Cutting Through the Fog on Global Warming

Ohio State scientist Lonnie Thompson makes the hazy global warming debate a bit clearer.


Lonnie Thompson was born in West Virginia. He went to college at Marshall University, and did his post-graduate work at Ohio State, which employs him now. He and his research team look properly Midwestern--like the folks you would meet in a Lutheran church choir, or at the local Rotary.

Which is to say that Lonnie Thompson is not a member of the evil Elite. He is merely a top notch American scientist who happens to spend more of his time at higher altitudes than his fellow human beings, excepting perhaps some Nepalese sherpas.

Thompson’s specialty is ice. He and his team hike to remote parts of the globe, often toting heavy gear to places where the air is too thin to use helicopters, and drill down into glaciers and ice caps to collect frozen samples of ancient atmospheres. Then they analyze this very, very old air to see what it can tell us about global warming.

I bring Thompson’s name up because, with the climate summit in the news, the big energy companies and their political toadies will be juicing up their public relations campaign to assure us all that global warming is no big deal.

[Read more about energy policy and climate change.]

Thompson believes that it is a big deal. And his views on the subject are worth considering. They are based on the facts he has gathered, at much risk to himself and his team, and presented in a lovely article that I urge all to read.

Because one side is slick and well-funded, and the other often represented by tongue-tied wonks who don’t do much traveling outside scientific circles, the “debate” over global warming can at times be confusing. Thompson cuts through the fog.

(And thanks to Andrew Revkin for calling it to my attention.)

  • See this month's best political cartoons.
  • Read more about energy and the environment.
  • Follow the money in Congress.