Obama’s 97 percent climate change consensus includes ‘deniers’

by Valerie Richardson  |  published on April 26, 2016

The 97 percent of scientists frequently cited by President Obama who agree on climate change? Some of them are actually climate “deniers.”

Take David Legates, University of Delaware professor of climatology. He’s known as a leading “denier” for his skeptical take on the catastrophic climate change narrative, but he does agree that the climate is changing — which, by Mr. Obama’s standard, puts him in the 97 percent.

In fact, Mr. Legates says the figure is probably closer to 100 percent, because few reputable scientists would disagree that the climate changes, or even that humans have an impact on climate. Where he and other scientists part company with the “consensus” is on the narrower issues of whether human activity is the primary driver of global warming or whether it signals imminent climate disaster.

“Neither of these arguments have been proven, and they represent the extremes to which the ‘believers’ will go to push their agenda,” said Mr. Legates in an email to The Washington Times. “These questions are seldom addressed by the ‘believers’ when they are trying to manufacture their supposed ‘consensus’ since they will not find widespread agreement.”

  • phil

    This is NOT about the climate, it’s about destroying capitalism and our culture.
    In Europe, it’s called ” degrowth movement ”
    It’s all about killing America.

    • I Seigel

      For what purpose?

  • justinwachin

    The climate is changing. Our weather runs on an annual cycle through the seasons. Its possible that our weather runs on a larger cycle (possibly several hundred years long) of temperature fluctuation. Just as humans are unable to halt the annual progression of seasons we will be unable to halt any longer cycle of temperature fluctuation.

    One thing that often gets lost in the debate is the effect of prior pollution control efforts on global warming. Thanks to catalytic converters, phaseout of ozone destroying refrigerants, and the reduction in smokestack emissions more sunlight is able to reach the ground. Could our success in clearing the sky be responsible for the warmup? If the scientists are to be believed the earth is warmer now than it was when smoke stacks and smoke-belching cars colored the air.

    • I Seigel

      Huh uh. And just as the catalytic converters helped to clear the air, so people could actually BREATHE non-toxic air, it also helped clear the smog from the skies. More sunlight hitting the ground, yes. AND MORE HEAT ABLE TO ESCAPE BACK INTO SPACE AT NIGHT! C’mon, you can’t be THAT dense! Can you?

      • justinwachin

        I don’t think I’m the one that’s dense. Air pollution has the ability to block sunlight from the surface of the earth. Some of the pollutants reflect the light back into outer space. Other particles absorb some of the sunlight as heat energy preventing it from reaching earth’s surface.

        You are correct that earth loses more heat on a clear night than on a cloudless night. What you didn’t consider is the pollution blocked a percentage of the sun’s energy from reaching the earth to begin with. (This is why solar energy’s effectiveness is less in populated areas than in barren regions.) The heat absorbed by air pollution would have also radiated into outer space at night. It would have had less atmosphere to travel through. The polluted air had less density to retain heat. The land doesn’t lose all its heat at night. Water, which covers a large percentage of the earth, does an even better job hanging onto its heat through the night hours.

        Global warming proponents are only talking about the earth’s heat increasing by 1 or 2 degrees over the next 100 years. It is likely decreasing air pollution is responsible for a significant amount of the increase in surface temperature. The problem is this theory puts two of the environmental activists’ pet causes (pollution and global warming) into conflict with each other. Rather than consider the obvious they would rather to make a grab for our freedom and our wealth.

        • I Seigel

          I appreciate your reasoned response.

          A couple of things don’t make sense in your thinking. To me, anyway.

          1. SunLIGHT and heat are 2 different things. Heat, as I’m sure you know, is in the infrared. So when you say that “Some of the pollutants reflect the light back into outer space. Other particles absorb some of the sunlight as heat energy preventing it from reaching earth’s surface”, that’s not true. On a cloudy day, more LIGHT is reflected back into space, but the infrared wavelengths easily penetrate cloud layers, and build up as heat at the surface. If this wasn’t true, then a cloudy summer day would be chilly in Georgia or Louisiana, but it’s just the opposite – hot and humid, because the cloud layer traps heat and moisture. The moisture also is a heat sink, trapping heat and preventing it from escaping into space. This is the situation on Venus, for example – thick cloud cover, the surface is hundreds of degrees Fahrenheit, while the atmosphere further from the surface is somewhat cooler (and may even be able to sustain earth-type life).

