When Corporate Interests Conflict on Global Warming

One of the first things attorneys learn about cross-examination is to look for the witness’s motives. Its not that most people are outright liars — though too many are — its that people are often unaware how much their own biases and self interest color their views. In the marketplace of ideas (including litigation), the goal is for the best, most logical ideas to win out.

That’s why its so interesting when in the corporate world, a debate breaks out over a scientific concept. The motivations of all parties are to preserve their business model, income stream and profitibility. However, out of this debate, we may potentially develop resolution on a disputed theory or notion.

For quite some time now, the debate over Global Warming has primarily been asymmetrical: The bulk of scientists on one side, versus Carbon producers (Oil companies, Auto manufacturers, Energy producers) on the other.

Which leads us to today’s issue:
Which corporate interest might be on the other side of the debate from the Global Warming deniers ? That question is indirectly explored in the Sunday Times: The Real Riddle of Changing Weather: How Safe Is My Home?

Here’s an excerpt:

"The bigger threat to property is the possibility of more frequent and increasingly vicious storms that could propel already encroaching waters onto the shore, could dump larger amounts of precipitation, and could lash glassy skyscrapers and crumbling tenements.

And even before that happens, real estate values in low-lying areas could erode as heightened awareness of global warming draws attention not only to long-term exposure to storms but also to near-term damage from severe storms that could happen regardless of any long-term warming trend — like the major hurricane that experts say is overdue in New York City.

One Manhattan real estate agent said the fear was already weighing on some clients’ minds. “After Katrina, they saw how ineffective the U.S. is at holding back water compared to some other places, and it has made some people concerned,” said the agent, Tom Hemann of Brown Harris Stevens, who sells downtown. He said last month’s gloomy report on global warming prompted four former clients who had bought downtown to voice concern about living in low-lying neighborhoods.

Several interest come to mind right away: Properrty owners such as REITs are one; Home builders with substantial land holdings are another. Architects and city planners are also weighing in; Real Estate agencies, too. As previously noted, however, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) has been too busy spinning the housing market. They have yet to look into how this issue might impact its membership.

But the biggest potential corporate interest is without a doubt, the Insurance companies:

"Among insurers, all of whom factor climate change into their risk assessments, some like Allstate are already refusing to renew homeowners’ policies in the eight downstate counties (including metropolitan New York) most vulnerable to hurricanes and other major storms that could proliferate in a warming climate. (Allstate continues to insure individual co-op and condo units.)

“When you have trillion-dollar exposure, it doesn’t take much bad weather to cause extensive damage,” said L. James Valverde Jr., the vice president for economics and risk management at the Insurance Information Institute, a trade group based in Manhattan. “That’s really on the mind of the industry. When you’ve got this kind of concentration of people and property in a very important sector of the country, the potential for economic and insured loss really is great.”

So far, the debate on Climate Change has been between two very different sets of participants.  However, the debate on Global Warming is now entering a new phase: Corporate versus Coprorate. Should  get interesting, to say the least.


Map courtesy of NYTimes


The Real Riddle of Changing Weather: How Safe Is My Home?
NYT, March 11, 2007

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What's been said:

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  1. GF commented on Mar 12

    I believe corps are pushing the issue now to get legislation on the books before the 2008 election. This is in most corps bottom line interest.

  2. John F. commented on Mar 12

    The real riddle is why so many are willing to uncritically accept the proposition that we suddenly know how to predict the weather–for the next century no less. My view is that the social phenomenon of global warming (as opposed to the science) is tailor-made to fill a void in an increasingly secular society. Large corporations are playing ball to get a seat at the table and are lending legitimacy to the environmentalist claims and thereby increasing political momentum, and so on in a reinforcing spiral. A carbon cap-and-trade system would be of obvious benefit to large incumbents in all industries and to industrialized nations. Alternative energy interests benefit, but none more extravagantly outrageously than the farm lobby–to the detriment of hungry third-worlders. The consultants will do well, as they do with all fads (six sigma, CSR), and the media will milk it for all it’s worth.

