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There is abundant data supporting the theory that our world is warming, such as the increase in melts in the glaciers of Greenland, such as the one shown here. However, when considering this data, and studies which support or oppose the view that man is causing warming it is desirable to examine dissenting opinions and avoid overreaching conclusions and sensationalism.
Two of DailyTech's most active writers offer up differing views on the state of global warming research and press

When I first started writing on global warming here at DailyTech, I wrote much in the style I saw at rival news sites like CNN.com and BBCNews.com.  However, in the days since my articles on global warming have grown scarcer and, in my opinion, more considered.

You see, there is an alarming trend in the coverage of global warming which I have witnessed -- one that goes both ways.  Perhaps proponents that global warming is increasing and is anthropogenic (manmade) are indeed who launched this trend.  Regardless, there are many articles which litter the news citing doomsday observations about global warming from sea level rises, to storms and droughts.

A lot of the problem, as I see it, is not so much the material behind these articles itself, which certainly has scientific merit, but rather the context that it's provided in.  Global warming commercial press is overwhelming extremist -- whether for or against.  For proponents, this means drawing sweeping conclusions from select climatological events and writing dire doomsday predictions.

For skeptics, writing has come to an equal extreme.  I've seen articles, including from my fellow debate partner Michael Asher, suggesting global cooling could be the next big problem.  Headlines in particular tend to be equally sensational, indicating that hoards of major scientists are forsaking global warming and that trends are sharply reversing.  Again, these studies cite data, but place it in an extremist context -- in this case denialist.

In the end, though, I can only be my own worst critic.  I promised Mike Asher a piece if the North Pole ice cap did not melt, as some news sites suggested and I blogged on.  It didn't melt -- which really doesn't say much about whether global warming is occurring or not.  However, it did help me to see the sadly extremist and unscientific state of climate writing on both sides of the aisle.

The truth of the matter, which any honest climatologist would tell you, is that we just don't know yet.  Many believe there is solid data that a great deal of the Earth has been warming slightly over the last couple decades, but the exact reason why is still unknown.  There's an abundance of theory about what might be causing it, but much research remains to be done.  There also have been telltale signs that there has been some cooling this year, but again, this needs to be viewed in a broader context.

In the end, what people need to realize is just because it isn't the end of the world doesn't mean that global warming might not be happening.  And whether it is or isn't; understanding and analytically examining our planet's climate is an endeavor worth devoting time, money, and some of the world's brightest brains to.  Likewise, "environmental" initiatives like species conservation, land protection, fuel efficient vehicles, and alternative energy are good ideas with or without AGW beliefs. 

It’s been an interesting year, and it the coming year to follow, I suggest that readers following the warming debate take into consideration both sides of the issue, even if you agree more with one.  I am encouraged to see a trend here at DailyTech to provide a more balanced perspective, citing diverging opinions and putting things in a more scientific and less sensational context.  I feel that I have seen this in both some of my recent pieces, and in some of Michael's, such as his excellent article on the decrease in sea level rise this year.  I hope we both strive to continue this trend and continue to provide the best diverse coverage for our readers, and that the readership continues to provide both of us the feedback we find so valuable.



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RE: The problem as I see it
By JasonMick (blog) on 12/30/2008 10:35:08 AM , Rating: 3
Polar ice melt really does NOT prove or disprove warming.

What I tried to say here, something you seemed to miss, is that this is an individual climatological event, just like the increased melting in Greenland of a few years back. While newsworthy from a science perspective, they do not have the ability to instantly prove or disprove global warming as critics or proponents of the theory would have you believe.

Only broad trends and analysis of these trends will reveal what's actually happening.

I think your argument that "all GW theory is bad, yada yada..." is inherently wrong because there are countless diverse theories to explain GW. Its hard to lump these all together and state that they are all patently wrong. Such a claim is especially ironic as even Michael Asher supports some warming theories which seek to dispel an anthropogenic face of warming.

Like I said, I think critics (like yourself) are being just as sensational as "the liberal media" as you would likely dub it.


RE: The problem as I see it
By TomZ on 12/30/2008 10:46:57 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
Like I said, I think critics (like yourself) are being just as sensational as "the liberal media" as you would likely dub it.

The difference - and it is a key difference - is that the "critics" have no voice in mainstream (liberal) media - no voice whatsoever.

After all, there is no financial benefit to news organizations to reporting that side of the story. Alarmism sells page clicks, saying that everything is okay makes for boring copy. The truth - and being fair and balanced - there is no place for that in modern news media.


