National Geographic News
An acid attack victim in Karachi, Pakistan.

An acid attack victim in Karachi, Pakistan. A new study suggests that such violence increases with abnormal temperatures.

Photograph by Izabella Demavlys, Redux

Ker Than

for National Geographic

Published August 1, 2013

Wars, murders, and other acts of violence will likely become more commonplace in coming decades as the effects of global warming cause tempers to flare worldwide, a comprehensive new study warns.

The research, detailed in this week's issue of the journal Science, synthesizes findings scattered across diverse fields ranging from archaeology to economics to paint a clearer picture of how global warming-related shifts in temperature and rainfall could fuel acts of aggression.

Though scientists don't know exactly why global warming increases violence, the findings suggest that it's another major fallout of human-made climate change, in addition to rising sea levels and increased heat waves.

"This study shows that the value of reducing [greenhouse gas] emissions is actually higher than we previously thought," said study first author Solomon Hsiang, an economist at Princeton University in New Jersey. (Related: "Global Warming Making People More Aggressive?")

Leveling the Field

To perform their analysis, Hsiang and his colleagues sifted through hundreds of studies published across a number of fields, including climatology, archaeology, economics, political science, and psychology.

"[As economists], we were way out of our comfort zone," Hsiang said. "It's been quite an interesting experience. I've never done anything like this before."

The team eventually settled on 60 studies on subjects related to climate, conflict, temperature, violence, crime, and more, and reanalyzed those studies' data using a common statistical framework. An analogy would be converting currencies from different European countries into the euro so that meaningful comparisons could be made.

They did this to account for the fact that different parts of the world experience different variabilities in temperature and rainfall. For example, an increase of 2°F (1.1°C) might not be a big deal in the United States, where temperatures can vary widely, but it might be unusual for a country in Africa.

When the team converted the data and compared them, the results were striking: They found that even relatively minor departures from normal temperatures or rainfall amounts substantially increased the risk of conflict on a variety of levels, ranging from individual aggression, such as murder and rape, to country-level political instability and international wars.

The study data covered all major regions of the world and different time spans as well, from hours and years to decades and centuries. Across the data, the researchers found similar patterns of human aggression fueled by climate factors.

Examples included spikes in domestic violence in India and Australia, increased assaults and murders in the United States and Tanzania, ethnic violence in Europe and South Asia, land invasions in Brazil, and police using force in the Netherlands.

Ancient Insights

The effect wasn't limited to just modern societies, either. Among the research Hsiang and his team looked at was a study that linked increased political instability and warfare in the ancient Maya civilization around A.D. 900 to prolonged droughts brought about by global warming-related climate shifts in lands near the Pacific Ocean. (Related: "Why the Maya Fell: Climate Change, Conflict—And a Trip to the Beach?")

"That's when the classical period of Mayan civilization ends," said study co-author Edward Miguel, a professor of economics at the University of California, Berkeley.

Another study linked the 14th-century collapse of Cambodia's ancient Khmer civilization, which built the temple of Angkor Wat, to decades of drought interspersed with intense monsoon rains.

"Archaeologists can actually observe how [Khmer] engineers were trying to adapt," Hsiang said. "They were trying to keep up with the climatic changes, but in the end, even though they were the most sophisticated water engineers in the region at the time, it still seemed too much."

Hsiang says his team included these historic case studies in their analysis in order to understand how populations adapted—or didn't—to the kinds of gradual climate changes that climatologists predict for the future. But he thinks there are also lessons to be learned from the past.

"A lot of the civilizations that were nailed by climatic shifts were the most advanced societies in their region or on the planet during their day, and they probably felt they could cope with anything," he said.

"I think we should have some humility [and] recognize that people in the past were very innovative and they were trying to adapt to these changes as well."

Why Does Warming Make People Mad?

Brad Bushman, a professor of communication and psychology at Ohio State University who specializes in human aggression and violence, called the study "impressive."

"The convergence of findings across so many different disciplines increases your confidence that you've got a pretty reliable effect here," said Bushman, who was not involved in the research.

"Hopefully, this study will increase awareness that climate change spans many different domains of human activity, including conflict." (See "6 Ways Climate Change Will Affect You.")

While the new study helps strengthens the case for climate change influencing human aggression, it was not designed to address the question of why it does.

Other scientists have speculated on possible mechanisms. For example, Bushman thinks dramatic changes in temperature and rainfall are unpleasant and naturally make people more cranky. "When people are in a cranky mood, they're more likely to behave aggressively," he said.

Another theory is that too much or too little rain can negatively affect a country's agriculture and lead to economic ruin.

"When individuals have very low income or the economy of the region collapses, that changes people's incentives to take part in various activities," study first author Hsiang said. And "one activity they could take part in is joining a militant group."