    Personally, I’m skeptical of both of these religions, as a scientist I’m appalled (on behalf of Galileo and countless others) by the current use of the term ‘settled,’ and as a slightly Jewish person, I’m deeply offended by the use of the term ‘denier’ in this context. Beyond that, I think Barry should stick to his knitting and sell his condo if he really believes everything he reads in the NYT. If I post on this topic again, I’ll tell you how I really feel.

  3. blam commented on Mar 12

    The insurance industry is a very bad barometer, at best. If they can sell the “global warming” story, they can raise prices and develop a tool to price discrimate.

    Certain carbon producers may be opposing the “global warming” hypothesis but an equal number of interested parties, with as much to win or lose, are proponents.

    The truth seems to lie somewhere in the middle. What is the predicted outcome of the IPCC models if run in reverse. If climate models were run under the assumption that CO2 levels declined to two standard deviations below the historic low point, would the earth be consumed by drought and the onset of an ice age ?

  4. wally commented on Mar 12

    Absolutely 100% agree with John F.
    The globe is getting warmer… it has been so, with variation, for 14,000 years, give or take (as has happened dozen and possibly as many as hundreds of times before, and we really do not know, with certainty, why). Some of it recently MAY be human-caused… and everything after that is loosey-goosey science that simply fades off into religion.
    Serious scientists ought to get real about this and realize the damage that is caused to ‘high’ science by this stuff.

  5. Greg Alton commented on Mar 12

    The really fascinating corporate vs corporate arguments/discussions are going on in industries that are ambiguously affected by global warming and regulation, for example, electricity. Here you have a whole bunch of interesting game theory issues: carbon-based sources of energy will get more expensive, but electricity potentially a winner; different companies affected differently within industries; potential for defection amongst different companies if they see they can get an advantage (global warming prisoner’s dilemma?); possibly preferences to push for taxation/regulation over uncertainty of (worse) taxation/regulation later; fear that investment choices now may be rendered uneconomic in future; potential willingness to engage on issue to “choose” most favorable/least damaging regulatory environment (or, possibly, to push for unworkable schemes that sound good). To say nothing of all those investing in new technologies (or old technologies that become competitive in a carbon-taxed environment).

    It has moved beyond the stale carbon good/carbon bad argument, to say nothing of left/right political alignments. The potential for “creative destruction” may be far larger than the IT revolution.

  6. eric bloodaxe commented on Mar 12

    As I read it, there is no reason given for the warming, but merely the effects of an increasing threat from wild weather.

  7. Tom B commented on Mar 12

    “and everything after that is loosey-goosey science that simply fades off into religion.”

    The poles are melting, man. I feel pretty confident in the science.

    With respect top ethanol– that IS a loser’s game. The whole ethanol thing is 95% politics– a bone to throw at corn states. Arable land is finite; thus, it is true that ethanol farming is socially irresponsible.

    I favor more nukes, more wind, more “plug-in electric cars”. I DON’T believe carbon regulation will destroy the economy, if done at all correctly.

  8. Frank B. commented on Mar 12

    Barry, be careful not to get caught up in the “Global Warming” hysteria. I challenge your comment, “For quite some time now, the debate over Global Warming has primarily been asymmetrical: The bulk of scientists on one side, versus Carbon producers (Oil companies, Auto manufacturers, Energy producers) on the other.”

    A more accurate representation would be to say, “The debate has primarily been between the bulk of college professors and social scientists on one side, versus a large number of skeptical scientists on the other.”

    Sadly, the political left has intimidated the skeptical scientists into keeping quiet for fear of loss of their standing.

  9. Steve Goulet commented on Mar 12

    John F wonders why so many are willing to uncritically accept the science behind the IPCC predictions. How skeptical should we be of a nearly unanimous global consensus on AGW, all knowing John F? If you sense a continuing social phenomenon through your “fad” radar should we dismiss all that science and await your next directive? Is there any other global scientific consensus we should dismiss based on your intuition?