RE: The problem as I see it
By reader1 on 12/30/08, Rating: -1
RE: The problem as I see it
By mcturkey on 1/6/2009 1:40:56 PM , Rating: 2
Here's a couple of simple facts:

We as a people do not know if the planet is actually heating or warming due to our own actions or because of something natural.

We do know that we have created an awful lot of pollution (and continue to), and that it is within the realm of possibility that it is causing it (but we don't know it for sure). That pollution also negatively affects the health of people and wildlife exposed to it.

We have only one planet to live on, and we all must share it.

The overconsumption of limited natural resources (oil, forests, etc) is going to result in our running out of or very very low on these things within the next century.

We can reduce our consumption of these limited resources and reduce pollution at the same time.

Given these things, it really doesn't matter if there is truth to global warming. There are plenty of practical, fact-based reasons to reduce our ecological footprint. Yes, it just so happens that this would also eliminate the possibility (real or imagined) that we are causing global climate changes. From a future-of-humanity perspective, we can't remain dependent on resources that are non-renewable. We can't continue to take something useful and, after extracting all the energy from it, produce a whole lot of something that harms us. It's a no-win situation there.

The debate over global warming ticks me off because it's irrelevant and ignores the other countless practical reasons to get moving on renewable, clean energy.


RE: The problem as I see it
By svenkesd on 12/30/2008 11:28:19 AM , Rating: 5
Jason,

This article has given me a whole new level of respect for you and your writing.

It is rare to see a AGW advocate criticize sensationalism when it is for his/her own cause.

quote:
Polar ice melt really does NOT prove or disprove warming.


Correct. Unfortunately major news outlets won't hesitate to report it as proof of AGW. Then when the polar ice does not melt, there is no hint of any retraction or reanalysis of theories, or stories of trend reversals.


RE: The problem as I see it
By Reclaimer77 on 12/30/2008 2:21:12 PM , Rating: 4
quote:
It is rare to see a AGW advocate criticize sensationalism when it is for his/her own cause.


He's only doing this because the other side is gaining momentum. Where was this article 3 or 4 years ago when EVERYONE was convinced global warming was real ?

Suddenly NOW we have Mick, the great compromiser ? Hardly. This is so transparent its offensive.


RE: The problem as I see it
By mdogs444 on 12/30/2008 11:32:26 AM , Rating: 3
As another posted responded to you with:
quote:
Correct. Unfortunately major news outlets won't hesitate to report it as proof of AGW. Then when the polar ice does not melt, there is no hint of any retraction or reanalysis of theories, or stories of trend reversals.


That's pretty much what I was trying to get at - it wasn't a personal attack against you, or any individual who believes in GW. The problem is that GW fanatacs and scientists throw out these theories of what is going to happen because of global warming...then when it doesnt happen, they somehow get to alter their theory and make something else up to take its place.

Never do you see the media or the scientist saying "ok, our models dont come true, our theories haven't happened the way we thought. perhaps there really isnt anything to fear and that we're going overboard".


RE: The problem as I see it
By FITCamaro on 12/30/2008 4:23:14 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly. They never admit they were wrong. They just change their wording to match what did happen and say it still being caused by global warming. Or don't say anything at all.

Now its "climate change" instead of "global warming" so they can still push their agenda regardless of what happens. World freezes into a giant ice ball? "It was climate change so keep being ok with us spending billions of dollars on technology that will fight it."

Nevermind that there's other far better alternatives. Or that certain decisions hurt the economy and put people out of work. Or that the high taxes involved in fighting this "problem" also hurt businesses and put people out of work.


RE: The problem as I see it
By omnicronx on 1/1/2009 6:06:14 PM , Rating: 2
Non Global warming believers do exactly the same thing.. Its not exactly an even playing field either, without long term trends its much easier to say GW does not exist, as its much easier to turn a blind eye and say 'if I can't see it, it must not be true'. And GW non believers also change their 'proofs' all the time too, you are turning a blind eye if you think this is a one sided event.

For the record, I don't believe in GW.


RE: The problem as I see it
By just4U on 12/31/2008 11:54:24 AM , Rating: 3
"I think your argument that "all GW theory is bad, yada yada..." is inherently wrong because.."

Jason, One thing to remember is alot of people that were going against the grain didn't neccessarily believe that the theories were wrong. What got them going is people were taking it all on blind faith as if it was a absolute GIVEN FACT. When almost none of it is.

Oportunism by politicians, and the doomsday predictions by alarmists fueled that frustration by people who believed we should be going about all this in a much more reasoned approach, you know?


RE: The problem as I see it
By meepstone on 1/2/2009 1:51:29 PM , Rating: 2
lets get real here. if the polar ice did melt you would of made and article with a scientist article proving: LOOK IT MELTED GLOBAL WARMING!


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