A Gender Divide On Global Warming?

By Sheril Kirshenbaum | May 18, 2009 11:29 am

Last week in Long Beach, Ed Maibach gave a terrific talk about communicating climate change information to the public.  He uses six characters to represent different levels of concern over global warming.  They include (pictured left to right):

sixamericas2.png
Alarmed Alice, Concerned Claudia, Cautious Connie, Unconcerned Uri, Doubtful David, and Dismissive Dan

Descriptions of each level along with detailed data are available here.  As of 2008, this is how they are represented in terms of total U.S. population:

six-americas1.png

Notice anything funny about these results?

You bet I did.  Female names are provided for ‘alarmed‘, ‘concerned‘, and ‘cautious‘, while guys are ‘disengaged‘, ‘doubtful‘, and ‘dismissive‘.  What the…?

Now having known Ed a couple years, I suspected his choice for characters wasn’t assigned by chance. Following his presentation, I asked what’s going on. Turns out, the responses do shake out along gender lines.  While Ed and I are with Alice, surveys show that women are more likely to take the threat of climate change seriously while men are frequently apathetic or deniers.

I’m surprised, but perhaps it’s because of the company I keep.  Do readers have any ideas to explain what’s going on?

ADVERTISEMENT

Comments (46)

  1. My first thought is that it is an echo of party affiliation. Republicans are more to the right end of that distribution, and men are more likely to be Republicans.

  2. I think it comes down to the fact that environmentalism generally has been feminized in the culture wars.

    Basically, the idea is that to be a ‘real man,’ you have to be a coal-burnin’, Hummer-drivin’, rootinest pollutinest son-of-a-bitch out there. Otherwise, you’re the man version of a tree-loving, Dukakis-hugging moon maiden (to quote Rainier Wolfcastle).

    It’s incredibly, unbearably stupid, but the Republican Party’s main appeal lately has been to the latent gay-panic fears in a portion of American men (see the attacks on Obama’s mustard use). But when you see conservationism tied to the ‘nanny state,’ it’s because right wingers are trying to make fighting pollution somehow emasculating, like being told to clean up your dirty underwear.

  3. Amos Zeeberg (Discover Web Editor)

    Agree with Robert and Billingham: I suspect the gender/climate-change connection is mediated through some other personal traits: political inclination, overall conscientiousness, community vs individual orientation, education, income, etc.

  4. Amos Zeeberg (Discover Web Editor)

    It also struck me that the fellas over at the dismissive right end of the spectrum are, uh, kinda bigger than the other folks on there. Like the manly men eat a lot of meat and potatoes, watch a lot of sports on TV, and can’t be bothered to worry about climate change? I’m not saying this is true — just looking at Maibach’s characterizations.

  5. larrydalooza

    Of course men predominately excel at mathematics and the idea that a gas (CO2) that comprises .03% of the atmosphere, in which man’s contribution is 4%, affects the Earth demonstratively is ludicrous. So girls? what is 4% of .03% … You see… this is where men say “Get outta here… CO2 is not evil”

  6. Michael

    Geez…what a bunch of pure psycho-political babbling. Those of us who haven’t had a knee-jerk political connection find the politicalization of the climate change issue a very unfortunate phenomenon. The science is buried under a thick layer of ignorant political garbage. The political appointees of the discredited IPCC did no sevice to science with their strident and misleading predictions. None of which have come true.

    We face many other serious environmental issues which are being ignored as both camps dig in and mindlessly attack each other. China will NOT curtail it’s use of coal plants in the foreseable future, while the US foolishly stops any attempts to provide any kind of reasonable energy to the population. People will discover this as their energy bills skyrocket and blame the politicians AND the scientists. And faith in science will succumb to the same fate as faith in politicians…

  7. Of course men predominately excel at mathematics and the idea that a gas (CO2) that comprises .03% of the atmosphere, in which man’s contribution is 4%, affects the Earth demonstratively is ludicrous. So girls? what is 4% of .03% … You see… this is where men say “Get outta here… CO2 is not evil”

    You’re ignorant.

  8. Erasmussimo

    There’s a simpler explanation for all this, a concept that was well-developed by George Lakoff and arises from fundamental concepts of gender roles. The basic female role is nurturing, while the basic male role is commanding. Think of it in terms of the mother/father roles. Women see their role as to nurture others, to help them out, while men see their role in terms of constraining conflict for the good of all.