          2. “What you didn’t consider is the pollution blocked a percentage of the sun’s energy from reaching the earth to begin with. (This is why solar energy’s effectiveness is less in populated areas than in barren regions.)” You’re correct – solar energy is less cost effective in populated areas because of pollutants. But solar panels operate on visible and even ultraviolet light. They’re VERY low efficient at infrared wavelengths. So you’ve stated a correct premise, but you’ve reached the wrong conclusion.

          3. “Global warming proponents are only talking about the earth’s heat increasing by 1 or 2 degrees over the next 100 years.” But newer, refined computer models and more research into ancient climate and sea levels show that with only a 1-2 degree increase, sea levels in the past have not been just 1-3 feet higher, they’ve been as much as 10 METERS higher. I don’t really care about south Florida and much of the Gulf Coast, but there are a few folk down there that I think would prefer to live on dry land rather than getting to their Piggly Wiggly by gondola.

          4. There is this vast conspiracy theory group that thinks that these scientists want to “make a grab for our freedom and our wealth”. That is a very convenient way to dismiss any kind of research or findings. But WHY would scientists want our freedom and wealth? To who’s ultimate goal? That is what’s never been explained. I can understand the conspiracy theorists that claim “Obama is coming for our guns”. But “scientists coming for our freedom”? It doesn’t make any sense.

          Now, I’m guessing you’ll focus your answer on #4 and dismiss the rest of my post. Oh well.

          • justinwachin

            1.) Weather is a combination of factors. Air mass affects temperature, as does soil/water temperature, day length, and humidity. Clouds have the ability to hold in heat but they also block solar energy which warms the earth.
            2.) The point about solar energy is that less light hits a panel due to particles in the air. The cost or the efficiency of the panel is irrelevant. The amount of light isn’t determined by what it falls upon. The sun doesn’t adjust the strength of a particular ray based on whether it lands on a solar panel or a blade of grass.
            3.) How do you know that the current temperature is normal? Could it be that our temperature has been lowered due to the air pollution of past generations. As the air clears could it not be that temperature is rising back to what is normal? I don’t think you can say a one degree rise in temperature is going to cause a 10 meter rise in sea level. It would take a lot of water to raise the world’s oceans by that amount. As temperature rises the air is able to hold more water vapor. Some of that excess vapor could fall on deserts as rain and turn them green. Many places in the world report decreasing water tables. This extra water could replenish water tables and end droughts around the world.
            4.) Scientists know the grants are going to those who support global warming. Tobacco company scientists conducted research which for decades seemed to back the sponsoring company’s business interests. Those in politics who want to take your freedom and wealth through taxation also control the purse strings for research grants. The scientists aren’t coming for your freedom. They are conducting research which is paid for by those who seek to control the cars you drive, the house you live in and tax your use of carbon. Some of those politicians also grow which selling carbon credits which is a permission to pollute a certain amount.

            I have no problem answering your post. Here’s the simplest way to test my point. Take two thermometers, make sure they read the same temperature. Put one in direct sunlight and the other a few feet away under a shade tree. The one in the direct sunlight will register a higher temperature. The shade blocks the sunlight from reaching the other thermometer resulting in a lower temperature. Air pollution is similar to the tree leaves. The pollutants block a percentage of the sun’s energy from earth’s surface. As pollution lessens thanks to catalytic converters, fewer coal plants, and less trash burning, the air becomes clearer. This allows more of the sun’s energy to reach the surface of the earth and warm it. It really is as simple as that.

          • I Seigel

            1) OK. No argument there. This is the first mention of the word “weather” in this discussion.

