Global Warming: Man or Myth?

Scientists can also wear their citizen hats

Long Island Climate Change Doubters: Let’s Have Coffee and Talk

with 21 comments

Recently, I was interviewed by a Long Island Press reporter for their cover story Heating Up: Long Island’s Global Warming VulnerabilityI highly recommend reading that comprehensive article if you are an area resident.  After the article appeared online, I noticed that there were some doubters in the comments section so I made this offer:

We are changing the climate because we are overloading the air with carbon and this carbon is very effective at trapping heat.  There are many lines of evidence that show the human fingerprint of climate change.  The evidence is so compelling that virtually every climate expert on the planet agrees humans are now dominating climate change.

We have the technologies now that are needed to put us on the path of reducing our carbon emissions.  The military, businesses, and everyday people are already taking action.  It is time that we tell our leaders to also take action.  There is still time but the window of opportunity is quickly closing.  It is urgent that we act now.

Solving the climate change problem offers tremendous economic opportunity and has the benefit of securing our national security and improving our public health.

To those that are still skeptical about human-caused climate change, I am willing to have a conversation with you over a cup of coffee.  I promise I will be friendly.  You have nothing to lose except for some time if you walk away unconvinced.

(The semester ends next week so if I do not return the call please try back in late January.)

Scott A. Mandia Professor – Physical Sciences, Asst. Chair
T-202 Smithtown Science Bldg.
Suffolk County Community College
533 College Rd. Selden, NY  11784
mandias@sunysuffolk.edu
631-451-4104

So far I have not been taken up on this offer but it still stands.  If you want to have a chat, please contact me.

Written by Scott Mandia

December 19, 2011 at 7:16 am

21 Responses

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  1. A generous offer on your part, Scott, but I don’t think most of the deniers are motivated by facts and reason. They have other agendas.

    Mandia: That may be true for about 10% of Americans (see http://environment.yale.edu/climate/news/SixAmericasMay2011/) but most are reachable. The others can change their minds once they realize how climate change impacts their lives and how there are great economic opportunities for those that act now.

    Hunt Janin

    December 19, 2011 at 7:21 am

    • Yea, facts and reason like presenting melting glaciers and swimming polar bears as evidence that anthropogenic CO2 causes the climate to change. Deniers mistakenly think that melting glaciers and swimming polar bears are evidence that the climate changes only, they are not evidence that CO2 is the cause.

      But of course they have other agendas which cloud the facts and reason.

      Mandia: There are many lines of evidence for CO2-caused warming. What evidence do you have that shows it is NOT CO2? Please point to peer-reviewed scholarly work that shows how record high emissions of heat-trapping gases are somehow not obeying the laws of physics.

      klem

      December 19, 2011 at 9:03 am

  2. Great idea to start a dialogue, Scott. I think it’s worthwhile and important to reach out to anybody willing to engage with even a slightly open mind.

    But I have a friendly suggestion, based on Richard Alley’s suggestion. You might perhaps revise the invitation slightly at the end, to make it a more mutual, rather than just a date to “tell you why we know.” More people will respond to an invitation to a two-way conversation, than to a lecture. And most are only open to new information once they’ve had a chance to speak their mind and feel genuinely listened to and heard.

    Just a thought….

    Mandia: Tom, you are spot on! I edited the last parapgraph and it does sound better. Thank you.

    Tom Smerling

    December 19, 2011 at 2:59 pm

  3. What we need is more people like you offering such a service. Can The Powers That Be be persuaded to launch a massive world-wide public education campaign?

    … on second thoughts, that might give the denial industry another mantra: “it’s all a sham and a hoax and a conspiracy engineered to put academics on the gravy train for life.”

    pendantry

    December 20, 2011 at 8:50 am

  4. Scott, how willing would you be to go on-air (by phone) on a Canadian right-wing talk show if I can swing an invite?

    I have to warn you, it would not be a friendly environment and the host is completely ignorant of science – he’s an ex-lawyer.

    Mandia: Yes, very willing.

    GaryB

    December 21, 2011 at 9:34 pm

    • Thanks Scott. I’ll start phoning in to the talk show and bugging the host to give you a call. Can I use the email and phone number you’ve listed above?

      Mandia: Have them send me an email. I will not be at the office number until late January. The fall semester has ended.

      GaryB

      December 22, 2011 at 11:22 am

      • Great idea, Gary. I think it is so important to engage this audience, which likely includes a lot of somewhat skeptical people who haven’t yet formed a solid opinion.

        Be sure somebody records the show, unless it will be archived online. Then, if it goes well, we can post it on SkS and/or Climatebites.org for analysis, training purposes and “lessons learned.”

        We did that with a few of John A’s ARNN interviews, in our “Home Runs!” collection at http://www.climatebites.org/climate-communication-tools/138-John-Abraham-on-AM-Talk-Radio-Minnesota-nice-but-never-back-down. I learn from the occasional mistakes as well as when he knocks it over the fence.

        Mandia: Tom, here is my latest ARNN radio interview.

