There is no consensus

From November, 2012 to December 2013, 9136 authors agree that climate change is happening and is primarily caused by human activity. One does not.

“Please!  We know more about the cause of climate change than we do about the cause of gravity but we don’t begin every discussion about gravity by wondering whether we’ll all just float off the face of the earth.  Let’s have a serious discussion.”

Consensuses have been wrong in the past

There used to be a geocentric view that the earth was the center of the universe and that all heavenly bodies revolved around the Earth. This consensus was based on church doctrine not peer reviewed science.


Climate has always changed and this is from natural causes…

“Climate has always changed, so we don’t need to worry about changing the climate”

The logical equivalents to that statement are: “Nature has always caused fires, so we don’t need to worry about arson.”

“We have always died so we don’t have to investigate about murder.”

Google image of “CO2 concentrations and temperature”


You will see that CO2 hasn’t gone above 300 ppm in the last 1 million and a half years. We are now at 403 ppm. The rate of change going up and down 100 ppm of CO2 occurs, at the most rapid rate, historically over 10,000 years. We have gone up that in 150 years- since the industrial revolution

Go to the video and start at 13:55 to show why CO2 has changed from natural causes in the past.    start at 13:55 and go for a minute. srs


What difference does a degree or 2 degrees C make?

The ice ages were caused by 3 to 8 degree C drop. The ice age wasn’t just a bunch of year round snow that extended into what is now the northern US. It meant 3 to 4 kilometer thick ice sheets. With only  a 1 degree C increase, the Arctic, as a result,  is 1/2 gone and we have ocean acidification that has already resulted in 5% of the coral dying.

We might make it in the future with a very warm planet but will we be able to maintain quality of life? Will we be able to scuba dive without coral reefs, snow ski without snow, star gaze with pollution as thick as China’s, bird watch with only species like Grackles left? I suppose for recreation we can watch movies.

Think of how  you feel when you have a 3 degree F temperature. It completely changes how you feel. 


The science isn’t settled

All resources we have talked about disproves that. They used that argument with tobacco in 1979 when the science was largely settled in the 60s. The scientist they all quoted was funded by tobacco.

In the latest IPCC report (AR5), it said with 95% confidence humans are responsible for most of global warming since 1950s. That’s the same confidence level that smoking causes cancer.

If your oncologist said, “You have cancer”, you might get a second opinion and then if the second opinion said I had cancer then you would believe it. If Sloan Kettering and MD Anderson said it, you’d be really worried. The National Academy of Sciences, which states anthropogenic warming is happening, is even more weighty than Sloan and MD. You wouldn’t respond to your oncologist who tells you you have cancer “The science isn’t settled. If the science was settled, you would know how to cure cancer but you don’t.”  You certainly wouldn’t go around on the street to random people  and say, “Excuse me, but do you think I have cancer?”


Read Merchants of Doubt by Naomi Oreskes or watch the documentary. 


How can you say oil is bad when you drive around in a car

1)During the horse and buggy phase, people were upset because the cities had horse manure all over the streets. This caused a terrible smell, spread disease and made it difficult to walk around. So let’s say the first inventor of the car thought to himself that he wanted to make a carriage that didn’t need horses to pull it. (how preposterous said others!!!) So while he drove around in his horse drawn carriage, he worked on designing this new car.  My guess is that others didn’t say, “How hypocritical of you to want a cleaner form of transportation and yet you still drive a horse drawn carriage!”

2) The technology is here. Electric cars are now priced the same as average priced cars- Nissan Leaf plus more. In some regions, solar is the same price as regular electricity without upfront costs- (through Elon Musk’s Solar City in 16 states).

3) to fully implement the technology, we need to price carbon and/or subsidize wind and solar. we need the political will to transition.   Florida doesn’t have the extent of solar it has because of politics!!!!

4) When the full force of climate finally hits you and you want to transition cars/bikes, it might not be economic to switch cars right then.  That’s OK. You can still promote renewables and get ready to switch as soon as you can.

The climate scientists are saying this to receive funding

That’s what Representative Buschon from Indiana said at a House Science, Space and Technology committee meeting to chief White House Science advisor Holdren 12 months ago.

