Professor: Letter writer misleads readers about climate change


Bob Comer’s letter to the editor in The Signal (“Chill out, climate change worriers,” April 7, 2017) was little more than a regurgitation of shopworn climate-denier talking points.

Take his silly dismissal of human-caused climate change: “Of course climate changes! Always has” This is the top-ranked climate change denial myth at

Natural factors (volcanic eruptions and small but measurable changes in the brightness of the sun) were actually working to cool the planet slightly over the past half century.

The substantial warming that has taken place in recent decades occurred in spite of natural changes, not because of them.

Given his penchant for parroting myths, it is ironic that Mr. Comer dismisses the “hockey stick” temperature curve my co-authors and I published in the late 1990s as a “myth.”

As I recount the book “The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars” (November 2013 ISBN: 9780231152556) the unprecedented nature of recent warming over the past millennium has been attacked by climate change deniers owing to the simple, undeniable message it conveys about the dramatic impact human activity is having on Earth’s climate.

The highest scientific body in the U.S., the National Academy of Sciences, affirmed my research findings in an exhaustive independent review published in June 2006 (see e.g. “Science Panel Backs Study on Warming Climate,” New York Times, June 22, 2006).

The most recent report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concluded that recent warmth is likely unprecedented over an even longer timeframe.

Readers interested in the truth behind the science, rather than the falsehoods perpetuated by individuals like Mr. Comer, should consult scientist-run websites like or books on the topic like my own “Dire Predictions: Understanding Climate Change.”

Let’s get past the fake debate about whether climate change is real and on to the worthy debate over what to do about it.

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