How Are You Fighting Global Warming? A Freakonomics Quorum

Whenever the subject of global warming comes up on this blog, readers have plenty to say.

There are a lot of things to think about, of course, including the effectiveness (or lack thereof?) of carbon taxes; the environmental impact of a global food market; even whether it’s greener to drive than walk.

For the average person, the issue probably seems maddeningly tangled, large, and abstract. So we thought we’d strip things down here and ask a very simple set of pertinent questions of a variety of people — some of them well-known and others less so — each of whom thinks about the subject in a very personal way. Here are the questions we put to them:

What (if anything) do you do now to fight global warming that you didn’t do two years ago?

What behavior would you would find impossible (or difficult) to change?

How concerned are you about global warming?

Here are their responses. Feel free to share yours as well.


Yoram Bauman, an environmental economist at the University of Washington who has performed at venues ranging from Oxford to New York Improv as a “stand-up economist.”

What (if anything) do you do now to fight global warming that you didn’t do two years ago?

Top of the list: One year ago my girlfriend and I started shacking up together. (Yes she told me to say that, and in all honesty it probably is the most important thing we’ve done.) Just for the record though, I think she’s going too far in arguing that she should get carbon offsets for taking birth control pills.

Beyond that, well, I’ve worked hard to put material into my comedy routine about climate change and how we need to use a tax shift or other market forces to find solutions.

Talking about tax shifting and other policy measures is important because Americans prefer to focus on individual action: “Let’s go out and get it done!” Unfortunately, individual action by itself is not going to get us where we need to go this time around. We need something even more powerful, and that’s where market forces come into it.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that changing your light bulbs to compact fluorescents isn’t worthwhile. I’ve done that too, but on a personal level a bigger effort for me has been reducing the number of plane trips I make for comedy gigs. (As a very rough rule of thumb, flying produces the same carbon emissions per passenger as driving the same distance solo in a 30 mpg vehicle.)

As for how I’ve reduced my air travel — well … um … mostly I did it by raising my fees. I know that sounds like quite a sacrifice — ah, to be an economist comedian — but you can’t raise your fees indefinitely without losing both customers and revenue. That’s tough because it’s hard to disappoint fans and it’s also hard to turn down large piles of easy money.

What behavior would you would find impossible (or difficult) to change?

This is a dumb question — with so much low-hanging fruit around, why ask about what’s at the top of the tree? But since you asked: I can limit my air travel, but the bottom line is that stand-up comedy is not exactly something you can do by video conference. I know this because I once suggested a video conference performance to some groups at MIT that wanted to hire me. If anybody would have gone for this you’d think it would have been MIT, but I never heard back from them.

Also, I love hot showers. But look, let’s be realistic: If Americans have to give up on air travel and hot showers in order to save the world, then the world is just not going to get saved.

Yes we can cut down on our air travel and yes we can use low-flow shower heads, but if the world is going to get saved we’re going to need to develop energy sources that are cheap, renewable, and non-polluting — and the best way to do that is by using a tax shift to harness market forces to protect the environment.

How concerned are you about global warming?

Pretty concerned, for two reasons. One is that there’s a small chance that global warming will turn out to be really bad for people in America. Harvard economist Martin Weitzman has written that there’s a 3 percent chance that global temperatures this century will rise by 6 degrees C (11 F) or more, calling it a “terra incognita of what any honest [economist] would have to admit is a planet Earth reconfigured as science fiction.” Now you might say that a 3 percent chance isn’t much, but it’s awfully scary to me.

(I should note here that chances are much greater than 3 percent that climate change will be really bad for people in places like Bangladesh, because they’re poorer and more vulnerable and hence more likely to be overwhelmed.

The good news is that poor countries are likely to become richer over the coming decades; the bad news is that as they become richer they will have increased demand for things like air travel and hot showers, making it all the more important to — guess what? — use a tax shift to develop energy sources that are cheap, renewable, and non-polluting.)

A second reason Americans should be concerned is more of a meta reason: The level of climate change discourse in the U.S. is much lower than it ought to be, and there’s way too much skepticism of the scientific consensus about climate change. I’m particularly disturbed by the skepticism demonstrated by otherwise intelligent libertarians and conservatives. Apparently there really are people who believe in social Darwinism but don’t believe in Darwin‘s theory of evolution.


