Reconciling Cold Weather and a Warming Climate

Yesterday, I criticized those who made the claim that ““Twelve-month long drop in world temperatures wipes out a century of warming” in my usual understated and charming way.

I have to admit that the responses surprised me. First, I had no idea so many people rabidly disbelieve that 1) climate change is occurring and 2) we Humans are responsible for some of that. Truly eye opening to me.

There was a pretty amazing discussion in comments, ranging from brilliant to scientifically insightful to rhetoric of all manners, including some that had not yet achieved total enlightenment (so they got that going for them). I found the entire debate fascinating.

Sometime in the future, I will put the lawyer hat on to discuss evaluating witnesses. You will find that helpful when evaluating any speaker on any subject regardless of what media, politics, etc.

For now, some more weather change chart porn:

click for ginormo — and familiar looking — chart:

0302_sci_COLD_web

Courtesy of NYT

Here’s the ubiq-cerpt:™

“According to a host of climate experts, including some who question the extent and risks of global warming, it is mostly good old-fashioned weather, along with a cold kick from the tropical Pacific Ocean, which is in its La Niña phase for a few more months, a year after it was in the opposite warm El Niño pattern.

If anything else is afoot — like some cooling related to sunspot cycles or slow shifts in ocean and atmospheric patterns that can influence temperatures — an array of scientists who have staked out differing positions on the overall threat from global warming agree that there is no way to pinpoint whether such a new force is at work.

Many scientists also say that the cool spell in no way undermines the enormous body of evidence pointing to a warming world with disrupted weather patterns, less ice and rising seas should heat-trapping greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels and forests continue to accumulate in the air.

“The current downturn is not very unusual,” said Carl Mears, a scientist at Remote Sensing Systems, a private research group in Santa Rosa, Calif., that has been using satellite data to track global temperature and whose findings have been held out as reliable by a variety of climate experts. He pointed to similar drops in 1988, 1991-92, and 1998, but with a long-term warming trend clear nonetheless.

“Temperatures are very likely to recover after the La Niña event is over,” he said.

My point yesterday — which several commentors elected to ignore — was that confusing the short term trend with the longer term trend was simply wrong.

Using recent weather fluctuations to disprove climate change was like looking at the minute by minute S&P500 chart to determine long term markets trends . . .

>

Source:
Skeptics on Human Climate Impact Seize on Cold Spell
ANDREW C. REVKIN
NYT, March 2, 2008
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/02/science/02cold.html

What's been said:

Discussions found on the web:
  1. Steelduck commented on Mar 2

    What’s interesting is that here in France, MeteoFrance, reported that this winter is the WARMEST since 1950, and the 10th warmest since 1900. Sorry, I forgot we are on another planet…

  2. Socalcool commented on Mar 2

    However, I often wonder how reliably calculated the long term trend can be. For instance, while the thermometer has been around for centries, it hasn’t been deployed around the planet for very long. Second, growth rings, peet bogs, ice samples, etc. are unreliable measures of temperature if the variance you seek is of a fractional degree. Third, there has been no reliable procedure for taking temperature (glass tube exposed to direct sun, shade, etc.) and there is still no global standard or device. Fourth, climatic change is by definition a long term proposition, yet our reliable calculations are less than a century old, and still are isolated to specific parts of the globe. It would seem from even this cursory observation that the long term trend is very much in question. Nonetheless, it is much more obvious that there is a deployment of capital at work here. I guess next we need to ask ourselves about motive and opportunity…

  3. Marcus Aurelius commented on Mar 2

    We’re coming off of 8 years of denial and self-delusion and a century of hyperindustrialization. Old habits are hard to break.

    The deniers use rhetoric against science. I’ll side with science every time.

    Better safe than sorry is the grandaddy of all conservative values.

  4. NC Jim commented on Mar 2

    As you state, the error most people make is confusing weather (local) with climate (global). Even with a much warmer climate, it will be the coldest day on record somewhere most days.

    Of course shills from the Right will deny climate change to protect industry profits (recall the cigarette/cancer “debate”).

    Jim

  5. pkut commented on Mar 2

    Actually, when the earth is 4+ billion yrs old, a 100yrs worth of data (which is all the *accurate* data we may actually have) is just as insignificant as 1yr and hardly equates to a “trend”. Its liking looking at 999 trillionth of a second’s worth of s&p data instead of a billionth and trying to extrapolate out a long term trend. The only way to predict would be to have accurate models. To say the current models out there are in their infancy would be an insult to multi-cell zygotes. Weather and climate modeling is as complex a system to model as you could conceive of, with billions of unknown, confounding variables that we have no idea about. This is why they are laughable wrong constantly (i.e. hurricane predicting, this yrs record snow, backdating to known data). While it’s certainly worth exploring, to put any stock into it would be foolish. People seem to forget, that scientists have as much of an agenda and bias as anyone. Do you think the government will fund research into climate modeling if someone tells the truth and admits we have no idea if the earth is warming/cooling, if it’s bad, if we can change it, etc? Of course not, but if your *science* corresponds to a political agenda, well then the money comes pouring in.

    Anyway, great site. Keep up the good work.

  6. larry commented on Mar 2

    Further proof of the dumbing down of America in my book. Politics should not enter into this issue. The consequences are too dire. The ones that deny global warming are also the ones that think the housing/credit crisis was caused by people that bought more home than they could afford. Evidently the fact that the financial community was offering mortgageas to anyone with a pulse and the gov was turning a blind eye to this activity counts for nothing in there book. It sure makes for tough investing when people are simply not rational.

  7. Marcus Aurelius commented on Mar 2

    Posted by: Socalcool | Mar 2, 2008 1:15:43 PM

    ______

    The ice cores you mention are instructive as to the the amounts and percentages of atmospheric gasses present at any point in history represented within the sample. Not only is the long term trend measurable, we have witnessed a sudden spike in C02 unprecedented in the ice-bound record.

    additionally, you don’ necessarily have to measure temperature in order to predict the effect of the changing chemical composition of a gaseous mixture. Example: If you remove the oxygen from a room inhabited by a human, the human will die (probability: 100%).

    As for the motives and opportunities of the scientists involved, not everybody is looking for an angle. The science types I know usually don’t think about profits, first.

    What are you – some kind of Luddite, or something?

  8. mark stotko commented on Mar 2

    Bravo Barry,
    No worries; I suspect like myself, the more pragmatic of readers are very happy with
    THE COMMONSENSE light you shine on so many issues– they simply just don’t respond!
    kinda reminds me of the second hand smoke debate–I really don’t know what a conservative IS anymore.

  9. Bob Wahr commented on Mar 2

    “People seem to forget, that scientists have as much of an agenda and bias as anyone. Do you think the government will fund research into climate modeling…”

    What’s the total budget of NOAA? (~$4 billion and facing cuts)

    What’s the total market cap of Exxon? (~$460 billion a climbing)

    Follow the money.

  10. Walker commented on Mar 2

    . First, I had no idea so many people rabidly disbelieve that 1) climate change is occurring and 2) we Humans are responsible for some of that. Truly eye opening to me.

    My experience is that you find a disproportionate number of these on economics blogs. Quite a few of them are investors or business owners that want a free ride subsidized by society and do not want to pay for the externalities that their business creates. As with most things these days, it comes down to “privatization of profit, socialization of risk”.

  11. donna commented on Mar 2

    This is why I prefer climate change to the term gloabl warming, which is confusing to a lot of people who expect it to just be warmer all over all the time. That isn’t what happens.

    What does happen is changes to weather patterns, including more extremes. Some places might be the warmest ever, some the coldest ever, some might get tornadoes in February. I look for the variations in intensity and the truly unexpected weather extremes that are popping up.

    And politics does indeed enter into every issue. It is always to someone’s advantage to keep others ignorant. Rather than denial or acceptance, we all need to start looking to facts and data, not anecdote.

  12. Pat G. commented on Mar 2

    “First, I had no idea so many people rabidly disbelieve that 1) climate change is occurring and 2) we Humans are responsible for some of that.”

    The people who disbelieve either 1 or 2 are either in denial or have no common sense.

    Man is this planet’s worst enemy. Always has been.

  13. zell commented on Mar 2

    There are 23 documented 11 year solar cycles. Cycle 24 should have fired up already- nothing! Check sspace weather or NASA. Cycle 24 was expected to peak 2010-11. I have no doubt human activity has contributed to some global warming but we have to keep in mind that the sun is what keeps us from being an ice ball. Where incremental changes in solar activity stack up to incremental changes in human activity I don’t know. It is an hypothesis that should be at least entertained.

  14. George commented on Mar 2

    Whether or not one believes in global warming, man-made or otherwise, it make sense to not be wasteful. Clearly, there’s money to be made in green industries, and it reduces our reliance on vile oil-spewing dictatorships, many of whom ain’t our friends.

    Interestingly, however, all but one of the 1,018 “green product positioning” product claims reviewed by the consulting company TerraChoice Environmental Marketing, “were false or misleading.”

    http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/07_53/b4065036215848.htm

    It’s the hype, hypocrisy, and political gamesmanship that makes many suspicious of global warming.

  15. Don commented on Mar 2

    Why do so many people want to argue over this?
    Let’s say there is no global warming, man made or otherwise, and that all the denial-ists on this comment page are much more and better informed than 98% of the world’s scientists. We have 2 choices (whether the scientists are right or wrong):
    1 – do nothing, or 2 – do something. If the planet is heating up and we do nothing – whoops, we’re screwed (and the rest of the world – which isn’t arguing over this point by the way – leads the way in technology and business that we will have to try to purchase, utilize and catch up with). So we lose by doing nothing in this case. If the world is heating up and we try do something – we have a chance to win. But, if the planet isn’t heating up and we do something – like LEAD the world in technology and business development and the PROFIT from a cleaner, healthier environment – we win big time (the rest of the world are fools who think the world is heating up – lets sell them the technology that they think will save us all!). IF WE LEAD WE WIN EITHER WAY! Get your heads out of you POLITICAL butts and think like a business person (if that’s what it take to make you care about what’s right).

    Sorry if I am repeating something someone has stated earlier, I haven’t had time to read through all the comments.

  16. drey commented on Mar 2

    “People seem to forget, that scientists have as much of an agenda and bias as anyone.”

    No, they don’t. In fact, that’s what makes a scientist a scientist – the willingness to adopt a sound methodology and follow the evidence where it leads, whether it fits any preconceived ideas they may have or not. If existing beliefs bias the outcome in any way then this is not science, it is the antithesis of science.

    I think there’s a dangerous, reductionist trend at work here to equate science with politics, and to discredit real science which doesn’t fit into one’s political ideology…

    Thanks for your lucid (and mercifully brief) posts on this subject, Marcus Aurelius. As usual they are spot on.

  17. David commented on Mar 2

    Solar cycles are about magnetic activity on the Sun (as the field lines get twisted), and end when the magnetic poles reverse. These are correlated with sunspots (caused by magnetic fields) and coronal mass ejections (same), neither of which affect the luminosity of the Sun in any significant way. Climate scientists are not idiots. If they could explain away global warming, the entire world would be grateful to them. (Contrary to bizarre popular belief, the Sierra Club et al. don’t like global warming.)

    “Actually, when the earth is 4+ billion yrs old, a 100yrs worth of data (which is all the *accurate* data we may actually have) is just as insignificant as 1yr and hardly equates to a “trend”.”

    This is not true, and that’s actually the point. The warming we’re seeing is unprecedentedly rapid. And correlated with a large increase of the CO2 levels in the atmosphere. Hence the belief it’s human-caused.

    And also, as pointed out, we have accurate data extended further back. On CO2 levels as well.

    “but if your *science* corresponds to a political agenda, well then the money comes pouring in.”

    My ass. You’ve never tried to get paid as a scientist, have you? And anyway, climate science has no political agenda. (People viewing the results might, since they think making our planet unsuitable for humans just might be a bad thing.)

    People who think climate scientists are rolling in money are… remarkable. Especially since they tend to be in business, and rather well off. The only scientists who ever get a shot at being a millionaire are those who win the Nobel Prize. And the CEO of a major corporation can make 100 times more by fucking up his job and being fired.

  18. David commented on Mar 2

    Sorry, all my paragraph breaks appear to have been removed after preview. Strange.

  19. sunsetbeachguy commented on Mar 2

    Other posters have mentioned the similarity of the tobacco/cancer “debate” and the climate change debate.

    As a poster on gristmill has opined, there is a boiler room inside the beltway where an astroturf group has hired a bunch of H1B visa immigrants to crank out denialist dreck 24/7/365.

    There is simply too much money to be made in delaying.

    Having said that, on this topic I agree with Winston Churchill who said “Americans can always be counted on to do the right thing, after exhausting all other options.”

  20. Ross commented on Mar 2

    I read somewhere that the funding to study global climate change, specifically global warming was instituted under Maggie Thacher’s government. Seems they wanted to break the coal unions in GB. Nasty stuff, coal.

    I give up. There is global warming. I’m convinced.

    Gotta go put a new flint in my Zippo. Bye

  21. Estragon commented on Mar 2

    BR – “Using recent weather fluctuations to disprove climate change was like looking at the minute by minute S&P500 chart to determine long term markets trends”

    IMHO, it’s even worse. At least a 1 min tick chart shares the same underlying supply/demand, fear/greed mechanics as a monthly chart.

    In the case of climate, the underlying forces at work are different. On the short term, local weather phenomena interact in apparently random ways to affect climate patterns. These phenomena tend to be self-limiting and cyclical. The longer term chart reflects changes in the climate system which apparently tend to be self-reinforcing.

    It’s surprising how little thought is being put into dealing with the likely impacts of climate change. Even if we drop carbon emissions to zero tomorrow, the path of change in our lifetimes is unlikely to be affected much. Sea levels, crop patterns, etc. are likely to be impacted (some good, some bad), and there doesn’t seem to be much discussion of how to exploit the good parts to offset the cost of dealing with the bad parts, or even in developing a better understanding of what we’re in for.

  22. dblwyo commented on Mar 2

    I’ll confess to not reading the slew of prior comments for obvious reasons but has anybody consulted the relevant history of temperature changes in Wikiepedia ? They do a very nice job. Recent temperature changes are significantly less than those from eons ago… BUT….a) the Earth’s geology and climate were enormously different and b) within the last several centuries we do appear to be having a spike. While it’s difficult to separate out the data from the noise and honest individuals can have differences of opinion it’s worth giving great weight. BtW – also for the record filtering the noise is itself dependent on complex models with major assumptions – a topic on which we’re all recently experienced.
    That said let us assume a)climate change is a problem and b) what would you propose to do about it ? For example the Kyoto protocols were unworkable and designed to make people feel good; Europe has been in violation since signing. Meanwhile the US is one of the lowest net CO2 emitters because of our forest cover which China and Europe lack. Curtailing emissions would call for emerging countries to sacrifice growth which would mean the collapse of their societies. Perhaps good for emissions but bad for overall human welfare. So we need new approaches that allow for rapidly increasing energy consumption while reducing environmental damage. Which leads us to conservation, nuclear energy and coal. But the technologies for controlling coal related pollution are primitive. Seems to me there’s a great “Manhattan” project here that would open up enormous VC vistas for clean, green energy and infrastructure investment as well as generating whole new industries.

  23. Uncle Jeffy commented on Mar 2

    Go to http://climate.umn.edu/HIDradius.asp (University of Minnesota) and you can get a time series of average monthly high and low temparatures for each month back to November. 1869. Graph them in Excel (e.g., all Novembers from 1869 to present). Create a trend line for each series. What do you know -every single trend line is upward over that period. Anecdotal? Sure. Supportive of a human role in climate change? Yeah, I would go along with that.

    Showed the graphs to an acquaintance who’s a denier. His response: “Well, that’s only because there are a lot more people around the Twin Cities now than there were in 1869.”

    Screw “logic” or “evidence” or “science” – even irony is wasted on these morons.

  24. riverrat commented on Mar 2

    Walker: “My experience is that you find a disproportionate number of these on economics blogs. Quite a few of them are investors or business owners that want a free ride subsidized by society and do not want to pay for the externalities that their business creates. As with most things these days, it comes down to ‘privatization of profit, socialization of risk’.”