            2) My point wasn’t about the AMOUNT of light hitting a solar panel, which would be decreased by air particles or clouds. I mentioned the WAVELENGTH of light. Panels are efficient in the visible spectrum and to a lesser extent in the ultraviolet. They are even less efficient in the infrared. But you are correct that it was I that mentioned solar panels in the first place, not you. You said “solar energy’s effectiveness” and I translated that to mean effectiveness as a power source, aka solar panels.

            3) “Normal” by the standards listed by NOAA, which has records going back about 100 years or so.

            4) I’ll skip #4. You’ll choose to believe in conspiracy theories, I choose not to. So no arguing on this one.

            Regarding your example on measuring the outside temperature: look at how the standard measuring system is done by NOAA and by its weather-data gathering stations scattered everywhere (school rooftops, airports, fields, etc). The thermometers are not set in the direct sunlight – that would skew the reading. They are designed to measure the AIR heated by the sun, not the sun directly. But that wasn’t your point, I recognize that.

            And I’m not sure why you’re focusing on pollutants. There are very few pollutants in the air over Greenland or Antarctica, and this is where some of the most visible effects of warming are taking place. Or high in the Andes and the Alps, where almost all signs of glaciers have disappeared. Or in Montana, where the glaciers in Glacier National Park are rapidly disappearing. Pollution is a big problem in Beijing and New Delhi, or Denver and LA. Not so much in Thule or Lima or Nome.

          • justinwachin

            Air pollution isn’t confined to the area where it is generated. I remember when Mount St. Helens erupted in 1980. It wasn’t long before the ash it sent into the atmosphere began to settle out thousands of miles away. The ash in the atmosphere made for more colorful sunsets around the globe. At the time the term “particulate winter” entered the vocabulary of people. Climatologists pointed to the 1815 eruption of Mt. Tambora. It seems the airborne particulate matter was so great that 1816 became known as the year without a summer.

            My point is that air pollution, whether man-made or a product of nature, has the effect of reducing the surface temperature of the earth. As our air has become cleaner the temperature has increased because more sunlight is able to reach the earth’s surface. I’m not advocating the return of polluted air. But, we need to consider that any global temperature rise is due to the success of our efforts and that we are merely returning to normal.

          • I Seigel

            So, just to summarize – you’re blaming (or crediting) efforts to reduce air pollution for melting glaciers and ice sheets, more powerful storms, more intense and earlier fire seasons, flooding that occurs more frequently (we have a “storm of the century” or a “100-year flood” every 5 years or so now). And with rising (“returning to normal”) temperatures, we’re now seeing increasing tropical diseases in the higher lattitudes (Zika, e.g.), and problems in forests (pine bark beetles) and water supplies (Sao Paulo, Atlanta, e.g.). And the reverse of that argument would be that if we continued to let particulate pollution build up, we’d be cooler, and the world would not be suffering from the symptoms listed above? Seems like either way, politicians would be wanting to tax something and take away your freedoms, doesn’t it? Either way, we’re ruining the earth, the atmosphere, and our health, it sounds like.
            And please don’t forget that particulate pollution (from coal burning, e.g.) is different from smog and other similar gas-based pollutants, which also affect temperature and which also are human-caused.

          • justinwachin

            I’m suggesting global warming, to the extent it is actually occurring, may be the result of the success of our pollution control efforts. Pollution, regardless of particulate size, played a role in keeping earth’s temperature down.

            As far as all the items you mentioned are concerned, there is no proof they are caused by global warming or that they would be cured if the world adopted the measures advocated by President Obama or the climate change advocates. Some of these problems are caused by prior environmentalist initiatives which turned out to produce the opposite result from what was intended. The Zika virus spread is likely the result of the media hype. If the earth is healing itself from the pollution of the past, the melting of ice masses may be part of the process. Archaeologists have found evidence that plant life once existed in Antarctica.

            To get back to the original story. It is likely many scientists do not support the notion of climate change or the agenda attached to it. To claim 97 percent compliance shows either creative counting or a lot of people willing to sign on to the movement so they can keep their government grants flowing.

            I’ve laid out the likely cause for global warming. The irony is that if advocates are able to enact their agenda the problem is going to get worse as their wish list is implemented. There will not be any admission that they are wrong. It will simply be used to ask for more taxes and more regulations.

