Letter: More climate fun!

By Dr. Ronald J. Spencer

Editor, the Gauntlet,

[Re: “Fact or Fiction?“, Bruce Sieppert, Apr. 6, 2007]

Earlier this semester I was invited by one of my colleagues to give a lecture on the topic of climate change in Geophysics 375. Prior to this lecture there had been an opportunity for students in the class to view the movie An Inconvenient Truth. I had discussed this movie with the professor teaching the course and told him that I felt the movie was highly biased. I have conducted research on geologic records of climate for the past 33 years and offered to give a lecture focused on the other side of the scientific debate.

I made it clear to the class at the beginning of my lecture that I would not present a balanced argument on climate change but rather point out why there are some of us in the scientific community who see carbon dioxide as a minor, not a major contributor to climate change. This lecture prompted a letter to the editor.

I commend Mr. Sieppert for his well thought-out and extremely articulate letter. I whole-heartedly agree with his concluding sentence, “look into it, use your critical thinking, and decide for yourself.” That is exactly the point I tried to make in the lecture! However, I strongly disagree with the preceding sentence, “evidence for both sides of the climate change debate is also easy to find.”

We are bombarded with media reports presenting only one side of this issue, declaring that anthropogenic carbon dioxide is responsible for an unprecedented increase in global temperature over the last century. During my lecture I presented a large amount of data indicating this is not so. Most of the students I talked with are not aware of the data used to interpret global warming, as these data are seldom reported to the public. When they are, I believe they are highly distorted, as in the case of An Inconvenient Truth. I find it interesting that Mr. Sieppert chose not to challenge any of the data presented in the lecture, which I believe to be solid, only the interpretation of those data, which I believe flows logically from the data.

Dr. Ronald J. Spencer
Department of
Geology and Geophysics

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