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March 18, 2008

The Arctic on Thin Ice

Posted: 02:11 PM ET

Scientists grabbed headlines last fall when they announced that arctic sea ice cover plummeted to all-time record summertime lows in 2007 – raising the scary spectre that global warming may be pushing some frozen parts of our planet beyond the ability to bounce back.

Source: Getty Images

Now new satellite data from NASA and the National Snow and Ice Center at the University of Colorado at Boulder indicate the ice cover has returned to pre-2007 levels over the winter, which was colder than in recent years. Even so, the overall trend is negative. The current sea ice extent is still below the long-term average by about 250,000 square miles, an area almost the size of the state of Texas. And since 1996 it has been decreasing at a rate of 10.7% per decade.

Prospects for the future are also grave. That's because the ratio of older, thicker "perennial" ice that never melts to younger, thinner "seasonal" ice that melts and refreezes every year is shifting dramatically. Back in 1985, more than half of all arctic sea ice was of the hardy perennial type - 4 to 6 feet thick. Today, the extent of perennial ice has dropped precipitously - nearly 70% of all sea ice is seasonal.

How much of the sea ice will melt this summer? Scientists say it is hard to tell, because what happens any given year is highly dependent on specific weather events. But the clear overall trend is toward reduced extent of increasingly thinner ice.

–Kate Tobin, Senior Producer, CNN Science & Technology

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Roy Wood   March 18th, 2008 3:07 pm ET

Finding darkness in every silver lining. That's the modus operandi of the proponents of the religion of anthropogenic global warming. No matter how good the news is, they'll spin it in a negative manner. What "long-term average" is the writer using? Since we only started taking measurements about 30 years ago, that is hardly what one would call long-term relative to geologic time.

Jack   March 18th, 2008 3:29 pm ET

I suggest that you check the website for credible analysis of this topic. Since our current world-wide temperature is at the 100 year average and our recent peak temperature was in 1999, maybe we should all relax.

Bob   March 18th, 2008 4:12 pm ET

This story was written to alarm people, not for tha actual scientific facts….case iin point……second paragraph, last sentence,
". And since 1996 it has been decreasing at a rate of 10.7% per decade. Funny how alarming that sounds when in fact from 1996-2007 the time of the last measuremenst…it is only one decade….no trend data to show tha it has been decreasing more then 10% for anytime longer then one decade…..
The author also states that the overall trend for ice cover is negative, what trend, for what period of time, measured as compared to when…..If the autohr wants to raise public awareness perhaps adding more facts and sources for us to do our own investigation should be added, and the wording should be more factual then leading.

Carmen   March 18th, 2008 4:29 pm ET

What does? it take to get this noticed by the goverment and start the change for life! Stop Wars now and fight the real essence of the world.

Ice Age - remember that?   March 18th, 2008 4:45 pm ET

Yes, there has been a downward trend in the amount of sea ice since the end of the last Ice Age (about 20,000 years ago).

That's the nature of Ice Ages and "interglacial" periods. The periods don't end abruptly at a specific date. When the trend is toward MORE ice, we get into "ice ages". When the trend is LESS ice, we get into "interglacial" periods.

This isn't really news, folks...especially considering that this is a "Science & Technology site.

BTW – I fully expect that this comment will not appear on the website.

No I dont rember the last ice age - It was before my time.   March 18th, 2008 5:04 pm ET

Look at that! They posted your comment despite your apparent fear that the world's too biased for your brazen, heroic, idiocy. We're screwed, even Bush is starting to admit it.. Do some research before you comment next time. Here's a nice place to start –

Ice Age - remember that?   March 18th, 2008 5:08 pm ET

Carmen, you want humanity to wage a war against nature? I suggest you do some more research. Perhaps study some Earth Science.

Seriously. You should not have to live in a state of panic.

Renee   March 18th, 2008 5:25 pm ET

Is it God, man, or government weather modification programs?

I saw a show on the science channel showing the viewer that our government was experimenting on the weather for some time.– from squeezing precipitation out of the clouds to diverting hurricanes. It also stated our government's intention of owning the weather by 2025.
Isn't this also considerd a weapon of mass destruction? If so, we could have used that technology in the Middle East, instead of using our troops as cannon fodder.
Also, does all that experimentation have a direct correlation to the extreme wicked weather we are experiencing here in the United States? And who exactly is over- seeing this weather modification and research Act, while America is being blown, flooded, and inflamed?