    Very true. To that I would add, “socialization of costs” – the externalities to which you refer.

    Marcus Aurelius: “Better safe than sorry is the granddaddy of all conservative values.”

    Kind of makes a mockery of many who call themselves “conservative” these days- radical and irresponsible is more like it.

    A good place for information on climate change is the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) which has issued reports every 5-7 years since 1990. These reports document the gradual rise in consensus on what the available evidence says, to the very strong consensus that exists now.

    It is fascinating and depressing to read the comments of those who think they somehow know more than Nobel laureate scientists who are experts in their field, and accuse these experts of having an agenda one way or the other. The scientists whose work should be examined most critically are those working for “for profit” institutions or corporations with a vested interest in research findings.

    Most academic scientists work is peer-reviewed and would lose credibility if it was blatantly biased, and their conclusions did not follow from their data. There is often room for different interpretations of science findings, and the peer review process is not perfect – scientists are humans after all – but its the best we have come up with so far to ensure the greatest possible degree of objectivity in developing and disseminating technical knowledge.

    The current level of certainty regarding human effects on climate is the result of at least a 20-year trend of gradually increasing consensus. Climate science is indeed incredibly complex, but there are dozens of converging lines of evidence indicating that continuing to doubt the reality of climate change is a fool’s game.

    I remember when I first learned that the diameter of the earth is only 7,926 miles. If asked to guess, I’d have guessed much larger- it really brought home the point that our world is finite, and that humans could indeed have effects on a global scale.

  25. Paul M. commented on Mar 2

    I’m not surprised there are so many Americans that deny the affects of climate change. After all there many out there that deny the theory of evolution.

    I am surprised though, there are that many deniers who read your blog. That’s surely gotta change the demographics for your advertisers. Less Cartier more Zales?

  26. Deborah commented on Mar 2

    Seeing how others are reporting their trends, apparently I picked the coldest year in about 20-30 years to move to the North West Territories.

    With wind chill it reached -58 one day in January and I think for the month it averaged about 20 degrees cooler than normal. Seriously, with any luck this colder snap and extra snow fall works its way south and helps to improve snow pack and water reservoirs…

    It was -32 this morning and it has warmed to a totally balmy -24…

  27. Estragon commented on Mar 2

    Deborah,

    Having also lived in the NWT for a time, I think I can safely say that there isn’t a whole lot of difference between -38 with the wind howling, and -58. The extra few seconds it takes for the wind to rip your face off aren’t all that pleasant anyway.

    When summer comes, do remember to keep your mouth closed. The vast but short-lived cloud of wind-driven bugs tend to get stuck in your throat otherwise.

    Strangely beautiful country in its own way though.

  28. jason commented on Mar 2

    Oh.. OK… and which “longer term” trend would that be? The long term 1000 year trend (which is against you), the longer term 5000 year trend (which is also against you)? Or do you mean the “long term” trend over the past 100 years, which is the one that works for your argument?

    This is a classic example of choosing a time series that supports the result you set out to prove. This cheap trick might actually work… (if we were a little stupider 🙂

  29. Byno commented on Mar 2

    Barry,

    Love the fact that you’ve addressed this topic, but I strongly disagree on your observations of the comments. Specifically, comments from the preceding post (the one with 125+ comments) were full of some of the most inane banter this side of Fark.

    What makes an expert re: global warming? A PhD in chemistry for starters. From MIT or Cal Tech or Mellon. And LOTS of peer-reviewed research.

    The mental miscreants that have invaded your blog recently do a disservice to both you and your research. I for one would not abide a History PhD lecturing me on the finer points of Poisson distributions because she got Statistics for dummies any more than she would allow me to pontificate on the fall of the Roman Empire because I played Civilization as an undegrad.

    Why in the hell are you allowing morons – and that is most assuredly the right word – to twist and distort the science of global warming when their last science class was in 9th grade?

    Or, is our arrogance so great that we as a public give as much weight to the Internet Troll as we do the Harvard-educated molecular chemist?

  30. Slumlord commented on Mar 2

    Idiots exists on both sides of this argument. The fact is that the historical record shows that the world has been both hotter and colder in the past. This is not an argument about global warming as much as the cause of global warming. There has definitely been a spike in CO2 production over the past two hundred years but is it responsible? I reckon there must be some influence, but I’m not sure how much.
    This argument is more about the Lefts desire for for societal change under the guise of saving the environment. The desire to return to some form of Luddite agrarian commune is seen as an ideal solution to global warming. The irony is that many of the strongest green inner city types are also the biggest consumers of energy on the planet. This crowd never mentions nuclear as an option which to informed and objective analysis is safe, clean and viable. The problem is of course is that this crowd likes to spend on Cartier instead of spending money on science books.

  31. B.B. commented on Mar 2

    Great posts,

    I am in the camp of not really believing in the global warming due to manmade items. But hey who cares. What I really like though is that there is finally a push for technology to improve the old gas driven engine after almost 100 years of use. Get us off of oil and suddenly Iran and Venezuela become much less significant. Now that sounds like a great idea.

  32. major tom commented on Mar 2

    I am not trying to convince anyone that my thoughts are better than yours, but as a Pilot that has flown around the world many times. Flying over the empty oceans for 10 hours and flying over the vastness of the US has convinced me that LA, NY, Beijing, have absolutely nothing to do with global warming. Everyone can believe what they want.

    Realizing from Carl Sagan that we (humans) are but the last 10 seconds of December 31st in a time scale, realizing that (as a former weather guy from the AF) data prior to the 1940’s was marginal at best (for exactness of temperatures), and realizing that the earth has endured many cycles of extreme temperatures (when was the last ice age?), we are not, can not, will never be the principle cause of whether the earth is heating up or not.

    If people want to conserve, more power to them, if they want to believe in global warming – yeah probably happening, but the earth itself – via volcanos, tectonic shifts, and earth orbit cause a bunch of C02 release and temperature increase by itself. I personally can’t wait for an electric car like Tesla to be affordable – just cause I get a little frustrated at seeing our dollars buy less gasoline and seeing Dubai grow so much with those dollars.

    Whoever said – it is about funding and I completely agree. Back in the 70’s the convential wisdom was Ice Age and all the research money went to that. Now, it is global warming and all the money is going there.

    The last warm period had alligators at 76 degrees North Latitude, and guess what, we weren’t around…

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/ice/chill.html

  33. Jmay commented on Mar 2

    It’s called pushback.

    People who exist in the old paradigm feel insulted that the way of like they have known is being criticized and re-evaluated by a new generation. There is an element of disdain that is inherent to the rejection of a previous way of being. It’s unavoidable.

    The racial and sexual mores of the early part of the 20th century were rejected by the Baby Boomer generation. And the parents of some boomers felt just as insulted by and hostile to those ideas. Now, some boomers are hostile to and disdainful of the green movement — “Are you saying that this amazing standard of living you’ve had has been a waste? Grow up you ungrateful &%*$*#!” Or something to that effect.

    The undeniable reality is that we are the world’s lone superpower. With that privilege comes a responsibility to hold ourselves accountable for the global impact of our economy — because no one else truly can.

    The Global Warming debate should be vigorous in this country. Resistance to it is healthy because it sharpens the terms of the discussion. So bring on the naysayers, it’s all good.

  34. Hawkeye commented on Mar 2

    There is a simple reason that people that are skeptical of human caused global warming are quick to point at the cooling trend of the last year. It is the fact that virtually every natural disaster, heat wave, or quirky weather event on the planet is pointed at by those that are advocating in favor of believing in human caused global warming as proof of human caused global warming.

    So, turn about is fair play, no?

  35. odograph commented on Mar 2

    I think part of it is that the blogs (comments sections) are what denialists have these days.

    When the National Review says:

    It is no longer possible, scientifically or politically, to deny that human activities have very likely increased global temperatures; what remains in dispute is the precise magnitude of the human impact. Conservatives should accept this reality — and move on to the question of what we should do about it.

    Where are people left to go? I guess the blogs, where you can throw out a quick “ice” or “water vapor” and hope it sounds good.

  36. Richard commented on Mar 2

    Wow, I`m glad I found this site, it`s fantastic.

  37. DonKei commented on Mar 2

    Major Tom, Socalcool, and PKUT…what you said…kudos.

    I’ve only one observation to add: If CO2 causes global warming, which is, I believe, the claim of the global warming supporters, then one year, or even ten years (like we’ve actually had) of temperatures that weren’t warmer than before, yet when CO2 concentrations have increased every single of those years, whether due to our activity or not, means that correlation can not logically equal causation.

    Every year CO2 levels go up, but temperatures do not. The argument that CO2 causes warming is a logical fallacy.

    Perhaps temperatures are going up and perhaps we are causing them to go up, but it is logically impossible to claim that their cause is increased levels of CO2, because temperatures are not going up, in either the magnitude, or with the consistency, that C02 levels are.

    Now, the answer for the alarmists will be that it is a complex system w/ many different factors impacting the climate. Which is precisely my point–and we don’t know what the factors all are, nor what their impacts are.

    Incidentally the post about the IPCC being a good source of information is dead on. But don’t fail to read the letter of 100 physicists, climate scientists, et al., to the IPCC detailing their skepticism that the conclusions of the latest report were correct.

  38. Darkness commented on Mar 2

    >Don: If the planet is heating up and we do nothing – whoops, we’re screwed (and the rest of the world – which isn’t arguing over this point by the way – leads the way in technology and business that we will have to try to purchase, utilize and catch up with).

    This is how I expect things will play out too.

    The politics goes deeper than everyone thinks. When I see releases from the American Enterprise Institute and their ilk they seem to be carefully aligning along two different purposes. They blanket argue that humans have no effect on world climate at the same time as they seem to be counting on exactly this change to render the middle east uninhabitable, thereby more easily securing “our” oil from the region. They psychotically deny climate change while counting on having it work to the U.S.’s advantage.

    The politics of defending our mass consumer culture from any moderation is one thing. Its purpose is obvious and transparent, if not a bit superficially knee-jerk given how empty that culture is. The politics of plotting ahead for a world where the climate will create strategic conveniences that destroy whole cultures is twisted and disturbed.

  39. AlB commented on Mar 2

    Had to chip in. My simple (very) view is that anything that is so politically correct can’t be right. Further, remember that the guru of Global Warming is Al Gore!!!!! Yes, the same guy who invented the internet!! That’s like asking Roger Moore about design criteria for the new Corvette engine
    Thanks anyway.

  40. jason commented on Mar 2

    A quote by Richard Dawkins quoting some other guy:

    “It’s worth recalling Wittgenstein’s remark on the subject. “Tell me,” he asked a friend, “Why do people always say it was natural for man to assume that the Sun went round the Earth, rather than that the Earth was rotating?” His friend replied, “Well obviously because it just looks as though the Sun is going round the Earth”. And Wittgenstein replied, “Well, what would it have looked like if it had looked as though the Earth was rotating?”

    What would it look like if suns heated and cooled nearby orbiting planets as surface activity fluctuated slightly?

  41. Douglas Watts commented on Mar 2

    The argument that CO2 causes warming is a logical fallacy.

    Wow, lots of scientifically ignorant people here.

    There is no such thing as “politically correct” physics.

    Reality, however, does have a liberal bias.

  42. mikkel commented on Mar 2

    donna you are exactly right. Some regions will actually get colder for at least the next few hundred years. Some regions will get drier than they are now, and some more wet. It is just whole scale change.

    Speaking of which, the thing that a lot of people realize is that no scientist claims that the change will be greater than previous large scale changes. That charge is ridiculous. However, the claim is that the major change will occur a lot faster…too fast for the ecosystems around the world to adapt.

    The other misconception is that it will be Armageddon. In fact, the greater concern is that a huge number of people live in places that require very little change (either temperature wise or ocean level wise) to become unhabitable, or at least less hospitable. Climate change will not kill us, but it will make resources and land a lot scarcer and the political effects of that are extremely dangerous.

  43. edhopper commented on Mar 2

    Would you please find a quote anywhere where Al Gore claimed to invent the internet, rather than lead in Congress for it’s creation.
    http://www.snopes.com/quotes/internet.asp

    It’s my view that anything that the Right is so opposed to has to be correct.

    Al Gore the man who was right about Iraq, Al Gore the Noble Prize winner.

    You should just keep worrying about not being politically correct. And continue to take your clues from Rush Limbaugh and Pres. Bush.

  44. mikkel commented on Mar 2

    Barry, I found the whole reaction fascinating too. In fact, I thought about it and discussed it with a friend and realized something.

    Most of the people that said they didn’t believe it relied on a few rhetorical tricks:

    1) Admitting they didn’t know much, but “common sense” telling them that humans can’t affect it (because it’s too big, how can you know prior temperatures? etc.), not realizing that a lot of the basic physics principles that have been used in many other applications are what originally led to the greenhouse gas theory over a hundred years ago.

    2) Thinking that scientists must be lying to get more funding…not realizing that academic scientists spend on average about 15+ years of school and training only to make around $60-$80k a year when they could work for industry with much less education and make twice that. Not to mention that the scientists that can disprove/challenge the common wisdom are the ones that end up getting the most money and fame.

    3) Not paying attention to non-linear correlations or thinking about feedback effects.

    And I thought it was really funny that people thought these things. Then I realized it.

    1) and 2) are what you would expect businesses/politicians to actually do and are the reason why we’re in trouble. The people that have their entire worldview formed from politics and business would be perfectly right to think that GW is all hot air. I really don’t know how a guy like yourself can make a living interacting with so many businessmen.

    And as for 3), well that’s forgivable because humans aren’t really able to think nonlinearly.

  45. Red Pill commented on Mar 2

    Actually, when the earth is 4+ billion yrs old, a 100yrs worth of data (which is all the *accurate* data we may actually have) is just as insignificant as 1yr and hardly equates to a “trend”.

    ———————–

    However, our species has only existed for 100-200 thousand years. That first few billion years probably would have really sucked for us. So the relevant climate for our species is in the last couple hundred thousand years. I don’t think data from the early Earth would be very helpful to us given the conditions then.:)

    However, it is only in the last 8000 years of civilization (and REALLY in the last 200) that we really became dependent on the current sea levels, weather patterns, and crop distributions.

  46. john commented on Mar 2

    Unfortunately Barry, you have a lot of idiots who would rather believe a bunch of weirdoes and fake “research institutes” funded by energy companies than the armies of reputable scientific organizations both independant and govt funded who have come down with 90% + certainty that global warming is a. happening and b. mainly man made. The similarity of global warming denial and how it has been created to “cigarettes are a cancer causing narcotic” denial is uncanny. Of course most of the nicotine deniers are now dead from cancer, emphysema or one of its many other ills. One can only hope that the global warming deniers suffer a similar nasty fate. Unfortunately, they are contributing to making us all share it with them. Reminds you of those similar idiots, probably largely the same people, who think there’d have been no mass shootings in VA, IL and CO if all the kids had been carrying concealed heat. But then there’s no explaining human stupidity but I have to say for an advanced western society we seem to have more than our fair share of it. No wonder much of the world thinks we have the muscles and brain of a dinosaur.

  47. Winston Munn commented on Mar 2

    I had been ingnorant and ambivalent about the global warming debate until a recent discussion with a physicist altered my views.

    Bottom line is I am convinced it is occuring – but more importantly is the explanation of man’s contribution and what that portends.

    Accordingly, he explained that the natural phenomenon of natural warming has become unbalanced due to mankind’s contributions, whereas the natural phenomenom may have been expressed by (x)(y)=C, we have now added a new variable to the equation, (x)(y)+h=CC.

    It is not unlike chaos theory, in that small changes in the variables can dynamically affect the outcome.

  48. Mike Kennedy commented on Mar 2

    New York was once underwater. Ditto most of the east coast east of the Appalachians, including my home state of Georgia. You’re telling me that I need to be concerned about an ocean that is rising a few inches in the next 100 years. It’s stunning to me that people who are otherwise outstanding financial analysts cannot grasp this “manmade warming” garbage as hype. But then, Obama is a “phenomonon” right now.

