Beyond Debate: There’s Still Time

“The danger posed by war to all of humanity – and to our planet – is at least matched by the climate crisis and global warming. I believe that the world has reached a critical stage in its efforts to exercise responsible environmental stewardship.” 

-UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon

Okay, so let me confess something before I get into this. I don’t like to argue. I really don’t. I’m a bit of a conflict-a-phobe. And in the last 15 years, I have learned to not argue with anyone who is convinced that human beings are not responsible for the current climate crisis impacting our Earth. I avoid this for the same reason I would avoid trying out for the Golden State Warriors. It is futile. I would completely and utterly fail.

If someone in 2019 is still a committed denier of anthropogenic (human-caused) global warming (AGW) or climate change, despite the overwhelming peer-reviewed evidence to the contrary that has been published in the last 30 years, I assume they are committed to it like some people are committed to their religion or love of chocolate.

Why is this? Simply because, if one denies that humans are responsible for the climate crisis, they are denying science itself. They are insisting there are other, better ways to know things and prove things than the scientific method. And since all I have at my disposal to bolster my view is the abundant, massive, evidence-based, replicated data that unequivocally supports the world-wide scientific consensus, the conversation ends. Since they are not interested in science, I am not particularly enthused to pretend they are open to learning.

The really good news is that less than one in ten Americans is in complete denial of AGW. The Yale Program on Climate Communication identifies Six Americas, or six different segments of society that can be distinctly separated according to their understanding of the climate crisis. Only nine percent are “Dismissive,” which means they are “very sure” there isn’t a climate crisis and they are “actively involved as opponents of a national effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

Nearly 30 percent of us are “Alarmed” which means we are “fully convinced of the reality and seriousness of climate change and are already taking individual, consumer and political action to address it.” Another 30 percent are “Concerned” and this group is just as convinced that AGW is real and serious but just haven’t “engaged the issue personally.” That means nearly six in ten Americans really understand what is happening.

The other three Americas – “the Cautious, the Disengaged and the Doubtful represent different stages of understanding and acceptance of the problem, and none are actively involved.”

It is these middle three groups, comprising nearly a third of Americans, along with the 59 percent who already get it, who would be potentially open to Dr. Shahir Masri’s book, “Beyond Debate, Answers to 50 Misconceptions on Climate Change.”

In Beyond Debate, Masri “clears up 50 of the most common misconceptions surrounding climate change. He simplifies the science and resolves the confusion so that everyone may better understand the issue.”

While the science is clear that human activity is responsible for AGW, not everyone understands this or believes it. Masri explains in easy to understand language how greenhouse gases trap heat, how we know what the temperature of the Earth was like millions of years ago and why Earth’s natural cycles cannot account for AGW.

He also helps us understand what the 97 percent climate consensus means, why the reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) are highly regarded and trusted by the world’s scientists, how we precisely measure the increase of CO2 in our atmosphere, and how we know a hotter Sun is not responsible for a hotter Earth.

While a majority of both Democrats and Republicans agree environmental protection is more important than economic growth, the good news is that we don’t have to choose one or the other! Masri refutes the notion that environmental regulation is bad for the economy and explains how putting a price on carbon through a Carbon Fee and Dividend program will be good for the economy and give us a fighting change to significantly reduce the severity of the climate crisis.

Masri explodes the myth that Americans are deeply divided on this issue as the Yale Climate Connections survey show. A strong majority of Democrats (93%) and Republicans (80%) want Congress to fund research into renewable sources. High numbers of Democrats (90%) and Republicans (64%) want the government to regulate CO2 as a pollutant. A majority of Democrats (93%) and Republicans (61%) believe our schools should teach students about this issue and that corporations should do more to address it (D=86%/R=54%).

While Masri dismantles the denial of AGW, he also offers hope for those of us who fall into despair that it might be too late. If we take aggressive action now, there is robust evidence that we can avert disaster in the future. He points to the success of the National Rifle Association in influencing legislation with “only” five million members.

With 59 percent of Americans being Alarmed or Concerned, that means nearly 150 million adults are potentially available to support aggressive action to solve the climate crisis! It isn’t too late and there is reason for hope. All that is required is for those who understand the problem to get involved in helping us to find solutions.

