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David Suzuki
Eco Watch / Op-Ed
Published: Sunday 26 August 2012
Meanwhile, one of the few “skeptic” climate scientists, Richard Muller, recently reversed his thinking.

Climate Change Deniers are Almost Extinct

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Most North Americans know that human-caused global warming is real, even if political leaders don’t always reflect or act on that knowledge. According to a recent poll, only two percent of Canadians reject the overwhelming scientific evidence that Earth is warming at alarming rates—a figure that may seem surprising given the volume of nonsense deniers (many of them funded by the fossil fuel industry) spread through letters to the editor, blogs, radio call-ins and website comments.

Polling indicates more deniers live in the U.S., but they still make up just 15 percent of that population.

It’s getting harder to ignore the evidence: record high worldwide temperatures; increasing extreme weather events; devastating droughts, floods, and wildfires; animal and plant species turning up where they’ve never been found before; record ice loss in the Arctic and Greenland; melting glaciers… The trends are exactly as climate scientists predicted.

Meanwhile, one of the few “skeptic” climate scientists, Richard Muller, recently reversed his thinking. Muller and colleagues at the University of California, Berkeley, studied climate data dating back to 1753, then looked at possible causes of the unusual warming observed since the mid-1950s. (Ironically, the study was funded in part by the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation, founded by climate change skeptics with heavy interests in the fossil fuel industry.)

Their conclusion? It’s not the sun. It’s not volcanoes. The most likely cause is humans spewing massive amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, mainly by burning fossil fuels. This isn’t news to most climate scientists.

As evidence builds, deniers are starting to change their tune. They once said global warming isn’t happening, and some claimed the world is actually cooling. Now, heat records are being broken worldwide—this past decade was the hottest on record. Many scientists say the situation is even more severe than first thought, with temperatures and impacts increasing faster than predicted.

Faced with the evidence, many deniers have started to admit that global warming is real, but argue that humans have little or nothing to do with it. Muller’s study was just one of many to demolish that theory.

Our climate has always changed, and natural variation is part of that. But scientists have long known that carbon dioxide and other gases trap heat in the atmosphere. Recent warming is occurring at an unprecedented rate that corresponds to burning fossil fuels. According to NASA, global average temperatures have been rising significantly since the 1970s, “with the 20 warmest years having occurred since 1981 and with all 10 of the warmest years occurring in the past 12 years.” North America just experienced the hottest July on record, and the first seven months of 2012 were the warmest, on average, in more than 100 years.

This evidence has caused some deniers to change their tune again. Yes, the Earth is warming, they say, but whether it’s from natural or human causes, we can’t do anything about it, so we might as well continue with business as usual, maybe employing technological fixes to help us adapt.

There’s also a subset of deniers who see some nefarious conspiracy in climate science and “Agenda 21” (a non-binding, voluntary UN agreement on sustainable development) to impose a world government or something, but their irrational arguments aren’t worth the time of day.

The truth is, as most of us know, that global warming is real and humans are major contributors, mainly because we wastefully burn fossil fuels. We also know solutions lie in energy conservation, shifting to renewable sources, and changing our patterns of energy and fuel use, for example, by improving public transit and moving away from personal vehicles.

Scientists have been warning about global warming for decades. It’s too late to stop it now, but we can lessen its severity and impacts. The side benefits are numerous: less pollution and environmental destruction, better human health, stronger and more diversified economies, and a likely reduction in global conflicts fueled by the rapacious drive to exploit finite resources.

We can all work to reduce our individual impacts. But we must also convince our political and business leaders that it’s time to put people—especially our children, grandchildren and generations yet to come—before profits.



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ABOUT David Suzuki

Dr. David Suzuki is a scientist, broadcaster, author, and co-founder of the David Suzuki Foundation. He is Companion to the Order of Canada and a recipient of UNESCO’s Kalinga Prize for science, the United Nations Environment Program medal, the 2009 Right Livelihood Award, and Global 500. Dr. Suzuki is Professor Emeritus at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver and holds 27 honorary degrees from universities around the world.

