Last Page: Where Is Science Behind Climate Change Claims?

 

Boston weatherman Dave Epstein '86 remains a skeptic.

By Dave Epstein '86
 

As an environmental advocate I have placed land under conservation and restored habitats. I recycle, reuse rainwater, walk when others drive, and generally leave a small environmental footprint.

Yet I am angered by climatologists, environmentalists, and politicians who purvey one of the biggest myths of modern time: that climate change (aka global warming) during the past half century is primarily due to anthropogenic (manmade) causes.

I know this statement will likely have readers scurrying to fire off rebuttals. Many may point to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report that says a 90-percent chance exists that the observed temperature increases of the last 50 years are the result of greenhouse gas emissions. The report goes further to say that human activities have begun affecting specific aspects of the climate, such as heat waves, wind patterns, and continental temperatures.

GlobesThe IPCC doesn’t conduct its own research or monitor data. Its function is to collect original research produced around the world and synthesize the results. The 90 percent, often quoted by the media, was chosen to draw attention to the panel’s findings and is rooted in no hard data. It is used as the basis for a prediction of global catastrophe, but we should remember that science is hardly infallible.

Recall for yourself all of the scientific predictions from reputable individuals and organizations that have failed to come to fruition. Here are a few: The Y2K catastrophe on Dec. 31, 1999, the planet running out of oil, Legionnaires’ disease, the bird flu epidemic, solar flares knocking out the power grid, the global cooling of the 1970s, and even Einstein predicting that nuclear energy was “unattainable.” However, now our computer models are trusted to be the definitive predictor of the behavior of the planet’s climate well into the future?

Here’s what a Ph.D. friend said to me regarding his view about whether man is the major cause of climate change: “Maybe it’s like religion to me. It’s just a feeling, faith, and belief in something I can’t prove but intrinsically I know is right.”

Therein lies the problem. The argument about the cause of climate change is not like faith or religion, right or wrong; it’s a scientific hypothesis. Climate models are produced by computers that are fed a series of equations and assumptions and then spit out a prediction of rapid global warming. To date these models have failed to identify the current planetary cooling. In 2006 NASA scientists said the cooling was just a “speed bump” on the road to global warming.

Many factors contribute to the climate. As I write this (during a Jan Plan at Colby, when temperatures plummeted to minus 25 F) we are in the second-quietest period of sunspots since 1900. The Pacific Ocean remains in a cool phase of a multi-decadal oscillation and actually may contribute to a cooling the planet over the next decade. Long-term climate data indicate that world climate varies naturally, and those cycles are the collective result of scores of interrelated variables, playing out either in consort or not. Volcanic activity, sunspots, ocean currents, global winds, and more interact to cool and warm Earth. Man plays a role, but it is dwarfed by the natural variability of the planet.

The media support the idea of man-made warming through the omission of important facts. They fail to tell the public that glaciers grew in Alaska in 2008—the first time in 250 years—or that overall ice coverage in Antarctica has reached an all-time record level.

We cannot assume that the data used to report the worldwide temperature warming are accurate. NOAA’s reported October 2008 warm record was thrown out after some of September’s data had “accidently” been used in the calculation. Over the past 20 years, hundreds of colder, former Soviet Union stations have been dropped from the temperature database, leaving a warmer bias in the data. In an ongoing project, Anthony Watts, a former television meteorologist and expert on weather measurement, discovered hundreds of the U.S. observational stations are not compliant with NOAA regulations.

Examination of past data shows there have been far more alarming temperature trends than we have witnessed recently. As the last glacial period was ending, about 12,000 years ago, and temperatures rose, an abrupt return to glacial cold occurred. This lasted for about 1,000 years and is known as the Younger Dryas. Evidence of the end of this cold period found in ice cores shows where temperatures in Greenland rose 15 F (8 C) in less than a decade. No Hummer caused that meteoric rise in temperature.