If I have piqued your interest, please tune into KKRN 88.5 FM or on Tuesday, July 2 from 4-5 pm PDT and listen to my interview of Dr. Shahir Masri on my show, Wake-Up Call and check out his website, On the Road for Climate Action.

Douglas Craig
Doug Craig graduated from college in Ohio with a journalism degree and got married during the Carter administration. He graduated from graduate school with a doctorate in Psychology, got divorced, moved to Redding, re-married and started his private practice during the Reagan administration. He had his kids during the first Bush administration. Since then he has done nothing noteworthy besides write a little poetry, survive a motorcycle crash, buy and sell an electric car, raise his kids, manage to stay married and maintain his practice for almost 30 years. He believes in magic and is a Dawes fan.
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39 Responses

  1. Avatar CHRISTIAN Gardinier says:

    Doug…. I understand why you don’t want to see climate change as political, but it is; just like the Warriors are basketball. The fact is that Republicans (and yes, a few Democrats) have used political to influence and control our oil-coal-plastic- environmentally destructive life’s, like calling climate change a “hoax, created by the Chinese,” and like Republicans in Oregon just killed cap-and-trade legislation a few days ago. Your assessment that most Republicans are concerned about climate change is optimistic… and even if they do most Republicans stand steed fast behind tRump and his well oiled policies… Period. Republicans see doing anything about one of the most important issues of our time as a threat to their economics, in other words, their” make me (the 1%) even richer” form of politics that has created the most egregious social and economic inequity in our recent history. Call it what it is… One minority group that has control over America as they ride the basket of disaster to hell, getting incredible rich and powerful doing so, while many (most) of us are more concerned about why the Warriors choked and lost. Democrats on the other hand, have created and MUST embrace the New Green Deal that can provide the new paradigm needed that includes new tech, labor, infrastructure, maintenance, logic, science and education needed to change our thinking and behaviors so we can win the existential threat to our very existence… Look, WW ll was political… We need a Manhattan Project mindset and resources, the best scientists, engineers, construction techs and labor this nation, and the world for that mater, has to make the change. This will take a POLITICAL shift.
    Like they deny and or ignore the shocking horrible behaviors of their president, Republicans seem to deny that there is a literal asteroid head towards earth and that it will hit and change earth beyond ability to mitigate within the next 12 years. A few Republicans even embrace this as some kind of, “God doing his majestic work,” Armageddon. The time to leave out any understanding that it will take a massive political shift and not clearly advocating for that shift (because we don’t want to alarm or hurt people’s feelings) is past. Both the nuclear and climate clock is now set about 11:57. We don’t have Mars to go to. Carl Sagan’s Pale Blue Dot is all we got and it will take VOTING BLUE to increases any potential to keep it. Ill be checking out the KKRN show… But please, include the political in your argument.

  2. Adrienne Jacoby Adrienne Jacoby says:

    THANK YOU!!!I will get that book . . . I need ammo!!

  3. Avatar Randy says:

    I see the greatest challenge to dealing with AGW and the deteriorating state of our biosphere to be lack of public awareness and attention. Our populace have the luxury of just turning attention to the channel of our personal choice and away from any uncomfortable reality we don’t want to deal with and there are infinite excuses why we do this. I have heard Shahir speak twice now and have never heard anyone detail the truth of AGW better than he does.

    • Avatar Doug Cook says:

      The problem ad I see it with climate change alarmists is that they continually overplay their hand. Dr Craig is convinced that sea level rise will be over 10 ft in 80 years, even though it had been a steady 3mm a year for the past 200 years or so. Randy is convinced that homes are being flooded in the Maldives islands because of sea level rise, despite no proof that is happening. Hottest year on record!! Since when? Since 1979 when we started using satellites to measure temperature? A temperature increase of 1.5 degrees is catastrophic? I have been debating climate change for years and I always find it interesting that when facts come out that things are not as bad as it seems…or data shows that there is an improvement. Climate alarmists seem disappointed. Randy, you should be happy that the homes aren’t being flooded in the Maldives.

      • Avatar Randy says:

        I get my AGW information from the most credible sources available which is built on established peer revewed studies. I will present three of my most highly respected sources of information on the topic and then you can do the same and we can compare. NASA, NOAA and WHOI. Go for it Doug.

