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OPINIONS

Letter to the editor: Fossil fuel divestment is counterproductive

Dear Editor,

Students promoting the Fossil Free campaign appear to have not properly researched the reasons for, or implications of, their campaign. If they had done their homework, they would realize that:

1) Today’s climate change is not out of bounds with the natural variability that geologists see in the past.

2) The idea that dangerous climate change will happen because of emissions from human activities is merely an hypothesis, and one that is looking increasingly improbable as science advances.

3) If dangerous change were happening, then the proper response would be to increase our use of hydrocarbon fuels, especially coal, the cheapest and most abundant source of power.

In the event of climate problems, however caused, more electricity would be needed to handle greater demands for air conditioning and heating. More power would be required to irrigate lands, build dikes, strengthen public infrastructure and relocate populations living on flood plains or at risk from tornadoes and hurricanes.

Yet the Fossil Free campaign does not suggest how we will generate this extra power. They are simply against hydrocarbon fuels. This makes no sense. Moving away from our strongest power sources because of climate concerns is analogous to a ship captain ordering his crew into lifeboats when a severe storm is approaching. It would be suicide to abandon ship exactly when the protection of a sturdy vessel is most needed. Similarly, it is suicide to quickly move away from today’s dependable energy sources, no matter what the climate does.

Tom Harris, B.Eng., M.Eng. (Mechanical)

Executive Director, International Climate Science Coalition (ICSC)

  • Kim

    Thank you Tom Harris for being brave enough to speak out as an opposing educated voice of reason and light from a swirling sea of dark authoritarian voices of insanity!

  • Capt. Kid vs Curmudgeon Pants

    Guys, google this “International Climate Science Coalition” and “Tom Harris”.

    No reasonable response is required to this opinion piece because no reasonable argument was offered. However, I still feel compelled to point out the metaphor of “a ship captain ordering his crew into lifeboats when a severe storm is approaching” fundamentally misses the most important point. The proper metaphor is a ship captain of a burning ship in the middle of the ocean ordering his crew to shovel more coal into the burners in hopes of getting to land faster. The proper response, of course, is to put out the current flames and make repairs.

  • Capt. Kid googles stuff

    Holy cow, google “tom harris ship captain international climate”. The dude can’t get enough of the ship captain metaphor. I think he secretly wishes he were a ship captain instead of a climate-science denying lobbyist.

  • TomHarrisICSC

    Ha – my great grandfather was a ship captain; maybe that’s it? BTW, you can view a summary of the climate course I taught to 1,500 students here – it was a second year Earth Sciences course at Carleton University here in Ottawa:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yj-bdL2yO8M
    Tom Harris
    International Climate Science Coalition

  • TomHarrisICSC

    BTW, I am not:
    1 – denying climate change, which happens all the time of course.
    2 – a lobbyist. Lobying is a waste of time until the public better understands what climate science really says since the gov’t just goes with public opinion. I have never been a lobbyist either.
    Tom Harris
    International Climate Science Coalition

  • TomHarrisICSC

    I think you should watch http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wu-r7qa3-Vs#t=250 to learn about logical fallacies such as the one Capt. Kid googles stuff commits.

  • Capt. Kid is befuddled

    Mr. Harris: You write that you are “[not] denying climate change”. I didn’t suggest you were; rather, I wrote that you are “climate-science denying”, which is entirely different. The concern here is fast climate change and ocean acidification due to anthropogenic sources. You know that. I don’t know why you would counter my point by quibbling (incorrectly) with semantics.

    It appears you are not a registered lobbyist at present but either were yourself a registered lobbyist in the past or worked at a high level at or founded organizations involved in lobbying (e.g., High Park Advocacy Group and the Natural Resources Stewardship Project). I cannot personally confirm these details by obtaining official records. However, if what I wrote about HPG and NRSP is true, then I suggest that it is quibbling with semantics again to write you are “[not] a lobbyist” when what you really mean is you are not /currently/ a /registered/ lobbyist.

