A Response to Cali’s Weekend Twitter Circus

February 16th, 2009

So, this past weekend Cali Lewis twittered the following statement:

It’s so sad that smart people don’t pay attention to the science that proves global warming is a hoax.”

It created a thunderstorm of responses (I’ll admit to my own raised eyebrows.) to which she ended up replying in a blog post. Her post is quite a bit more carefully worded than the initial tweet, and addresses the initial feelings that led her to (unintentionally?) spark an online debate.

“Last night Neal and I took a break from a movie to grab a snack. The radio was on (NPR – like always), and I heard another yet political pundit talking about how we’ve caused global warming and what we need to do about it.”

Fair enough, the science of climate change has been politicized. I’m weary of the zealots on either side of the socio-political debate on this issue. However, in the next sentence Cali goes on to explain her position a bit further, and this is where I begin to diverge from her opinion.

“This person’s emphatic belief in man-made global warming was so over-the-top different from what climate scientists are saying that I tweeted my frustration.”

I don’t know what the person on the radio was saying, not having heard it myself, but I’ll guess that they were simply parroting the IPCC report conclusions that current climate trends are due in large part to human activities in order to give scientific credence to whatever environmental plan they happened to be espousing. Again, an annoying use of the science because it doesn’t take into account the complexity that scientists are dealing with, but not altogether wrong. I don’t know that it is “over-the-top different” from the majority consensus.

Cali goes on to say:

 “We’ve all heard about the 600 scientists who signed on to the UN’s global warming report. The media doesn’t readily share information about the thousands of scientist who disagree:”

This is manufactured controversy. There are always going to be individuals with varying opinions. I spend my time paying attention to as much of the science media as I can, and the reality is that the reporting on climate change is dominated by the few scientists who disagree with each other. The rest of the science world is doing what they do best… their jobs. And, the science supports the consensus.

The links Cali provides seem at the outset to provide evidence to her statement that there there is a big cover-up going on. However, a little digging reveals that the sources of the information aren’t necessarily trustworthy. The petition is served by an institution called the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine. The initial run of the petition was discredited as misleading (see the preceding link) for various reasons. The senate link is a minority report provided by Senator Inhofe’s press blog. Inhofe is known for making misleading statements about climate science. And, the interview dishes up a fair bit of misinformation, which I’m not going to focus on here.

My final disagreement with Cali’s opinion is where she recommends Dr. Roy Spencer as a single source for information on climate. She says:

“His research corresponds with the work of other climatologists.”

Yes, he has done some very good work, but he’s not the only person doing climate research. Interestingly, according to RealClimate.org:

“… what he gets through peer-review is far less threatening to the mainstream picture of anthropogenic global warming than you’d think from the spin he puts on it in press releases, presentations and the blogosphere.”

I just want to remind people that science is never based on the work or the opinions of one person. Science is not a petition. It is based on data-based consensus over time. So, while it might be useful to read Roy’s book as Cali suggests, it is also good to look for other books and articles by many other authors before forming an opinion.

Unfortunately, the issue has been so politicized that people do have opinions whether or not they know anything about climate science because of the emotions involved. I have a basic understanding of the science involved, but I leave the details to the experts, those working on the science. I try to temper my own opinion with the understanding that I don’t know everything on this topic.

In this, I agree with Cali:

“Here’s the problem and the reason I’m willing to be a little controversial and publicly talk about my skepticism: The politicians sound like apocalyptic preachers who doom us to all kinds of disaster if we don’t believe their message.”

The politics have gone overboard. It doesn’t matter which news stations you listen to, because of ratings and poll results, pundits and politicians have forgotten about moderation.

“Climate scientists sound like rational adults seeking the truth. Science is all about skepticism. I’m skeptic, and science says I have a real reason to be one.”