The team thinks researchers will eventually discover that multiple mechanisms are at play simultaneously.

Hsiang compared modern scientists studying the relationship between climate and aggression to medical doctors in the 1930s who knew that smoking and lung cancer were linked but had not yet uncovered the mechanism.

"It took decades, but people did eventually figure out what was going on, and that helped us design policies and institutions to help mitigate the harmful effects [of smoking]," Hsiang said.

Similarly, co-author Miguel said, pinning down the mechanisms behind how global warming affects aggression will be the "next key frontier" for this area of research.

Follow Ker Than on Twitter.

74 comments
Simeon Bee
Simeon Bee

Why academic egotism is changing the climate debate for the worse

Unfortunately articles like this are nothing more than academic egotism. As a postgraduate studying various facets of climate change, it is incredibly concerning to see such a contentious area of research receive so much publicity. Because of the compelling implications of the climate-conflict narrative, authors of this field are able to make a name for themselves through a mixture of scaremongering and sensationalising their so-called ‘findings’. The truth of the matter is however, that the proposed climate-conflict relationship cannot be empirically substantiated, and the environment can only be considered as an indirect driver of violence at best.

The problem is these types of studies on climate-induced conflict are framed in an alarmist way, supposedly offering a new insight into the effects of a changing climate on our society. Widely publicised studies such as this have all found an apparent link between violence and temperature/rainfall deviations; with extreme deviations causing civil wars, particularly in Africa. However looking over the vast number of academic responses to this, it is clear that the relationship only holds under very precise and specific statistical models. Once the parameters of the model are altered, including definitions of violence, the inclusion of political, social, and economic variables, as well as differing time periods, the correlation becomes incredibly weak, or in many cases non-existent. Many studies have found that the most important predictors and indicators concerning violence and civil war are related to social, political, and economic variables; for example inequality, lack of political representation, and the end of the Cold War.

This tenuous relationship is argued to have a significant impact on violence. Though reading these studies it is clear there are many intermediate steps before researchers can claim that a changing environment influences conflict; simply put, it is just theoretical wonderings. Many authors suggest how the climate might ultimately impact violence, with common arguments including resource scarcity, mass migration, and poor macroeconomic performance. However there is no proof of these claims, it is always ‘this might happen’ or ‘it could lead to this’, rather than solid evidence that can be empirically tested which is robust over long periods of time with alternative models.

It means that anyone could establish a highly tenuous links between conflict and climate change. For example, as carbon emissions have risen overall conflict has decreased, yet I wouldn’t argue that pumping the atmosphere with carbon will stop violent conflict. We have actually seen in recent years the numbers of violent conflicts decrease quite dramatically, even in regards to a general worsening and acceleration of climate change; i.e. witnessing generally warmer months and more extreme weather events. However my favourite way of illustrating how this research is generally flawed is the use of the ice-cream example.

Take a piece of research done in 2005 showing that during the summer months participants in weight control programs actually put on more weight than during winter months. Now if I link this to climate change and assume that generally there will be significant warming over the coming years and decades, I can imply that deviations in temperature will impact obesity. I could assume people will be less active because of the heat, they might socialise more at pubs and clubs, and generally buy larger amounts of ice-cream. But there is no real proof people will do this, it is just guesswork, much like the link between climate and conflict.

Plus why should we believe that conflict will play a major role in environmental disasters? Are we inherently programmed to become violent when our standard of living is threatened? Possibly, though there is no evidence of this. In fact in recent years we have seen a significant increase in peace accords and general cooperation in the face of environmental stresses and disasters. Water is becoming an increasingly contentious resource with a potential two-thirds of the world’s population suffering water scarcity by 2025. So assuming the climate-conflict relationship holds, many could argue that the risk of war or conflict could increase. However water is a prime example where neighbouring countries have implemented accords to share access and cooperate towards its sustainable use, and not tear each other apart as would be suggested by some.

Admittedly these climate-conflict scenarios do raise various points as to how we are still unprepared for climate disasters and offer a new perspective as a security issue. With the public now so underwhelmed with the constant bombardment of doom and gloom scenarios, work like this does bring a new focus on the challenges we face ahead. Yet the downside is that it oversimplifies the incredibly complex relationships involving both climate change and civil war, and potentially offers a scapegoat for political and structural failures, especially when in relation to extreme violence of this kind. Ultimately this detracts from the overall rhetoric’s of climate change and civil war by changing to a narrative that avoids analysing their most important interactions, namely with society, politics, and economics. Therefore much like my next paper, ‘Climate-induced Obesity’, the climate-conflict relationship should be taken with more than just a pinch of salt, in fact, an entire silo of it. 

