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2012 was a really bad year for climate change deniers.

Hot Year

According to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), 2012 was the hottest year on record in the continental U.S.  “2012 marked the warmest year on record…with the year consisting of a record warm spring, second warmest summer, and fourth warmest winter…The average temperature for 2012 was 3.2°F above the 20th Century average and 1.0°F above 1998, the previous warmest year.”

noaa

Extreme Year

2012 wasn’t just hot.  According to the U.S. Climate Extremes Index, 2012 was “the second most extreme year on record for the nation…nearly twice the average value and second only to 1998.  2012 saw 11 disasters that reached the $1 billion threshold in losses, to include Sandy, Isaac, and tornado outbreaks experienced in the Great Plains, Texas and Southeast/Ohio Valley.”

Hot History

And, the problems for climate change deniers weren’t just restricted to the facts about the year just past.

In the summer of 2012, former climate change skeptic, Richard Muller, Founder and Scientific Director of Berkeley Earth (http://berkeleyearth.org/), released a set of studies funded by the Charles Koch Foundation that found that:

“The average temperature of the Earth’s land has risen by 1.5°C over the past 250 years.  The good match between the new temperature record and historical carbon dioxide records (measured from polar ice samples) suggests that the most straight forward explanation for this warming is human greenhouse gas emissions.

The Berkeley Earth team values the simplicity of its analysis, which does not depend on the large complex global climate models that have been criticized by climate skeptics for their hidden assumptions and adjustable parameters.

The conclusion that the warming is due to humans is based simply on the close agreement between the shape of the observed temperature rise and the known greenhouse gas increase.”

Hot Governor

And also, toward the end of 2012, California Governor Jerry Brown’s Governor’s Office of Planning and Research has put up a Climate Change Just the Facts website (http://www.opr.ca.gov/s_denier.php) to take on climate change deniers.   The site presents the scientific consensus in simple straight forward terms.

And then the site goes on to take on the deniers head on.

“A small but vocal group has aggressively spread misinformation about the science, aiming to cast doubt on well-established findings and conclusions. Their goal is to create confusion and uncertainty, thereby preventing meaningful action to remedy the problem. The same strategy was used cynically for decades by the tobacco industry after research showed that cigarettes caused cancer. In fact, some of the same individuals who have spoken out against climate science also claimed that cigarettes were safe.

A famous tobacco industry document from the late 1960s said, ‘Doubt is our product, since it is the best means of competing with the ‘body of fact’ that exists in the minds of the general public.’ It is a strategy that has worked, at least for awhile, in the past, and it is being repeated today. Because of the serious impacts of climate change, the delay and obfuscation tactics of the deniers are particularly concerning, which is why we present some responses to the denier arguments on this website.”

Maybe the debate is shifting back toward reality.  If that’s true, it will make 2013 a much better year for our One People living on our One Planet.