It is good to be skeptical, but not to the detriment of reason. Sometimes skeptics forget to poke holes in their own arguments. I don’t think science is about skepticism. It is about critical thinking, which is necessary for proper support of skepticism. Yes, be a skeptic, but look at as many sides of an issue as you can, and remember that there are probably others that you have not considered. An opinion is just that, an opinion, not a statement of fact. We all have them, but that doesn’t make us experts.

The issue of “global warming” is a complicated one, which is why it is so easy for people to muddy the waters of public opinion. I find it sad that people have become so polarized over wording and not the crucial issue of humanity. Will humanity survive a dramatic period of climate change? Probably, but at what cost? And, given what benefits?

I agree with Cali that blue skies and clear water are of utmost importance. Let’s try to get past the politics and name-calling. They will never get us anywhere.

And, I suggest that anyone who called Cali names apologize.

34 Responses to “A Response to Cali’s Weekend Twitter Circus”

  1. Wayne Dawe on February 16, 2009 9:40 pm

    A well thought out and reasoned response Dr. Sanford. I support Cali’s right to express her opinion, it’s important that everyone do their own due diligence and make up their minds. Science is about debate and discourse and saying that some scientists disagree about how far the water will rise in Manhatten doesn’t mean that they don’t think we should do something before our ankles get wet.

  2. Des on February 16, 2009 9:48 pm

    The work of science has nothing whatever to do with consensus. Consensus is the business of politics.
    Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right, which means that he or she has results that are verifiable by reference to the real world. In science consensus is irrelevant. What is relevant is reproducible results. The greatest scientists in history are great precisely because they broke with the consensus.
    There is no such thing as consensus science. If it’s consensus, it isn’t science. If it’s science, it isn’t consensus. Period.

    Michael Crichton

  3. Zoyx on February 16, 2009 9:54 pm

    This guy says everything for me. The planet is warming, we are the primary cause.


  4. Jeff on February 16, 2009 10:09 pm

    As an aspiring scientist ( finishing up year 4 phd), I agree completely. I just stay out of the general debate anymore, everyone seems to point at their favorite study and call it fact. No matter which side you are on.

  5. John DeCarlo on February 16, 2009 10:15 pm

    Dr. Sanford,

    Thank you for this. I follow This Week In Science (TWIS) and other science fora.

    I was impressed by this site, and wondered what you thought:


    Thank you.

  6. Jeff on February 16, 2009 10:19 pm

    Umm… I am on my iphone so i can’t respond properly. But i get your point, but consensus is very much a part of science. If only it were so simple that results were so easily verifiable. Galileo for example, broke with consensus ( sort of), but how verified. Contrast relativity and quantum mechanics. I think what you are talking about is not so common today in particular

  7. Jeffrey Johnson on February 16, 2009 11:07 pm

    Thank you for your post, I was very much hoping you would write something like this. I knew you would be able to have a well reasoned and respectful response.

  8. dusanmal on February 16, 2009 11:19 pm

    What gets me bothered as a scientist in another discipline than climatology is that no wider-than-climatology testing of the “man made global warming” is done.

    I am Astrophysicist. Experimental evidence that I’ll shortly summarize points to the fact that we are not the cause of this particular Earth warming. But, I’d bet that at most 1 in 1000 climatologists is aware of it…

    During the same period Earth is warming up, every single planet in the Solar system is warming up. Back of the envelope estimate even points to the fact we might be warming slower than expected.

    Simple examples accessible to ordinary people aware of various predictions for global warming on Earth:

    -Poles are melting. During the same interval poles on Mars are melting as well…

    -Hurricanes are stronger, more numerous and moving in latitude from Equator. The greatest known storm in Solar system, Red Spot on Jupiter increased its power and first time since we have seen it moved in latitude during 1990’s. Spawning a “Baby Red Spot” (Baby, but still storm larger than Earth) in early 2000’s.

