Striking a balance in the climate change debate

As you can tell from my posts I am passionate about protecting the environment. However, I am equally concerned with alarmist politicians, (whom I won’t name, but you can probably guess who some of them are) who insist that the world will literally end in 12 years if we don’t do something. I will try to avoid voting for such candidates, as to me it shows that they are gullible and incompetent. It also appears to be so that scientists have made many shoddy predictions about a climate disaster in the past. Due to this, I prefer to focus not on the future, but on the present with regards to the harmful effects of climate change, and from the present day evidence alone, we can already see that pollution has negative effects on life on earth, as thousands die every year from poor air quality.

I have little trust in future predictions, and I think we scientifically minded believers should distance ourselves from the alarmists if we want climate change to be taken seriously by conservative evangelicals. How can we strike a balance, and in spite of everything, can we still trust climate scientists?


Which has noting to do with climate change. Poor air quality can kill you but it doesn’t effect the climate.

But it is the result of negative environmental actions.

I share in your disdain for alarmism (not that I would say there is never a time for it, to be sure.) But I blame a major part of it (at least here in the U.S.) on our media appetites for soundbites. Hence, a presidential candidate gets asked a very shallow question like “What is your plan to save Miami”. Not that there can’t be a deep component to explore that is symbolized by such a question - but nothing of consequence can possibly come out of a sound-bite answer in a debate format. So we should all (as people of the street) be properly embarrassed by our own mob-fueled idiocy that has us focusing on how a person looks - what they are wearing - or the fact that they had to grab a water bottle for a drink while on camera. The days of spending hours out in the heat listening to substantive speeches are long gone. Very few of recent political candidates have nearly so much to be embarrassed about as the public does. Put us in any talk-show crowd (either left or right) and we all suddenly have the collective IQ of a malfunctioning bulldozer. It is truly embarrassing.

And that does not bode at all well for climate concerns expressed by scientists who will always represent complex issues in cautious and realistic terms - i.e. nuance that is not easily digested by an increasingly entertainment-oriented public. But while we may be hopeless in any assembled crowd, our IQs can go back up again as we separate ourselves out and sort through issues for real in much smaller and more meaningful communities (dare I say like this one?).

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They have?

And two videos for you:

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Thanks for the articles and videos, I will read (and have already watched the second video). Assuming you are right, and you probably are, as the second video shows, alarmism is a real problem which gives the environmentalist movement a bad name.

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@pevaquark Thoughts on this cartoon?

Citations needed. Would highly recommend avoiding the comic drawer for any information about anything science related.


Not surprisingly there is a Wikipedia article with 60 references. With the first one being a link to the paper “The Myth of the 1970s Global Cooling Scientific Consensus”.

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Re: “Shoddy predictions”

TL;DR – The models haven’t been that bad.


This video from Veritasium (Derek Muller) does a decent job communicating and responding to some of the issues people have about climate change.


Part of the problem is that the situation is complicated…

  1. CO2 levels are rising rather sharply.
  2. However the CO2 vs O2 content of the atmosphere is entirely a product of the biosphere. Thus it is natural to think that any increase in CO2 will be compensated for by an increase in the organisms which convert CO2 to O2.
  3. However, the plankton which does most of this conversion of CO2 to O2 has been greatly inhibited by the increase of radiation due to the holes in the ozone layer.
  4. The fluorocarbons causing the holes ozone layers has been greatly reduced due to previous conservation measures and regulation.
  5. However, the holes in the ozone layer are not going away very quickly, and we must keep a watch on new materials which damage the ozone layer. Furthermore increases in temperature also seem to inhibit the plankton converting CO2 to O2.
  6. At one time the plankton may have been adapted to a higher temperature, or the current balance is due to other plants acting over a longer period of time.
  7. We have every hope that things will balance out eventually but the crucial question is one of time and how fast the natural repair might be compared to the causes for climate change. Thus it is also a question of cost in damages and human life. On the other hand, there are good reasons to be highly doubtful that regulations of human CO2 productions will accomplish anything at this point.

