Democrats & Liberals Archives

Halting "Hell and High Water"

Burning fossil fuels - coal, oil and gas - produces carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide emissions cause global warming. Global warming melts glaciers and ice sheets. Melting ice raises sea levels. Rising sea levels brings “Hell and High Water.” “Hell and High Water,” according to author Joseph Romm, delivers enviromental pandemonium, which can be halted. We know how to do it. We must start now.

In his book, Romm, a physicist who headed the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy in the Clinton administration, divides this century into 3 parts giving them colorfully-descriptive names:

  1. 2000 - 2025 - Reap the Whirlwind - Extreme weather condictions

  2. 2025 - 2050 - Planetary Purgatory - Extreme weather is so constant it is no longer considered extreme

  3. 2050 - 2100 - Hell and High Water - Sea level rises 20 - 80 feet - Many populated areas inundated
The worst is encroaching on us fast. There is no time to lose. Romm feels we have about 10 years to get going. He also feels that the longer we delay the more difficult it would be to halt the global-warming process that has been accumulating for a long time. He says:

In fact, until annual carbon dioxide emissions drop to about one-fifth of current levels, concentrations of heat-trapping carbon dioxide will continue to rise, and with rising concentrations, the pace of climate change will continue to accelerate.

There is no time. We can't depend on hydrogen, fancy fuel cells, carbon taxes, market forces or anything else requiring time. We do not have the luxury of time. Luckily, however, we possess today the necessary science and technology to accomplish the task.

We lack only political will. The federal government must mount a strong effort to change the way we - all of us - use energy. Doing what is necessary is thwarted by conservatives because they don't trust government and want to depend only on the market. Unfortunately, there is no time to depend on the market or on voluntary approaches.

Robb's primary method for reducing carbon dioxide emissions is increasing fuel efficiency. He would build homes and commercial buildings so they need less heating and cooling. He would make changes in heavy industry that would call for the use of less energy. In many factories he would use cogeneration, that is, produce electricity and heat and use both - instead of wasting the heat, as is so commonly done.

Robb would also prefer distributed rather than centralized power production. He would like a grid to allow people with windmill, solar and other renewable power sources to bring their energy to others.

He wants to minimize the need for coal-fired plants. Instead he favors high-efficiency, natural gas-fired power generation.

The author thinks that nuclear power may be OK at a future time. Today it has too many flaws: It takes too long to build; is every expensive; there are environmental, safety and terrorism risks; and we do not know what to do with radioactive wastes.

Transportation is a big problem. Again, Robb's primary weapon is efficiency. He wants all cars and trucks to be able to average 60 miles per gallon. He favors the hybrid car, which he thinks will develop as follows:

  • Combination: electricity and gasoline
  • Combination: electricity and biofuels (cellulose ethanol)
  • Electricity
He says we should forget about hydrogen. At present, hydrogen takes a lot of fossil-fuel energy to manufacture the hydrogen, it is very expensive, it is difficult to store and carries many risks.

If technology produces breakthroughs in the future, Robb says we will use them at that time. But we cannot wait. Everything Robb recommends can be started today.

If we want to halt "Hell and High Water," we MUST immediately begin a government-led program concentrating on increasing energy efficiency and on developing non-fossil-fuel sources of energy.

Posted by Paul Siegel at April 16, 2007 8:30 PM
Comments
Comment #216914

When we look back on Bush’s legacy and can pick and choose what was worst amongst his many failures, his lack of action to address global warming will top the list.

Posted by: Max at April 16, 2007 9:08 PM
Comment #216929

Ok, Paul, let’s take these suggestions to their logical conclusion.

For this to work, it will all have to be COMPLETED by 2010 I am assuming.

So, in 3 years we would have to switch over to enough counter measures. What are they suggesting?

1) make all cars who are less than 60 mph illegal. This would necessitate the building and purchasing millions of new cars in 3 years. How are you going to power the increase in production the plants that make those cars are going to have to endure? How much increased polution will that create? How about the number of workers to man the plants? How about the cars for the people who can’t afford anything other than a $500 beater to get back and forth to work? Either we buy them all new cars or make them walk or quit working… Perhaps we could then just pay for their housing and food for anyone who makes under $35,000 a year or is on a fixed income and can’t take on the FEDERAL REQUIREMENT of buying a new car. I know I wouldn’t be able to use my 35mpg car, it would have to be scrapped, no matter how much I owe on it it now becomes worthless…

2) All these new buildings will have to be built immediately. It takes time to build new buildings and, on yeah, it results in increased pollution to run the machines to make those new bulidings, run the dump trucks, concrete mixers, semis (that I’m sure will be exempt from the 60mpg or greater law), etc. Result, increased polution.

