What United Nations Association President and World Federation of UN Associations Executive Committee Member Keith Suter states about climate change in his June 22, 2010 article for “The Contemporary Review”: “Arctic Politics Are Getting Warmer: A New Scramble For Territory?” [17; Hastedt pg. 179] Is true:
“There is no doubt about the change…There seems little doubt that a major change in weather patterns is underway.” [Hastedt, Page 180]
It is difficult to discern the intended implication behind his next few words:
“There is continuing debate over who is responsible and what is to be done about it (if anything)…There is little agreement on the extent to which (if any) human industrialization may be responsible.” [Hastedt, Page 180]
If Suter is intending to imply by this that there exists “little agreement” within the scientific community on whether or not human activities contribute to climate change, this would at best deal potentially irreparable damage against his credibility on the subject, and may very well even disqualify him as being an authority altogether. Quite literally nothing could possibly be any further from being true.
The United States Departments of Commerce , Energy    , Health and Human Services, Interior and State   all agree on the subject of climate change. “The science is clear, and the threat is real.” Wrote Harvard University John Kennedy School of Government’s Todd Stern for the Department of State’s Bureau of Public Affairs on March 29, 2009. “The facts on the ground are outstripping the worst case scenarios.”
However, giving Suter the benefit of the doubt means presuming that he was referring to the debunked  “disagreements” that pseudoscientists, such as evangelical Intelligent Design creationist Roy Spencer of the Exxon-Mobile-funded  Heartland Institute, have with atmospheric and climate science.
In spite of being a Visiting Lecturer at the Macquarie University Department of Politics and Boston University, Suter himself is not an academic, a scholar, nor a scientist. Therefore it is understandable how, as a layperson, he might reasonably assume that Spencer, of the University of Alabama—Huntsville and who has a Ph.D. in Meteorology from the University of Wisconsin—Madison, should by all rights be a credible resource on the subject of climate science.
Unfortunately, ignorance of the science of climate is by no means limited to non-academics such as Suter. This is illustrated by Johns Hopkins University School for Advanced International Studies Adjunct Professor Joshua Meltzer and Brookings Institution senior fellow in Global Economy and Development Katherine Sierra in their article for the September 22, 2011 Volume 33 Issue 3 of the Harvard International Relations Council’s “Harvard International Review”: “Trade And Climate Change: A Mutually Supportive Policy” [10; Hastedt pg. 198]. In their article, Meltzer and Sierra write that:
“At the UN climate change conference in Cancun in December 2020, participating countries agreed that by 2050 global average temperature increases should be kept less than two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels [Hastedt, Page 198]…Indeed, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA), the climate change targets and actions that countries have listed so far in the Copenhagen Accord would still leave the world 60 percent above the level required to keep global temperatures at two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. [Hastedt, Page 199]”
In referencing the “levels required” to keep temperatures at “less than two degrees above pre-industrial levels”, Meltzer and Sierra’s article either neglects to point out or else omits the fact that the “level” referred to is one that is, in fact, less than zero.
In the January 16, 2011 Volume 38 Issue 1 of the American Geophysical Union’s “Geophysical Research Letters”, University of Washington College of the Environment Department of Earth and Space Sciences Professor Gerard Roe and Massachusetts Institute of Technology Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences James S. McDonnell Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow Kyle Armour find  that there is “a possibility temperatures would rise to 3.5 degrees Fahrenheit higher than before the Industrial Revolution”. The catch? Armour and Roe’s scenario presupposes that “all cars, heating and cooling systems and other sources of greenhouse gases were suddenly eliminated” .
A report entitled “Continued Global Warming after CO2 Emissions Stoppage” was published in the journal “Nature Climate Change” on November 24, 2013 . The authors of the report were Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Department of Environmental Systems Sciences Swiss National Science Foundation Fellow Thomas Froelicher, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory Oceanographer Michael Winton and Princeton University Department of Geosciences George J. Magee Professor of Geosciences and Geological Engineering Jorge Sarmiento. The authors found that, while “because of emissions that have occurred up to now” the Earth has warmed by .85 degrees Celsius since pre-industrial times and could warm by as much as 8.6 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of this century with “continued, unabated burning of fossil fuels”, a sudden shutoff of carbon emissions “has us stabilizing around three degrees C above pre-industrial levels” by 2200 .
If it were just Suter, or even Meltzer and Sierra getting such a fundamental principle of atmospheric thermodynamics so wrong, the problem may even be manageable. However, the fact that, as Meltzer and Sierra state in their Brookings Institution article for the Harvard International Review, it was no less than the United Nations and International Energy Agency not understanding the logistics of the Greenhouse Effect runs the risk of making realists even more discouraged with the practical plausibility of a solution to the problem than the existence of frauds and charlatans such as Spencer already does in and of itself.