    Nuff said.

  49. dave commented on Mar 2

    Walker: “My experience is that you find a disproportionate number of these on economics blogs.” That may be because good traders are always a little contrarian and have seen too many times that when “everyone” knows that something is true and you are ridiculed for being sceptical, then a sea change in reality or perception may not be far off. We are not deniers, we are sceptical.

  50. Dogwood commented on Mar 2

    A recently published paper by Ross McKitrick, an economics professor at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada, and Patrick Michaels, an environmental studies professor at the University of Virginia and Senior Fellow at CATO, concludes that half of the global warming trend from 1980 to 2002 is caused by nonclimatic effects (Urban Heat Island).

    Here is a summary of the report. Pay special attention to how their findings and the findings of other researchers whose independent work showed similar results were simply ignored by the IPCC.

    Here is the full paper if you are so interested.

    I’m sure this won’t change anyone’s mind, but it does demonstrate that there are legitimate reasons to doubt the CO2-centric view of global warming.

  51. Seeker commented on Mar 2

    “Scientists don’t have biases”…. Oh really? Then as a whole, they must have a “normal distribution” on political and economic topics. Just like members of the media. Evidence does not support that contention.

    CO2 is the product of “clean, complete combustion”. The definition of CO2 as a pollutant is political, not scientific. So is the substitution of one fuel that produces CO2 (Ethanol) for other hydrocarbons that produce CO2 as a result of a combustion process. The politics of bias is fouling our ability to engineer anything that might look like real, economic progress in “solving” these and related problems. The support of “concerned scientists” does not change that. Often, it means that dissenting views have been suppressed.

    Global population is doubling about every 50 years. That would seem to me to have a lot more to do with climate change than how many Americans drive SUVs and pick-up trucks. So we have a bait-and-switch. Kyoto doesn’t reduce “carbon emissions” because it exempts the largest sources — like coal fired power plants in China — a new megawatt plant every week. What the carbon tax does, and is intended to do, is to transfer wealth from developed countries to developing countries — to feed and sustain their growing populations.

    Tax legislation and regulation in the developed countries rewards the production and maintenance of children, and discourages the saving and compounding savings. Government social welfare programs are built on an ongoing shift of things like pensions and healthcare from private savings to the redistribution of current income and wealth. “Global Warming” becomes another excuse for people with agendas to tell other people how they must live their lives and spend what money is not taxed away “for higher purposes”.

    If the global population was not doubling at a rapid rate, we would probably experience none of the issues that dominate the politics of our time. But it is. So we criticize people for driving SUVs on gasoline. Bait-and-switch. This is more about who has political control than anything else. We may be forced to choose between bureaucrats and Jihadists. Will we choose between the freedom to own and use SUVs, pick-up trucks, and large suburban houses or the right to have three, four, five, or more children? Doesn’t every working family DESERVE a higher per child exemption or tax credit?

  52. SPECTRE of Deflation commented on Mar 2

    Using the most advanced supercomputers available to science today, they can’t tell us what the weather will be like in 2 weeks in NY, 4 weeks in NY, 16 weeks in NY… to infinium. In fact the very thing the Warmanistas fear may save the planet should it continue to cool.

    TPTB are licking their chops on the money that will be made in the Carbon Credit Market. J6P will once again be robbed by the elitists in the name of global salvation.

  53. David commented on Mar 2

    “Oh.. OK… and which “longer term” trend would that be? The long term 1000 year trend (which is against you), the longer term 5000 year trend (which is also against you)? Or do you mean the “long term” trend over the past 100 years, which is the one that works for your argument?”

    Jason has it right. Barry, I love your market commentary, but on this one, you’re making exactly the same mistake you are accusing others of, taking a little blip in the data and calling it a trend.

    What I haven’t seen here is the point that those of us who follow the solar models know that this downturn was predicted. Theodor Landscheidt’s model predicted a peak in solar activity in 1990 with the temperature high lagging 8 years to 1998, then a long drop off to a low around 2030. This recent drop, then is right on schedule, as is the predicted drop-off in solar activity.

    If we seem overly certain, it is only because events have been following the predictions so well to date, that it seems only a matter of time until even the most obstinate truth denier (i.e. global warmist) will have to admit the AGW hypothesis is and always has been a crock.

  54. Red Pill commented on Mar 2

    dogwood,
    Uuummmm. Scientists know about urban heat islands.

    “Senior Fellow at CATO” LOL, like these nuts don’t have an agenda.

    Are we going to start quoting “data” from the lerouchies next? LOL

    The ignorance on this blog regarding the scientific method is astounding. I suspect most of you people’s “trading strategies” ar no better than reading animal intestines.

  55. Bob Wahr commented on Mar 2

    “It’s my view that anything that the Right is so opposed to has to be correct.”

    Spend any time doing some simple Google fact-checking in any blog debate about AGW pretty much sums this up to be true. I can’t tell you how much deceptive quote-mining I’ve caught, or supposed references to certain non-existent “facts” that fail to materialize when you do the footwork and dig up a PDF of a cited research paper.

    What surprises me is the insane amount of hostility and invective directed towards Gore and Hansen as “liars”, when the thinktanks fuel these denialists with nothing but dishonest lies.

    And therein lies the rub – the scientists will revise as they learn more. Therefore earlier incorrect information is easily attacked as “lies”. But the thinktanks aren’t hamstrung by having to revise their position to match reality. They have phalanxes of bloggers ready to perpetuate their disinformation straight to Armageddon.

  56. mrrunangun commented on Mar 2

    Back in the 70s John McPhee wrote several books on pop geology. Among other things, he mentioned that we are in the ending phase of an ice age and that the earth has been warming for about the last 10,000 years. Sea levels have risen c. 9 feet since Roman times according to excavations in Italy in recent years. McPhee also said that at the peak of the last warm phase on earth, sea levels were 50 feet higher than at present. His stuff was written 30 years before the global warming excitement, so he had no related political axe to grind.

  57. Brody P Smith commented on Mar 2

    How does one prove that a hundred year trend in warming is due to homo sapiens sapiens when the evidence points to thousands of years of global climatic changes?

    Also, why does everyone automatically assume that a warmer earth is a worse place to live? I would think that the northern US, Alaska, Canada, Russian, and the Antartic would provide a hedge against total death and destruction. Who knows, if global warming pans out, maybe people will stop moving south by the millions.

  58. Kurt commented on Mar 2

    Dogwood,
    You might want to do a little digging on the good Patrick Michaels. The guy is a straight up shill for the energy Co.’s and has been one of the very, very few folks with the title “Dr.” to poo poo climate change, which I’m sure has absolutely nothing to do with the $$ he receives from industry.
    http://exxonsecrets.org/wiki/index.php/Deniers:_Patrick_Michaels

  59. major tom commented on Mar 2

    http://www.globalwarming.org/primer/scienceFAQs

    More on (meaningful pun) global warming…

    BTW – another site I found contributed the effect of cattle emissions to be more than vehicles due to the amount of cattle demand. The methane has a much higher warming effect than other forms of emitters.

    “It generates 65 percent of human-related nitrous oxide, which has 296 times the Global Warming Potential (GWP) of CO2. Most of this comes from manure.

    And it accounts for respectively 37 percent of all human-induced methane (23 times as warming as CO2), which is largely produced by the digestive system of ruminants, and 64 percent of ammonia, which contributes significantly to acid rain.”

    http://www.fao.org/newsroom/en/news/2006/1000448/index.html

    What would we do without research…

  60. Dogwood commented on Mar 2

    Red Pill,

    Ad hominem attacks have no place in science. Read the research, rebut the facts. Their findings are inline with two other independent reports.

    Ya’ll keep blasting “denialists” for our refusal to follow the science, but you’re throwing out the ad homs.

    Michaels is a professor of environmental studies at a very reputable university. I’m sure he is more qualified than you are to comment on the topic.

    Again, read the research, then rebut the findings, if you can. The IPCC couldn’t, but maybe you can.

    Good luck.

    P.S. Everyone has an agenda. Do you really believe that Hansen, Mann, and others in the AGW camp are going to allow their lifelong work to be discredited? How would you feel if you spent 30 years promoting something only to have it blow up in your face at the end of your career? Think you would be a little biased in how you respond to new information that contradicts everything you’ve worked for? Scientists are human beings, which means they have biases, prejudices and blind spots. Assuming their work is perfect and free from bias is dangerous.

    One of the major criticisms regarding climate science is the lack of transparency. Global Climate Models are used to create dire predictions, but then the scientists refuse to publish their data or computer code so independent scientists may review it, critique it, confirm it or discredit it.

    Author Michael Crichton offers a good critique of the state of climate science here.

    There are a lot of problems in climate science that most people don’t know about because the MSM doesn’t report on them.

  61. Dogwood commented on Mar 2

    Kurt,

    Then his research should be very easy for you and others to discredit. Read the report, then rebut the findings.

    Also, the paper I linked to produced results that were inline with two other, independently produced studies.

    Read then rebut, if you can. The IPCC could not, but maybe you and Red Pill can.

    Good luck.

  62. Kurt commented on Mar 2

    Michael Crichton??
    Anyone recall a certain Senator Inhofe who actually held up Crichton’s novel “State of Fear” on the Senate floor as evidence against climate change?
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php?p=97

  63. Dogwood commented on Mar 2

    Forgot to add, unlike many in the climate science field, McKitrick and Michaels have published their data sources and computer code so anyone who is interested can perform independent verification of their findings. I’m sure they would be happy to know if you find errors or inaccuracies in their computer code or findings.

  64. Francois commented on Mar 2

    “People seem to forget, that scientists have as much of an agenda and bias as anyone. Do you think the government will fund research into climate modeling…”

    You bet scientists have an agenda! They want to know how things work, NOT how they SHOULD work.

    That means they must be critical of their own theories and hypotheses.

    That is a frame of mind that present a constant challenge to those who can’t do better than anchor themselves into a belief system for emotional and thalamic (the reptilian brain) reasons. Of course, that include anyone on the left and on the right of the political spectrum.

    I’ll take science (laced with a good dose of ethic thank you) over socio-political beliefs any day of the year.

  65. Dogwood commented on Mar 2

    Kurt,

    Feel free to rebut each and every footnote contained in Crichton’s book. Don’t forget, the guy has a medical degree from Harvard. Probably smarter than you and I combined.

  66. Kurt commented on Mar 2

    Yes, he got his degree, but never practiced medicine and has been a novelist/producer for the last ~30yrs.

    On Michaels,
    Research Professor of Environmental Sciences, University of Virginia
    Senior Fellow, Cato Institute. Visiting Scientist, Marshall Institute. State Climatologist, Virginia. Advisor, American Legislative Exchange Council.

    Dr. Patrick Michaels is possibly the most prolific and widely-quoted climate change skeptic scientist. He has admitted receiving funding from various fossil fuel industry sources. His latest book, published in September 2004 by the Cato Institute, is titled: Meltdown: The Predictable Distortion of Global Warming by Scientists, Politicians, and the Media.

    Michaels is the Chief Editor for the “World Climate Review,” a newsletter on global warming funded by the Western Fuels Association. Dr. Michaels has acknowledged that 20% of his funding comes from fossil fuel sources: (http://www.mtn.org/~nescncl/complaints/determinations/det_118.html) Known funding includes $49,000 from German Coal Mining Association, $15,000 from Edison Electric Institute and $40,000 from Cyprus Minerals Company, an early supporter of People for the West, a “wise use” group. He received $63,000 for research on global climate change from Western Fuels Association, above and beyond the undisclosed amount he is paid for the World Climate Report/Review. According to Harper’s magazine, Michaels has recieved over $115,000 over the past four years from coal and oil interests. Michaels wrote “Sound and Fury” and “The Satanic Gases” which were published by Cato Institute. Dr. Michaels signed the 1995 Leipzig Declaration. In July of 2006, it was revealed that the Intermountain Rural Electric Association “contributed $100,000 to Dr. Michaels.” (http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/GlobalWarming/story?id=2242565&page=1) ALEC advisor. http://www.heartland.org/Article.cfm?artId=11310 and http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=3558

    A.B. and S.M. degrees in biological sciences and plant ecology, University of Chicago Ph.D. in ecological climatology , University of Wisconsin at Madison. Former President of the American Association of State Climatologists, and Program Chair for the Committee on Applied Meterology of the American Meterological Society.

  67. Francois commented on Mar 2

    “This argument is more about the Lefts desire for for societal change under the guise of saving the environment. The desire to return to some form of Luddite agrarian commune is seen as an ideal solution to global warming.”

    Whaaaaat? You got that stuff in reverse: it is the necessity of changing the environment (note that we got only one and they ain’t got any spare at WalMart) that will induce societal change.

    But a “return to some form of Luddite agrarian commune”?

    Bwahahahaha! Pray inform us, then, why so much money is pouring in solar energy, wind energy, biomass and nuclear? Conversion of ordinary garbage into fuel? Harnessing of algae bacteria to produce ANY kind of fuel? Chevron liked this last item so much they bought a substantial participation in Solarzyme, the corporation that research this technology.

    Luddite agrarian commune…my ribs are still hurting. Thanks for the laugh.

  68. Dan Pangburn commented on Mar 2

    There is no historical data that supports the premise that human activity has any significant effect on climate. The observation of glaciers melting may look dramatic on TV but does not show that human activity is the cause. There is, however, substantial evidence that atmospheric carbon dioxide level does not significantly influence climate. You can check out the global warming issue yourself. Credible websites are included in my post at http://hypsithermal.wordpress.com/2008/03/01/to-those-who-will-fight/

  69. Dogwood commented on Mar 2

    Rebut his findings, if you can. If his funding sources have resulted in biased work, then invalidating those research results should be very easy to do.

    You and others go to great lengths to discredit people based upon where their funding comes from, thus saving you from actually having to address the research results.

    This is similar to calling someone opposed to affirmative action a racist. It is designed to end debate before the debate even begins.

    Quite frankly, governments and billionaires like Soros are all lined up on one side of the issue. The only folks left to pay for research that might disprove the CO2 theory is the business community. Where else is the money going to come from?

    Convenient for you, then, that any research conducted by the business community can then be dismissed as agenda-driven science.

    Do you see the dillema you are creating?

    Again, stop trying to discredit people and start trying to discredit their research findings. If you can’t, then maybe the consensus is wrong.

  70. Dogwood commented on Mar 2

    Kurt,

    Take the time to read Crichton’s testimony before the Senate Committee and then let me know if you agree or disagree with his recommendation to establish a medical research-type process for climate science.

  71. Darkness commented on Mar 2

    I heard this “CO2 is a harmless non-pollutant” meme from the head of the Moonie Times the other day. I figured it’d get parroted. He isn’t a scientist either.

    CO2, carbon dioxide, is a poison. It kills rapidly in fact. Because it is heavier than n2 and o2 it pools in low areas (around volcanoes when the wind is low, around manure pits, and inside silos). One deep breath, you pass out, you die.

    http://www.usatoday.com/weather/news/2006-04-06-mammoth-deaths_x.htm

    http://www.nsc.org/library/facts/agrisilo.htm

    http://pagesperso-orange.fr/mhalb/nyos/nyos.htm

  72. Marcus Aurelius commented on Mar 2

    This is not a scientific/political debate, as there is no such thing. This is a scientific subject polluted by political opinion. The same can be said of any discussion regarding science, religion, culture, morals or ethics over the past 8 years.

    The startling thing abut the past two days of comments on this subject is the sudden emergence of what can only be described as right-wing, Neocon, zealots who persist in denying scientific evidence – as if this were a matter of political opinion.

    This is how we got into Iraq (we’ll be liberators greeted with roses and it won’t cost us a penny). This is how we mismanaged our national finances (deficits don’t matter/go out and shop/homeowner society). This is how we came to torture people in the name of freedom (there has never been any doubt that waterboarding is torture, yet we have been drawn into a debate about it, as if there were). This is why we don’t do stem cell research. This is why we have school boards pushing “intelligent design” as science.