Brad Boyd
Brad Boyd

A rise of 1.53 degrees over 100 years is nothing and much BS and money is wasted on the so called DANGER of global warming. BIG waste of energy

Kantapong Poolsombat
Kantapong Poolsombat

Very helpful, as global warming is invasive more into everyday's life than before.

Mayte Caro
Mayte Caro

Espero que no sea verdad aunque me temo que es cierto....

Peace Seeker
Peace Seeker

"Zugzwang" is a feature-length documentary that deals with some of the main dilemmas mankind is facing today. Global warming, which is affecting planet Earth, is probably man-made and has serious consequences for the future of all forms of life. The traditional usage of finite fossil fuels are one of the important causes of it and indicate us a coherent search for clean and renewable energy sources. Biomass, which takes advantage of materials originated from plant and animal biota, is an important component of the future’s energy matrix, and involves a responsible management of our ecosystems, where the agricultural frontier promotes no deforestation and relieve hunger in the world. Sustainability is the big challenge that arises for mankind and each one of us, where human actions should include to the economic viability the social and the environmental responsibility. The metaphor "Zugzwang" leads us through the interviews, showing that just as in a chess game, we have to move—skipping your own turn is not possible. The future depends on us and in our current actions.

http://www.cultureunplugged.com/documentary/watch-online/play/12037/Zugzwang

John Bailo
John Bailo

So why have violent crime rates been plummeting is most US Metros?

Phillip Noe
Phillip Noe

Climate Change is our doing and it will negatively affect generations for hundreds of years.  It is irrational and immoral to willingly pollute when we know it is dangerous. 

Contact your reps in Congress and insist they work harder to reduce global emissions.  Call, write, and email.  If they drag their feet or deny there's a problem as them to justify their inaction with scientific evidence.  If they refuse to take substantive steps, help remove them from office in the next election.

RC Monkeyboy
RC Monkeyboy

So, if the global temperature drops, will violence decrease?  I can only hope so

Bubba Nicholson
Bubba Nicholson

Human beings have an anger pheromone.  In the emotion of anger, some skin increases in temperature (e.g. top of the head), other skin cools down (belly).  When ambient temperature rises, the concentration of pheromonal emissions increases, differently for different emissions.  Some, like the 735 sebaceous emissions, vary with temperature and from place to place on the human body. We have the largest and most active scent glands of any species on earth (yes, E.O., more than ants).  The stereochemistry of our emissions is strange (and species-specific) in the same strange ways as the chemical oddities that differentiate other species one from another.  Tests have shown that fMRI brain scans light up on human pheromone exposure, but we remain unaware.  

The elution spectrum of just the sebaceous portion of our unique to individuals and unique to species chemical signature is a mile wide.  An increase of a single degree would profoundly affect the pheromones emitted from our hides.

It is chemistry, not psychobabble, that runs human behavior.  We must use testable hypotheses before the obviously untestable "hypotheses" of psychology.  

See:  

Nicholson B.  (2011).  Exocrinology the Science of Love.  Human Pheromones in Criminology, Psychiatry, and Medicine.  Amazon.  Amazon digital books.  books dot google dot com.  info at NicholsonScience dot com

Gerald Wilhite
Gerald Wilhite

The German newspaper's 'Spiegel Online Science' strongly criticizes this paper, citing a lack of robustness of its statistics as the main problem.

Twenty seven studies were examined. Eleven of the statistically reliable studies said climate change could increase risk of conflicts in some cases, lower in others, or have no effect. Of these, only three were considered in the study even though the authors were well aware of them. 

Distorting the data was not the only problem. Predictions of climate-enhancing aggression were said to be greatly exaggerated. 

You will need Google's translator to read the paper (unless you are fluent in German, of course):

http://www.spiegel.de/wissenschaft/natur/klimawandel-studie-ueber-gewalt-anstieg-stoesst-auf-heftige-kritik-a-913966.html

Chris Crawford
Chris Crawford

Well, after a days' worth of commentary, the deniers have followed their standard operating procedure: rush in with lots of snide comments about science, then disappear. A few hang around to argue their case, but when you ask them for evidence to support their claims, they waffle and weasel-word for a while, then bug out. 

That's always the way it is with people who are talking through their hats.

John Morrison
John Morrison

The term scientist and researcher is be used very loosely.

mike e.
mike e.

Well, all the ostriches  have pulled their heads out of the sand to migrate to an article about a well researched study on increased violence due to climate change on many levels. If you actually read different views other than FOX "news" you might be able to contribute to an intelligent conversation about the climate change debate. You are always the 20% that don't have a clue...about anything. You follow the 3% of "scientists" that have absolutely no background in climate or environmental sciences. So they're spewing out what you want to believe, not what you don't want to hear. 