    WARNING!!! THESE ARE ALL GROSS GENERALIZATIONS FOR WHICH THERE ARE ABUNDANT EXCEPTIONS!!! THESE ARE NOT REPRESENTED AS PRESCRIPTIVE IN GENERAL OR DESCRIPTIVE OF ANY INDIVIDUAL!!! THEY REPRESENT VAGUE TENDENCIES THAT APPEAR IN LARGE POPULATIONS, NOTHING MORE!!!

    Thus, females should have a greater concern for providing for the poor, the injured, and maintaining a healthy environment. Males, by contrast, will seek to establish hierarchies that keep potentially devastating conflicts under control.

    This hypothesis does a good job of explaining the female proclivity for environmental protection, but it does not predict male opposition to environmental protection. Perhaps what we’re seeing is a female emphasis on environmental protection combined with a lack of male bias in either direction — EXCEPT for the tribal component. Conservatives have lately been defining themselves in opposition to the female POV. Two recent examples: a Republican Senator recently commented that he would be vigilant in insuring that no “empathetic” judges get past him. And a political cartoon by “Ramirez”, a conservative cartoonist, showed two astronauts working on Hubble, with one of them asking whether they were making the changes to help it see more clearly, or with more empathy. What’s striking about these is the negative attitude towards empathy — very anti-female.

  9. Erasmussimo

    larrydalooza writes:

    “the idea that a gas (CO2) that comprises .03% of the atmosphere, in which man’s contribution is 4%, affects the Earth demonstratively is ludicrous”

    Why don’t you test your hypothesis that tiny numbers are insignificant? I propose that you inject a few milligrams of snake venom into your veins. Don’t worry — it’ll be much less than 0.03% of your total mass. Get back to us with your results, if you can.

    Michael writes:

    ” Those of us who haven’t had a knee-jerk political connection find the politicalization of the climate change issue a very unfortunate phenomenon. The science is buried under a thick layer of ignorant political garbage. The political appointees of the discredited IPCC did no sevice to science with their strident and misleading predictions. None of which have come true.”

    I was with you right up until you bad-mouthed the IPCC. OK, so you don’t like the IPCC. I suppose that the NAS is also a bunch of political appointees?

  10. Huh, didn’t realize the trackback had popped up. Sorry.

  11. Larry’s comment isn’t just ignorant, it’s wrong. Humans have caused over 30% rise in CO2 emissions so far, not 4%.

  12. Whoops, should’ve said 30% rise in CO2 levels in the atmosphere. Oh well.

  13. Tom

    Interesting to consider that most comments are from men. I’ll bet most science bloggers are men. Different subject, but I think it is related.

  14. I don’t find the gender divide to be too surprising, given Billingham’s and Robert’s points above. But it didn’t jump out at you that everyone’s white? I suspect that race/ethnicity/class probably trumps gender in a lot of awareness-type situations.

  15. I’ll bet most science bloggers are men.

    I’ve been considering sex in the blogosphere for a long time.

  16. Are more women Republicans or Democrats?

  17. Earl_E

    Great story and good comments.

    Larrydalooser says that CO2 is not evil. There is no such thing as Evil.

    Always leave it to the religious to start throwing around statistics like 4% of the atmosphere is CO2… Noone is talking about CO2.

    I am wondering if it may be related to what I call the “Fan” gene.

    Ever see a group of animals pack into a small place and yell and scream about some kind of game?

    I see being “The Big Fan” as a way men like to create environments where they can be accepted, and feel normal.

    Getting together to mourn the loss of the shrimp harvest isn’t much fun, so men won’t be going there.

    Even the fishermen who lost their way of life will still go to the local bar to root and cheer their favorite team.

    But the women of these now unemployed men are still wondering how their idiot husbands allowed the shrimp to be wiped out… and will tell them to quit wasting their money and braincells getting lite up over some sports team and start preparing for hard economic times.

    But man was too busy ignoring the co-dependence of the food chain and instead developing a dependence on slap-on-the-back comraderie and beer.

    And it is probably man’s domination of women that will lead to the extinction of this flash-in-pan mammal from this balmy inter-glacial warming.

  18. mk

    I have to say… to see that 70% are at least cautious, that is surprising. I would have guess much lower.

  19. Another guy. I do feel kind of a wimp when I worry about global warming. It’s going to affect my daughter, or maybe only my grand-children, it’s not going to affect me.