Over the centuries the

Over the centuries the climate fluctuates , this is the norm. Did you ever wonder why Greenland was labled Greenland ? Could it be that hundreds of years ago it had a much warmer climate ? That is not to say that human greed , waste and stupidity does not effect the climate . I find it interesting that when I recently flew from Florida to New York , I froze on the plane for 3 + hours . On the train from N.Y. to Boston I once again froze . Restaurants , movie houses, shopping malls , no matter where you go , it is ice cold . When traveling in Europe , the temperatures are moderate in all public places and much more comfortable . They do NOT waste energy. Remember 6 , 7 , 8 years ago , the streets were littered with expensive Hummers , a true gas guzzler if there ever was one . Worse yet considering how insanely expensive they are , it was all too obvious that a high percentage of these Tanks were purchased by people that really could not afford them . Bought on credit as were their large flat screen T.V.'s , all their latest electronic toys , oversized homes that they could barely afford , the question is why ? Could it be to impress their friends and neighbors ? Or could it be to compensate for their sexual inadequatcy ? A high percentage of people are fools proven by the fact that since the price of gas rose , Hummers are almost non existent [ can't afford the price of gas, sad ]
Probably one of the biggest contributers to possible global warming is our governments NON STOP WARS . Since 1950 , we the U.S.A. have invaded directly or indirectly well over 30 poor 3 rd world countries . Millions have died under our Weapons of Mass Destruction . We polluted the earth with millions of gallons of Agent Orange in Vietnam . We now pollute Iraq , Afghanistan , etc. with depleted uranium in our bombs , rockets and bullets . The thousands of Jets that we send out daily bombing and on reconnaisance missions spew tons of TOXIC Waste into the atmosphere . We have troops based in over 130 countries around the world , imagine all the CO2 that they emit . Could that not contribute to " Global Warming ? "

I don't see this site as a

I don't see this site as a place for us to gripe about everything under the sun. The subject was global warming, and this is caused by excess greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere, trapping the heat near the earth's surface instead of allowing it to be reflected back into space.

The major sources of greenhouse gasses are the coal-burning electricity-generating plants, emissions from transportation, and the beef production industry (fast-acting methane gas). And many others sources, too numerous to mention. But it's clear that human activities are responsible for it, and it's not part of some natural "cycle."

Greenland was warmer in the past, but there was some public-relations imaging taking place, too. Eric the Red couldn't attract a lot of new settlers if he called it "Iceland," for example. But even when it was warmer, it wasn't warm all over Greenland, and when it did turn colder, the Norse settlements just withered away, and all that survived were some pockets of aboriginal people that we call Eskimos.

No one's denying that humans have greatly polluted the natural world, but global warming is the result of a particular kind of "pollution," namely, excess CO2, methane, and the resulting increase in water vapor. If we're going to have any kind of future, we either have to adapt and control, as best we can, or go the way of the dinosaur.

Whether is is gas guzling

Whether is is gas guzling Hummers , excessively low temperatures with millions of A.C. units or NOM STOP WARS , it all contributes to our so called Global warming . Of course we should also not forget the excessive amount of hot air coming out of Washington, D.C.
The heading of this article is " Climate Change Deniers are Almost Extinct"
The mass media always promote what is on their agenda and downplays the opposition . I remember reading years ago that just before a major Climate conference in Norway or Denmark [ ? ] someone released confidential E - Mails which showed how facts and figures were twisted , distorted and outright lies were exposed . Al Gore was going to attend but then cancelled . It also came out that there were MANY scientists who questioned Global Warming but their views are not shown in the mass media as if they did not exist . The media is not known to be objective.

Good movie on the subject...

Good movie on the subject... "The Boy Who Cried Warming" (vimeo.com/47182591)

Global Warming - I don't

Global Warming - I don't know...but I do know every year we push the temperatures higher and higher.....refrigeration...feel behind it - warm huh....
Every year more air conditions...go stand behind one....
Do people believe the temperatures just disappear ? The heat goes someplace and doesn't disapate....Neuclear tests release how many thousands of degrees....
GLOBAL WARMING....I DON'T KNOW
. . . The same also goes for wionter..inside people want 75 or 80 degrees...out side " ZERO"....how much heat do we keep and how much allow to escape... you can not seal a house perfectly....IT GOES SOME PLACE......All the talk of the ice caps melting ???
REMEMBER . . people in Hell want Ice Water
I do not have the answeres any more than anyone else does....ideas...thoeries....this - that... smoke and mirrors....and an indepth study wouldn't do anything......like neuclear energy - discovered in the 1940's STILL SECRET FROM THE PEOPLE ?.?.? think of WHY

jackwenayscott's picture

Dr. Suzuki is a respected

Dr. Suzuki is a respected scientist, I agree with his conclusions. Let me go one further and say the planet is dying, and humans are responsible! So, we have the solution within our grasp, Solar energy, what William Pentland of Forbes calls "distributed generation" (of energy for our communities). Yes, that magazine of the 1% has owned up to the problem and is presenting solutions! The fact is, Solar can power your car, too, little known fact that with the entire upper surface of your hybrid covered with Solar Panels, you can drive a lot cheaper for a long, long time. So let's honor Dr. Suzuki and get our houses and cars installed with planet saving Solar Panels! (even if TV ignores them)!