The 3% "scientists" are corporate funded! Petroleum, coal burning electric plants, auto industry; Corporations that don't want anything to change. We are importing Tar Sand from Canada that has twice the CO2 emission of the oil we're using (it was an entire train that derailed in Canada last week that was hauling Tar Sand to the US). 

So, go back to your holes, hot-wired with FOX, and wait for the next migration to a "liberal" climate change article so you can once again just leave your droppings.

Donnie McBee
Donnie McBee

Not much to say here, just ANOTHER crap piece from national geographic!

Why not create a opinion area so people wont think this is factual!

Andrew Allison
Andrew Allison

Yet another utterly irresponsible, and inaccurate "news" story from NGS. Note first that, "The research, detailed in this week's issue of the journal Science, synthesizes findings scattered across diverse fields ranging from archaeology to economics to paint a clearer picture of how global warming-related shifts in temperature and rainfall COULD fuel acts of aggression." and segues right into "Though scientists don't know exactly why global warming increases violence,. . ."

Where's the evidence of an increase in violence? Given that global temperatures have been at recorded highs for the past 16 years, there should be evidence to justify the hypothesis. Absent any evidence, it's just another climate change scare story. By the way, there's been no increase in extreme weather events, and no increase in hurricane frequency or intensity, during the past century (NOAA has the data). The fact that there has been a huge increase in the cost of these events has nothing to do with climate change and everything to do with increased population and infrastructure.

Interestingly, anthropomorphic emissions are currently 35% higher and increasing more than twice as fast as in 1997, when global warming came to a screeching halt (in other words, more than a quarter of all anthropomorphic have occurred since then). Note that this is not "could", but actual measured data. Unhappily for AGW hysterics like the NGS, not only have global temperatures not increased by a statistically significant amount since 1997, but the average temperature for each of the past four year has been LOWER than the average for the entire period. Doesn't this suggest to a rational mind that the projection of the HADCRUT4 data that global temperature is trending DOWN is correct?

AGW hysterics will respond either by denying the unimpeachable data or insisting that 16 years isn't long enough to establish a trend; to which I respond in advance that NOAA says that 15 years is long enough, and that AGW hysteria is based on a 20 year warming trend which, as noted above, came to a screeching halt in 1997. If 16 years isn't long enough to establish a trend, 20 years isn't either.

The fact is that global temperature is at the 95% probability lower bound of the AGW models, and appears to be falling. Simply put, the models have been shown by events to be rubbish.


T S
T S

This is a very misleading article with a picture that twists the original words of the researchers into a direction they never intended.

The picture shows a woman after an acid attack at the hands of religious fundamentalists.

These fundamentalists have been around for centuries, maiming and terrorizing women who did not live by their rules is standard practice.

And this article provides a pathetic excuse for the behavior of these animals

Bob Lee
Bob Lee

Actually, the human violence component is simpler to explain:  Serum testosterone levels increases with rising ambient temperature: More testosterone, the more likely male aggressive violence will occur.  Evidence is clear from human birth records which show seasonal peaks due to impregnation during warm summer months in both hemispheres: Hence, June weddings are favored in the Northern Hemisphere. The more heat, the more aggressive the behavior: Redirecting the behavior to socially acceptable organized violence is actually key: Hence organized sports.  Major amateur and professional sports programs enabling literally billions of males to exercise higher testosterone levels may be required social policy.  The other alternative is military training at unprecedented levels. The other alternative is drug intervention with synthetic steroids such as Depo-Provera, which is commonly used as a female contraceptive, but is also used as a sex-drive depressant for known sex offenders, usually under US court orders requiring "chemical castration". One other alternative is allowing mass migration to more temperate latitudes.  It is no accident that the "Arab revolutions" have occurred during months with high ambient temperatures, and are frequently associated with a peak in violence against women.


Bruce Lancaster
Bruce Lancaster

Well... thank God there has been zero global warming the last 15 years or we'd be in trouble, eh?  Hans Von Storch started talking about his data and report due to the UN next year.  Global warming has been "a number close to zero" for fifteen years.  In fact .06 degrees...  Yeah.  You read that right.  point zero six degrees of warming over the last fifteen years. 

Andrew Allison
Andrew Allison

@Peace Seeker

The unfortunate truth is that, despite a 35% increase in anthropomorphic emissions since 1997 and the record hot years of 2005 and 2010, five-year and decadally smoothed averages peaked in 2005 and have been declining ever since, and there is no AGW climate model which can explain this. Period.

Brad Boyd
Brad Boyd

@Phillip Noe Do you think a 1.53 degree in temps over 100 years is a coming disaster? think about it, it doesn't take a PHD to figure out that it is nothing. If you want to fix something man made, pick up some litter or vote out the liars in Washington.