What exactly is this ideal climate we are trying to achieve? What level of cooling is acceptable? Are we trying to return to the 16th and 17th centuries and the Little Ice Age, where massive crop failure and severe cold were the norm? If we now were in another Little Ice Age, would these scientists urge burning of fossil fuels?

The entire premise of man controlling the weather or climate will, if left unchallenged, yield rules and regulations as crazy as the very premise on which they will be based. Conserve, preserve, and find alternative forms of energy. But let’s do it because it’s the right thing to do, not because of the fear associated with some unproven hypothesis.

Dave Epstein ’86 is a television meteorologist in Boston, teaches at Framingham State College, has taught Jan Plans at Colby, and is host of a gardening Web site, GrowingWisdom.com.

 
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Comments

  • On April 14, 2009, Bernd Ulken wrote:
    Thank you, Mr. Epstein, it makes a lot of sense. Now, how do we get this message to the President's science advisors who are about to cause irreparable damage to the economy with their ill conceived schemes to save the planet? How did we ever come to accept that CO2 is a pollutant? Maybe some people envision carbon particles and exhaust fumes (smog) when they think of CO2. I think we can become energy independent by turning our massive coal reserves into ultra-clean liquid fuel. The process is available. It does release CO2. So, what? A lot of scientists believe more is better. The 'biomass' on earth depends on CO2. It's a win/win situation: ultra clean fuel, energy independence and a lot more trees and grass! The climate will unlikely be affected one way or the other.
  • On April 14, 2009, Ken Ad wrote:
    I'm so glad to hear some of my environmental brethren speak the truth. I have felt like an heretic for the past couple of years now. I too was a believer; it felt intrinsically right to me. I know that a great many believers feel this way and have difficulty breaking this religious conviction, as I did. One must look at the science over the long term. The earth goes through these changing levels of C02 and temperature naturally, and it takes hundreds of years, not 20. And leaving water vapor and the sun out of climate modeling is absolutely outrageous. Climate science is really Climate Art.
  • On April 14, 2009, Mike Goad wrote:
    Very well written and I actually learned a couple of things I had not come across before. I've long been concerned about the environment, but I stopped referring to myself as an environmentalist because of the negative connotations resulting from the actions and words of extremists.
  • On April 14, 2009, Paul Mason wrote:
    I think the graceful way out of Obama's quandary is to start emphasizing "energy independence" with solar, wind, geothermal, nuclear, etc, and just stop talking about the fictitious "global warming". Having donated heavily to his campaign, I find Obama's stance on global warming embarassing.
  • On April 16, 2009, Norm Kalmanovitch wrote:
    The AGW hypothesis of the IPCC is based entirely on the correlation of CO2 and global temperature, so all the evidence needed to prove or disprove this hypothesis can be found in the 30year global temperature record from satellite data that is free of the physical bias and spatial sampling limitations of land based temperature measurements. There is accurate CO2 measurements from Mauna Loa Observatory over this 30 year period, so a graph of the data from these two data sets plotted on the same graph should demonstrate correlation of these two curves to a statisticly significant level if the hypothesis is valid and a poor correlation if it is not valid. Such a graph is posted on the front page of the Friends of Science website ( www.friendsofscience.org ). This graph not only shows that there is no possible correlation of these two curves, it clearly shows that the Earth has been cooling since 2002 in spite of the continued steady increase in CO2. In science when observation is contrary to a hypothesis; the hypothesis is abandoned. In global warminh when observation is contrary to the hypothesis the observations are abandonned and the hypothesis is promoted. Norm K
  • On April 16, 2009, W Luppold wrote:
    For nearly 30 years I have recognized that human induced global warming was more politics than science. My greatest concern in the past was that the fear of global warming was diverting attention from other environmental issues such as water quality, fisheries sustainability, ocean health, and invasive species. About a year ago I read an article on the potential for substantial global cooling resulting from reduced solar activity. After studying this hypothesis I have become increasingly concerned about its probability of occurring and the social upheaval that would result from a reduction in world wide crop production.
  • On April 16, 2009, Todd wrote:
    Well written! I have a quote on my wall which says, "TRUTH is unchangeable - no matter what is politically correct" I hope the truth shines through quickly and obviously.
  • On April 16, 2009, Glenn Czulada wrote:
    Keep writing David, you summed this problem up so succinctly, you ar brilliant! www.
  • On April 17, 2009, John DeFayette wrote:
    I am glad to see that the madness behind the AGW religion does not infiltrate all levels of reasonable thought. I too walk whenever possible, use the bus and train, I don't even have air conditioning in my home (by choice), and my bicycle and hiking boots are all well worn. And I am mad as hell that the new religion wants to tax me back to the middle ages by taking away the cheap, clean energy that has been the force behind humanity's rise out of poverty. We need more voices like Mr. Epstein's, and I think we need them urgently in Washington. After today's dangerous EPA announcement I urge everyone to get on line to his or her representatives in government.
  • On April 17, 2009, Andy Smith wrote:
    Dave, with all due respect, here are some thoughts and comments: -you know you shouldn't use single weather events (ie -25 temps) to try and prove agw wrong. I'm not saying this sort of nonsense doesn't happen with proponents of awg. But as you know there is a huge difference between climate and weather and the fact is climatic data shows a warming pattern since 1900 despite occasional cold snaps. by the way if we did want to look at temperature extremes we'd find the number of record highs set in the last half century far outnumbers the record lows. -also it seems that if we are in the second quietest period of sunspots since 1900 and the Pacific Ocean is in a cool phase of a multi-decadal oscillation then global temps should be running below average. however monthly satellite readings consistently report that the world is still warmer than average. could this have something to do with all the greenhouse gases we've spewed into the atmosphere? -you talk of natural fluctuations being responsible for changes in global temperature, so why is it that the current leveling off of the warming trend can't just be a temporary occurrence due to the lull in sunspot activity and shift in the Pacific oscillation. this seems to be a reasonable explanation and the one that nasa scientists are proposing to explain the slowdown in warming. -while i cannot speak to the 90% confidence value used by the IPCC, i can say that their reliance on the work of thousands of independent climatologists around the world, instead of performing their own research, only strengthens their arguments. you might note that there are 27 pages of references at the end of their report. i'd love to see such a well cited report produced by the folks opposed to the idea of awg. finally, neither of us are climatologists (if i remember correctly, you were a biology major like me and meteorology and climatology are completely different fields) so maybe we should leave climate science to the climatologists, especially those who aren't funded by the fossil fuel industry.
  • On April 18, 2009, Peter C. wrote:
    Regardless of the cause of global warming, and if it will it continue? Isn't their attempt to fix it like going around and collecting all the matches once the house is on fire? Let the competitive nature of industry find alternatives to fossil fuel, without finding new and creative ways to tax us to death.
  • On April 18, 2009, AL S wrote:
    The environment is much too important to leave to the environmentalists. The longer the weather fails to cooperate with the global warming alarmists the more frequent and outrageous their future predictions become. "We are fast approaching a tipping point and if we don't act now there will be a massive methane explosion in the arctic that will result in the earth being showered with polar bears which in turn will permanently alter the planet's reflectivity"
  • On April 18, 2009, Doug Hamilton wrote:
    Thank goodness for articulate skeptics. Yes, lets make sensible progress toward energy conservation, rather than jumping to extreme solutions that will surely cause widespread damage to people's lives.
  • On April 18, 2009, dag wrote:
    Science cannot make unlimited predictions. It can observe a pattern in events and assume a perpetuation of the pattern, hence astronomical charts, tide charts etc. But in the fullness of time the pattern will fail and, though science may predict such a possibility but it cannot predict the time and nature of a change in the pattern of events. If the events are driven by multiple complex variables, ie climate, economics, health etc then there is no pattern, perpetuation cannot be assumed and predictions are no more than educated guesses. Powerful computers can see more subtle patterns in multiple first and second order systems and can simplify higher order relationships in some cases. Multple complex third order and higher relationships which do not convert to lower order approximations are incompatable with "predictions". By definition the AGW hypothesis is untenable whether it is right or wrong. The best good science can allow is "Global Warming by some forces of Nature as yet undefined" - GWN. My doctor cannot tell me the time and date of my death, the economists did not predict the current crisis, the weather men cannot predict next years weather, the climaters cannot predict the climate in 20 years and I can't pick lotto. Those are facts of life. AGW, that is a flight of fancy and we are all fools, except some are bigger fools than others.
