Global warming has been around long enough for the major players to both be recognised and establish a track record. Remembering I am skeptical (not about the greenhouse effect, not about some global warming, but skeptical about an upcoming catastrophe), you will see the skeptical bias in the quotes I offer below. I would imagine global warming alarmists could offer up a similar sheet of quotes from their side of the issue. But I've never seen one. Skeptical scientists, and there are many, notwithstanding repeated statements that the issue is settled, seem to behave more, well, scientifically.
So: This is not objective reporting. This is cherry-picking quotes from people that have influenced my opinions on the issue. Nothing more. I do not offer this as a balanced look at all. Ready?
James Hansen of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies is one of the principal proponents of global warming as a potential catastrophe for this planet. He is a respected scientist, although his recently retired boss at NASA was scathingly critical of him after he stepped down. Hansen has traveled widely and spoken frequently and fervently about the dangers of anthropogenic contributions to greenhouse gases. But it's a quote from an older paper, published in Nature in 2003, that we all should remember when we hear him speak today:
"Emphasis on extreme scenarios may have been appropriate at one time, when the public and decision-makers were relatively unaware of the global warming issue, and energy sources such as “synfuels”, shale oil and tar sands were receiving strong consideration." Can We Defuse the Global Warming Time Bomb, James Hansen, 2003
Stephen Schneider is a professor of Environmental Biology and Global Change at Stanford University, and is another leading spokesperson for the catastrophic effects of CO2. Skeptics love to note that he was one of the original proponents of catastrophic global cooling back in the early 70s, but he has apparently recovered from that embarrassment and gone on to countless television shows and newspaper articles. In 1989 he was interviewed by Discover magazine, and said:
"To capture the public imagination, we have to offer up some scary scenarios, make simplified dramatic statements and little mention of any doubts one might have. Each of us has to decide the right balance between being effective, and being honest."
Here are two skeptics:
Freeman Dyson is a physicist with a degree in mathematics from Cambridge.
From the NY Times, A Civil Heretic, March 25, 2009:
“The climate-studies people who work with models always tend to overestimate their models,” Dyson was saying. “They come to believe models are real and forget they are only models.” Dyson speaks in calm, clear tones that carry simultaneous evidence of his English childhood, the move to the United States after completing his university studies at Cambridge and more than 50 years of marriage to the German-born Imme, but his opinions can be barbed, especially when a conversation turns to climate change. Climate models, he says, take into account atmospheric motion and water levels but have no feeling for the chemistry and biology of sky, soil and trees. “The biologists have essentially been pushed aside,” he continues. “Al Gore’s just an opportunist. The person who is really responsible for this overestimate of global warming is Jim Hansen. He consistently exaggerates all the dangers.”
Dyson agrees with the prevailing view that there are rapidly rising carbon-dioxide levels in the atmosphere caused by human activity. To the planet, he suggests, the rising carbon may well be a MacGuffin, a striking yet ultimately benign occurrence in what Dyson says is still “a relatively cool period in the earth’s history.” The warming, he says, is not global but local, “making cold places warmer rather than making hot places hotter.”
Ivar Giaever is the 1973 Nobel Prize Winner for Physics:
I am a skeptic. Third of all, if I am Norwegian, should I really worry about a little bit of warming? I am unfortunately becoming an old man. We have heard many similar warnings about the acid rain 30 years ago and the ozone hole 10 years ago or deforestation but the humanity is still around. The ozone hole width has peaked in 1993.Moreover, global warming has become a new religion. We frequently hear about the number of scientists who support it. But the number is not important: only whether they are correct is important. We don’t really know what the actual effect on the global temperature is.
These are some of the opinions and expressions that have shaped how I think on this issue.
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