About the Author


  • Bob Marshall is an avid outdoorsman, conservation editor at large for Field & Stream, and the winner of two Pulizter Prizes for his work at The New Orleans Times-Picayune, where his reporting on outdoors sports and the issues that affect sportsmen have taken him across the globe.

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« Will The Mining Industry Drive Yellowstone Cutthroats Extinct? | Main | Hot About Global Warming »

February 05, 2007

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Ignore Our President: Global Warming Is Real, and Caused By Man

When the world's foremost climatologists reported last week that global warming was real, caused by human activity, proceeding faster than thought, already causing serious environmental damage, and, if left unchecked, could threaten the future of life forms on this planet, the Bush Administration responded just as we have grown to expect: It didn't say much, or anything new.

To the many sportsmen who wonder why politics is such a big part of reporting on conservation issues, there can be no better--or sadder--example. Whether you hunt and fish on private leases or public lands, the future of your sports are linked directly to the health of the greater ecosystem in which you roam, boat, or wade. Just as selenium leaching from waste rock at a phosphate mine 100 miles away can kill the trout on your stretch of private water, a rising global temperature will not stop at your posted signs. And that's why it isn't enough for a politician--especially a president--to proclaim his love just for hunting and fishing. If he doesn't show as much love for the environment that makes fish and game possible, he's a bigger threat to sportsmen than any animal rights group.

This president and the congress that blindly followed him for six years have a lot to answer for to all sportsmen. In the words of former Secretary of the Interior Stewart Udall, this may have been the first administration in history that was “anti-conservation.”

And they didn't try to hide it. Vice-President Dick Cheney set the tone with his famously sneering comment in 2001 that "Conservation may be a sign of personal virtue, but it is not a sufficient basis for a sound, comprehensive energy policy."

They backed it up by inviting lobbyists from their largest campaign contributors--oil, gas, coal and other energy industries--to write an energy policy that ignored conservation and needlessly swept aside long-held environmental protections to allow more production and more consumption of fossil fuels.

And when the world's top climate scientists issued one report after another that burning fossil fuels was the primary cause of global warming, the Bush Administration's reaction was scorn, ridicule, and a gag order. In recent testimony to Congress the Union of Concerned Scientists, one of the most respected scientific groups in the world, reported repeated attempts by the administration to change scientific findings on the subject, including deleting references to the potential fallout from rising temperatures in scientific reports, omitted the terms ‘global warming' and ‘climate change' in correspondence, and barring scientists from speaking with reporters without the presence of a political operative. Their entire report is available here.

Any time science conflicted with ideology in this administration, science always lost. When Bush wanted insight into global warming, he invited science fiction writer Michael Crichton to the White House for a chat – because Crichton's novel “State of Fear” was a thriller about scheming scientists using faulty global warming disaster scenarios to manipulate the government. Meanwhile, instead of asking for a chat with the nation's leading climate scientist - James E. Hansen, longtime director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies - Bush's administration had him gagged because his research showed global warming was real and a serious threat.

In discussions over how history will judge the presidency of George W. Bush, most debate focuses on his foreign policy, fiscal policy, and his style of politics. But the far more lasting impact his tenure will have on sportsmen will be his policy on the environment. It will not be a happy legacy for the nation – and especially for sportsmen.

There's little doubt the damage done to fish and game through the policies set in place by Bush over the last six years will take many more years to repair. We should start now.

Comments

BrdDWM

Im not saying the Bush Adm. hasn't backhanded the environment. Anyone with a half a brain can see that. However, to say that global warming is real and caused by man is just too much. A couple of weeks ago it snowed in my hometown in SoCal for the first time in 16 years and the 2006 hurricane season; which was predicted by every hot air head environmentalist; to be bigger and badder than any previous one fizzled out and the subject was never revisited. Im not saying the world isnt heating up. It is and has been for the last thousands of years odds are it going to continue. I personally believe that man isnt powerful enough to be responsible for all these weather changes instead i think God is behind it

"Thou shalt be visited of the LORD of hosts with thunder, and with earthquake, and great noise, with storm and tempest, and the flame of devouring fire." Isiah 29:6

Bryant

I find it interesting that when it comes to global weather change, everyone thinks they are more qualified and know more than virtually all of the world's top scientists. I had no idea so many people on the Field & Stream message boards have advanced degrees in the earth sciences as well as decades of climate research experience to share.