        Tom Smerling

        December 22, 2011 at 1:22 pm

      • It may take a week or so to convince the host to email you. I’ve contributed to making him look foolish a couple of times on air (not intentionally) so he shortens my on-air comments and has blocked my email.

        GaryB

        December 23, 2011 at 11:25 am

  5. Tom, all of the broadcasts are saved for podcasts so it shouldn’t be a problem.

    I hate to say this Tom, but even with the dozens of AGW/CC blogs I have bookmarked I’d not heard of your site till just now. I just bookmarked Climatebites.org and dragged it to the top of my list. Thanks.

    GaryB

    December 23, 2011 at 11:29 am

    • Thanks Gary. BTW, I’m not surprised you haven’t heard of CB yet. We’re still very new, and small.

      So I hope you enjoy it — we try to keep it fun — and will add your comments etc. on the site if something grabs you.

      (PS We’re real newbies to blogging/networking etc., so any ideas you have for how to “get the word out” about ClimateBites will be most appreciated!)

      Tom Smerling

      December 23, 2011 at 1:00 pm

  6. Scott Mandia will be crushed by the “right winger”….Scott is a fool and will not allow anyone to be a denier. There are no proven facts, about GW, All Gore is all about Money. follow the money. And Michael Mann needs a defense website for a lawyer. He was caught red handed. There is no global warming or climate change, or global cooling, like Jimmy Carter talked about….get a grip all you so called scientists. This is all about Money and grant money for Michael Mann…if he wasn’t caught lying in his emails, then what???? He lied and so did others. Climate change is dead, forget it guys, the public will not go for it…we know better. Again follow the money.

    Jane

    February 5, 2012 at 1:02 pm

    • Jane,

      Shall we make a date for coffee?

      Follow the money? Please see:

      Take the money for grant(ed) – part I
      Take the money for grant(ed) – part II

      Then drive through the faculty parking lot of any geosciences educational institution and see what these “rich scientists” are driving. 🙂

      ExxonMobil makes $2 billion in profits each MONTH and yet they have no scientist that has published anything that remotely challenges the current science that humans are causing warming. I wonder why?

      Scott Mandia

      February 5, 2012 at 1:12 pm

    • Jane — Collapsing into a fit of name-calling and accusations devoid of evidence is hardly a way to convince others.

      Of all the denialist arguments, the money one is the most pathetic. Just stop in the faculty parking lot outside the Earth Sciences bldg at any university. How many Mazeratis and Rolls Royces do you see?

      Then go check out the life styles of oil industry executives.

      If you’re a freshly-minted Geology PhD and you want to get rich, where would you go work? Teaching Geology 101 in a university, or helping Exxon Mobil find oil?

      One famous denier of climate science, a former oil geologist, of climate denial gets paid $600,000K/year just for attending 4 board meetings a year with, you guessed it, an oil company. $600K for 4 days work. That’s more than your average Assistant Professor makes in a decade.

      So you’re right about one thing: Follow the money! And see where the big money leads….

      Tom Smerling

      February 5, 2012 at 2:11 pm

    • Jane, I’m afraid memorizing denialist talking points and regurgitating them really isn’t convincing.

      GaryB

      February 5, 2012 at 3:28 pm

  7. oops. Sorry for the redundancy with Dr. Mandia’s comment — I hadn’t seen it when I wrote; was just reponded to an email notification. 🙂

    Tom Smerling

    February 5, 2012 at 2:25 pm

  8. “but most are reachable”

    I used to be one of those global warming deniers, but was eventually convinced.

    The thing is, people who are genuinely curious can look at raw data themselves and see the obvious. As a Long Islander, I decided to see what temperature data I could find for Long Island and was able to find a page on the NOAA website where you can access monthly reports from their climate monitoring stations. I chose Mineola and looked at the data for the months of April, July and November from the year 1969 when I was born up to 2011 (with some data pulled from Wantagh or Patchogue where the Mineola data was incomplete).

    What I did next was to count the number of days each month where the highest temperature of the day fell within a certain temperature range. For example, for the month of November, for each year starting in 1969, I would put in the number of days the highest temperature was between 30 and 39 degrees, 40 and 49 degrees and so forth. Once all that was done, I converted the totals into bar graph charts. Examining the charts, it becomes clear that Long Island has been experiencing warming since the latter half of the 1980’s. What the data shows is that over time, there are fewer days each month where the highest temperature falls in the lower range and more days each month where the highest temperature falls in the higher range each month. The data speaks for itself.

    Tommykey

    February 8, 2012 at 11:30 pm

  9. Scott — Just listened to your ARNN interview (linked above).

    Especially liked the way you summed up the problem:

    “We’re headed toward this cliff, and instead of taking our foot off the gas, we’re stepping on the pedal.”

    And you parried the host’s Roy Spenser thrust with a real zinger:

    “If you heard on the radio that one in 50 dentists recommend chewing this gum, I don’t think you’d rush out to buy it,” and kept pivoting back to “you have to look at the body of evidence, not a specific article.”

    Nice job.

    Mandia: Thanks!

    Tom Smerling

    February 9, 2012 at 10:20 am


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