Phillip Noe
Phillip Noe

@Bubba Nicholson   It may be PART biologic but environmental stress is certainly a major influence.  Deplete a resource and almost any species will react unfavorably.

Chris Crawford
Chris Crawford

@Gerald Wilhite Well, golly-gee, if a popular newspaper contests the results of a peer-reviewed scientific paper, we should all ignore the scientific paper and believe what the popular newspaper says.

Right? ;-)

Joseph Heffner
Joseph Heffner

@Chris Crawford You cant blame people for being skeptical. Yes we all know climate change is happening but saying war is because of climate change is almost as strange as saying earthquakes happen because god hates gay people or climate change is the reason i have to wait 8 months for the next season of game of thrones. People want to see the proof for such a bold claim.

Andrew Allison
Andrew Allison

@mike egeler Actually, it's the 97% of the 70, yes only 70, scientists who declared a belief in AGW who voted for their paychecks. The data show that both 5- and 10-year average temperature peaked in 2005 and have been trending DOWN since then

Donnie McBee
Donnie McBee

@mike egeler And 95% of climate scientist are government stooges!  Without a crisis, they get no money!

Brad Boyd
Brad Boyd

@Andrew Allison It doesn't matter what facts you use to tell these climate fanatics..Fact is 1.53 degrees F over 100 years isn't anything scary or dire. Maybe in 200 years there will be enough evidence to prove fact from fiction on this topic. until then it is just opinion and not worth all the DOOM and GLOOM what ifs.

Chris Crawford
Chris Crawford

@Andrew Allison Have you actually read the paper in question? Or even the abstract? Have you looked at any of the author's earlier work on the same subject?

You are entirely too quick to condemn something you haven't even seen. I suggest that your condemnation cannot possibly be based on a scientific analysis of the paper, and is instead based on  your political prejudices.

You claim that 'NOAA says that 15 years is long enough'. I suggest that you are twisting what NOAA actually said. Moreover, if you look at the definition of climate as established by the World Meteorological Society some eighty years ago, you'll find that 30 years is considered the minimum time necessary to establish a pattern as part of climate. Moreover, if  you know anything about physics and the heat capacity of the ocean, you'd know that 15 years is nowhere near enough time to establish a long-term trend. Besides, why cherry-pick the data? Why not look at ALL the evidence? If you do so, and look at sea level rise, at glacier retreat, at loss of Arctic sea ice, and a dozen other phenomena, you see the same pattern. The earth is warming.

You are wrong in multiple dimensions.

Nate Whilk
Nate Whilk

If Homer Simpson read all the articles about possible effects attributed to global warming, I'm sure he'd say, "Global warming--is there ANYTHING it can't do?"

@Bob Lee wrote, "One other alternative is allowing mass migration to more temperate latitudes." So when are you getting the first group of refugees in your neighborhood?

@Bob Lee wrote, "Evidence is clear from human birth records which show seasonal peaks due to impregnation during warm summer months in both hemispheres: Hence, June weddings are favored in the Northern Hemisphere."

It couldn't possibly be that impregnation is affected by other factors, could it? As far as a June wedding goes, that's actually to avoid the discomfort of a pregnancy in the heat of summer. (I have as much evidence for this as you do for your assertion.)

@Bob Lee wrote, "Serum testosterone levels increases with rising ambient temperature"

On the first page of google results for "higher temperature more testosterone" (without quotes) we get a study of north Norway men which says "Lowest testosterone levels occurred in months with the highest temperatures and longest hours of daylight. [...] The variations in hormone levels were large, with a 31% difference between the lowest and highest monthly mean level of free testosterone." http://jcem.endojournals.org/content/88/7/3099.long

We also get this: in rams, testosterone decreased in higher temperatures. PDF: http://www.journalofanimalscience.org/content/33/4/804.full.pdf

So, Bob, do you really have ANY idea of what you're talking about, not to mention your alarming suggestion of using Depo-provera?

Chris Crawford
Chris Crawford

@Bruce Lancaster Of course, sea level has continued to rise, Arctic sea ice has continued to fall, ice loss in Antarctica has increased, glaciers all over the world have retreated, extreme weather such as droughts and hurricanes have become much more destructive, forest fires have increased in size, and ocean heat content has continued to rise. 

But you're willing to stake it all on one number that covers a span of time too short to qualify as 'climate'. 

Joseph Heffner
Joseph Heffner

@Chris Crawford@Gerald WilhiteNo we should question claims and look for the truth with evidence which is the opposite of accepting anything you hear because your willing to fall prey to an appeal to authority fallacy. Believeing in anything you hear from people you consider you betters on faith is something a theist would do not something somebody who is interested in scientific validity would do.

