What is science? “Knowledge ascertained by observation and experiment, critically tested, systematized, and brought under general principles,” according to the dictionary. There is also the scientific method process to come to a scientific conclusion. Lets look at the method, and try to apply it to human-caused climate change.

The first step is observation — it seems warmer this year than last year.

Then we pose a question: Why is the planet getting warmer?

The next step in the process is to come up with a hypothesis — Man is the cause of the warming of the planet.

Step 4 — formulate an experiment to test the hypothesis.

But how do we ‘control’ all other possible influences? Increases in plant life? Forestation or deforestation from natural causes all over the planet? How about solar activity? What about volcanic eruptions? Or forest fires?

Collecting and analyzing data is the next step. But we cannot cherry pick our data, we must use all of it, or our test is invalid. We cannot delete data that does not fit the desired outcome.

This bring up another problem: How accurate is our instrumentation?

Consider an incident from Tucson where we used to live. Suddenly, the average daily temperatures from the National Weather Service were 10 degrees cooler! Had there been localized ’global cooling’? What could cause this precipitous drop? Was it a result of ‘human activity’? Sort of.

Back when the Tucson International Airport was opened, the Weather Service installed a weather station on the grounds. At some point, a aircraft taxiway was built near the weather station. Of course the pavement was heated by the sun, and radiated that heat at night.

In the late 1980s, the airport was modernized — and the weather instruments were moved away from the taxiway. Viola, Tucson became cooler! See how easy that was?

Finally, the conclusion — part of the scientific method is peer review. You publish your observation, question, hypothesis, experiment, all of your data and your method of analysis for all to see. Your answer is correct when others come to the same conclusion. And this means all others, not a select few. Exactly the same conclusion — not “almost” the same conclusion. When this does not happen, your original premise, experiment, and conclusions are not science, they are not a source of knowledge, they are an opinion. And just like noses, everyone has an opinion.

Almost all human activity could be controlled in the guise of saving the planet — who does not want to save the planet? Think everyone should avoid eating meat? Outlaw raising cattle because of the gases they release! You could even argue that pregnancies should be controlled, perhaps licensed, to limit the expansion of the number of humans and save the planet.

I am not saying we should ignore pollution, but we must use science to identify and define the problem, before we start controlling every human endeavor, in the name of saving the planet.

To make demands without true scientific facts may do more harm than any good. How many people may die of infection if we outlaw all plastics in the medical industry? Is that reusable cloth grocery bag contaminated by leakage of fluids not in plastic, becoming a host for bacteria that will kill your family? Scientific research for facts can prevent unintended consequences. And science is not consensus! It is provable FACTS.

Seth Nadel is a retired U.S. Customs Agent and firearms instructor.

Seth Nadel is a retired U.S. Customs Agent and firearms instructor.

(10) comments

ArizAl

As an average citizen, the fact that the ice on the polar regions is receding at an alarming scale that was predicted by hundreds of scientists and proven by before and after pictures of those polar regions taken by our astronuts in space attest to the undeniable fact that global warming does exist.

johndoe

The planet is going to change no matter what we humans do, good or bad. It would fool hardy to think otherwise. Big government wants us to panic and allow them to regulate our lives, what we eat, what we drive, how we heat our homes. Just look at the widespread idiotic panic going on now with the Coronavirus, we are all so quick to let our government control almost every aspect of our lives now. Travel bans, events canceled, theme parks shut down, all because of unfounded panic. There is real science to show that the global climate changes are not largely man caused and could not ever be reversed by the actions of man. John Stossel recently moderated a debate held by The Heartland Institute. Well, not a debate … because climate alarmists who were invited didn’t show. They refused to bring their "facts" and even have a discussion about the issue.Pat Michaels, former president of the American Association of State Climatologists, says, “It’s warmed up around one degree Celsius since 1900, and life expectancy DOUBLED … yet [if] that temperature ticks up another half a degree … the entire system crashes? That’s the most absurd belief.”

2rusty

I agree with both Seth and johndoe. Leslie Baker had a column on April 30 of last year in which she made similar points. It's reassuring that there are at least a few of us who don't feel that man is responsible for (and can change) everything!

ronzim

The contents of this letter are diffused with incorrect comments about science. The author is untrained and obviously has no valid concept of how science is done.

The Climate Investigations Center: “This week the Heartland Institute will be gathering their small island of misfit toys in Washington, DC for another of their tedious climate Denial-Palooza events. We have followed these events going back to 2008.

