Hands up, climate change non-denialists

So guess how many wind turbines there are in South Africa?

So guess how many wind turbines there are in South Africa?

Yesterday, the Guardian published a story describing how Jim Hansen, the renowned NASA climate scientist, has called on President-almost-post-elect Obama to take decisive action on climate change in the next four years, arguing that we have almost run out of time.

“We cannot afford to put off change any longer,” said Hansen. “We have to get on a new path within this new administration. We have only four years left for Obama to set an example to the rest of the world. America must take the lead.”

Hansen said current carbon levels in the atmosphere were already too high to prevent runaway greenhouse warming.* Yet the levels are still rising despite all the efforts of politicians and scientists.

A friend has noted that an overwhelming number of the commented responses to the Guardian article deny the existence of climate change, and wonders if the apparently high number of sceptics is reason for those of us who believe urgent action is necessary, to despair. But are there really that many climate sceptics out there?

What do you think? Are climate change denialists just a very noisy minority, or are opinion-leaders seriously out of touch with the feelings of ordinary people on this issue?

UPDATE Tuesday 20 Jan: My goodness, this post has been an interesting experiment. Looking at my stats, 90% of the clickthroughs arriving here have come from what we might call a, um, distinctly climate change sceptical website. Apologies, everyone, btw, I’m going to be offline till Sunday, so won’t be able approve comments till then.

* Runaway global warming refers to secondary warming processes set in play by the primary process of carbon dioxide accumulation in the atmosphere. For example, higher temperatures can increase the number of forest fires, which in turn pour more CO2 into the atmosphere. Another example: the permafrost in the Arctic Circle is beginning to thaw, releasing locked-away CO2 and methane, which is a greenhouse (warming) gas many times more potent than CO2 itself.

About David

I am an environmental writer, journalist and speaker living in Cape Town, South Africa.
This entry was posted in Denial, Environment, Going greener, Our war on the atmosphere and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Hands up, climate change non-denialists

  1. hoh says:

    v nice banner pic!

  2. Mike M. says:

    Actually, people who believe in man made global warming are the noisy minority…

    http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/issues2/articles/44_say_global_warming_due_to_planetary_trends_not_people

    Mother Nature is putting her cigarette out in your forehead.

  3. Jorb says:

    Perhaps it’s because anyone who actually looks at the science, rather than taking the word of the political (not scientific – e.g. gore, hansen, romm, IPCC) polemicists, finds nothing that supports the theory.

    J.

  4. David says:

    @ Mike. The link you point to hardly bears out your contention — and it refers only to US public opinion — my frame of reference is somewhat larger. US public opinion is rarely representative of global public opinion.

    @ Jorb. Supposing we are wrong, about global warming specifically. What do we have to lose, anyway, by creating a less polluting, more energy efficient, more economically decentralised global economy that will not exhaust all our resources. After all, even if you don’t believe in global warming, you do know that we’re going to run out of coal and oil at some point. Just how do we lose out by converting our economies sooner rather than later?

    I’m intrigued by the relative speed with which this post has pulled hits.

  5. jorb says:

    David,

    This is the most common argument put by those who havent bothered to look at the economics of the situation as well as the science.

    What do we have to lose?

    How about trillions of dollars, much of it pulled from actual problems. Not to mention the other problems caused by restrictions related to solving a non problem.

    I have no problem with alternative energy. Anything that gets us away from oil is a good idea, even just for the political change it would bring. It’s just that we don’t have it yet. Solar and wind are not reliable, can’t be matched to demand and cost around four times as much. If this is what you want, why not advocate putting money into research to find an actual source of waste free energy. And if you want to really here a greenie scream suggest the one source of low carbon power that we actually have – nuclear fission.

    We could solve the problem of Malaria in the third world for less than Al Gore has pulled in from this scam. That’s before we even get to the silly ideas proposed to solve a non problem.

    I have no problem with where you’d like to get to, but you need to do some research. Good ideals and poor information are responsible for most of the problems we currently face, and the biggest tragedies in history.

    Banning DDT was the greenies last grand triumph. It cost 30million+ lives over the last 30 yrs. With the best of intentions their acheivement makes Hitler and Stalin look like choir boys.

    The Global Warming scam is already killing people by wasting money that would/could otherwise have been spent on real problems, and we’ve barely started on the crazy plans that have been demanded in its name – everything from enforced vegetarianism to population control to global socialism.

    There is no solid science to support anything related to anthropogenic climate change. So why waste trillions of dollars.

    J.

  6. phantomcity says:

    One of those terrible things about writing professionally online is that I lose track of the amazing things my friends are doing alongside me! This is quite a blog! I can’t wait to catch up on the others.

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