Ed Begley Jr., chairman of the Environmental Media Association and the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, currently the co-star of the series Living With Ed, and author of the book, Living Like Ed.

What (if anything) do you do now to fight global warming that you didn’t do two years ago?

Recently, I just finished a large re-insulating project in my home. I really wanted to see if, by using more modern energy auditing technology, I could raise the energy efficiency of my home even further.

By using a combination of infra-red cameras and pressure measuring equipment, we were able to identify additional heat and air leaks in my home, seal them up, and create an even more efficient building envelope. I’m now experiencing month to month drops (depending on climate conditions) of 30 percent to 50 percent in both my electricity and natural gas usage.

Saving energy and saving money — I can’t think of two better reasons to do this. Another thing I’m doing now is riding my bike again. Two years ago I got so busy with TV and the theater that I stopped riding my bike. Now, I have a new hybrid electric bike from IZip called The Express and I’m riding it multiple days per week as transportation, as well as for fitness and for traffic reduction here in smoggy and congested L.A. I’m really committed to riding a bike again and I hope I’m leading by example and more people will follow.

What behavior would you would find impossible (or difficult) to change?

I won’t use the word “impossible,” but it is difficult to convince my wife to conserve power and resources with the same zeal that I do.

How concerned are you about global warming?

I’m quite concerned, mainly because of the tremendous amount of data that is currently available in peer review studies.

Many people with Ph.D. after their names feel that this is a real problem, so I’m inclined to think they are correct. I always encourage people to do their own research — there is so much data available now. But I also tell people that even if they aren’t completely convinced by this scientific data, why would you put a patient with a fever in a sauna? And, what’s wrong with putting money in your pocket, reducing our dependency on Mid-East oil, and cleaning up pollution in cities like Los Angeles, Houston, and Bakersfield?

INSERT DESCRIPTIONSmith in a Tyvec suit and respirator.

Polly Smith, field chemist in Astoria, Queens.

What (if anything) do you do now to fight global warming that you didn’t do two years ago?

I no longer own a car: living in New York City, I have no real need for my own vehicle. The subway and PATH systems get me just about anywhere I need to go. I feel this helps both our environment and our health — reducing the amount of carbon monoxide emissions into our environment. If I ever do need a car again I will definitely look into getting a hybrid car — especially with the rising gas prices!

I look into more biodegradable/recyclable everyday products: cleaning products, organic foods, recycled paper products, etc. Along with this, both at home and at work I try to recycle as much as I can. Especially at work, we are trying to move away from paper and towards electronic copies of documents. It can be difficult at times, but I do believe it is the right thing to do.

What behavior would you would find impossible (or difficult) to change?

Even though I don’t have a car of my own — until we are able to move completely to fuel cell/electric cars, it would be close to impossible to survive without cars.

We live in a world where we are so connected to people far away: I have family and friends on either side of the world and across the U.S.A. — without cars and planes I would rarely or never get to see these people. Thus, to throw out fuel-powered machines which emit harmful gases such as carbon monoxide would be something extremely difficult to change with technology being at the point it is now.

How concerned are you about global warming?

Having a degree in chemistry has exposed me to a range of different theories in regards to global warming: some say we are definitely going through a warming, others say we are going through a global cooling — I’m concerned about our environment, as I believe we have damaged it greatly, so I do try to reduce my impact on the earth by reducing my own carbon footprint.

Roy Spencer, author of Climate Confusion and the U.S. Science Team leader for the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer flying on NASA’s Aqua satellite.

What (if anything) do you do now to fight global warming that you didn’t do two years ago?

Since I believe that global warming is largely natural, and not man made, I don’t do anything to “fight” global warming since that would be futile.

But to the extent that we will need to eventually move away from carbon based fuels, I am helping to spur the investment in new energy technologies by consuming as much as possible today. Increased consumption builds wealth and that wealth will be needed to fund the R&D into alternative energy technologies. And the second thing I do? Encourage others to do the same.

What behavior would you would find impossible (or difficult) to change?