Nice. So the very first image of the cartoon is a media myth not based upon the majority scientific consensus. That doesn’t bode well for the rest of the images @Reggie_O_Donoghue.


An obvious distortion. Immanent disaster isn’t my concern. Degradation of the planet’s capacity to provide for the creatures on the planet now -ourselves include- is my concern.

It is my understanding that a significant majority of climate scientists believe there is reason for real concern that man’s degradation of the environment’s capacity to sequester carbon combined with our rampant release of the same. Sadly, I do not know where to go to confirm or debunk this perception I’ve picked up. Can anyone here suggest a reputable source, and possibly a better search question?

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What reasons are those?

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  1. One of the things that is driving an increase in human CO2 production is the shift of world economy as third world countries catch up. This is a rapidly accelerating process and I don’t see how we can stop the momentum of this or even justify doing so.
  2. Climate is chaotically unstable and studies of the geologic history shows radical shifts in climate throughout its history. It is unlikely that we can predict the effect of this CO2 increase, which could be anything between it already being too late to stop the slide into global warming to an amelioration of a natural shift into another glacial period.
  3. A lot of the things affecting climate change are completely outside of our control, such as an immanent shift in the earth’s magnetic pole, cycles of solar activity, or waves of cosmic radiation.

Frankly, the only role I really see this reduced carbon footprint kick playing is a new fabricated morality by which the rich can prop up an attitude of self-righteousness much like the way conquers have transformed themselves from murdering brigands into “ladies” and “gentlemen” with clothing, language, and manners.

What I see offering the most hope are developments in science and technology by which we can better understand what is happening and develop various kinds of technological solutions – and the best hope I see is in finding a way to help or supplement the conversion of CO2 to O2.

I agree that it can’t be about preventing the developing world from doing what they need to do. But I am in favor of doing what we can to decrease our release of carbon. There is no guarantee that it will fix the problem and there is no guarantee the problem won’t fix itself. But I’m in favor of doing anything with the potential to decrease the problem.

I’m not that well informed on this subject but I have a friend who is. If you’re up for it I’d like to invite him to join up and and join in. I’m not sure who else would be interested but it could be informative for those of us who would like to know more.


My response to that is that most of the earlier statements do not represent any kind of scientific consensus.

I don’t know of any alarmist politicians who say the world will end in 12 years if we don’t do something. I do know of responsible scientists who say that we have to take aggressive action within that timeframe to prevent the global average surface temperature from ultimately rising above 1.5C above the preindustrial, because of the lag times involved. We have more time, around 20 or 30 years, to take aggressive action to prevent the global average surface temperature from rising above 2C above the preindustrial. Those two threshholds were chosen in the Paris Climate Accord because they are the points at which we can expect significant natural feedbacks to kick in, like the melting of permafrost and subsequent release of CO2 and methane from it, to accelerate climate change uncontrollably.

Further, responsible scientists don’t make predictions, they make projections based on trends. Because one of the biggest unknown variables is how quickly humans will reduce our emissions of CO2 into the atmosphere, scientists have modeled a range of scenarios with different outcomes. However, business-as-usual projections indicate that climate change will likely progress uncontrollably before the end of this century. That’s why they recommend aggressive action to cut CO2 emissions. We need to rapidly convert our economies away from fossil fuels and to renewables. This is especially true because other projections show we could run out of economic fossil fuels before the end of the century as well, again in a business-as-usual scenario.


As far as “any increase in CO2 will be compensated for by an increase in the organisms which convert CO2 to O2” is concerned, that could only be possible if deforestation and the decrease in plankton in the ocean due to ocean warming and acidification wasn’t happening concurrently. I believe I read plankton is estimated to be down something like 40% since the 1970s, but you can Google that to check me on it.

Further, it will take time to regrow lost trees, so the CO2 will continue to rise quicker than any possible natural response.