    -Winters are warmer. Pluto have been heating up as it moves away from the Sun,…

    More cryptic for general public but still valid proofs of warming of all other planets during the same period exists. My beck of the envelope calculation compared Mars pole melting and Earth. Proportionally, our poles should have been ice free in early 1990’s…

    Now, where is the strongest energy source in this pocket of the Universe? In the middle. What was it doing during the same interval? Producing extraordinary activity (which ended in late 2000’s). How extraordinary? Again simple example for general public. We have sent hi-tech satellites to measure the Sun activity. Expensive over-engineered machinery. Solar activity was of such intensity in the early 2000’s that the satellite equipment got literally burned up…

    What about measured increased CO2 and other greenhouse gases on Earth? Think carefully what we humans do when producing those gases in extreme amounts. Say, coal power plants in China. It is not only CO2 that is produced. Typically it is accompanied by vast amounts of particulate matter. What that particulate matter does? Shades the Earth. Google up Global Shading and find how much we have restricted amount of Solar radiation that reaches Earth.

    So, in the net effect, our pollution is quite irrelevant for the climate. Whatever we do in a major way to cause warming, we unintentionally accompany with the activity that would cause global cooling. Nature works like that in most cases and we are nothing special when it comes to such equalizing effects.

    However, same as Cali and Dr Kiki I am greatly concerned with the dirtying up we do here on Earth. I am just afraid that the over-hyping of the global warming might keep our eyes away from the real dangers of our polluting ways.

    What are the real dangers? Say heavy metals and hi-tech chemistry. While the organic matter deals easily with higher or lower amounts of Carbon, these pollutants are not normally found around and organic matter tends to be poisoned by them way too easy. They don’t recycle but persist and destroy. While the West have advanced through the worst of this pollution, developing nations are in the middle of it. While in the West maybe couple hundred million people were around during that phase, in developing countries today likely 2 billion people are in the midst of production and poisoning by these materials. And they don’t show any intent on curbing that menace which will come to our shores in ever greater intensity (already the fish is bloated with mercury)… I’d much rather fight that than global warming to which we could adapt because once heavy metals are in our food, water and air, warming or cooling is quite irrelevant.

  9. Ed on February 16, 2009 11:47 pm

    Your are right that critical thinking is necessary for the process of science to work. That means finding the right questions to ask and doing the research to determine what the best answer is.

    I agree Cali Lewis is right to be skeptical about what she hears, and sees, in the media about global warming. It appears to me that the mistake Cali may have made is to not do the research that you did. Of course I don’t know what she spends her time on.

    With global warming the problem we are taking about is making predictions about what the weather will be on 20, 50 or 100 years, which can’t be done with current technology to any degree of precision, at least not as far I have read.

    I can understand why much of the public is not sold on the idea that significant changes are warranted now.

    What there is sufficient evidence for is that the global temps have been getting hotter. When looking at the melting Arctic ice caps we can see evidence that if anything this warming is accelerating. Even if the current rate of increase were to slow down, which there is no sign off, we had better start preparing for the significant changes that are coming.

    It is risk versus reward and it’s our grand-children’s future world we are talking about.

    The public has the right, and the politician’s the duty, to question the need to make significant changes now in how we meet our energy needs. What they should not due is hide their heads in the sand and hope the census of scientific opinion is wrong, as the previous administration did.

    Public debates are contentious and there will always be a lot of name calling. It’s is up the media, who in my view have really dropped the ball, and our leaders, to give the scientist a fair hearing. Reporters have the obligation, just as our political leaders have, to make the time to do adequate research.

    If hundreds, perhaps thousands, of scientist, back by hard evidence, say one thing and only a few disagree then the media should not give equal weight to both opinions.

    The public debate needs to be about the right questions. Of much are we willing to pay now to help our grandchildren in a future world that is likely to see dramatic changes? It is their world, and the challenges they will face, that should be the focus of the debate.