You guys crack me up.

You guys crack me up. Armchair scientist with just enough skills to use a search engine in order to find something they agree with. Either that, or verbal ejaculations with absolutely no foundation presented. Here are some highlights:

" Global warming is a political power (no pun intended) play and nothing more. "
Wow, thank you for that great insight into scientific awareness!

"SOHO data on how the Sun is emitting more energy since 2009, which means the Earth is receiving more energy, which means it will be warmer."

No shit? Care to give us a link where NASA scientists support your idiotic assertion? No?

"the Van Allen belt will drastically change our understanding of climate, Sun, and planetary boundary."

Really? In what way, prophetic one? The reason we are studying that phenomenon is so we can understand it. You seem to already know what will be found.

"I would welcome more data to increase our understanding of our fragile climate. "

Yeah sure, so would I. More information is always better. Except one thing: There has been so much data collected and analyzed over the last 50 years that to deny human contributions to climate change are not only unfounded, but irrational.

"I believe in manmade climate change, but I'm a Government action "denier"."

This is the "competition will fix everything crowd." Good for you. Please don't use NASA or any other government funded research--which accounts for virtually all climate research, you idiot.

So I'm one of the guys who

So I'm one of the guys who crack you up? What is your point? At no time have I ever denied the fact that global warming is the result of human activities. I surely don't like being lumped with someone who seems to deny it (although for reasons I've never heard before).

If you're going to criticize someone's post, be sure of your facts. I wasn't agreeing with anyone who denies human-caused global warming. I was merely keeping my mind open to new knowledge I've never heard of.

Norman Allen's picture

All the money the polluting

All the money the polluting corporations have poured into lobbying, advertising, bribing, buying fake "science" should be investigated by AG as raiding shareholder's profit by the board/CEOs of those companies and should be paid back by them to the shareholders. The officials in charge should be prosecuted as enemies of life/public and punished accordingly as a lesson to deter future hustlers.

I believe in manmade climate

I believe in manmade climate change, but I'm a Government action "denier".
Putting Govenrments that have messed up the economy and can't even get basic departments to function in charge of cooling the planet - not going to work.
We need to encourage open competition in the solar / renewables market, and keep politicians as far as possible from it.

Deniers come in different

Deniers come in different guises, it seems. I haven't seen the SOHO data showing the sun is emitting more energy, but even if that is true, we know that greenhouse gasses do trap the heat from the sun. If that wasn't so, our planet would be too cold for life. But there has normally been a balance maintained by natural forces, or we wouldn't be here now. Add too much to the greenhouse mix, and you have more heat staying on the surface of the planet. Thus, I'm not convinced that global warming is a "political power play." To what end, for what purpose?

I would welcome more data to increase our understanding of our fragile climate. If the sun is warming us more than before, then we either adapt or die, and the first step in adapting is to make sure less of the sun's heat is trapped in our atmosphere. And we can't do that when we're adding more CO2 and methane gas to the greenhouse mix. One step at a time.

If what you say is true, how do we adapt to the sun's increased energy output? Business as usual? Call it a power play and do nothing?

The real story must be on

The real story must be on less pollution and less energy use regardless of where it comes from. Global warming is a political power (no pun intended) play and nothing more. Carbon credits? So it is okay to sell pollution permits? And where is the Use Less crowd? Oh they are muted because we have to have mass resource consumption to "grow" our way back to a "normal" economy.

With all respect to Dr. Suzuki, but this isn't about greenhouse gases and never was. This is about raping and pillaging the natural resourcse of the planet. I also guess that he has not had the chance yet to see the SOHO data on how the Sun is emitting more energy since 2009, which means the Earth is receiving more energy, which means it will be warmer. The alarmists and conspiracy deniers are distracting real climate scientists from their work. SOHO and the soon to launch satellites to study the Van Allen belt will drastically change our understanding of climate, Sun, and planetary boundary.

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