  10. Steve Goulet commented on Mar 12

    Frank – any link to that “large number of skeptical scientists”? There are some skeptical scientists, but most of them aren’t from the field of climate science. The skeptical climate scientists seem to be funded by the fossil fuel industry for the most part, and their numbers are certainly not large compared to the other side.

    Social scientists? You’re kidding, right?

  11. Steve Goulet commented on Mar 12

    Tom says:

    “With respect top ethanol– that IS a loser’s game. The whole ethanol thing is 95% politics– a bone to throw at corn states.”

    Sad but true. The return on energy invested via ethanol is a losing proposition.

  12. David W. commented on Mar 12

    An excellent start on learning about skeptical scientists with impeccable credentials is this series of ten articles in Canada’s National Post: http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/story.html?id=22003a0d-37cc-4399-8bcc-39cd20bed2f6&k=0

    Also, the whole premise that hurricanes and bad weather are one of the global warming phenomena is created out of thin air with no scientific backing. Even the global warming computer models don’t predict this. They actually predict the opposite. The bad weather link is pure propaganda, as is so much of the “global warming” consensus when you actually look at the science.

  13. douglas commented on Mar 12

    It’s funny when the comments diverge from the specific topic of a post. So, reread the first paragraph of Barry’s post and then reread these comments. Funny and a little sad.

    “My view is that the social phenomenon of global warming (as opposed to the science) is tailor-made to fill a void in an increasingly secular society.”

    “Some of it recently MAY be human-caused… and everything after that is loosey-goosey science that simply fades off into religion.”

    “Sadly, the political left has intimidated the skeptical scientists into keeping quiet for fear of loss of their standing.”

    Who knew? Apparently people reeling from lack of religion are practicing loosey goosey science in place of religion and banding together as the political left to intimidate scientists . . . or maybe there might be something to the science of global warming.

  14. Estragon commented on Mar 12

    Greg Alton – I like your thinking. Whether warming is “right” or “wrong” (or left) isn’t the point. Enough influential people now view it as a problem to make it an important issue, and I don’t doubt corporations are among those war gaming outcomes. As you alluded to, game theory sometimes suggest non-obvious moves.

  15. jkw commented on Mar 12

    I’m surprised that there are still people who actually think there is a scientific controversy over global warming. It is about as settled as gravity (we basically know how it works, but we also know that there are a few details we haven’t figured out).

    There is absolutely no question about how carbon dioxide levels affect global temperatures. Find an introductory planetary science book, and it will include the calculations for how warm each planet should be based on the amount of sunlight they get. All the estimates are too low until you include the atmospheric effects (mostly warming from carbon dioxide for the terrestrial planets and gravitational warming of the gas giants). The CO2 warming models fit all three measurable data points (Venus, Earth, and Mars) perfectly. The mechanism behind it is well understood. The historical data for Earth matches the model. There is no data which does not match the model. That is as proven as it can be.

    The carbon cycle is not fully understood. However, we do know that pumping more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere will increase global carbon dioxide levels. There are a few factors relating to how much carbon dioxide the oceans can absorb and how climate change affects plant growth rates that we are uncertain about. But we have reasonable estimates for possible ranges, and nothing natural is capable of sucking in all the CO2 we are producing.

    The controversy is between people who deny reality and people who accept it.

  16. alexd commented on Mar 12

    All of us foul mannered participants here have heard the old saw of “If it walks like a duck…… .

    We have had a very warm century with many of the hottest years occouring in the last decade. Quack!

    We are dumping a lot of co2 into the atmosphere. Quack

    Human beings have a real hard time making sense of divergent sources of information, there is a difference between causation and causality. We often get them confused. Anti quack!

