Do you think global warming is inevitable?

Scientists saw record losses of sea ice over the summer, leading to speculation that a winter of weather extremes may be on the way. Today’s Question: Do you think global warming is inevitable?

  • Kurt

    Climate change is inevitable, be it warming or cooling.

  • typingmonkey

    Climate change deniers are (largely) changing tactics: the smart ones no longer deny that climate change is happening as the evidence is becoming overwhelmingly obvious. Instead, they are now claiming climate change happens constantly, that the changes we are experiencing are purely natural and normal, that it’s not our fault, and therefore we don’t need to do anything about it.

    Whether climate change is being caused by humanity or not, pumping more CO2 into the atmosphere is going to make matters worse.

    As Sinclair Lewis once remarked, it’s amazing how difficult it is to explain something to someone whose pay-check relies on them not understanding it.

  • Gary F

    So, if we take away personal and economic freedoms, national sovereignty, income redistribution from richer countries to poorer countries, and eliminate property rights, we will save the planet?

    Sounds like a big Marxist hoax to me. The inefficiencies of Marxism will cause the planet more harm.

  • Rich

    Reading the comments, I come to the conclusion that the biggest problem to tackling climate change is humans’ poor ability to value risk.

    Recent studies found that humans tend to underestimate the chances of negative outcomes and overestimate the chances of positive outcomes. They also found that humans over-react to immediate threats and under-react to long-term threats.

    When faced with climate change data it is hard to appreciate the gravity of the situation when we do not perceive immediate threats and when tackling the problem is seen as the only immediate threat to our well-being and economy.

    I understand concerns about the sparse amount of data to draw out conclusions due to lack of historical records pre-dating the industrial revolution (we should blame the Romans for not keeping more accurate records) but given the numbers, I can say that I find the increase of the mean temperature in such a short time span absolutely frightening.

    I hope climate skeptics are right and there is nothing to worry about, that such dramatic increases in temperatures in a short time span are a common occurrence as proven by some old ice strata; but I can’t help feel that they’re simply suffering from a very human underestimation of risk…

  • Steve the Cynic

    If enough people believe the conspiracy theory that it’s a marxist hoax and sabotage efforts to mitigate it, then it probably is inevitable.

  • Gary F

    They grew grapes in northern England and in Finland in the middle ages and it’s too cold to do it today.

    This was before evil SUV’s, evil snowmobiles, evil gas trimmers, evil power plants, and of course, the Tea Party movement.

    I’m sorry, I keep forgetting that I’m supposed to like Marxism.

  • Snaab

    I think this is the wrong question to ask, rather it should read “is climate change inevitable”.

    As Gary so correctly pointed out, not every spot on earth has gotten warmer, and that some places are cold now, when they used to be warm. Now if every single spot on earth, nay the entire earth was getting warmer at the same rate, I would chock this up to a Socialist, “you didn’t build that, redistributive plot and not Marxism.

  • Jim G

    Yes, climate change is here in our present reality and can only continue to escalate into the foreseeable future. Up here in the north-land Fall has become our longest season. I’ve been a deer hunter over the past half century and have seen an amazing amount of temperature moderation in November. Where in the past subzero snowy mornings were common on the opening day of the Minnesota deer hunt, hunters now experience “brown hunts” with afternoon highs in the mid 50’s.

    If we use our five senses and pay attention to the natural world around us, the conclusion that global warming, climate change, is occurring is inescapable. Our prosperity and lives will depend on making common sense decisions. So what can we do as individuals? That might be the biggest Today’s Question of our lives.

  • Rich in Duluth

    I don’t know.

    It seems to me that unless a person has spent their working life studying the climate, analyzing the air bubbles in ice cores, sampling the air, generating the data, and discussing findings with others doing the same work, how can any of us have an opinion that is worth anything? I think we can’t.

    If climate scientists say the climate is changing due to mans influence, based on years of study by many scientists, then that is the best opinion we can get. What are we going to do about it?

  • GregX

    Climate change is inevitable. As Gary said – Finland and Northern England had different climates – as did Iceland, Greenland. Its also true that climatology can show that those periods were triggered by a dramatic series of volcanic events (like java/krakatoa) or meteor strikes (like tunguska) that moved massive amounts of material into the air and triggered a see-saw bound and re-bound that altered the climate. Essentially – GaryF acknowledges that changes in atmospheric content/chemistry effect its ability to hold or discharge heat – and has regional impact. The distinction today – is that instead of discreet geologic events – we have the equivalent of a globally distributed massive volcanic eruption going on every day of every year. Not one point source – but lilterally – billions. Homes, Offices, Power plants, Cars, Ships, Planes, Motors, Toxic settlement ponds all day – every day – all over the globe – contributing/amplifying the natural systems. It’s pointless to say we have no impact. Its wiser to figure out if we can limit what we do add. I for one don’t expect humans to change rapidly – if the choice is between cleaning up the our act – which has other benefits besides climate – or conintuing to live in our own filth – why is is so hard to clean things up?