Drowning in Texas

Rob S   March 18th, 2008 5:38 pm ET

The article should be about the recovery of the arctic ice pack and the dramatic growth of the antarctic ice pack. Look here for a scientific analysis:

Arctic Ice Coverage:

Antarctic Ice Coverage:

Combined Arctic and Antarctic Ice Coverage:
(note how we are now about the red 'normal' line)

No Ice Needed   March 18th, 2008 5:43 pm ET

Has anyone ever considered that maybe there isn't suppose to be ice on this planet? The primordal ooze theory suggests that when life began, the planet was pretty hot. Even the Bible suggests that the planet was made ice free. We should all be 'happy' that the ice is finally going away. Then we can drill those hard to reach areas and find more fossil fuel to burn. Think about it, has anyone ever tried to stop their soda from getting warm on a sunny, summer, California day? It just is going to happen. The sun is a bit to big to prevent that from happening. And since our sun is rather old, it's only gonna get bigger! Daa!

Loren   March 18th, 2008 5:59 pm ET

This is politics, not science. Don't worry about your carbon footprint, worry more about water vapor levels in the atmosphere, since that is contributing most to global warming. Yes, the polar ice cap is melting and so are the glaciers, so what? They have been melting for a long time now. It would be naive to think man does not have any impact on the environment, but it is equally naive to think we are the major cause of Earth's climate change... this is a natural phenomenon that has occurred many times in Earth's past. As someone above said, there have been alternating periods of ice ages and interglacial periods before and there will be others in the future. This is cyclical to some extent.

P. J. Moran   March 18th, 2008 6:06 pm ET

First the Mann 'hockey stick' then the Hansen '1998' is the hottest year on record were debunked. Even assuming these were innocent errors they demonstrate that this is hokum. 19000 US scientists have signed a letter seriously questioning the Warmista Religion. CNN, as usual is behind the curve and will be sreaming the ice is failing when the Glacier moves down I 95 to Philly.

Chris   March 18th, 2008 6:12 pm ET

I'm guessing – because the article fails to say – that the "70% of sea ice is perennial" statistic is based on last year's loss of ice compared to this year's gain. So what's that percentage going to be next year when this year's gain doesn't melt so far?? Come on! This is silly. Stop playing with figures.

Judging by the informed comments from ordinary people here the scaremongering fools very few.

Ice Age - remember that?   March 18th, 2008 6:21 pm ET

To: "No I don't remember..."

If your goal is truly to educate people about something you believe in, then it would behoove you to look into the concept of the "ad-hominem attack".

Basically, I wouldn't expect you to remember any of the many Ice Ages from personal experience. That much should be obvious.

"Do some research before you comment next time" – your line.

Thank you. Actually I HAVE done much research and was a "believer" like yourself. However, after you actually check the IPCC and GIS numbers...and ignore the "journalist's" tendancy to sensationalize and frighten the will see that YES, Earth is getting slightly warmer. That much is obvious.

The question is WHY is it getting warmer? The answer is that nobody is quite certain. Nobody.

Right now Mars, Venus, and Jupiter are ALSO on a warming trend. This indicates the Sun's involvement. The Sun has cycles. The Earth has cycles.

...ever heard of the "procession of the equinox". Look it up, if you haven't. Seriously. That's not a personal attack.

Also, you should review the concept that "correlation does not imply causation". RE: the famous "Global Temperature Average vs Number of Pirates" graph.

BTW – Even the IPCC number show that the historic rises in CO2 come about 800 years AFTER the planet warms up during "inter-glacial periods". It's right there in the data. I kid you not.

MY QUESTION: At what point in geological history do "we decide" is the "right" time. What temperature is the planet supposed to be? Do we say whatever it was during the 1970's or when???

OK. A little ad-hominem attack to kindly get back at you. I can't believe you gave me a link to a journalism site (NY Times) as a suggestion for research. How about a science page? How about some actual data...facts?

Check these:

Please approach the things you read with an open mind. You don't have to agree with everything, just get more data into your mind.

Don't let yourself get manipulated by fear mongering. Yes, I said it.

The human mind is naturally fearful and anxious. It's helped us survive up to this point. There is a HUGE INDUSTRY in fear mongering. Just look at any website that sells anything...

Don't be afraid to be wrong sometimes. That's the beauty of science. A person is allowed to be wrong. Most of the time we still learn a great deal when we are wrong.

Last thought: when someone gets angry and tells you to "just shut up and believe", they are not practicing valid science (Gore – who won't debate or discuss). What they are doing is called Religion. In religion, the leader cannot be wrong...ever. Those who question the gospel are usually berated and called heretics...much like you did here today.

Reverend Al
Church of Gore

Fundamentalist?   March 18th, 2008 6:30 pm ET

Dear "No I dont rember the last ice age – It was before my time."

Your comment was spoken with the true anger and hate worthy of any religous zealot.