Look, I would never go to the American Medical Association and claim that they are going about brain surgery all wrong. Why? Because I am in no way qualified to do so. I have a rudimentary understanding about how the brain works, and limited personal experience that Ive seen in my own life, but that's it. I have to take thier word for it because I recognize they know a hell of a lot more than I do.

I dont claim to understand how the earths climate works as a whole. Thats why (just like on matters of brain surgery) I have to defer to experts on the matter. If there is someone here who doesnt believe in global warming and can give me empirical evidence and panels of experts that indicate that humans are in no way contributing to it, Id love to know, because it seems the people that do know, are pointing in the other direction.

Mike Diehl

"It is and has been for the last thousands of years odds are it going to continue."

That is not correct.

"I personally believe that man isnt powerful enough to be responsible for all these weather changes"

Your belief is mistaken.

"instead i think God is behind it"

whatever.

BrdDOWM

To Mike "the all knowing" Diehl
The glaciers started declining about 18,000 years ago and somehow i not surprised that they are still receding. So mister Diehl is somehow prehistoric man responsible for this climate change or maybe, just, maybe do these things just happen. Does there have to be an answer? Sure the Earth continues to heat up (it hasnt shown serious signs of stopping) and ya, animals like the wooly mammoth will go extinct but new ones will take their place.
Big Deal.

To Bryant
If you lived if 1492 you would propably laughing your butt off as Christopher Columbus sailed away because 'virtually all of the world's top scientists' thought the world was flat and they 'know a hell of a lot more than' you do so they must be right. Right?
In the worlds of Bill O'Reilly 'you my friend are a KoolAid drinker'

Garrick

Two weeks ago the CEOs of ten of America's largest corporations--including BP America, Alcoa, GE, Caterpillar, and others--went on TV and announced that GLOBAL WARMING WAS INDEED REAL AND WAS THE RESULT OF HUMAN ACTIVITY. They also urged the government to take steps to address the issue in order to stave off the geopolitical and economic crisis that would follow a drastic change in the earth's climate. Among their reccomendations were the implementation of mandatory emissions caps.

Please, if climate change is a hoax, explain to me what these corporations have to gain by calling for increased regulation.

Paul

To: BrdDOWM

If you look into the tumultous history and long line of the Kool-Aid drinkers in this nation, you will see the vast majority waiting in line were of the religious right! Jim Jones and Branch Dividians immediately come to mind. As a fellow Christian, I had deep reservations about pointing that fact out to you, but the rants that followed your initial posting convinced me otherwise. I guess that just goes to show that Bill O'Reilly is a complete and utter moron.

I believe with my whole being, that global warming is happening and man's activities are a major contributor to it. That as a reasoning entity here on earth we can lessen our impacts on global warming, and that the United States should be a leader,not a follower in this battle.

God has also given me a calling... and that is to speak the truth!

BrdDOWM

To 'wanabe' Paul 'Revere'
(pretending to be some hero warning us of some rapidley decending danger in the middle of the night)

'I believe with my whole being' yadda yadda yadda 'God has also given me a calling' yadda yadda yadda. you sound more like the french maid Joan of Arc than any american man i know. Stop spewing this wacko artsy-fartsy transcendantalists stuff

Mike Diehl

@BrdDOWM

Not all-knowing. I just happen to know alot about climate history. I get paid to (but I'm not a climatologist, so I'm not getting gov't money or XOM money to spin the story).

The Earth has indeed had cycles of warming and cooling and has indeed in recent times (say, the last 10Ky) been both (at times) warmer and cooler.

