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Global Warming and Its Discontents

Posted on Mar 28, 2006
George Will

On ABC’s “This Week,” panelist George Will referenced a 1975 New York Times article that warned of global cooling. He said the article was evidence that scientists had been wrong on this topic before.

As George Will tries to refute the mountains of evidence pertaining to the threat of global warming, New Yorker reporter Elizabeth Kolbert discusses her new book on the subject.

Crooks and Liars:

ON “THIS Week” yesterday, George Will gave us all a science lesson on the topic of global warming. Katrina and Fareed disagree.

Will: “The fact is that any solution requires trillions of dollars of sacrifice from world economic growth. That’s trillions of dollars that won’t be spent on education, culture, aides prevention [“liberal causes”]. Are we sure we want to do this?”

Zakaria: I’m not sure that’s true George…


Buzz Flash:

Few of us have the opportunity to camp out on the Greenland ice sheet or gaze at mammoth icebergs floating lazily in the bay. But journalist Elizabeth Kolbert has, and her report to the rest of us is both awesome and unsettling - which is her intent. Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Man, Nature, and Climate Change truly sounds an alarm. Kolbert visited key research sites herself. She questioned the scientists, as well as local residents, and observed not only the data, but the land and seascapes firsthand. Her report tells us in layman’s terms what the world’s top climate researchers are already seeing. She wants us all to understand global warming, and why we can no longer ignore or deny it.


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By Russ George, April 14, 2006 at 4:45 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)


While Global Warming will become a great threat please consider a more immediate crisis of rising and high CO2 in the context of this blue planet we call Earth. Over 70% of this planet is ocean and since CO2 readily dissolves in water the CO2 in our air is destined to end up our oceans. Why is this the most critical and immediate real and present danger? It’s a simple and scary explanation. We all enjoy the tangy slightly acidic taste of CO2 dissolved in water whether it be trendy mineral water or a soft drink. It is dissolved CO2 in water makes that water acidic. While this is good for drinks in the oceans this produces an epoch crisis.

Eighty percent of all life on this blue planet lives in the oceans and most of that life is delicately balanced around the solubility of minerals principally calcium and silica. Today the acidity of the ocean has become 10% more acidic in the last few decades. This acidity is making calcium and silica carbonates much more soluble and as a result the organisms that rely on those carbonates are literally dissolving.

The consequence is that of the life in the oceans which comprises 80% of life on Earth of which half are plants like diatoms that require low acidity. Those plants are doomed.  The acidification of the oceans is already at dangerous levels and by the end of this century, by 2050 according to some experts, a majority of plant life in the ocean faces extinction. The most famous ocean scientist Henry Bryant Bigelow was once quoted as saying “All fish is diatoms (the most threatened of the ocean plants).” Like Walt Whitman’s observation “All beef is grass” this is a true statement and as go our diatoms so go our fish and all life that feed upon those fish.

There is a solution to this impending disaster, one which was proposed 17 years ago by another giant of ocean science, the late John Martin of California. Martin found that the ocean plants could be enormously stimulated by providing, indeed restoring, iron micronutrients to the oceans in tiny amounts. For over ten years I have worked on this concept and now my company, Planktos (, is following in Martin’s footsteps and working to restore now depleted ocean iron micronutrients and in doing so stimulate restored ocean productivity. We think the ocean plant life we restore might take as much as half of all the anthropogenic CO2 out of the air and ocean and convert it to stable non-acidic ocean plant biomass. This biomass will sink in large part to the ocean abyss where it will safely be sequestered for millennia thus reducing CO2 in air and water, buffering ocean acidity, and buying diatoms and fish and all other life that depends on a healthy ocean time while the world works to stop the madness that is the unabated burning of fossil fuels.

Russ George - President

Foster City, CA

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By Paul M Smith, March 29, 2006 at 11:42 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Forgive me readers, it appears I attributed the lunacy to the wrong idiots. Post #6021, improperly addressed to Jason Samenow, should properly have been addressed to Paul Merrifield. My error by just looking at the signature at the bottom, but understandable since positions taken by both men were so similar in their denial of widespread accumulated scientific evidence. Regardless, both of you both of you two need to get a firmer grip on the realities of GW.