    This is why our Senate and President would convene after midnight to “save the life” of a woman deemed brain dead by her own physicians. (the Schiavo case is particularly enlightening when viewed against the global warming comments of the past several days).

    In the Schiavo case, the right wing was up in arms about a specific scientific fact. Their opinions were presented as being just as valid as those of the woman’s doctors. Their opinions were stated with authority and couched in pseudo scientific terms. There were appeals to emotion and accusations of the doctors and “liberal media” having the agenda of destroying a vital human life (and enjoying it). The woman’s family family was drawn into it. Her ex-husband was accused of having a profit motive. A faux expert (Frist) was trotted out to give his “professional” opinion of the extent of Ms. Schiavo’s condition.

    Ms. Schiavo’s autopsy confirmed what everyone had known all along – she was brain dead.

    No political argument could change the scientific fact.

    So now we have the same people the same intellectually dishonest crap regarding global warming science, except this time, there might be no one to conduct the autopsy if we screw up.

    The right wing is intellectually, morally, and ideologically bankrupt. Their track record is abysmal. Their opinions should be discounted, accordingly.

    Why should we believe a word they say?

  73. Parker James commented on Mar 2

    Then by ontogeny recapitulating phylogeny, we
    should look at the current short-term cooling
    in the stock markets as just a little El Nina
    in long term flatulent inflationary heat wave,
    current beneficiary of, ancient antiquities.
    If you’re going to trade in commodities,
    make darn sure then can’t print more, or coin more!

    Look for a brief cooling phase (the “dump”)
    before the mega pre-election $auna t$unami.

    They just have to get the sheeple into the slaughter house before they slam the gate.

  74. Marcus Aurelius commented on Mar 2

    For once, I’d like to make it through the day without someone bringing up ontogeny recapitulating phylogeny.

  75. Shelley Bermann commented on Mar 2

    Francois, hate to pop your bubble, but the energy-to-garbage, the algal-is-fungal and the corn-liquor-zoom-zoom folks are NOT the liberal luddites, but neo-con carbon and tax credit corporate-socialism welfare monkies, intent on converting investor savings into tax windfall generators piped straight into their vaults, then when credits go by-by,
    as they will, the investors will own some pretty cool sci-fi techno junk, you betcha!

    Garbage-to-energy, as example, is merely a
    way for ConAgra etc to illegally incinerate
    their slaughterhouse offal, in distilling
    a minute amount of “diesel” from the smog,
    and even earning Good Housekeeping carbon
    credits! Wow, that’s some kind of racket,
    not one of which passes a full-cycle test,
    not one of which is stand-alone profitable!

    Even our beloved bicycle renaissance isn’t
    any more efficient than a VW Passat, when
    you full-cycle the BTU’s and their source,
    carbon it takes to feed their leg muscles.
    Better a Passat, and Brazilian ethanol E85,
    but those are foreign tariff sanctioned.

    Flying carpets! That’s the next ‘real deal’!
    Anti-gravity flying carpets!! Just a little
    more on DOD’s communion plate, just another
    $100B, we’re so close volken! It’s a big USA
    break thru! Can you say, “Praise Jebesus?!”

  76. mikkel commented on Mar 2

    Dogwood I read the McKitrick and Michaels paper.

    I have to say, it is very interesting. I am quite pleased at how rigorous their mathematical presentation was (they even tested for correlations in the residuals to see if the model should be nonlinear, which I was very happy about). I think it was a very good paper in showing that there is a correlation between socioeconomic trends and observed temperatures.

    Then they made a huge mistake. Their conclusion has nothing to do with their tested hypothesis. I believe the hypothesis, I don’t believe the conclusion.

    “Peterson (2003) shows that US data can, in principle, be adjusted to remove extraneous biases of significant size. On this basis we postulate that countries with public sector resources and general public skill levels comparable to those in the US would be, in principle, able to provide uncontaminated climatic data. We therefore generated an adjusted vector of predicted values under the assumptions that all countries have GDP density and educational levels equivalent to those in the USA and that all other surface and inhomogeneity effects were set equal to zero”

    and they said that the warming is less than half of what’s reported. Basically, they just made a completely wild assertion that has absolutely no backing and then produced a number.

    They state that most of the lower GDP areas had higher levels of warming. Well, those are mostly in Africa and South America. Those climates are completely different than North America and Asia. Of course they will respond quite differently to warming than other areas.

    They make a HUGE mistake (or a deliberate lie) and assume that temperature increases will be equal across the globe.

    In fact, the models show that it is widely differing, and what do you know — the poorer countries are going to have the worse effects.

    They completely break the first law of science, correlation does not imply causation.

    Poorer areas reporting larger increases
    does not imply poorer areas report larger areas BECAUSE they are poor.

    Also, I’d like to point out the tons of references about scientists trying to correct all the stuff (and I commend them for bringing up something else to look for…as I said I just disagree with their 50% less warming part) to show that there is a ton of work in this area.

  77. mikkel commented on Mar 3

    Er I meant to say I believe the conclusions they make about the hypothesis (i.e. that observed warming is correlated with socioeconomic trends) but not the completely speculative 50% less warming part. Which was not even part of their hypothesis.

    See in most papers you have complete speculation in the discussion about things that could arise from your research and then say that you will look at it later with a new hypothesis. You’d never have a paper that tests something and then concludes with a number about a different question. That’s just bad science practice.

  78. DavidB commented on Mar 3

    Barry,

    Doesn’t opening a can of worms cause global warming?

  79. Dogwood commented on Mar 3

    Mikkel,

    Thanks for the feedback. Is it okay with you if I forward your comments to McKitrick and Michaels and ask them to respond? If you approve, I’ll either ask them to post here or I’ll post what they send to me via email, if anything.

    Let me know if this is okay with you.

    Thanks.

  80. mikkel commented on Mar 3

    Dogwood: no.

    If you are going to get in an argument with a scientist you better damn well be able to back up what you’re saying. Although I think my criticism is perfectly valid if I was intent on confronting them I’d want to read about a few things since it’s not my field.

    Specifically:
    Their picture clearly shows a “positive bias” in western Europe and SE Asia, including Japan. If the basic hypothesis is that rich countries are better at making corrections (the whole point of the re-computation of temperature) then why do those areas have such a large and relatively uniform adjustment?

    They point to the troposphere to validate their claims, but I know that there is very recent research about how that acts differently. I just don’t know what it is specifically.

    They also don’t have a picture of the trends themselves, only the change of their correction, so I would have to find that out.

    I also don’t get this: “This result mirrors that in McKitrick and Michaels 2004, as well as the findings in deLaat and Maurellis (2004, 2006) and Kalnay and Cai (2005), all of whom found the overall effect of surface processes to be a positive bias to observed temperature trends.”

    whereas earlier it said
    “For example, Feddema et al. (2005a,b) estimate that global land surface changes since before industrialization have yielded a net cooling effect on the climate system.”

    So I’d have to learn about that.

    Scientists are almost always open to criticism but it has to be very pointed and very informed. Almost any one can learn some basic principles and raise some questions, but they won’t be able to evaluate whether the response is adequate.

    If you are really interested, I would send it to the realclimate people and say what they say since they will have all the information readily available, but I don’t want to spend all that time learning things for myself. The paper just came out too. If it goes nine months without any one confronting it maybe I would consider it worth my time to learn it enough to gauge whether their response makes sense.

  81. mikkel commented on Mar 3

    You can paraphrase me and get your own answers from them though. I just don’t want to get into a dogfight if I don’t know every angle.

  82. Gegner commented on Mar 3

    We ‘know’ one millionth of one percent of nothing…perhaps I’m showing my age but I distinctly remember these same ‘experts’ predicting another ‘ice age’ back in the 70’s

  83. Gegner commented on Mar 3

    We ‘know’ one millionth of one percent of nothing…perhaps I’m showing my age but I distinctly remember these same ‘experts’ predicting another ‘ice age’ back in the 70’s

  84. reason commented on Mar 3

    I’m puzzled about this data point. Is this US only or world wide. Europe has (again) had an unusually mild winter (in fact spring has started already).

  85. Simon Cast commented on Mar 3

    Something that is not made very clear by scientists and others when discussing global warming/climate change (and in fact the names are somewhat misleading from this perspective) is that what is happening is a an increased amount of energy is being dumped into the system.

    Dumping energy into a system creates two system changes 1) the average point (or median) of the system changes and 2) the amplitude of oscillations about this average point increases.

    Put in weather terms, weather will go between greater extremes of heat and cold and an increase probability of extreme weather (hurricanes, floods, thunderstorms, blizzards etc).

  86. Eric commented on Mar 3

    I have to admit that the responses surprised me. First, I had no idea so many people rabidly disbelieve that 1) climate change is occurring and 2) we Humans are responsible for some of that. Truly eye opening to me.

    Barry, with this statement you struck a chord with me. I have been amazed at my own experiences when taking controversial positions, about 90 percent of the time: otherwise perfectly intelligent and educated people instantly disagree with me, they get upset, they impulsively throw around silly uninformed arguments — but the one thing they don’t do is to take a look at the evidence I point to. Note I don’t say they are taking the wrong position! Only that rational responses include looking at the evidence, or conceding inability to evaluate the evidence, or simply asserting disinterest. But knee-jerk disagreement is not a rational response.

    As you say, it has been truly eye-opening.

    (By the way, here is an example of the kind of information I am talking about: see the article “Is US Health Really the Best in the World?” in JAMA, 2000;284:483-485. Here it is essentially asserted that as of the year 2000 the American health care system is the third leading cause of death in America, after heart-disease and cancer, with 225,000 deaths. A significant portion of these, about 106,000, are ascribed to adverse reactions to pharmaceutical drugs, the rest going to hospital-acquired infections and medical errors.)

  87. Dogwood commented on Mar 3

    Mikkel,

    No problem.

    Thanks.

  88. odograph commented on Mar 3

    I see two main groups of comments from the skeptics above.

    The first is that climate has always changed, change is not dangerous. As evidence they talk about 10,000 year or even 1,000,000 year timeframes.

    Well, if that’s all we were talking about I wouldn’t worry either. The climate can do what it wants over the next 10,000 years.

    Unfortunately we are talking about a sudden shock to the system (and the food systems upon which we depend) over a few decades. You can find such sudden shocks in the historical record, and they do cause stress to human civilizations (particularly long-term droughts).

    The other argument seems to be a gut-feel thing. Since CO2 doesn’t feel like a pollutant, it isn’t.

    Well sure, CO2 doesn’t feel that way. That’s why it was not immediately obvious. That’s why it took some serious math (and decades of study by thousands of scientists).

    The question you’ve got to ask yourself is whether you are going to stick with your gut, or trust the numbers?

    I choose the numbers because the alternative is to live like Aristotle’s beast in the field. It would be to take whatever we get.

    Humanity is supposed to do better than that.

  89. Dogwood commented on Mar 3

    Mikkel,

    I thought you might find this of interest, too.

    It is not a published research paper, but it is another example of how you can detect surface level biases that still exist in the surface temperature record. Biases that everyone assumes have been removed, but in fact are still there.

  90. Dogwood commented on Mar 3

    Odograph,

    The entire warming trend is .7 degrees celsius over 100 years, roughly half, give or take, prior to 1940. Sorry, but that is not much of a shock to the planet.

  91. odograph commented on Mar 3

    Dogwood, do you have numbers on how this will affect (say) seafood harvest, or (say) Kansas dry farms?

    Or are you going with your gut?

    The numbers I’ve seen are not good.

  92. SPECTRE of Deflation commented on Mar 3

    The right wing is intellectually, morally, and ideologically bankrupt. Their track record is abysmal. Their opinions should be discounted, accordingly.

    MA, you sniping again? Did you put your Lilly White Robe on before you began your sermon? LOL! Thank God for the left? ROFLMAO!

  93. rj commented on Mar 3

    Barry,

    My grand take on it is that it’s a bunch of scientists that are making a lot of money, and they don’t want to hurt their meal ticket. What would Al Gore have done the last few years if not for global warming (and last I checked he still uses a private plane, so of course he believes in it).

    As an engineer though, I will state some things concerning global warming that are my view:

    1. The Earth has been here a very long time.
    2. The Earth, over that time, has warmed and cooled many times naturally. If you looked at a temperature scale over a long period of time it would look like a sine wave.
    3. Records of temperature have only been held for a couple hundred years, giving us only a very small part of that sine wave.
    4. The Earth only started coming out of a mini-Ice Age in the early 1800s according to geologists.
    5. Due to point 2, no one has considered the point that maybe these icebergs are supposed to melt naturally, even if humans were not here.
    6. We should still do all we can to reduce emissions. Cleaner air is good for everyone. I remember driving to L.A. for the first time from San Diego a few years ago. I was in Irvine and the landscape looked horrible.

    End hypothesis: The Earth may be warming, but that just could be because it is supposed to warm. We only came out of a mini-Ice Age a couple hundred years ago, and what follows Ice Ages?

  94. odograph commented on Mar 3

    There are lots of engineers here. I got a chem degree, went into medical programming, environmental programming, and finally business applications. In that time I’ve worked with a lot of engineers.

    Tell me guys, would you trust your retirement planning and investment to any random co-worker you’ve had over the years? Would you trust any random member of your team to cast your presidential vote? To make your medical diagnosis?

    Yes, we engineers have skills, especially when focused on the the tasks we have experience with. But, in my experience that does not make us Renaissance Men, balanced and wise in all manner of art and science.

    (Put more simply, you wouldn’t hire a civil engineer to do your database schema … so why do you assume that YOU have an intuitive sense of climate change and its impact on environmental services?)

  95. rj commented on Mar 3

    A postscript to my post: if we assume for a second that global warming is real, then the culprits that need to be reigned in is not the United States, it’s India and China. My sister’s firms is not allowed to do certain civil engineering work in China due to their ethics (China allows sewers to drain into rivers).

    So why aren’t all these people busting their chops at the Indian and Chinese government? I know why, I just want other people to admit it.

  96. rj commented on Mar 3

    “Put more simply, you wouldn’t hire a civil engineer to do your database schema … so why do you assume that YOU have an intuitive sense of climate change and its impact on environmental services?”

    It’s called logic, and applying it to the circumstances that surround you and that you observe.

  97. odograph commented on Mar 3

    Geez rj, read some news.

    Lots of people are engaging with China. The problem, to put it bluntly, is not to come off as dicks. We don’t want to say “yeah, we’re rich but you never can be.”

    So you have to figure a path that allows development while managing emissions.

  98. odograph commented on Mar 3

    what is logic without domain-knowledge rj?

  99. Northern Observer commented on Mar 3

    End hypothesis: The Earth may be warming, but that just could be because it is supposed to warm. We only came out of a mini-Ice Age a couple hundred years ago, and what follows Ice Ages?
    Posted by: rj | Mar 3, 2008 8:30:22 AM

    True enough. But isn’t it a bit alarming that in all the core samples we’ve analysed in Greenland and the Arctic, the highest level of CO2 recorded in the past was 398 parts per million and we are currently at 377.3 parts per million? So we are approaching a CO2 concentration that corresponds with the warmest recorded temperatures in geological history. Oh, and out current CO2 vector is up up and up well on our way to surpase 390parts per million.

    Plus it makes tremendous intuitive sense. What are we doing when we burn fossil fuels? It’s like bringing all the forests of the past above ground and burning them every day. It kinda makes sense that this is not a climatologically stable practice.

    And finally, it is not as if switching to non carbon energy doesn’t have tremendous payback potential. It just seems prudent to me.

  100. rj commented on Mar 3

    “Plus it makes tremendous intuitive sense. What are we doing when we burn fossil fuels? It’s like bringing all the forests of the past above ground and burning them every day. It kinda makes sense that this is not a climatologically stable practice.”

    Yes, it’s true. I’m not sure if you listen to the Financial Sense weekly podcast. If not, I’d recommend it. They talk about energy weekly and the coming energy shortage due mainly to emerging countries’ development and their resultant energy needs. They’ve always said that anyone that worries about global warming will be a fan of peak oil once it finally comes.