SOME of these instances are explanable in light of known variation in solar input (because the sun has cycles, and also because of cycles in the relationship between the northern hemisphere summer and apogee/perigee in the Earth's distance from the sun).

Others are explanable to short term catastrophic events that led to sudden cooling (particular the sudden failure of ice dams holding back trillions of tons of fresh water and their effects on oceanic currents).

The current one is not explanable by changes in the sun, the position of the earth's orbit, or catastrophic freshwater floods. On the other hand, it does correlate (statistically) very nicely with actual (and going back a little, estimated) CO2 output for the last 150 years. Since the physical properties of ultraviolet and infrared radiation are known, there are established and well-documented relationships between CO2 concentrations (and other GHGs) and their effects ("energy trapping") of solar radiation.

You may recall that in the 1970s there were fears of global cooling. Those fears were predicated on known solar patterns; if solar input were the only forcing agent behind global temperature change, WE SHOULD BE COOLING OFF. But we're not.

These well established uncontestable facts are why 99% of the climate science community thinks THIS episode of warming is largely human driven.

The real questions that need to be addressed are: (1) How bad would it be? As the "critics" have pointed out, the computer *forecasting* models don't give us alot of confidence in predictions here. (Problems in forecasting have no bearing on the documented fact that global warming is happening and that humans are contributing to it. Thus, just because you got more snow in East Peanut this year, does not refute the fact that GW is happening and that humans are driving it).

2. What should be done about it? Heck, I *own* lots of oil stock. IMO the oil industry should retool as an energy industry, and put more emphasis on sustainable energy practices. The principal reasons for doing this are (IMO) salutary effects on the economy and enhancing national security.

3. I think Kyoto is a nutty arrangement. Who decided that China, India, or other "developing" nations warrant an exemption? Especially when the "developing ones" are doing their level best to convert virgin rainforsts (good CO2 traps) into grazing lands.

You may not like the fact that global warming is happening and that humans are driving it. But that point is no longer worthy of debate, because no objective person would argue against the claim.

The question that needs to be debated is (1) What will the effects be? (2) Do we care? and (3) If we care, what is the best response for the US to attempt?

Bryant

BrdDWM,
Ahhh, history... now here is something I can claim some sort of authority on. It has long been known that a large percentage of scientists and astronomers at the time of Christopher Columbus' voyage had strong suspicions that the earth was indeed round and not flat. It was largely the Christian church that was propagating the belief that the earth was flat and the earth revolved around the sun. If you are trying to glean any lesson from that story, it should probably be that the scientific community is a more credible authority on scientific matters than the religious community.

Bryant

Now answer the question,
Where is your evidence that man has had no contribution to global warming. While it may be fun to base scientific policy off of "gut feelings" and speculation, it certainly is not responsible.

Robert L Johns

Global warming must be one of the reasons duck hunting has been so poor in the last few years in Arkansas and other southern states.
Ducks have been staying north and not completing their migrations until late January.
Duck seasons should be changed to current migrations.

Tim

Believing humans can cause or cure global warming is a ego problem. Humans are insignificant bugs in the scheme of the Lord. He alone is in charge. Only people who do not believe in God, believe we are in control of the world. Gobal warming is a cycle of nature as God intended.

David Loeffler

Junk science is still junk science. Global warming is junk science and a tool of the control freak politicians and “know-nothing” party. Man's influence is there, but comes so far down the scale as to be ludicrous. When Mt. Pinaturbo blew up a while ago it spewed more pollutants into the atmosphere in a short time than man had done in the last 500 years. Get Real!
I heard the same atmospheric data interpreted 30 years ago to mean an incipient ice age was coming. We are overdue for an ice age so if global warming is real keep it up.

Roscoe

These two articles are very insightful. The thing I hate about the whole global warming debate is that if you don't immediately subscribe to the belief that the world is warming entirely because of human beings, then you are ridiculed.

http://www.canadafreepress.com/2006/harris061206.htm

http://www.canadafreepress.com/2007/global-warming020507.htm

Larry Switzer

Right......and 30 years ago it was global cooling caused by the cloud cover created by the burning of fossil fuels - per the so called leading scientists. Man has little to no impact on global warming if it is happening. It is caused by solar cycles and the decrease of the magnetic field of the earth (10% over the past 100 yrs) which protects us from solar radiation. This is pure politics!