Heartland declares War on the climate: There are speakers at the Heartland meeting who were on the Trump EPA transition team, who will be talking about the plan to dismantle the government’s climate science and policy capacity. The question is…Who is paying for this? Heartland has been losing a lot of revenue in recent years. Heartland had a sugar daddy rich donor named Barre Seid revealed after a 2012 sting operation exposed Heartland’s finances (New York Times and The Guardian covered this). Heartland recently left its glitzy upscale Chicago HQ, where it moved in 2012 from its self- proclaimed “shabby” former offices. They now reside in a former dentist office in suburban Chicago. Heartland Institute and friends are heavy recipients of Koch foundation funding and Donors Trust ‘dark money’ funding, but an important new donor has emerged in the past decade…

The Mercer Family and Heartland Institute In recent months, the Mercers have been revealed as among the biggest backers of Trump’s campaign and machine. Over the past decade the Mercer Family Foundation has funded Heartland Institute and have become one of their biggest donors (e.g. Heartland 2014 total revenue = $6.9M Mercer foundation donation = $885,000).

UPDATE: DeSmogBlog dove deep into the Mercer family’s climate denial funding documenting $22 Million the family has funneled to climate denial organizations from 2008-2014. They are trying to out-Koch the Kochs in targeted climate denial spending in recent years.

2015 climate denial donations from Mercer foundation:

Media Research Center – $3 million (Marc Morano’s former employer and again partner on a film project)Cato Institute – $300,000, Manhattan Institute – $300,000, Reason Foundation – $50,000, Heritage Foundation – $500,000…so add another $4 Million plus to Desmog’s $22 Million tally of Mercer climate denial funding.”

So what we have here has nothing to do with science. It is rather a tiny group of cranks, misfits and pseudo-science advocates from the extreme fringes who have sufficient funding to ballyhoo their nonsense.

ronzim

2RUSTY: What you and a few others “feel” has nothing to do with fact or truth. Feelings are based on emotions and misperceptions which are the proximal cause of erroneous conclusions on the part of the “feeler”. Evidence is the only thing which establishes the truth about anything in nature. As one sage observed, “In God we trust; everyone else has to bring data.

johndoe

Again Ron you cherry pick whatever misinformation suits your agenda. Let’s assume for a moment that money – especially funding from any organization that has any kind of financial, regulatory or other “special interest” in the outcome of this ongoing energy and economic battle – renders a researcher incapable of analyzing facts fairly and honestly. Billionaire and former presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg gave the Sierra Club $110 million in a six-year period to fund its campaign against coal-generated electricity. Chesapeake Energy gave the Club $26 million in three years to promote natural gas and attack coal. Ten wealthy liberal foundations gave another $51 million over eight years to the Club and other environmentalist groups to battle coal.

Over a 12-year period, the Environmental Protection Agency gave its 15 Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee members $181 million in grants – and in exchange received quick rubberstamp approvals of various air quality rules. It paid the American Lung Association $20 million to support its regulations.

During the Obama years, the EPA, Interior Department and other federal agencies paid environmental pressure groups tens of millions in collusive, secretive sue-and-settle lawsuit payoffs on dozens of issues. Their massive multi-billion-dollar conflicts of interest clearly make them incapable of analyzing climate and energy matters fairly and honestly – and disqualify them from participating in any further discussions about America’s and the world’s energy and economic future.

ArizAl

An interesting set of facts on climate change by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce: How does climate change affect coral reefs? The varied effects of climate change are changing the ocean; these changes dramatically affect coral reef ecosystems. Increased greenhouse gases from human activities result in climate change and ocean acidification.

Climate change is the greatest global threat to coral reef ecosystems. Scientific evidence now clearly indicates that the Earth's atmosphere and ocean are warming, and that these changes are primarily due to greenhouse gases derived from human activities.

As temperatures rise, mass coral bleaching events and infectious disease outbreaks are becoming more frequent. Additionally, carbon dioxide absorbed into the ocean from the atmosphere has already begun to reduce calcification rates in reef-building and reef-associated organisms by altering seawater chemistry through decreases in pH. This process is called ocean acidification.

Climate change will affect coral reef ecosystems, through sea level rise, changes to the frequency and intensity of tropical storms, and altered ocean circulation patterns. When combined, all of these impacts dramatically alter ecosystem function, as well as the goods and services coral reef ecosystems provide to people around the globe.

