Press-Republican

Columns

January 6, 2013

Climate-change consensus and a call to 'photovoltaic' arms

What is the answer? 

So what is the question?

It is hard to formulate a response to either when the body politic does not allow, or encourage, any dialogue on the issue of climate change. But “nature” is speaking to us loud and clear: Consider the tens of thousands of high temperature records and extreme weather events experienced in the past several years.

Science is also speaking clearly, although perhaps not as loudly as it should. But as the diagram below indicates, there is no debate among scientists in the peer-reviewed literature about what is happening to Earth’s climate system.

Dr. Powell (Figure 1) used the Web of Science, an online science publication tool, to check publications starting Jan. 1, 1991, through Nov. 9, 2012, in the peer-reviewed literature, the gold standard of science.

Of the almost 14,000 research papers on “global warming” or “global climate change,” only 24 could be found that reject global warming (Science Progress Nov.15, 2012.) This minority view is less than 0.2 percent of the total.

Not much of a dispute among scientists who publish in the field.

Meanwhile in the United States, it is pretty much business as usual: Burn lots of fossil fuels to generate the energy needed by our civilization today.

The following graph through 2011 shows that the large portion of energy we generate comes mostly from “fossil fuels,” with smaller amounts from “renewables” and “nuclear.” The energy units used here on the left scale are in “quads (1015 BTU)”, a very large number indeed.

That “renewables” registers at all on this graph is mostly a result of individual, local and state efforts to develop and install renewable energy.

On the national scene, we are beginning to see some modest progress. What has been accomplished still represents a small percentage of our energy requirements, however, and lots more needs to be done.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Columns
  • Terry_Mattingly.jpg Easter with doubters and the 'nones'

    Should more pastors ask this blunt question: "Do you really believe Jesus was raised from the dead?" wonders religion columnist Terry Mattingly.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Black_Peter_2014_cropped.jpg Canadiens are Canada's team

    The National Hockey League playoffs are underway, and for Canadiens fans, many of whom likely reside in the Montreal "suburb" of Plattsburgh, it is a time of hope and joy.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • little_mug.jpg There's no saw like an old saw Kaye and I laughed ourselves silly the other day as we tried to top each other with our own sayings from childhood, columnist Gordie Little writes.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Denenberg_Stu1.jpg Privacy concerns make a comeback

    There's a growing concern amongst the millennials, columnist Stu Denenberg writes.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • paul_grasso.jpg Several options exist for downtown

    Pedestrian mall just one idea that could be good for city's economic future, according to columnist Paul Grasso.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • colin_read.jpg Government can't create success on its own

    It takes a grass-roots community effort of people working together to assure future accomplishment, according to columnist Colin Read.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hagar_mug1.jpg Farmers strive for sustainability

    Conserving the land and assuring long-term profitability are two of the key goals for farmers these days, according to columnist Peter Hagar.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Black_Peter_2014_cropped.jpg Big shift in Quebec vote

    Being a man of science, Philippe Couillard, premier-designate of Quebec, chose to use a geological term (though his field is actually medicine) to describe what happened in Monday's election, writes Canadian columnist Peter Black.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Terry_Mattingly.jpg A monastery in the Hebrides, after 1,000 years

    Before Father Seraphim Aldea can build a monastery on Scotland's Mull Island, he needs to have a working septic system, writes religion columnist Terry Mattingly.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tobias_Sue_012914.jpg Old movies offer more than entertaining TV

    Columnist Susan Tobias and her husband, Toby, are reminded of simple childhood memories while watching an old black-and-white movie.

    April 9, 2014 1 Photo

Peter Black: Canadian Dispatch

Lois Clermont, Editor

Cornell Cooperative Extension
Richard Gast: Cornell Ag Extension

Bob Grady

Guest Columns
Peter Hagar: Cornell Ag Connection

Health Advice

Ray Johnson: Climate Science
Gordie Little: Small Talk

Terry Mattingly: On Religion

Steve Ouellette: You Had To Ask

Colin Read: Everybody's Business

Pinch of Time