A friend recently forwarded a link to a video clip asking what I thought about it. He’s on a lot of conservative email lists and gets viral emails from questionable sources. Here’s the video followed by my response:
As you probably suspected, The Rice Video is a propaganda film making a false case based on partial information. It’s clever disinformation crafted to support a conspiracy theory the speaker, Malcolm Roberts believes. The guy’s a mining engineer, not a climate scientist, and he’s making a pitch not a scientific argument. The video is deliberately deceptive – a con job.
Most credible scientists (97% of those who study the environment) agree that global warming is real, and that its caused by our fossil fuel based industrial economy. There are many proofs from many different scientific disciplines but the most compelling and easiest to follow are these charts of greenhouse gasses. We know how much greenhouse gas was in the atmosphere in past millennia from drilling deep into ancient glaciers to recover hundreds of years of air samples. Here is a typical chart showing CO2:
Note that the rate of increase accelerates as the world industrialized. We burn fuel, we cut down forests, and we raise cattle — all of which contribute to the observed increase in CO2. What the Rice video does not tell you is that human activity upsets the natural balance between CO2 production and carbon sequestration by growing plants. When we take ancient plant material (hydrocarbons) formed over millions of years and burn it faster than living plant life can capture it, CO2 in the air increases. CO2 works like a one-way mirror, it passes solar energy in, but it reflects outbound infra-red heat energy back to earth. The more CO2 there is, the hotter it gets, all else being equal. We’ve know this for more than a century. We just didn’t understand the consequences or how sensitive the balance is.
US and European climate models agree that global climate warming of 2 degrees Celsius (3.2F) will produce dramatic global climate disruption with far reaching impact. They also predicted that 350 parts per million would produce that 2 degree rise of average temperature. We have already passed that 350 ppm mark and CO2 is in the 400s now. The ice caps are melting, oceans are rising, and the last three years have set new historic records.
It gets worse. There are other greenhouse gasses which are rising rapidly:
These gasses persist longer and are therefore worse than CO2. Methane is natural gas and our mining of it is a leaky operation that has been accelerating warming faster than anyone realized until now. Cattle are also a significant producer – they belch methane in huge amounts.
Carbon taxes in various forms would accelerate the adoption of renewable energy (wind, solar, tidal, etc.) because these forms of energy production are now cheap enough to compete with fossil fuel but for the fact that fossil fuels are very cheap because of over production. Except for the specter of climate change, cheap energy is a good thing.
Whoever is urging you to spread that false rice video information is dangerously ignorant or has been duped. Once people choose to believe something it can be hard to inform them that informed study says otherwise.
If you find these charts alarming and want to know more, visit Citizens Climate Lobby and 350.org. A search for “climate change” will yield thousands of other credible sources. Feel free to share this email.