It would be exceedingly difficult for me to go without: air conditioning in the summer, heating in the winter, a good filet of beef on occasion, gasoline to go wherever I want, and everything else that we use in life that requires energy … which, last I knew, includes everything.

But since doing and using all of these things will encourage new investments in energy technology (see above), I’m happy to report that I don’t need to give up anything!

How concerned are you about global warming?

I don’t think we need to be concerned about global warming as a process, but we do need to be concerned about our response to the belief that global warming is our fault.

We need to be concerned about helping the poor to lift themselves out of poverty so that they can deal with whatever climate change that does occur. After all, as history has shown, the climate will change with or without us, and the poorest countries of the world are the most susceptible to hurricanes, typhoons, cyclones, tornadoes, floods, and everything else that Mother Nature so lovingly doles out.

We are now starving poor people because we have diverted food (corn) to be used as liquid fuel (ethanol). Punishing the use of energy with the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act is exactly the opposite of what we need to do. While I’m in the minority on this issue, the tide is beginning to turn, and I can only hope that we will eventually stop sacrificing the world’s poor at the altar of radical environmentalism.


Rudy Maisto, captain of the Lady L, a charter sport fishing boat in Brooklyn.

What (if anything) do you do now to fight global warming that you didn’t do two years ago?

I haven’t changed anything, and to tell you the truth, in a sense I feel that global warming is not 100 percent true because a lot of the things that are happening happened before. Put it this way: How does anybody know 100 percent what the problem is and what will cure it?

I go along with the flow, but I’m not someone that’s fanatic about it. I change things like aerosols to sprays and keep up with emissions on the boat and car … This is what they’re saying needs to be done.

In fishing things go through cycles — so does everything else. I also have a snow plow business … In the 1980’s we went through a spurt with not much snow. In 1994 and 1992 we had record years of snow. 1996 was astronomical … but 2006 to 2008 were not so good. This is why I say: cycles.

Back in the 1960’s we had major droughts … it’s one extreme or another.

What behavior would you would find impossible (or difficult) to change?

I’ve tried contacting the Army Corps of Engineers to get rid of a lot of floating debris in the water, but it’s more or less senseless. Once in a blue moon you see a skimmer boat.

It’s crazy first of all, because [debris] is a hazard to navigation … and all the docks floating in the water, telephone poles, and plastic bags are bad for the environment.

How concerned are you about global warming?

I am concerned because everything that I do is more or less environmental and depends on weather. A few years ago we had tons of storms and charters got canceled. … But last year they predicted New York would get hit with the worst hurricane they ever had and it would get hit with more after that. Did you see them?

I’m not 100 percent convinced but I’m not unconvinced. … It’s something to think about.


John Micklethwait, editor-in-chief of The Economist.

What (if anything) do you do now to fight global warming that you didn’t do two years ago?

It is only honest to confess that my carbon footprint has increased dramatically since 2006. Since I became editor, just over two years ago, I travel far more than I did (this is being written on a plane somewhere between Singapore and Sydney).

Even in London I bicycle far less: there always seems to be something to read. At home, we are supposedly just about to replace our old Renault Scenic with a Prius hybrid (though, to be honest, that decision could also be justified on grounds of style, comfort, or speed). More has changed at The Economist, where we are currently investigating the possibility of going carbon neutral.

However, even if we take that massive step I would still argue that our main contribution to fighting global warming comes through what we write and advocate. Global warming is going to be solved not by individual but by collective action, and we have done our bit to encourage that along by, for instance, advocating a carbon tax.

What behavior would you would find impossible (or difficult) to change?

I think flying is the most difficult to replace. Teleconferencing has gotten far better: recently we had a virtual meeting with Cisco with three people from California facing three of us in London on screens which made the meeting eerily lifelike. But on-the-ground reporting is essential for good journalism — that is why we have kept on increasing the number of foreign bureaus. I need to go to these places too — sailing and swimming are not really options.

How concerned are you about global warming?

I think about climate change in the same way that I worry about my house catching fire. Even if I am not 100 percent sure that it is going to happen, its ramifications are awful enough for me to justify spending a lot of “insurance” money now to stop it.