  • GregX

    Gary F. “So, if we take away personal and economic freedoms, national sovereignty, income redistribution from richer countries to poorer countries, and eliminate property rights, we will save the planet?.” ……

    who let the canard, duck, silly goose in the room ????

    You must be reading from the M.Bachmann-G.Beck fear-mongers manual.

    there is no loss of freedom … but there are jobs in cleaning up the existing mess, moving to cleaner energy, building new technology. Your fear that China and India are somehow going to just take advantage of coal and oil is false. China is already suffering from massive atmospheric pollution in cities – and is investring heavily in clean coal technology – not just HEPA filters on stacks. They are also very agressive on wind, solar and the central power grid system they have is woefully built and unreliable. they are looking to leapfrog the grid (lock) and move to site based power generation – which is wind, solar, and geothermal as well. tidal in some instances. The USA will be the backward child. Time to grow a set and get in the game. Either American business can get moving or get lost.

  • Michael

    Silly question. It’s already well on it’s way, as anyone who spends any reasonable time outdoors can see, and anyone with a memory can can compare to their youth. The climate scientists (98%) have been warning us about it for years, but the Koch Brothers, the Petroleum Institute, an coal industry have bought off the media and Congress to make the deadly consequences almost unstoppable. The droughts will accelerate in the coming decades, as will the famines and wars. The war in Darfur was climate caused, and was only the start. There is hope by imposing an across the board carbon tax and returning 100% of the funds to the consumers to let them spend it as they see fit. It would immediately spur investment in low carbon energy solutions, and is very much the free market solution, as opposed to subsidizing oil companies to pollute, which is what we do now.

  • Gary F

    So it’s hot in northern Minnesota. Must be global warming.

    My buddy lives in London and its been colder and rainier than usual. Must be global cooling, right?

  • Ann

    If people are worried about global warming, why are people in the world eating more and more cows, one ot the biggest causes of global warming? Was the dust bowl caused by global warming? People continue to drive cars a lot. I also wonder why people eat organic food and then we spray tons of pesticides on residential and business lawns.

  • Leonard

    One only has to research the beginnings of the Chicago Climate Exchange with our favorite hypocrit Al Gore. CAP ad TAX Trade is a good example of how the public gets scammed under fears of Man made warming. It was only a decade back when it was called Man made Global Warming. Then they figured cooling changes meant trouble for their scam so now we call it Man made Global Climate Change. Hot or cold, they are covered. When the EPA ruled that CO2 is a pollutant, I had to ask, ” so I should never exhale and feed the plants? Al Gore, the Global warming yahoo, flies around in what? Highest polluting jet ever made. How much does he pollute every day in his mansion in CA?

    Hmmm, and once again here we are with a day’s question that is just a liberal diversion away from issues affecting the most important election and no media wants to expose the facts we have a

    ” redistribute wealth” the SOCIALISM mantra of our President who swore to protect the Constitution. Welcome to coming hyper inflation , gas lines at the pumps and bare food shelves once the fed reserve’s third manipulation of printing money continues to lower the dollar’s vlaue. 1980′s with Carter were grand liberal years, high inflation, gas lines and terrorist attacking at will. Global climate change this_

  • John

    Yes and climate cooling is also.

    The earth has and will go through more warming and cooling cycles, with or without man. Man is insignificant to the earth. The Sun is the major contributor to earth’s temperature changes and will always be until it flairs up and consumes the earth.

  • Michael Bowler

    We are well into the era of global warming so the question does not make sense. Can we avert certain dire tipping points that will soon arrive? Yes with a concerted effort, but the recognition of the scientific phenomenon as well as willingness to act seems to be lacking.

    We lack the political will to respond in ways that would be economically and environmentally beneficial and sustainable. For example, why not adapt a pricing system that rewards our use of non-renewables, especially alternatives to fossil fuels?

  • Bill

    Plants love CO2 and grow better and faster when there is more of it, giving off more and more O2. Cold is bad, warm is good!