  10. wbw_Jeff on February 17, 2009 12:44 am

    My sum total of scientific knowledge has been derived from listening to podcasts so my viewpoint might be a bit different. This discussion reminds of what Disraeli (or perhaps Mark Twain) once said about “Lies, dam lies and statistics”. Meaning that you can always find impressive support for your position if you try hard enough. In this case I can’t get past the stories of new arctic shipping lanes emerging where none had existed before. I do think it is very important that we try to isolate man’s effect vs natural forces. Meanwhile, I don’t see how throwing some solar panels on the roof or giving up bottled water is a bad thing, and our economy could certainly stand to take a new look at how it involves energy. Efficiency in the way we use our finite resources seems to be the right goal for right now. I only listen to podcasts using rechargeable batteries.

  11. lvdjgarcia on February 17, 2009 1:01 am

    Let’s agree to stop calling it “global warming”. The term is inaccurate and misleading, what the Earth is experiencing is “Climate Change”, more specifically; Accelerated Climate Change.
    Yes, climate change is an ongoing reality of nature, but it is being accelerated by our relentless (and reckless) disregard for the impact of the choices we’ve made. The climate change nay-sayers aren’t just a minority, they are a VERY SMALL minority, bordering on the fringe of climatology science.
    My issue with Cali’s statement was the inference of some sort of media conspiracy regarding climate change. This accusation is ridiculous, in point of fact the media has given far too much credence (and airtime) to the climate change “skeptics”. Should we also allow the creationist or “intelligent design” advocates equal footing with evolutionary biologist? The ID/creationist also claim to have many scientist in their camp. I only wish the media had allowed those of us who opposed the Iraq was as much deference.
    Skepticism is healthy in science, history, politics and tech. But skepticism in the face overwhelming evidence is foolish. Cali’s twitter post, and subsequent blog post, has damaged her “tech” credibility, because tech and science are intertwined.
    Now for a dose of reality..If you are taking you cues regarding climate change from a TWITTER post or a BLOG post without further examining the issue ON YOUR OWN, then YOU deserve any and all the insults that some may have thrown Cali’s way.

  12. Paul Sham on February 17, 2009 1:50 am

    I disagreed with Cali Lewis, but was really taken back by the response of people. I’m glad that you provided a well thought out argument, as opposed to attacking her as a person. One of my concerns with the Internet is how combative people can become.

    It’s both fortunate, and unfortunate, that the topic of climate change has become politicized because, if you believe that climate change requires large scale action, it will be necessary for governments to regulate industries.

    But, as an individual, I believe that we need to do our part by doing what we can. One cool initiative that was started in Canada by the CBC is One Million Acts of Green. It may not be the most scientific initiative, but it’s getting people to take small steps that could affect larger change.

  13. alloycowboy on February 17, 2009 2:27 am

    Hey Kirsten,

    One just has to look at the latent heat of fusion and vaporization of water to realize that as the volume of the ice in ocean reduces (melts),the rate of which the ocean and the atmosphere gains sensible heat increases. This isn’t rocket science, it just basic Calorimetry 101. So their is no dispute that global warming happening. The real question is how much is man kind contributing to the phenomena.

    I wonder if it would help if you did a simple Calorimetry experiment just to get the basic principles across??? What do you think?

  14. MadScientist on February 17, 2009 4:25 am

    Science by petition? Hah! Now *THATS* consensus! I never did have the patience to gather autographs though, so I’m a bit old school – nothing beats ipso dixit!

    The globe is warming and no one can predict the future and say how much and what the effects will be. If people want to reduce that warming – then fine; I’m sure a lot of great projects will come out of it.

