Considering the Human Influence on Climate

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Date(s) - 5/14/200912:00 pm - 1:30 pm


Research has shown that the focus on just carbon dioxide as the dominant human climate forcing is too narrow. We have found that natural variations are still quite important, and moreover, the human influence is significant, but the human climate influence involves a diverse range of first-order climate forcings, including, but not limited to the human input of CO2 (e.g., see NRC, 2005 and Kabat et al, 2004). These other forcings, such as land use change and from atmospheric pollution aerosols, may have a greater effect on our climate than the effects that have been claimed for CO2.

In his talk, Dr. Pielke documented that:

  • The IPCC and CCSP assessments, as well as the science statements completed by the AGU, AMS and NRC, are completed by a small subset of climate scientists who are often the same individuals. This oligarchy has prevented science of the climate system to be properly communicated to policymakers (e.g., see, see and see).
  • The acceptance of CO2 as a pollutant by the EPA, yet it is a climate forcing not a traditional atmospheric pollutant, opens up a wide range of other climate forcings which the EPA could similarly regulate (e.g. land use; water vapor).
  • Policymakers should look for win-win policies in order to improve the environment that we live in (e.g., see). The costs and benefits of the regulation of the emissions of CO2 into the atmosphere need to be evaluated together with all other possible environmental regulations. The goal should be to seek politically and technologically practical ways to reduce the vulnerability of the environment and society to the entire spectrum of human-caused and natural risks (e.g., see Chapter E in Kabat et al, 2004).

The slides from Dr. Pielke’s presentation can be found  here: Pielke – Considering the Human Influence on Climate slides

Dr. Roger A. Pielke Sr. is Senior Research Scientist at the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES), University of Colorado in Boulder and Professor Emeritus of the Department of Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University, Fort Collins. His books include Mesoscale Meteorological Modeling (1984; 2nd edition 2002), The Hurricane (1990), Human Impacts on Weather and Climate with W.R. Cotton (1995; 2nd Edition 2006), and Hurricanes: Their Nature and Impacts on Society with R.A. Pielke, Jr (1997). He has published over 330 papers in peer-reviewed journals, 50 chapters in books, and co-edited 9 books. Dr. Pielke is a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society and the American Geophysical Union in 2004 and has served as editor for numerous scientific publications.


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