    I have some questions for you, Mr. Harris. Why are you so certain mainstream climate science, out of all the sciences, is wrong? Or, please, what other mainstream sciences do you think are wrong, too? Why are you — a thinking, caring person, I think I’d like to assume — willing to stake so much — your soul, if you believe that, or your reputation, if you care about that, or just your own self respect — on ideas that are probably wrong, and in so doing, cause grave harm to animals, a beautiful planet, and future humans? Why do you want to fight youthful enthusiasm for being a good steward of the planet? Why are you so sure that young people are unwilling to sacrifice some personal comfort to do the right thing (“In the event of climate problems … more electricity would be needed … for air conditioning and heating.”)?

  • TomHarrisICSC

    I am not:

    1 – denying climate change science, which I promote. The fact that I cite different science to you makes you a climate change science denier, right? Not.
    2 – a lobbyist. The fact that, for five months in 2006, I worked for a company that did lobby work proves nothing. Different people did differenet things in that company – you haven’t watched the video below where I explain that HPG lobbied on behalf of wind and solar too, although I was not involved in that either. NRSP did no lobby work.

    I don’t believe that “mainstream climate science” supports Al Gore or 350.org, both of which are extreme in their position. The rest of that paragraph above is too juvenile to bother commenting.

    Tom Harris
    International Climate Science Coalition

  • TomHarrisICSC

    The above is now public so anyone can watch – sorry, I previously had it as private.

  • Capt. Kid: juvenile? Yes!

    “1 – denying climate change science, which I promote. The fact that I cite different science to you makes you a climate change science denier, right? Not.”

    I think you are being purposefully slippery. The question is why you are going after /mainstream/ climate change science. Why not other /mainstream/ sciences? “Mainstream” doesn’t mean that the science is 100% correct and done, but it does mean that most professional scientists in the field have analyzed and developed evidence supporting a particular set of hypotheses. I don’t think it’s reasonable to dismiss the mainstream position in this one field if you’re not going to do the same in all other fields. It is even more unreasonable to champion /actions/ counter to mainstream science. Even if you think you have good evidence to counter mainstream science, it is unlikely to rise to the level of certainty that would support your advocating for actions deemed dangerous by mainstream science.

    “2 – a lobbyist. The fact that, for five months in 2006, I worked for a company that did lobby work proves nothing.”

    Look, all I have is the internet to go on here. But here’s a random article (one among many) that suggests things are more complicated than you want to make them seem: http://www.desmogblog.com/nrsp-controlled-by-energy-lobbyists

    “The rest of that paragraph above is too juvenile to bother commenting.”

    Excellent. I’m going to stay juvenile. Old people have a way of becoming comfortable cowards.

    By the way, your videos are all private.

  • TomHarrisICSC

    It does not matter what “most professional scientists” believe about the causes of climate change. All that matters, if you want a show of hands (which is hardly scientific), is whether or not “most professional scientists who concentrate on the causes of climate change” support the hypothesis that CO2 from human activities is causing, or will, in the foreseeable future cause, dangerous global warming or other problematic climate change. Do you have such a such a poll?

    People who act in a juvenile fashion, no matter their age, should not expect to be taken seriously by those of us who are working on serious real-world problems. Admitting “I’m going to stay juvenile” is not an age related thing. Plenty of older adults approach issues in a juvenile way, which is one of the reasons we have so many problems in our world. Why do you boast about being in such a group of morons?

    Attacking someone you don’t know in public when, all you can say in defence is “all I have is the internet to go on here. But here’s a random article…” certainly is juvenile and hardly something ot be proud of.

  • Capt. Kid shrugs: the end?

    “[Do] ‘most professional scientists who concentrate on the causes of climate change’ support the hypothesis that CO2 from human activities is causing, or will, in the foreseeable future cause, dangerous global warming or other problematic climate change[?]”

    Table 9.4 of AR4 WG1 is a place to start. But you know that already. That’s why we can’t actually have a debate. You know all of this but reject it. And if you don’t reject it, you quibble. Perhaps you’ll argue that Table 9.4 doesn’t answer whether there will be “dangerous” human-induced climate change but only human-induced change at some detectable level. Actually, I’d be interested if that’s your response. Then you’d be admitting that human activities /do/ influence the climate, and your qualifier of “however caused” in the OP would lose its weight.