Chris Crawford
Chris Crawford

@Donnie McBee And what about the citizens of just about every developed country in the world, the majority of Americans, every single scientific institution that has any bearing on the subject, the US military, insurance companies, state governments, agribusiness companies, shipping companies, and all the other institutions that have some kind of stake in this? Are THEY all government stooges, too?

Andrew Allison
Andrew Allison

@Chris CrawfordYou are delusional. Not being a knee-jerk AGW hysteric, of course I read the paper before commenting. Your suggestions, like the rest of your posts and the hypothesis in the paper,are completely unsustainable.

NOAA absolutely does say that due to variability, it takes 15 years to establish a trend. If in fact, it takes 30 years, then the whole AGW hysteria, which is based on 20, falls flat on it face. 

AGW mythology, dating back to the late 1960s states is based on the hypothesis (that's an unproven theory) that there's an inexorable link between atmospheric CO2 and near-surface temperature which is demonstrably false.

Since you appear to require an education in reasoning and logic, allow me to provide it. I'm not disputing that global temperature is at (recent) historical highs and that this is going to cause ice to melt and sea levels to rise. I'm simply pointing out that the evidence (as opposed to theories) is that the effect of AGW on climate change has, to be kind, been greatly exaggerated.

Back under your bridge Troll.

Donnie McBee
Donnie McBee

@Chris Crawford Ask yourself one question. ok?

Has any of the climate models been accurate, even for 30 years?  Sadly the answer is NO! 

Here is another quote for you,"garbage in, garbage out".  I consider climate science mostly garbage!

Andrew Allison
Andrew Allison

@Chris Crawford @Bruce Lancaster Are you completely brain-dead? Global temperature is high, which one would expect to cause melting; extreme weather events are no more prevalent that 100 years ago (the AGW Zombies don't distinguish between the intensity of an event and its cost). The simple fact is that the AGW lies exposed for the fraud it is.

Bruce Lancaster
Bruce Lancaster

@Chris Crawford @Bruce Lancaster -  Ripley says arctic ice is shrinking - Bellowitz says it is expanding.  Forsyth says extreme weather events are related - Plesco says they're not.....  The current cooling trend is because of volcanoes (as if those didn't exist before 2010) - and there's less acid rain... or more acid rain... but at least the holes in the ozone are shrinking.... unless they haven't and have just moved north...   It's hard to judge anything when none of these guys can agree.  What I do know for sure is this:  Leading climate scientists colluded to silence anyone who offered data that didn't fit their narrative a couple of years ago.  They discouraged peer review - they pressured publishers to refrain from publishing authors who disagreed with them - and they engaged in smear campaigns.  They got caught and their emails published.  That's what I know for sure.  The people selling you and me global warming lied, cheated, stole, and engaged in conspiracy.  

Andrew Allison
Andrew Allison

@Chris Crawford@Andrew AllisonAs I wrote, you are delusional; and for you to speak of vituperation is laughable. You are also completely wrong about global warming and temperature trends. First, as the HADCRUT4 actual data clearly demonstrate, despite the enormous increase in anthropomorphic emissions since 1997, 5-year average temperature temperature has been trending DOWN since 2001, and that the rate of decline is accelerating. Second, what the temperature chart show is that temperature declined for 30 years prior to 1975 then began a rapid increase which came to an abrupt halt in 1997. In other words, you are talking through your oversized hat.

RC Monkeyboy
RC Monkeyboy

Every honest climate scientist acknowledges that the global temperature has not risen in 15 years.  Phil Jones, for example, said that there has been no  ‘statistically significant’ warming. 

Let me ask you, Mr C, if the global temperature does not rise for 20 years, does that invalid the CO2 hypothesis?  30 years? 

Chris Crawford
Chris Crawford

@Andrew Allison @Chris Crawford Well, you're certainly long on vituperation, but short on evidence. The fact you have evaded responding to is that the planet has indeed continued heating up over the last 15 years. You look at just one data point, air temperatures in a cherry-picked interval. Meanwhile, ocean heat content has continued rising, Arctic sea ice has continued disappearing, sea level has continued rising, glaciers have continued retreating, and Antarctic ice mass has continued to diminish. The last 15 years clearly show that the planet is continuing to heat up.

And you're quite incorrect in your claim that the AGW hypothesis is based on 20 years of data. There's tons of data that applies, but the most telling is the temperature graph over the last 200 years, which shows a steep rise in air temperatures beginning about a hundred years ago and continuing to the present.

And no, AGW theory does NOT claim an immediate link between CO2 concentrations and air temperatures; in fact, those who understand the physics expect a delay of some decades (30 years is a handy figure) between an increase in CO2 concentrations and average planetary temperatures.