Post #6022 was a response after watching George Will’s babble-speak, not that I expect more from George, who seems to have surrendered his objectivity to right-wing ideology, and panders to money more than people. It was rather disheartening to hear such an intelligent man (then again, as Forest Gump’s mother stated so succinctly, “Stupid is as stupid does”) go on so much about ‘trillions & trillions’ of dollars.

Guess what, George, the sword has two edges. Some estimates, from adverse effects of GW, put the death toll at several million people. Don’t these people’s lives & productivity have a monetary value also. This doesn’t even take into account the financial disruption caused by millions more being displaced. Just look at what havoc Katrina caused, and this was just a harbinger of future disasters. It could have been much worse. Two cyclones (Pacific hurricanes)killed a half-million people in Pakistan in the mid-1970’s. The number of storms in the Atlantic (& Gulf) this year is predicted to increase from last year. They are being attributed to rising sea temperatures. Far more serious is disruption of the Great Atlantic conveyer, which will recede south from an ocean salinity change caused by an increase of fresh water from melting glaciers. The ensuing North Atlantic ‘ice age’, and accompanying drought & desertification in southern latitudes, will squeeze people into a narrow band of latitude leading to a perpetual state of war fighting over shrunken resources. How many ‘trillions & trillions’ of dollars do you think all of this will cost Mr. Will?

As far as your ridiculous statement—-Will: “The fact is that any solution requires trillions of dollars of sacrifice from world economic growth. That’s trillions of dollars that won’t be spent on education, culture, aides prevention [“liberal causes”]. Are we sure we want to do this?”—-how about we concentrate some effort on social growth instead of only economic? The trillions are already in the loop, but they are currently wasted on things like war & such. If we kill the tax cuts for the wealthy and reduce wasteful unnecessary spending on the military budget & outmoded cold war programs we won’t have to have what has been referred to as “the reverse Robin Hood budget”, where congress has taken from the needy to give to those never satisfied until they have the whole pie for their greedy selves. 

All I can further say to you, George Will, is I hope you have a good set of waders & a heavy down coat, because in the upcoming cycle of global warming followed by global freezing you will need these items—-oh, and you’d better get yourself a weapon, too. You know, it might even be easier to wake up and smell the coffee about GW. Half of solving a problem is recognizing there is a problem, right?

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By Paul M Smith, March 29, 2006 at 5:07 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

With all the talk about global warming I’m surprised (not really with the presently malfunctioning mainstream media) at the lack of coverage given to a threat that could possibly kill all life forms on this planet down to a microbial level—-depleted uranium. Just look at how many soldiers who served in Gulf War I, and see the percentage who are now on permanent disability, to see a seriously skewed picture. Or, better yet, see the percentage of children born after the war to those vets, who have serious physical or mental abnormalities (67%). That’s two out of three children folks. And this is from a war in which the gov’t claims we only shot 325 tons of the stuff (estimates of several thousand tons eminate from this war in Iraq). It has been stated high altitude winds can carry radioactive material from these WMD across the Atlantic, shooting ourselves in the foot so to speak, so where is there any press coverage of this threat? I would say this is definitely a matter of national security, wouldn’t you?

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By Paul M Smith, March 29, 2006 at 4:40 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Jason Samenow (is this an alias?,
I can see you spent quite a bit of time writing this piece. Although according to you this is a controversial issue I wish you would spend your time (and my taxpayer dollars that are your ‘financial’ interest) doing more than propagating the Bush administration corporate fallicies. Actually you are wrong on quite a number of points, too time consuming to debate on a blog, but rather than give you the ‘facts’ I would advise you to start doing your homework.
    I will deal with one item you mentioned, however: “It can’t be too late to stop global warming because we should be able to stop something we started shouldn’t we?”.

