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Climate Change: Scientific Consensus or Chinese Hoax?


By Ted Stroter, RDA science wizard and all-around nice guy

  Global warming and climate change are used interchangeably. I personally believe “climate change” is a better descriptor of what is happening to our planet and atmosphere. Let’s examine a few key facts:

  In the June of last 2016, I wrote an article on greenhouse gases for the RDA Newsletter At that time, the federal government was taking numerous steps to address global warming.

These included: cutting carbon pollution from power plants, promoting American leadership and long-term investment in renewable energy, increasing fuel economy standards and developing & deploying advanced transportation technologies, reducing other greenhouse gases including methane, etc. Even with these steps it was my personal opinion that the best we could achieve was a slowing down of the negative impacts of global warming and I remained very concerned about the issue.

So where does the United States government stand today on this issue? With the election of Donald Trump, we now have climate deniers in the office of President, President’s Chief of Staff, EPA Administrator and Secretary of the Energy Department. These are just a few of the many deniers in this administration, but these men all hold key positions for any action relating to the environment. The President has said that: “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.” The EPA Administrator has stated that carbon dioxide is “not a primary contributor to the global warming that we see” and that “scientists continue to disagree” about climate change.

I’m certain the EPA Administrator has not studied atmospheric chemistry, nor did his law degree help him to understand basic scientific principles. As someone with science and engineering background, I doubt his statement about CO2 could even be considered an “alternative fact”. It is plainly fake news! As Attorney General of Oklahoma, our new EPA Administrator filed 14 lawsuits against the very agency he now heads. In addition to appointing this EPA-suing climate change denier to the top EPA post, our President has now signed a sweeping executive order which looks to curb the federal government’s enforcements of climate regulations.

What do scientists, especially those with climate backgrounds, think? At this point, there is little doubt among them about the warming of the earth and its atmosphere is due to man’s accelerated burning of fossil fuels and the subsequent release of enormous quantities of major greenhouse gases like CO2 into the atmosphere.

You may have heard the statement that about 97% of climate scientists agree that human-activity-caused climate change is a reality. In a meta-analysis of the research on climate change, the 7 authors of a published report come to the following conclusions:

  1. Depending on exactly how you measure the expert consensus, somewhere between 90% and 100% that agree humans are responsible for climate change, with most of our studies finding a 97% consensus among publishing climate scientists.
  2. The greater the climate expertise among those surveyed, the higher the consensus on human-caused global warming.
Given that the scientists with the greatest climate expertise have no doubt about man’s responsibility for the existence of global warming, why is there still such skepticism about this issue?

  Disinformation campaigns have been the purview of the fossil fuel industry and its supporters: “The contrarian efforts have been so effective… that they have made it difficult for ordinary Americans to even know who to trust” explains Dr. Justin Farrell of Yale University in this story about the key role played by the Koch brothers and Exxon.

  Pervasive skepticism can also be blamed on the enormous sums of money given as campaign contributions to politicians who can help defeat any meaningful climate action policies. The Center for Responsive Politics provides details.

  Even if you are still mistrustful of the science, the logic of this issue also seems overwhelming. Do environmental organizations with limited funds conspire with 97% of climate scientists to falsify scientific data on climate change? Or does the deep-pocketed oil and gas industry spend millions of dollars to pay lobbyists and foster front groups in order to protect corporate profits?

Welcome to the Anthropocene Age, the geologic period during which human activity has been the dominant influence on climate and the environment. Climate change is a very real threat to all of us, right here, right now, right in our own backyards. Global warming puts our planet, our way of life, our future and our children’s future at serious risk.

  It is past time for valid science to claim its rightful place in legislative action and policy-making. We can no longer allow businessmen, lawyers, and self-serving politicians to control our destiny. Only the research and solutions offered by the best qualified scientists will do.

  If you care about our future, please speak out on climate change. Above all, vote for candidates who are deniers – not of climate change – but of the fossil fuel industry’s cacophonous fake news and propaganda.

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