        • Avatar Doug Cook says:

          I got my sea level data from NOAA…your credible source. Look at the actual data and measurements from NOAA and see for yourself what the sea level rise in the Maldives is. Go for it, Randy

          • Avatar Randy says:

            Great, as long as you acknowledge NOAA as one of your most highly respected sourcs of information on AGW then all we have to do is produce what they have to say about lea level rise. NOAA “Sea level is rising for two main reasons: glaciers and ice sheets are melting and adding water to the ocean and the volume of the ocean is expanding as the water warms. A third, much smaller contributor to sea level rise is a decline in water storage on land—aquifers, lakes and reservoirs, rivers, soil moisture—mostly as a result of groundwater pumping, which has shifted water from aquifers to the ocean.

            From the 1970s up through the last decade, melting and thermal expansion were contributing roughly equally to the observed sea level rise. But the melting of glaciers and ice sheets has accelerated, and over the past decade, the amount of sea level rise due to melting—with a small addition from groundwater transfer and other water storage shifts—has been nearly twice the amount of sea level rise due to thermal expansion.”

          • Avatar Randy says:

            Here is some more from NOAA on how the oceans of the Maldives are being negatively effected by human generated co2.

      • Avatar Randy says:

        I can only strive to build my understanding of AGW on the most credible information I can find on the topic and will present 3 of my most highly respected sources of information on AGW, you can do the same and we can compare what they have to say about AGW.

      • Avatar Randy says:

        ( I am having trouble keeping a real time conversation going as there seems to be a rather long lag time between making comments and seeing them.)

  4. Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

    As DR. Craig points out many Republicans are coming over to the side that beliefs in AGW, but some, as pointed out on these pages, claim that is not true. They are the real denyers as they feel it is totally Republicans that are at fault.
    Cap and Trade has been found to benefit polluters in urban areas while they buy credits in urban areas that pollute those areas worse because the only way the urban areas benefit are by letting polluters in. The problem with plastic recycling shows how America ships its plastic trash to third world countries because China and India won’t take it. The people, as pointed out by the Guardian, are living in a horrific junkyard because their governments are taking money in exchange for plastic trash. Tax the polluters in their own urban area and do not let them buy credits to pollute rural areas.
    Educating people about AGW in other areas while denying the polluters in their own areas is a bait and switch.

  5. R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

    For almost 200 years, scientists have known that the greenhouse gases emitted by burning fossil fuels warms the atmosphere. For those who deny the science, I suggest a little experiment: go out to the garage, get in your car, open the windows, start the engine and kick back for a couple of hours.

  6. Joanne Snyder Joanne Snyder says:

    Thank you for a great article Doug. I see this problem in so many things we do. People are used to bumper to bumper traffic in the cities and on I5 during the highway work at Bridge Bay. We are used to driving to Sacramento to fly to L.A. to fly to Portland to get to Ashland. We are all in this together. There are some beliefs that have little effect in the real world. This is not one of those.

    • Avatar Doug Cook says:

      Being able to fly to LA or across the country is a problem? I call it a miracle. What’s your alternative?

      • Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

        Doug, I see flying across the country to attend conferences, including AGW conferences, that could be done on computer links as a problem.
        Like the saying, leave the car in the garage, leave the plane in the hanger would be more effective than all the talk on AGW at not just less polluting but real savings on money.

        • Hal Johnson Hal Johnson says:

          In part, I agree, Bruce. For years, I commuted to and from New Orleans–a big convention city–and I’ve long thought that the real reason for all of those “work related” conferences and conventions was to provide a reason for folks to get away from home and party.

        • Joanne Snyder Joanne Snyder says:

          Conferences can be fun, but I was thrilled when tele-conferencing first became available. I was also thrilled that I could take so many college classes without driving 120 miles round trip three times a week. Being able to fly across the country is a miracle.

      • Joanne Snyder Joanne Snyder says:

        Taking a plane cross country beats walking, riding a bike, Greyhound, the train or a car as far as travel time goes. We are all free to “move about the world” or do an hour commute to work by car or plane. We’re used to doing everything a particular way and can’t imagine that that will change.