    People need to move away from the warming/not warming and concentrate on proposals to ‘fix’ the problem (assuming there is a problem). Planting trees is an oft espoused idea but it’s not all that simple. First of all, planting trees would be one of the least efficient schemes. Most proposals I’ve seen so far are all for densely packed monospecies forests – bad for the land, bad for the vegetation, bad for the wildlife, and really bad when lightning strikes. I favor more natural forests myself, but the reality is that a human made forest mimicking a natural one is extremely inefficient at packing away the CO2 when compared to a monospecies unnaturally dense forest. To make matters worse, people often propose to plant the trees on existing agricultural land – more trees, less food. So one big ‘F’ for planting trees (but I genuinely still want to see near-natural forests created). The worthwhile forestry projects would be very inefficient indeed – chiefly planting natural forests to slow/halt/reverse desertification and engineering forests to improve poor quality land and generate fertile soil for the future (a process which in nature, because it is unaided, takes anywhere from hundreds to thousands of years). No matter how one looks at it, doing a *good* job of planting trees will be incredibly inefficient (and hence costly for a very small CO2 offset). Personally I don’t want to see the ecological mess caused by vast dense single-species plantations on good quality agricultural land. Engineered natural forests – a great experiment (I think), but poor efficiency at reducing CO2 and we’re talking at least a generation just to observe the least of the benefits; no instant gratification.

  15. Kevbo on February 17, 2009 4:26 am

    Dr Kiki, Thank you for the calm, reasonable response to Cali/Luria’s msg. I wanted to bang my head on the desk simply at the very illogic within her sentence itself.

    An incomplete reaction to the ongoing discussion above:

    Consensus doesn’t make something correct but there will be consensus when a majority discover something is correct by independent examination, experimentation and evaluation. Scientific method FTW!!

    Thus in 2009 there is indeed consensus that climate change of one sort or another is upon us and that from our limited frame of reference, it appears human action may make things more difficult for humans at the same time that long-term conditions for life decay/change naturally.

    We have to go with the best of our knowledge when we cannot have every possible piece of data. At this time, science indicates that it may be possible for humans to lessen the bad effects of climate change (man made and/or natural) upon humans.

    In science, we often must predict using all existing, acquired data, not merely pick and choose for political reasons. All the numbers must tell the story, not the other way around. Cali’s chosen references are data sets trimmed to reach preset conclusions for political purposes. Cali obviously doesn’t like what the majority of scientists are saying.

    We need to act upon the best of our knowledge and try to moderate climate change and improve human living conditions. We need to think long-term. The fact that there are minority opposing views about these matters does not mean the majority of the scientific community is wrong! The simple act of opposition, iconoclasm, doubting, skepticism or protest based on personal politics doesn’t overturn the truth of data and scientific processes.

    Sadly, politics has soured any discussion of these matters. This is horrible as the stakes are too big. For example, some mouthy right-wingers may become resentful of a position held by arguably alarmist left-wingers by default. Left-winger: It’s raining and I can prove it by holding out my hand. Scientists predict flooding. Right-winger: No it’s not because I don’t want to empower your party by recognizing your correctness or spend my money on long-term matters instead of short-term profits. I therefore oppose bracing for floods. And so on… (Roles can be reversed of course)

    Then a flood comes along…

    wonderingmind42 at YouTube has a good presentation related to climate issues, action, inaction, logic etc: “How It All It Ends” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mF_anaVcCXg

    The “smart people” look at what the data says and react intelligently regardless of the politics involved. The majority of “smart people” in 2009 see the dangers of global warming/climate change and the increasing likelihood that it is happening in one form or another, regardless of cause. The “smart people” choose to be proactive and preventative because there is too much to lose by not being so. The “smart people” see the benefits of taking action against climate change/global warming regardless of the arrival of a worst-case scenario.

  16. MadScientist on February 17, 2009 4:39 am


    “Solar activity was of such intensity in the early 2000’s that the satellite equipment got literally burned up…”

    To quote the various antagonists of “Get Smart”: I don’t think so. I doubt it.

    If you can provide evidence of your claims I would look at it. Otherwise I just have to laugh at that statement about satellite equipment burning up; there are many earth observation satellites currently in orbit which deliberately take a look at the sun quite frequently and they’re working just fine. In fact I find it very difficult to imagine someone making such a fundamentally simple mistake as to result in solar radiation damaging an instrument.