It's nice to see people who have anger in their hearts just let it out like that.

Rick   March 18th, 2008 6:31 pm ET

I've checked the NYT link, and I've also done a little research on their history regarding climate change. If you'll check their history you'll find...

1880's – pending ice age alarm
1930's – global warming alarm
1970's – pending ice age alarm
Current – global warming alarm

Great source. Apparently every 40 years or so they have a pending dilema. Bad science to grow government may make you feel better about yourself, but stay out of my back pocket.

Willl in Seattle   March 18th, 2008 6:34 pm ET

While we dither and babble in the US, Canada is already taking action – and making money doing it.

Wind power, hydro dams, installing CO2 scrubbers on existing and future coal plants, even solar.

We whine about how hard it is.

They do it and it's pretty easy.

Time for action – not words.

Fundamentalist?   March 18th, 2008 6:38 pm ET

No I dont rember the last ice age – It was before my time.

What you don't know is that Ice Age actually responded kindly to your "ad-hominem attack". That he pointed you to some actual science websites including the IPCC and GIS. That he explained that a journalist site like the NYTimes isn't data and is prone to sensationalism.

But that it got removed...probably also for pointing out that Al Gore won't debate his "numbers" with anybody and that GORE OWNS a carbon credit company...

Oh! That's it. He also pointed out the fact that the human mind is prone to fear and anxiety and that there is a HUGE INDUSTRY based on that simple fact.

Jolat   March 18th, 2008 7:13 pm ET

No matter how powerful we think we are, we cannot control the weather. As a species, we could not heat this earth, even if we tried. Just so, we could not cool the earth even if we tried.
The human race is just along for the ride, and the global warming swindle is the alltime biggest phony, money grab in the history of mankind.

pdykstra   March 18th, 2008 8:56 pm ET

From the Editor:

We got quite a few comments on this item - some on both sides tended to mix politics and ideology with science - which is fine, as long as you can tell the difference between the two.

I chose to edit or entirely delete a few comments that got personal. Your views on climate change, one way or another, shouldn't get you called an "idiot" or a "doofus." At least it won't appear that way on this blog. So let's keep it grown-up, please.

Kate Tobin's article here is well-done, and it based on credible, peer-reviewed science. She also made reference to the reports this winter of the coolest weather in recent years, and the re-thickening of some Arctic ice.

The body of organizations that acknowledge that climate change is real, at least partly if not mostly man-made, and capable of serious consequences (including some positive impacts) includes the American Meteorological Society, the American Geophysical Society, the National Academy of Sciences, and virtually every one of its national counterparts around the world, and the policy arms of virtually every sovereign state, including the Bush Administration. If that's a "conspiracy", a "fraud," or a "scam," it's a spectacular one.

CNN reports on what credible scientists say, including those who dissent with the prevailing view. A few years ago, I did an informal count of which prominent scientists have appeared on CNN to discuss climate change the most often. James Hansen, the NASA scientist who first brought widespread attention to the issue in the late 1980's, was in second place. The winner, by a long shot, is Dr. Pat Michaels, who is perhaps the highest-profile climate skeptic. He's an articulate guy who expresses the skeptic's viewpoint very well. We have often sought him out because we have an obligation to consider all viewpoints - even if he's wildly outnumbered in the world of climatologists and meteorologists.

One post here that I have to take serious issue with is the reference to is the reference to the "19000 US scientists (that) have signed a letter seriously questioning the Warmista Religion."

This is an apparently a reference to a petition floated eleven years ago by the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine
The petition was discredited shortly after its publication, and was harshly rebuked by the National Academy of Sciences. Among other things, the names of some of the "scientists" who signed up to dispute global warming included members of the Spice Girls (then at the top of the charts), and Drs. Pierce, McInytre, Burns, Potter, Hunnicutt, Blake, and Houlihan - the entire medical staff of the M*A*S*H TV show.

But we appreciate the comments from all sides, so thanks. It's great to be skeptical of everyone's beliefs - including your own. Keep 'em coming.

Peter Dykstra, Exec Producer, CNN Science, Tech and Weather

Truly Informative, Action still needed   March 18th, 2008 8:57 pm ET

Pluto – no longer classified as a planet – is warmer than it should be! Why, because the whole solar system to ole sol is on a warm cycle. Carbon pollution has been happening all through out history with natural occurances such as volcanos, forest fires, and cow farts.

Still I applaud those who cry for change that leads to cleaning up our planet. The indian is still crying at the sight of trash along highways, pollution of the waterways, and the air to name a few.

