It Just Makes Me Cranky – Taking the Global Warming Debate Seriously

Here at Global Warming is I welcome open and honest debate. I should be no secret where I stand on the issue of global warming and climate change, given the name of this website and blog. That doesn’t mean that I don’t think there is room for debate or certainly that anyone has all the answers.

With that said, I do admit that some arguments that have come across my desk recently do make me a little cranky. It’s the same old half-baked arguments, many times spiced up with personal attacks and phrases like “you global warming people” and “alarmists!” and it’s getting me annoyed.

So I present to you two recent emails I have received, along with my responses. Might I recommend, if you’re planning a trip to Pluto, to bring your shorts. Read on:

From Ricardo at the Appraisal Institute Forum:

There is an argument raging on the Appraisal Institute Forum among a bunch of us appraisers about global warming.

George Rosendale, an appraiser who lives in the Florida Keys, does not believe that global warming is anything more than a natural cycle in climate change and points to a study about solar irradiance. A copy of his email follows.

Is solar irradiance the cause of global warming? If so, will the solar irradiance that is causing the present melting world-wide abate in time to prevent destruction of coastal areas and islands?


Email from George :

Ricardo, explain this phenom:

NASA found that Mars has global warming but no greenhouse and no Martians driving SUVs or flying in private planes. Only a change in the solar irradiance could possibly cause the straight-line effect of parallel global warming between the two planets.

Solar irradiance warms the Earth’s oceans and triggers large emissions of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The idea that human activity is a deciding factor in global warming is a misinterpretation of cause and effect according to Dr. Habibullo Abdussamatov at St. Petersburg’s Pulkovo Astronomical Observatory.

How can anyone explain Mars, Earth and Pluto global warming any other way than solar irradiance? Emissions on Earth can’t have any influence on the receding polar ice caps on Mars. And, if it can, just explain how so that Dr. Habibullo Abdussamatov will better understand the cause and effect.


My response:

Hi Ricardo,

Well, forgive me if I sound annoyed with your friend, I’m sure he’s a real nice guy. But if he’s going to talk about Mars, and no Martians driving SUV’s and such, then I think you may just want to pat him on the back, say “Sure thing, George” and quietly walk away.

I respectfully submit that there is significantly less data on climate trends, history, and basic understanding of climate on Mars than here on Earth. “Straight line effect of parallel global warming between the two planets” is laughable (and more importantly, scientifically untenable at the very assumption). But really, the belly-howl for me is the mention of Pluto. Pluto? Come on now, somebody is pulling somebody’s leg. But I’ll bite – send me those climate studies for Pluto! Maybe this Dr. Abdussamatov has ‘em.

I’d suggest if we’re going to model Earth’s climate trends on other planets the good Dr. and your friend should include Venus in their pantheon of questionable science – except that doesn’t go so much in their direction, so okay, lets leave it out.

Regarding the implication that the warming oceans (due to solar irradiation, of course) triggers a release of CO2 seems odd to me. My understanding is that the ocean is actually a carbon sink and releases oxygen – which is a problem in itself as the increased CO2 in the atmosphere is actually being absorbed into the oceans and making the sea more acidic, thus killing coral reefs (like the one’s down where you guys live in Florida) and poisoning sea life – but that’s a whole other debate that I’m certain your friend could educate me a bit on, so I’ll stop there.

I suppose you can still dig up a scientist that claims smoking cigarettes doesn’t increase your chances of getting lung cancer. That doesn’t mean you should listen to that one scientist when all the others tell you otherwise (and common sense – please, please PLEASE I wish these head-in-the-sand people would start using common sense…)

Solar irradiation seems to be the last best hope for so-called “skeptics” that pull their head out of the sand just long enough to shout “alarmist”. The science is only becoming more certain and perhaps your friend might do better do look at the recent release of the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The only problem for your friend is that he isn’t going to like what he’d read, so he’ll find some obscure study touting the climate of Mars and Pluto (!) as proof that everybody else in the world is nuts. Like the child sticking his fingers in his ears and going “LA LA LA LA – I can’t hear you!”

Honestly, I’ve all but given up on those folks. There will be people denying global warming and mankind’s role in it even while the ocean waves lap at their feet. It’s pretty much hopeless for them.

I prefer to concentrate on people that bring a reasonable argument and have an open mind. Certainly there is room for debate on this issue, and I welcome it. But, unfortunately, I find myself loosing my patience more and more when confronted with the sorts of arguments your friend puts forth; they are spurious, a waste of time, and do nothing to advance a real debate and discussion. After all, the earth looks flat to me…

So, to answer your question. Yes, solar irradiation can, as I understand it, have some effect on global climate. However, just because there are natural cycles in climate (which nobody has ever denied, by the way) doesn’t mean that the billions of tons of greenhouse gasses that are burned into the atmosphere don’t have an effect as well. And as almost every respectable scientist now concludes a much greater effect; It is measurable and real (Dr. whatshisname notwithstanding). Denying it doesn’t make it go away. At the very least, we’re messing with a natural cycle, which in and of itself, makes it no longer a natural cycle, but one influenced by man.