    History shows this, just have a look at Minnesotans For Global Warming web site.

  • EAL

    Current estimates calculate the universe/earth to be about 16 billion years old. Daily solar activity impacts the earth for more than the perception of global warming. Humans may wish to be humble in its ascertain that we know how things should unfold as things have been going well for 16 billion years without us.

  • Linda in Plymouth

    PLEASE turn your attention to cable news, CNN or FOX and see what Minnesota is missing while climate change takes center stage. Every time our President’s administration has a scandal or a screw up, the main street media ignores it and instead divert to climate change or obesity issues of low importance.

    12 Muslim countries as we speak are rioting against America and Israel, burning our flag, chanting Death to America, storming our consulates…..we don’t hear NPR talking about this at this moment because it makes Obama’s policies in the middle east an how he treated Israel, a complete failure..wake up.

  • Snaab

    To the deniers,

    Which other science do you reject when rejecting climate science? Cancer research? Science has not proven exactly what causes many types of cancer, so by your logic, those researchers are merely shills for big pharma or other conspiracy right.

    How about physicists. Physics has yet to determine what gravity is (other than a force, but what makes gravity, gravity), so is the research going into this area of physics also a myth.

    Your position is untenable, and goes directly into the face of the incredible amount of data, gathered by actual scientists, doing actual science, but since Faux news tells you climate change is a liberal plot, you, without thinking for yourselves, just open your mouths, waiting for the feeding, but life is good and ignorance is bliss huh.

  • Jefferson

    Here’s my issue with global warming, why is it always looked at as a negative? When the last ice age disappeared humans did much better than during the ice age. I just find it hard to believe that global warming (climate change?) will only lead to negative things. Every single scientific issue has negatives and positives…it’s about time we make an effort to discuss both of them. One massive benefit is delaying or eliminating the natural cycle of ice ages…why is that never discussed? We are actually due for an ice age at any moment (based on previous cycles); this part of the Earth would be hundreds of feet under ice if we were in an ice age…is that better than global warming? I just get very tired of the typical global warming view that it can only lead to negative effects…when I can see a truly objective view of global warming where all aspects are taken into account (including ice age delay/elimination) then I can take that viewpoint seriously.

  • Deirdre

    I don’t believe that the question asked is whether or not climate change is real or that it is caused by human’s interactions with the earth. I see both of those as facts. Yes there has been warming and cooling periods on earth but nothing like the speed at which it occurs today. The question sounds to me like it asks whether or not we are able to slow or prevent it by being a responsible society. I would say that I have lost faith in an action based, able to reason, rational society (supported by many of the previous comments) and therefore say yes it is inevitable.

  • Dave L

    It’s happening, and it will continue to happen. That’s the conclusion of the 600+ unpaid scientists who have summarized the existing research (10s of thousands of studies). Without having studied any of this research, how can anyone come to the conclusion that it’s not happening without feeling just a little absurd?

    It should also be pointed out to Gary F that many of the scientists who fully accept the theory of anthropogenic global warming are conservatives (Richard Alley, most prominently). There is also quite a range of conservative pundits who have accepted the theory (e.g. Michael Fumento and Jonathan Adler). I also know at least one Stalinist who swears global warming is a corporate-government plot, so you’re in good company.

  • joberg

    We need obama to give a speech to nature. I’m sure the environment would respond and begin cooling down.

  • Steve the Cynic

    Jefferson, if you were one of those who stood to lose your home, livelihood and community due to things like rising sea levels, you wouldn’t be so cavalier in your “look on the bright side” attitude. If I knew that the people of the world had some willingness to actually look out for the well being of those who would be most harmed and compensate them appropriately, I might share your optimism. However, it sounds like the negative effects will fall most heavily on folks who are currently poor, and helping them cope will no doubt be decried as “marxist redistribution,” never mind that it’s the currenly rich of the world who have benefitted most from the activity that caused the problem.

  • Jefferson

    Steve the Cynic – [Jefferson, if you were one of those who stood to lose your home, livelihood and community due to things like rising sea levels, you wouldn't be so cavalier in your "look on the bright side" attitude. If I knew that the people of the world had some willingness to actually look out for the well being of those who would be most harmed and compensate them appropriately, I might share your optimism. However, it sounds like the negative effects will fall most heavily on folks who are currently poor, and helping them cope will no doubt be decried as "marxist redistribution," never mind that it's the currenly rich of the world who have benefitted most from the activity that caused the problem.] *** My family does own some land right next to the Atlantic Ocean, actually it’s about a block away…from what you’re telling me I should be looking forward to enjoying some sea side property in my lifetime. Once again you’re neglecting to look at the bright side of global warming!