    Anyway, debate is meaningless. I guess you’ll go on doing your advocacy for as long as you want, and that’s that. In the end, I don’t really have a problem with your writing op-eds and stuff. I take it you’re retired now and doing this on your own time without receiving any funding to support your activities. Good for you. I guess you’re not one of the wealthy old people who seem unwilling to do anything brave. I wish you were on the side of the planet, but that’s life. Maybe you’re just misguided. Or I am. I hope it’s me, because I’d like to be wrong and the future of the planet to be just fine.

  • TomHarrisICSC

    How many climate experts are known to agree with “Table 9.4 of AR4 WG1″? Even more importantly, how many experts are know to support the crucial IPCC WG I assessment report chapter that attributes most climate change in the past century to human influence? You must know the answer to that to suggest that IPCC reports provide strong evidence for your belief in consensus.

    I am not saying that it is wrong to assert that “human activities /do/ influence the climate”. I am saying that we do not know that the degree to which “human activities /do/ influence the climate”. Is it dangerous, moderate or trivial? If it is not dangerous then concerns about human caused climate change are not worth spending billions of dollars on or pushing universities to change their investment strategies.
    Your last para is juvenile and insulting and so not worth commenting. The fact that you resort to such an approach may seem exciting to those who like that approach but, for thinking people, merely displays a weakness in your arguments. University is the place to learn how to think critically for yourself, not just in an agressive or politically correct fashion following the talking points provided in the divestment campaign by Bill McKibbon and friends.

  • Capt. Kid knows roman numerals

    Let me see if I can summarize your argument using direct quotes:

    I want to restate this:

    0. “I am not saying that it is wrong to assert that ‘human activities /do/ influence the climate’.”

    as:

    1. [Human sources of carbon somewhat likely influence the climate.]

    I believe that summary fairly reflects what you wrote. It is much weaker than my belief, but that’s fine. It says nothing about whether that influence is “trivial” or “dangerous”. Feel free to substitute for “somewhat likely” some other phrase representing your belief: for example, “as likely as not” or “not unlikely”. If you want to substitute something weaker than “not unlikely”, then I shall argue that you are going back on your quote 0.

    Next, I want to combine these two quotes: “If dangerous change were happening, then the proper response would be to increase our use of hydrocarbon fuels, especially coal, the cheapest and most abundant source of power.” and “In the event of climate problems, however caused, …” as:

    2. [If dangerous change were happening, however caused, then the proper response would be to increase our use of hydrocarbon fuels, especially coal, the cheapest and most abundant source of power.]

    I believe this combination of quotes also fairly reflects what you wrote.

    Next, I want to insert 1 into 2 in two places and label the clauses. I shall call this the thesis:

    Thesis. [(i) Human sources of carbon somewhat likely influence the climate. (ii) If dangerous change were happening, (iii) however caused and (iv) somewhat likely influenced by human sources of carbon, (v) then the proper response would be to increase our use of hydrocarbon fuels, (vi) especially coal, the cheapest and most abundant source of power.]

    My purpose is to try to state your thesis as succinctly as possible. I’ve tried to be careful and clear in how I’ve rearranged and restated your words in an effort to do this.

    Now I shall analyze and criticize the thesis.

    a. (iv) and (v) somewhat likely form a positive feedback. Even if the effect is small now, a positive feedback means the effect will grow arbitrarily large. Call this the dangerous-change-more-fuel (DCMF) feedback.

    b. (vi) increases the DCMF feedback gain because coal is the most carbon-intensive hydrocarbon fuel. It is only cheap if we don’t implement methods of robustly and in large volumes sequestering the resulting CO_2.

    c. (i) implies that somewhat likely human use of hydrocarbons has already influenced the climate. Hence, though we have not yet entered the DCMF positive feedback, we are somewhat likely moving toward the condition that initiates it.

    Again, feel free to substitute a different qualitative description of probability for “somewhat likely”.

    The interesting thing about the DCMF feedback is that it means dangerous climate change is inevitable with probability equal to the probability used in 1. So you are saying that instead of “spending billions of dollars on or pushing universities to change their investment strategies” as part of an attempt to avoid dangerous climate change whose probability is unknown, you’d rather us take a course that makes dangerous climate change somewhat likely.

  • TomHarrisICSC

    Can you summarize what you have written in language that people can easily read, please? You approach is too convoluted for most to follow.