    We might be confusing short term actions with long term effects. A rather abrubt example of this is the ingestion of deadly poison. a little bit o cyanide goes a long way, and the effects are irreversable. While some big events have lttle effect in the long run. Like the Superbowl. Fuss, fuss , fuss, game, then onto the next thing that grabs attention. Perhaps next year the loosing team will win. In this case things can change.

    So we have to decide is there enough information for us to be concerned and what are the ramifications of inaction? Are we dealing with a reversable situation. what is the price of inaction?

    Yes insurers can have a great time with this. So can the manufacturers of batteries. Solar power is a big one.

    Also if good solar and good storage are developed what does that do to our balance of payments? Since we would likely be importing less and less oil? What will this do to those who make the merchandise of war? If the arabs become relativly poor again? They are not likley to buy so many cool and expensive death machines. The same applies if we develop good ways to utilize all the oil shale that this country has lying around.(yes we would have that nasty o2 thing to contend with though)

    If we come up with good ways to power vehicles then the auto makers and transportation are going to have a good time. So would those who make consumerables since there would be more money sloshing around. But do not tell the automakers this they are a bit myopic.

    What if global warming is very real and we do not get a handle on it? I think then solar powered houseboats are going to be the next big thing. So will emergency relief shelters. I will also want to get a big stake in Soylent Green production.

    I hope this raises further questions.

    Also I have a friend in the hospital who is totally f*cked. I am begining to think that colonoscopies, before you have symptoms, are a good thing. Just thought I would share that scary thought.

    Be well.


  17. NotAPro commented on Mar 12

    Even if you deny global warming exists, isn’t it intrinsically desireable to try and decrease the use of finite resources (oil, coal) and moderate the production of pollution in all its forms? The earth is not one big externality; it’s our only home. Trying to be more efficient/enviornmental is a huge business innovation opportunity. People will pay for these things. As they become more developed, lower income people can also afford “green” things.

  18. bk commented on Mar 12

    Tom says:

    “The poles are melting, man. I feel pretty confident in the science.”

    There is no question that the poles are melting. However, the big question is whether humans are to blame. Unfortunately, there is no hard science to answer that question.

    That’s right, there is no hard science to link humans to global warming. It is hypotheses [plural], computer models and data which merely CORRELATE the temperature change with human activity.

    Correlation is NOT the same as causation!

    I’ve read the science and it seems oh so reasonable, until you look at the incredible number of assumptions that are made, both in theory and in the experimental work done to get the historical temperature.

    Then there is the ‘conveniently forgotten’ issue of the fact that, in the past, we have had periods where atmospheric CO2 levels were 3 or 4 TIMES what they are now. What about the fact that the Earth was warmer back when the Vikings were exploring Greenland? Was there a bunch of Earth-warming human activity going on in those times that was kept from me?

    Steve asks for a link to ‘skeptical scientists’. Unfortunately, that is the wrong question to ask! The correct question to ask is for the link, or journal reference, to the hard science, that DIRECTLY relates human activity to global warming. Please find me one that is not ripe with conjecture, assumptions and/or politics.

    Don’t get me wrong. I am all about conservation and whatever else I can to leave this world in as good as shape as possible for our children, but, as a physical scientist, I am disgusted by the fact that this entire debate is driven by politics, not science.

  19. Tom B commented on Mar 12

    Mr. BK:

    “Correlation is NOT the same as causation!”

    Nothing is certain in life, but every time I drop a hammer on my foot, my foot seems to hurt. High level of correlation, that.

    Check out:


  20. Tom B commented on Mar 12

    To clarify further, it basically comes down to this: carbon dioxide and methane are MORE OPAQUE in the infrared than oxygen, nitrogen, etc– the other gases in the atmosphere. One oculd demonstrate this in a freshman chemistry lab.

  21. Barry Ritholtz commented on Mar 12

    The funny thing about this thread is that my focus was what happens when corporate entities square off . . .