I think fear mongering is a shameful tool to use to get the cleanup action going. Each and everyone of us can help in some small way by simply picking up trash and preventing simple pollution control efforts one step at a time. Brick by brick, my citizens, brick by brick.

In the end, we will soon be complaining about the HUGE amount of snow we have to shovel because the ice age is back. Oh, and don't get me started about how many days the kids will miss school because the school buses can't get around to pick them up. Instead of 2-hour delays, it will end up to be daily closures fouling up the required amount of schooling days. This projection may be in as little as 15-years or so. Summer time schooling with winter breaks will be the answer then.

Jeff Daubs   March 18th, 2008 9:59 pm ET

Stop Global Warming

Texrat   March 19th, 2008 12:25 am ET

God bless the naive naysayers. They're gonna need it as much as those of us who recognize the looming danger. Maybe even more so...

caerbannog   March 19th, 2008 1:31 am ET

Pluto – no longer classified as a planet – is warmer than it should be! Why, because the whole solar system to ole sol is on a warm cycle.

Ummm.... Pluto's warming has much more to do with its highly eccentric orbit than any solar-system "warming". Pluto is just a few Earth-years past its perigee, and as a result it *should* be warming (Pluto takes about 250 Earth-years to complete one orbit around the Sun).

Paul Thompson   March 19th, 2008 5:32 am ET

Looking down the barrel of a loaded gun isn't what people want to do.

Joseph VR   March 19th, 2008 8:34 am ET

Rocket & Shuttle Launches directly related to violent storms.

When a rocket is launched, it generates a great amount of heat and force. As the rocket enters the Troposphere, the heat from the rocket force the tropospheric gases to push upward into the stratosphere and it's ozone layer. Once comprimised, the ozone enters the mesosphere, it forces the ionosphere to move upward into the exosphere and finally through the outer most part of our atmosphere. This creates a vortex on all sides of the penetration, which creates a turbulence fed by the circulation of thermal radiation. The end result is Violent storms.....

Dot in Dixid   March 19th, 2008 9:16 am ET

How arrogant of man to think he can control earth's weather. Earth has always bounced back from what ever happens to it.

Man? He may not be so resilient, but what can he REALLY do about it?

Getover global warming. Man cannot do a whole lot about it.

Don Wicklund   March 19th, 2008 9:32 am ET

Dear CNN,
You failed to mention James hanson's predictions of "Abrupt global cooling," in the 1970's.
Since CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC, NYT, LAT, et. al., ramped up this Global warming fantasy upon Gores Presidential defeat by the American grown-ups, one becomes very suspicious of you Socialist. Obviously The Icarian movement is alive and well!

Believer   March 19th, 2008 9:38 am ET

To Rob S, regarding your links to grpahs of ice cap size... I guess you didn't pay attention that these graphs are for 1 year only? Of course there's a drop in ice cap size in summer and an big increase when winter arrives... There's more to graphs than lines, y'know? There numbers on each axis explaining the line.

To Truly Informative, they don't know if Pluto is warmer or colder. It's over a billions miles away! With some research, you'll find out volcano eruptions cause a cooling effect, not a warming one.

To all, what the science (not from biased news sites and blogs) says about the current climate is that, over the last few decades, the natural cycle we would be in is one of cooling, not warming. After much research, it is agreed that the ONLY way to explain the warming is human activity.

Ugh... the science is so simple, and no real scientist disagree that we are the cause. The debate is about how bad it's going to be. Let's stop debating whether it's real or not. Let's start talking about risk-management. If it's real and we do nothing, we're done for. It's it's not real and we've done something, we'll be less dependent on fossil fuels and more aware of the effects of our actions (for example, the list can go on).

John Goetz   March 19th, 2008 9:51 am ET

Is it climate change or global warming? Ms. Tobin uses the former, her editor the latter.

Rick (above) mentions historical NYT articles that discuss our ever-changing climate, which sometimes turns cold and sometimes turns warm.

Most everyone remembers, of course, the ice-age scare of 30 years ago: "An international team of specialists has concluded from eight indexes of climate that there is no end in sight to the cooling trend of the last 30 years, at least in the Northern Hemisphere." See:

However, prior to that the times was getting the world to wring its hands over global warming. The following excerpt is from an article that appeared in the paper 84 years ago: "Glaciers are moving from their age-old beds, pouring greater quantities of ice into the sea than recorded history has known. Broad areas of land are sinking to new levels. A number of islands have disappeared." See:

My favorite, however, was the one from 1890 that mentioned what the old timers were saying about the climate at the time: "Is our climate changing? … The older inhabitants tell us that the Winters are not as cold now as when they were young …". See:

Bob in Seattle   March 19th, 2008 10:06 am ET

The human contributor to global warming is Carbon Dioxide. This is proven to trap heat from the Sun. Carbon Dioxide levels are going up considerably year by year. I see a fundamental, measurable cause and effect relationship here.