3) Those are public buldings that the government owns. What about the people who have highly inneficient houses running on heating/cooling equipment that is around 20 years old and bad insulation and window technology. We would have to then build and install and pay for millions of new furnaces, air-conditioners and argon-infused high efficient windows along with new insulation for nearly every house in the US. Again, increased production by those plants, pollution generated from the transportation costs of the materials to and from the plants, etc.

4) Restructure the plants to not waste heat. Again, more time and energy (and pollution) needed to retrofit these plants, at consumer or taxpayer expense, in order to reap any benefits…

Oh, and all the while, China and India will increase their use of dirty coal and continue polluting at the levels they are predicted to without any impact.

This does remind me of a story though…

One of my favorite hamburgers when I was in college was introduced called ‘The McDLT’. I loved the sandwich and was even one of the first people who made one when it was introduced and I worked at mcdonald’s at the time.

Years later, under pressure from environmental groups, the sandwich had to be discontinued because the use of styrofoam at the company was stopped and without being able to ‘keep the cool side cool and the hot side hot’ they couldn’t keep making it.

Then, not too long ago, some workers of mine travel to England and bring back the news to me that not only did McDonald’s in England not stop using styrofoam, they STILL have the McDLT there.

Don’t get me started about why we can no longer buy Coke in the glass bottles (isn’t that the most environmentally friendly way) anymore, unless you go to a Mexican supermarket…

And yes, it DOES taste different in glass…

Posted by: Rhinehold at April 16, 2007 10:51 PM
Comment #216937

Paul

If the what people say is correct, the warming cannot be avoided. CO2 stays around for a long time. What was put in 10 years ago will still be there for a long time. We have to adapt, move up the hill a little (no rebuilding in New Orleans).

W/o nukes you cannot being to address this problem. You also need higher prices. All this efficiency would be good, but we cannot even get people to turn off the lights or keep their tires inflated. Raise the prices and you will get their attention. Appeal to their virtue and you will get their sympathy.

Carbon taxes are a good idea.

Posted by: Jack at April 16, 2007 11:20 PM
Comment #216941

The world population has more than doubled since I was born 50 years ago.

  • The world population in 1957 was 3 billion.

  • Now, the world population is 6.6 billion.

  • The U.S. population in 1957 was 177 million.

  • Now the U.S. population is 301 million.

  • In 1959, there were 12.16 acres of land per person.

  • In 2006, there is only 5.46 arcres of land per person.

  • By 2039, there may only be 2.81 acres of land per person.

  • In 2006, there is only 1.15 acres of arable (farmable) land per person.

  • By 2039, there may only be 0.53 acres of arable (farmable) land per person.

How can 25 billion metric tons of green house gases by 6.6 billion people not have any effect on the environment?
Now imagine if it doubles to 50 billion as the population doubles in only 32 years.
Will other nations use greener methods if cheaper (but dirtier) methods exist?

There are about 4.47 births per second (386,000 births per day)
There are about 1.58 deaths per second (137,000 deaths per day)

The 6.6 billion world population is growing by about 249,000 per day.
That 249,000 per day is based on the previous 11 years in which the world population grew by 1 billion.
1 billion / (11 years x 365.24 days per year) = 249,000 increase per day.

The daily increase is 249,000 = (386,000 births - 137,000 deaths).
The birth rate is 2.83 times larger than the death rate.
The scary part about all this is that inability to stop it.

The fundamental flaw in the logic of those claiming global warming is a myth is this:

  • If those that believe global warming is a real, what is the harm if they are wrong?

  • If those that believe global warming is a myth, what is the harm if they are wrong?
  • So, which is worse?
    What makes more sense?
    What is wrong with erring on the side of caution?
    Even if global warming is a myth, why not err on the side of caution?
    Where is the logic in so much vehement disdain for those choosing to believe the potential harm of global warming; erring on the side of caution?

    The other problem keeping this and many other pressing problems from being adequately addressed is:

    • (1)too many irresponsible incumbent politicians in BOTH parties

    • (2) too many voters that reward the politicians for it by repeatedly re-electing them

    • (3) too much fueling and wallowing in the partisan warfare, while the nation’s problems continue to go ignored.

