Climatology professor talks change, research

Global warming is not political; it’s the truth.

At least according to Michael E. Mann, a world famous expert on global warming, who spoke at Oklahoma State University on Friday.

Mann, a professor of climatology at Pennsylvania State University, spoke of the research and challenges he has compiled and faced as a scientist before a room of about 430 people in the ConocoPhillips OSU Alumni Center. 

“It seems a little ironic to me that I am giving a speech on climate change in the middle of oil country,” Mann said. “But it is probably oil states like Oklahoma and Texas where this debate matters most.”

Oklahoma had the hottest summer any state had ever recorded two summers ago, Mann said.

“The center of North America will see more warming than the coasts,” Mann said.

Mann’s claims are based on the extensive climate research he has conducted over the years.

Part of Mann’s research studies tree rings to determine the past climate.

Rings on a tree not only tell time but they grow more in times of favorable conditions too. By looking at how thick a ring in tree from a certain time period is, Mann can judge certain factors about that climate. 

Using this and other methods, Mann has compiled a 1,000-year record of the climate of the northern hemisphere.

“The science behind global warming has been known for 200 years,” Mann said. “Scientists like Joseph Fourier proposed the greenhouse effect in the early nineteenth century.”

Global warming has been a highly politicized debate in recent years.

The fossil fuels industry has sought try to disgrace the science behind global warming, Mann said.

“The fossil fuel companies today are like the tobacco industry trying to discredit the science that linked smoking cigarettes to cancer,” he said.

Mann has been the target of many members in Congress who have close ties with the oil industry.

U. S. Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, has launched multiple attacks on Mann and his research.

Barton personally apologized to British Petroleum after the U.S. government fined the oil company more than $3 billion for the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Mann finished the presentation with a glimmer of hope.

“If we change our ways and reduce carbon emissions over the next 30 years we could hold global warming to under 2 degrees Celsius,” Mann said.