Monday, December 27, 2010

DENYING THE CLIMATE CHANGE DENIERS

I am really sick and tired of the same climate deniers getting media space over and over again for the same tiring rants against science. There are a very small number of these people compared to the number of scientists who are on record that human-induced climate change is real and a serious threat to society.

Once again our local newspaper, The Oregonian, has published a guest column by our local climate change denier, Gordon J. Fulks, Ph.D. Dr. Fulks lives near Portland, and has a doctorate in physics from the University of Chicago. Is it because he has a Ph.D. in physics that we should believe that he must be an expert on climate? His column lets us know that human-induced climate change is a big hoax being perpetrated by grant-greedy scientists and government propagandists.

And just who is the esteemed Dr. Fulks? Here's a bio for him posted on the web pages of the Rubicon Society of Lane County (Oregon), a self-proclaimed Republican organization that appears to have meetings and speakers at a Chinese restaurant in Springfield, Oregon. But I digress; Dr. Fulks is a physicist who studied "solar modulation of galactic cosmic rays." Also, according to the bio, he has "worked for a think-tank in Santa Barbara, California, primarily supporting the US Defense Nuclear Agency on nuclear weapon effects. When that agency faded away at the end of the Cold War, he supported the US Department of State designing new embassies and working at the US Embassy in Moscow. More recently, he has consulted for various business and government clients seeking to better understand electromagnetic phenomena, related scientific scares, and the concept of acceptable risk."

I googled Dr. Fulks today. I looked through the first dozen pages or so of >8,000 search results, and they all seemed to be his opinion pieces about the hoax of climate change, or links to statements and petitions he's signed about the same. I did find a fascinating site about climate change deniers in which the author researched a large number of these people to try to figure out who they are. He used the google scholar search engine to find published scientific articles by these folks; he found 9 published articles by Dr. Falks, all from the late 1970's and early 1980's, non of which are about climate.

I then did a quick search in the archives of The Oregonian for the past three years and found that they have published the same kind of "guest column" or op-ed about the "hoax" of climate change on February 25, 2008, August 4, 2009, and May 2, 2010. The most recent is today's column. One has to wonder why the Oregonian keeps publishing this guy's stuff without any explanation of who he is and why he seems to be their expert denier.

And what does the good Dr. Fulks say in his column? Well, although he claims that the field of climate change isn't science, he doesn't offer up any science himself. He uses generalizations about earth science and then launches into personal invective against specific individuals in the climate change arena. "Global warming is about politics, not legitimate science" Dr. Falks declares. Unfortunately, this statement is from a man whose science credentials are not in the climate sciences, and who has apparently not done any noteworthy science (i.e. published) for almost the past 30 years. His bio says that he is a consultant to business - I can only wonder who, if any, his clients are.

Perhaps The Oregonian thinks this is balanced journalism. I say it's bullshit, pure and simple. What I don't understand is why people who deny human-induced climate change do so.


7 comments:

mjs said...

I read Mr. Fulks piece in the Oregonian today--I think if the weather was nicer he would have been on his front lawn, yelling at neighborhood children to stop playing on it. He is a crank or a cipher--he almost reads like an Onion satire piece. There are a lot of people to wag his finger at, but that does not deter this sad, errant man. I hope he gets paid a decent stipend by some oily multinational corporation--it would be just too sad to think he does this kind of garbage free of charge.

Anonymous said...

You completed some good points there. I did a search on the theme and found the majority of persons will have the same opinion with your blog..

Jim Karlock said...

You seem pretty conviced about global warming, I wonder if you could tell me where to find the actual evidence for man’s CO2 causing dangerous warming?

I have been looking for several years and all I can find are claims that correlation is causation and we both know that is not the case. I also find a lot of unusual weather, with claims that it is man’s fault, but on closer examination, usually find similar weather happened in the last hundred years or so. Then I found the IPCC report that the climate models don’t match reality without adding man’s CO2 to them, but the top climate scientists (in their own emails) consider models to be of poor reliability. I discovered that Al Gore’s ice cores actually showed CO2 following, not leading temperature and Al Gore’s alarming temperature history was based on badly flawed statistics.

Please, tell me where do I find actual evidence of man’s CO2 causing dangerous climate warming?

Thanks
JK

Allen Rogers said...