  22. wally commented on Mar 12

    No argument that there is warming (go read my post). The natural climate variation may be as much as 18 degrees. Tell me you – or anybody- can measure human-caused warming against that background and I’ll tell you it is loosey-goosey science that tends into religion. Because it is.
    Further, to say warming is a ‘bad thing’ is a moral argument (ooooo… MAN is in the forest). It is a natural thing; it has been so for eons and it will continue to ebb and flow a billion years from now.
    Will it affect human-built infrastructure? Maybe, possibly even probably… but you cannot do ANYTHING to stop it.
    Go rail against plate tectonics while you are at it.

  23. jkw commented on Mar 12

    I think we have to add “correlation does not imply causation” to the list of common flawed arguments. Stating it over and over again does nothing to refute the scientific theories that predicted the correlation before it was measured. This is not a situation where people measured CO2 levels and temperatures, noticed that they are correlated and then decided that incresed CO2 must be the cause. Basic thermodynamics claims that increasing CO2 levels will raise global temperatures. If this is not true, then thermodynamics is broken. All evidence is consistent with the theory, so it is reaonable to assume it is correct. The physics behind it is relatively simple and has been verified in many experiments. No experiment ever has shown the theory to be wrong.

    Science provides a clear explanation of how changes in CO2 levels in an atmosphere affect the temperature of the atmosphere. Increased CO2 levels cause higher temperatures, and decreased CO2 levels cause lower temperatures.

    This does not mean that recent warming is caused by increased CO2 levels. There are many factors that affect global temperatures, and CO2 level is just one of them. But we know with fairly high certainty how CO2 levels affect global temperatures. To the extent that we can determine how various things will change CO2 levels, we can predict with good accuracy how that will change global temperatures.

  24. bk commented on Mar 12


    I’m not sure what the point of your wiki reference is. But I do know that the wiki reference does not address 1) my point about higher CO2 levels in the past and 2) periods with higher temperatures than we see at the present.

    I consider that entire article biased because it basically talks only about the 20th century. How can you dismiss natural heating/cooling cycles by looking at just 100 years of data? The earth is ~4 BILLION years old! This entire article is written/edited from the perspective that the Earth’s heating period is caused by global warming.

    As for that hammer, I believe that, through the wonders of modern biology, we can assign causation to the hammer causing pain when you drop it on your foot. You know, nerves, neurotransmitters, etc. The funny thing about a causal event is that the correlation, when measured, seems to be really high, like 100% or so.

  25. Tom B commented on Mar 12

    “The earth is ~4 BILLION years old!” The polar ices caps were nonexistent for a time during the reign of the dinosaurs, due to, presumably, natural climatological reasons.

    I doubt such a world could support (feed) 6 billion people. Whether or not you believe your Hummer caused global warming, I want the issue addressed for the sake of my children.

  26. Jim K commented on Mar 12

    Some facts the climate change sceptics need bear in mind:
    1) The basic physics and chemistry connecting ‘greenhouse gasses’ (e.g. water vapour, CO2, methane etc.) to warming of the atmosphere is rock solid and had been known about for nearly 200 years. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greenhouse_effect
    2) We (industrial humans) have been putting more CO2 into the atmosphere than it can dispose of since just before the Industrial Revolution started in England. We have been emitting more of other greenhouse gasses than are usually emitted from industry, agriculture and construction too.
    3) No one is saying there haven’t been significantly hotter or cooler periods; plenty of research is ongoing into how the atmosphere, hydrosphere and biosphere were set up during these periods and how that relates to the various orbital and solar cycles.
    4) The recent IPCC report says YES there is a large effect due to solar activity. They also say they are 95% certain that there is an effect that they cannot account for without human-created atmospheric changes.
    5) YES, models can and are wrong. NO, that doesn’t mean you can’t actually learn from and use them to make broad predictions. (I’d argue that if complex interrelated models can’t be trusted, then most of economics beyond the basics is similarly flawed)
    6) EVEN if you can argue (wrongly) CO2 doesn’t cause climate change, or man hasn’t changed the atmosphere (he has), it we do know CO2 DOES cause ocean acidification which has the potential to destroy the base of the food chain in the oceans. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ocean_acidification

    Given the Sun is the primary cause of the recent warming – and obviously as the primary heat source in the solar system, it must be – then to mitigate the damage to human economies, lives and habitats we get two choices: either REDUCE GREENHOUSE EFFECT by stopping or removing such gasses from the atmosphere, or REDUCE THE OUTPUT FROM THE SUN. We clearly have a degree of control over the former, whereas the latter is basically sci-fi for now.

