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Imprecision of the Phrase “Global Warming”

Filed under: — gavin @ 31 December 2004

Guest Contribution by Michael Tobis, University of Chicago

Consider the possibility that the expression “global warming” has become a problematic one, and that it might be best to avoid it.

A big part of the public confusion about climate change comes from sloppy language. The naysayers prey on this confusion, very much as their peers prey on the phrase “evolutionary theory” to suggest that “evolution, well, it’s just a theory”.

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Will-full ignorance

Filed under: — eric @ 26 December 2004

It is not worthwhile for RealClimate to post a response to each misinformed newspaper commentary on climate change that we come across. However, George Will’s recent article in the Washington post (in which he praises Michael Crichton’s State of Fear) perhaps deserves special attention because Will is so widely read and respected. We find it disappointing that Will appears not to have bothered looking up the most basic facts before writing his article. See also our earlier post on the George Will article.

We have already posted detailed responses to State of Fear. Here, we respond briefly to the points Will tries to make. The italics are direct quotes from his article.

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George Will-misled and misleading

Filed under: — Ray Bradley @ 24 December 2004

In a Washington Post Opinion article on December 22, 2004, commentator George Will applauds Michael Crichton’s new book, State of Fear. We have already pointed out some of the more egregious scientific errors in Crichton’s novel (see Michael Crichton’s State of Confusion ). Mr. Will compounds those errors and fails his own standards by making statements that are truly “innocent of information but overflowing with certitudes”.

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A Welcoming Nature

Filed under: — gavin @ 22 December 2004

Getting a serious paper into Nature or Science is deservedly hard. Getting a mention for your climate blog is apparently a little easier!

We are of course collectively very pleased that Nature has welcomed the effort so forthrightly. We only hope that we will be able to match up to their expectations. As with anything new, done by inexperienced first-timers who really should be concentrating on their actual jobs, there are bound to be teething problems. One, alluded to in the editorial and accompanying news story, is who gets to decide what’s posted, and getting the balance right between inclusiveness and clarity.

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How do we know that recent CO2 increases are due to human activities?

Filed under: — eric @ 22 December 2004 - (Svenska) (Español) (Français)

Note:This is an update to an earlier post, which many found to be too technical. The original, and a series of comments on it, can be found here. See also a more recent post here for an even less technical discussion.

Over the last 150 years, carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations have risen from 280 to nearly 380 parts per million (ppm). The fact that this is due virtually entirely to human activities is so well established that one rarely sees it questioned. Yet it is quite reasonable to ask how we know this.

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