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Well,global warming is literally the 'hot'topic of the day what with the life of earth at stake with 'the greenhouse effect',the 'albido effect',etc.I think Jonathan Schell,who wrote the 'fate of the earth'over two decades back on the threat to earth from the nuclear stockpile(because of the then STAR WARS programme of the then US President,Ronald Reagan and the continuing cold war with Michael Gorbachyov's Russia)may not have expected greater threat to earth in the form of global warming.While some of the corporates,industries are trying to conform to 'green standards,'the amount of CFCs being released into the atmosphere on any given day is a cause for 'grave' concern for the denizens of the earth.There is a dire and urgent need to build proactive public opinion and popular will to supplement government and corporate will against the ills of global warming and stem the rot even now.The rhetoric of 'sustainable development','green core'are not simply enough.Citizens too can take part in the movement by planting and tending a sapling.The United Nations'selected-for its 'billion trees campaign worldwide-video of an Indian,Mr.Nitin Das available on YouTube may serve as the guiding zeitgeist may help us never swerve or sway from our commitment to make earth a safer place to live for generations to come will scarce believe that earth has been a better place to live.



I fight globe warming by laughing at it. By the way, it's been repackaged as "climate change", so a better question is how are you fighting "climate change". Considering the temperature range in my area has been 120 degrees over the past year, I primarily use a strategdy involving heaters, air conditioning, and varying the number of layers of clothing I wear.

Alvin Mullins

Since the planet has been cooling since I think 1998, I think my idea of running the A/C in my car with the windows down is working. I just need to get out and drive more but gas prices are killing me. I need help!

Chris S.

Climate change is arguably the most complex set of interacting phenomena ever studied by man. For you expect that there should be scientific consensus on the subject reveals a level of ignorance and sloppy thinking on par with believing that you (as an office desk jockey, schoolteacher, engineer, etc) have even a basic understanding of the subject matter.

To think that actors and marketing punks are trying to discuss the merits of peer review.... Your opinions on that subject have only as much value as the number of papers you have subjected to that process.

"Non-scientists should stop looking for shortcuts around the hard work of learning the science." - Chris Essex and Ross McKitrick


I am doing absolutely nothing. I am just a teenager and I am smart enough to realize that the human race is just not capable of rising the earth's temperature a couple of degrees. Who ever said it was true? Who is the one who said it is all our fault? What about this person makes this information true? The answer Al Gore. The guy is the biggest hypocrite on the planet and he thinks can run around and tell us what to do. He is even smart to convince textbook writer to brainwash us into thinking this is real science. I am so glad my father helped me see the real truth. I am still and forever more will do nothing except laughing at all those who believe in Al Gore.

P.S. lol


Frederick Michael, if you are going to discuss the latest IPCC report, you should look at least look through it. Chapter 6 of the latest (4th assessment, 2007) IPCC workgroup I report continues to reference the Mann data, which has not been discredited, though it has been superseded by more complete and accurate data. The IPCC report is available online at

The rest of the points I was going to make are stated well by James a couple of comments above so I will just reiterate that the skeptics need to show data supporting the claims of previous warming periods.

What do I do to fight global warming? I try to post to forums like this and keep people educated. Otherwise, I don't think there is much I can do that makes a big difference. I reduce my own energy consumption because it make personal economic sense. I doubt that reducing carbon emissions in the developed world will make an impact as long as oil production continues to increase at its same pace. There are many countries in the developing world who are happy to have less competition for oil and all oil that is drilled will all be burned and converted to CO2.

I also try to support candidates and organizations that oppose increasing offshore drilling (like McCain just proposed) and that support increased funding of alternative energy research.


Frederick Michael


If you only look at the period from 1850 to the present, you'll see a clear warming trend. In fact, the earth has been warming for 3 or 4 centuries. If it continues warming at the current (long term) pace, in a couple more centuries it'll be as warm as it was a thousand years ago.

The best, most scholarly studies will be for specific locations, not the entire globe. I'll take it as a given that Greenland and eastern Canada are not as warm as when the Vikings colonized there.

Let's look at some other locations.

New Zealand -- check out the 1979 paper by Wilson, Hendy and Reynolds published in Nature. I like this one because New Zealand is a LONG way from Greenland and this has the temperature graph you prefer.

Russia -- try the 2007 paper by Andreev, et al published in Quaternary Research. Has a graph too.