    In summary: CO2 matters. So does other stuff. We don’t get to control the other stuff.

  27. bk commented on Mar 12

    “Stating it over and over again does nothing to refute the scientific theories that predicted the correlation before it was measured.”

    Are you saying that we should accept the THEORY of global warming because we will [possibly] prove it some day? I am willing to accept that we might indeed prove it someday. However, until then I cannot accept it as fact.

    At one point, the entire world accepted as fact the THEORY that the earth was flat. How did that turn out?


    “Basic thermodynamics claims that increasing CO2 levels will raise global temperatures.”

    Thermodynamics says no such thing. Basic thermodynamics deals with closed systems [or the universe as a whole]. Here are the 4 laws of thermodynamics:

    If two thermodynamic systems are in thermal equilibrium with a third, they are also in thermal equilibrium with each other.

    In any process, the total energy of the universe remains constant.

    There is no process that, operating in a cycle, produces no other effect than the subtraction of a positive amount of heat from a reservoir and the production of an equal amount of work. [In other words, the entropy of the universe is always increasing.]

    As temperature approaches absolute zero, the entropy of a system approaches a constant.


  28. jkw commented on Mar 12

    The theory connecting CO2 levels to atmospheric temperature is as proven as the theory of gravity. There is no absolute proof in science, except for when you can prove a theory is wrong. The best you can do to prove a theory is right is perform a large number of experiments and show that the results are what the theory predicts. Thermodynamics is considered to be a proven theory. Thermodynamics predicts that an increase in CO2 levels will raise atmospheric temperatures. Claiming otherwise requires you to disprove thermodynamics (which is more than just 4 laws).

  29. philip commented on Mar 12

    JKW (and the unscientifically brow beating Mr. Goulet), agreed it is as proven as the theory of gravity. However no one uses the THEORY of gravity for anything. We use formulas developed out of the empirical data on the effects of gravity.

    Conservation seems like a good thing because its opposite, waste, is pretty easily spotted as a bad thing. However if you want to start using political power to take people’s rights then you better have something a bit more sticky than “the world has suddenly gotten nearly as warm as it was 1000 years ago”.

    These days if someone tells me their son is taking political science at college, I pretty much assume they mean he is an ecologist. ;-)

    More seriously, though, environmentailsts tend to get very shrill when questioned. That is the sign of a true believer. Do you want to be a true believer? Also, the tendency to use famous people and peer pressure really is unbecoming. It is very uncool to not believe everything the popular ecologists predict. Which is funny if you look at their track record of being accurate.

  30. philip commented on Mar 12

    As for the original topic of the post, I think the last few years gave seen a real change. As the younger generation, who are more prone to excitement over the environment, get more political and economic power there will be more and more businesses who will take up the flag. Don’t take it as a sign of the science being any more correct. Businesses only care about science and reason as much as they bring profit, which for most companies is a pretty indirect connection. And even more indirect connection to the flapping mouthparts of companies.

    Whether the current accepted thinking on the environment is correct is still in doubt (if it isn’t in doubt for you, perhaps you need to find your inner sceptic), but whether the current accepted thinking will set the political and economic stage for the next 20 years is much less in doubt. The vast hordes of followers have picked up the flag. And just like any other trend of the hordes, businesses will follow the money trail they leave behind. Businesses aren’t leaders, they are follower followers. Of course there are businesses who are permanently built on the last generation’s environmental ideas and they are certainly going to be the economic and political targets of the businesses who are more nimble.

