energy and resources, accumulate fewer non-essential goods. It’s called conservation. But the concept hits a brick wall when we compare various standards of living in a world where the vast majority standards of living, relative to ours, are uncomfortably “austere’ at best and painfully “poor” at worst. There is probably no such thing as a ‘right” level of consumption that could be universally applied on a global basis. Beyond meeting the”necessities” of life we could never agree on satisfying various evaluated creature comforts.

    • Hi Melvin,

      We’ve covered this before and I think we mostly agree. Our consumption is far to high in the west. We can have a high standard of living and consume far less, for example I brought an electric bike to save my wife driving me to school, I could have brought a second car. The bike is exponentially cheaper to buy, run and register and uses far less power and I think is far more enjoyable than driving, it’s relaxing, I get some exercise but not so much that I end up a sweaty stinky mess riding. So this is the sort of thing we all need to be doing, it doesn’t have to reduce your standard of living. We probably largely agree so far.

      Population particularly in the West has brought on the problems of global warming and things like the hole in the Ozone layer. But like the hole in the ozone layer mitigating (solving is too strong a word there is still a large hole hovering over Antarctica but it isn’t getting bigger – and that) in the short term is about all we can hope with global warming.

      Best advice I have read is we have a decade to significantly reduce C02 to halt 2 degrees C warming, after that a whole heap of factors will be triggered that will begin to have an add on effects to the damage to the environment, not only greater flood and drought events in different places, a shift in weather patterns, in Australia this means much of the farmland in the Southern states will become too dry to be viable. Significant thawing of the permafrost and the additional burden of adding the carbon and methane from frozen plants. etc. So even the most optimistic climate scientist wouldn’t give us more than 15 years to begin to turn things around. We’ve been arguing about this since the 1980’s we don’t have much longer to begin to act. Any change in populations that doesn’t require cannibalism, war, starvation is going to require many more decades than that. So best evidence (according to the science) is that right now we need to deal with this issue. Every scientist in the public forum I have heard discussing these issues mentions population, the reason climate scientists don’t so much is it is simply outside of their field.

      It’s like the brakes have failed in your car running down a large hill. You could spend the next 10 seconds telling yourself that you’ll book the car in for a brake service tomorrow or have an argument with your wife about who’s responsibility it was to get the brakes serviced before you left….or you can concentrate on shifting to low range and look for a way of slowing down that doesn’t cause you or any of the other drivers to go sailing off a cliff at high speed. It’s all about priorities. The very next thing you do however is as you point out getting the brakes fixed or in this case dealing with over-population but for the moment AGW is the bigger threat.

    • Moderator message

      For some time now every discussion on this site about climate change has been hijacked by one user’s fixation on the subject of overpopulation. We do not believe there is anyone on this site who denies that population is a factor, but it is not acceptable to have every discussion about actions that can be taken to convince people about climate change and then to find constructive solutions to the problem effectively obstructed.

      Please remember that our terms of use require users’ contributions to be on the topic of the OP, and to avoid “drum-banging.”

      We have removed a comment that was not a constructive contribution to the subject of this thread.

      The mods

    • Moderator: For some time now every discussion on this site about climate change has been hijacked by one user’s fixation on the subject of overpopulation. We do not believe there is anyone on this site who denies that population is a factor, but it is not acceptable to have every discussion about actions that can be taken to convince people about climate change and then to find constructive solutions to the problem effectively obstructed.

      The scientifically established phenomena of global warming derives from measurements of rising year-on-year CO2 emissions from human activity that build up concentrations of carbon dioxide in the near-earth atmosphere that will remain for centuries. In turn these rising concentrations have been identified as the source for rising average surface temperatures and extrapolated descriptions of catastrophic consequences for human civilization -even extinction scenarios for human beings on a lethally overheated planet. Not coincidentally, Climate Science consensus and public awareness developed chronologically with the threshold of doubling global population at astronomical levels around the late 1980s -slated for another near doubling by the end of the 21st century. The over breeding of the human species had become inseparable from the incipient global warming crisis that saw CO2 emissions rise 90% since 1970 and 60% since 1990. Separating climate change from demographic discussions with a dismissive everyone-knows-that is irresponsible.

      Citing per capita emissions by country and calculating factors that determine aggregate levels is neither “unscientific” nor “irrelevant.” Burning fossil fuels have been with us since archaic Homo sapiens, poorly understood variants of Homo erectus, began using fire some 700 million years ago making its technical adaptation to coal, oil and natural gas inevitable. “Renewables or, more precisely, carbon neutral energy” , especially wind and water power have also been deployed by humans since prehistoric times. Personally I believe that clean energy technology will cut gradually into fossil fuel consumption throughout the 80 years remaining in the 21st century and thereby reduce the portion of CO2 emissions emitted by their use. It is not reasonable, in my view, to believe that fossil fuels will be changed out for green alternatives by 2050 based on projections cited by reliable sources. Once more growing populations outside of Europe and North America, largely poor and striving for higher standards of living are likely to keep annual emissions at relatively high levels.

