"WWU faculty find overwhelming scientific evidence to support global warming." Of course there is overwhelming evidence of global warming! Everyone agrees! But that doesn't prove it was caused by carbon dioxide! The authors fail to understand:
Of the two periods of global warming this century, the first, and warmest, occurred before rise in carbon dioxide;
Twenty periods of global warming occurred over the past five centuries;
The past 10,000 years were warmer than present;
Multiple periods of intense warming (20 times more intense than recent warming) occurred 10,000-to-15,000 years ago. All of these happened long before rise in carbon dioxide, so could not possibly have been caused by carbon dioxide.
The Bellingham Herald opinion column is a diatribe against me personally (just read the slurs and innuendos) containing misrepresentations, no real data to support their contentions, and displays an abysmal ignorance of published literature. The reason becomes apparent when you realize that not a single one of the 13 Western Washington University authors has ever published a single paper on global climate change and none have any expertise whatsoever in climate issues.
Their claim that my publications "have not passed through rigorous peer review" is false. Virtually all of my 180 publications were peer-reviewed. The real joke here is they "fully support the 2007 IPCC report," but Donna Laframboise in 2011 documented that 30 percent of the references used were not peer-reviewed, so using their own standard, they would be forced to reject the 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report!
The authors claim that "CO2 is a powerful greenhouse gas" that has "significant and measureable impact on surface temperature." Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, but it has little impact on temperature because it makes up only 0.038 percent of the atmosphere, has changed only 0.008 percent since carbon dioxide rose after 1945 (if you double nothing, you still have nothing), and accounts for only 3.6 percent of greenhouse warming. Carbon dioxide is incapable of changing global temperature by more than a fraction of a degree.
The authors "decry the injection of such poor quality science into the public discourse." I work with 20 of the world's top scientists, including atmospheric physicists, astrophysicists, geologists, and marine geophysicists who wouldn't waste time working with me if my research was "of poor quality."
The authors claim that my work requires "broad, decades-long conspiracy ....to falsify climate data."
In 1999, NASA data showed the 1930s were the hottest decade of the century and 1936 the hottest year. In 2012, NASA subtracted temperatures from the 1930s data and added to recent temperatures to claim that recent years were "unprecedented and the warmest ever recorded." Check NASA data tampering at http://stevengoddard.wordpress.com/data-tampering-at-ushcngiss/. This lies behind all of the false claims that recent global warming is "unprecedented."
The authors claim a "vast consensus of the science community." However, 31,487 U.S. scientists (including 9,000 with doctorates) with degrees in atmospheric, Earth sciences, physics, chemistry, biology and computer science have signed a statement that reads: "There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing, or will in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth's atmosphere and disruption of the Earth's climate." Check names and expertise at http://www.petitionproject.org/. Signatures of 1.5 million scientists would be required to achieve the claimed "vast consensus" of scientists! The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change chairman admitted that 80 percent of the people involved in the panel were not even scientists!
The WWU faculty was challenged to debate the issues. The response from David Hirsh was: "I don't want the media to present both sides of an issue." "Well, the problem is it's not 'my' science. I do not now, nor have I claimed to be an expert in climate science. The question was would I support a debate-type forum to be hosted at WWU? I would not." He went on to say that he didn't want to debate because he had not addressed any of the scientific issues, but supported the personal attack.
So what can we conclude about The Bellingham Herald opinion column? Perhaps more than anything it shows that amateurs with no expertise in climate issues are way out of their league and would be wiser to stick to their own areas of expertise, hard rock geology. In the end, nature will tell us who is right and that is happening right now as the climate continues to cool with no warming in 15 years.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Don Easterbrook, a professor emeritus of geology at Western Washington University. For more information about him, go online to myweb.wwu.edu/dbunny.