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author's profile photo Mike Appleby

Climate Change? got me thinking. Is there Climate Change? Of course.

Do you believe in man-induced climate change? Possibly. When we went from Nuclear Winter to Global Warming to Climate Change, I was reminded of Earth Day back in the early 70s while I was still in high school. I had a garden and practiced organic techniques starting in Junior High School (late 60s). Ruth Stout was my hero (look her up). So I planted trees with my classmates. Picked up trash, etc. Long before that, I recycled bottles for their 2 cent deposit. Most of my spending money in elementary school involved wandering around the neighborhood with a wooden case in my wagon searching for those pennies.

When Global Warming was first being talked about, I wondered what the big deal was. Climate has been much hotter (Jurassic among other eras). Climate has been much colder (Little Ice Age more recently). Does mankind have that much of an influence on the climate? Not sure we will really know for several centuries at least. Experimentation is a mite tough.

Read the original IPCC report, read an Inconvenient Truth by Al Gore (one source) and read A State of Fear by Michael Crichton (many, many sources). Also read a rather lenghy and dry (and expensive at $75 for paperback) study known as "The Maunder Minimum and the Variable Sun-Earth Connection" by Willie Wei-Hock Soon and Steven H Yaskill. Fascinating book mixing history of scientists recording data on sunspots for centuries along with more recent research data. Well worth reading whether you do or don't believe in Man-Made Climate Change. The efforts of those long dead scientists and that their records survived through the ages are both truly impressive feats.

So do I believe in Climate Change or Man-Made Climate Change? Man-Made Climate Change does have its believers and its heretics. Is it a religion? Those words seem to be more appropriate to a religion than a scientific theory or prediction. I weep to think that people do not research what they espouse (either side).

“The great enemy of truth is very often not the lie – deliberate, contrived and dishonest – but the myth – persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic. Too often we hold fast to the clichés of our forebears. We subject all facts to a prefabricated set of interpretations. We enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.” - John F. Kennedy


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  • Jul 25, 2019 at 07:33 PM

    Hi Mike!

    Thanks for starting your thread with a - not just slightly - different point of view than my earlier thread you link to. At a guess, it therefore doesn't come as a big suprise that I'm the "first responder" here (on a day, I might add, when several heat records were broken by quite a wide margin in Germany).

    Here is some initial feedback, which I post in the spirit of some "food for thought", and I would very much like to have this turn into a search for common ground instead of a he-said-she-said kind of exchange.

    To believe or to accept? That is the question!

    I really like Katharine Hayhoe's quote which is shown at the top of Rational Wiki's article about global warming:

    "People ask me if I believe in global warming. I tell them, ‘No, I don’t,’ because belief is faith; faith is the evidence of things not seen. Science is evidence of things seen. — Katharine Hayhoe, climate scientist and evangelical Christian"

    For me, this means that - just like Hayhoe I don't believe in human-caused climate change but that I accept the overwhelming scientific consensus established over almost 200 years of research and based on multiple converging lines of evidence.

    Al Gore or Michael Crichton?

    Neither of the two is a climate scientist but Al Gore actually got things mostly right in his book and movie. Michael Crichton's book on the other hand is a work of (science) fiction and when actual climate scientist Gavin Schmidt (who then worked for James Hansen and later followed him to become director of NASA GISS) reviewed it in 2004, he showed where Crichton got things wrong and where he was rather misleading. Wikipedia has an article about the book which contains some interesting comments regarding the references (where several of the extensive references included actually contradict the points he makes).

    Next steps (if you like)

    Are you on Twitter? If you are, how about following some climate scientists? Both Hayhoe and Schmidt are active on Twitter and often very patiently use Tweets to explain some aspects of climate science. Katharine Hayhoe compiled a Twitter-list of scientists who do climate which contains almost 2500 names to chose from!

    I'm also more than happy to answer questions you may have (either here publicly or via PMs), but please bear in mind that I'm not a climate scientist so answers would often come in the form of links to reliable and well-sourced websites. As you'll have noticed in my thread, I'm heavily involved with the website Skeptical Science and our MOOC Denial101x, so these are my main points of reference, simply because I know almost by heart where we have the relevant information.


    Oops, this got longer than I intended and I hope you don't mind too much!

