Science and Politics: Global Warming

Is it hot in here, or is it just me.: Research and debate continues on global warming. Image by ! "S4N7Y" !
Is it hot in here, or is it just me.: Research and debate continues on global warming. Image by ! "S4N7Y" !

(With the Republican National Convention literally across the street, the Science Museum of Minnesota will be closed starting Friday, August 29. But Science Buzz marches on! To honor our convention guests, I’ll be posting entries focusing on issues where science and politics overlap. Hopefully this will spur some discussion. Or at least tick some people off.)

Let’s start with a nice, safe topic. Like global warming. Because Lord knows, we haven’t discussed that enough.

We recently passed an important milestone in the climate change debate: it was 20 years ago this summer that global warming became a political issue in America, thanks to NASA’s Jim Hansen testifying before Congress. (Some wags have noted that the global temperature in June 2008 was cooler than in June 1988--but that’s weather, not climate.)

There was a dust-up recently concerning the American Physical Society, a leading scientific organization. One of its units, the APS Forum, published a paper by Christopher Monckton arguing that carbon’s impact on climate has been greatly overstated. The Forum intends to publish additional papers in its journal, Physics and Society, as part of a public debate on global warming science.

Some in the news media inaccurately reported that the APS itself had reversed its stance on global warming. This was not the case—the society as a whole maintains that human activity is the main cause of recent climate change. The journal is put out by APS Forum, which is just one of 19 units within the larger organization. But at least they are willing to have the debate.

Meanwhile, Australian astronomer Ian Wilson is predicting global cooling. His research finds that the main driver of Earth’s climate is the Sun’s activity, and that has been decreasing of late.

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

Thanks for keeping Science Buzz on target. We don't need any more Legos stories.

posted on Fri, 08/29/2008 - 11:48pm

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