Sean Duncan

If the scientists for the Weather Channel amd NOAA do not believe humans are affecting global warming, then I will stick with them.
It is sad that a hunting and fishing magazine is being taken over by the liberal media like everything else.
Enough Bush bashing Bob. We all have cars, electrical items, and houses to heat. Some of us even have to work 100+ hours a week in midwest oilfields or midatlantic coal minds to pay for these things. Yes, bad stuff is going in the air and it is been happening for many administrations. So I do my part to conserve the environment. However, I still drive a suburban and use electricty and gas heat daily so I do not blame the government for the problems my fellow American and I cause the environment.


Rick

Gentlemen, Whether global warming is happening or not is really not a good justification for cleaning and protecting our environment. We, particularly as sportsmen, have a DUTY to see that our environment is protected. It was not too long ago (in my lifetime and I am 46) that we had dead rivers, river that caught fire, and places I would not eat a fish from. We stepped up to the plate and with (unfortunalely) government help and regulation cleaned up these rivers. There is NO question that exhaust from fossil fuel engines has a negative impact on the environment. There is evidence that most lead poisoning of waterfowl was from runoff of exhaust emissions. Fewer cases of lead poisoning today. Ban on lead shot or less poison from runoff? Probably both.

My point is we have nothing to loose by finding alternate sources of energy,cleaning up our messes and being good stewards of our land, water, and air. If you believe in God, read your bible. We were commanded to be good stewards of his resources.

Can we stop global warming, if it exists? I dont know but am skeptical. Can we stop climate change if that is what this is all about? No. But shouldnt we try and leave this world cleaner for our kids and grandkids? Hell Yes!

And to be a hot headed person who blames everyone else for the actions of our country is completely irresopnsible. How many environmental waclo have given up thier car? Leather shoes or meat? Have installed solar panel on thier houses? Damn few.

Mike Diehl

"Global warming is junk science"

That is incorrect.

"Man's influence is there, but comes so far down the scale as to be ludicrous."

That claim is not supported by the data.

"When Mt. Pinaturbo blew up a while ago it spewed more pollutants into the atmosphere in a short time than man had done in the last 500 years."

That claim is flatly incorrect.

"It is caused by solar cycles"

Although that claim is true for some past climate changes, that claim is not correct for the current trend.

"and the decrease of the magnetic field of the earth (10% over the past 100 yrs) which protects us from solar radiation."

That is for almost totally incorrect.

The Earth's geomagnetic field protects us from solar emissions of certain charged particles, not all wavelengths of solar radiation. The geomagnetic field in particular does not do diddly squat about infrared or ultraviolet, which are the two kinds of solar radiation that matter when discussing global warming.

So, yes the Earth's geomagnetic field is changing and nothing in the physics makes it an important factor for climate change in the short term.

Were the Earth to go without a geomagnetic field for, say, 10 million years, we'd lose some atmosphere from interaction between the upper stratosphere and solar ionizing radiation. Given enough time (100 million years?) this could become a real problem. It is not the sort of thing one would observe any visible effects from in the course of a few human lifetimes, even if the geomag field shut down completely.

Mike Diehl

"If the scientists for the Weather Channel amd NOAA do not believe humans are affecting global warming, then I will stick with them."

The weather channel guy isn't a scientist. He's a weather channel anchor. (Read, "actor, whose job it is to deliver the weather forecast). Most of the guys at NOAA have a high degree of confidence in the established fact of human agency in global warming.

Since Sean Duncan care's about NOAA's opinion see: http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/globalwarming.html#Q1

I quote:

"For the Northern Hemisphere summer temperature, recent decades appear to be the warmest since at least about 1000AD, and the warming since the late 19th century is unprecedented over the last 1000 years. Older data are insufficient to provide reliable hemispheric temperature estimates. Ice core data suggest that the 20th century has been warm in many parts of the globe, but also that the significance of the warming varies geographically, when viewed in the context of climate variations of the last millennium.

