• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Scientists Blame Global Warming for Heat Wave, But Fail to Back It Up

    Global-warming alarmists have reemerged with a vengeance following the recent heat wave featuring record temperatures across the nation and dozens of wildfires throughout the West. But how much has global warming contributed?

    At least two climate change scientists refused to identify any possible threshold, with one declaring, “I honestly don’t think you can really put a number right on it.”

    Climate Communication, a non-profit science outreach organization funded by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and the ClimateWorks Foundation and dedicated to the study of “global environmental change,” hosted a conference call with reporters on June 28 to coincide with the release its newest publication, “Heat Waves and Climate Change.”

    When pressed by Associated Press science reporter Seth Borenstein on the connection between global warming to recent events, Dr. Michael Oppenheimer and Dr. Steven Running, two of the panelists showcased by Climate Communication, rejected the line of questioning, refusing to offer any estimate.

    “I won’t do it,” said Oppenheimer.

    Running told Borenstein that to offer such an estimate is “probably really dangerous for us,” instead clarifying that more analysis and “statistical rigor” would need to be applied before the conclusions were sent out “into the public arena.”

    Susan Hassol, the moderator for the call, appeared to chastise Borenstein when he pursued the line of questioning, offering to “make it easier” by saying whether or not global warming accounted for more or less than 50 percent to the current situation.

    According to Hassol, the question from Borenstein was not “well-posed,” and stated that even the types of modeling necessary to determine attribution “are not very good” at providing that conclusion.

    Borenstein bristled at Hassol’s comments.

    “I understand, I’ve been covering this for 20 years, I understand. I don’t need a lecture, thank you very much,” responded Borenstein.

    Borenstein’s most recent AP story was titled, “This US summer is ‘what global warming looks like,’” dated July 3, five days after the conference call.

    In the story, Borenstein, by way of exposition, wrote:

    If you want a glimpse of some of the worst of global warming, scientists suggest taking a look at U.S. weather in recent weeks.

    Horrendous wildfires. Oppressive heat waves. Devastating droughts. Flooding from giant deluges. And a powerful freak wind storm called a derecho.

    These are the kinds of extremes climate scientists have predicted will come with climate change, although it’s far too early to say that is the cause. Nor will they say global warming is the reason 3,215 daily high temperature records were set in the month of June.

    Scientifically linking individual weather events to climate change takes intensive study, complicated mathematics, computer models and lots of time. Sometimes it isn’t caused by global warming. Weather is always variable; freak things happen.

    Borenstein also quoted Oppenheimer’s observations about the recent weather events.

    “What we’re seeing really is a window into what global warming really looks like. It looks like heat. It looks like fires. It looks like this kind of environmental disasters,” said Oppenheimer.

    Oppenheimer’s colleagues in story agreed.

    “This is what global warming looks like at the regional or personal level. The extra heat increases the odds of worse heat waves, droughts, storms and wildfire. This is certainly what I and many other climate scientists have been warning about,” said one professor of geosciences and atmospheric sciences.

    Another simply declared that it’s “I told-you-so time.”

    Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) revealed the contents of the conference call during a speech on the Senate floor earlier today.

    AP Reporter Seth Borenstein: Let me try and put you more on the spot, Mike and Steve: I know there’s no attribution – you haven’t done attribution studies, but if you ballparked it right now and had to put a percentage number on this, on the percentage that the heat wave, the percentage of blame you can put on anthropogenic climate change, on this current heat wave, and on the fires, what percentage would the two of you use?

    Dr. Michael Oppenheimer: Come on, I’m not going to answer that. Yes I will answer it, and my answer is: I won’t do it. You know, we have to do these things carefully, because if you don’t, you’re going to end up with bogus information out there. People will start disbelieving because you’ll be more wrong, more often. This is not the kind of thing I want to do off the top of my head. Nor do I think it can be done, you know, convincingly, without really taking – doing careful analysis, so I’ll pass on this one and see if Steve has a different view.

    Dr. Steven Running: Well, I already got way too hypothetical in my last answer. Yeah, it’s… it’s probably really dangerous for us to just lob out a number. I – We could certainly lob out some guess, but it wouldn’t be based on the kind of analysis and statistical rigor that we want to put out into the public arena.

    Seth Borenstein: Okay let’s make it easier. 50% line…how about 50% line: Is it more than 50%, do you think, or less? Just, you know, on one end. More or less?

    Susan Hassol, Moderator for the Climate Communication conference call: Seth, most of the scientists I talk to say it’s a contributing factor and that’s what we can say and that it’s really not even really a well-posed question, to ask for a percentage, because it just – what you’re asking really is for a model to determine the chances of this happening without climate change or with climate change and models are not very good at that.

