Friday, June 26, 2009

Climate Change and Honesty...

I understand that some people are skeptical about global warming/climate change. Or that if it is, in fact, occurring that humans are causing it. It's a big topic and pretty difficult for the average person to truly understand. I also understand those who feel that, while it might be a problem, in our current economic situation we can't risk jobs or spend more money on it right now. Believe me, I really do understand those concerns.

What I cannot understand are those who will purposely mislead the public with lies and falsehoods. I'm talking about Oklahoma's illustrious senator, Jim Inhofe. He has long been a vocal denier of global warming and has even gone so far as to put together a lengthy list of *scientists* who agree with him. Supposedly. Apparently many have no credentials in climatology and some on his list do, in fact, believe global warming is real and are furious that their names were placed on Inhofe's list.

Here are just a few clips from sources which debunk Inhofe's claim of having secured the names of over 700 scientists who deny the reality of global warming:

(Click on quotes to read entire articles.)
Trouble is, when people started sifting through the names, they found that many experts on the list were actually weathermen, economists, and people with no real background in climate science. Worse still, when Andrew Dessler started contacting some of the actual climate scientists listed, many of them expressed first shock, then horror, and then e-mailed Inhofe's staff and demanded to be taken off, since they didn't disagree with the scientific consensus on climate change at all.

Further proving the fallacy of Inhofe’s claims, a survey of 3,146 earth scientists released earlier this week found that 90 percent believe that mean global temperatures have risen compared to pre-1800s levels and 82 percent believe that human activity has been a significant factor in changing mean global temperatures. Ninety-seven percent of climatologists said humans play a role.

One of the listed prominent scientists is Chris Allen, who holds no college degree, believes in creationism and belongs to a Southern Baptist church.
Allen is a weatherman at
the FOX-affiliated TV station in Bowling Green, Ky.

On pages 227-228 of the report, Inhofe identified Allen as a meteorologist and quoted from his scientific writing—a blog—about global warming.

Problems arise, however, when Inhofe's work is subjected to scrutiny. For example, some of the senator's scientists are actually economists. Others are scientists and inventors who have "no expertise in climate science whatsoever." Many are on ExxonMobil's payroll.

Sen. James M. Inhofe's list of 400+ supposedly prominent climate scientists who doubt global warming is full of names that should raise big question marks, including economists and other social scientists, mathematicians, TV weathermen, retired scientists and amateurs, as well as scientists who have received support for their work from fossil fuel industries.

If Inhofe doesn't believe in global warming or think humans are having an adverse effect on the earth, that's fine. I know many who share his views. At one time, I leaned that way myself. However, as an elected official with a responsibility to his constituents, he should not be misleading folks with lies, half-truths and misrepresentation. As a senator of a state with a very large fossil fuel industry, Inhofe is of course going to be hesitant to accept the role of humans in climate change. His world view and religious beliefs no doubt play a role as well. That's all very understandable. But just be honest about it. Most Oklahomans would probably agree with his environmental policy preferences simply for economic reasons. Let's face it, Oklahoma is not a hot bed of radical environmentalists (my daughter notwithstanding ). There's no need to fabricate a list of supposed *experts* to push your agenda. I find that sad but that's beside the point.

I had the privilege of hearing Ed Begley, Jr. deliver the keynote address at the LiveGreen Expo in Plano not long ago. One thing he said really impressed me. He advised seeking information from those with credibility in the field. Here is a quote from him that I found:

If you hear claims about something – let’s say an issue like loss of coral reefs, or ozone depletion, or global warming – go online. And I say to you and to the students, stay away from fringe information from anybody. I’m not saying go to environmental sites or some AM talk radio site. Go to good people like National Geographic, Science Magazine, Nature Magazine, Princeton University, Columbia University. Go to people like that – people with Ph.D. after their name. And I’ll roll the dice on that. You need someone good with peer reviewed studies. If it says something other than what I believe, I’m going to listen, because I believe in peer reviewed studies.

I doubt he'd recommend Jim Inhofe as a reliable source.


Lisa Sharp said...

What Inhofe would lie?! How do we keep voting him in?!

The scientist that are on the list and never agreed to be should sue him.

Deanna said...

Some have angrily insisted that their names be removed. There's also another "petition" floating around that supposedly lists thousands of dissenting scientists. However, if you read how the list was obtained, who is promoting it and various other things about it, it fails to carry much weight either.

Lori said...

I must say, of all the celebriies and such who regularly chastise the rest of us about all of this, the ONLY one for whom I have real respect is Ed Begley jr. HE at least walks the walk, he doesn't just talk the talk.