Large and rapid climatic changes affecting the atmospheric and oceanic circulation and temperature, and the hydrological cycle, occurred during the last ice age and during the transition towards the present Holocene period (which began about 10,000 years ago). Based on the incomplete evidence available, the projected change of 3 to 7°F (1.5 - 4°C) over the next century would be unprecedented in comparison with the best available records from the last several thousand years."

AND

" But, from the short record we have so far, the trend in solar irradiance is estimated at ~0.09 W/m2 compared to 0.4 W/m2 from well-mixed greenhouse gases."

Which, in English, means that the sun has put out less energy (-.09 Watts per square meter) for the last 3 decades but greenhouse gas forcing has led to a net gain in energy capture.

Y'all can read the rest. To repeat the question isn't whether or not global warming is happening (it is), or whether humans are largely contributing to it (they are), but whether anything should be done about it.

Dan

I'm sorry B.M. But all the Pulitzers aside, I have not seen so much unsupported hooey since I was a young child and read Henny "The sky is falling" Penny. I have yet to see one whit of valid support for your hypothesis.

If anyone remembers,In November 06, the United Nations' report entitled "Livestock's Long Shadow" stated cows are the major emitter of harmful greenhouse gases, with cattle being responsible for a full 18 percent of greenhouse gases -- more than all transportation sources, including cars and planes, combined. Perhaps the first thing we should do is outlaw cattle, with sheep to soon follow. Yeah! Right!

The fight for Kyoto style controls has little to do with environmental stewardship and MUCH to do with transferring wealth from the western world to the east (China, India) and the south (Africa, S. America). Always remember to follow the money trail. The current class of pop scientists who actually support the human/global warming relationship rely on tortured logic and political ideology rather than acceptable research methodologies. Perhaps another childhood story we should remember is "The Emperor's New Clothes."


Troy

I've never heard of Bob Marshall but I think he's a prime candidate to be spokesman for Michael Moore and Al Gore. I can't belive this guy works for F&S. As for Global Warming THEORY- it's just that. You can't pull the plug on existing energy policies when you don't have a clue if the new, radical carbon emission reduction legislation will work in the first place. Do you have any idea what those regulations will do to our energy costs? No, this is not the answer to a T-H-E-O-R-Y. This article is nothing more than a warm fart in the wind...

Plan and simple Global Warming is happening, has been for thousands of years. However we are helping it. No not as much as much as others think but we are. If its mostly natural what can we do?

Chris

OK, but scientist do disagree. http://www.uah.edu/News/newsread.php?newsID=291

BrdDWN

Scientist cant even accuratley predict the weather for next monday and some of you guys trust them to predect decades into the future???? The bottom line is money is a the main motivator and you can bet somebody is funding these tests.
I think we as sportsman should concentrate on fixing thing that we know are going wrong. (i.e. we know its not a theory that shrinking wetlands and dwindling duck populations are connected so instead of blowing smoke lets fix that first). Then Mike Diehl and the rest of his pinko-commie hippie Save the Spotted Owl freinds can preach socialism and try to make us pay for everyones healthcare.

Mike Diehl

"Scientist cant even accuratley predict the weather for next monday"

Actually, they give you an accurate statistical prediction. If yer having trouble with the forecast, it's likely because you don't understand what they're telling you.

"and some of you guys trust them to predect decades into the future????"

A reasonable statistical prediction, why yes, I do.

"The bottom line is money is a the main motivator"

That claim is not correct. Most of the scientists would make a lot more money peddling denialist "critiques" of global warming or human agency therein.

"and you can bet somebody is funding these tests."

Yes they are. We (taxpayers) also fund medical research that benefits us as well. Oddly, few people are advocating "faith based medicine" or claiming that "cancer is just a theory." Hmmm.

"Then Mike Diehl.."

As usual yer incorrect.

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