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Gordon Fulks PhD: OPB, show me your science

By Art Hyland
It seems incredibly difficult to understand why the subject of climate has been so willingly stolen from scientists, carried away by those who wish to believe rather than wish to learn.
The same people who SAY they extoll the virtues of life-long learning (liberals, progressives) have decided that what they term as Climate Change (aka Global Warming) has been scientifically settled in all its known history, conditions, predictions and causes.  The study of the world’s climate is truly a scientific endeavor, which for centuries has been systematically aided by an endless supply of technological tools created by the demands of the scientists themselves.  And more and newer instuments and the data and information they provide are added each year.  Yet, the climate change “science is settled’ argument is accepted by a liberal-leaning mass media as if climate is the one exception to scientific breakthroughs or additional knowledge.
Gordon Fulks, PhD is one of the many scientists who clearly adheres to the idea that science is never settled, but that we need to look at the facts as objectively as possible in order to be true to science itself.  Herewith is small example of a battle he and others are fighting in what should never have developed into a fight at all.
Gordon Fulks, crusader for truth
Gordon Fulks, PhD:  “One of the great bastions of Global Warming hysteria in Oregon is Oregon Public Broadcasting, where their promotion of politically correct science is second to none.  These are establishment folks to the nth degree, and they are not about to allow any competing ideas.  Michael Trigoboff, PhD alerted us yesterday to one of their propaganda sessions with the notorious warmer Bill McKibben.  Michael, Chuck  [Wiese] and I spoiled their politically correct comments with just a little input of our own.  It is quite amazing how we can stir up a hornet’s nest with just a few comments.  Michael pointed out that people who hate technology and energy should perhaps not be using their computers!  I suggested that OPB needed to cover the other side of Global Warming – the scientific side.  And Chuck came to my defense when the hornets came after me with the rants and sarcasm that they reserve for anyone with an education.”

[Editor’s note:  The abbreviated discussion below occurred  in full at the following: http://www.opb.org/thinkoutloud/shows/bill-mckibben/  ]


Bill McKibben

AIR DATE: Thursday, August 16th 2012


Activist Bill McKibben

Bill McKibben’s latest article about climate change in Rolling Stone magazine — Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math — quickly went viral. There were 4,000 comments on the website and 100,000 likes on Facebook. As we discussed with McKibben a few years ago on our show, climate change has been central to his work for decades now, but global climate conditions have only worsened in that time. The “terrifying new math” he writes about includes:

  1. 2° Celsius: the number of degrees climate change scientists agree we must not raise the global temperature above. That global temperature has already risen by .8 degrees.
  2. 565 Gigatons: the amount of carbon dioxide those scientists say we can add to the atmosphere and perhaps stay below that two degree threshold.
  3. 2,795 Gigatons:the estimated amount of carbon dioxide that we’re currently planning on adding.

Where does climate change fit into your priorities? What would you like to ask Bill McKibben?

  1. Gordon J. Fulks, PhD
    Since McKibben uses wildly exaggerated numbers for the amount of carbon that man puts into the atmosphere each year, let me provide the correct ones for reference.  Note that anthropogenic carbon dioxide is a minor player in the overall carbon cycle on the earth.

Each year man releases about 8.5 Gt of carbon into the atmosphere from the burning of coal, oil, and natural gas as well as the production of cement and breathing.  Humans exhale about 0.6 Gt of carbon
as CO2 that originated in plants. (1Gt = 10exp15 grams = 10exp12 kg = one billion metric tons).

The atmosphere as a whole contains about 780 Gt of carbon; the surface of the oceans contain about 1,000 Gt of carbon; vegetation and soils contain 2,000 Gt of carbon; and the intermediate and deep
oceans contain 38,000 Gt of carbon.

Each year, the ocean surface and atmosphere exchange an estimated 90 Gt of carbon; vegetation and the atmosphere about 100 Gt of carbon; marine biota and the ocean surface about 50 Gt of carbon; and the ocean surface and the intermediate and deep oceans about 40 Gt of carbon.

All of these numbers are greatly larger than the human contributions, indicating that man’s effects are small but not completely insignificant.