We will never be sure what happened 10,000 years ago, but scientists are measuring trends now that do point to global warming from Carbon Dioxide.

John Goetz   March 19th, 2008 11:31 am ET

As much as politicians have declared the debate over, there is still debate over CO2's significance versus natural cycles. There is a high correlation between the instrumental surface temperature record of the last 100+ years when compared against the Pacfic Decadal Oscillation (PDO) combined with the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO). There is also high correlation with sunspot activity.

There is also debate over the relative significance of various human contributions. While the focus is on CO2, many believe land use has a much greater impact than CO2 emissions.

I'd like to see us reduce our dependency on fossil fuel, reduce emissions, and evolve into a greener society. Note that I did not say reduce climate change or global warming. The climate has always changed, and I for one hope is stays warm. For one thing, I will burn less heating oil as a result of warmer weather. But my real point is this: before we spend trillions of dollars on reducing the atmospheric content of the gas all animals exhale, let's make sure we are spending the money solving the right problem.

jj   March 19th, 2008 12:05 pm ET

Sad, sad, sad.

jg, so do you think CO2 is not a GHG? Do think its concentration in the atmosphere has not increased dramatically? Do you think that every established scientific body in the world–dozens of them–that has weighed in on this topic is wrong? (They all agree that the current increase in GW is mostly or completely caused by human activity.) Do you think you are smarter than all of these experts?

Land use is important largely because many uses cause the land to increase CO2 release. So saying that it's land use rather than CO2 is...well, I don't want to be censored for using unpleasing adjectives; let's just say misguided.

The responses here largely demonstrate the success of Exxon's well documented and well funded efforts to confuse this issue so they can avoid curtailments of their very profitable business. I see the same, tired arguments that have been refuted over and over but that, like zombies, keep being brought up.

Anyone who really wants to know, rather than just dittoing the misinformation they heard from Limbaugh, can start the introductory info provided by the climatologists at Real Climate.

I hope readers realize that most of these letter writers are either deeply uninformed, misinformed, in emotional denial, or actively and knowingly spreading disinformation on this most important topic.

For the later, may I express my deepest disappointment. What will you tell your grandkids you did as the world's climate system was driven into conditions unprecedented in human history? "I helped confuse people to delay effective action"?

Richard   March 19th, 2008 1:57 pm ET

People who say global warming isn't happening or that it isn't because of humans REALLY annoy me.

OK, it is never possible to prove 100% that global warming is down to us humans. But take a look at what the top scientists are saying: at the IPCC meeting a few months ago the top few thousand climate scientists in the whole world said there was a 90-100% chance warming was down to humans.

Why would they be saying this if it wasn't true? Even if you go along the pathetic road of a 'conspiracy theory', I have yet to see how anyone has benefited from climate change.

In terms of taxes governments have introduced very few, or in most countries none at all. Why else would governments make up lies if it wasn't for money?

It's time the skeptics stopped this denial that is simply there to make their own lived easier. It would be really nice if I didn't have to go round on the bus and always have to turn lights off, but then again if I didn't do that I would know that I had helped kill a few million people.

Enter the real world, and stop these stupid arguments that all seem to use studies from decades ago that have now been discredited.

Global waring is real – it's the sad truth, but it's one we have to face up to.

Richard Smith

John Goetz   March 19th, 2008 2:40 pm ET

jj, jj, jj.

Quit trying to scare my grandkids. The thought of going back to the climate of the 1770s is scary enough.

Like many, you are too willing to buy into an overly simplistic view of what drives our climate, the accuracy of the models used to predict the future, the methods used to measure the present, or reconstruct the past. And like far too many, you also assume that those who disagree with your point of view are either deeply uninformed, misinformed, in emotional denial, or actively and knowingly spreading disinformation. What a dangerous way to do science.

But let's put that aside for the moment. I did not say anything about CO2's role in the greenhouse effect, nor did I say anything about it's present levels of concentration. What I tried to say – and perhaps not clearly enough – is that I feel society will be making a huge mistake if we spend trillions of dollars on reducing CO2 for the purpose of averting global warming or climate change or whatever the media will call it in two years.

I would much rather see society spend trillions of dollars on reducing our dependence on fossil fuels with a focus on renewable energy. I would also like to see the spending put toward reduction of dangerous emissions, agriculture efficiency improvements, energy efficiency, and a host of other causes that will make the world a better place.