          • I Seigel

            To get back to the original story…

            It appears that the 97% figure didn’t originate with Obama – he simply retweeted an earlier report. In a lengthy article in Scientific American from 2014 – http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-to-determine-the-scientific-consensus-on-global-warming/ – the figure of 97% is mentioned several times as a percentage of published scientific papers that assume that climate change is affected by human activity. The figures mentioned in the article range from 75%-97%. Also, the 97% figure was reported in 2010 by USA Today – http://content.usatoday.com/communities/sciencefair/post/2010/06/scientists-overwhelmingly-believe-in-man-made-climate-change/1#.VyD0fs6cHIU
            – so the figure wasn’t invented by Obama.

            And please allow me to reword your last statement a little: You’ve “laid out A likely cause for global warming”, not “THE likely cause for global warming”. And your statement that “there will not be any admission that they are wrong” is very ironic. Has there been any admission so far from conservatives that all their warnings of imminent economic collapse due to soaring interest rates and crushing debt has failed to materialize? That bailing out the banks, insurance companies and car companies would lead to massive failures? That Obamacare would cause the loss of millions of jobs? NONE of that has happened. In fact, just the opposite. Where are the conservative apologies and admissions they were wrong?

            Besides all that, I appreciate the discussion and this exchange of ideas. We’re going to choose to disagree on this one, I believe.

          • justinwachin

            I’m not trying to diminish the seriousness of children born with birth defects. My point was the media has hyped the spread of the virus. For some reason they chose to hype this particular virus this year rather than hype the flu. Part of it may be due to the fact that the flu vaccine did not work all that well this year. The news media has a great talent for taking a few facts and blowing a problem out of proportion. To the best of my knowledge no mosquitos have transmitted this virus within the United States. There is also still some debate as to whether the microcephaly was caused by the virus or an undiagnosed cause.

            I was responding to the story’s use of the 97 percent figure.

            I’m one conservative that longs to see the return of rising interest rates. There’s a variety of sources that are warning of an economic collapse due to heavy debt loads. I’ll save that discussion for a story related to it.

            Right now the politically correct point of view is that global warming is caused by rising carbon dioxide rates. Many of the politicians who have bought into this hypothesis also has a solution–a carbon tax and tradable credits. Some of the politicians warning of the dangers of global warming also own businesses which make money off the trading of the carbon credits. If global warming was such a threat to humanity why are you selling credits to allow companies to continue to pollute? Why are you jetting around the world creating a large carbon footprint to proclaim the horrors of global warming?

            Not all pollutants are going to be eliminated from the air. There is a limit to how warm the temperature will rise. I would also point out that we don’t know that the temperature is going to rise. Those who are pushing global warming/climate change should consider that they don’t know all there is to know on this matter and that their initiatives may be counterproductive. It’s also possible that human activity has no effect on climate change.

          • I Seigel

            I think the media are reporting on the Zika virus because of the epidemic in Brazil. Coinciding with the Olympics. The health authorities are even cautioning pregnant women to not come to Brazil. If that kind of “hype” can prevent thousands more babies being born severely crippled, then I say let the media have at it. The flu, on the other hand, causes lots of discomfort, it can cause a few deaths among the already sick or elderly, but it doesn’t cause lifelong crippling defects on the scale of the Zika. Ebola, too, is much deadlier than the flu, given the ratio of people that contract it to the people who die. If you want to see this as another media conspiracy or coverup, then be my guest.

            And, just to update you, there are about 400 cases of the Zika already diagnosed in the US. Florida, and Sen Rubio, are very concerned that their state is in the line of fire. As should be all the gulf states. You are correct, tho, that none have been reported to have been generated by US-borne mosquitoes. They are all cases of travelers bringing it back from overseas – http://www.cdc.gov/zika/geo/united-states.html.
            As to rising interest rates – yes, the Fed believes in that, too. About 2% is their target, I believe, but they’re having a hard time getting there. The oil slump and an impeding implosion of the Chinese economy are 2 of the issues that are keeping them from raising rates more at the moment. “Most” economists believe that a low inflation rate is a sign of a healthy economy. The Japanese experienced 0% or negative inflation (aka deflation) for many years, and their economy was in the dumpster for almost a decade.