  31. philip commented on Mar 12

    “And the scientists said to them, “I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the flooding of the low-lying counties.”

  32. donna commented on Mar 12

    Love to hear those like John F’s opinion on evolution — or is that just a myth, too?


  33. wunsacon commented on Mar 12


    Am I on a blacklist? I could swear I posted something this morning…

    I was pointing out that one of the so-called “skeptics” quoted in the article referenced by David W. in his Mar 12, 2007 11:19:56 AM post is quoted elsewhere in greater detail and, in fact, believes Rita and Katrina were possibly faster by 1-2 mph because of global warming. If that’s the “skeptical” viewpoint, then there doesn’t seem to be legitimate debate that there’s a connection between global warming and extreme weather intensity.


  34. wunsacon commented on Mar 12

    Thanks, Jim K for your Mar 12, 2007 3:07:21 PM post. Pretty much sums up my understanding.

  35. Adrasteia commented on Mar 13

    As a climate scientist (in training), I’m getting a little tired of people in the media attributing every adverse weather event to global warming. This sort of moronic chicken little behaviour is not helping the cause.

    There is zero evidence that GW has or will cause an observable increase in the annual incidence or severity of hurricanes.

  36. John F. commented on Mar 13

    Why is it critical to truly nail down the science of climate change? Because if the pessimistic case is right, we need to do a lot more change our lightbulbs. I urge everyone to check out the presentation below which describes the magnitude and implications of our power generation options for the stabilization greenhouse gas levels by mid-century.


  37. TRich commented on Mar 13

    A PR campaign stating there is a consensus doesn’t exactly settle a scientific issue. Double-blind studies and verifiable conclusions is science.

    And just because the PR efforts state a consensus doesn’t mean one exists. Just off the top of my head, Richard Linzen, Atmospheric Science professor at MIT, Canada’s top expert, and the official in Oregon who’s in the process of getting fired because he dared to question the PR campaign.

    One thing is for sure, cutting off debate by calling people Global Warming Deniers is not going to help induce objective research into this issue anytime soon. Unfortunately, this subject is in dire need for objectivity given the hyperbolic tendencies of the campaign. Just look at the NY Times article on the group of scientists refuting Al Gore’s exaggerations in “An Inconvenient Truth.”

    Another issue- is everyone prepared to siphon off trillions of dollars from more pressing needs of global poverty, disease and hunger in order have a minor effect (.2 centgrade) on global warming- if indeed the theory is true?

  38. Sully commented on Mar 13

    All this concern is touching given our excellent record on responding to global warming so far.

    We’ve barely observed any warming at all and yet we have already started massive production of ethanol that costs more energy to produce than it gives back and of hybrid cars which may not yield CO2 output decreases versus conventional diesel engines. And we’ve managed to embargo the import of Brazilian ethanol which may actually make environmental sense while we continue to massively import Saudi crude and thus fund those who want to kill us.

    Oh, and we’ve also funded billions of research dollars on fusion whose payoff is still as far in the future (if ever) as it was before we started the research. And we’ve encouraged wind turbine development but we can’t put them where the wind blows hardest, along the sea shores, because folks who love the planet tend to live there and value their views.

    Ain’t politics grand.

  39. Rob commented on Mar 14

    Google “global warming hypothesis.” This is the first result: http://www.johnstonsarchive.net/environment/wrjp365g.html

    Just one example of why there is skepticism. Another example is the infamous “hockey stick” graph purporting to show a recent increase in temperatures, which of course is an example of “garbage in, garbage out” (comparing apples to oranges–in this case tree ring data to thermometer readings).

    Pardon me for using my brain and continuing to be a skeptic. Just because the village idiot says “The sky is falling!” doesn’t mean that it is (nor does it mean that it isn’t), but you should take it with a HUGE grain of salt.

  40. Rob commented on Mar 14

    BTW, some of you are VERY amusing with your new religion.

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