    Maybe Tipping Points aren’t covered in Mechanics like they should be. Catastrophic engine failure doesn’t happen when half the engine is missing, it happens when there’s a microscopic sliver of metal in the wrong place, or a gasket fails microscopically (and a few seconds later there’s half the engine missing). You look at previous failures to try to avoid the same thing happening again, but there’s always some new thing to take you out. Then again, only a wimp doesn’t get in the Mustang because the engine might fail.

    I wonder, however, whether the polls are picking up grandstanding about Global Warming amongst men, rather than actual opinions — yes, we can see it’s a problem, but if it is a problem we’re pretty clearly at fault for not responding earlier, because in hindsight there’s a clear continuous thread at least since Silent Spring, and it’s all over the news now, so I’m not going to admit that it’s a problem. I don’t have a sense that women are that much less to blame than men microeconomically — SUVs, for example, are a security blanket that was specifically marketed to women — but perhaps they feel enough less to blame not to feel as bad about admitting that it’s a problem. The guys have been in control of the macroeconomics and of the political process, and they’ve screwed it up. If this is a real effect, any disproportion in the number of male and female interviewers might make a big difference. To a guy who sounds as if he repaired his truck this morning, downed a few lunchtime beers, then clocked in with Nielsen for the afternoon shift, a guy might give different answers. Wording of a survey question is also crucial if there are emotions like guilt being flung around.

  20. Dan Pangburn

    The Solar Grand Maximum that has been going on for about 70 years has ended. The 30 year or so PDO uptrend that combined with the Solar Grand Maximum to produce the end-of-century temperature run up has started its 30 year downtrend. The PDO downtrend combined with the quiet sun is going to result in planet cooling. The sun has not been this quiet this long since 1913.

    The Climate Science Community appears to be unaware of the science (it’s not in their curriculum) which shows, using paleo temperature data, that added atmospheric carbon dioxide has no significant influence on average global temperature. See my pdf linked from http://climaterealists.com/index.php?tid=145&linkbox=true for the proof and to identify the missing science. Or email danpangburn@roadrunner.com

  21. alba pareto

    How can we stop climate change if it has always changed? We’d better worry about how to change the economy.

  22. Earl_E

    Dan,

    Yir SGM ain’t so grand and yer PDO ain’t yer daddy’s PDO.

    Climate forcings will continue to force, but to say that a 30 year cooling will lead to the reformation of Santa’s home is silly.

    Fer sure if the summer ice reduction goes beyond 2007 minimum, and the West Antarctic shelf breaks free, forcings of that magnitude stomp yer sunspot minimum and yer pdo into oblivion.

    We’ve measured what the PDO used to do, not what it is going to do to climate after the ice free summer of 2012. Ocean currents are subject to salinity, and all that fresh water is going to change the speed of descent, slowing the engine, changing wind and pressure systems… wouldn’t even begin to try and predict it…

    Let’s watch baseball and dream of that era-gone-by… to hell with Bangeladesh.. let them drown!(sarcasm)

  23. Erasmussimo

    Dan, there are some logical flaws in your argument with respect to the Solar Grand Maximum. First, you are incorrect in stating that it has ended. If you will examine this source:

    http://www.lowell.edu/users/jch/sss/blog/?p=122

    you will find the following statement:

    “Since this maximum has been underway for about 80 years, it therefore has ~15 years to go, or roughly 1-2 more cycles.”

    Moreover, if you examine the data presented there, you’ll see that there isn’t much correlation (if any!) between sunspot count and temperature. And indeed, there is no data supporting the hypothesis of a causal linkage between solar activity and global climate.

    You shouldn’t go around deriding the work of scientists when you don’t have it down yourself.

  24. Dan Pangburn

    Earl_E:
    Since 2000, atmospheric carbon dioxide has increased 18.4% of the increase from 1800 to 2000. According to the average of the five reporting agencies, the trend of average global temperatures since 1998 shows no significant increase and for the seven years ending with 2008 the trend shows a DECREASE of 1.8 C°/century. This separation of trends corroborates the lack of significant connection between atmospheric carbon dioxide increase and average global temperature. I wonder how wide the separation will need to get before the IPCC and a lot of others are forced to realize that maybe they missed something.