    What happens when fossil fuels are used up or become more scarce? Simple, the price goes up and the standard of living declines for us normal folk unless you’re rich enough to not care about the cost of gasoline. What in our society is not dependent on fossil fuels? Take food for example, unless you live in “flyover country” as New Yorkers derisively call it, all your food gets shipped in. So if the price of gasoline goes up 20%, all food you buy will go up 20%. The standard of living continues to go lower and lower, and that is what will eventually happen in this country, sadly.

    Less people will have cars because they cannot afford the gasoline needed for trips. And then carbon emissions from cars will decline because less people use cars because they can’t afford it. It’s a good side-effect of a bad situation. A blog such as this, which ridicules Fed inflation cause of its effects on the dollar and it’s buying power, should understand that.

  101. Marcus Aurelius commented on Mar 3

    Posted by: SPECTRE of Deflation | Mar 3, 2008 8:13:30 AM

    ____

    How’s the Kool-aid, SPEC?

  102. DonKei commented on Mar 3

    Barry,

    I’m awaiting your lawyer’s take on the arguments here.

    Not that lawyers know anything about climate science particularly, but that lawyers should know something about rhetoric, and about making logically defensible arguments. (Disclosure–I am a lawyer.)

    In my estimation, were CO2 given the same benefit of the doubt as we give criminal defendants, (and if you could find a jury that hadn’t already made up its mind), it should never be convicted of causing the earth’s temperature to warm. It lacks the “but-for” causation, because, as I noted previously, if you claim A (CO2) causes B (climate warming), but then more of A, does not result in more of B, your argument fails. Logic dictates that A can’t be the sole, or perhaps, any, cause of B if more of A does not yield more of B.

    Of course, that’s not saying CO2 couldn’t in reality be convicted. Legions of defendants that happened to have the wrong skin color have been convicted of crimes they never committed just because of fear. Fortunately for some of them, DNA offers the opportunity for exoneration. CO2, having, in many respects come to represent the latent fear that mankind has always had about its future, might well be convicted on that basis (fear) alone. If convicted, it’s hard to see a similar scientific savior like DNA coming to CO2’s rescue, short of a new ice age.

    Alas, I learned only one abiding truth about human nature in three years of legal training–that, as Oliver Wendell Holmes observed, “the life of the law is not logic.” Neither, it seems, is it the life of climate science.

  103. rj commented on Mar 3

    So in closing, do you want to save the atmosphere? If so, buy a diesel engine, preferably from my employer Cummins. We are twice as efficient as gasoline engines and we now put out equal or less emissions. I know so, because this is my job.

    Not to mention diesel fuel needs less refinement than gasoline, and far far less refinement than ethanol, which actually uses up more fossil fuels to actually manufacture it and is also very inefficient at producing power in an engine, therefore meaning you have to produce even more ethanol to get you the same distance. It is really nothing more than a corn subsidy program for Midwestern farmers.

  104. odograph commented on Mar 3

    rj, the well-to-wheels figures I have don’t show “double” for diesels, at least not cars:

    15.5% diesel internal combustion engine cars
    12.4% gasoline internal combustion engine cars

    (gasoline hybrids rise to 15.3% efficiency, putting them in spitting distance to a plain diesel. hybrid diesels would be king … but none are on our market.)

    DonKei, IANAL, but the question I’d ask is simple: would limiting the CO2 limit the harm?

    Is there law for that kind of question?

  105. rj commented on Mar 3

    Ok, not twice. That was a grab from a textbook that I remember (gasoline engines are traditionally 12% efficient, diesels are 25%).

    Here’s what wikipedia says, and you can go there for the sources:

    “The density of petroleum diesel is about 850 grams per litre whereas petrol (gasoline) has a density of about 720 g/L, about 15% less. When burnt, diesel typically releases about 40.9 megajoules (MJ) per litre, whereas gasoline releases 34.8 MJ/L, about 15% less. Diesel is generally simpler to refine from petroleum than gasoline.”

    Less refinement should also be taken into account for efficiency, as less refinement means less machines running to refine it, which must also use petroleum products to run.

  106. DonKei commented on Mar 3

    Odograph–

    I don’t necessarily think so.

    Even though I fall in the denialist camp (I prefer “skeptic”, but you say tomato, I say tomatoe), I believe that CO2 is a fine proxy for the notion that we are extremely wasteful in our use of energy, and if conserving energy means also limiting its output, so much the better.

    I believe that energy consumption in the US is vastly subsidized in that its true externalities are not captured by its price. By my reckoning, considering the cost to the US of ethanol subsidies, wars in the mideast, a vast naval presence the globe over to keep the oil shipping lanes open, etc., gasoline alone should cost about $10/gallon.

    Instead, we borrow money to fund wars, we borrow money to subsidize inefficient agricultural energy production, etc., ad nauseam.

    The fall of the dollar (i.e., inflation at home and abroad) has been the direct result of this subsidy by government borrowing/dollar printing.

    As the dollar continues to fall, we might in fact get $10/gallon gasoline in the not-distant future, which would do more than any carbon-limiting regulation I could imagine to limit CO2 output–by dint of the energy conservation measures it would make imperative. Will that be good to help forestall global warming? Well, I think you know I’m skeptical on that score. But would it help the US survive and prosper in the long run? You bet. That it would also do what the global warming crowd wants is okay by me.

    I’d just never convict CO2 for warming.

  107. odograph commented on Mar 3

    In an adversarial system I’d expect some expert witnesses to be brought on both sides, but siding with the IPCC on climate is a little like siding with the AMA on health. It is the safe bet.

    Or put another way Don, if you were to bring experts on climate, do you think you’d have an easier time on one side of the issue than the other? Would you worry equally, on both sides, that your witness might seem a crank?

    rj, well-to-wheels is the key.

  108. Bud commented on Mar 3

    “My point yesterday — which several commentors elected to ignore — was that confusing the short term trend with the longer term trend was simply wrong.”

    That’s entirely true — and the length of a human life in geological time is so utterly “short term” as to be laughable. Even generations don’t amount to much on that scale.

    The “Little Ice Age” began in the Middle Ages, lasted for several hundred years, and ended only after the birth of the United States.

    Whether or not the earth is now “warming” in an alarming way is a matter of some interest, and taking a close look at the technical means of gathering these “rising temperature” data doesn’t bear close scrutiny in a large number of cases. (Weather stations once remotely located are in some cases now surrounded by concrete buildings or located directly in the blast of air-conditioning exhaust.)

    Add to this the fact that even the two guys in charge of the climate temperature data themselves “deny” they see any necessary inference the observed rise is related to human activity.

    This opinion would, of course, place these gentlemen outside the circle of herd opinion by “qualified scientists” we are repeatedly told “all agree” (an anomaly in real “science”) as evidenced by their “peer reviewing” each other’s work to a fair-thee-well and disdaining any other equally informed opinion which may even so much as question their collective and mutually-reinforced “opinions” based on objectively inconclusive facts. Faith usually trumps facts.

    The important thing to grasp about global warming — whether or not eventually confirmed by conclusive facts — is that it’s fundamentally a polito-economic movement, and certainly not “science”. It fuels a new government gravy train which may be increasingly relied upon to lard funding on shameless academics willing to cooperate in partaking of the spoils. At the top of this heap is the thoroughly corrupt United Nations, with its hand out on any pretext to tax the world for its benevolent works (never mind the permanently built-in fraud and corruption).

    I say these opinions are not “science”, properly speaking, because the very “weather experts” in charge of the various flawed “models” cannot predict even short-term trends like next years hurricane season — but we are to believe they know what will happen in a decade or century. It’s really too funny for sober consideration.

    They also frankly admit they cannot account for some observed climate mechanics — but they are no less confident in their predictions than any other anointed priesthood.

    No different than any other markets, the “global warming” trend is on in the market of ideas. And like those other false “scientists” called economists, these guys (also merely trend followers) will never foresee any change in the present trend before it actually happens. Their predictive ability is no better than that of economists, who can be collectively relied upon to be less accurate in their predictions than are ordinary people (per Taleb, et. al., whose observations also gall “experts” who cannot tolerate any other view but their own)

    These experts will likewise continue to insist “this time is different” and pout truculently and theaten excommunication of anyone who so much as as remotely questions their monolithic collective wisdom (oxymoron).

    Basically, these folks are no more than weather bulls who will hoot and yelp their “forecasts” on even the flimsiest evidence, ever insisting the trend direction is inevitably “up” — forever!!! — regardless of any newly arrived and contrary evidence.

    None of us will live long enough to discover whether they are in error (and laugh at them if they are) — but in the meantime, beating the drum of war against “global warming” will handsomely reward those on the “right” side of the prevailing and ever-rising hysteria.

    A more cautious and contrarian evaluation may suggest that hastily throwing massive money overboard to abate this presumed “emergency” makes about as much sense as the current corn-to-ethanol “solution” imposed by equally sterile political minds to “solve” our energy problem (at a net loss of BOTH energy AND food supplies to a world increasingly starved of both).

    It is worth mentioning that the previous generation of “weather scientists”, upon receiving evidence of a cooling trend, attempted to stir up the same hysteria about “global cooling” and expressed the notion we would all end up huddling at the equator in the fact of advancing walls of ice clam-shelling us from north and south. Oh, woe! Fortunately, the general public at that time wasn’t so gullible, having lived a bit closer to the real world, and ignored them.

    That “crisis” soon passed away when it didn’t bear any immediate financial fruit for its proponents, nor Nobel Prizes. This generation of ordinary citizens may prove more gullible.

  109. Joe Walker commented on Mar 3

    Barry,

    If you say the market is going down and somebody calls you a Holocaust denier- what would you think? When the global warming crowd starts calling people that don’t agree with them- Nazis, they are no longer argueing, they have crossed over into fanatasism, maybe even religious fanatasism.

    ~~~

    BR: Agreed.

    Right —

    The funny thing to me is that I made zero policy suggestions, and was branded by the wingnuts as a hysteric.

    When the use of the word “denialist” about those who do not believe global warming is real immediately brings up comparisons to the holocaust, it makes everything they say suspect.

  110. wally commented on Mar 3

    Obviously climate is religion to some people.

  111. odograph commented on Mar 3

    So what are you saying Joe, that you don’t have the science but still want the respect?

    Lots of crank-science here, and essentially demands for respect.

  112. Douglas Watts commented on Mar 3

    “Bud” is a marvel of psychological projection, scientific illiteracy and painstaking avoidance of any factual content.

    1. Scientist William Connelley provides here a lengthy refutation of the myth that scientists in scientific journals in the 1970s were predicting imminent “global cooling.”

    2. The “urban heat island effect” is fully accounted for and compensated in the temperature records. See: Parker, D.E., Large-Scale Warming is not Urban, Nature 432, 290, doi:10.1038/432290a, 2004. Further overview discussion and literature cites can be found here.

    3. The “opinions” that “Bud” said are not “science” are actually science, given that they are drawn from actual scientific research and published in peer-reviewed and refereed professional scientific journals, such as Nature and Science. According to “Bud’s” standard, all scientific knowledge is just ‘fashionable opinion’ including the underlying physics of the computer his is typing on.

    4. There is a common logical fallacy that somehow, the fact that Earth’s climate has changed in the past (w/o humans) somehow proves that humans cause climate to change. This is like saying because people die of natural causes it’s impossible for this gun I’m holding to kill you if I pull the trigger.

    5. “Bud’s” analysis has all the intellectual rigor of a guy at a bar telling me why it’s obvious the sun goes ’round the Earth.

  113. odograph commented on Mar 3

    Did I get Joe backwards? If so I’m sorry. To be clear I think NASA and the National Academies (and many more) have the science. The random comment cranks who say “no, believe me!” do not.

  114. Douglas Watts commented on Mar 3

    My grand take on it is that it’s a bunch of scientists that are making a lot of money, and they don’t want to hurt their meal ticket.

    If this syllogism is true, then we probably should discount the veracity of all physical science, including gravity, because it’s just being promoted by a bunch of “physicists” who are making a lot of money with their silly “E=mc2” and “F=ma” and don’t want to hurt their meal ticket.

    So, basically, if anyone earns an income doing anything, we should immediately doubt and reject their proficiency on the sole basis that they being financially compensated.

  115. Marcus Aurelius commented on Mar 3

    Anecdotal:

    A friend of mine and I were having a discussion on global warming. He picked a globe up off of his office shelf and pointed to LA, and said, “you mean to tell me that you believe that this little dot could pollute all of this,” as he moved his hand around the globe to demonstrate the expanse of the atmosphere. The globe was about 14″ in diameter, he was holding his hand about 2″ from its surface. I pushed his hand to about 3mm from the surface of the globe and answered, “yes.”

  116. DonKei commented on Mar 3

    Odograph,

    It would depend on the jurisdiction as to whether I’d want the IPPC as a witness. Remember that the IPCC is a United Nations organization. To convict CO2, I’d certainly rather the trial were in New York than in Texas.

    But, it would be a trial, like this blog on this topic, that would seem endless and repetitive–because the issue cuts to the essence of an individual’s world view, and there is plenty of rationally-deduced data on both sides to justify emotionally-held positions.

    There has already been a trial of sorts–Massachusetts v. Environmental Protection Agency (2006), in which the Supreme Court essentially decided that the EPA needs to regulate CO2 and other greenhouse gases, or come up w/ some scientific reason why it shouldn’t. The Supreme Court majority (Stevens, Kennedy, Souter, Ginsburg and Breyer) essentially bought all of the global warming arguments you’ve seen here. The dissenters– Roberts, Scalia, Thomas and Alito–didn’t.

    It’s quite a fascinating read, but if you read it, remember that everything except the ruling that the EPA must either regulate CO2 or determine scientifically why it needn’t, is dicta, which is another way of saying it’s blowhards in robes that like see their opinions put to paper.

  117. Bud commented on Mar 3

    For a recent reminder of the behavior of crowds in the face of opinions contrary to the popular belief, consider the “housing bubble” and the (admittedly small) number of us who said it was a false trend that would end in tears. I use the term “false trend” deliberately — Soros may be wrong about many things, but on balance he’s been richly rewarded by his own advice to “find the false trend and bet against it.”

    As to the poster who pilloried any who would dare “deny” the theory of evolution, I’d point out that arguing against a theory (strictly speaking) is what commonly happens among real scientists engaged in real science, and that a theory cannot be “denied” by anyone simply because anything less than what is demonstrated as conclusive scientific law is, by definition, subject to debate about the meaning of the facts that underpin it.

    Absence of debate is not characteristic of “science” but rather the opposite.

    Pause to recall that not too many decades ago, the “theory of continental drift” was ridiculed by most establishment scientists and thought by most of them to be entirely daft. New evidence forced them to accept that theory as the best explanation of earths evolution — and it’s probably safe to assume the former “deniers” now defend this theory as unassailable.

    A team of scientists recently reported they had experimentally proven the speed of light is not a physical limit in the universe. Is the theory of relativity wrong? Right? Only time will tell if these experiments can be reliably duplicated by others, but in the meantime it’s probably wise to be uncertain of even the most compelling “stories”, whether in the marketplace of science or finance.

    Even the most compelling story, while enjoying lack of any apparent facts to contradict it, can suddenly be confronted by evidence which eventually renders it entirely unsalable — even to fools.

    As to this previous expression of faith:

    “The ‘opinions’ that ‘Bud’ said are not ‘science’ are actually science, given that they are drawn from actual scientific research and published in peer-reviewed and refereed professional scientific journals, such as Nature and Science. According to ‘Bud’s’ standard, all scientific knowledge is just ‘fashionable opinion’ including the underlying physics of the computer his is typing on.”

    Scientific inquiry (experimentation, search for facts, etc.) is entirely separable from “scientific opinion”, and conflating the two is the banal habit of an undisciplined mind.

    One obviously cannot argue against established facts (though established facts may very disagreeably argue with each other), but prevailing opinions about those facts typically constitutes ‘scientific knowledge’ which enjoys a notoriously short half-life.

  118. Kevin commented on Mar 3

    Over the weekend I was drving through Red Bank NJ and I was behind a guy in an Expedition towing a huge power boat probably from his house to the boatyard. In 5 minutes this guy wiped out all the energy savings and sacrifices I made in the last year.