  • On April 19, 2009, Mack wrote:
    Ahh yes the warm winters around 1998.Two skifields into receivership because of lack of snow,their chairlifts dismantled.Compare winter 2008,paper reads'Rainbow Skifield gets too much of a good thjng,access road blocked with snow'. Worst snow in 40yrs say local farmers. No amount of figures and graphs can refute these observed facts. It looks as if we're in for yet another normal arse freezing winter again this year here in NZ. Alarmists say this is 'noise' masking an underlying warming 'signal' .I'm wondering just how long do we have to put up with this noise before the signal is declared to be tripe. Back in 1980 the first meeting of US scientists postulating this initially plausible CO2 theory was reported in the papers .Chairman of that meeting was geologist? Al Gore providing an incestuous corruption of science with politics right from the start .It was the politics of fear ,a fistful of graphs all pointing up saying we're doomed; unless of course you vote for me and I will save you .Some people may choose this charismatic crank as their saviour, but I'm inclined to believe the hundreds of reputable scientists who contend that this CO2 theory is near enough to sheer QUACKERY.The bulk of the scientific community alarmists keep relying on are only 'yes' men on the giant taxpayer funded CO2 payroll. But it was notable that mainstream media here virtually ignored Copenhagen; maybe they're feeling some serious egg on their faces.
  • On April 19, 2009, Bill in the OC wrote:
    Like several here, at first I was an acolyte of anthropogenic global warming hypotheses. But a funny thing happened on the way to solidifying my belief structure. It took about two years for me to realize that predictions of abrupt catastrophic climate change are not facts, they are potential future facts. And they pale in significance to the actual facts, things we know happened, not things prognosticated in mathematical future fantasies (otherwise known as models). For instance, do some google scholar searching and it won't take you very long to find that we have had several sea level highstands during this interglacial (the Holocene) that have topped out at about 6 meters higher than present with no AGW input. And the Holocene, at precisely half of a precessional cycle is now at the exact age where it should soon end if it is at all like the other 6 interglacials dating back to the Mid Pleistocene transition. During the last interglacial (period of natural global warming), the Eemian (also the one where Homo Sapiens debuts in the fossil record), sea levels had at least 5 highstands higher than present, with solid factual proof in the vertically stable Caymans of at least 20 meters above present. All of this occasioned a revival of some psychological coursework I took as a sideline on my way to becoming a geologist. In one fascinating course on personality I learned a formidable fact; that the human being is nine times more susceptible to rumor than it is to fact. The proof is simplicity itself, just answer the following question: Which is mankind's correct religion? That's what I thought. In those psychology courses one soon learns that patterns of denial are most frequently characterized by paradigm reversals. For instance, if the vast majority of anthroglowarmies are correct if doubling CO2 concentrations from less than one tenth of one percent to still less than one tenth of one percent in 300 years is really the problem, and if the solid factual evidence is correct and at one half of a precessional cycle this interglacial is pretty much kaput, then we find ourselves with the fascinating scenario of perhaps needing to spew out as much foul CO2 as possible to ease our way into the next ice age. We will continue this argument while triple canopy rainforest devastation accelerates beyond irreversible (it may already have crossed this threshold), and while human population doubles in less than the magic 2100 year the IPCC trumpets. Denial is such a fascinating concept isn't it? Here is an eminently reasonable strategy for sussing out the real deniers. Ask a warmie what they really know about climate change. See if they know how long the Younger Dryas really lasted (1,300 not 1,000 years), see what they know about the proxy records (Antarctic and Greenland ice core