I suggest that you study the concept of heat capacity. Calculate the net heat capacity of the oceans and compare it to the radiative forcing caused by the increase in CO2 concentrations. Then you will understand what's happening.

Donnie McBee
Donnie McBee

@Chris Crawford @Donnie McBee 

Well, I don't like the term denier, because I don't deny anything  I just think global warming is greatly over exaggerated,   I think these resources could be used for a better purpose.

For instance to fight Mountaintop removal.

I feel this is a greater threat to the earth and humanity!

Chris Crawford
Chris Crawford

@Donnie McBee @Chris Crawford So you have one quote from one scientist in a newsmagazine, and I have thousands of scientific papers published by thousands of scientists. Honestly, do you really think that you have a rational basis for accepting the words of that single scientist?

As to a good civil debate, I am usually rather harsh with deniers because they are often dishonest, but I would love the opportunity to pursue our differences in a thorough and civil manner.

Donnie McBee
Donnie McBee

@Chris Crawford @Donnie McBee

"They've done a pretty good job. You've been getting bad data."  I think you have bad data!

In an interview with the German news publication Der Spiegel, meteorologist Hans von Storch said that scientists are so puzzled by the 15-year standstill in global warming that if the trend continues their models could be “fundamentally wrong.”


“If things continue as they have been, in five years, at the latest, we will need to acknowledge that something is fundamentally wrong with our climate models,” Storch told Der Spiegel. “A 20-year pause in global warming does not occur in a single modeled scenario. But even today, we are finding it very difficult to reconcile actual temperature trends with our expectations.”

I have researched climate change, probably more than the scientist!   

FYI  I love a good civil debate!




Chris Crawford
Chris Crawford

@Donnie McBee @Chris Crawford OK, if you look at all sides, how much time have you spent at realclimate.org? skepticalscience.com? And why haven't you read IPCC AR4 WG1??? It's the core document on climate change science!

Donnie McBee
Donnie McBee

@Chris Crawford His only falsehoods I can find is he also believes global warming is a lot of hype!

He just don't agree with your view.  I look at all sides, then make up my mind.

Chris Crawford
Chris Crawford

@Donnie McBee @Chris Crawford @Conwaythe Contaminationist @Bruce Lancaster I did not accuse Mr. Spencer of being a quack, I wrote that his writings are full of easily exposed falsehoods. The fact that some Republicans invited him to testify does not establish any credentials.

Chris Crawford
Chris Crawford

@Donnie McBee @Chris Crawford @Conwaythe Contaminationist @Bruce Lancaster I'm sorry, Mr. McBee, but I have sampled Mr. Spencer's writings on numerous occasions and it is entirely too easy to expose his falsehoods. Mr. Watts' blog is the only denier blog I have seen that includes ANY kind of scientifically competent commentary -- and that commentary is usually marred by distortions or falsehoods.

As to my reading, it includes IPCC AR4 WG1, and I regularly follow the discussions -- not just the articles, but the discussions as well -- at realclimate.org. I also read many of the important scientific literature on critical subjects. More important, I *understand* much of that literature!

Chris Crawford
Chris Crawford

@Conwaythe Contaminationist @Chris Crawford @Bruce Lancaster There's mountains of evidence: thermal gradients in the atmosphere as well as thermal gradients in the oceans demonstrate that the source of the heating is in the atmosphere itself. 

And by the way, what you call 'conjecture', scientists call 'laws of nature'. If you believe that the laws of nature don't apply, then don't take any modern medicines, get on any aircraft, use GPS systems, or just about anything else technological, because they're ALL based on the laws of nature.

Andrew Allison
Andrew Allison

@Chris Crawford@Bruce LancasterAbsolutely false. The 97% BS espoused by idiots such as yourself is 97% of just 70 so-called scientists who voted for continued funding. The simple fact is that the measured data demonstrate that warming plateaued in 1997. As noted elsewhere, both the 5- and 10-year averages peaked in 2005 and have been declining ever since. You are, as usual, talking through your over-sized hat.

If anybody reading this has the slightest interest in the facts about global temperature, go to http://www.co2science.org/data/temperatures/temps_plot.php and look at the trends from 1880 to 1994, 1994 to 1976 and 1976 to 1997, For confirmation of the assertion about peaking, go to http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/hadobs/hadcrut4/diagnostics.html and look at the 5- and 10-year averages of actual data, as opposed to the ravings of a tall-hat troll.

Chris Crawford
Chris Crawford

@Donnie McBee @Chris Crawford @Bruce Lancaster As it happens, the statement to which  you refer was in IPCC AR4 WG2, which was not about the science of climate change, but about various policy options. WG1 is the document about the science of climate change. So I ask again, is there anything in IPCC AR4 WG1 that you find false?