If the byproduct is a reduction in CO2 emissions that will make you and others who hold your opinion happy, then that's great. But the world will continue to get warmer, or colder, or whatever it is going to do next no matter what we do. And it won't be unprecedented.

Foothiller   March 19th, 2008 3:19 pm ET

A thousand barrels a second. That's 42000 gallons of crude oil, burned every second, of every minute, of every hour, of every day, of every month, of every year.

Sure, humans are completely incapable of impacting the biosphere in any way.

And the Easter Bunny will leave chocolate eggs in your living room Sunday, the Iraq war was about WMD, the economy is not in a recession, they hate us for our freedoms, Iran is a threat to the US, there is no inflation, McCain is really different than Clinton or Obama...

Shall I continue with other "truths" believed by the American public?

I'd say there are going to be some awfully rude awakenings in the good ole US of A as world oil production continues to decline and prices for the precious stuff continue to increase.

Of course, those running the conservative hate radio networks continually propagate the myths I mentioned above as well as deny that humans have any impact on the Earth.

Whatever. If we don't deal with reality, it will deal with us. Our day of reckoning draws near. It's as if we're on the Titanic shortly after it impacted the 'berg, and arguing about how we should arrange deck chairs.

To the denialists, what is coming couldn't happen to a nicer bunch.


Ken in Dallas   March 19th, 2008 3:30 pm ET

There's at least one argument in this debate I find the most internally inconsistent, and that's the one that arbitrarily absolves human activity of causal impact on climate change. The detail that makes it funny is that the same people who presume to place humanity above and apart from all other life presume equally that humanity lacks the power to have a cumulative and eventually material impact on the world. comments like: "the world will continue to get warmer, or colder, or whatever it is going to do next no matter what we do," make me marvel at the willfully obtuse nature of preconceived beliefs.

I note that nobody really attempts to prove that climate change isn't anthropogenic, but only attempt to impeach, or at least impugn, lines of evidence and reason that appear to show that climate change is anthropogenic. Most of these lines of argument turn out to be specious, like the supposed correlation of climate change with solar variability, (which is, empirically, a fraction of a percent) but always satisfying to the denier, because it's not possible to prove the case either way without waiting a hundred years or so for evidence to come in.

The facts are alarming, but insufficient for a proof, so how should we judge this matter? Most people would suggest that we act conservatively, and we then fall into complete disagreement as we attempt to define the priorities and initiatives that represent "conservatism." There seem to be two opposing schools of thought on this:

1) "Conservative" means that we carry on the status quo until we receive definitive proof that the status quo has unacceptable consequences. This is the "conservatism" that's all about balance sheets and comforts and general self-indulgence.

2) "Conservative" means that we recognize the probable negative consequences of the status quo, and that we alter the status quo in ways that abate those consequences. This is the "conservatism" that's about protecting our offspring and their descendants.

Now maybe we can pick the brand of conservatism that's right for each of us. Is it better to maintain things as they are because things are comfortable now, or should we put forth some effort and make progress. Here's something I take as a hint: defense of the status quo has, historically, always been at odds with what history consistently ends up calling "progress."

Does anybody remember progress?

For you balance sheet buffs, consider: progress takes effort, effort means work, work means jobs, and jobs mean new growth in balance sheets. That's one of the reasons progress has rarely, if ever, been proven a losing proposition.

John Goetz   March 19th, 2008 4:02 pm ET

Apparently some of you just refuse to read what I write. Let me summarize in simple bullet points:

– Many forces affect climate.

– Some are natural.

– Some are man made.

– CO2 is just one of many man made forces.

– Identify the real man made culprit(s).

– Spend the money solving the real problem(s).

I'm not sure why that thought process is so controversial and disagreeable. If you think I am advocating sitting on our hands and waiting, why would I suggest reducing dangerous emissions, making agriculture efficiency improvements, improve energy efficiency, and a host of other causes that will make the world a better place?

I think some folks just like to apply black and white, cut and dried labels such as "denialist". Its the "your either with us or against us" mentality. Makes things simple.

Is The Arctic on Thin Ice? « Natural Resources Task Force Update   March 19th, 2008 4:51 pm ET

[...] ice I really wish the media would do a better job reporting stories about global warming issues. Today CNN tries really hard to find the negative from good news concerning the return of arctic sea .... Here's a quick synopsis of the situation with sea ice. Last year we saw a dramatic reduction [...]

John, Las Vegas, NV   March 20th, 2008 1:33 am ET

Anyone who scuba dives will tell you that in the warmest water if you go down about 10' it gets very cold....and the oceans are miles deep. So, don't sweat it, the water is fine.