projects, ocean coring projects, pollen studies and tree-coring projects), ask them if they know who John Imbrie is. In my amateur psychological musings on this subject, it did not take long to realize there are essentially four kinds of true deniers, the most populous category I define as parrots, those that can repeat a thing without really understanding it. Second come those that are natural victims of that nine times rule above, they pattern in belief structures and eschew facts to the tune of 88.9% of the time (if you do the math), so to them future fantasies become mana. Third come parents, those that have offspring in the offing and wish to do something, anything to prevent a perceived future catastrophe. And last but definitely not least are those that have some sort of vested interest in the outcome. These are the ones who practice true denial of the facts. Meanwhile, enjoy the interglacial while it lasts!
  • On April 20, 2009, Stefan wrote:
    @dag Indeed. As soon as people in any field start making predictions about complex systems and the future, for practical purposes it stops being science. The Institute of Forecasters have done studies on what we know from experience are the sorts of things that lead to good predictions (ie. they come true) and the sorts of things that tend to lead to bad predictions (they turned out to be wrong). One of the things that leads to predictions being wrong is that the predictions were made by experts. There is an overconfidence in experts by experts because being experts they believe they know more than they actually do, even when they are talking about the future of a complex system which is inherently unknowable because it hasn't happened yet, and being a complex system the same cause can turn out to have a different effect based on the particular context. The IPCC tries to get round this by calling them "scenarios" but then they go on to treat them as if they are predictions for practical purposes. These slight of hand shifts are easy to spot when people keep an open mind.
  • On April 20, 2009, Tom Hope wrote:
    An excellent article. I consider myself an environmentalist also. I nurture my urban garden, I compost, I use rainwater for my planters and I use CFL bulbs (although I worry increasingly about the mercury pollution that these lamps will cause). I recycle as much as possible, I have even installed low flush toilets and I own a Smart Car. But as a professional engineer I cannot accept environmental solutions that are based on un-proven scientific modeling. Worse when government policies are constructed on these rotten scientific assumptions, my blood boils. So I despair when I hear CO₂ condemned as a toxic pollutant, most recently by the US EPA. CO₂ is a vital trace gas in our atmosphere. There is on average only 0.038% of CO2 in dry air. Plants will not grow without CO₂. The more CO2 in the atmosphere, the better plants grow. In the distant past CO₂ concentration have been 10 or even 20 times higher than today. Some scientist attribute the increase in CO₂ this last century to a 15% gain in food production . How many lives has CO₂ saved from starvation as a consequence? But even after 20 years and billions of dollars of funding into research trying to prove the casual relationship, there is still no data that shows CO₂is driving global temperatures. Much research seems to point to the significant impact of Pacific and Atlantic ocean currents, the solar activity and sun spot frequency. It will still take many years of study to conclude the causes for global climate variation but the case blaming CO₂ is very weak indeed.
  • On April 22, 2009, Doug McMurrey wrote:
    I am so impressed that Colby is open minded enough to recognize the need for free speach on this topic. The debate is not over; the train has not left the station, and scientists, as well as concerned (and informed) citizens, are starting to see that suppression of true science can only lead to poor decisions. Bravo! I would note that the on-line version of the Magazine did not have the article indexed (too bad!). Only through a word search did I find the article. A correctable mistake... http://www.colby.edu/colby.mag/issues/current/ Best Doug McMurrey Class of '76
  • On April 23, 2009, Deborah Fillman wrote:
    Thank you for this. I too have felt like a religious heretic for rolling my eyes at the religious fervor with which the Obama team has accepted--hook, line and sinker--the dubious conclusions of scientists who use terms like "faith" to explain how they arrived at their conclusions. Why not build science education agenda around intelligent design if "faith" has become part of the scientific method! /sarcasm
  • On April 27, 2009, Rodney Howes '52 wrote:
    Thanks Colby, for coming off your liberal bend and publishing this fantastic article by Dave Epstein. This side of the story needs to be told. Truth ,courage, science, and good old common sense will prevail. The one man band behind the global warming myth needs to be stopped before great harm is done.