  17. r8lobster on February 17, 2009 4:54 am

    I’m not sure what kind of names Cali was bombarded with, but one of her mistakes was to use the word “hoax,” and say she was “sad” about the it: like she feels sorry for the poor nerdy saps deluded by this Loch Ness Monster story.

    Hoax is a loaded word. To say something’s been proved a hoax is even loaded-er.

    Me, I’m just wondering how I missed the whole thing, as I follow Cali’s feed out there. It must’ve happened on central time.

    ps. it’s a little mind-boggling that this discussion’s 20 years old and still falls back into nya-nya territory. but i suppose science is always a little charged, as shown by galileo or anyone who’s ever applied for a grant…plus it involves human behavior.

  18. MadScientist on February 17, 2009 5:17 am

    @John De Carlo:

    The article on that website is pretty much wrong on every point. A book can be filled on what’s wrong with the article. I’d suggest going over each point made and using your friend ‘google’ to help find educational articles on the subjects if you care to find out just how wrong that whole article is.

    One of the things that really strikes me about that article is the number of red herrings – and I think they’re all decomposing and giving the article quite a stench.

    Even I don’t believe a thing that comes out of the ‘models’ (funny, but every graph a modeler shows me convinces me the model is wrong while the modeler thinks it should convince me the model is correct) but that article is just plain wrong.

  19. Daniel B. on February 17, 2009 8:21 am

    This type of dialog is exactly the kind of thing that makes the internet valuable. People from varying backgrounds and varying opinions having a discussion about a relevant current topic. Bravo to both Cali Lewis and Kirsten Sanford for their lucid statements. I happen to be on Cali’s side but that’s irrelevant to how valuable the ability to have this open forum is to the online community. Anyone, anywhere in the free (and sometimes not free) world is able to speak their mind. Please, let’s have more of this type of controversy online. The more people talk about an issue the more likely the truth will be revealed, like it or not. Thanks again to Kirsten and Cali!

  20. Big Al on February 17, 2009 9:29 am

    The truth is probably not as dire as the worst predictions and not as rosey as the most optimistic. I am of the opinion that we have surely had some sort of negative impact on the weather.

    However, it has been demonstrated that this planet has had massive climate shifts in the past over relatively short periods of time. All of which were before fossil fuels and the expelling of greenhouse gases. But to listen to the worst doom-sayers you’d never know this. So I understand Cali’s frustration. When I was in School in the Eighties, they practiacally assured us that Washington DC would be right on the Atlantic Ocean by 2010. So the hyperbole is definitely there and always has been.

    Again, I tend to think we are not helping the situation, but I also think that there is a natural ebb and flow to the climate on Earth that we do not fully understand and can’t begin to predict.

    I also get frustrated with these “experts” that drive more gas guzzling vehicles than I ever could afford and log more air-miles in a year than I will in my life. Then, they tell me that driving my Escort to work rather than biking is killing the planet.

    So, “Hoax” might not be the word I’d use. That connotates a pervaise, organized plot to decieve. However, “Zealot” and “Holy War” tend to come to mind at times in how some folks act. I’d much rather listen to Ed Begley Jr. show me all the little things I can do to help in my own way, then drive off in his electric car, then have Al Gore preach to me about the greehouse effect and then hop in his chartered jet to tell some other city how they too are killing the planet.

  21. Tim on February 17, 2009 10:31 am

    Nice response. Its good to see how much environmental concern has become mainstream, but I don’t understand why GW is more of a political issue than a scientific issue. It really shouldn’t be a right wing/left wing/liberal/conservative stance. And it HAS been extremely sensationalized. I’m fine with people disagreeing on the cause of GW, but not at the expense of human life or the destruction of our home.