Chris Crawford
Chris Crawford

@Donnie McBee @Chris Crawford @Bruce Lancaster Mr. McBee, did you know that Mr. Glantz is not a climatologist; in fact, he's not even a physical scientist! He's a social scientist, and therefore has no basis to make any scientific pronouncements on climate change. Moreover, his claim to have been fired from NCAR for failure to toe the line is flatly refuted by the fact that the Bush Administration terminated funding for NCAR -- see this:

http://www.climatesciencewatch.org/2008/08/08/abrupt-termination-of-nsf-funded-climate-humanitarian-program-raises-fundamental-questions/

They did not fire Mr. Glantz per se, they terminated funding for the entire unit that he headed. For him to claim that it was due to political factors -- when they never replaced him or his group -- is not honest.

So you still have not provided evidence of any conspiracy to shut down adversarial discussion in the scientific literature, and certainly nothing at all related to the stolen emails, which provided the original basis of your accusation.

You also aver that you have studied climate science extensively. Have you read IPCC AR4 WG1? If so, is there anything in that document that you find false?

Donnie McBee
Donnie McBee

@Chris Crawford @Donnie McBee @Bruce Lancaster

94-year-old Ken Hechler, the legendary West Virginia congressman and coal miner hero who has been battling mountaintop removal since 1971 was arrested in a non-violent protest with NASA’s celebrated climate scientist James Hansen, actress Daryl Hannah, Michael Brune, the executive director of Rainforest Action Network, and Goldman Prize winner Judy Bonds. Vietnam veteran Bo Webb, and dozens of other coalfield residents were arrested by crossing onto the property of leading mountaintop removal coal mining company, Massey Energy–purposely trespassing to protest the destruction of mountains immediately above the Coal River Valley community.

http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2009/06/23/204278/james-hansen-top-us-climate-scientists-arrested-protest-on-mountaintop-removal/

Donnie McBee
Donnie McBee

@Chris Crawford @Donnie McBee @Bruce Lancaster

I have several emails from Mickey, plus several other scientist!  I used to be the biggest climate change person on earth!  Until climate gate, I read the emails, all the emails!  They lied, the conspired to keep any evidence denying climate change from being published, I emailed climate scientist, and even met Hanson at a MTR protest, "and watched him get arrested, which I found hilarious!   Even I know better to trespass on mine companies property!  I even watched them stuff Goldie Hawn into a police car!  LOL

I despise MTR!

Donnie McBee
Donnie McBee

@Chris Crawford @Donnie McBee @Bruce Lancaster

complete email 

"thanks for noting my comment on how so called peer review is used. 

 the climate gate situation really goes well beyond the set of emails. i

 have met scientists from ipcc who are super arrogant. there needs to be turn

 over in the ipcc.

 finally, i am no longer at ncar. i was fired from there in august 2008, i

 suspect for reasons related to not towing the line on 'selling science' to

 the public. my goal was to share and explain the science, certainties and

 uncertainties.

 regards, mickey glantz

Chris Crawford
Chris Crawford

@Donnie McBee @Chris Crawford @Bruce Lancaster So your evidence consists of a personal anecdote that is conveniently unverifiable? Sorry, I'm not THAT gullible! It's pretty clear that  you have zero real evidence to support your accusation, and that you're just making it all up.

Donnie McBee
Donnie McBee

@Chris Crawford @Bruce Lancaster

Chris,  I see you are dedicated to your cause.

I have spoke with scientist at NCAR, also with scientist that went to Copenhagen in 2007

Here is a quote from a email with one of those scientist.

"the climate gate situation really goes well beyond the set of emails. i

have met scientists from ipcc who are super arrogant. there needs to be turn

over in the ipcc.

finally, i am no longer at ncar. i was fired from there in august 2008, i

suspect for reasons related to not towing the line on 'selling science' to

the public."

Here is another quote "thanks for noting my comment on how so called peer review is used." Notice the wording? "so-called peer review"    See what happens to climate scientist who do not tow the line on climate change?

Chris Crawford
Chris Crawford

@Bruce Lancaster @Chris Crawford You're quite mistaken if you think that there's serious disagreement on the basics of climate change. For every denier scientist you can list, there are at least 30 who will contradict him. So you list one denier and one supporter and call it confusion. I'd say that you are the one confusing a clear matter.

And you are making a false accusation when you claim that "Leading climate scientists colluded to silence anyone who offered data that didn't fit their narrative a couple of years ago." I challenge you to present one case -- just one -- of a scientific paper that was refused publication because of such a conspiracy. You can't, of course, because it never happened. You're making it up.

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