    Seth Borenstein: I understand, I’ve been covering this for 20 years, I understand. I don’t need a lecture, thank you very much. What I’m asking for is when the fingerprint – when the attribution studies are done, two or three years later, it’s already beyond people’s memory. I’m just looking for whether you could say this is – global warming was the biggest factor, more than 50 – most of the factor, you know, either more or less than 50%…

    Dr. Michael Oppenheimer: I honestly don’t think you can really put a number right on it. What I honestly think is global warming has in general made this part – that part of the world – warmer and drier than it otherwise would be, and that makes it fertile ground for fire events like the one we’re seeing. So did global warming contribute? Yes. Can I really make any sort of estimate – numerical estimate- about how much? Not really sitting here on a telephone at my desk, and maybe not even if I had six months.

    Climate Communications includes the controversial climate change scientist Dr. Michael Mann on its board of science advisors.

    Posted in Featured, Scribe [slideshow_deploy]

    38 Responses to Scientists Blame Global Warming for Heat Wave, But Fail to Back It Up

    1. Paul says:

      The headline of this article is contradicted by the story itself. A more accurate headline would be, "Scientists refuse to blame Global Warming for current heat wave." Did the editor who wrote the headline intentionally set out to mislead readers?

    2. R James says:

      Wasn't I reading about record low temperatures in Europe and USA in the last decade? Was anone screaming global cooling? It has to work both ways.

    3. Brad S. says:

      I figured it out ! "It's the summer !" Ask Europe and their record low temperatures this year how their GLOBAL warming is working out for them.

    4. Jim says:

      I find it ironic that teh Rockerfeller Brothers Fund is helping to propogate this stuff. Didn't teh family fortune come from Fossil fuels?

    5. Transplanted Texan says:

      Why hasn't anyone discussed the impact of the very dramatic increase in solar storm activity on the Earth's climate? Probably because it would contradict the pseudo-science that insists only man is responsible for climate change.

      • What you refer to as a "very dramatic increase in solar storm activity" is actually part of the natural, 11-year solar cycle. What you neglect to mention is that the Sun is coming out of a particularly long, deep "solar minimum" that caused a measurable cooling of the Earth's upper atmosphere, and probably gave people a false sense of security about global warming. You can ask any astronomer about this if you need confirmation.

        Anyone with half a brain can figure out that you just can't continue spewing carbon into the atmosphere at ever-increasing rates, while deforesting the planet at the same time, and NOT have it affect the climate.

        • darryl b says:

          Chuck, have you studied in some detail the science regarding what has been referred to as the greenhouse gas effect? (probably a misnomer–Tyndall gas effect would be better) -or studied chapter nine of working group 1 of the IPCC 4th report? The hypothesis has so many assumptions, and the models are very complex, yet IMO do not adequately include all factors. Like many of us who are skeptical, the science seems to say there may be a small amount of GHG attribution; however, the amount of cause will be decreasing. I firmly believe that we will never know the exact amount of attribution and there are much greater environmental concerns such as having adequate amounts and quality of water where we need it.

    6. Sanford Olnhausen says:

      The IPCC can not produce the empirical evidence necessary to support anthropogenic global warming.

    7. Maybe it's time to just throw in the towel, and focus on the BRIGHT SIDE of Global Warming:

      1:Public swimming pools open on Groundhog Day, don’t close until Thanksgiving.
      2:No more of those pesky polar bear attacks … EVER AGAIN.
      3:You won’t have to drive to the beach. The beach comes to YOU!
      4:Business will be positively BOOMING at the Great Lakes alligator farms.
      5:No more movies about cutesy penguins.
      6:Fewer people freezing to death. Heatstroke is a much cozier way to go.
      7:Forget mowing the lawn anymore. Just let it die, then paint it green.
      8:“February showers bring March flowers!”
      9:Those garishly-colored coral reefs will soon be a tasteful off-white.
      10:A new, FUN contest to rename Glacier National Park!
      11:Office dress codes revised to allow for “Clothing-Optional Friday.”
      12:People less worried about going to Hell.
      13:Now maybe animals will abandon the cruel practice of wearing fur.

    8. Byron says:

      One issue I have with all the record heat wave alarms coming out: I moved to Houston in 1980. That summer we had a heat wave during which the city went through over 30 days during which the temperature exceeded 100F. Dallas had over 90 days during which the temperature exceeded 100F. The toll from heat related deaths was in excess of 100 people in Dallas. Here in Houston, lawn watering was discontinued. One was not allowed to wash a vehicle anywhere except for carwashes that recycled the water.

    9. Ed Scott says:

      They woke up one morning with their left leg itching. They just knew it must be global warming.

    10. Steve h says:

      Unreal people out there still deny global warming. Just shows the impact of big business in manipulating the masses who can't see the stats and numbers sitting in front of them.