    Let me ask you; If you see a danger sign on the road ahead, ignore it, then drive your car off a cliff, is this a situation that is non-irreversable? Also, I will add, it is easier to start a fire than to build an air-conditioner, but I hardly expect a cynical Bush (the fossil fuel fossil) stooge like yourself to do anything more difficult than regurgite the corporate dogma you have been programmed to spout.

    Frankly, I am extremely offended someone like yourself has a job working for what is supposed to be a citizen watchdog organization like the EPA. At least I know where we stand and who our real environmental enemies are. From you I also know I can expect fouled water, air, and land.

    Regardless of whether global warming is fact, fiction, or somewhere between you are a servant of the public, and the ‘will of the people’ is to have the EPA a functional entity working for ‘us’ instead of those who stand to gain from eviseration of our environmental protection agencies.

Paul Magill Smith
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Richmond, VA

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By Tomack, March 28, 2006 at 1:27 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Paul, Jason, EPA, et al,

Sometimes it takes a threat of cancer for the patient to quit smoking. As an “activist”, “liberal”, “Sierra Club Member”, and generally concerned human being, I have always followed this issue very closely—and guess what? You are partly right. Although the points you raise early in your e-mail have no direct bearing, really. Just because snow mobile sales are up doesn’t necessarly mean it’s getting colder OR warmer. It means that more people are buying snowmobiles. Period. Same applies for skiers. Come on.

However, the numbers posted by EPA are, as their sources post, are also partly accurate. I do not think you will get 100 scientists or researchers to agree 100% on this.

However, the real “bottom line” is this: it doesn’t matter whether or not GW is a threat now, 10 years from now, 100 years from now, or 500 years from now, or at all. What matters is that all the shit that causes it—or might cause it—also fouls many other resources as well, water, air, and soil to name a few.

So whether it’s my children, grandchildren, or great-grand children (or Captain Kirk’s children), I think we should leave the kitchen cleaner than we found it.

Let’s just say emphatically: there is no GW. But let’s also say emphatically: we have cancer, let’s stop smoking.

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By Painful Ignorance, March 28, 2006 at 1:07 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

If ignorance can’t be painful, can it at least be pithy?

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By J.W. Miller, March 28, 2006 at 6:54 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

George Will probably believes that the collapse of the 47 story building at 7 World Trade Center on 9/11 was the result of a terrorist attack.

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By Paul Merrifield, March 28, 2006 at 4:45 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Why is Canada spending almost as much on new icebreaking ships for it’s “melting” arctic as it is spending on Kyoto?

Canada’s American neighbors to the south saw snowmobile sales increase by 13% in 2003.

A new record of 57.6 million skier visits to resorts was set in the 2002-2003 season in the United States.

Canada’s Polar Bears were indigenous to as far south as Minnesota USA 300 years ago. (called Yellow Bears due to the summer coats they retained longer but still the same bear)

The Energy Information Administration estimates that United States energy consumption for home heating will increase by 34 percent between 2004 and 2030.

The Union of Concerned Scientists is comprised almost entirely of concerned citizens, not scientists at all. They took my money with no questions asked besides; “Will that be credit card or check”?

Thousands of global warming protestors marched in Montreal Canada last December and seven of them required treatment for frostbite injuries.

Why does Toronto Canada annually have twice as many cold weather alert days as smog advisory alert days?

The Niagara grape growers in Canada received compensation for winter storm damage to their vines in the harsh winters of 2002 and 2003.

Canada’s Inuit are seeking compensation from the Canadian government for increased skin cancers due to the depleted ozone over the north. Thaching$$$$$$$$ Show me da money!

Are all glaciers really melting? All 167 thousand of them on this planet?

CO2 (required by plant life) and Methane are two naturally occurring chemicals that exit our bodies from one of two orifices.

Opening carbonated beverages and exhaling are factors contributing to the melting of the icecaps?

Why is there not a shortage of global oxygen if excess CO2 is caused by human combustion that uses oxygen?

2008 will mark the twentieth anniversary of the UN’s global warming THEORY. At their predicted rates of warming we should after 20 years of climate change be drowning in boiling oceans by now?