    Arctic ice area is greater than it has been in over 7 years at this time of year as shown at http://www.ijis.iarc.uaf.edu/seaice/extent/AMSRE_Sea_Ice_Extent.png . Check this and the current ice area at http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/

  25. Erasmussimo

    Dan, you’re making the classic “weather is not climate” mistake when you cite the last decade as evidence of cooling. The minimum time frame for climate effects is about 30 years. Anything showing up on a shorter time scale than that is a fluctuation, not a climatological change. To verify, just calculate the thermal inertia provided by the oceans.

  26. Dan Pangburn

    Erasmussimo:
    I had read that. It is dated 31 Jan 2009 and the sun has remained quiet since then. My conclusion that SGM has ended is based on the observation that now the sun has been quiet for a really long time and shows no sign of getting active. The graph there shows the quiet sun coinciding with the Maunder Minimum. That is a pretty strong correlation and the causation is obvious. Integrating the area under the sunspot vs. time curve subtracting a factor proportional to the fourth power of the temperature reveals the SGM.

    I do not consider the observation that Control Theory is not in climate scientist’s curriculum as deriding scientists. I arrived at that conclusion by examining college catalogs and it has since been corroborated by anecdotal feedback. It does, however, point out an area of science that Climate Scientists appear to not be aware of that could drastically influence their work.

  27. mk

    “corroborated by anecdotal feedback”?

    Seriously?

  28. Dan Pangburn

    Erasmussimo:
    I am fully aware of the ‘weather is not climate’ point. The recent observation is most interesting because of the growing separation between increasing carbon dioxide level and not increasing temperature and that this contradicts all climate model predictions. This, by itself, is not particularly noteworthy but it is corroborative of many other indications that added atmospheric carbon dioxide has no significant influence on climate. There is the late Ordovician when the planet plunged into the Andean-Saharan ice age when the carbon dioxide level was over ten times the present. A graph of this using data by Scotese for temperatures and Berner for carbon dioxide level is presented at http://mysite.verizon.net/mhieb/WVFossils/Carboniferous_climate.html .

  29. Dan Pangburn

    MK:
    Unsolicited.

  30. Jon

    I’ve been considering sex in the blogosphere for a long time.

    Don’t forget, some of the powerful political commentary in the blogosphere has been from women (Digby is the widely-recognized master…)

  31. Jon

    it is corroborative of many other indications that added atmospheric carbon dioxide has no significant influence on climate.

    There’s nothing published in journals that says that. In fact, just the opposite: http://tinyurl.com/heatisonline

  32. Erasmussimo

    Dan, you write:

    “My conclusion that SGM has ended is based on the observation that now the sun has been quiet for a really long time and shows no sign of getting active.”

    The sun is at the bottom of the 11-year Schwabe cycle! Of *course* it’s showing little activity! That doesn’t mean that it has stopped its activity.

    “The graph there shows the quiet sun coinciding with the Maunder Minimum.”

    No, it most definitely does not. It shows that we’re at the low point of the Schwabe cycle; there is no similarity at all with the Maunder minimum, which lasted for nearly a hundred years.

    “That is a pretty strong correlation and the causation is obvious.”

    There is no correlation whatsoever.

    ” Integrating the area under the sunspot vs. time curve subtracting a factor proportional to the fourth power of the temperature reveals the SGM.”

    I suggest that you’re engaging in mathematical hocus-pocus without understanding the equations you’re using. If you integrate the area under the sunspots-vs-time curve, you’ll get a steadily rising value. Perhaps you merely failed to state your intention properly. Either way, the statement as it stands is balderdash.

    Next, you argue that the failure of climatologists to understand control theory constitutes a shortcoming on their part. While I agree that omniscience is a desideratum, I suggest that control theory should be way, way down on any list of priorities for understanding climatology. You’re making the standard mistake of assuming that your own expertise is more important than other people’s expertise.

    “the growing separation between increasing carbon dioxide level and not increasing temperature and that this contradicts all climate model predictions.”

    It most definitely does not. Show me the model predictions that are specific to 2009. There aren’t any. Climate models do not operate on such short time scales. The predictions they make concern trends over decades.

    ” This, by itself, is not particularly noteworthy but it is corroborative of many other indications that added atmospheric carbon dioxide has no significant influence on climate.”

    The fact that increases in CO2 concentration increase planetary temperatures is not in dispute. It has been established in the lab and in theory for more than a century. The basic physics is clear. The only questions concern the size of the various feedbacks.

    “There is the late Ordovician when the planet plunged into the Andean-Saharan ice age when the carbon dioxide level was over ten times the present.”