Japan -- Kitagawa and Matsumoto, 1995, in Geophysical Research Letters. Beware; the graph is upside down -- up is colder.

To be fair, I followed your links (and I apologize for not providing links on the above papers). The surface record is fraught with error and to the extent that is disagrees with NASA's lower troposphere data (from satellites), I go 100% with the satellite data. That is available at:

Your second reference only has a few graphs and includes Mann's hockey stick. Ouch!



I put myself clearly in the realm of a skeptic. The Earth has repeatedly warmed by 6-7 degrees Celsius floowed up by cooling 6-7 degrees Celsius. This has happened regularly for dozens of times. The cold cycles generally last 10x as long as the warm cycles. We are currently well into the latest warm cycle and have been warming up for the last 11,000 years.

Since the IPCC's first report we have learned more about climate than we probably ever knew up until that time. Science is flooding in with new papers every day with new discoveries regarding climate and climate change. The role of sunspots, cosmic rays, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, cloud formation, el and la Nina's, the changing magnetic field, aerosols, oceanwide currents, ice covers, etc., etc., etc.
And guess what? Scientists of all fields disagree as to the role each plays. Scientisits disagree what role CO2 actually has as a greenhouse gas. Estimates range from ~5% to ~85%. Just to a quick check of 'scientific's stunning the disagreement in data. No one can explain why temperatures on planets as far out as Neptune show atmospheric temperature rises. And, as far as I know, no climate model effectively predicted the heating cessation and cooling of the globe the last
10 years. I am convinced that we really know little of what warmers are pontificate about...scientist, IPCC politician or your average Joe.

As far as CO2? I don't believe for a second that it is a 'pollutant'. In fact its elevated levels are apparently resulting in significantly increased biomass over the last two decades based on satellite data. That, ladies and gentlemen, is more food for the world.
And the slight meltdown of the Arctic followed by a slowing of the thermohaline current? A perfect response of the planet to increased heating. One that will lead to more ice formation if predictions are correct by this group of scientists.

Lastly, I don't believe for a moment that we have the wherewithall to change any of these massive global heating effects even if they are anthropogenically enhanced. All of the vegan, bicycle , turn my thermostat down to 60 degrees won't make a whit of measurable difference in a system that exists on such a massive scale. The Earth will continue to adjust as it always has and we will run out of fossil fuel long before any serious effects might ever happen if they ever would have anyway. I hope that NO-ONE is wishing for a colder world with less CO2 as that world might be significantly more unpleasant as the one we currently live in today. Can you imagine the Ukraine and Canada NOT being able to grow crops for 7 billion people because we cool a degree from where we are today?
Far, far better to adapt to a slightly changing climate, as we always have, than fight a likely boogeyman with weapons that are mostly useless on a global scale...




Frederick Michael, While I am not sure it's worth while looking at temperatures at specific points in time...we are talking about climate change after all...please show us a graph that indicates it was warmer when the Vikings colonized Greenland than it is now.

If you'd actually looked at the graph, you'd had known the "hockey stick" of surface temperature was for the Northern Hemisphere only, not the globe. But let's just say it's rubbish and throw it out the window. No more hockey stick graph.

There numerous studies that show temperatures have risen more in the last 50 years than any other interval from 1850, like the latest IPCC summary report for policy makers, that you can read here

If you can, please show us a graph of the average global surface temperature for the last 1000 years to demonstrate that the earth hasn't warmed more from 1850 to the present than any other interval.

If you can't do that, please show us a graph of average global surface temperature since 1850 to demonstrate that the earth hasn't warmed more from 1850 to the present than any other interval.

If you have trouble finding such a graph, I suggest you check out this website,which seems to be a repository for all climate change graphs out there.