Super funny to watch that!! Rep Buschon says he doesn’t read the scientific literature. He reads the public comments that say climate change isn’t true. Turns out Buschon’s top 3 donors are Koch brothers, Murray Energy Corporation, and Peabody coal.


The guy Senator Inhofe quoted all the time who denied climate change received over a million in money from fossil fuel interests. 

Talking to someone who self-describes as a conservative

Talk about how conservatives believe in accountability and paying their own way. The externalities of pollution are being passed on to others. It is passed on through higher asthma health care costs. (Think of what it is like to breath the air in Houston vs breathing the air at the ocean or in a forest.) Other externalities are 5% of coral reefs dead by end of 2015 and 40% of Artcic sea ice gone. It is resulting in biodiversity crashes. CO2 pollution is the biggest market failure in world history (Stern, former chief economist of World Bank). Ironically, it is resulting in more government- more FEMA, more drought assistance (Peter Bryn), and will result in grand scale government projects in the way of immigration assistance and sea wall building near low lying cities like Miami, New York City, etc.

Businesses are not bearing the full cost of their products. Tell them about the fee and dividend solution where fossil fuels are taxed at the point of extraction or point of import. The revenue gained is fully returned to the public. THe point is to send market signals to move away from products made from fossil fuels. According to former secretary of state and chief economist at the University of Chicago, if the money is returned to the people and not used on government services, it is not a tax.

In the driver’s seat of this eco-right call to action nationally are two Reagan guys: Art Laffer (Economic Adviser) and George Shultz (Secretary of State). They would argue that if I operate a restaurant, I can’t socialize my costs by throwing my trash on the street – I have to pay to have it picked up.

Greenhouse gas emissions are no different. My personal choice to emit them is subsidized by others through their higher grocery bills (floods), FEMA costs (hurricanes), and insurance premiums (wildfires). Said differently: we’re already paying a carbon fee, but through a murky and inefficient marketplace rather than with transparency in the purchase price.

So, let’s listen to Milton Friedman and “internalize the externality.” That is, if we put the true costs of the product back into the purchase price, the consumer will have complete visibility and the market can operate properly, and efficiently, again.

Super storm Sandy cost $65 billion

Being conservative is saving things and protecting them before harm is done.

Imagine that we had to recreate and pay for nature’s services. We had to pollinate all the flowers and food ourselves because the bees had died. Or filter the water ourselves. The market as it set up now is not taking into account the value of these services

Yes communism/socialism under stalin and Mao started out with promises of empowerment for all and ended in brutal dictatorship and horrible environmental degradation. But to say the answer is to swing  far in the other direction towards pure market capitalism doesn’t work. We do need some regulation. The premise of market fundamentalism, free market fundamentalism, neoliberalism, laissez-faire economics or whatever you want to call it is this:

a) Society’s best interests are served by the free market economic system.

However, the market assumes unlimited natural sinks resulting in DDT impact on biodiversity, ozone depletion, deforestation for tar sands extractions, mountain top removal for coal. Protecting these  are not addressed in a pure market system. Nature’s services aren’t priced into the system.

b) Markets represent distributed economic and, therefore, political power. The idea of the free market was to avoid concentration in the hands of a few who would misuse their power. That’s what happened with Hitler, Stalin and Mao. But now we have the problem of Koch Brothers who, through their wealth, are negatively influencing politics.


Environmentalists are socialists- Watermelons- Green on the outside and red in the middle

Some, especially those who lived through WWII, are legitimately concerned about states run by folks who want to control individual freedoms- think Mao and Stalin.  Frederick Seitz, hero of the fossil fuel funded Heartland Institute, is a prime example. Instead of saying he worried about political structures humans are best adapted to, though, he took the tactic of saying that climate change isn’t true. He is the same man who said the science wasn’t settled about tobacco smoke causing cancer. (He was paid by tobacco companies as a spokesperson.)


Others feel that environmentalism is a threat to free market economies.

The problem is under free market capitalism and Bush’s 1000 points of light, we have lost 40% of the arctic and it will be completely gone in 15 to 30 years.

Under free market capitalism, not enough people were choosing to drive more fuel efficient cars. Prius sales correlate to oil prices not IPCC reports.

So we have a problem. It is just a moment in history where we must be innovative and try something new so our planet doesn’t cross irreversible climate thresholds.