    Your mistake here lies in the assumption that there is an absolute rather than relative relationship between CO2 concentrations and surface temperatures. You are assuming that a given concentration of CO2 implies a specific surface temperature. This fails to take into the account the fact that climate is dependent upon many factors. How do you know that the luminance of the sun during the Ordovician was the same as it is today? How do you know that the changes in ocean currents arising from different positions of the continents did not substantially alter temperatures? There are a hundred factors like these that influence the final results. What we *do* know is the *relative* effect of CO2: put more CO2 into the atmosphere and *everything else being equal*, the temperature will rise. That’s beyond question.

  33. Earl_E

    Erassmussimo,

    Well crafted response. I have wondered how continental drift impacts ocean currents. Imagine if Central America sank just as Alaska heaves from the loss of mass from melting glaciers.

    Australia is wondering 12 years later where the rainfall is that usually comes with La Nina.

    And arguing with Dan about CO2 is pointless.
    He is merely acting the part…

    “mathmatical hocus-pocus” to the fourth power! …lol

  34. MadScientist

    @larrydalooza: Just confirming Billingham’s assertion of your ignorance.

    1. CO2 is around 0.0384%, so much closer to 0.04% than your stated 0.03%.

    2. The human contribution to the overall current level of carbon dioxide is roughly 25% – pretty far from your imaginary 4%. Each year the CO2 in the atmosphere increases and 100% of that increase is due to human activities (primarily burning coal and oil). A simple calculation of the total amount of CO2 in the earth’s atmosphere vs. (fairly accurate) estimates of anthropogenic emissions shows that about 50% of human CO2 emissions are taken up by nature, leaving the rest to cause that continual increase which we can measure.

    Although only about 0.04%, CO2 is a very important gas; without it (aside from plants having difficulty growing) the regulation of the temperature at the earth’s surface will be much poorer – we’d have much colder nights especially when there are no clouds to help trap the energy radiated by the earth’s surface.

  35. Jack

    Just a note from the gulf coast.

    I’m an horticultural entomologist / tree preservationist working away at changing attitudes down here…

    One thing I have noted myself is the gender divide in caring about the trees/biological components and the quality of town and urban life. Women are for it, men enhance their ‘manliness’ by being against.

    The general idea here appears to be; men don’t care about the environment and men who care about the environment aren’t men.

  36. This is very interesting. Two factors came to mind when I read your post. 1) Women are smarter than men so this is not a big surprise; and 2) Feminist analysis is critical of the status quo and tends to take apart proximate links to find the longer term and larger scale patterns. (Feminist does not equal female, but there would be a numerical bias.)

    I think we have to be very careful about allowing the argument some will be tempted to make to link environmentalism with hand wringing and hand wringing to women as opposed to men (which is seems, Sheril, is part of your initial concern as well).

    I also noticed that in the photographs, the denialist over on the right can’t seem to look you straight in the eye…

  37. Earl_E

    Men who try and minimize the impact man has had on his environment are doing it for self-serving interests.

    That is hu-man nature, or Darwinian survival of the fittest.

    I watched Rick Steves Europe last night as he toured Edinbourough in Scotland. He said when they first erected the Georgian Hi-Rises in the 16th century that the city was known as a black stinck of coal fire hell.

    Seems that building great architecture has always caused massive ecological impact, but as long as you can close the window men don’t care.

    Women, on the other hand, have to go get dinner and see the filth but have to keep it to themselves so the collective of women maintain a positive environment for the children, even when the Jung-Horde are beheading the village to the north.

    You can’t stop cavemen from doing what they do best. Women have found that out since they were tending the fire in the cave.

    When I hear a man comment about why an assistant coach should have taken another position at another college, I’m sure we’re doomed. Those thoughts come from behind the closed window. As the outdoors becomes more inhospitable, the longer the windows will stay closed.

    Look at the coal fire plant outbreak in China. It’s a disease. Did you know the President of China is a hydro-engineer?

    Guess where India gets it’s drinking water?

  38. Dan Pangburn

    Erasmussimo
    Sure the sun is at the low part of the solar cycle (also called the Schwabe cycle in honor of Heinrich Schwabe) but apparently you are unaware that the sun has not been this quiet this long since 1913. You can check it yourself using the data from ftp://ftp.ngdc.noaa.gov/STP/SOLAR_DATA/SUNSPOT_NUMBERS/MONTHLY

    ““The graph there shows the quiet sun coinciding with the Maunder Minimum.”
    No, it most definitely does not.”

