18 Mar 2012

'Shock Poll: Meteorologists Are Global Warming Skeptics'

James Taylor in Forbes argues:
recent survey of American Meteorological Society members shows meteorologists are skeptical that humans are causing a global warming crisis. The survey confirms what many scientists have been reporting for years; the politically focused bureaucratic leadership of many science organizations is severely out of touch with the scientists themselves regarding global warming issues.

I must admit it would be a huge relief to find that human beings are not causing climate change.  Its also good to get some intelligent arguments challenging ones beliefs (I am a great fan of the Economist magazine in this regard).

However Taylor's seems to have confused the stats, merging those who don't think climate change is happening, with those who do but may be skeptical as to the cause, with those who do think its human in origin but are skeptical of current solutions.  Actually I could be placed in this last category as I feel a lot of the supposed solutions like carbon trading are ineffective.

A majority of those surveyed may or may not be 'skeptical that humans are causing a global warming crisis' but believe it is human in origin.  

'89% of AMS meteorologists believe global warming is happening' and according to Taylor 59% of these believe it is human in origin.  I would highly recommend reading the original article with care if it is representative it is highly instructive.

Taylor works for the Heartland Institute.  Any dodgy argument will do to justify a drill baby drill culture.  Have a look at the actual survey and tell me that Taylor can count! http://www.ametsoc.org/boardpges/cwce/docs/BEC/CICCC/2012-02-AMS-Member-Survey-Preliminary-Findings.pdf

Its interesting that skepticism about how to deal with climate change is merged with skepticism about the science.  Tabloid stuff, the suicide lobby is a stupidity lobby. 

Can you imagine saying don't worry about preventing cancer, the free market and technology will cure your tumour.

Wait a minute this just what the Taylor's were saying about smoking in the 1950s and 60s.

There is a good response in the comments thread to Taylor, its long but worth reading.  Incidentally I would be interested in skeptical arguments about the science but I don't really want to be presented with a lot of dodgy made up arguments about poll data.  

Taylor is essential a pimp for big oil, he doesn't care as long as he gets paid.

Science Denial Machine Scrambles to Distort and Spin AMS Survey ResultsA recent survey of American Meteorological Society members shows that the vast majority of meteorologists believe that human activity is causing global warming. The survey confirms what many scientists have been reporting for years; the official statements of most science organizations accurately reflect what the scientists themselves believe regarding global warming issues.
According to American Meteorological Society (AMS) data, only 1.5% of AMS meteorologists are extremely sure or very sure that global warming is not happening. On the other hand, 74% of AMS meteorologists are extremely sure or very sure that global warming is occurring. Among the 96% of AMS meteorologists who either believe in global warming or are undecided, the vast majority of them are very worried or somewhat worried about the consequences of global warming.
This strong agreement between the great majority of meteorologists who believe global warming is happening and the large majority who are at least somewhat worried about it is consistent with other surveys of scientists. This consistency exposes global warming deniers who variously assert that:
(a) global warming isn’t occurring,
(b) global warming is occurring but human activity doesn’t contribute to it,
(c) global warming is occurring and human activity contributes to it, but not in a substantial way,
(d) global warming is occurring and human activity contributes to it, but the consequences will be beneficial,
(e) global warming is occurring and human activity contributes to it, but reducing our greenhouse gas emissions would destroy the national economy and therefore we should do nothing,
(f) the entirety of climate science is wrong; please believe the information provided by your friendly fossil fuel provider instead,
(g) it’s a conspiracy; please believe the good folks in the fossil fuel industry who have your best interests at heart,
(h) scientists disagree about whether global warming is occurring and what causes it; please wait another 50 years for better data (and in the meantime, keep burning fossil fuels!),
What this and other scientist surveys show is that an exceedingly large majority of scientists believe in global warming and that the incredibly small minority of scientists who doubt global warming continues to shrink. It also shows that front groups for the fossil fuel industry (like the Heartland Institute) will distort the results of these surveys to try to create the illusion that global warming is a scientific controversy.
Other questions solidified the meteorologists’ belief that humans are contributing to a global warming problem. For example, among those meteorologists who believe global warming is happening, only a small minority (6%) believe that warming is being driven primarily by natural events. More importantly, only a miniscule 2.4% of respondents who believe global warming is occurring say it will have net benefits during the next 100 years.
With a strong majority of meteorologists worried about global warming and expecting harm during the next 100 years, one can easily understand why environmental activist groups are encouraging the public and governments to take action. Does anyone really expect our economy to be powered 100 years from now by the same energy sources we use today? Why delay the transition to cleaner energy sources that will provide independence from unreliable foreign sources, especially as fossil fuel prices are soaring? Starting the transition now will encourage the job growth and technological advances that our country needs, whereas delaying action will dramatically increase the costs to our society.
In another line of survey questions, 53% of respondents believe there is conflict among AMS members regarding the topic of global warming. Only 33% believe there is no conflict. Another 15% were not sure. These results provide strong evidence that, in spite of widespread agreement in the scientific community, the disinformation campaigns of fossil fuel PR firms and lobbying groups (like the Heartland Institute) have been effective in creating the illusion of scientific controversy.
Overall, the survey of AMS scientists is consistent with the official AMS Information Statement on Climate Change. Drafted by the AMS leadership, the Information Statement explains that AMS meteorologists have few doubts about the contribution of human activity to global warming. The Information Statement indicates quite strongly that humans are the primary driver of global temperatures and the consequences are and will continue to be quite serious.
Scientists who have attended the Heartland Institute’s annual International Conference on Climate Change are not representative of the scientific community; many of them have ties to industry groups with a financial interest in climate change denial. The Heartland Institute has a history of disinformation campaigns on behalf of corporate interests; for example, the Heartland Institute helped the tobacco industry mislead the public about the health risks associated with smoking. That’s why surveys like the AMS survey results are useful–they demonstrate that there is widespread scientific agreement about global warming and its harmful consequences.
In contrast to the AMS survey, where all respondents are AMS meteorologists, a majority have Ph.D.s and fully 80% have a Ph.D. or Masters Degree, position statements by so-called think tanks (like the Heartland Institute) carry little weight. Although they claim to carry out research, the truth is that their function is to create political leverage for corporate clients. On the other hand, a position statement recently published by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) is generally considered the “definitive” indication of scientific consensus on global warming. Unlike the staff at disinformation organizations (like the Heartland Institute) that often consists of lawyers, the NAS group that produced the position statement is comprised of scientists and professionals who work in the fields of climate science, environmental science, energy, economics and public policy. Compare the solid, significant credentials of this group to, for example, the credentials of James Taylor, senior fellow for environment policy at the Heartland Institute; James Taylor has a bachelor’s degree (not in science) and a law degree. It’s hard to imagine that anyone would take seriously the frantic squeaking of James Taylor as he regularly complains about how unfair it is that the public is exposed to the scientific views of (gasp!) scientists. He wants equal time for his opinion, even if he doesn’t have any scientific training or knowledge.
Clearly the NAS statement and the results of the AMS meteorologist survey present an accurate picture of widespread scientific agreement about anthropogenic climate change. The background noise supplied by fossil fuel industry front groups (like the Heartland Institute) has no scientific basis; the objective of these groups is to delay action by creating public confusion about the scientific issues. When it comes to climate science, please listen to the scientists, not the lawyers.

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