      • Steve P. says:

        Ironically, big businesses (e.g., GE, GM, ADM, BP, Berkshire Hathaway, ) seem to understand that global warming is real and are working out how to profit from it. The conservative think-tanks and media haven't caught up with their base yet. Not very astute folks, when you think about it.

        • Gary says:

          Steve(s),
          I agree.
          It's amazing to me that they must believe that long ago kids went to college to become scientists so that they could become a majority that would oppose the tiny diminishing minority on climate change.

          Shall we assume they are ignorant? Shall we assume they are dooped? Shall we assume they put money ahead of all else including life on the planet? Shall we assume that they think god is forgiving them or protecting them from harm? Shall we assume that they don't embrace logic? It's all just bad!

          For them: Please Please search on Ocean Acidification for another angle to look at where we are heading. And please apologize even more than Obama did for your ignorance or greed?

          Hats off to the scientist in the article that answered the questions that were answerable.

    11. Ken Marx says:

      It's so easy for these "scientists" to claim the fires were a result of global warming, yet they also easily ignore the fact of bad forest management. Do to a restriction on temporary roads into the area, firefighters were unable to reach the blaze when it might have been small enough to manage. Also, do to that same restriction and other restrictions, forest managers were unable, or were not allowed, to cull out dead, highly combustible, material. But gee, let's not get confused by facts! The forest will grow back, but the burned out homeowners will have a much tougher time recovering. Damn environmentalists win every time.

      • dan says:

        bad forest management? Budget cuts?

      • Gary says:

        We will win most the time since we care and we are not limited by faith.

        Maybe when you build an identical planet without humans you'll be able to compare the two to discover you are wrong. The majority of the planet and it's scientists are decades ahead of your knowledge on Climate Change. Do you and especially us a good service and do your OWN, Your own, internet research on topics. You'll be enlightened, if not, good luck in your world?

    12. Howard Lowe says:

      Let's use commonsense – not academic theories. Question – Is the recent summer heat wave the reult of weather or climate? Weather is daily, weekly, monthly while climate is decades and centuries. Besides all this appears to be regional rather than worldwide.
      Models give only a rough feel for climate anomolies – there is a CERTAINTY that the answers will be UNCERTAIN.
      Moreover – there is no such thing as concsensus in science, only certain proof of a theroy. The best models give only an estimate, which is subject to revision as the data improves or changes.

      • R James says:

        Yes it is very regional. The whole of the USA, including Alaska is less than 2% of the Earth's surface. It amuses me when I read that something that happens in a small part of the USA must be significant to the rest of the world.

    13. Bobbie says:

      so global warming is started by a match lit by man! They're more unbelievable now than ever.

      "There's attribution to man made global warming that we have no evidence on but the more we retell this bogus information the more compliant because our man-made fear, people will become."

      Always remember man did not create the earth. Unnamed scientists are bogus! And all of nature outside man's control that man researches and studies for answers, are speculative answers. In today's America, research and studies are proven dishonorable, directly related to a man-made, government supported and sponsored, agenda at hand.

      Nature takes a course of her own and if mankind wants to survive, mankind will adapt until mankind cannot. Honorable scientists will keep us informed.

      • Gary says:

        I don't want to have to adapt to the kind of world that you are willing to allow or create.

        The majority of people and the majority of climate scientist believe in man based Climate Change. Why don't you?

        Scientists pretty much rely on the scientific method. It's not political and it's not biased. But, people are people so there are exceptions.

        Faith will always trump logic. Faith has a story that is learned by a society or group. All can agree to the creation story and point to all it's tenants and this is powerful due to conscensous. Science relies on observation and study. Everyone in this group may have a different understanding of the topic. Absolute truth or certainty is not easy to come to but it is the only method that humans have to gain knowledge. Unless you just make it up?

    14. Jan says:

      I baked a cake today and the kitchen got hot! It must be global warming.

    15. Blair Franconia, NH says:

      In January 1977, TIME magazine had a cover with the following headline: "The Coming Ice Age." The story was based on scientific research that said that due to the depletion of the ozone layer, there was a chance that there'd be another ice age. (No, I don't mean the next feature-length cartoon with Ray Romano, John Leguizamo, and Dennis Miller). I mean the real thing with glaciers advancing. Flash forward 11 years, and you're in 1988. In 1988, we had a series of heat waves, and it rained on Christmas. What changed between 1977 and 1988? The "science." The same scientists who said that we were heading for another ice age in 1977, were getting government grants to say that. By 1988, they were getting government money to say that it was global warming. LIAR, LIAR, PANTS ON FIRE!

      • Leland64 says:

        The science is settled. Global warming is caused by cow flatulence. Based on the volume and pitch of greenie screaming, I think it is clear fracking is the real cause of global warming.