    You are indeed pathetically uninformed if you are unaware that the Maunder Minimum coincided with low sunspot activity. And apparently you are unable to read the simple graph in the link that you provided at http://www.lowell.edu/users/jch/sss/blog/?p=122
    I certainly never implied that we are now in a Maunder Minimum but simply used that as evidence that there is a connection between sunspot activity and earth’s climate.

    Of course the integration produces a steadily rising value; it is proportional to the energy received from the sun (given the Maunder Minimum observation). That’s why you need to subtract the energy radiated from the earth (which is proportionate to the fourth power of the absolute temperature of the earth). The result is proportional to the gain or loss of energy on earth. It clearly shows a substantial gain for about 70 years which began to decline a few years ago. This finding corroborates the SGM reported by others. I suppose that people unfamiliar with this type of analysis might perceive it as mathematic hocus-pocus or even balderdash.

    It is simple to show using Control Theory and paleo temperature data that there is no significant net positive feedback from average global temperature. If the climate science community was aware of Control Theory they would realize that and it would dramatically change their predictions. Control Theory in not in the climate science curriculum. Eventually, as the atmospheric carbon dioxide level continues to increase and the average global temperature doesn’t, they should begin to realize that they must have missed something.

    Which of the 20 or so AOGCMs that IPCC follows have claimed that the observed increase in CO2 and decline in temperature is in the range of expectation? Predictions of the models are shown at http://www.drroyspencer.com/2009/05/climate-model-predictions-it%E2%80%99s-time-for-a-reality-check/ . All of them predict the temperature increasing after 2000.

    Regarding late Ordovician ice age: There is no mistake and no assumption. No one is certain as to what caused that ice age that lasted millions of years. The temperature and carbon dioxide level as determined by the experts are not substantively refuted. The point is that over ten times the current CO2 level didn’t prevent an ice age. THAT is beyond question.

  39. Erasmussimo

    Dan, your comments regarding the Maunder Minimum seem crippled by vague language. Perhaps you are using the term “coincide” in a wildly metaphorical sense. Whatever the cause, any comparison of current solar activity with solar activity during the Maunder Minimum is manifestly absurd: just look at the graph. The two time periods show no similarity.

    You arguing that the time graph of sunspot activity proves a connection between sunspot activity and climate. I cannot imagine how you draw that conclusion. The Maunder Minimum comes well AFTER the beginning of the Little Ice Age. And any correlation between sunspot activity in the 2oth century and the increasing temperatures in the 20th century is imaginary. Just look at the graph!

    You have explained your earlier cryptic remarks concerning integration of sunspot counts, but your calculation is still hocus-pocus. You claim concomitancy between integrated sunspot counts and current global temperature, but you provide no time scale for this concomitancy. I could take stock market prices and integrate them over the last century and show concomitancy with global temperatures. So what? It’s mathematical hocus-pocus, and I say that not because of a lack of understanding of math but because I have used plenty of math to analyze data.

    You continue to cling to control theory as if it were some sort of magic wand. The world is full of fads: fractals, chaos theory, and so on. Each one claims to be the Magic Answer to Our Problems. You’re doing exactly the same thing with control theory — which only serves to demonstrate how provincial your interests are. Control theory doesn’t prove anything in the context of climatology. It’s just one prism through which to see the problem.

    “It is simple to show using Control Theory and paleo temperature data that there is no significant net positive feedback from average global temperature. ”

    You are ignoring my point about the greenhouse effect taking place RELATIVE to existing climatic conditions. The greenhouse effect works on extremely cold atmospheres as well as extremely hot ones. And while climatology as a whole is extremely complex, the existence and operation of the greenhouse effect is well-known physics.

    Your claim that existing climate models predict monotonically rising temperatures is based on a misunderstanding of climate models, how they are used, and what they mean. They are meant to predict climate, not weather. If you would actually read some of the material about them, rather than just grab a graph off the Internet, you’d learn that they do not claim to predict exact temperatures at any exact moment. They predict temperatures averaged over the entire planet AND averaged over long time intervals — at least 30 years.

    The most important mistake you’re making, however, is in cherry-picking your data. You are considering only the last 11 years. Why so selective? We should consider ALL the data, giving it weight appropriate to its reliability. And when we look at the data for the time period during which humanity has been injecting CO2 into the atmosphere, the data are clear: the temperature is increasing. Surely you do not deny this simple observational fact?