James flaherty   March 20th, 2008 2:10 am ET

It is not surprising that the extent of the world's sea ice would fluctuate from year to year. Nevertheless, the parts per million of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are increasing year by year. Global warming is a fact and no amount of nay-saying will make it go away. Only a truly ignorant person believes that it doesn't exist. The fact that there is somewhat more sea ice this year than last is natural and is to be expected. It is the result of the tendency of any dynamic cycle to oscillate between extremes. It is the general trend over a relatively long period of time that demonstrates the truth about global warming. And the Earth is warming.

Global warming is a catastrophe that needs to be stopped as quickly as possible. Human beings are the primary change agent. Therefore, human beings can bring the increase in global warming gasses to a halt.

Because the United States generates the most global warming gases, it is incumbent upon the United States to take the lead in reducing these gases, regardless of what other countries do. It is also the responsible thing to do and the moral thing to do. Ironically, it is also the most profitable thing to do. That is to say, the United States would profit greatly, super charging the national economy by launching an enormous industrial program designed and built to reduce global warming gases.

With so great a business opportunity available to the United States, what is keeping us from taking advantage of the situation presented to us by global warming? It is time to build and install tens of millions of solar heating systems in the buildings in the United States. It is time to build a solar powered energy capture and transportation system from coast to coast, a system that turns CO2 into methane and methanol, two fuels capable of powering our country's industries and transportation system. Recycling the same CO2 gases over and over instead of dumping them into the atmosphere, this system could be fed any bio-carbon, wood grass, hay algae, sea weed, and it would begin to actually reduce the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere.

This type of industrial development would produce fifty to one-hundred million jobs over the next ten years, create an enormous export industry in energy tech, and just beginning this work would end the developing recession. An energy system that gets it's energy from the sun and recycles carbon dioxide will make the U.S. energy independent, reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the world's atmosphere and provide real security for our country, the country to be inherited by our children. Oh, and one last thing. It will bring back the sea ice.

Franko   March 20th, 2008 2:42 am ET

Google this: cosmic ray weather

The main drivers of temperature are not in our control.

Locally, on the nearby montain near Vancouver Canada, the snow stayed longest last summer, according to my neighbor, a 30 year resident.

The politicians, here, have introduced a gasoline carbon tax.

Perhaps, someone with the Pied Piper's (Al Gore's) magic
could influence us to rebuild Earth, not only to improve peoples lives,
but also to protect us from things beyond our control.

Walter S.   March 20th, 2008 8:22 am ET

Global warming/climate change alarmists would have us believe that if we employ "greener" practices that we can save the planet. So, they've suggested everything from hybrid vehicles to using a single sheet of toilet paper.

And yet AlGore, John Edwards & their minions have these multi-thousand square foot houses and massive SUVs. In order to appear more environmentally friendly, they invent a nonsensical idea called carbon credits. As if that makes everything alright. When are those hypocritical so-and-sos ever going to get it right?

NPR posted a report that scientists deployed 3,000 robots into the oceans to gauge the water temp, etc. What they found was that the water wasn't getting warmer. They suggested that global warming had taken some time off. Furthermore, they also said that either they didn't understand the data the robots was giving them or a litany of other excuses. See:

I think it's simply a matter of them trying to get the data to fit their perception rather than the data actually showing that global warming is a fallacy. Because the scientists & experts can't get the robots' data to square with their theories, there has to be something wrong with the robots as opposed to their theories.

AlGore, after cramming his disengenuous and outright deceptive movie down society's collective throat, is nowhere to be found to debate the issue. Once again, AlGore is shown to be the prevaricating charlatan he was when he said he invented the Internet.

He's a fraud and so is global warming. The earth goes through these kinds of cycles – layers of ice and other data show it to be so. It's a naturally occurring phenomenon.

James flaherty   March 20th, 2008 8:30 am ET

There are not a billion automobiles on the Earth, yet. And more than half of all people have no access to electricity. With six billion people on the planet and a mojority of them wanting to live at an energy use level similar to the U.S. and Canada, with the majority of them wanting automobiles, electric lights, computers, et c., we damn well better find a way to reduce our CO2 output. It's accelerated output after the year 1650 has all been pollution, pure and simple.

It is fully within mankind's capability to reduce the amount of global warming gases that are now simply being dumped into the World's atmosphere and it is in our best interest to do just that, as quickly as possible.

Doug   March 20th, 2008 8:56 am ET

Relax, global warming is a scam by the liberal elites at universities. This is politics, not science. When will America wake up and realize we are being scammed by the leftist media.

Ken in Dallas   March 20th, 2008 12:46 pm ET

To those who assume that climate change is an evil disinformation plot designed to blackmail the public into funding research: what kind of person thinks like that, and why should anyone imagine judgments based on such assumptions to be sound?

