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CO2, Global Warming, and Skeptics | Paradise Found

Yesterday I received a newsletter from the Grassroots Institute of Hawaii (forwarded to me from my old homeschool group). I skimmed it, and found reference to something called Skeptics Unite! [their exclamation, not mine]. This group is hosting the Global Warming Skeptics Conference, sponsored by The Heartland Institute.

The 2009 conference will serve as a platform for scientists and policy analysts who question the theories of man-made climate change.

Now, I am a big believer that the human footprint is way too large for this delicate world to continue to sustain us, long term. Man made chemicals, emissions, and by-products can’t help but impact the air we breathe and the water we drink. But I’m no scientist, and if a group wants to organize a conference, then more power to ‘em.

Ironically, as these things tend to happen, this morning I landed on a site called Breathing Earth that simulates births, deaths, and CO2 emissions on a map of the world. Quite opposite of the skeptical bunch, they say:

Global warming (aka climate change) is probably the most important issue to face our generation, and quite possibly any generation in history. The worldwide scientific community is virtually unanimous in its agreement that global warming is happening, and that it’s our fault. If we let it get out of our control, the consequences – which will already begin occuring in most of our lifetimes – will be catastrophic. Just some of the consequences that can be reasonably expected are rising sea levels, more frequent and more severe natural disasters, large-scale food shortages, plagues, massive species extinctions, unprecendented numbers of refugees, intensified ethnic and political tensions, and a global economic depression the likes of which no one has ever seen.

So, what do you think? Are the skeptics deceiving themselves? Is the earth ours to use up? ARE we using the earth up with our way of living? Or is it our responsibility to teach environmental responsibility to our kids?


  1. by Mama, on December 17 2008 @ 12:19 pm


    Well … I don’t know anything about this organization and their agenda. But these are my thoughts. I agree with you, but I think it’s healthy that the kinds of questions raised by this conference are on the table. The information we get through the media is grossly oversimplified and cast in contentious either/or terms. We have people like George Jr. who glibly dismiss global warming as “fuzzy science” — and we’re divided into pro- and anti-environmental forces. This doesn’t create room for discussing real questions about the research methods on which research on man-made environmental change is based, and so forth. Or to explore the possibility that some of this information is accurate and some might not be. Rigorous intellectual debate, among scientists, on this issue, seems like a good thing. I hope that made sense.

  2. by Ron, on December 17 2008 @ 2:09 pm


    It’s good for there to be serious discussion.

    Mostly what I read and hear on the nay side is uninformed scoffing.

  3. by jove, on December 17 2008 @ 4:08 pm


    It’s also worth knowing that people with quite a lot of self-interest fund the sceptical stuff. Exxon-Mobil, for example, or the coal industry. Lots of money is being spent by these folks and others on lobbying governments against doing anything to mitigate climate change.

    It seems perfectly plausible to me that some of the climate change is caused by factors beyond our control. but we are doing a lot to contribute to it and generally are not giving the environment the value and respect it deserves. But that would mean big changes. And some people stand to lose a lot of money if we make those changes.

    Of course some oil companies are playing it differently. BP and Shell, for example, are investing heavily in solar, wind and other energy technologies. They seem to be taking the position that they are “energy” companies and diversifying the kind of energy they are producing. Exxon-Mobil, on the other hand, seems to take the position that it is a petroleum company and invests in lobbying to make sure they can still make a buck at that.

  4. by lapazfarm, on December 17 2008 @ 10:47 pm


    “So, what do you think? Are the skeptics deceiving themselves?”
    Absolutely, outrageously so. It’s a raging case of willful ignorance combined with concerted deceit.
    “Is the earth ours to use up?”
    Yes. But to our detriment.
    “ARE we using the earth up with our way of living?”
    Without a doubt.
    “Or is it our responsibility to teach environmental responsibility to our kids?”
    Yes, absolutely.

  5. by Tim, on December 18 2008 @ 6:08 am


    There are two levels to this, I think:

    1. Scientific debates. These center on the fine-slicing, improvement of methods, questioning of past studies, hyper-detailed arguments, etc. that rightly take up the attention of climate scientists — who, like other scientists, struggle constantly to better understand the world, gather more & better information, challenge assumptions, improve theories, and so on. Let this continue unabated, and let informed skepticism abound.

    2. Public-policy debates. For a long time (too long), press coverage of climate change fell into the typical Washington-style, he-said / she-said mode. This mode makes sense when you’re talking about political stances on the Federal budget, or culturally-based issues like, say, the legal implications of abortion, because opinions will vary widely on issues like these, and often for entirely personal reasons.

    This sort of coverage doesn’t make nearly as much sense when you’re talking about established science in which the OVERWHELMING majority of experts in a field are convinced beyond any reasonable doubt that:

    (a) the climate is changing rapidly;

    (b) the climate-driven disasters we’ve seen in recent decades are most likely to worsen in intensity, number, and spread across coming decades;

    (c) there is at the very least a substantial anthropogenic element to climate change; and

    (d) regardless of possible anthropogenic origins, the warnings we’re already getting from the earth’s climate systems justify dramatic action on a public-policy level.

    The grand myth of the climate-change deniers, as I see it, is that climate change (and especially anthropogenic global warming) is just one more front in the post-1968 culture wars. In other words, it’s another case of the “damn hippies” versus the “real Americans.” This is a potentially disastrous view, because climate change is actually very well established in science — quite apart from anybody’s political agenda — and represents what is likely the greatest global challenge ever faced by humans.

    Okay, *probably* that’s enough from me for the moment . . .

  6. by Kathy Ceceri, on December 18 2008 @ 12:24 pm


    I like these skeptics better: http://www.skeptic.com

  7. by Deborah, on December 24 2008 @ 4:40 am


    “the alarmists are on the fringe”, eh? Possibly because the whole cloth of the Skeptics’ fabrication has unraveled, leaving naught but name calling to glue what remains of the selvage together.


    p.s. For me, labeling/belittling is always the first red flag, and the last. I couldn’t possibly take their POV seriously after reading their homepage. I’m a scientist: I traffic in ideas, not invective.

  8. by Stephanie, on January 25 2009 @ 3:18 pm


    I am of the middle point of view…yes we need to be responsible for our planet, and each person should teach their children the best way to take care of it. My children learn from me what is “okay” and what isn’t. I teach them the same way my parents taught me, by example.

    But I think in this debate of global warming, just as in politics, there are extremists on both sides. And rather than hearing the middle ground, the media pushes the extremists.

    I fight hard to protect my daughter from extremist liberal views in our public high school, by giving her all points of view and letting her decide for herself.
    The same way that I learned….research the information and make up your own mind. We are not blind sheep to be led one way or the other.

    And just for the record…I do not believe all the hype created by the “Global Warming” crowd, especially when I can find just as much scientific evidence to debunk them as they can to debunk the “skeptics”.

    Again……….middle ground and common sense people.

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