Ken Levenson

I put together a checklist and I'm working my way through it. It's called "Checklist Toward Zero Carbon" and can be downloaded and edited for your local conditions here:


First, to any here who are concerned about changes in forests, or parts of Spain becoming a desert or the oceans rising or the glaciers melting: these are of no concern at all. Climates change; they always have and they always will. Sometimes they change rapidly (when the meteor struck that wiped out the dinosaurs, or whatever happened to kill them) and sometimes they change slowly (the longer Ice Ages). I mean, where I'm sitting writing this was once about 20 miles from the ocean. Now it's 240 miles away. 20 miles east of me is the Sandhills region of North Carolina. I live in a hilly area, but in the course of that 20 mile drive to the Sandhills, it very rapidly flattens out and becomes sandy. That's because a bajillion years ago the ocean receded and left a few thousand square miles of sandy soil, just like the sand on the beach, lying on the ground. And we now have some of the best golf in the world because of it. Thanks, Mother Nature.

Second, to answer the questions posed at the outset, to wit:

"What (if anything) do you do now to fight global warming that you didn't do two years ago?" I am more vigilant about wasteful behavior. Turning off lights, the computer, I drive slower. I don't fight global warming so much as I act to keep my costs down.

"What behavior would you would find impossible (or difficult) to change?" Normal human activity.

"How concerned are you about global warming?" When's our tee time?


Ross James

Given that there has been no warming since 1998, and there is a good chance that this current cooling cycle will continue, I'm more concerned about getting geared up for global cooling. If you think warming can be bad, have a look at what's in store for us if global cooling continues. But let's get this into perspective. Temperatures went up by about 0.8 degC over 120 years until 1998, after which they started a slow decline. Let's not get too excited.


What (if anything) do you do now to fight global warming that you didn't do two years ago?
Ans: Contributing $75 to Greenpeace every year, Wasting as little electricity as possible by keeping the fans etc. off when i am not home.

What behavior would you would find impossible (or difficult) to change?
Ans:I still can't avoid the lure of buying a big car even though its not as fuel efficient as a small car is.

How concerned are you about global warming?
Ans: Concerned but not panicked. I know thing will work out as there is already a lot of awareness about it.


If Roy Spencer thinks the best way to fight global warming is to get poor countries rich, what is he doing to achieve that end?

An awful lot of climate change skeptics make the argument that we should be putting resources towards enriching poor people instead of fighting global warming (see the Tierney Lab page or Bjorn Lomborg), but this is at best a very bad argument or at worst deceitful; the two are not mutually exclusive, nor are we likely to put enough resources into either one to prevent the other from happening. A $500+ billion per year DoD budget (plus the Iraq war, intelligence ops, nuclear arms maintenance, and other military but non-DoD funding) is a much bigger reason why we don't put money into helping developing countries get richer, but for some reason climate skeptics never seem to mention that.


First, while I acknowledge global warming as an issue I don't entirely believe that it's our fault. That being said, I do believe that most of the things that we've been told to change in order to slow global warming should be done regardless. In my case, that means the following:

- Driving my old, inefficient Crown Victoria is, generally, my last option for transportation. Primarily I walk, as I need the exercise, honestly, and I enjoy it. Sometimes I'll take the bus.
- I eat far less (especially far less meat) than I used to. Again, this is both for health reasons and environmental reasons, as is the fact that my preference for organic has continued along with my unemployment.
- I'm much more conscious about turning off lights than I used to be.
- I'm hoping that the first car I buy myself will be a Prius or other hybrid.

Still, I'll always have trouble with a few things:
- Long, hot showers. I have muscle pain issues nothing else has ever helped.
- Driving when I go to my parents' house. It's just me in that gas-guzzler, but it's so much more convenient than the bus, which would take me twice as long and cost approximately the same amount of money.



The concept of "climate change" in the last fifty years has taken interesting turns. In the 70's and 80's it was global cooling and today it is global warming.

How is it in that such short periods of "climatic" time, our scientific/political views on the subject change so fast? I suppose a combination of propaganda and economic situations drive how our views are shaped.

I personally do not buy this current warming scheme. I know the science, I know the data. Its almost as arrogant to say that we started it (the warming) as it is to say that we can now stop it.

I often get ridiculed for my beliefs that CO2 does not increase the temperature and I am accused of being a voice of the oil companies, coal and natural gas companies. I'm all for humans using the most efficient sources of energy. Its ironic that we use prehistoric fossil fuels to fuel our economy, yet we think we are such a technologically advanced people. It is about time to shift the way we power ourselves into a more "futuristic" fuel; however we must not jeopardize our ever so fragile economy at the cost of global warming.