    However, your premise is incorrect. The statement “I am not saying that it is wrong to assert that ‘human activities /do/ influence the climate’.”
    does not equate to:
    Human sources of carbon somewhat likely influence the climate.
    It does equate to:
    Human sources of carbon dioxide (it is not “carbon”, anymore than water is “hydrogen”; the oxygen atoms do matter) somewhat likely somewhat influence the climate.
    It is the second “somewhat” in the above translation that is the centre of the controversy in the science.

  • CK

    “Can you summarize what you have written in language that people can easily read, please?”

    I was precise as I could be. If I reword it, then the argument may lose precision.

    “Human sources of carbon dioxide (it is not “carbon”, anymore than water is “hydrogen”; the oxygen atoms do matter) somewhat likely somewhat influence the climate.”

    Good. I agree the rewording is as fair as the original and more accurate. Let’s amend 1 to

    1′. [Human sources of carbon dioxide somewhat likely somewhat influence the climate.]

    In my view, this does not change the conclusion. “Somewhat likely” means the probability is too large to ignore. “Somewhat influence” means CO_2 affects the environment at a level that cannot be ignored. The DCMF feedback completes the argument. Unless there is a huge sink for CO_2 that we don’t yet know about (and we’re /losing/ the sinks we do know about: the oceans and permafrost, for example), this positive feedback is unstable: atmospheric CO_2 grows without bound, and even a small influence per unit CO_2 becomes large.

    For this reason, I argue that it is illogical to suggest the solution to dangerous climate change is to use more hydrocarbons. A more reasonable suggestion might be to use more hydrocarbons /for a very short time/ to build a sustainable infrastructure, but even that I feel is both unwise and unnecessary.

  • TomHarrisICSC

    Well, we have two opposing concerns:
    1 – the need for vast quantites of reliable, high quality, inexpensive energy.
    2 – the fears of dangerous climate change caused by emissions from conventional energy sources.
    If we do not satisfy the first of these, our society, and the environment with it (no one cares about environmental protection in failed societies), will, with virtually 100% certainty, go down the drain, with massive suffering for everyone but the rich.
    If we do not satify the second, there is an unknown (probably small) chance there will be massive damage to both the environment and society.
    I know this either or argument is overly simplistic, but given the above two choices, which would you chose?

  • CK

    Your reply was very clear; thanks for that.

    We more or less agree on a simplistic but useful interpretation of the science in the form of point 1′. (I prefer a stronger statement, and you might prefer a weaker one, but we’re both ok with it in the context of this discussion.)

    I disagree with how you assess the risk of dangerous climate change because I think you’re not including the positive feedback that comes from increasing hydrocarbon fuel usage in response to climate change. But it’s not too big a deal.

    I think now it just comes down to values, which go into utility analysis, which in turn yields optimal actions. 1. What value do biodiversity, robust ecosystems, life besides human life, and a beautiful planet have? 2. What value do we place on not being remembered as the three or so generations that totally dropped the ball (in this case, the planet) when we knew it (somewhat likely somewhat) mattered most? 3. What value do personal comfort, fun gadgets, and material objects that are basically status symbols have?

    I place tremendous value on 1 and basically none on 3. I don’t really place much value on 2, but it’s kind of interesting to think about it.

    To be fair (I think) to your side, I think you might argue that energy use is a true necessity and not just a want: our survival as modern humans depends on it. I argue otherwise. Many people, including myself, live modern lives with very low environmental impact relative to the average American’s. Sure, I don’t zoom around in a shiny car, but bicycling is fun and good exercise. I can live without sinking my teeth into a steak. I can’t fly on an airplane to a beautiful destination when doing so does something to ruin it. Living in harmony with nature feels good.

    You correctly and fairly qualified your choices as “overly simplistic”, so I don’t want to criticize you for simplifying things. Still, I need to modify the choices a bit to make any progress in this discussion. I think the choices are more like this:

    1. Stay the course or even increase hydrocarbon fuel usage, and make sure it’s cheap.

    2. Strip our modern lives way down to the essentials so that we live as close as we can to being in harmony with nature. Aggressively ramp up alternative energy sources and pay the true cost of energy. Sacrifice some comforts now in this time of transition for a good future. In exchange, know that we will be remembered for doing the hard stuff when we assessed the probability of its mattering to be nonnegligible.

