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Colorado State professor disputes global warming is human-caused

Kate Martin / The Daily Reporter-Herald | September 20 2006

Global warming is happening, but humans are not the cause, one of the nation’s top experts on hurricanes said Monday morning.

Bill Gray, who has studied tropical meteorology for more than 40 years, spoke at the Larimer County Republican Club Breakfast about global warming and whether humans are to blame. About 50 people were at the talk.

Gray, who is a professor at Colorado State University, said human-induced global warming is a fear perpetuated by the media and scientists who are trying to get federal grants.

“I think we’re coming out of the little ice age, and warming is due to changes to ocean circulation patterns due to salinity variations,” Gray said. “I’m sure that’s it.”


Gray’s view has been challenged, however.

Roger Pielke Jr., director of the Center for Science and Technology Policy Research at the University of Colorado, said in an interview later Monday that climate scientists involved with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concluded that most of the warming is due to human activity.

“Bill Gray is a widely respected senior scientist who has a view that is out of step with a lot of his colleagues’,” Pielke said. But challenging widely held views is “good for science because it forces people to make their case and advances understanding.”

“We should always listen to the minority,” said Pielke, who spoke from his office in Boulder. “But it’s prudent to take actions that both minimize human effect on the climate and also make ourselves much more resilient.”

At the breakfast, Gray said Earth was warmer in some medieval periods than it is today. Current weather models are good at predicting weather as far as 10 days in advance, but predicting up to 100 years into the future is “a great act of faith, and I don’t believe any of it,” he said.

But even if humans cause global warming, there’s not much people can do, Gray said. China and India will continue to pump out greenhouse gases, and alternative energy sources are expensive.

“Why do it if it’s not going to make a difference anyway?” he said. “Whether I’m right or wrong, we can’t do anything about it anyway.”

But Pielke said it makes sense to reduce humans’ impact on the climate.

“There are uncertainties. It’s not like you

change your light bulbs today, you’re going to have better weather tomorrow,” he said. “It’s even better if those actions you’re taking make sense for other reasons, like getting off Middle Eastern oil or saving money.”

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