Count on me fighting the "warming" by tightening my pocket book and not spending my hard earned, de-valued American dollar on Saudi-Chavez oil.


Frederick Michael

"The fact is, although climate changes do happen on earth, it has never happened at this fast a rate before."

Well, actually, no. That was from Michael Mann's infamous "Hockey Stick" paper which has been exposed as a fraud. You'll notice that the latest IPCC report doesn't have the hockey stick graph in it.

Hmmm. I wonder what happened to it. Why didn't they say anything about why it was dropped?

Also, if you believe that it hasn't been this warm in 1300 years, you might want to read up on what else has been retracted. It was warmer globally when the Vikings colonized Greenland.

AGW is destined to replace Piltdown Man as the worst scientific hoax of all time.


The bottem graph in this link indicates the average surface temperature in the Northern Hemisphere has varied over the last 1,000 years but has increased dramatically, relative to the 1961-1990 average, since the early 1900s. The top shows that over the 140 years the average global surface temperature has varied but has increased more over the 20 years than in any period over the passed 140 years.

To determine the contribution of a greenhouse gas to global warming you use a measure called a radiative forcing, literally watts per square meter. A watt is a unit of power, or energy of time. So a radiative forcing is (Energy/Time)/Area. Think of the earth's surface absorbing energy from the sun while having a picnic in the park.

The graph in this link shows the global mean radiative forcing of the climate system for the year 2000 relative to 1750. The graph indicates there are many sources of global warming emissions from solar, tropospheric ozone, aviation induced, and more. The graph indicates green house gases with the greatest radiative forcings are carbon dioxide, methane, and Nitrous Oxide.

The EPA states (under the Bush Administration now) that the largest source of CO2 emissions globally is the combustion of fossil fuels such as coal, oil and gas in power plants, automobiles, industrial facilities and other sources.

While people have burned fossil fuels since we were cavemen and cavewomen, we began burning lots of fossil fuels during the industrial revolution and have so since then.

Thus, I argue humans not only contribute to global warming, we are a main cause of it and need to do something about it.

While skepticism is healthy for the sciences, especially when determining the course of action of society on a problem as complicated as global warming (lord knows how prisoner's dilemma problems we'll have to play) being skeptical as a justification for maintaining current systems in society like fossil fuel production and consumption, fails to understand a driving force behind science...that of progress. Staying where we are does not get us anywhere.


James Charles Wilson

Pew tells us that only 27% of Republicans say that the climate has warmed and that warming is caused by human activity. Libertarian web pages suggest that the numbers for this group will be even smaller. A review of the science and of statements released by nearly every major scientific organization on the planet suggests that they are swimming upstream against a broad and deep consensus. Expert scientific opinion suggests that the Righties have about a 10% chance of being right on climate.

They could make the obvious bet based on the scientific literature and offer sage advice on the critical role of markets in mitigating and adapting to climate change. Instead, they are fully engaged in an embarrassing, rear-guard action trying to obscure conclusions that are clearer and clearer with every IPCC Scientific Assessment, agency study or blue-ribbon committee report. The right summons their ad hominem arguments, cherry picking and demolitions of straw men when they could be studying means of internalizing the present and future costs of greenhouse gas emissions so that the markets can find efficient means of avoiding those emissions and costs. Why aren't they?

Remember that they performed the same sad routine over ozone depletion. President Reagan acted to protect the ozone layer over the objections of his Right-thinking supporters. Today, about two hundred countries have ratified the Montreal Protocol and the decreasing trends in stratospheric ozone that triggered the concern have been arrested. The cost of protecting the ozone layer was about 50 times smaller than predicted by the opponents of protection. Costs of protection were about 500 times smaller than the benefits of protection as identified by Reagan's Council of Economic Advisors.

I think that the Right has chosen wrongly this time for two reasons: They are besotted with their ideology, and they were not punished by the public for their ozone stupidity. This denial of climate change may earn them the long-term neglect that they are earning.

(The best statement of Right-wing objections to protecting ozone came from a staff member of my then congressperson: Of course chlorine does not destroy ozone in the stratosphere, she argued, Coloradans are tired of excessive government regulation. If you do not understand what is wrong with that inference, you should ask for a refund of your tuition.)