    What do you propose we do to halt global warming?

  119. odograph commented on Mar 3

    Bud, some consensus answers of science have been overturned and some are still held valid. You are suggesting that the overturned ones favor your position.

    Isn’t that like looking around a bar and saying “some of the people here are tall, and so the next person that walks in the door will be tall”?

    (Some of the currently contested theories will be overturned, but we cannot on that basis judge them all false.)

  120. Bud commented on Mar 3

    “(Some of the currently contested theories will be overturned, but we cannot on that basis judge them all false.)”

    Nor can we know which ones. Adopting any of them as immutable “truth” is therefore foolish.

    You pose a false dilemma.

  121. odograph commented on Mar 3

    I didn’t say “immutable” Bob.

    Science does not, in fact, have “immutable” truths.

    But if we tried to take no action, ever, based on our current scientific judgment, I think we’d suffer.

  122. Chester White commented on Mar 3

    Everyone needs to read the 1975 NEWSWEEK piece on global cooling.:

    http://www.denisdutton.com/cooling_world.htm

    Note how strong the case is:

    “Meteorologists … are almost unanimous in the view that the trend will reduce agricultural productivity for the rest of the century.”

    I now write the following: “Meteorologists were almost unanimously stupid-ass ninnies in 1975, but in 2008 we now know for sure that they are all inerrant geniuses.”

    I am a chemist and I watched up close as two of the greatest chemical scams of the last half-century unfold: “polywater” and “cold fusion.”

    It would well serve some of you who are ABSOLUTELY POSITIVELY persuaded of human-generated “climate change” to go back and read some of the rot produced on those two subjects.

    As for whether scientists are totally noble and and dispassionate and unbiased and non-profit-minded, as a scientist and husband of a scientist, who has met more of these characters that I can count, I can only laugh my ass off.

  123. odograph commented on Mar 3

    Shorter Chester: Since someone cried wolf in the 70’s (probably Newsweek rather than the broad scientific community(*)), there are no wolves.

    * – The National Academies of Science quote in Chester’s article supports this:

    “Just what causes the onset of major and minor ice ages remains a mystery. “Our knowledge of the mechanisms of climatic change is at least as fragmentary as our data,” concedes the National Academy of Sciences report. “Not only are the basic scientific questions largely unanswered, but in many cases we do not yet know enough to pose the key questions.””

    Extra credit if you spot the spin in the word “concedes.”

    It is also interesting to note what the National Academy thinks they’ve learned in those 30 years.

  124. Greg0658 commented on Mar 3

    call me “Dulling Care”
    no sperm of mine mated with an egg

    so at 50yo not really my problem
    had a great seat in the theatre tho

  125. Patrick commented on Mar 3

    1. Barry, you are correct–of course one point does not disprove a trend.

    2. As far as global warming goes–of course it is happening. It has been happening for, what, 400 years after-all.

    3. The causes of global warming are many and varied but the overall picture of how it occurs and how these causes interact is largely unknown. It is not called a THEORY for nothing. The fact is that what is being interpreted as fact by some is really probabilities of probabilities in a model with thousands and thousands of variables–some of which are known, some of which aren’t, some of which are measured within a large probability of error relative to the other variables, and some of which are ASSUMED. Why don’t you go fly on an airplane that was built with such a model and see how long you last, huh?

    4. There is only one factual position that one can hold with true certainty–WE DON’T KNOW. Yes, you can argue one side or the other and suggest probabilities and argue probabilities. BUT AT THE END OF THE DAY WE DON’T KNOW YET. Give it a rest.

    5. For those on either side of the argument to insult someone’s intelligence or “scientific literacy” (whatever that means) is insulting and, frankly, stupid. Thanks, but some of us have degrees in the sciences and mathematics and are amazed that either side of the argument gets argued so rabidly. We who are undecided because the models and data are so poor find it amazing that some of you act like you know everything and think that the ENTIRE WORLD is convinced of your side. Do you know what being convinced of a theory is? It’s measuring an electron’s weight to within 14 decimal places of the theorized value. What’s not being convinced is your weather man not being able to tell you a rough approximation of the weather more than 60 minutes in advance.

    The fact that some of you can say “lol anyone who watches the discovery channel knows the truth!” and “scientific literacy” in the same sentence is laughable.

    6. There are clear political and economic reasons for pushing either argument. It’s the best ploy–a global issue that will impact what everyone in the world eats, drinks, consumes, does, grows, etc., all pandered about under the guise of the greatest moral flag: SAVE THE ENTIRE WORLD. Want to have more than 2 kids? Nope, gotta save the world. Want to produce more than xxx KW from coal to power your country? Nope, gotta save the world. Wanna raise your living standards to the developed world level? Nope, sorry, gotta save the world. Want to institute legislation to cut down all your trees and dig up all your rocks and export them to pay for universal education and health care? Nope, sorry, gotta save the world.

    Personally, I find the whole man-causes-global-warming-and-it-is-going-to-screw-us-all argument to be both unknown and unlikely. Face it: both the data and the models SUCK. I also find it, compared to other issues, to be irrelevant. Thanks, but I’m just a LITTLE more concerned that I’m going to wake up tomorrow with a mushroom cloud over my neighbor’s porch, witness WW III, or get cancer from whatever.

    And last but not least: I would like to point out that Life On Earth will be just fine. We could nuke the entire planet over 30 times and in 2 billion years the bacteria in the deep sea vents will have evolved and covered the entire earth with another trillion species of who-knows-what. You’re not that important to Life on Earth and you never will be–so don’t kid yourself that somehow we’re ruining the earth or are some sort of aberation or whatever. We could be, but that’s a human and ethical viewpoint, not a scientific one. Life goes on.

  126. Douglas Watts commented on Mar 3

    Chester: By your syllogism, because “cold fusion” was false we should be equally skeptical about this whole “gravity” thing. And because your doctor gets paid, I assume you don’t believe him or her when they give you a physical …

    Shorter Bud: because someone might prove in the future that addition is non-commutative, we should not trust a single result from any calculating device that depends on the commutativeness of addition.

  127. SPECTRE of Deflation commented on Mar 3

    MA, 60 Trillion Dollars in unfunded liabilities, and the best part is you think it’s a vast right wing conspiracy. How’s the Kool-Aid indeed. LOL!

  128. Marcus Aurelius commented on Mar 3

    Not a conspiracy, a character flaw. A vast, right wing character flaw.

  129. Douglas Watts commented on Mar 3

    Patrick — it is not a “theory” that CO2, methane, water vapor and certain other gasses have a “greenhouse” effect of capturing and retaining solar radiation in the atmosphere. It is just as proven as water being composed of two atoms of hydrogen and one of oxygen. And it is not a “theory” that human activities are putting X tons of CO2 into the atmosphere every minute and what that atmospheric concentration is today as opposed to other times. And it is not a “theory” that the temperature graph Barry showed shows the trend that it shows.

  130. ljl commented on Mar 3

    Has anybody ever considered that a warmer climate will benefit countries like Canada, Russia and Northern United States? Why is this never taken into account?

  131. Bud commented on Mar 3

    “But if we tried to take no action, ever, based on our current scientific judgment, I think we’d suffer.”

    That is only true if the proposed action is suitable, effective, and achievable.

    Getting all three of these right based on well informed but nevertheless speculative theorizing by those who stand to benefit (while studiously ignoring others equally qualified and well informed — but entirely unconvinced) is something few people would endorse unless funded by other people’s money.

    That is not an argument to do nothing, nor to ignore possible dangers of continuing our present course unabated. Yep, go to work on alternate fuels, energy saving technologies, and less fuel-intensive methods of powering our lives. High prices are always the solution to high prices. (If it were not so, we’d still be burning wood in stone circles and huddling under animal skins — exactly what some of our more progressive “thinkers” would reckon we should return to in order to “save” the earth from humankind.)

    Accepting the need to adapt with all due diligence most certainly does NOT recommend being stampeded to join the ruminating herd in blind panic.

    And I entirely agree with the “laugh my ass off” comment above. Anyone who believes the modern university system promotes only big-brained, always wise, always honorable, truth-seeking, truth-telling “scientists” whose motives cannot be questioned is frankly ludicrous.

    There are many fine people who make their way through this process, but it tends to deliberately weed out heretics no less thoroughly than the ancient church. Modern academics declared heretics after having been annoited (particularly when big funding is at stake) tend to be just as readily burnt at the stake without mercy, and robed scientists who look strikingly like clerics when attending commencement will pay any price to preserve whatever delusion has been canonized in accordance with their cultural zeitgeist, no matter how obviously such canons may be based on a plainly false premise (AIDS “research” comes to mind as a sterling example).

    If one needs no other example of the really big-brained and highly accomplished liars which even the most distinguished Ivy League ivory towers graduate with distinction, please consider FED board members (individually or collectively) and ask yourself whether you really believe what ANY of these people say publicly. Of course you don’t. You’d have to be an idiot. Or they would have to be — take your pick.

    But I digress from the glow of the global warming “debate”, such as it is …

    Intellectually shameless people now wish to insinuate an attachment of their “cause” to the tragedy of the holocaust, aiming to wrap themselves in a self-righteous defense against any critique of their truly preposterous claim that “all responsible scientists agree” about BOTH the trend AND the inevitable human cause of global climate change.

    If that is true, then why did one highly regarded climate scientist have to literally SUE to get his name removed from the list of said respectable scientists who all allegedly “agree”?

    The present kabuki drama is not about reasoned science. It’s simply about fear-driven politics, the invariable hallmark of shallow claims erected on obviously shaky foundations by all the usual suspects.

    Does that mean a majority of scientists who believe in human-caused “global warming” are surely wrong in that claim? Nope, it doesn’t mean that at all. It just means it ain’t necessarily so — an important distinction when deciding how best to allocate scarce resources to best assure long term prosperity and safety for mankind here on planet earth.

  132. Eric commented on Mar 3

    We could nuke the entire planet over 30 times and in 2 billion years the bacteria in the deep sea vents will have evolved and covered the entire earth with another trillion species of who-knows-what.

    Just for fun, let’s take your 2 billions years numbers at face value. The sun is supposed to enter its red-giant phase in about 5 billion years, at which point the seas and atmosphere of the earth will be boiled away into space. Now, how unlikely was our civilization to appear, i.e., how many billions of years do you have to wait for something as interesting as us to appear again? And so: how many chances at producing an interesting civilization does this planet have within the next 5 billion years? One more chance? None?

    So I don’t find your “Life on earth will go on” perspective terribly uplifting. Let’s not give up on the one civilization we’re sure actually has appeared, just because it’s too painful to look around and see how we’re screwing it up at the moment.

  133. Eric commented on Mar 3

    Has anybody ever considered that a warmer climate will benefit countries like Canada, Russia and Northern United States? Why is this never taken into account?

    One prominent atmospheric scientist (I wish I could remember who or where) said: “One of the reasons global climate change is so difficult to do anything about is that there are both winners and losers. Not everybody loses.”

  134. Roger Bigod commented on Mar 3

    The Beeg Peekture is that science, securities markets and open public discussions such as this one are all products of the Enlightenment. And they all depend on the government and the legal system for support and regulation. Wanting to throw them out because we don’t like the outcome is self-destructive.

    The examples of polywater and cold fusion were actually examples of the self-policing nature of science. The norms of science are that when someone publishes, they have to make methods, reagents, computer programs and input data available to the community. In the case of those “discoveries”, no one could replicate the results, and they never became generally accepted. We don’t reject all science because of them any more than we close down the markets because Enron and WorldComm were um misvaluated for a while.

    Yeah, some of the global warming alarmists are irritatingly self-righteous. But sometimes such people are correct, which is even more irritating. OTOH, I don’t see them mounting systematic attacks on science to boost corporate profits (this ussue) or as election stunts to attract religious voters (Schiavo case, stem cell hokus-pokus).

    It’s amusing that Barry precipitated this by doing TA on a temperature chart and pointing out that a trend looks to be intact. In the spirit of Modern Portfolio Theory, I hope he can tell us the Sharpe ratio. Just from eyeballing it, I’d guess over 0.5, maybe over 1.0.

  135. Ruth commented on Mar 3

    Wonder if they’ll make Gore give back his prize?

    Recent article:
    Forget global warming: Welcome to the new Ice Age
    Lorne Gunter, National Post
    Published: Monday, February 25, 2008

    Snow cover over North America and much of Siberia, Mongolia and China is greater than at any time since 1966.

    The U.S. National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) reported that many American cities and towns suffered record cold temperatures in January and early February. According to the NCDC, the average temperature in January “was -0.3 F cooler than the 1901-2000 (20th century) average.”

    China is surviving its most brutal winter in a century. Temperatures in the normally balmy south were so low for so long that some middle-sized cities went days and even weeks without electricity because once power lines had toppled it was too cold or too icy to repair them.

    There have been so many snow and ice storms in Ontario and Quebec in the past two months that the real estate market has felt the pinch as home buyers have stayed home rather than venturing out looking for new houses.

    In just the first two weeks of February, Toronto received 70 cm of snow, smashing the record of 66.6 cm for the entire month set back in the pre-SUV, pre-Kyoto, pre-carbon footprint days of 1950.

    And remember the Arctic Sea ice? The ice we were told so hysterically last fall had melted to its “lowest levels on record? Never mind that those records only date back as far as 1972 and that there is anthropological and geological evidence of much greater melts in the past.

    The ice is back.

    Gilles Langis, a senior forecaster with the Canadian Ice Service in Ottawa, says the Arctic winter has been so severe the ice has not only recovered, it is actually 10 to 20 cm thicker in many places than at this time last year.

    OK, so one winter does not a climate make. It would be premature to claim an Ice Age is looming just because we have had one of our most brutal winters in decades.

    But if environmentalists and environment reporters can run around shrieking about the manmade destruction of the natural order every time a robin shows up on Georgian Bay two weeks early, then it is at least fair game to use this winter’s weather stories to wonder whether the alarmist are being a tad premature.

    And it’s not just anecdotal evidence that is piling up against the climate-change dogma.

    According to Robert Toggweiler of the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory at Princeton University and Joellen Russell, assistant professor of biogeochemical dynamics at the University of Arizona — two prominent climate modellers — the computer models that show polar ice-melt cooling the oceans, stopping the circulation of warm equatorial water to northern latitudes and triggering another Ice Age (a la the movie The Day After Tomorrow) are all wrong.

    “We missed what was right in front of our eyes,” says Prof. Russell. It’s not ice melt but rather wind circulation that drives ocean currents northward from the tropics. Climate models until now have not properly accounted for the wind’s effects on ocean circulation, so researchers have compensated by over-emphasizing the role of manmade warming on polar ice melt.

    But when Profs. Toggweiler and Russell rejigged their model to include the 40-year cycle of winds away from the equator (then back towards it again), the role of ocean currents bringing warm southern waters to the north was obvious in the current Arctic warming.

    Last month, Oleg Sorokhtin, a fellow of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, shrugged off manmade climate change as “a drop in the bucket.” Showing that solar activity has entered an inactive phase, Prof. Sorokhtin advised people to “stock up on fur coats.”

    He is not alone. Kenneth Tapping of our own National Research Council, who oversees a giant radio telescope focused on the sun, is convinced we are in for a long period of severely cold weather if sunspot activity does not pick up soon.

    The last time the sun was this inactive, Earth suffered the Little Ice Age that lasted about five centuries and ended in 1850. Crops failed through killer frosts and drought. Famine, plague and war were widespread. Harbours froze, so did rivers, and trade ceased.

    It’s way too early to claim the same is about to happen again, but then it’s way too early for the hysteria of the global warmers, too.

  136. Bud commented on Mar 3

    “McPhee also said that at the peak of the last warm phase on earth, sea levels were 50 feet higher than at present. His stuff was written 30 years before the global warming excitement, so he had no related political axe to grind.”

    He also had no large, throbbing population of petrol-burning humans to “explain” that previous warm spell, either.

    That the trend may be warming (we are in an inter-glacial period, after all) is evidence of warming. It tells us nothing about fundamental causes.