  7. Avatar Randy says:

    NOAA on ‘ocean acidification’. “Since the industrial revolution, the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide has increased from 280 to over 400 parts per million due to the burning of fossil fuels such as coal, gas, and oil, along with land use change. Ocean acidification (OA) refers to a change in ocean chemistry in response to the uptake of increasing carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere. The world’s surface ocean is tightly linked with the atmosphere and absorbs huge amounts of carbon dioxide each year. This exchange, in part, helps to regulate the planet’s atmospheric CO2 concentrations, but comes at a cost for the oceans and life within it; from the smallest, single celled algae to the largest whales. Were it not for ocean uptake of CO2, atmospheric CO2 levels would be increasing at an even greater rate than they are now.”

  8. Avatar randy says:

    NOAA “Global sea level has been rising over the past century, and the rate has increased in recent decades. In 2014, global sea level was 2.6 inches above the 1993 average—the highest annual average in the satellite record (1993-present). Sea level continues to rise at a rate of about one-eighth of an inch per year.

    Higher sea levels mean that deadly and destructive storm surges push farther inland than they once did, which also means more frequent nuisance flooding. Disruptive and expensive, nuisance flooding is estimated to be from 300 percent to 900 percent more frequent within U.S. coastal communities than it was just 50 years ago.”

    • Avatar Doug Cook says:

      “…Sea level continues to rise at a rate of about one-eighth of an inch per year.” That is exactly what I have been saying Randy…from your very own source. They admit that sea level rise is on eighth of an inch a year..not 2 feet or 6 feet or 10 feet where Dr Craig thinks it is heading. But 1/8th of an inch. About what it has been since they have been keeping tide charts

      • Avatar Randy says:

        NOAA is your source as well as mine, remember Doug? (NOAA) “The pace of global sea level rise nearly doubled from 1.7 mm/year throughout most of the twentieth century to 3.1 mm/year since 1993.” Intelligent, responsible people look down the road to see where they heading.

        • Avatar Doug Cook says:

          Randy…1.7mm a year is less than the width of a dime or to be exact, 0.0669291 inches. So in a hundred years it rose by 0.0669291 inches which is well into the margin of error. and from that you are going to extrapolate that the sea level will rise to 10 ft in 80 years? Really?

  9. Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

    And I hope ANews does not turn into the Record Searchlight where Doug Craig’s columns were hijacked by a few commenters posting the same links in debating amongst themselves.

    • Avatar Randy says:

      Is this me? Even though this topic is about AGW, a matter of science, I will refrain from posting links to climate science until at least one person expresses interest in the links I post. Don’t want to “highjack” anything.

  10. Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

    All one has to do is go to NOAA’s home page and learn all the ways different governments, scientists, groups and others are finding and creating ways to help Earth combat climate change. I could post separate links to ways coral reefs are being saved but one post is sufficient. NOAA makes interesting reading.

    • Barbara Rice Barbara Rice says:

      I agree – but I have always found it difficult to find exactly what I am looking for on the NOAA page. Once I find it, I bookmark it, if someone has the link, that’s even better.

      • Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

        Actually Doug Craig’s blog comment section was taken over by some commenter in the Midwest, maybe, who was posting every couple of minutes. And another commenter with the opposite views was doing the same.

        • Avatar Randy says:

          You might be referring to D R Tucker, an environmental journalist for various publications. Doug Craig aired an interview with him on KKRN earlier this month.

        • Avatar Randy says:

          Can’t remember if it was D R Tucker but I do remember a person from ‘back east’ who was so prolific in posting scientific facts to rebut denial that I just took a break. He would post volumes for days.

  11. Avatar Randy says:

    Good enough and I will strive to keep my posts concise and relevant to topic.

  12. Avatar Randy says:

    The information NOAA provides is so vast no one person can know it all. By posting links to the specific information we are discussing more people will hopefully open the links and eventually discover how easy it is to locate the scientific facts being discussed.

  13. Avatar Randy says:

    It is far past time to quit arguing about whether reality is real or not and begin addressing the most responsible way to deal with AGW. “Rostin Behnam, a top financial regulator and member of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, is sounding the alarm, urging the public to understand the risks associated with climate change, comparing them to the mortgage meltdown that led to the Great Recession.”