Seems to me that Dr. Fulks is simply pointing out the obvious about some climate facts many alarmists want to ignore: 1. The temperature of the Medieval Warm Period was at least as warm or 1-2 degrees warmer than now. 2. The temperature of the Roman Climate Optimum was 2-3 degrees warmer, likewise the Minoan warm period. 3. About 96% of atmospheric CO2 is natural, and CO2 makes up only 3 1/2 % of all greenhouse gases. 4. In total, mankind only accounts for 0.22 to 0.28% of the entire greenhouse effect. 5. Sunspot activity, modulating the amount of cosmic rays reaching the lower atmosphere, and the formation of cloud cover is many times more powerful as a climate effect (see Swensmark's recent CERN experiment). I could go on for a long while, but you get the point. Yes- you can call me a denier too. The evidence is simply NOT there. I will debate anyone, anywhere, anytime about this issue. I am simply an engineer who has studied this for over 10 years now, and agree completely with Dr. Fulks. My creed is - "Show me the data (raw of course)."

Paul said...

@Jim and Allen - thanks for the comments, although I wonder why you both commented on this more than a year after I wrote it. I think my main points were: 1) who is Gordon Fulks and why does the Oregonian repeatedly publish his opinion on climate change; and 2) Dr. Fulks doesn't say much in his OpEd pieces about what he thinks the real science is, he typically rants against the scientists who support climate change conclusions.

There is actually another point I often make. And it's important here to say that I am not a climate scientist, and I have not spent a lot of time reading through climate research reports. The point is - if there is a chance that human activity is rapidly changing the climate, wouldn't it be better to take actions now to reverse the trend instead of arguing about it? Example: if everyone in your family was getting sick and dying from a strange disease, and the majority of doctors suspected that it was because you kept chickens in your house, wouldn't you choose to get the chickens out of the house instead of arguing with the medical community, even if you were not 100% convinced about the relationship? Seems like common sense, not science.

Jim Karlock said...

Paul said... @Jim and Allen - thanks for the comments, although I wonder why you both commented on this more than a year after I wrote it.
JK..............Because a mutual friend pointed out your comments on Dr Fulks.

Paul said... There is actually another point I often make. And it's important here to say that I am not a climate scientist, and I have not spent a lot of time reading through climate research reports.
JK..............Interestingly, neither is Michael Mann - his Phd is in astophysics
Even more interestingly, Dr Fulks’ Phd is also in astrophysics.

The main difference is that Dr. Fulks worked mostly in the private sector and Mann depends on government handouts for his income.

And Mann hid the decline! The decline in temperature shown by his tree ring data after about 1960. This raises the question: if tree ring data shows temperature declined after the 1960s and thermometers showed it rose, can we believe tree ring data from earlier times? Perhaps there are earlier times when the temperature went up and the tree ring data showed it declining. That is why he HAD to hide the decline - it would have shown his data to contradict his conclusion. I call it scientific fraud!

Paul said... The point is - if there is a chance that human activity is rapidly changing the climate, wouldn't it be better to take actions now to reverse the trend instead of arguing about it?
JK..............Are you saying that we should spend effort protecting ourselves from every conceivable danger, without regard to the cost?

As far as I can figure, the cost of eliminating 4% of world CO2 emission (the amount man emits) would be a billion or so people remaining in poverty longer than otherwise. And millions of people dying because they could no longer afford heat or fuel. In the USA we would get off easily - most people would only have to choose between heating their home or feeding their family.

I’ll bet this surprises you. If so that is because you think that there is an alternative to fossil fuels that is actually practical. There is not. Not solar electric. Not wind. (Nuclear works, but is generally oppose by the envoros.) And BTW, mass transit, a popular “solution” actually uses more energy than small cars per person transported per mile.

Paul said... Example: if everyone in your family was getting sick and dying from a strange disease, and the majority of doctors suspected that it was because you kept chickens in your house, wouldn't you choose to get the chickens out of the house instead of arguing with the medical community, even if you were not 100% convinced about the relationship?
JK..............Not if they were our ONLY source of food!

Paul said... Seems like common sense, not science.
JK..............Of course common sense is that the sun goes around the earth - just look out the window!

JK.............I’ll ask again:
What is the actual evidence that man’s CO2 is causing dangerous warming? And add: or is your belief in CO2 caused climate change simply a matter of faith, like Christianity?

Thanks
JK

Anonymous said...

You cant refute the facts so you attack the person.
Classy...

Twitter