How can you speak on this issue if you yourself aren’t a scientist?

I would answer by saying when we moved from the agrarian society to modern civilization, we specialized. That’s the nature of this economy. If we never trusted anyone else, we would have a problem. You wouldn’t say to your tax accountant after he gives advice, “I don’t believe you because I haven’t been trained as a tax accountant. “ If an oncologist said you had cancer, you wouldn’t say, “ I don’t believe because I don’t know for sure as I didn’t go to medical school”.  You might get  a second or third opinion but if they all say you have cancer and then you go to MD Anderson and Sloan and they say you have cancer, you think,  ‘wow I have cancer’.” The National Academy of Sciences, NOAA and NASA are all saying climate change is true.  Our daugher is majoring in climate science at Stanford.


It’s not true because people need jobs.


That’s illogical for starters. Yes. People need jobs. And yes excess CO2 is heating our planet to dangerous levels. Both are certainly true.


That’s why we support the solar industry with tax credit and r and d. That’s why we as consumers support electric and solar if stuff has come to market at affordable prices.


The solar industry now has more jobs in the US than the coal industry. China subsidized solar way back and guess what, they have 2.5 million solar jobs. That could have been us. The biggest billionaire in China made his money off solar panels.


Yes people need jobs and many need their jobs for survival so, in my mind, they are off the hook. But the wealthy, the politicians, Koch brothers could drive change so we could have renewable jobs.

This is all fine and good but what do you say to a person who is dependent on their fossil fuel job? Aren’t you being callous?

I would say to a person to keep their ff job if they can’t find another and that it is not their fault our whole economy is where it is.  If we all had the foresight 10 years ago, we would have subsidized solar like China did. They now have 2.5 million solar jobs. To prevent the next economic renewable wave being controlled out of Shenzhen, Ghuangzhou or by the chinese company Suntech, we should price carbon here and equal the playing field between energy type providers. I would say to that person to call your representaives. When lobbied, many congresspeople fear they don’t have the political will behind them to support renewables because they never hear from their constituents. That person can send in action letters through the League of Conservation Voters. THat person can help drive change through consumer choices. They can drive much more fuel efficient cars and lease electric cars. They can call house reprentatives and ask how to get affordable solar in here from say Solar City which has already provided upfront free solar panels to something like 300,000 residential owners in other places.

My friend who is a scientist and an aeronautics engineer says it isn’t true.

If 99% of aeronautics engineers say, “Don’t board that plane. It is unsafe. And 1 climate scientist said the plane is safe, would you get on the plane?


Finally and most importantly, we can argue economics and politics all we want, but the  particles- CO2 and methane- don’t care. They aren’t saying as they reradiate the heat: “Wow, i feel sorry for those humans, so I won’t follow the laws of physics and reradiate heat from all this excess Co2 , methane, etc.” No, they just reradiate the heat.

General Comments has great answers to lots of statements- on solar wind, volcanoes, etc. srs

Dissent almost never finds itself in the peer reviewed literature. Staging ground is internet blogs and other social media. Often correlation with deniers and their views on laissez-faire free-market economics. Even if this system suits human nature over say socialism or communism, the green house gases like CO2 don’t care. They don’t care what we are doing down here. They follow the laws of physics and reradiate heat.

Deniers should not hold theories that contradict each other but often do.

Dissenters might glorify dissenters from main body as heroes while ironically claiming there is no scientific consensus at all. Either there is a scientific consensus to dissent from or there is no consensus.  THey might invoke conspiracy theories using words like “hoax”.

“CO2 keeps our planet warm and CO2 and temperature are not connected.”

“Climate sensitivity is low and high.” The temperature will not rise much as a result of emissions and climate has fluctuated before highly from natural causes. “

“Global temperature cannot be measured accurately. Temperatures stopped in 1998”. (2014 hottest year on record and 2015 projected to be hottest by far)

“Extreme events cannot be attributed to global warming but the extreme snowfall in the northeast can be”.  (Despite snowfall- still hottest year ever. Snowfall from warmer weather. The warmer it is below 32, the more it snows.)

(Extreme storms are a result of unusually warm ocean water lately and the fact that the warmer it is, the more moisture evaporates into the air.)