          • justinwachin

            I’m not advocating that babies should be born with microcephaly. There is no proof that Zika is being caused by global warming. I would also point out that there are many who would question whether the globe is actually warming.

            As far as the flu is concerned I’m aware of several healthy people who died this year from the flu. At least one had received the flu shot. I don’t think I’ve commented on Ebola. The media gave a lot of attention to Ebola. If an Ebola story shows up I will comment on it in that location.

            I think our discussion has ventured far off topic.

          • I Seigel

            Then back to climate change.
            I have not read anything about Zika being CAUSED by global warming either. But Zika was discovered in tropical climates – Brazil, specifically, and it’s spreading thru Latin America and will most likely arrive in the southern US soon. As our climate warms – for whatever reason, being sun cycles, lack of pollution, Earth axis wobble, or human-induced – and the northern latitudes become more “tropic-like”, diseases such as Zika will thrive.

            You can already see this in the damage being caused by the pine bark beetle, for example. Forests in Colorado and Wyoming have been decimated, and the beetle has now been discovered in forests much further west, in the Cascades and Bitteroot Ranges. And, as you’ve probably heard, the reason the pine bark beetle is causing such havoc is because it’s not getting cold enough in the winters to kill them, so they just live on and multiply the following spring and summer, moving westward thru the forests. Diseases and infestations are only one result of climate change. The people in California and Arizona are bracing themselves for “Water Wars”, as are the Israelis-Jordanians-Palestinians, and those in the Sudan.

            But I agree. Our discussion, while informative and rational so far, is also not accomplishing anything. As I said a few posts ago, we’ll each choose to believe what we want. Maybe some huge piece of news someday soon will make one of us change our point of view. Maybe not.

  • I Seigel

    He’s also on the payroll for Exxon. Exxon funds his “research” and pays him for his statements and testimony. True story. Look it up yourself.
    Maybe he doesn’t have to watch out for the Attorney General. Maybe he needs to watch out for the Univ of Delaware firing him – for fraud, conflict of interest, and professional malfeasance.

    • Pam Dunn

      AND then we get the usual trollish load of total lies and bullshyte from a moron.

      • I Seigel

        You’re not talking about ME are you? If so, then you’re obviously too lazy or too stupid to do the simple fact check that I was able to do on this professor. Or you’re afraid of what you’ll find out, because it might not be consistent with your head-in-the-sand mentality. C’mon Pam One-and-Dunn! What are you afraid of? The TRUTH?! Obviously, YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH!

        • Duane L Petersen

          Yes Pam Dunn is talking about you..

    • Duane L Petersen

      And the pro man made climate change have had over 150 billion dollars in the last 2 years (which the corporations have not came close to in the last 30 years) by governments and the UN for political reasons. Even the last UN report admitted that they didn’t care about the science but only the politics of the argument.

      • I Seigel

        Would you mind proofreading your post and do it again. The first sentence makes no sense.

        • Duane L Petersen

          It is really so simple that even you should be able to understand. I am not writing a college paper and it was an answer to you, the parentheses are there to show a short separate truth without breaking up the original thought.

          • I Seigel

            You’re certainly NOT writing a college paper! Or a 6th grade paper, for that matter. If you’re too lazy to reread your post and fix it, then I’m too lazy to try to converse with you.
            “And the pro man made climate change have had over 150 billion dollars….” WTF?!?!?!? What is the subject of this sentence? The verb? The predicate? Gibberish is what it is.

            “…the corporations have not came close to..” ?? Yes, you’re right. That’s not college-level writing.

  • Dick

    Barry, your bar-b-que grill puts out more emissions then a coal fired plant. If you had a brain you would be dangerous……

    • I Seigel

      Do you go around teaching your kids “facts” like that?

  • itsfun

    The good professor better watch out or the Attorney General will be arresting him for denying what Obama believes.

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