I hope this adds a little excitement to your discussion.

Best Regards,


And this guy really made me cranky and I haven’t corrected his spelling here:

Rather than over excite everyone about Global Warming, why aren’t we considering the fact that the Earth has gone through cycles of warming and cooling as long as it has existed?

How do you explain things like the Ice age only 10,000 years ago? If you and I were living then and experiencing the withdrawal of these hugh ice flows, wouldn’t we explain that as global warming?

How do you explain global warming to the millions of people in the mid-west this morning who are literally freezing?

I will admit that man polutes the atmosphere to an extent that is risky for all of us,thus making the quality of air we breath less that satisfactory, but,, it will take a lot more than a few warm days out of sync to convince me the earth isn’t going through phases of warming and cooling which have a lot more to do with its rotation and possitioning towards the sun, than the uses of pollutants and other things manmade.

Why you global warming people are such alarmists beats me……..don’t get rid of your winter clothes just yet………

Also seems to me I’ve heard the global warming stuff for almost 70 years. Enough already, Do something inportant , get a job and do something useful like figuring out a new source of non- polutant fuel, or how we can start getting along together as peoples of a comon planet…….

I’ll bet you get a few messages just like mine……..



My response:

Hi William,

Well, no I don’t get messages “just like yours”, but I probably am not as put off by true skeptics as you might like to think. (with due respect I can’t really use that word in your case, as I’ll explain)

Just for the record, I do have a job, and I work very hard at it. Now that we have all the personal jabs out of the way, why don’t we try to have a real conversation?

The principal reason I don’t really consider your argument that of a true skeptic is basically because you use veiled personal attacks on the messenger (I am not alarmist, I have a job, and you have no idea what I do so you have no basis on which to judge whether it is “important” or not.) Further, what you do try to put forth as an argument is the same tired old hash that many people that really don’t know too much about the issue and wish it would just go away put forth.

Where, in anything I have written, or anything a climate scientist says, is there anything denying the regular climate cycles of the earth? How do I explain an ice age 10,000 years ago? What sort of question is that? Of course there have been many ice ages. Let’s move on shall we? This really is a non-argument you throw up to try to make it sound like you know what you’re talking about. So far, you don’t.

How do I explain that the American mid-west has had very unusual weather? Well… gee, that’s a pretty small slice of the globe, now isn’t it? But sure, I’ll play along: How do you explain that the west coast has had unusually warm and dry weather? If I had a nickel for every time somebody poorly versed in this issue threw up the weather as a clear sign that global climate change isn’t real I’d be a wealthy man.

Weather is not climate, and if you really think that there is never going to be cold weather anywhere on earth to make global warming real for you, well then never mind. You’re a lost cause. Your snide remark about not getting rid of my winter clothes shows just how ignorant you are on the issue, and yes, it annoys me.

Let’s assume for a moment, that the only cause to the changing climate, as witnessed by rising sea levels, retreating glaciers, and melting arctic ice, is by the earth’s relative position to the sun. That the billions of tons of greenhouse gasses burned into the atmosphere from human processes has absolutely nothing to with it. A bit of a stretch if you employ simple common sense, but let’s do it to humor you. You would then propose that we continue to dump billions of tons of greenhouse gasses, a little more every year, because it will never begin to interact with a natural cycle already in play and make the consequences, at best, unforeseen? Thus putting your children and grandchildren (and you, for that matter) at greater risk?

The weather and the position of the earth relative to the sun is your argument then? Oh, and the ice age 10,000 years ago? Can’t do any better than that?

I’ve had many opportunities to interact with true skeptics on this issue. People that have gone to the trouble to do some honest research and reading before they attack people who are not alarmists, but concerned citizens. In fact, I now have collaborations with some of them because we have a common interest in things like energy policy and other issues. But there you are going off as if you knew what you are talking about, both with me and with the issue of climate change. You don’t, and I’m very sorry, but you annoy me. Which, of course, probably pleases you no end.

The fact is, however, that you should probably do something more useful than proffering flawed arguments and wasting people’s time. If you want to have a reasonable discussion, fine, I’m all for it; but if you just want to spout the same tired old head-in-the-sand crap, leave me alone, it serves no purpose.



Who’s next?

global warming climate change carbon emission solar irradiation global warming debate International Panel on Climate Change
Thomas Schueneman
Thomas Schueneman
Tom is the founder and managing editor of and the PlanetWatch Group. His work appears in Triple Pundit, Slate, Cleantechnia, Planetsave, Earth911, and several other sustainability-focused publications. Tom is a member of the Society of Environmental Journalists.

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