The refrain of the fallacy that what was needed was for humans to “reverse” the effects of climate change became a wearied canard, and its apparent passing away may not make any hearts heavy. However, the equally positive-emotion-inducing, but nevertheless equally fallacious, platitude of stopping or ending climate change seems unfortunately to have survived.
So long as such scientifically-unfounded platitudes are retained in the collective consciousness, the straw man debunking of such will forever remain fodder for the pseudoscientific and even anti-scientific fraudsters and snake oil salesmen that make their prosperity via the “gaps” in human scientific understanding. Opposing such fraudulence takes the time, energies and resources of real, credible scientific minds away from what will be the greatest challenge against future generations as an affect from climate change: Adaptation.
The question of the age is not whether human civilization is “causing” or “contributing to” climate change, but whether it will survive it. The quest therefore should not be to use what science has given mankind to put an end to climate change, but not permitting climate change to destroy all that humanity has built.
As the late Carl Sagan once wrote in “The Pale Blue Dot”:
“There is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. There is nowhere else to which our species could migrate. Like it or not, the Earth is where we make our stand...It underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another and preserve and cherish the only home we’ve ever known.”
Cited Works Reference Bibliography:
1. Armour, Kyle and Roe, Gerard. “Climate Commitment in an Uncertain World”. Geophysical Research Letters, Volume 38, Issue 1. January 16, 2011. http://www.readcube.com/articles/10.1029/2010GL045850?
2. Asrar, Ghassem; et. Al. “Joint Global Change Institute.” University of Maryland Division of Research. http://www.globalchange.umd.edu/
3. Battelle Memorial Institute. “Atmospheric Sciences and Global Change”. United States Department of Energy Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. July 2014. http://www.pnnl.gov/atmospheric/
4. Collins, William. “Climate Sciences Division”. United States Department of Energy Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Earth Sciences Division. http://esd.lbl.gov/departments/climate_sciences/
5. Easterling, David and Karl, Tom. “Global Warming”. National Climatic Data Center. Tuesday August 12, 2014. http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/monitoring-references/faq/global-warming.php
6. Energy Information Administration. “Greenhouse Gases, Climate Change and Energy”. United States Department of Energy National Energy Information Center. July 23, 2010. http://www.eia.gov/oiaf/1605/ggccebro/chapter1.html
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8. Frolicher, T.; et. Al. “Continued Global Warming After CO2 Emissions Stoppage”. Nature Climate Change. November 24, 2013. http://www.readcube.com/articles/10.1038/nclimate2060
9. Kelly, Morgan. “Even If Emissions Stop, Carbon Dioxide Could warm Earth for Centuries”. Princeton University. November 24, 2013. http://www.princeton.edu/main/news/archive/S38/51/51I69/index.xml?section=topstories
10. Meltzer, Joshua and Sierra, Katherine. “The Brookings Institution Presents…Trade and Climate Change: A Mutually Supportive Policy.” Harvard International Review, Volume 33, Issue 3. September 22, 2011. http://www.thefreelibrary.com/_/print/PrintArticle.aspx?id=273715814
11. Novelli, Catherine. “Global Climate Change”. United States Department of State Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs. http://www.state.gov/e/oes/climate/
12. Power, Samantha. “Climate Change”. United States Mission to the United Nations. http://usun.state.gov/issues/c31166.htm
13. Romm, Joe. “Climate Scientists Debunk Latest Bunk By Denier Roy Spencer”. Center for American Progress. July 29, 2011. http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2011/07/29/282584/climate-scienists-debunk-latest-bunk-by-denier-roy-spencer/
14. Stengel, Richard. “Welcome To the Office of the Special Envoy for Climate Change”. United States Department of State Bureau of Public Affairs. March 29, 2009. http://www.state.gov/s/climate/
15. Stricherz, Vince. “If Greenhouse Gas Emissions Stopped Now, Earth Would Still Likely Get Warmer, New Research Shows”. University of Washington. February 16, 2011. http://www.washington.edu/news/2011/02/15/if-greenhouse-gas-emissions-stopped-now-earth-still-would-likely-get-warmer/
16. Sturgis, Sue. “Climate Science Contrarian Roy Spencer’s Oil Industry Ties”. Institute for Southern Studies. Wednesday September 7, 2011. http://www.southernstudies.org/2011/09/climate-science-contrarian-roy-spencers-oil-industry-ties.html
17. Suter, Keith. “Arctic Politics Are Getting Warmer: A New Scramble for Territory?” Contemporary Review. June 22, 2010. http://www.thefreelibrary.com/_/print/PrintArticle.aspx?id=233974743