Climate scientists have struck back at the Wall Street Journal after it published an op-ed authored by 16 mostly non-climatologists arguing that global warming was not an urgent concern. The response letter, entitled Check With Climate Scientists for Views on Climate, recommends that the Wall Street Journal should seek input on global warming from climate scientists. Six of the 16 authors who published the original article have ties to Exxon Mobil and their professions range from engineers to astronauts. In turn the letter to Wall Street Journal was signed by 38 well-noted climatologists.
“Do you consult your dentist about your heart condition? In science, as in any area, reputations are based on knowledge and expertise in a field and on published, peer-reviewed work,” the letter reads, adding that those with climate credentials who supported the op-ed have “extreme views that are out of step with nearly every other climate expert.”
Frustration over the Wall Street Journal’s editorial policy, which has long published op-eds by climate change deniers, was heightened by the fact that the journal recently turned down an op-ed by 225 scientists with the U.S. National Academy of Sciences outlining the basic science behind climate change, including that the Earth is warming due to human activities which have “overwhelmed” natural climate impacts.
The denier’s op-ed also cited economic research by William D. Nordhaus, professor at Yale, to support their argument that the world should wait 50 years before doing anything to mitigate climate change. However, Nordhaus told the New York Times that “the [op-ed] completely misrepresented my work,” saying that his view was quite the opposite: “my work has long taken the view that policies to slow global warming would have net economic benefits, in the trillion of dollars of present value.”
Since the Industrial Revolution global temperatures have risen 0.8 degrees Celsius (1.44 degrees Fahrenheit). The past decade (2000-2009) was the warmest on record. Currently, nine of the ten hottest years have occurred since 2000 and there hasn’t been a year below the 20th Century average since 1975. Meanwhile the carbon dioxide level in the atmosphere is a hundred ppm (parts per million) higher than it was in 1880, hitting 390 ppm.
Global climate change has been linked to the melting of the Arctic sea ice, global sea level rise, increased droughts and floods, worsening extreme weather, desertification, melting glaciers, species migrations, and numerous other issues. Predicted impacts have included increased global conflict, food shortages, economic collapse, and mass extinction.
(01/30/2012) NASA has created a new animation showing global temperatures on a map of the Earth from 1880-2011. On the map, blues represent temperatures lower than baseline averages, while reds indicate temperatures higher than the average. As the 131 years pass, the map turns from bluish-white to increasingly yellow and red. Caused by the burning of fossil fuels, deforestation, agricultural practices, and other human impacts, climate change has currently raised temperatures 0.8 degrees Celsius (1.44 degrees Fahrenheit) higher than the Industrial Revolution average.
(01/31/2012) The Wall Street Journal is under attack for publishing an op-ed attacking climate science last Friday, while turning down another op-ed explaining climate change and signed by 255 researchers with the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, which was eventually published in the journal Science. The op-ed last Friday first garnered attention because it was signed by 16 scientists, however other journalists have shown that most of these signatories are not climatologists (the list includes an astronaut, a physician, and an airplane engineer), many are well-known deniers, and at least six have been tied to the fossil fuels industry.
(01/30/2012) Climate change, in the form of rising temperatures and less precipitation, is shrinking the carbon sink of western Canada’s forest, according to a new study released today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). Tree mortality and a general loss of biomass has cut the carbon storage capacity of Canada’s boreal forests by around 7.28 million tons of carbon annually, equal to nearly 4 percent of Canada’s total yearly carbon emissions.