We have just published an interview with noted climate scientist Roger Pielke, Sr., a retired professor of atmospheric science at Colorado State University, Ft. Collins, and a senior research scientist at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Since July 2005 he has written and maintained Climate Science, a blog that serves as a scientific forum for dialogue and commentary on climate issues.
|Dr. Roger Pielke, Sr.
“Scientific rigor has been sacrificed,
and poor policy and political decisions
will inevitably follow.”
The timing is appropriate, insofar as this week the nations of the world gather in Bali, Indonesia, for another UN Climate Change Conference. Anyone concerned about climate change would be advised to read this interview with Dr. Pielke, because it appears the UN, the IPCC, Al Gore, and all the rest of them may have it wrong – what if burning fossil fuel is not the primary cause of climate change? What if land use changes – rainforest destruction in particular – is an equal or greater culprit?
In August 2007 Dr. Pielke organized a conference of scientists to look at the role of land use changes affecting climate, and here is what he said regarding the conclusions coming from that event: “This meeting reconfirmed the first order role of land management as a climate forcing mechanism. These findings supported the conclusions of the 2005 National Research Council report “Radiative Forcing of Climate Change: Expanding the Concept and Addressing Uncertainties,” which identified land use change as having a major effect on climate. Unfortunately, the role of land surface processes was underreported in the body of the IPCC report and was essentially ignored in the IPCC Statement for Policymakers.”
When asked if tropical forests can moderate extreme weather, and conversely, if tropical deforestation could be as significant a driver in climate change as anthropogenic CO2, Pielke didn’t mince words: “Tropical deforestation clearly has an effect on both regional and global climate that is at least as important as the radiative effect of adding CO2. When forests are removed, not only does the climate system lose the biodiversity and other benefits of that environment, the vegetation loses its ability to dynamically respond in ways that reduce extreme weather fluctuations. For example, when trees access deeper water through their roots, the resulting transpiration of water vapor into the atmosphere (making rain more likely) can help ameliorate dry conditions when the large-scale weather pattern is one of drought.”
And what about the IPCC? As Pielke states: “The same individuals who are doing primary research into humans’ impact on the climate system are being permitted to lead the assessment of that research… To date, either few people recognize this conflict, or those that do choose to ignore it because the recommendations of the IPCC fit their policy and political agenda. In either case, scientific rigor has been sacrificed, and poor policy and political decisions will inevitably follow.”
As delegates to the UN Climate Change Conference gather in Indonesia this week, the burning rainforests of Borneo – to name just one heartbreaking example – cast a plume of smoke that is visible from space. Burning to make room for oil palm plantations, subsidized by European carbon offset payments. Pity the Orangutan who lived in these regions that remained pristine until the IPCC came along. And pity the rainforest lungs of this good earth – they are being destroyed in the name of fighting CO2 emissions, and well intentioned environmentalists whose activism encouraged this devastation are waking up too slow, too late. Will anyone stand up in Bali and expose this travesty; this tragedy?