      Having said that, I will put the topic to rest out of respect for the mods with this observation. Comments on RDF topics gallop all over the countryside in every direction -on digressions of every stripe: partisan politics, scientific trivia, abstruse philosophy, joking, and congenial small talk. Some off-topic comments hang fire and shoot out threads longer than a colony of silk worms. I believe it is the place of commenters to recommend getting back on topic voluntarily; and only in egregious cases for the mods to intervene. As for “hijacking discussion” the small coterie of people moved to comment here have the solution in hand. Ignore the comment.

    • Correction to #18: “…variants of Homo erectus, began using fire some 700 million years ago should read 700 thousand years ago. I regret the error.

    • I think the latest antics with executive orders to gag the Environmental Protection Agency, and shut down websites, spell out quite clearly, that Trump does not want to hear expert scientific advice, and does not want anyone else to hear it either!

    • Poor dinosaurs, they should have seen the light and stopped engaging in heavy industry and driving their cars, then they still would be around…. Oh wait,,, they didn’t engage in heavy industry or drive cars… And yet the earth was plagued with high co2 levels. Sheeple, the Earth’s climate has been constantly changing for millennia and methane is a greenhouse gas that is many times more effective than CO2 and it is spewing out of the oceans and land at massive rates without mankind doing much of anything. Relax, the Earth has been through far worse than us. Ask the people hit in gGeorgia if they felt like a threat to the Earth when the tornadoes leveled homes and killed with ease. Let’s see, so far the Earth has survived tectonic shifts, reversal of the magnetic poles, recurring ice ages, constant bombardment by cosmic radiation and meteorites, tidal waves and more. Yet we have the audacity and hubris to believe that we are a threat to the planet? Get real – we are a species that are only one terrible virus from total extinction, we are the susceptible one – the Earth is going to be just fine long after the age of mankind is over.**

    • Eddie #19
      Jan 25, 2017 at 12:26 pm

      Poor dinosaurs, they should have seen the light and stopped engaging in heavy industry and driving their cars, then they still would be around…. Oh wait,,, they didn’t engage in heavy industry or drive cars… And yet the earth was plagued with high co2 levels.

      Oh dear! You seem to have been taking your information from science illiterates!
      The planet does not care if atmospheric CO2 comes from volcanoes or meteorite impacts cooking coal seams or limestone, or if stupid humans dig up the fossil carbon and burn it!
      The physics of the greenhouse gas warming effect is the same!

      Sheeple, the Earth’s climate has been constantly changing for millennia and methane is a greenhouse gas that is many times more effective than CO2 and it is spewing out of the oceans and land at massive rates without mankind doing much of anything.

      Yep! High levels of CO2 have triggered methane releases in the past and made massive numbers of species extinct!
      There are experts who have monitored calculated and made records of such events, which people wishing to educate themselves can look up.
      The experts are called climate scientists, palaeontologists, glaciologists, and geologists.
      97% + of them confirm that the Earth is warming dangerously because of the measured increased atmospheric concentrations of CO2 due to humans burning billions of tons of coal, oil and gas each year. (There are world trade figures which show the global tonnage)

      Relax, the Earth has been through far worse than us.

      It has – and most of the complex animal life on land in the oceans and on land died and became extinct when it did! – As will happen again if humans are stupid enough to recreate those conditions so relaxing while we make large occupied areas of our planet uninhabitable is not a very bright move!

      Let’s see, so far the Earth has survived tectonic shifts, reversal of the magnetic poles, recurring ice ages, constant bombardment by cosmic radiation and meteorites, tidal waves and more.

      The planet will undoubtedly survive – most of the life on it – no so much, unless CO2 pollution is reduced.

      Yet we have the audacity and hubris to believe that we are a threat to the planet? Get real –

      Only according to ignoramuses who are climate change deniers, science illiterates, and who have no idea what they are talking about!

      However according to scientists who actually measure global heat inputs, astronomical cycles, surface and ocean temperatures, volumes of ice caps, rates of ice melt, and sea-level rises, the planet is warming dangerously as a result of human CO2 pollution.

      we are a species that are only one terrible virus from total extinction, we are the susceptible one – the Earth is going to be just fine long after the age of mankind is over.

      Perhaps as humans we might consider our future and that of future generations based on expert scientific advice, which is readily available, rather than promoting a human population crash or extinction event.

    • I posted this earlier on another thread, but think it will be relevant here too:

      A list of several Twitter accounts, along with their descriptions, that will be resisting the Trump clampdown on science and facts:

      @AltForestServe
      The unofficial, and unsanctioned, “Resistance” team of the U.S. Forest Service. Not an official Forest Service account, and not publicly funded!

      @alt_fda
      Uncensored FDA

      @RogueNASA
      The unofficial “Resistance” team of NASA. Not an official NASA account. Follow for science and climate news and facts. REAL NEWS, REAL FACTS.

      @AltHHS
      Stand Up for Science!

      @ActualEPAFacts
      He can take our official Twitter but he’ll never take our FREEDOM. Unofficially resisting at the @EPA

      @altusda
      Resisting the censorship of facts and science. Truth wins in the end.

      @AltNatParkSer
      The Unofficial “Resistance” team of U.S. National Park Service. Not taxpayer subsidised! Come for rugged scenery, fossil beds, 89 million acres of landscape.