Posted by: greeningwashington | February 3, 2009

A Unanimous Vote

As a writer for my university’s newspaper, The Battalion, I had the opportunity to interview some of the leading climatologists in the nation during the summer of 2007. All 23 of the faculty of the Department of Atmospheric Sciences at Texas A&M unanimously endorsed the reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) — making them the first department in the nation to release such a statement. As of 2007, the Department of Atmospheric Sciences at Texas A&M was the second-largest in the nation, which made their announcement notable to say the least. I have listed below some of the more notable quotations from my interview with Gerald North, distinguished professor in atmospheric sciences and Andrew Dessler, an associate professor of climate science:


 “Our goal with this statement was to remove the argument that there is no scientific consensus,” Dessler said. “The debate should be moved to where it needs to be now, which is: there is a risk out there and what should be done about it. The risk clearly exists.”


 North said this is not a liberal or conservative issue, but pointed to talk show hosts and activists who turn the issue into a partisan one.


“I am not blaming either side, they are in the business of politics,” North said. “Our business is to say what the scientific consensus is.”


“Twenty percent of the emissions come from biomass burning associated with things like deforestation and 80 percent comes from fossil fuels,” Dessler said.


One argument against human induced global warming is climate change, a natural cycle, and that the heating we are seeing now is just part of that cycle.


Dessler said the earth does cool and warm by itself but one can’t dismiss the idea that the recent warming is caused by humans. “The rate of the warming and what drives it all suggest today’s warming is unique,” Dessler said.


“For example, after the last ice age it took 20,000 years to warm about 8 degrees and what we are talking about is 5 degrees Celsius over the next 100 years,” Dessler said. “The earth is so well instrumented now that we have a really good idea of the things that can be causing the warming, and the only factor that can be causing it now is greenhouse gases.”


I invite you to read the full article.


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