  22. NKB: Dr. Kiki on global warming, skepticism, reason and science on February 17, 2009 12:48 pm

    […] more critical thinking, science and reason on TV), writing at her blog, The Bird’s Brain, A Response to Cali’s Weekend Twitter Circus: I spend my time paying attention to as much of the science media as I can, and the reality is that […]

  23. johnfoster on February 17, 2009 2:02 pm

    one problem with talking about this problem is that so many people have a pre-formed opinion that is sometimes based on loose science that they “read somewhere.” once you start the discourse you find how shallow the actual knowledge is and it falls apart into “my article is smarter than your article.”

    there is lots that we do know about the earth but there is lots that we don’t know. most weather records date back to just a few hundred years. and measuring carbon dioxide doesn’t go back that far with serious studies being made starting in the 1950’s.

    there is evidence that massive climate change is part of the history of the planet. look to Minnesota for an example. but nobody was around writing it down so we’ll never know the whole story beyond the core samples, tree rings, dug up bones and satellite photos.

    “the media” loves a good story. the like to have the victim and the villain. it’s simpler that way. captivates the audience. generates sympathy for the good guys. the problem is that “science” isn’t that simple. a few decades of data that goes UP doesn’t tell the whole story. what else is affecting that UP? what factors aren’t we seeing?

    bottom line: science is not a sound bite.

  24. Chuck Appelquist on February 17, 2009 2:27 pm

    Thank you so much for taking the time write this post.
    I don’t have anything to add, just wanted to say this is why I’m such a big fan yours.
    I hope Cali gets to read this and I’d be interested what her response would be.
    Keep up the GREAT work!

  25. Nick on February 17, 2009 2:51 pm

    I really feel this has been a sad episode in the overall debate. In any other sphere of our lives we take preventative actions against anything that could result in disastrous consequences. Whether it’s wearing seat belts in cars or protective glasses in a lab, we don’t wait till something happens or argue about how bad it might be, we do what we can to minimize the risks. Why can’t we do this with climate change. It doesn’t matter if people introduce political legislation to reduce carbon emissions for their own agendas, it more important that something just gets done. We managed to do this in the Montreal Protocol, why can’t we do it again.

  26. Karn Broad on February 17, 2009 4:39 pm

    There is a very simple set of points here for me, being missed by many.

    If we are having a dramatic influence on the climate, and using up resources that aren’t limitless rather quickly, then a serious change in efficiency is vital. If we aren’t having much of an effect on the climate, then that change in efficiency is still good.

    If we assume we aren’t having an effect, and we aren’t then that’s fine, but we will use resources at an increasing rate. If we are having a big effect and do nothing, then we are really in for a huge problem.

    Which approach makes basic sense to you?

    I believe the earth and life on it will survive as it is incredibly resilient, but will that be a world that suits us? We can make sure it is, or take a very big chance on man’s future.

    Some people believe it is scary to change their lives now and be more efficient, but I think I’d rather look toward what my grandchildren will have to deal with and try and secure them a safer future.

  27. Gord McLeod on February 17, 2009 7:35 pm

    Thanks for the well reasoned, balanced view point. It does get tiring seeing the polarization of sides on issues like this. Just one more reason to keep coming back here!

  28. Manfred Morgner on February 21, 2009 7:50 pm

    Hello Dr. Kiki,

    sometimes the truth lies in another angle of view. I’m not impressed about the results of the current state of climate science. There is and there was no model of the worlds climate, that ever predicted anything that happend in reality.

    About a year ago, I read an article in a computer magazine (c’t) about an interesting question: Does the energy we use to drive the massive force of super computers to try out climate models do more than heat our atmosphere? And the answer was clearly: NO. No one ever had an idea HOW the climate does change as a result of our doings. The prove is, that not until this very day any scientist was able to come up with a climate model that predicted _anything_ based on whatever data. Reality is completely different than any climate model.

    Even the often heard sentence ‘It’s worse than any of our models’ does not tell more than ‘All of our models are completely wrong’. So – whatever thousands of scientists believe to have found out. There is no prove, no reality check and therefore, no reason to act on there believes.