    3. Stop all consumption immediately, safely power down all our power plants, store all dangerous materials in millennium-level storage, and stop being modern humans.

    I choose 2. Very few would choose 3. And you?

  • TomHarrisICSC

    No, I don’t think it comes down to values in the discussion between you and me because we share many of the same values – We have only one small car for the four of us and so I am often bycycling here and there. I never eat steak except when I must as a guest speaker at a banquet, etc. I work from home and so save massively on communting energy consumption. I rarely fly. Execept for my electtric guitar, and my computer for work, have little in the way of gagetts and almost never use our cell phone (which we keep only for my daughters’ safety at the local university where there have been some attacks on young women). I value nature enormously and my favourite hobby aside for guitar is walking in the woods. Many of the scientists I work with at ICSC share these values with me (and you). I wrote about the commonality in “moral compass between me and a UNEP climate scientist who supported the climate scare at:

    http://www.copenhagenclimatechallenge.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=67 .

    Where we differ, and where I differed with the UNEP scientist I wrote about in the above article is on the likelyhood of the environmental (and so social) collapse you and he fear actually coming about, in comparison with the social (and so environmental) collapse I fear coming about.
    I have to see my 84 yo Parkinson’s disease-riddled mother this evening so I don’t have time to write more right now. In the meantime, I suggest you read the piece above my chance encounter with the UNEP scientist on the way to Copenhagen.

  • CK: probably going to give up

    Well, then it comes down to two things: values and perceived probabilities:

    P1. Probability of dangerous climate change given inaction on climate change.
    P2. Probability of “social collapse” given action on climate change.

    V1. Value of the natural earth.
    V2. Value of cheap, plentiful energy.

    By the way, I don’t “fear” environmental collapse. I’d be sad about it, but I don’t fear it. I’m already sad about a lot of what’s going on in the world.

    Keep in mind we’re discussing an awfully extreme suggestion: increasing the use of coal as a means to mitigate the effects on humans of climate change. I’m not advocating a symmetrically extreme position, so I don’t think the negative outcome associated with my proposed actions should be probable “social collapse”. All I’m saying is we ought to cut back on our wants and pay something like the full cost of energy. We don’t have to cut back on our needs. And we can make sure everyone gets their needs taken care of by structuring costs in a progressive way. So why is “social collapse” associated with combating climate change so probable in your estimation?

    In any case, all sorts of bad things happen to people all the time precisely because of resource extraction, so why associate “social collapse” with solving environmental problems alone?

    Here’s another question. You live modestly like I do, apparently. Why are you so eager to enable others to live in ways incommensurate with our earth? You and I commute by bicycle. I don’t feel the need to help the driver with the shiny gas guzzler keep driving the thing. Do you?

  • TomHarrisICSC

    I don’t think increasing contemporary power useage such as coal to prepare for dangerous climate change is “an awfully extreme suggestion”. I think it is a self evident position if you do not support the idea that CO2 emissions from coal stations are significantly damaging the climate. We can easily afford to better clean up coal fired emissions that are known real pollutants and we should continue to do that. We don’t want the conditions that exist in many Chinese cities to be the norm here. But CO2 is not a pollutant and getting rid of it is so expensive that it will put the coal sector out of business entirely and eventually the same with NG and oil. That would have, in my opinion and the opinion of the experts I work with, no measurably impact on global climate but will massively increase electricity costs.
    The US is weighed down by many serious probelms right now. The last thing you need is a qaudrupling of your energy costs, which could very well be the catalyst that leads to “social collapse.” Americans are not used to living like they do in the third world and, considering all the guns throughout your society, insurection is not unlikely if they are forced to merely exist like they do in, say, East Africa.

    I totally agree that “we ought to cut back on our wants and pay something like the full cost of energy” but we should do so for the right reasons, not a highly improbable climate crisis hypothesis. Being from Canada where we have universal health care, I also agree the U.S.A. should “make sure everyone gets their needs taken care of by structuring costs in a progressive way.” But that takes wealth and lots of energy, neither of which you will have if you dismantle your most important energy sources for flimsy (in most circumstances; there are exceptions of course) wind and solar power.