Climate, the scientists tell us, is very complicated and little understood. So why the certainty about this elaborate theory of global warming?

It can’t be too late to stop global warming because we should be able to stop something we started shouldn’t we?

If global warming WAS true, why the hard sell? The global warmers behave like it’s the last quota sale day of the month. Proving ounce again that the issue is not climate at all, it is culture.

Global warming as a cultural issue sets new limits of extreme in social anomalies, otherwise known as urban myths. This however is the granddaddy of all urban myths, for we have absolutely nothing to compare it to both in absurdity and intensity. It wins on both counts.

Our climate MUST be resilient if it recovers from atmospheric devastations such as large volcanic eruptions. Our atmosphere isn’t like an enclosed fish tank that accumulates algae. Wouldn’t it make sense that our climate filters itself then? It does and we just don’t understand it yet. How dare Mother Nature provide something we don’t understand!

Consensus is not conclusiveness.

Independent opinions are from those without a direct financial connection to the science and or media industries.

The Internet is not a laboratory.

Political boardrooms are really commodity floors where votes are bought and sold.

Anyone can make credible data for public consumption simply by pushing the enter key enough times.

Global Warming and Climate Change are purely dogmatic rhetorical terms that redefine weather. Weather changes but they would have us believe that all changes in weather are somehow permanent due to human activity and not the moon, the sun, gravity or the unknown. We express the unknown in terms of global warming.

The movie “The Day After Tomorrow” about a climate going “cold” due to the effects of global warming, is used by both sides of the debate to justify their opinions.

How many people would be willing to sign their names to a global warming prognostication and place it in a time capsule to be opened in say, 20 years, 40 years? Are these people willing to look like fools after this silly belief is once and for all put to rest?

Try the GlobalWarmer vs. the Denier test: Think back to when weather was normal, and if it resembles in your mind anything like the inside of a shopping mall, you are hopelessly converted and you may as well stop reading this and get back to having one of your “Activist/Liberal” nervous breakdowns.

Global warming may or not be caused by trans-fatty acids, weed killer, gingivitis, red wine, oatmeal and or vitamin E.

Global warming started with the first cave man passing wind.

Polar bears that are stressed and depressed from global warming are now called bi-polar bears.

Maybe America’s Al Gore and Canada’s Doctor David Suzuki should start a chain of tropical resorts in Canada’s melting arctic regions?

If global warming increases storms and therefore wind, couldn’t we tap that energy for wind power generation and live like perfect little green elves for ever and ever?


Global warming is 20 years old. Introduced to the UN in 1988, it declared to the world that the earth had been warming for several years. Twenty years later we are still watching the Winter Olympics, paying the kid next door to shovel the snow, enjoying a crisp sunny winter day, flying south to get warm, driving in snow storms, enjoying the changing seasons and paying heating bills etc. etc etc.. Twenty years worth of global warming would have us sitting around by now, reminiscing about the old days when we used to have some cool weather, not just cooler weather. Our lives have not changed. The effects of twenty years of global warming should look far more dramatic than the normal unpredictable weather patterns that we see now. Perpetuating this mass insanity, is the media. The politicians (Kyoto), scientists, and religious-like environmentalists feed off this mutually beneficial source of empowerment while bewildered citizens are numbed with a now growing cynical fear. Only when our frustratingly misunderstood climate is perfect, like the inside of a shopping mall, will this cultural anomaly fade away. It’s safe to say that Santa Clause will not be drowning after all. Hey, we eventually stopped burning witches and sacrificing virgins didn’t we?

The Global Warming Chain Reaction: (only in theory of course)

Scientists To quote Canada’s Doctor David Nutzuki: “I feel mother earth. I hear mother earth. She is calling me. She is calling for help. She is saying Help Me!” And this, from a scientist. Anyone can join the Union of Concerned Scientists and be a voting member and reflect the “majority of scientists endorse the global warming theory ” figures. They accepted yours truly as a member without any questions, other than will that be check or credit card and I’m only a tradesperson. And besides, politics permeates everything and years of university will teach even genuine scientists, honest or otherwise to play the game. Education unfortunately does not translate always into sainthood. It is human nature to rationalize deception for personal gain. What makes it easier for even the real scientist is that the public thinks all of their associates believe the theory as well but the media are not interested in those other opinions at this point. Think of it this way; the term “Global Temperature” as absurd and impractical as it is, didn’t even exist until the theory of global warming necessitated it. Eventually it will all come out in the wash and that is when fun starts; watching the rats jump ship and supporters becoming deniers. Support of the global warming issue from some in the science community is not a conspiracy. It is stupidity, politics, dishonesty and greed.