    Thousands of scientists united to try and convince humans to not destroy there environment is cute, but it does not make science out of a cute idea.

    But: If people need additional forces to behave in a way that our next generations have a chance to survive, we are doomed. That’s it,

  29. Brad on February 23, 2009 5:32 pm


    I’ll start by saying I am a skeptic of the man-made global climate change mantra that is being said. Note that I said man-made, that the earth is undergoing climate change is clear, but whether man is responsible or to what extent is another matter.
    The earth has existed a hell of a long time and has undergone changes (climate or other) throughout its history. The climate cycles of the planet as whole are not currently understood. We should therefore be wary of assigning blame to any particular party.
    The problem also now that now it has been politicized is that it is now becoming monetized.Carbon emission schemes, taxes, etc now have the potential to make a very small group of people very wealthy and therefore influential in our political process.
    The issue as well is that prematurely coming to a conclusion that we are to blame and start implementing taxes, emission trading schemes, etc which may well have a significant impact on our economy overall and on the man on the street.
    I don’t believe anything is proven other than climate change is occurring. We may find that we can do as little as the dinosaurs to affect it. Rather than stop it we may find that all we can do is come up with solutions to mitigate the impact on us as a species.

    First time to your blog – great work and great input from the other readers.

  30. Rob on February 27, 2009 1:36 pm

    What I take away from this whole incident is that good people in society today seem all too ready to completely dismiss someone as a person in their entirety if they disagree on a single point of world view. This dynamic poisons public and private discourse. So I was very pleased to see your polite response on your blog.

    I can agree or disagree with Cali or Leo without feeling the need to totally write them off as people with something to contribute to my life in other areas in the form of tech information or pure entertainment. Most people have knowledge and strengths in some areas and gaps in others. The expert that knows how to fix your computer may not know how to fix a plumbing problem, but that makes them no less an expert on computers.

    On climate itself, I am happy that people are trying to grasp how we can affect our environment on a macro and micro level. It’s a young and burgeoning subject, and I like hearing various viewpoints from various sources of information.

  31. Daniel Middlemanq on March 15, 2009 2:00 am

    I love how you don’t address a single issue pertaining directly to “Global Warming”. How about addressing this: There has not been any measurable warming in at least the last eight years. And yet you morons keep talking about “Global Warming.” Oh, I forgot. Now it’s “Climate Change”. And let’s get one thing straight. Carbon Dioxide is not pollution morons. Just recently some scientists have come out and said they are baffled by the fact that there hasn’t been any measurable warming in recent years. They are also now predicting global cooling for something like 10 to 20 years. Ok, here we go again. “Global Cooling” mania in the 70’s. “Global Warming” mania in the 90’s 2000’s, and now were back to “Global Cooling” again. There is a very logical reason why these things are probably occurring. It’s called the “Sun”. But I won’t try to confuse any of you “geniuses” with any facts.

  32. Joe Schmoe on June 8, 2009 1:07 pm

    Consensus is a political term, not a scientific one. See here:


    The very fact that you say “the facts support the consensus” means you’ve been brainwashed (or greenwashed) into believing that CO2 is going to kill the Earth. The entire idea behind “global warming” is to get governments to tax their citizens ever more. Al Gore is in it for the money; he is a founder of the vaguely named firm Generation Investment Management.

    If you really are a “scientist” instead of another flaming liberal, you would take the time to look at the other side of the argument. Take a look here to read about Gore’s business interests in scaring people into trading “carbon credits”:


  33. k on August 25, 2010 8:37 am

    “I just want to remind people that science is never based on the work or the opinions of one person”

    Oh, good. There for a minute I though that Al Gore was the go to guy.

  34. kellydehn on August 25, 2010 8:42 am

    Dr Kiki, good to you know what opinion you have to have to stay on Leo’s network. Cali found out how diverse and compassionate Leo is when your opinion differs from his.

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