  • lily

    According to 97% of climate scientists, global warming is already occurring, so it doesn’t make sense to ask whether it’s inevitable when it’s already happened. Rather, you should be asking whether it is reversible, something that is still up for debate— it’s dependent on how soon people and governments start to act, and how aggressively.

    When people are asked what percentage of climate scientists agree that anthropogenic global warming is occurring, surprisingly many think that there is a contentious debate, and that 50% of climate scientists or more disagree. This is false. As I wrote above, there is a consensus among climate scientists (97%) that global warming (not short term but long term, based on studies of tree rings and ice layers from hundreds of thousands of years back) is a fact. These are published, peer reviewed scientists; they have taken into account many many different factors that affect the global climate (such as solar activity which was mentioned in another comment). I encourage anyone interested to read the group of wikipedia articles about climate change and the climate change debate, which gives a great summary of the data and any critiques of it, as well as a lot of information that sheds light on why climate change deniers have been so successful at pursauding the public that a debate exits when it doesn’t.

  • Kurt Nelson

    @ Jefferson,

    I think your analysis is not quite right with regard to how a warmer climate effects things. A warmer Minnesota could mean that plants bloom sooner, which in turn means the pollinators also have to be on that schedule(like they are now), and if not, things don’t get pollinated – not great for the worlds food supply.

    Or,

    A warmer Minnesota means that the boreal forests of the northern part of the state, are being replaced with hard woods, and deciduous species, so yes, there will still be forests, just not the same coniferous forest we currently have.

    Or,

    I could go on, but the point is not only looking at the macro, but the micro as well.

    You are correct that not every outcome from a warmer climate is bad, plants love Co2, and with an increase in atmospheric CO2 it is certainly possible that we might see increased yields from crops – so no, not all horrible, but the trend is more bad than good on a world level.

  • Steve the Cynic

    Jefferson, did you actually read my post before you replied? You’re among the rich I was referring to (as am I, by world standards), who will be unharmed or may even benefit from the effects of climate change. Your rosy scenario reflects a calous disregard for the victims. The entire Republic of Maldives could disappear, as could huge tracts of land in places like Myanmar/Burma. Are you willing to pay to mitigate the harm those people will suffer due to activities that you and your ancestors benefitted from? If not, don’t celebrate your good fortune too publicly, as it would be tacky.

  • inuit

    That’s gotta be the silliest post ever.

    Don’t let it keep ya up at night, son. No use losing any sleep over the Republic of Maldives.

    The Maldivians will swim over to India. They will be just fine. Nothing to worry about.

  • Steve the Cynic

    That kind of dismissive insensitivity to the needs of rest of the world is why so many people hate us.

  • inuit

    You really sit around and wring you hands about what will happen to the Maldives? Really? That’s what gets your panties in a bundle, Binky?

    You really believe that should the Maldivians come to harm on account of Global Warming, people in the USA will “owe” money to the Maldivians? Really?

    That’s the kind of twisted thinking that has ruined the entire world. The kind of silliness that prevents real progress among the people of the world, and borders on delusional.

    I will change that. It is absolutely delusional.

  • David

    Yes, a symptom, yet perhaps manageable.

    Maximizing the potential of the world’s most utilitarian plant, Cannabis/hemp can provide sustainable means for energy, food, industry, medicine … as well as carbon sequestration.

  • Steve the Cynic

    It’s not just the Maldives. That’s just the most famous example. It’s all the low-lying coastal regions that are threatened. It’s also all he people whose ways of life will be disrupted by ecosystem changes. And yes, we (not just America, but the whole industrialized world that benefitted from activities that produced global warming gasses since the industrial revolution) bear a moral responsibility to those who are harmed the most. Of course, they have no leverage to make us pay, because we hold all the power. We may salve our consciences by saying we didn’t know until recently the harm we were doing, but now that we know, if we keep doing it despite knowing how it’s hurting others, we are culpable.

    This line of thinking only seems delusional only because most Americans aren’t used to thinking in terms of global justice like that. It’s easier to ignore those issues than to deal with the implication: we’d have to admit that much of our current prosperity is a legacy of living on stolen land, of enjoying two centuries of slave labor, and of the Native American genocide.

  • steve the scenic

    Steve>You do know this is the internet, where you’ve chosen to share comments? It’s not the Algonquin round table.