“Greenland used to be green but the ice sheets on Greenland won’t melt”

“US cutting emissions won’t matter if China and India emit and global warming is unstoppable.”

“You can’t tell what past climate was and there used to be ice ages.”

It is us against the science. 


Next Meeting

Houston Climate Forum
Saturday, January 27th 12:30 to 4
Keck Hall Rice University with 7 of the District 07 Congressional Candidates in a forum. Congressman Beto O'Rourke receiving an environmental award.
December 5th, different location. Our first guest is Joe Blanton, Science Specialist at The Shlenker School. Joe will be speaking about carbon and nitrogen cycles. Currenlty, Joe is responsible for teaching 178 K-5 students the wonders of physcial science, earth science and life science utilizing both the indoor classroom laboratory and the outdoor classroom backyard habitat. Prior to teaching at The Shlenker School, Joe was the Director of Adult Programs and Director of Conservation at the Houston Arboretum & Nature Center, where he led the Conservation Team in the implementation of the Conservation Management Plan to protect and enhance the Arboretum's 155-acre grounds, 5 miles of trails and 14,000 sf building, as well as planning and developing the Arboretum's adult programs as a nature education and conservation organization. He also was a project manager at Urban Harvest, where he developed and managed 16 outdoor classrooms at HISD Elementary and Middle schools! Joe graduated from the Unviersity of Texas at Austin wiht a BS in Microbiology and Immunology, and he completed his MS in Cell/Cellular and Molecular Biology at Baylor College of Medicine.Our second guest is Alex Triantaphyllis. Alex T is running for Texas's 7th Congressional District and is currently the Director of Immigration and Economic Opportunity at BakerRipley (formerly Neighborhood Centers), NOVEMBER 14th at 7:00. DIFFERENT LOCATION: Sewall 305, in Sewall Hall at Rice University (1601 Rice Boulevard) Topic: Implications of Climate Change for the Southeast Texas Food Supply By many measures, temperatures have been increasing rapidly in Southeast Texas and high rainfall events have increased dramatically. Most produce found in markets comes from plants that cease growing at temperatures like 75, 85, or 95 and develop serious problems in soggy soils or with heat exacerbated drought. Only a few plants thrive above 95 F, and already August averages in some parts of our area are above that. Compounding this is an agribusiness system that depends heavily on fossil fuels and greenhouse gases to produce and deliver our food.
Tuesday, October 11th at 7:00 PM Eleanor Elbert from Michael Skelley's Clean Line Energy. Topic: wind energy/transmission
Tuesday, November 8th at 7:00 PM Election party
Tuesday, December 6th at 7:00 PM Joey Romano on community solar for those that can't or don't want to do rooftop solar.
Monday, February 13th 4108 University Blvd- Marcus Theobald Solar in Developing Countries James Cargas on his bid against Rep Culberson. Culberson, despite being lobbied extensively, does not support efforts to help with climate change.
Tuesday, March 14th Jerry Friedman- civil rights attorney speaking on your rights during rallies
Tuesday April 11th Batteries as Big Power- Utility Scale Battery Storage
Tuesday, May 9th Climate Change Health Impacts by Brett Perkison at the University of Texas Health Science Center in the department of Family Medicine.
Tuesday, July 11th Industrial Agriculture and Climate Change by Michael Battey of Vegan for Life and Laura Moser District 07 candidate
Lizzie Fletcher candidate District 07 Diallogue on climate change
October Roman Belotserkovskiy, perspectives on major trends in the Electric Power industry.

""We just happen to be alive at one of - if not the- hinge moments in human history." Bill McKibben

"The sheer momentum of physics is bearing down on us." Wen Stephenson

"I don't need to do anything because God, Bill McKibben, Bernie Sanders, the geo engineers, and the billionaires will save us from the impact of climate change." They will all help but I don't think it's very nice for others to look away while they do all the work and absorb all the pain of the work. :)

What is hard but imperative, if we are to have any chance of changing course, is to become, as Pope Francis describes it, “painfully aware, to dare to turn what is happening in the world into our own personal suffering and thus to discover what each of us can do about it.”


Different belief systems mediate the relationship between humanity and the natural world with profoundly different consequences in terms of the ecological footprint. "Planetary"