Threats to coral reefs: climate change

Increased greenhouse gases from human activities result in climate change and ocean acidification. Climate change = ocean change. The world's ocean is a massive sink that absorbs carbon dioxide (CO2). Although this has slowed global warming, it is also changing ocean chemistry.

Climate change dramatically affects coral reef ecosystems

Contributing factors that increase greenhouse gases in the atmosphere include burning fossil fuels for heat and energy, producing some industrial products, raising livestock, fertilizing crops, and deforestation. Climate change leads to:

A warming ocean: causes thermal stress that contributes to coral bleaching and infectious disease.

Sea level rise: may lead to increases in sedimentation for reefs located near land-based sources of sediment. Sedimentation runoff can lead to the smothering of coral.

Changes in storm patterns: leads to stronger and more frequent storms that can cause the destruction of coral reefs.

Changes in precipitation: increased runoff of freshwater, sediment, and land-based pollutants contribute to algal blooms and cause murky water conditions that reduce light.

Altered ocean currents: leads to changes in connectivity and temperature regimes that contribute to lack of food for corals and hampers dispersal of coral larvae.

Ocean acidification (a result of increased CO2): causes a reduction in pH levels which decreases coral growth and structural integrity.

The entire article by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration can be read at https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/coralreef-climate

ronzim

As expected, johndoe reverts to norm in advancing conspiracy theories to condemn things he does not like. Consider “Let’s assume for a moment that money – especially funding from any organization that has any kind of financial, regulatory or other “special interest” in the outcome of this ongoing energy and economic battle – renders a researcher incapable of analyzing facts fairly and honestly.” This is a perfect rendition of an assumption which is not warranted by the facts. Set aside for the moment the obvious fact that, carried to its logical conclusion, that argument means that only those researchers with no funding are capable of honest results. Second, he offers no scientific references which demonstrate that the results of such research are wrong or that any funding source is in it for financial gain. He offers his usual generalized criticism.

What we know about this matter is that the burning of coal results in the highest level of CO2, and other dangerous outputs, of all the fossil fuels. Coal ranks as a very dangerous product for human health and global warming which is ample reason for opposition funding from any source which seeks to lessen the burden of GHG’s on the atmosphere. Seeking the banning of coal is an egalitarian social obligation in order to help save the planet as human habitation. Johndoe’s long history of science denial and conspiracy theory means that the valid conclusions of science in the matter of global warming are rejected by him out-of-hand; thus, he must be disregarded.

In addition, if there were actually any fundamental flaws in the research outputs, they would immediately be assaulted by the scientific community and exposed for their shortcomings. Science is an incremental and self-correcting enterprise. In science, no one can get away with fraudulent or “fudged” output in the face of the withering review by the global scientific community when that occurs. Reputations and careers are thereby destroyed.

Consider further, “ . . . Interior Department and other federal agencies paid environmental pressure groups tens of millions in collusive, secretive sue-and-settle lawsuit payoffs on dozens of issues.” Here he selects the pejorative terms “collusive” and “secretive” in order to condemn by adjective that which he cannot refute by evidence. The term “collusive” is an opinion and has no basis in fact. The term “secretive” is belied by the fact that johndoe knows about them. If they actually were secret, he could not know of them. Moreover, he does not list any such settlements for fact checking. In point of fact, those who agree to settlements usually do so because they have no legal basis to go forward and thereby seek to cut their losses.

Finally, “Their(EPA, Interior Department and other[un-named] government agencies) massive multi-billion-dollar conflicts of interest clearly make them incapable of analyzing climate and energy matters fairly and honestly – and disqualify them from participating in any further discussions about America’s and the world’s energy and economic future.” Here again johndoe expresses an opinion not in evidence. The term “ . . . massive billion-dollar conflicts of interest . . .” is supported by no evidence whatsoever. In reality, these agencies which he condemns, have only come into conflict with his personal preferences regarding the subject matter, which are based on science denial and another conspiracy theory which collapses on examination.

scubagal

Most major changes in our health, communications, food production, transportation, entertainment, and work safety have direct ties to Science. If you don't see climate change and the discrediting of our information systems as political attacks to create confusion. You probably won't remember our leadership shouting out "the virus is a "democratic hoax" designed by people who hate me." Our leadership that declared a national emergency just days ago. A leadership that shared the reality of the virus to their very wealthy campaign contributors weeks earlier.

ronzim

Al/scubagal:[wink]

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