  • On April 28, 2009, Andrew Meeks '96 wrote:
    An institute of higher learning dedicated to intellectual curiousity, human enrichment, research leadership and global integrity that Colby has earned over the years should be ashamed to have printed Mr. Esptein's screed as "The Last Page" of the Spring 2009 magazine. The time for academic debate about the human impacts on climate change were ending around the time that Mr. Esptein was at Colby. I graduated 10 years after him and it was pretty much a foregone conclusion at that point. Nothing more needs to be said about this "debate" than the news from earlier this week that the oil and gas industry's OWN science advisors concluded in 1995 that "'[t]he scientific basis for the Greenhouse Effect and the potential impact of human emissions of greenhouse gases such as CO2 on climate is well established and cannot be denied,' the experts wrote in an internal report compiled for the [Global Climate Coalition]." The Global Climate Coalition was "financed by fees from large corporations and trade groups representing the oil, coal and auto industries, among others." http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/24/science/earth/24deny.html?pagewanted=1&_r=3&hp Petro companies such as ExxonMobil and Shell even recognize the human contribution to climate change. It's time to stop debating whether this thing actually exists and start discussing the various ways we can mitigate the potential risks. Are we willing to bet our future on the slim chance that nothing will change as a result of human activities on this earth since the beginning of the Industrial Era? Really? That was 14 years ago and yet this is still being "debated" by people such as Mr. Epstein that climate change is some "unproven hypothesis." It's sad how much time has been wasted that could have been used to make advances in energy efficiency, fuel efficiency standards (blocked for years by the auto industry lobby that is unsurprisingly on the brink of death), and technology retrofits to large industry. What happened to the respect for the precautionary principle and one of its foundations that "[t]he protections that mitigate suspected risks can be relaxed only if further scientific findings emerge that more robustly support an alternative explanation." - Wikipedia Please, Mr. Esptein, tell us what further scientific findings have emerged that 'more robustly support an alternative explanation'? Simply put, there are none.
  • On May 1, 2009, Dave Epstein '86 wrote:
    Thanks for the well thought out comments and critiques of the recent article. It was great that Colby did allow me to write the article and create a discourse on such an important subject. To Mr. Meeks' point. In science, hypothesis need to be proven before debate can be closed. Any scientist with a true desire for learning would never suggest to close debate on something unproven. If there is a chance of another cause the true scientists yearns to find it. The point of the article was that humans are not the primary drivers of climate change and that CO2 is not the primary cause of observed climate trends in the recent past. One need only to look at a wealth of climate data over the past 8 years to see that the planet has cooled. That fact yields the answer that C02 can not be the primary driver of climate. If that were the case, then the decade cooling that has been observed would not have occurred, as CO2 continues to rise. Other factors must be at work, larger than man. Finding alternative energies is and should be a priority. However, dogmatic views based on political aspirations and fear should not lead the way.
  • On June 8, 2009, Doug Werme '76 wrote:
    Andy Smith writes:"-while i cannot speak to the 90% confidence value used by the IPCC, i can say that their reliance on the work of thousands of independent climatologists around the world, instead of performing their own research, only strengthens their arguments. you might note that there are 27 pages of references at the end of their report. i'd love to see such a well cited report produced by the folks opposed to the idea of awg." Perhaps such a report was released last week, 880 pages, with all the references one could care to read. Download it for free, or buy it in hardcover here.: http://www.nipccreport.org/ Thanks to Dave for writing his article. I'm pleased that Colby is able to avoid the politically correct stance and permit some scientific debate. It is a tough situation when politics becomes so linked to a scientific debate. I personally found climate policy to be one of the only positives in the previous administration's environmental policy, and one of the few negatives in the current.
  • On June 8, 2009, Evan Jones wrote:
    Thank you for your article. Thank you very much. Accurate and thoughtful. "But as you know there is a huge difference between climate and weather and the fact is climatic data shows a warming pattern since 1900 despite occasional cold snaps." I can speak for the US record. USHCN weather stations (equally weighted) show a 0.14C warming trend using raw data (1900 - 2006). With the TOBS adjustment, the figure is +0.31C. With the (highly controversial) FILNET adjustment, the figure is +0.59C. NOAA final figures clock in at around +0.7C. This is about equal to the global (GHCN) average. The "cold snaps" have occurred during periods of negative oscillations (one of which we appear to be entering now, as the PDO have gone into cold phase). Yet the IPCC projects an average 3.5C rise by 2100, or around 5 times the warming of the last century. No I did not displace a decimal (but perhaps the IPCC has). From 1976 - 2001, all six major multidecadal oceanic-atmospheric oscillations that affect temperatures (PDO, NAO, SO, AMO, AO, AAO) flipped (on schedule) from cold phase to warm. Since 2001, we have seen a significant cooling trend. May global temperatures were under 0.1C over the 1979-2000 average, according to the RSS/UAH satellite measurements (and their lower troposphere meaurement is believed to warm at a faster rate than the surface). Not to mention solar cycle 24 having gone AWOL. And even if the IPCC thesis is correct, the amount of money either spent or lost through regulation is incredibly high and would probably cot many, many times more deaths than IPCC projected warming. I think there has been a modest warming and that a number of non-CO2 related anthropogenic causes are partially responsible. Addressing those causes (such as "dirty snow") would probably prove far more effective in reducing this trend than reduction of CO2 emissions--and around 99% cheaper. (This presumes no advances in technology, and we live in an age of extremely rapid technological advance.) I think a serious scientific reevaluation and cost-benefits assessment is in order.
  • On December 10, 2009, Scott Shahverdian wrote:
    If there is only ONE truth regarding climate change, and perhaps "science" as a whole, especially those sciences that deal with social and cultural behaviors and their impacts on their immediate and global surroundings, it must be this: anyone can produce, publish, and promote anything to further their agenda, and yes, everyone has an agenda; that statement shouldn't surprise anyone. So then, among all of the reports and panels, the governmental, the nongovernmental, the IPCC, the NIPCC, NASA reports, new supposedly leaked e-mails creating scandal, etc, etc, etc.. how can anyone discern what is truly happening? First, what has been the effect of all of these reports, committees, presidents, congresses, other nations etc? Nothing, precisely nothing. Nothing has been done, plenty of talking, no action. The so-called skeptics will say this is a good thing, since after all there is no such thing as climate change, and therefore nothing needs to be done. The so-called supporters of climate change will say we are doomed, and that the effects are on their way. So allow us then a moment to speculate: what seems more likely; a. that the entrenched industries, ie. fossil fuel industries with no small amount of support, tacit perhaps, of an affluent consumerist society (our America, god Bless Her) are resistant to reduce the consumption of resources and materials that 1. make them an enormous profit, maintaining their power both economically and politically (scientifically?) and 2. allow them to live extravagant lifestyles at the expense of the natural world and 3rd world nations and peoples, not to mention their own country and people; --OR-- b. their is a group of "doomsday" scientists who want to spread fear and confusion so that they can reduce affluent nations to poverty and claim that wealth as their own. Or rather that these scientists are going to assume power once we have been brainwashed into believing that driving our Hummer's aren't having any effect on our environment, or the black smoke pouring from coal factories? It is clear who stands to benefit from doing nothing. Namely, the powers that be, the same powers who have always benefited, the same powers that are content now to watch confusion being sown by new panels and reports everywhere. The same people who do not want to have to trade in their third or fourth car to, *gasp* ride a bike, walk to work, admit that 30,000 square feet might be excessive for a family of four. Who stands to benefit from cleaning up our act? From reducing CO2? China? The common concern that our "economy" will be hurt if we embrace meaningful CO2 mitigation measures, how does anyone benefit from that? Is that what those doomsday scientists want? Wouldn't that affect them as well? Science aside, since after all, it is easily manufactured and manipulated, even without knowing what the issue was, discerning readers, listeners, watchers, citizens, can tell what is at stake, who stands to gain, who stands to lose, and what is the truth.