Environmental concerns and climate change
Part 3: Christians,
Republicans' & Democrats'
differ. Volcanoes cause pauses in global
warming. Americans' views on climate change.
2013-JUL: Opposing statements by Christians:
2014-FEB: Pause in global warming caused by volcanoes:
Climate scientists have reached a near consensus that global warming is happening. However, the world's yearly average temperature does not increase smoothly. A temperature graph looks more like the side-view of a staircase rather than a smooth ramp. There are intervals of time, about 15 years in length when the average world temperature is relatively constant, and then a rapid temperature rise to a higher level:
Drawing of a staircase for visualization
(not a graph of global temperatures)
Webmaster's option (bias alert):
Climate change deniers often claim that global warming is not happening. As proof, they often point out that the world's temperature has been more or less constant over the past 15 years. Either:
- They are unaware of the staircase nature of global warming, in which case they can be ignored because they are not experts, or
- They are aware of the staircase phenomenon, in which case they can be ignored because they are being deceitful.
End of the bias alert.
As of 2014-MAR, we are nearing the end of an interval of relatively constant temperature and can expect a rapid increase in the near future.
Volcanoes are known to release tiny particles of sulphur high into the atmosphere. They reflect sunlight, prevent the sun's rays from warming the ground as much, and cause the Earth's surface temperatures to drop.
Dr Benjamin Santer wrote an article the journal Nature Geoscience which said in part:
"We show that climate model simulations without the effects of early 21st century volcanic eruptions overestimate the tropospheric warming observed since 1998. To reduce these uncertainties, better observations of eruption-specific properties of volcanic aerosols are needed, as well as improved representation of these eruption-specific properties in climate model simulations." 7
A massive volcanic eruption -- the largest in the 20th century -- occurred in 1991 when Mount Pinatubo exploded. It ejecting millions of tons of ash and gas into the atmosphere, reaching an altitude of 21 miles. The average world temperatures dropped by up to 0.5 C over the next two years. Seventeen smaller eruptions occurred between the year 2000 and 2009.
Professor Piers Forster, from the University of Leeds, specializes in the Earth's climate. He said:
"Volcanoes give us only a temporary respite from the relentless warming pressure of continued increases in CO2."
2014-MAR: Gallup's report on American's views of climate change:
Circa 2014-MAR-07, Gallup conducted a series of telephone interviews of 513 adults. The margin of error is ±6 percentage points. Views on climate change, as viewed by American adults are:
- Climate change is not a top concern:
Gallup found that topics like the economy, federal spending, federal budget deficit, healthcare, unemployment, etc. were of greatest concern to Americans. Climate change was the 14th concern in a list of 16 -- just above race relations. Only 25% of those polled worried about "... this problem a great deal...."
Gallup reported that: "Among Democrats and Democratic leaners, 45% say they worry a great deal about the quality of the environment. This percentage drops to 16% among Republicans and Republican leaners.
Gallup finds a 26-percentage-point difference in worry about climate change, with Democrats again more likely than Republicans to worry a great deal. Democrats, conversely, are much less worried than Republicans about the size and power of the federal government, and about federal spending and the budget deficit." 11
- Americans don't view global warming as a serious threat:
Gallup reported that 65% of American adults agree that global warming is happening now, or will happen during their lifetime. This number is unchanged over the previous two years. The value has stayed between 75% and 62% since 1998 when Gallup started to measure this parameter.
However only 36% believe that global warming will pose a serious threat to their way of life. Again, this belief has been relatively constant within 3 percentage points over the past two years. Perception that global warming will pose a serious threat has risen from 25% in 1998, reached a peak of 40% in 2008, and has varied between 32% to 38% since 2009. 12
- Americans don't link colder weather to climate change:
Gallup reports that 66% of Americans feel that their local temperatures have been colder this winter compared to previous years. Of this 66%:
- 46% believe that this is merely normal temperature variations.
- 19% believe that it is caused by human-caused climate change.
- 1% are unsure.
Gallup found that:
"Forty-seven percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents who perceive colder temperatures in their areas attribute this to climate change, compared with 11% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents who perceive colder temperatures.
Meanwhile, 51% of Democrats and Democratic leaners experiencing drought attribute it to global warming, compared with 14% of Republicans. ..."
Recent years have brought extreme weather to the United States and raised the possibility that it is evidence of global warming's effects. But Americans tend not to attribute this winter's colder weather in most of the country, or the drought in the Southwestern part of the country, to global warming or climate change. Rather, they are more likely to view these as simply normal variations in weather patterns, though Republicans are much more likely than Democrats to believe this. The belief that temperature extremes are part of normal variation is not new; almost eight in 10 Americans in 2012 thought that the temperatures that winter had been warmer than usual, but most of those also said this reflected normal variations rather than the effect of global warming. 13
Most North Americans are probably not aware that most of their region has experienced much colder than normal winter during 2013/2014, the world as a whole has heated up.
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
- Dan Bewley, "Oklahoma Scientists, Christians, Urge Congress To Act On Climate Change," NewsOn6.com, 2013-JUL-22, at: http://www.newson6.com/story/
- Hal Reed et al., "Petition to Speaker Boehner, et al., signed by 200 scientists/educators, Sojourners, 2013-JUL-10, at: http:/sojo.net
- Raveena Aulakh, "Rising sea levels will seal fate of 316 U.S. cities, study warns," Toronto Star, 2013-JUL-31, at: http://www.thestar.com/
- Rebecca Riffkin, "Climate change not a top worry in U.S.," Gallup, 2014-MAR-12, at: http://www.gallup.com/
- Jeffrey M. Jones, "In U.S., Most Do Not See Global Warming as Serious Threat," Gallup, 2014-MAR-13, at: http://www.gallup.com/
- Jeffrey M. Jones, "Americans Don't Attribute Colder Weather to Climate Change," Gallup, 2014-MAR-14, at: http://www.gallup.com/
- "Volcanoes behind global warming 'pause' - scientists," New Zealand Herald, 2014-FEB-24, at: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/
Copyright © 2013 & 2014 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally posted: 2013-JUL
Latest update: 2014-MAR-19
Author: B.A. Robinson