Last week, we had two correspondents chime in on the subject of climate change, each featuring favored skeptics in academia. A gentleman from Hana references a Dr. Nicholas Drapela, currently an instructor at OSU, and a report from Dr. Alan Carlin from the EPA, while a gentleman from  Wailuku highlights a Dr. Richard Siegmund Lindzen of MIT.

Dr. Drapela’s skepticism rests on two pillars: that he thinks Dr. James Hansen of NASA is over the top regarding his position on climate change, and that research shows CO2 levels rising behind (and presumably in response to) rising temperatures over the last 400,000 years. While there’s no accounting for his feelings regarding Dr. Hansen, his CO2 level analysis is a failure. Previous warming phases preceded the Industrial Revolution, and there was no claim that CO2 caused them. Today, CO2 levels have climbed to levels beyond the recorded natural cycle, and it leads the trend of rising temperatures.

Dr. Lindzen’s climate change skepticism also has a couple of weaknesses. First, his criticisms seem to rest largely on his mistrust of computer climate models, while neglecting the actual data collected in the field. Dr. Lindzen also been on retainer to ExxonMobil. The corporation hired the same firms that organized the tobacco industry’s long battle to unlink tobacco consumption from disease, and redeployed them with millions of dollars to create the appearance of significant debate over the science of climate change.

Dr. Alan Carlin is an economist at the EPA. He gained notice from a climate denial report he prepared on his own time, and submitted to the EPA panel tasked with drafting a new policy on CO2. They reviewed the report, found it to be unsound and told Carlin to get back to doing his real job.

A commenter found my statement that the modern day increase in CO2 levels leads the global temperature increase to be “quite amazing”. I find it quite obvious.

Global Temperature & CO2 Levels (1959 = 100)

Global Temperature & CO2 Levels (1959 = 100)

Chart data sources:
http://cdiac.ornl.gov/ftp/trends/temp/lugina/Nhemsea.dat
ftp://ftp.cmdl.noaa.gov/ccg/co2/trends/co2_gr_mlo.txt

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