    You ask, “Why are you so eager to enable others to live in ways incommensurate with our earth?”

    I do not. But I also oppose basing our policy decisions on what is most likely wrong.

    You ask, “I don’t feel the need to help the driver with the shiny gas guzzler keep driving the thing. Do you?”
    I do not, but again, I wouldn’t try to get them out of their car by saying they would go to Hell (which I don’t believe in, being agnostic) either. We need to use real arguments, not fables to get people to change or, once they find out that our rationale is not substantiated, we will lose doubly.

  • CK

    Ok. I like your response. Thanks for engaging in discussion.

    I’m still unmoved from my position, and you from yours, but at least now I have good evidence that greed is not the driver of all skeptics (or whatever neutral word you prefer).

  • Peter in Maryland

    The general public sees three major flaws in the arguments of warmists, flaws which indicate that their arguments are motivated primarily by politics and money, and only secondarily by science.

    1. Most humans are flawed, and most scientists are humans, therefore, most scientists are flawed – this means they make mistakes. Proof of this is their inability to admit to this fact, coupled with the constant stream of new data relating to unanticipated effects of climate changes. If scientists were not flawed, they would have anticipated these ‘surprising’ new data.

    2. A large percentage of scientific journal articles have as their core theses the updating or even upending of previous scientific understanding. This may make the author of the new data feel smug, and the believers of the older truth feel dismayed, chagrined, and naturally resistant to the change. (That last sentence was a distraction, as ‘feelings’ are irrelevant to science – did you pick up on that?) The real issue is that scientists are wrong all the time – as proven by later scientists!

    There’s an excellent chance that what you believe today will be dramatically revised 50 years from now, so to many scientists it has to be spelled out: Stop being so freaking arrogant about your newest discovery, stop being so abysmally insecure about your own worth that you have to constantly brag about how smart you are, and start gaining a much longer perspective on human knowledge, to which the contributions of most scientists can be, at best, only tiny fractions of tiny fractions.

    3. The BIGGEST clue that the arguments of warmists are not based on complete, balanced science is that they only discuss potential detriments of climate change, and never any of its potential benefits (far more arable land, far more available fresh water, far fewer deaths from cold weather diseases, the possible avoidance of another ice age, the re-greening of the deserts, etc.). This painfully obvious imbalance in study efforts, along with with a perpetual unwillingness to correct it, are by far the surest signs that warmists are emotionally-driven propagandists, and not scientists interested in all the facts. Many of the benefits may represent facts that warmists find inconvenient.

    We as a species are still gathering raw data on some portion of the foreseeable negative effects of changes in the climate. There is likely still a huge amount of data to acquire, and we must also start applying a similar level of effort to understanding the benefits of such changes, though that effort is currently much less developed. This data acquisition phase will probably take another two decades at least (if only to enable us to detect longer duration phenomena), so the jury is still out – please resist the temptation to rush to judgment, climate science is still a newborn, not even into its infancy yet.

  • Isaiahdolan

    Dear Capt. Kid,

    AGW is not science, rather an antecedent of a hypothesis with the earth’s temperature being the consequent. In truth, the core principles of global warming are based on theoretical “feedbacks” and “assumptions” of an “amplification” of atmospheric warming effects. The best a proponent might legitimately claim is that AGW is a working hypothesis founded on many unsubstantiated theories and the original models with the forecasted results have empirically failed.

    The chief characteristic which distinguishes a scientific method of inquiry from other methods of acquiring knowledge is that scientists seek to let reality speak for itself, and contradict their theories about it when those theories are incorrect, i. e., falsifiability.

    Sadly, as many AGW theories fail to correspond with the earth’s behavior, new AGW excuse theories pop up instead, and proponents become rabid in denial of all falsifiable evidence. AGW has, for too many, become a creed rather than a science and those who pose legitimate questions are perceived as “deniers” who don’t understand “good science”.

  • Christina Feng

    I am appalled that the Daily would publish such a POS letter. Though my standards for this publication are admittedly quite low, I remained hopeful that it would screen its content for the most basic levels of veracity. T.H.’s opinions on divestment aside, the claims made in this piece are fallacious. Plain and simple. The occurrence of anthropogenic climate change is not in question amongst any authority, so what is there to be gained by giving this author a podium to speak to the contrary?