    I'm looking forward to seeing what happens next and how this develops



    • Jul 25, 2019 at 07:55 PM

      Hi Barb,

      I do not believe in Man-Made Climate Change. I look to be convinced by the evidence. So far, I don't think there is enough to be convinced. Climate Change (note the capital letters and the lack of Man-Made) is the latest boogeyman written and reported on by many politicians (which desire boogeymen to oppose). The media (whichever side you are on) which desires frightening news more so than something interesting that does not have a fear factor built in. "The economy will go into the pot if we start chasing for solutions to a problem that doesn't exist." & "If we wait until it is a problem, it will be too late!" Both are just trying to get their audiences reacting.

      Al Gore referenced one, now proven invalid, report almost exclusively throughout his book. Based on a flawed source, it is hard to take it seriously. Crichton did indeed write it as science fiction (main reason that I read the book). I did not do a thorough analysis of his references, just a couple of spot checks. I would appreciate knowing which ones contradicted the positions presented in the story.

      It is not that I don't think there is climate change taking place. I absolutely think and agree with that statement. What I have not yet been convinced of is that humans are a significant cause of it. Not saying that we aren't. Just saying I have not yet been convinced. That ~2/3 of climate scientists have a very similar position (from a paper listed in SKS), seems to reinforce that lack of conviction. That 97% of those that are convinced, is to me, selective data harvesting. Similar to the original IPCC hockey stick chart. At best it is disingenuous and at worst the kind of chicanery that deserves jail sentences for perjury.

      SKS leads with its position on climate change. So its rather presumptuous name Skeptical Science is also misleading. If it were science, it would be presenting a hypothesis which it would then do everything to disprove. It does exactly the opposite, so where is the skepticism?

      I am glad that you responded, but since this is my first visit to CC in about 5 months, my next response might be a long time coming.

      Cheers, Mike

      • Jul 25, 2019 at 08:10 PM

        Hi Mike,

        I'm actually a co-author of Cook et al. 2013 finding a 97% consensus (and quite proud about that, to be honest, given the impact our team's paper has had with now over 1 million downloads). I've been helping with Skeptical Science since 2010, so I do know who is running the site and that the "skeptical" in the website's name is correct.

        May I challenge you to take our MOOC and to actually take a closer look at the science and how it often gets distorted?



        • Jul 25, 2019 at 08:36 PM

          Did not realize that you were a co-author, but my point still stands:

          "We find that 66.4% of abstracts expressed no position on AGW". As I said, I neither believe nor disbelieve. However, if less than a third endorse a position on AGW, that hardly represents a consensus opinion. It does not matter how strongly those 32.6% endorse it.

          If I find some time after my present contract is complete (another 24 days), I may take the MOOC.

          Cheers, Mike

          • Jul 26, 2019 at 11:27 AM

            Hi Mike,

            just to clarify: the „no position“ abstracts are discussed in the study. It‘s actually an expected result as authors don’t consider it relevant to mention something rather obvious within the little space you get for an abstract. Also, if the topic of a paper for example was about climate change(s) in the past, or if it just dealt with some aspects of it, we couldn‘t determine its stance on the causation of current global warming and therefore rated it as „no position“ - anything else would have been guesswork, wouldn‘t it?

            I‘ll leave it at that and hope to see you in our MOOC one of these days!

            Good luck with you current contract and cheers


    • Jul 27, 2019 at 08:10 PM

      I am also an evangelical Christian, but I'd be quite happy to say that I believe that climate change is made worse by human activity, and that changes in human activity could ameliorate the affects of climate change. (In fact, I believe we have the ability to reverse even climate change that isn't due to human activity).

      I also believe that anthropic climate change and faith have been politicised, and indeed certain groups are using it to further their own agendas. That deters me from wanting to believe either, but I'm convinced by the evidence of both.

      TL;DR "I believe in man-made climate change" is perfectly acceptable and meaningful.

      • Jul 29, 2019 at 12:28 PM

        I accept evidence and scientific data pointing to climate change being greatly affected by human activity.
        However, I do not see any realistic scenario where we can reverse or alleviate such activity.
        Not in this reality.

        • Jul 29, 2019 at 12:48 PM

          You're probably right. I think we have the technical ability. Just not the will.

          • Jul 29, 2019 at 12:54 PM

            I'm not even sure of the technical ability or that it will make a difference, as I think we passed the point of no return.
            But yes, our society is not ready to do what it takes.
            On the "bright" side - those who will survive this will have access to more resources ;)

      • Jul 29, 2019 at 01:15 PM

        >...climate change is made worse by human activity...

        Thanks for adding this. It's like the reasons for an heart attack(obesity, lack of sports, smoking, stress, ...). There is no single reason. Nor is it one species' single fault. It all adds up. There is only one question relevant for each of us: What is our personal part in this? Do we add to or subtract from the mess?

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