Politicians endorse it because it’s an easy way for them to go through the motions of it looking like they have your best interests in mind.

The media endorses it because they are in the business of selling, not telling. Have you ever known commercial or worse, alternative media to accentuate the negative? They make a living off it. They have crisised and sensitized us with fear to where we can’t even enjoy a pleasant summer day without feeling some caution and guilt. While we still cannot understand climate, we now have more elaborate ways of observing it via the lazy and mediocre media but still are no closer to comprehending weather and climate at all. We are told of the dangers from: UV rays, dry spells described as droughts, smog advisories based on unattainable goals according newly adjusted scales, standards and tolerances. Remember Ozone and Acid Rain? Early explorers described the “fog” of Los Angeles California but none of it will be tolerated now. Killer Bees, West Nile Virus, save the native tree campaigns, predictions of frog extinctions, the list goes on. Fear the unknown.

Educators endorse it because it is safe and intellectually trendy, just plain fun and most of all, easier to teach than falling off a horse. The Sierra Club and the other groups supply schools with so-called “educational packages” to “inform” the delicate minds of the young. Fortunately this will ultimately back fire on the global warmers as newer generations doubt, challenge and question as every generation does. We will be looked back upon with humor, perhaps similar to disco. What comes to mind are those old black and white pictures of the teacher in the puffed up dress and winged glasses putting the class through an atomic bomb safety drill with the kids sticking their heads under the desks. In the future they will look back upon our generation of pierced, tattooed, baggy panted amusement ride operator look-alikes and see what sheep minded twerps we were. Count me out of this picture. Are you in or out?
Activists endorse it because it serves as an opportunity for promoting what they view as essential social issues. Smart move, so give them credit!

All Environmental Issues Have Become Faith-based; with nature being heaven, corporations being sinners, predictions of doom being the judgment day, Rachel Carson and Canada’s David Suzuki as the holy prophets and earth day as the holy day. Just like religion, environmentalism has lots of gullible followers who will easily give up their money.

Joe Public is bewildered and bombarded with Global Warming fears and has surrendered to the dogma.

Biological Spring This is so stupid I didn’t know where to put. It’s the latest in the dogma filtering through the media as we speak, like a case of bothulism at a family reunion. We are so full of ourselves that we think that we have somehow changed the earth to the point where nothing is natural, even spring for god’s sake. This is the same society that thinks naturally grown organic food is well, organic, even thought they claim the air is polluted. So how can you have organic anything growing in so-called polluted un-organic air?

A Response From The EPA:
Thank you for visiting EPA’s Global Warming Site.

We appreciate your feedback and are committed to keeping an open-mind as
we can continue studying this issue.

There have never been predictions (from scientists) for the end of
winter.  Predictions have called for a gradual
warming—ranging from ~2 to 10 degrees F over the next 100 years.  The
observed warming rate of the last 20 years has been about .3
degrees/decade or 3 degrees per century—a bit above the low end of
that forecasted range (but well within it).  The warming rate could
increase or decrease in the future, depending on a number of complex
factors (e.g. rate of future emissions growth, environmental policies,

The bottom line is that the effects of warming may not be that apparent
over the period of a decade or two, but should become increasingly
obvious over longer periods.  The noticeable changes will likely be
observations that the REALLY cold winters don’t occur as frequently not
that there won’t, on occasion, be cold winters.

Jason Samenow


Jason Samenow                                      
Climate Analyst                                    
U.S. EPA Office of Atmospheric                          
Climate Change Division

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