  • Gordon near Two Harbors

    I believe that global warming will accelerate as we pump more and more heat trapping gases into the atmosphere, and the companies and individuals who have made their unimaginably large fortunes extracting and burning fossil fuels have brain-washed the non-thinking masses into believing that the laws of physics are a hoax.

    In all likelihood, over the next couple of decades, agricultural output will begin to fail, and we won’t be able to feed the ever expanding human population.

    The exponential growth of the human race will finally be stopped.

  • Kurt

    @EAL

    Exquisite summation, sir!

  • David Poretti

    The question should be: Is it too late to avoid catastrophic change? For it is too late to wonder if the planet is getting warmer. Its warmer. And getting warmer still. For those who choose not to believe the mountain of proof assembled by the world’s scientific community and instead cling to a study done by the coal industry, I have one question: What more proof do you need? Polar ice cap now open water? Check. Glaciers losing 80% of their millions of millennium-old mass in just a few years? Check. As predicted, outside the bell-curve extremes in weather are now the norm? Check. Species of plants, animals, insects, virus and bacteria not only found but thriving and colonizing well beyond their ranges for the past millions of millennium? Check. Other species being driven from their historically normal range? Check. Check. And Check. Mate.

  • david

    I can not believe the selfishness of most people. Even when the futures of your own children are at stake, why on earth would you NOT do everything to stop man mad global warming? Just in case it is real, and it is, as long as your data does not come from an oil company funded “scientist”, Why chance it? You are so selfish and lazy you can’t take steps to reduce your carbon foot print? Nope you NEED an suv and 200 HP boat. Assholes, that’s all you are. Worry about something more important like non-existent voter fraud and who marries who. You are tools.

  • DMox

    I think that most of the commentary misses the point. If you want to argue about ecology, then what does it matter if Global Warming is real or not? We are producing and ingesting copious amounts of pollution each year, and would benefit enormously from finding cleaner, greener ways of living. It’s in our health interest. If you want to argue about economy, then it doesn’t matter if we as a country believe Global Warming is real, the fact is that the rest of the world does and is quickly beating us to the marketplace with their own technology. It costs us jobs, investment money and economic clout each day that we drag our feet to this marketplace. If you want to call it a political ideology, then get your facts straight….there is no Marxism, fascism or any kind of political ism that favors our intrinsic interest in a healthier, cleaner, more lucrative environment, and anyone who tells you differently is pilfering taking points from someone with a political agenda. If you fear that the government is going to impose global warming initiatives on you, then you should be heavily investing in a private sector solution.

    When the idea that Y2K was going to shut down the global economy and infrastructure came about in the 90′s, we, as a world economy, pulled together and created billions in jobs, resources, and technology to head off disaster. The problem with Global Warming isn’t that there’s too much money at stake, it’s that there’s not yet enough for the global finance and industry communities to take notice. The question isn’t what are we going to do, its when. And the answer is when it becomes lucrative.

  • Jack

    Steve the Cynic and a few others here have found their hearts. We need to take responsibility and recify our mistakes for the benefit for all beings. For those that need it to be lucrative, consider that Cannabis/hemp is the most useful plant in the world and grow it.

  • Una Duckfoot

    Technically, global warming is not inevitable since it is already happening. People will have to change with the weather anyway, moving to higher ground, changing agriculture to deal with droughts and floods, moving the snowmobile industry further north…so it makes sense to me that if we have to change anyway we should also change what we do to exacerbate the situation. If New York City has to put up more flood walls, they might pay for them with a higher gas tax to encourage more efficient cars. And as with all change there will be winners and losers. Minnesota might win (if we adapt to drought) and Florida might lose…do we want to start paying now for less disturbance later, or deal with what happens when Florida is flooded out?

  • Wally

    Climate change is inevitable. It’s been going on long before soccer moms started driving SUV’s and rich gearheads started driving Hummers.

    Greenland used to be GREEN, then it got cold, and the Vikings left. Krakatoa and Tambora blew up and spewed far more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere than humans do.

    Should we pollute with impunity? By no means. But controls on greenhouse gases are just another way to loot the people of trillions of dollars in futile attempts to control what we have little control over. Remember, a couple decades back, the “experts” were warning of a new Ice Age?!

    Moral of the story? Don’t live on the coast.

  • Deb

    Time to greenify!

    Repeat after me: “Yes we CANNABIS!”

    We’re smart enough now to learn from our mistakes and work with NATURE instead of against IT!