If we were to burn all the fossil fuel available to us, we might be able to double the concentration in the atmosphere.  A doubling of CO2 will increase the global temperature by one degree centigrade in the absence of feedbacks.  All indications point to negative feedbacks that decrease this warming below one degree centigrade.  Hence the net result is so minor as to be of no real concern.

If people need something to worry about, as an astrophysicist let me suggest that they pay attention to what we have seen happening with the sun.  It is giving strong indications of reduced activity similar to the Maunder Minimum of the 17th century, a cold period.

  1. Gordon J. Fulks, PhD
    It is sad that OPB will not cover the other side of Global Warming – the scientific side.  Political organizers like Bill McKibben, clearly have little knowledge of the subject.
  2. Keith
    Unfortunately, in Gordon’s case, PhD truly does mean “piled higher and deeper.”  Anyone tempted to believe Gordon’s words above should jump to his well-documented position in the politics of Oregon:
    http://blog.oregonlive.com/myo… . If we didn’t live under the corporate fascism that includes the energy giants, there would be no need for citizens to organize around clear-headed, progressive activists like Bill McKibben.
  1. Chuck Wiese, Meteorologist
    Keith, perhaps instead of your stupid, liberal progressive rant, you could show us where Fulks or myself are wrong. Your rant would be popular in a political science class with a progressive liberal instructor. In a physics class, it would earn you a failing grade.
  1. jim karlock
    Kieth, do you have any science, or are you incapable of going beyond attacking the messenger of news you don’t like.
    Why don’t you show us some real evidence that Man’s CO2 is causing dangerous warming.
    It is simply amazing that anyone would consider an uninformed person like McKibben as clear-headed.
    Do you realize that 96% of the CO2 em,ission is from nature?
    Do you know that Al gore’s ice cores actually show temperature leading CO2?
    Do you know that Water vapor causes about twice as much greenhouse effect as CO2.
    See SustainableOregon.com
  1. Paul
    Gordon. Surely you are trying to make a joke, right?
    Bill has the science that says climate change is upon us.
    What science are you referring to….science fiction
  1. Chuck Wiese, Meteorologist
    No, Paul. Fulks is referring to real science, something that you’re obviously unfamiliar with. McKibbon is not a scientist. His message is based upon claims that are now EASILY refuted for anyone willing to listen to and comprehend events that are factual and in contradiction to everyything McKibbon states.
  1. Gordon J. Fulks, PhD
    Chuck Wiese is correct.  McKibben is pedaling a politicized version of science that is obviously popular here but thoroughly defective.  ‘Climate change’ is a truism, because our climate changes for perfectly natural reasons.  It always has and always will.
    McKibben is really selling the thesis that human emissions of CO2 are causing the earth to warm catastrophically.  The problem is that the slight warming observed in the 20th century has not continued into the 21st century, despite a continued increase in CO2.
    Science is all about logic and evidence, not politics.  That is something that non-scientists like McKibben will never understand.
  1. Geoff Brown
  2. I agree, Paul. Climate change is upon us! Climate has been changing since the beginning of time. The question is whether man made Co2 emissions are causing runaway warming.
    As there has been no significant warming this century, the answer is obviously – NO
  3. jim karlock
    You want heat records, try this:
    How could a warmest record be set before man emitted much CO2?
    Answer: CO2 really isn’t important to climate
    Source: US Government:
    JKjim karlock
    McKibben has been even more clueless than Al Gore for years. He even ignores repeated requests fro actual proof that man’s CO2 is causing dangerous warming. after years of publicity (well propaganda really from him & Al) it is surprising how few people know that:
    1. Nature emits over 95% of the annual CO2 emissions.
    2. CO2 FOLLOWS temperature in Al Gore’s ice cores.
    3. Water vapor causes about twice as much greenhouse effect as CO2.
    4. Unusual weather is NOT evidence of its cause.
    5. Correlation is NOT evidence of causation.
    6. Climate correlates better with solar cycles than with CO2 and over centuries.
    7. Climate models are not evidence for a variety of reasons including the fact that they are considered poor by the top climate scientists in their own emails.


There’s lots more where OPB comes from.  Notoriously liberal Daily Kos published an article titled “Gordon Fulks, Cascade Policy Institute–Climate change deniers.”  See


OPB doesn’t restrict itself to science by remaking it into fiction.  See Ken’s Congress, a piece written long ago by our editor emeritus, Larry Leonard.

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