    If sea levels do rise 50 feet, that will certainly be very inconvenient to people who continue to operate under a prevailing delusion that the conditions on earth after they were born represent a permanent planetary playpen they (and all their future generations) should feel “entitled” to expect. Neither human or planetary history will dissuade them from that view.

    And they will, by Jove, get a new law passed to GUARANTEE that outcome! They’ll also find any number of amiable politicians painfully eager to assure them the government will, indeed, protect them (by what particular magic won’t be entirely clear), and the rubes will again sleep soundly at night, secure in their belief that “government regulation” over the next 50 years will as reliably protect them as it has done in the past 50.

    BTW — got gold? 🙂

  137. Whammer commented on Mar 3

    Quantum mechanics is clearly crap, because nothing in my everyday experience substantiates that it could be possible.

    Relativity is also clearly crap for the same reason. I mean, what if I’m driving a car at the speed of light and turn the headlights on? What happens then, Mr. Smartypants Science Dude???

    Bud, just for yucks I tried to find out who the scientist was who “sued” to get his name removed from the IPCC report. Couldn’t find one. Of course, that meme is repeated across all kinds of climate-related posts on the Intertubes, stating it like it is a fact. The closest I could come was a Paul Reiter, who says he had to threaten to sue in order to get his name removed, although the IPCC denies that. In fact, another source says that Reiter was nominated to work on one of the IPCC reports but did not. So, not completely clear.

    Paul Reiter says that the IPCC is overstating the idea that global warming will lead to an increase in malaria.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Reiter

    So, at best it is a rumor that a scientist specializing in tropical diseases was unhappy about what the IPCC was saying about his field, and threatened to sue so that he was not included in the report. Far cry from “one highly regarded climate scientist have to literally SUE to get his name removed” — especially since he is not a climate scientist.

    If you have any other documentation on that topic, feel free to share, obviously.

  138. Douglas Watts commented on Mar 3

    Ruth — that National Post article, and a similar one in Investors’ Business Daily has been debunked by the scientists it misquoted:

    http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2008/02/dont_trust_anything_you_read_i_1.php

    The quoted scientist, Kenneth Tapper, said:

    The article is rubbish.

    I believe that global climate change is the biggest problem facing us today. As yet we have no idea of exactly how serious it can get or where the tipping point may be.

    The lateness of the start of the solar activity cycle is not yet enough to be something to worry about. However, even if we were to go into another minimum, and the Sun dims for a few decades, as it did during the Maunder Minimum, it could reduce the problem for a while, but things will come back worse when the cycle starts again.

    http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2008/02/dont_trust_anything_you_read_i.php

    Try again. Next time with something not so provably false.

    Cheers.

  139. Douglas Watts commented on Mar 3

    Has anybody ever considered that a warmer climate will benefit countries like Canada, Russia and Northern United States? Why is this never taken into account?

    Because that type of “thinking” leads one to conclude that setting your house on fire is a good way to prevent frostbite.

    Or buying a huge life insurance policy and then killing yourself is a great way to pay for your kids’ college tuition.

  140. Patrick commented on Mar 3

    Patrick — it is not a “theory” that CO2, methane, water vapor and certain other gasses have a “greenhouse” effect of capturing and retaining solar radiation in the atmosphere. It is just as proven as water being composed of two atoms of hydrogen and one of oxygen. And it is not a “theory” that human activities are putting X tons of CO2 into the atmosphere every minute and what that atmospheric concentration is today as opposed to other times. And it is not a “theory” that the temperature graph Barry showed shows the trend that it shows.

    Of course but so what?

    The fact the items are correlated doesn’t prove causation and that is precisely what a theory would have to accomplish. Furthermore you would have to use the theory to accurately predict future climate as well as it’s effects on wildlife, humans, etc., as well as the rate of change. Oh and as far as policy goes then of course you’d have to show that this change was detrimental in some way.

    We’re not even close to showing all this, hence, “theory.”

  141. Bud commented on Mar 3

    “So, at best it is a rumor that a scientist specializing in tropical diseases was unhappy about what the IPCC was saying about his field, and threatened to sue so that he was not included in the report. Far cry from “one highly regarded climate scientist have to literally SUE to get his name removed” — especially since he is not a climate scientist.

    “If you have any other documentation on that topic, feel free to share, obviously.”

    My pleasure.

    I find it exceedingly odd you should refer to a statement made in public by Reiter as a “rumor” on the sole merit those threatened with suit (and you are correct about that) say it isn’t so.

    You would expect this august body of selfless scientists to admit his statement is true? That a “scientific” group had not even the professional courtesy to withdraw a name when civilly requested and had to be threatened with suit? I bloody doubt it.

    And if he was not a “climate scientist” — then why would his name have ever been associated with this steaming political document to begin with? Either it should never have been included to begin with, or else what he had to say was considered relevant. You cannot have it both ways.

    Moreover, your fine point attempts to detract from the overarching fact that all (previously) respected scientists most certainly do NOT agree with the man-caused-global-warming thesis, a fact which you do not appear willing to dispute.

    Do you dispute it?

    That requires only a yes or no answer, though I’m certain it will come back so richly qualified with conditionals that it will be no answer at all.

    In the interest of time, therefore, let me offer a readily available and related wiki link:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_scientists_opposing_the_mainstream_scientific_assessment_of_global_warming

    While I’m perfectly willing to debate matters of informed opinion, I’m not prepared to debate matters of established fact.

    What is a well established fact is that hundreds of scientists have opined they were not convinced by established scientific fact that global warming owes significantly to activities of mankind.

    Those who dismiss these foks as “deniers” simply hope to finesse a quick conclusion to any further debate by pretending no valid basis for such debate exists. They operate on the bully brown shirt strategy of defaming and traducing their opponents to diminish their voices.

    If they succeed, the self-organized planet-posse will then be free to move forward unimpeded with the fore-ordained political agenda they judge admirable (with or without any basis in fact) owing solely to their presumed superior judgment.

    As a general rule, these folks tend to think of themselves as “progressives”, a term which amply attests to their hubris.

    Unfortunately, others tend to see their rather raw agenda as no more than the usual hokum which inevitably arises when science is forced into servitude as the whore of politics.

  142. Whammer commented on Mar 3

    Oh I’m sure this is shaping up to be a waste of time on my part. Reiter is not a climate scientist, nobody claims he is a climate scientist, except you, Bud, in your original post.

    So, explain to me how your original post is factual?

    Even Reiter says that he “threatened to sue”. You said that he sued. Explain to me how your post was factual?

    And how am I “trying to have it both ways”, when you have said two incorrect things about this one small thing, and I called you on it?

    Now you are saying that you are happy to have a debate about facts?

    So, I took a look at the list of people you linked to who disagree with the IPCC. One of them is John Christy, who is a pretty experienced climate guy, as opposed to a lot of people on the list. Let’s see what John Christy has to say:

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2003/12/18/MNGNV3PH9D1.DTL&type=printable

    Title of this article: Earth Warming at Faster Pace, Say Top Science Group’s Leaders.

    Hmm, what does John Christy say in the article? Is he disagreeing with the article? No.

    “Lead scientist of the organization that circulated the statement is Robert Dickinson, professor of atmospheric sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Another significant signer was John Christy, director of the University of Alabama’s Earth Systems Science Center, a more cautious supporter of the idea that humans are causing climate change.

    In a phone interview, Christy said that while he supports the AGU declaration, and is convinced that human activities are the major cause of the global warming that has been measured, he is “still a strong critic of scientists who make catastrophic predictions of huge increases in global temperatures and tremendous rises in sea levels.”

    “It is scientifically inconceivable that after changing forests into cities, turning millions of acres into farmland, putting massive quantities of soot and dust into the atmosphere and sending quantities of greenhouse gases into the air, that the natural course of climate change hasn’t been increased in the past century.”

    So essentially this guy is saying that humans influence climate, but he disagrees that it is going to be a big catastrophe.

    That is a very different debate than saying it is all a charade.

    You might try actually reading some of this stuff, Bud. It can be interesting.

  143. David Sassoon commented on Mar 3

    Climate Skeptics Are Really Denialists and Alarmists are Misnamed

    This week, New York City is playing host to an international conference on climate change different from any other that has gone before. The people convening it, and those making presentations, are all self-proclaimed “climate skeptics.” And here is the purpose of the conference, in words taken verbatim from the invitation letter sent by the sponsor, the Heartland Institute:

    The purpose of the conference is to generate international media attention to the fact that many scientists believe forecasts of rapid warming and catastrophic events are not supported by sound science, and that expensive campaigns to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are not necessary or cost-effective.

    In other words, it’s a media event designed to promote a fixed point of view with a negative agenda of opposition.

    That, ladies and gentlemen (of the media especially) is not a “skeptical” agenda but a denialist enterprise.

    And here is what is most sinister: they are out to deny the validity of the most organized and effective form of skepticism we know — empirical science, in the present instance put in the service of studying the earth’s climate. They have turned reality upside-down. They have stolen the name “skeptic” from its rightful owners and given them another name instead — “alarmists.”

    Skepticism implies a rational process of evaluation based on empirical evidence, and a willingness to allow the mass of evidence to persuade. This is precisely what the scientists of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change –the largest, collaborative scientific enterprise in human history — have done.

    If you trace their findings from their first assessment report through the fourth — a period of scientific inquiry spanning almost two decades — you will see the gradual and careful evolution of their thought as evidence of global warming has accumulated. Only in the very last report released last year do they say with certainty that global warming is human induced and urgent action is needed.

    What took them so long? Their skepticism, which is practiced through the scientific method to which they are devoted.

    Hired Denialist Guns

    What about the Heartland Institute? On what is their skepticism based? The scientific method? Peer-reviewed science? Actually, no. They have circulated petitions and collected signatures and written op-eds and convened a conference and published pseudo-science and done many other things to deny the findings that have emerged out of the true scientific process. They use the methods of political operatives, not scientists.

    They do claim they have scientists on their side. But these are not scientists qualified to conduct climate research, or to pass judgment upon it. Perhaps they have one or two qualified scientists on their roster of paid attendees. But one or two paid scientists do not a conference make. IPCC has more than 2000 independent scientists working without professional allegiance to political ideology. (Media please take note of this ratio when you insert balance into your reporting.)

    Let’s remember a few other things about Heartland. Before taking up the cause of global warming denialism, they worked to help the tobacco industry deny that smoking causes cancer. Their primary agenda appears to be this: protect the right to put smoke — in your lungs or in our air.

    And they are guns for hire. They’ve received $800,000 from Exxon since 1998 to mount their denialist campaign. Please recall, it was in 1998 that we saw the disclosure of that famous oil industry memo — the one that kicked off a deliberate campaign to sow doubt on climate science in order to protect industry profits.

    The Wall Street Journal’s Denialism

    So step one is to make sure that we do not let Heartland and its comrades-in-arms at the John Locke Foundation and many other places use the noble title “skeptic.” They are not skeptics in the least. They demean the tradition.

    By calling themselves “skeptics” they engage in a form of propaganda that would make Stalin proud. Because this conference and their intensifying denialist campaign is murdering truth to serve ideological ends.

    What is also worth noting is that they have the support of one of the great organs of denialist propaganda — the Wall Street Journal’s editorial page. The editors there — led by Paul Gigot — have long supported the denialist enterprise, and last week wrote in support of the Heartland conference. It has required the Journal to be in denial of the action afoot to put a price on carbon and to capitalize upon the opportunity, the hottest business story there is.

    Yet these editors refuse responsible engagement with this reality and prefer to turn it on its head. They support denialism and so force themselves into adopting an anti-business position. Isn’t that odd — the Wall Street Journal, America’s financial newspaper of record — anti-business? It would be like Johnson & Johnson, known for Band-Aids and baby powder, campaigning to promote assisted suicide.

    Alarmists

    Not only have the denialists stolen the noble name that belongs to the Earth’s honest scientists, they have coined a term to unfairly label the true scientists and skeptics: “alarmists.” It is amazing that we let the denialists get away with this crime. If they tried to do the same thing in the realm of medical science instead of climate science, we’d have thrown them in jail a long time ago.

    Would we call a medical doctor who diagnoses a terminal disease and prescribes a difficult cure an “alarmist”? Are the doctors who identified AIDS and SARS and other epidemics — alarmists?

    Let’s say you were an HMO intent on denial — of coverage — for these conditions, and you bankrolled a campaign so you wouldn’t have to pay for the cures — as Exxon has bankrolled Heartland. That would be called practicing medicine without a license. And we would all be horrified by the callous disregard for human life, lock up the offenders and throw away the key.

    So let’s not be fooled by the false dichotomy that the fossil fuel propaganda machine has succeeded in selling to the media and the American public. It looks like there is a debate between skeptics and alarmists over global warming. There isn’t. It’s a manufactured illusion.

    What’s really going on is this: there’s a war being waged by denialists against scientists, who are the true skeptics, and against humankind and against the earth.

    It is a war that the media has yet to cover, and it is a war that should be the cause of universal alarm.

  144. Bud commented on Mar 3

    “That is a very different debate than saying it is all a charade.”

    I never said it was a charade — I said it is a claim not proven to the satisfaction of many people qualified to speak to that subject. I have also said that these claimants may very well prove right. That they have not done so to universal satisfaction of contrary arguments is evidence of exactly nothing.

    One problem with partisans, of course, is that they simply cannot tolerate ambiguity.

    Having previously conceded I was in error in stating a lawsuit was levied rather than the threat of doing so, it seems a bit churlish for you to require confirmation, but if it pleases you to beat a dead horse, let me say it clearly so we can move on to more substantive issues: I was in error in that statement, and say so again.

    As to whether Reiter is a ‘climate scientist’, I’ll hold you to account for why the utterly unimportant opinion of an utterly unimportant scientist on an utterly unimportant topic should have been included in this report to begin with.

    You have twice carefully evaded that question, and are, indeed, attempting to have it both ways at once. If you have no way to account for what is a logical contradiction obvious even from a trotting horse, then simply say so.

    I’d also make book on the likelihood you are far less qualified to address this topic with any real knowledge of the science (real or alleged) than the collection of scientists you lightly dismiss in favor of focusing on one who sorta-kinda supports your preferred thesis that man-caused climate change is the inevitable conclusion possible based on a review of all the facts available.

    There has been a great deal of sturm und drang about “science” cited in postings above. Perhaps a little refresher course in what science is — and what is not — is in order.

    The “scientific method” is to assemble all the known facts, and from those facts to form an hypothesis which attempts to best explain those facts on a cause and effect basis. And then…???

    The next step in scientific inquiry is to attempt to REFUTE the hypothesis.

    This requires a high degree of skepticism and no emotional investment in whatever the outcome may be. A real skeptic remains skeptical even of his own conclusions, no matter how compelling the thesis may appear.

    The “anti-scientific” method, buy contrast, proceeds quite differently:

    First, form a compelling hypothesis, then fetch all the facts that appear to support it (and ignore any which may contradict it or simply don’t “fit”), and then fight like a tiger to defend the candidate hypothesis against any argument which may be brought against it. Agree only with those who agree with you, and deny (oh, that ugly word again) the “qualifications” of any who won’t capitulate even in the face of ridicule.

    Skepticism, of course, becomes a necessary and early casualty of such adventurism. But the pay is swell and the laurels are sweet, with — dare one dream??? — maybe even a Nobel prize if the story is good enough to fool the Swedes.

    There is a great load of mischief in the notion that computer models can predict the future.

    If an LTCM fails owing to the unparalled genius of Nobel laureates having no real clue, it’s just a threat to the financial system.

    One wonders just how much grief may lie ahead as true believers insist they “know” the future and disaster can be averted only on condition of accepting their sage advice based on “answers” their devices have spat out.

    No doubt these soothsayers are rightful heirs to earlier generations of wise men who likewise offered assurance that society could safely survive based on evidence available only to this priesthood by expert examination of the entrails of sheep.

    So there has surely been some progress; the modern business of prophesy no longer requires gutting live animals, and now demands only the bloodless task of gutting the public purse.