  • Isaiahdolan

    Christina, your vision is myopic to say the least. Besides the obvious – no warming since 1998 while carbon has increased, do you actually believe Mann, Hansen, Gore,Jones, etc.? Every model they foisted upon the public has been empirically disproved.

    Your call for screening for the most basic levels of veracity is noble but your judgement is askew. You might be surprised to learn that there are hundreds of scientists here and abroad who disagree that AGW exists. There is also a growing belief that we are heading for a cold period, much like Hansen and Ehrlich howled about in the 70′s!

    Trofim Lysenko would be at home with the AGW crowd as they shill for the carbon tax lobby, yes?

  • Peter in Maryland

    Ms. Feng:

    From above:

    3. The BIGGEST clue that the arguments of warmists are not based on complete, balanced science is that they only discuss potential DETRIMENTS of climate change, and never any of its potential BENEFITS (far more arable land, far more available fresh water, far fewer deaths from cold weather diseases, the possible avoidance of another ice age, the re-greening of the deserts, etc.). This painfully obvious imbalance in study efforts, along with with a perpetual unwillingness to correct it, are by far the surest signs that warmists are emotionally-driven propagandists, and not scientists interested in all the facts. Many of the benefits may represent truths that warmists find inconvenient.

    PLEASE keep in mind that the study of our climate involves millions of variables, possibly tens of millions, and to assume that we have it all figured out at this very early stage of the discipline is arrogant, extremely myopic, and indicates a complete lack of awareness of the constant stream of errors that has defined human history.

    Please.

    Thanks.

  • TomHarrisICSC

    Yes, many people feel “appalled” when views they disagree with are published. But history shows clearly what happens when attempts are made to sanitize the news so that only politically correct views are tolerated. Communist China offers this of course. Would you rather live there than in the West, Ms. Feng?
    Anyways, Ms. Feng states: “The occurrence of anthropogenic climate change is not in question amongst any authority.”
    That is not the issue at hand. It must be dangerous climate change that the experts are asked about. While the causes of climate change is an interesting science topic, and there is obviously some anthropogenic impact, it is only if such changes are dangerous that the issue becomes a public policy concern. There are no reliable polls among experts who specialize in the causes of climate change that answer this question.

  • Nicholas Baldo

    Oh dear god.

    I’m not going to waste any time on Mr. Harris’s inane antediluvian fantasy, but instead address the following to the editors of the Stanford Daily.

    Are you seriously going to pretend as an institution to be ignorant of the overwhelming evidence indicating that the burning of fossil fuels is destabilizing the Earth’s climate? Are you going to insist on this kind of “Opinions on Shape of Earth Differ” style of journalism? Give me a break. Your readers deserve better than this kind of crass laziness and sloppy quality control. You’re the flagship paper for one of the world’s premier educational institutions. Act like it.

  • james

    “The occurrence of anthropogenic climate change is not in question amongst any authority…”

    What is appalling is for you to make a blatantly false statement. A simple Google search would show you are wrong. This science is no where close to being resolved among all authorities. Don’t exaggerate to a ridiculous extent. It shows your lack of tolerance for opposing viewpoints. Typical of the liberal mindset.

  • Peter in Maryland

    Mr. Baldo:

    When you say that you’re ‘not going to waste any time on Mr. Harris’s fantasy’, should we understand that you have not and are not going to read any of his arguments? Can this mean that your mind is made up, and you don’t want to be confused with any further facts?

    Ostriches do something similar ….

    Please try to keep an open mind, it will help with your education.

  • World Wake Up

    If any other group of scientists had been caught manipulating data like the IPCC they would have been ignored long ago. Their whole argument was based on their computer models which are clearly not matching reality. How can you possibly not question this? The ‘seas must be absorbing heat’ backup get out has also been disproved. Saying this is a temporary cool period as a defence is a joke cause you could say the period that they have used to back their case is a temporary warm period.

  • fletch92131

    Nick, pray tell, what overwhelming evidence is there that use of fossil fuels is destabilizing the Earth’s climate?