      • How fortunate that we have satellite data, computer models, and overall a MUCH greater knowledge of what affects the climate than we did in 1977.

        • Bobbie says:

          Too bad their knowledge through the latest technology is not always used in favor of the truth but more used to fool the masses. Unbelievable!

      • Gary says:

        It's not too late to search the internet on: Climate Change or Ocean Acidification.

        «Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible.»
        Lord Kelvin, British mathematician and physicist, president of the British Royal Society, 1895.

        «Radio has no future.»
        Lord Kelvin, Scottish mathematician and physicist, former president of the Royal Society, 1897.

        «There is not the slightest indication that nuclear energy will ever be obtainable. It would mean that the atom would have to be shattered at will.»
        Albert Einstein, 1932.

        «There is no likelihood man can ever tap the power of the atom.»
        Robert Millikan, American physicist and Nobel Prize winner, 1923.

        Science on topics evolve. Scientist evolve. People evolve.

    16. RennyG says:

      If the "king" himself says it you don't need back up, you just don't need it, because he will make it happen!!
      The RNC better stop looking and planning for the normal type election because it "ain't" going to happen!
      This guy is "PLANNING" for TWO OR MORE YEARS in, not office but in CONTROL, and he will do it if soneone doesn't wake up.
      My faith is being put into our Lord and Creator, the one who really knows what is going on!!!!

      • Gary says:

        God said something regarding you having dominion over the Earth. Now that you have that charge how are you going to treat the planet. You have free will. Are you going to destroy it? It's your choice.

        I'd appreciate keeping the earth in good order or God may decide to burn you?

        I too have faith in God.

    17. Jim Peel says:

      A bunch of cowardly answers full of weasel words. In the same time factor numerous low temperature records were broken throughout the world, yet no one learns of them from the MSM or the global warming alarmists.

      • Gary says:

        Jim, Things change:

        «There is not the slightest indication that nuclear energy will ever be obtainable. It would mean that the atom would have to be shattered at will.»
        Albert Einstein, 1932.

        «There is no likelihood man can ever tap the power of the atom.»
        Robert Millikan, American physicist and Nobel Prize winner, 1923.

        Will you?

    18. Brad says:

      Mr. Sandoval: you call yourself a journalist? Your title describes the exact opposite of the content. It's misleading, and I'm sorry that things are such that you can manage to get it published on such a widely-read website.

      If I may translate for the careful scientists: We're seeing precisely the kind of severe weather fluctuations and lack of pattern from year to year that were predicted decades ago. Low snowfall one year, severe cold the next, wet spring one year, early dry spring the next, cool summer one year, hot dry one the next. "Global Weirding" is probably a better word for it than "Warming." The weird weather the last few years confirms everything that climate change scientists have been saying all this time, they're just too well-trained about speaking only on that of which they can be statistically certain, to just say so, like the public needs them to. Their skepticism of their own conclusions, and their restraint, are admirable in the context of academic debate. But the public needs to hear how certain this is so they can get over the political debate about whether it's really happening or not and get on with how to deal with it.

      Scientific training teaches you not to make statements that you can't back up. That's all these guys are doing, refusing to make statements they can't back up. You can't conclusively blame a single weather event on "Climate Change." That's why only people who misunderstand the theory ever do so. However, you can blame it on a collection of bizarre and seemingly opposite weather events with a rising average temperature on climate change, though. And that's what we're seeing.

    19. Chuck says:

      How ia it that I never hear Climate Change Alrmist mention the effect of El Nino and La Nina on climate change. These two naturally occurring events have more impact on climate than use of fossil fuels.

    20. Stirling says:

      These "Scientists" must just want more "Obama Bucks" for research grants… Easy way to tell something is a lie is to ask them if the "world is comming to an end" because of (fill in the catastrope). The world has been arround for a long time, and will continue to be so long after we are gone from it. Scientists refuse to acknolege a greater power then themselves (God) and will never solve the worlds issues due to this fact.

      • Gary says:

        Scientists tend to not be Theistic because God isn't a logical conclusion from the evidence given.

        I doubt a believer would win a scientific debate on the existence of God. Some believers believe the earth is 6k years old and yet there are scientific tools that prove repeatedly that life has been around for millions of years. Where is God anyway?

        And it's pretty well proven our Sun will grow in size and fry the earth many years out. Will God fry or will he move on or?

        Scientist do not refuse to acknowledge God, rather they would tend to seek God's existence.
        It could be said that some mortals refuse to acknowledge the lack of God. Hmmm?

    21. KBell says:

      The Heritage Foundation is predominately funded by the owners of oil, gas, chemical, mining and other large industrial companies. No wonder your reporting is so slanted against global warming and environmental issues. Disgusting.

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.

    ×