Franko   March 20th, 2008 1:21 pm ET

Google and watch this BBC documentary:

CO2 lags temperature,
Therefore cannot be the driver.

CO2 is not the horse that pulls the cart
Increased temperature is the cause, CO2 rise is the effect

Utuk in Arctic Alaska   March 20th, 2008 1:24 pm ET

Global warming and climate change are two separate things, as any English teacher or science teacher will tell you. And the environmental processes that cause them are complex. You can't blame any one thing or say that it is just a natural cycle. It is a combination of complex processes, both natural and man made. But then, I'm not a scientist. I just live here in the Arctic. Up close,
we can see the changes – thinner sea ice, a lack of multi-year ice, fewer winter storms. Whatever is causing the changes, they are real. We can't deny them, wish them away, or pretend it is all for the good. What happens in the Arctic, and Antarctic, will have profound effects on people in the temperate zones, including those of you living in the "lower 48". There may be nothing we can do about it. All we can hope to do is mitigate the hazards to the best of our abilities, individually and as a society, and hope for the best.

Franko   March 20th, 2008 2:19 pm ET

In the summer, some time ago, I was in Norman Wells and Coppermine, when the temperarure was the highest in Canada

In the winter, overnight, Fort Norman dropped to minus 71 fahrenheit

Sacs Harbor had tall grass and lot of arctic hares
Older people said there used to be no grass.

Al Gore and his Nobel Prize have focused attention on climate
(very good used car salesman sold us a lemon ?).
Next is to understand the processes in detail
And what can we do for the better

LB Canada   March 21st, 2008 1:52 am ET

Interesting comments, whether we are the problem or not, it can't be a bad idea to be more resourceful. We still have to live here!

Lauralee Till   March 21st, 2008 5:31 pm ET

Editor and Utuk, thank you for a little dose of common sense. The world now is crowded and much of it is hungry. Global warming may be cyclic, but if we continue to hasten it, the crowding may be worsened by flooding of coastal areas, and the hunger may begin to affect the affluent nations as much or more as the third world nations. Regardless of the cause, in today's world, politics and science will both need to address the effects of the changes.

Franko   March 22nd, 2008 1:10 am ET

Both Chinese and Russian scientists predict global cooling:

Google these:

russian global cooling
chinese global cooling

Snow and hail here this morning, one hour drive from Vancouver Canada
I will cut down a tree and check the tree rings to look for a trend in the climate.

jd   March 23rd, 2008 1:45 pm ET

If we the ones that worry about global warming from man-made sources to be a critical problem are 'university liberal elites' what are you that don't 'believe' in it? The 'uneducated bigotes/reactionary louts'? Why is it that these latter types are either fossil-fuel business associates or dim-wits that couldn't make it thro college/univ?

Mr. Spock   March 23rd, 2008 11:15 pm ET

A few interesting side-effects could happen from this sea-ice melt. More water means more evaporation, means more clouds, which could reflect more solar radiation away from Earth actually cooling the planet and starting ice-formation again. Additional cold water from the ice melts could also radically change the ocean currents in unpredictable patterns, which would cause severe climate change all across the planet. The Chinese are wise indeed.

Frank   March 25th, 2008 1:27 pm ET

One problem Mr. Spock.

More clouds and more evaporation would cause world wide Droughts. The cloud covering would super-cool the world into a freezing nightmare. It would be an Ice Age all over again. The issue is that not everything works so smoothly. It's either one extremely to the next. Also with more clouds you would expect more rain fall? How about flooding rainfall in every place you can imagine. The world will flood, then freeze. Earth will basically become like what pluto is, a ball of ice.

Thats taking one extreme point.
The other is the rate of evaporation is so fast and since the tempature would be exceeding normal limits, the water does not turn into clouds. The sun would eventually take over and every speck of green on earth turns into yellow desert. Plants and animals die, and whos among the animals? Us.

Global Warming is clearly a problem. The fact that politics gets in the ways is pathetic. Howeverso, these are points taken upon stands of extreme-ity and pure madness. But then again, don't we all need a little madness to prove things? **aka: thinking outside the box**

Mr. Spock   March 28th, 2008 4:45 am ET

Frank, I think the answer then would be the Kyoto Accords, which the U.S. decided to go against. The automobile, run by gasoline, started when, 1890-1900? And look, over 100 years later, we are still using gasoline? WTF? We should be using bio-fuel, hydrogen, elec, or something else by now. We already are making a difference with CFL's instead of traditional bulbs, why can't we get off oil, totally inefficient fuel source and bad for the environment.

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