  40. Hi,

    We have just added your latest post “A Gender Divide On Global Warming? | The Intersection | Discover Magazine” to our Directory of Environment . You can check the inclusion of the post here . We are delighted to invite you to submit all your future posts to the directory for getting a huge base of visitors to your website and gaining a valuable backlink to your site.

    Warm Regards

    greenatmos.com Team

    http://www.greenatmos.com

  41. Orson

    Erasmussimo Says:
    May 18th, 2009 at 1:19 pm
    larrydalooza writes:
    “the idea that a gas (CO2) that comprises .03% of the atmosphere, in which man’s contribution is 4%, affects the Earth demonstratively is ludicrous”
    Why don’t you test your hypothesis that tiny numbers are insignificant? I propose that you inject a few milligrams of snake venom into your veins. Don’t worry…,

    Let’s be more precise with our analogies, shall we? Let’s halve the extant atmospheric CO2 levels….
    gone the aerial fertilizer that has measurably helped us to feed the planet (to the tune of 16% – more or less). At around 280ppm, thousands of common plants will become endangered species, starved of CO2.

    So much for thee Green equivalency of Erasmussimo’s “poison” analogy. Most plants are well adapted to CO2 levels well above where they will be this century – 1200-1500ppm.

    Perhaps Erasmussimo should consider studying more science and less propaganda talking points before attempting to take on his opponents? Nah.

  42. Arnie

    Guys lack foresight…. think of what happened with the buffalo, and denuding Easter Island etc. Our prehistoric goal was to shoot it and drag it home …. some things never change.

  43. Milan

    It takes some effort, but it is possible to argue Dan Pangburn to a standstill. In the end, his theory that sunspots are causing climate change is indefensible.

    See: http://www.sindark.com/2009/07/28/hfcs-and-climate-change/

NEW ON DISCOVER
OPEN
CITIZEN SCIENCE
ADVERTISEMENT

Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!

About Sheril Kirshenbaum

Sheril Kirshenbaum is a research scientist with the Webber Energy Group at the University of Texas at Austin's Center for International Energy and Environmental Policy where she works on projects to enhance public understanding of energy issues as they relate to food, oceans, and culture. She is involved in conservation initiatives across levels of government, working to improve communication between scientists, policymakers, and the public. Sheril is the author of The Science of Kissing, which explores one of humanity's fondest pastimes. She also co-authored Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens Our Future with Chris Mooney, chosen by Library Journal as one of the Best Sci-Tech Books of 2009 and named by President Obama's science advisor John Holdren as his top recommended read. Sheril contributes to popular publications including Newsweek, The Washington Post, Discover Magazine, and The Nation, frequently covering topics that bridge science and society from climate change to genetically modified foods. Her writing is featured in the anthology The Best American Science Writing 2010. In 2006 Sheril served as a legislative Knauss science fellow on Capitol Hill with Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) where she was involved in energy, climate, and ocean policy. She also has experience working on pop radio and her work has been published in Science, Fisheries Bulletin, Oecologia, and Issues in Science and Technology. In 2007, she helped to found Science Debate; an initiative encouraging candidates to debate science research and innovation issues on the campaign trail. Previously, Sheril was a research associate at Duke University's Nicholas School of the Environment and has served as a Fellow with the Center for Biodiversity and Conservation at the American Museum of Natural History and as a Howard Hughes Research Fellow. She has contributed reports to The Nature Conservancy and provided assistance on international protected area projects. Sheril serves as a science advisor to NPR's Science Friday and its nonprofit partner, Science Friday Initiative. She also serves on the program committee for the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). She speaks regularly around the country to audiences at universities, federal agencies, and museums and has been a guest on such programs as The Today Show and The Daily Rundown on MSNBC. Sheril is a graduate of Tufts University and holds two masters of science degrees in marine biology and marine policy from the University of Maine. She co-hosts The Intersection on Discover blogs with Chris Mooney and has contributed to DeSmogBlog, Talking Science, Wired Science and Seed. She was born in Suffern, New York and is also a musician. Sheril lives in Austin, Texas with her husband David Lowry.Interested in booking Sheril Kirshenbaum to speak at your next event? Contact Hachette Speakers Bureau 866.376.6591 info@hachettespeakersbureau.comFor more information, visit her website or email Sheril at srkirshenbaum@yahoo.com.

ADVERTISEMENT

See More

ADVERTISEMENT
Collapse bottom bar
+