  145. Bud commented on Mar 3

    Endnote:

    computer models are not “empirical science”, and the only evidence of future climate change (with or without dire consequences) is based on output of computer models.

    How much faith one should put in this output is doubtful. Quoting from a posting above:

    “We missed what was right in front of our eyes,” says Prof. Russell.

    Glad to hear you’re making progress with your little toy, Doc. Do get back to us when you guys have at least located the right planet.

  146. Whammer commented on Mar 4

    Bud statement #1:

    “why did one highly regarded climate scientist have to literally SUE to get his name removed from the list of said respectable scientists who all allegedly “agree”?”

    Then, when it turns out that he can’t identify the guy, and the guy didn’t literally SUE, and the guy turns out to be an expert in mosquitoes (not that there’s anything wrong with that), Bud says:

    “As to whether Reiter is a ‘climate scientist’, I’ll hold you to account for why the utterly unimportant opinion of an utterly unimportant scientist on an utterly unimportant topic should have been included in this report to begin with.”

    Um, Bud, I didn’t bring him up and say that he was a climate scientist. So why exactly am I supposed to be held to account for your half-assed statement? You used him as an example of how climate scientists don’t agree with the IPCC, not me. Now you can’t back that one up.

    Now comes the next part:

    Bud says “I’d also make book on the likelihood you are far less qualified to address this topic with any real knowledge of the science (real or alleged) than the collection of scientists you lightly dismiss in favor of focusing on one who sorta-kinda supports your preferred thesis that man-caused climate change is the inevitable conclusion possible based on a review of all the facts available.”

    This, after I pick a guy from your list of scientists who you say disagrees with the hypothesis of man-caused climate change. Let’s agree that both of us probably know less about climate than any of the scientists involved in this. I think it is rather humorous that you give me a list of guys that you say supports your argument, and in about two minutes I find a guy from your own list that disagrees with you.

    Your response is to shift and blame me. Comedy gold, I must say.

  147. Douglas Watts commented on Mar 4

    Here’s Patrick: The fact the items are correlated doesn’t prove causation and that is precisely what a theory would have to accomplish. Furthermore you would have to use the theory to accurately predict future climate as well as it’s effects on wildlife, humans, etc., as well as the rate of change. We’re not even close to showing all this, hence, “theory.” Posted by: Patrick | Mar 3, 2008 6:37:14 PM

    Patrick is a man who, if he was given an F in high school algebra for not applying a quadratic equation correctly, would accuse the teacher of being biased toward the “politically correct” theory of multiplication and failing to consider other competing, free market theories.

    Did you work for Arthur Anderson, by chance ?

  148. Douglas Watts commented on Mar 4

    Actually, Bud, models are empirical science because they can and always are tested against real-life and real-time data. This is the only purpose of models. Edmund Halley used a model to predict the next appearance of Halley’s Comet. Everything Isaac Newton and Johannes Kepler did was creating mathematical models of planetary orbits and then testing them against real-world observations.

    Sorry, “Bud,” but these comments indicate you lack even a 4th grade science education.

    Hit the books, my friend, they are your friend.

  149. Patrick commented on Mar 4

    Patrick is a man who, if he was given an F in high school algebra for not applying a quadratic equation correctly, would accuse the teacher of being biased toward the “politically correct” theory of multiplication and failing to consider other competing, free market theories.

    Doug, LOL WHAT. I’m not sure where this whole BS hate fest thing came from. Here I am, commenting generally, and you decided that I’m some liberal POS. Actually I’m not sure you think that. Apparently you think I work for The Man at Enron. Thanks for letting your politics show through though.

    But whatever, you’re obviously not listening to me. Have fun continuing to flame people over the internet.

    And for what it its worth–I have an undergrad degree in mathematics and politics (double) and a grad degree in computer science. I spent a year doing statistics. I am versed enough in the details to be able brush off your inane comments in about a half second.

    Maybe you should learn how to read sentences?

  150. Darkness commented on Mar 4

    >Quantum mechanics is clearly crap, because nothing in my everyday experience substantiates that it could be possible.

    Except that the computer you are typing on, every single n-p junction in every one of the 7 million transistors has electrons tunneling across it. They exist on one side and then disappear from existence briefly and then reform on the other… oh, wait. That was snark wasn’t it…

    >Actually, Bud, models are empirical science because they can and always are tested against real-life and real-time data. This is the only purpose of models.

    Except economic models, that is. 😉 Perhaps an inside joke …

  151. VJ commented on Mar 4

    Wow.

    I’m beginning to appreciate how Galileo must have felt surrounded by the unenlightened multitudes.
    .

  152. Douglas Watts commented on Mar 4

    I thought this today, after I read a chunk of this thread. It basically said:

    1. You have shown no proof that all the fish in this river are dying.
    2. And if you can show proof all the fish in this river are dying you cannot show we are killing them.
    3. And even if you can show proof we are killing all of them, we all are all going to die eventually, so what’s the point.

    Seriously, folks.

    Do you want to give big $$$ (let’s say, all your money) to an investment advisor whose big pitch is that< even if I’m wrong, we’re all going to be dead in a few years, anyways, so who cares?

    I think this was Barry’s point originally …

  153. SPECTRE of Deflation commented on Mar 4

    MA, character flaw? LOL! Your liberal closet is full, and you act like the rest of the high priests of the left with your hypocrisy. Unsoiled my arse.

    Do you ever talk economics, or are you here for comedy?

  154. Greg0658 commented on Mar 4

    its all a big picture

    Greg0658 SPECTRE of Deflation Douglas Watts VJ Darkness Patrick Whammer Bud …

    time for a complete picture on pundits and citizens of the new world order

    bar code link revealing a persons resume(forget the statute of limitations)
    1> lineage
    2> education
    3> work history
    4> financial history
    5> medical history
    6> criminal history
    7> thoughts engraved

    available to all – not just Corporations and Governments

    but to work a system needs to be in place that allows
    real freedom of life and the pursuit of happiness for all

  155. Marcus Aurelius commented on Mar 4

    He SPECTER:

    I never accused you of having a character flaw – I accused the right wingers/Neocons of having a character flaw. If you put the shoe on, and it fits, it’s not my problem.

    Go back to my original post and refute the details I provided that led to my conclusion, and refute those details. You won’t, ’cause you can’t.

  156. SPECTRE of Deflation commented on Mar 4

    Both Political Juntas are corrupt to maximum potential. It’s hysterical to think that sheeple actually pin their hopes on one group or another. You are sheeple who are easily led without well reasoned thought of your own. Who among the elites is for the J6P’s of the world? As per usual, not a damn one of them, but by all means delude yourselves with supposed saviors who will magically make it all better and right for everyone.

    Meanwhile they steal us all blind. “Saps” is the word that comes to mind for your religious zealotry to the Juntas. McCain, Clinton, Obama for the J6P’s of the world is laughable. You have a better chance of finding Dorothy’s Ruby Slippers.

  157. Bud commented on Mar 4

    “Actually, Bud, models are empirical science because they can and always are tested against real-life and real-time data.”

    No, they are NOT empirical science. The real life and real time data most certainly are. Comparing one to the other does not make them the same — and indeed it’s self-evident that if they were the same there would be no need to compare them. QED.

    You also overlook the inconvenient fact that computer models obviously cannot be verified in their predictions of future events against which there are (as yet) no factual empirical data available for comparison. And it is precisely those future purported events which we are warned will carry us all off to hell based on the forecasts (not empirical data) the models produce.

    “This is the only purpose of models. Edmund Halley used a model to predict the next appearance of Halley’s Comet.”

    Based on observed empirical data, his prediction was proven correct. That is no evidence that all — or even any — other predictions will be proven correct. If this were so, there would be no need for empirical observation since any asserted prediction would require no verification by observation. Surely you cannot be serious.

    “Sorry, “Bud,” but these comments indicate you lack even a 4th grade science education.”

    It’s clearly superior to yours, since you are obviously lacking in even the most rudimentary concepts. Empiricism is a reliance on observed phenomena of the real world. Observation of the output of a computer “model” is, by definition, non-empirical — thus the reason for calling it a “model”. Confusing the map for the territory is a rookie error.

  158. Nathan Rive commented on Mar 5

    Deconstructing Channel 4’s Great Global Warming Swindle

    Images Those of you watching Channel 4’s slick documentary, The Great Global Warming Swindle, may be forgiven for second guessing the foundations upon which many of us rest our policy research. The big guns were wheeled out to cut into Global Warming theory, and to the layman it could have appeared to be a bloodbath. Even the Channel 4 announcer took a swing before the start: “Climate change; is it down to the car you drive, the airmiles you clock, the light you didn’t turn off? Questionable.”

    The documentary had plenty of big names, and much name-dropping of institutions and awards. The content, however, was riddled with old half-truths and some straw man arguments thrown in for good measure. The main content is summarized below, and annotated with comment and links for better info. I would be happy to discuss any of my comments here – feel free to make corrections, improvements, additions below.

    1. Climate is always changing, this temperature is not strange. We shouldn’t worry, as warming will bring “vineyards … [a] wonderfully rich time.” (Philip Scott) Climatologists have never denied that temperature variation has been a part of the Earth’s history. What is worrying, however, is that the levels of CO2 are higher than they have been for 650,000 years (link) and likely in 20 million years (link), and the rate that current changes are taking place (see here and here) are much faster than they have been in the past. And while we may have vineyards and a wonderful time here in the UK, the developing countries will certainly get the short end of the stick.

    2. Historically, CO2 trends appears to lag global mean temperature increases; CO2 doesn’t drive temperature change. Yet another old argument. Oddly, they laugh at Al Gore’s comment that the relationship between CO2 and temperature change is “complicated”, suggesting he was glossing over the details and hid the truth. (If the carbon cycle isn’t complicated, I don’t know what is!) They then proceed to give an overly simplistic view of the climate, stating that during the heaviest industrialisation post-WWI, there was global cooling – therefore CO2 had no effect. They fatally neglect the time lag for warming from CO2, or the cooling impact from aerosols like SO2. But Real Climate to debunk their claim here: the apparent lag of CO2 from temperature in the historical records is a result of feedbacks which release more CO2.

    57519459contrails 3. Human’s can’t change the atmosphere – it’s so immense. [Update 15.03.07: Having read the transcript, I see that misheard Stott’s comment. He indicated the Sun was so immense, suggesting we were just small fry with no impact. I think my comment still holds, however.] Logical fallacy here – appealing to emotion and wonder. For a really accessible example of humans impacting the climate, we just have to look at the impact that the lack of airplane contrails had on temperature in the US after 9/11 (link).

    4. Humans contribute only a minor part of total CO2. This is also not disputed. However, we do know that CO2 is a greenhouse gas, and that humans have contributed to recent increases in CO2 concentrations (link, link). It appears, that by disrupting the natural balance of the carbon cycle (which involves the atmosphere, plants, animals, oceans, and geology), we are able to warm the planet.

    5. The surface of the Earth is warming faster than the troposphere, which is the opposite of what greenhouse warming theory would suggest. This argument has been going on for years. However, a 2004 article in Nature (link, and more discussion here) puts rest to these concerns, and the IPCC Fourth Assessment report will conclude that the troposphere is warming at least as quickly as the surface – consistent with theory. The confusion of whether the troposphere was warming quickly enough arose from a cooling bias from the stratosphere (which cooled as a result of less ozone). [Update 15.03.07: See also a US CCSP report which Christy himself co-authored here. It said: “Previously reported discrepancies between the amount of warming near the surface and higher in the atmosphere have been used to challenge the reliability of climate models and the reality of human induced global warming. … This significant discrepancy no longer exists because errors in the satellite and radiosonde data have been identified and corrected.”]

    7. Cosmic rays can explain warming, as they affect cloud cover – which has a cooling affect. The argument from Nigel Calder and Danish space science skeptics has featured on this blog before, and on BBC’s Newsnight – where Calder was thoroughly demolished by an atmospheric physicist from Imperial College. Basically, the Danes have found that cosmic rays produced ionized particles, an published it in a peer reviewed paper here. The article made no mention of global warming or climate change, but the documentery makes numerous jumps of assumption to say that those ionized particles would produce more clouds and thus cool the Earth. However, those assumptions have not been peer-reviewed, and there exists no long-term trend for cosmic ray flux, while global mean temperature keeps rising. RealClimate has discussed his claim (here). More arguments for cosmic rays came from Nir Shaviv et al. These have also been questioned in peer-reviewed literature here and discussed in RealClimate.org here.

    6. Media and scientific self-interest in reporting more and more dramatic results. The global warming community needs to perpetuate itself to keep the money flowing. This, however, is not an argument against the science, but a clever tactic by the documentary makers to get the audience thinking that it is all a big conspiracy. Yet they fail to mention that hysteria is not new to the media – see crime, pedophilia, and immigrants as other examples. As for self-interest in science, it is of course in anyone’s interest to promote the importance of their work – for publicity or money. However, the documentary makers failed to show how this debunked the theory of global warming.

    8. Environmentalists say industrialisation causes global warming, and thus want to stop industrialisation and the great improvments it has given our lives. A straw man argument if I’ve ever seen one. By associating CO2 emissions with industrialisation and economic growth, the documentary plays an emotional trick by making us think that the quality of life we have will be taken away from us if the environmentalists had their way. While CO2 emissions are indeed associated with industrialisation, it is not a relationship that cannot be undone. For example, Vestas in Denmark have generated immense wealth by producing wind power generators. China has recently decoupled economic growth from greenhouse gas emissions growth (link) [Update 15.03.07: Better info in this and this article. Thanks, Bruce, for the comment.].

    Mudhut 9. “Developing countries are coming under intense pressure not to develop.” They finally claimed that environmentalists are stopping developing countries from installing fossil fuel plants, forcing them instead to use expensive renewable source of energy instead. This was called “anti-human”. Unfortunately, no evidence was presented on this point – no data on World Bank projects, or similar. They did, however, visit a hospital that had been fitted with a solar panel, which could power either the fridge or the lights – but not both. The inference was that if environmentalists hadn’t stopped the building of a fossil fuel power stations, the hospital could use the fridge and lights at the same time. Yet did the documentary prove that the hospital was in proximity to be wired to the grid at lower cost than the panel? You bet they didn’t! [Update 15.03.07: See a further discussion regarding rural renewables in a new post by Chiara from In the Green here.]

  159. Bud commented on Mar 5

    Having not seen the program you refer to, I’ve no basis to comment on either its contents or your analysis of its various flaws.

    However, where you say “and while we may have vineyards and a wonderful time here in the UK, […]”, I believe that would simply return Britain to the exceedingly warm and cheery weather prior to the Little Ice Age which wiped out the many British vineyards planted during the Roman occupation.

    It is difficult to quarrel with the assertion that the earth changes over time, though that certainly cannot lead to any sense of comfort. Indeed, the earth has evolved through prior extreme climatic periods which — if repeated — would surely eliminate most or all human life on this planet.

    Those conditions may very well come again, whether or not mankind does or does not change its evil ways.

    That leaves an interesting puzzle to ponder: if whatever we invest in time and energy to overcome a long term trend that will arrive no matter what, then would that not eventually prove to be a classic (and fatal) misallocation of resources?

    After all, if the planet eventually will go to hell in a ball of fire, in any case, then the appropriate human action going forward would be to figure out how to migrate elsewhere — a completely different set of technological skills than figuring out how to reduce carbon emissions or abate rising sea levels.

  160. Lance Lowe commented on Mar 9

    There is nothing sweeter than using someone’s own argument against them to prove them an idiot… Your Premise: “Using recent weather fluctuations to disprove climate change was like looking at the minute by minute S&P500 chart to determine long term markets trends.” You glorious baffoon… Using the last 5,10,25, or even 100 years (max available) of climate change data to draw conclusions on the trends of billions of years of climate change is – to ANY objective observer – laughable. Using your example, you would be determining ‘long term market trends’ by looking a 1/100 of one second of a S&P chart…… to heck with the minute by minute. It is impossible for you to refute this or even one single word of this post. Now shut up and go away…….better yet – let’s see you respond with ANY refutable evidence to the point made here, it will surely provide me with a giggle.:)

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