    Posted by: d.a.n at April 16, 2007 11:42 PM
    Comment #216953

    This article was in the Chronicle yesterday. It was nice to hear a politican speak honestly about what is going on with deregulation. Too bad there still is nothing happening about it.

    Distributing power creation is a good idea, but will not covercome the need for massive power plants in urban and industrial areas. Creating real deregulation would mean regulating the oligharcy that runs power generation, widening the ability of people and businesses to create power, and then allowing the market to set prices.

    Posted by: Don Imus at April 17, 2007 1:10 AM
    Comment #216956

    d.a.n.

    I’m not disputing your figures or that population growth is the REAL problem.

    I just worried about your impression that 25 billion tons of pollution is a big number. It’s not a big number when compared to the mass of the atmostphere. The mass of the atmostphere is about 5,000 trillion tons or 5 million billion tons.

    Posted by: Batman at April 17, 2007 1:49 AM
    Comment #216958

    Rhinehold, Your diet sucks! :)

    In the seventies, a coke distributor told me the cost of making, cleaning, picking up, and rebottling (primarily bottle handling) is what killed the U.S. glass bottle. Aluminum cans and plastic bottles were much cheaper to produce. Damn free market.

    Posted by: gergle at April 17, 2007 2:01 AM
    Comment #216978

    Rhinehold,
    A crazy idea here— have you tried pouring your Coke into a glass? That also makes it at lot easier to mix it with the ice and rum …

    Posted by: bobo at April 17, 2007 8:06 AM
    Comment #216982

    Global warming is NOT caused by CO2. http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=4499562022478442170

    Posted by: EdB at April 17, 2007 8:32 AM
    Comment #216985

    Paul, could you, or any of the plethora of (“expert scientist”) bloggers*, please explain to us “industrialists” how the earth has had five (major) Ice Ages on this Planet?! And, how is it possible that the planet “warmed” up and melted in-between each of those periods; particularly before man and his “natural resource” abusing habits?!!!!**

    Posted by: rahdigly at April 17, 2007 9:14 AM
    Comment #216987

    rahdigly,

    The answers to all your questions can be found in the climate science reports here:

    http://www.nationalacademies.org/

    http://www.ipcc.ch/

    If you have already read them, tell us where you get lost in the explanations or disagree with the scientists’ findings, and why.

    If you haven’t read them, tell us when you have (the executive summaries are generally thorough enough for a non-scientist.

    Posted by: bobo at April 17, 2007 9:30 AM
    Comment #216990

    EdB,
    It would be nice if the talking heads in that video link you provide had conducted and presented research. They are all talking about their opinions. Anyone, even a scientist, can say what they believe. But you have to do some work to make a convicing case. They have not.

    Posted by: bobo at April 17, 2007 9:38 AM
    Comment #216996

    Bobo, Rahdigly,

    I found the site Real Climate
    very informative in terms you can understand, and deep detail for those who wish to delve. It answers many of the false criticisms of the anti global warming crowd. Stephen D. used it to educate me when I disputed the idea of global warming. It takes some reading to cover all the issues, but appears to be an unbiased and toughtful site.

    Posted by: gergle at April 17, 2007 10:04 AM
    Comment #217013

    gergle,

    realclimate.org is a site set up by individual scientists where they can present their individual views. Sorry, but that is not the same as presenting scientific fact.

    IPCC and NAS, on the other hand, represent the analyses of the collective efforts of the world’s scientists who have actually performed genuine research on this and passed it through the peer review process. That is an expression of scientific fact. Thas is where everyone must go if they want to know what scientists have learned from their research, as opposed to what an individual scientist believes.

    I’m sure there’s a lot to be learned from realclimate.org. But unless the particular author frames his writing within the context of how the research was done, how it has been peer-reviewed and what comments have been returned and by whom, you cannot generalize and make any leaps of faith in your beliefs from what someone says there. Only IPCC, NAS, and other national academies have actually pulled the entire puzzle together on global climate change.

    And keep in mind that this is a very complex field. Just because one “climate scientist” believes X does not mean he understands it very well.

    Posted by: bobo at April 17, 2007 10:34 AM
    Comment #217014

    Bobo,

    “If you have already read them, tell us where you get lost in the explanations or disagree with the scientists’ findings, and why. If you haven’t read them, tell us when you have (the executive summaries are generally thorough enough for a non-scientist.”


    Ok, a few things here. One, you didn’t answer my question; you didn’t even site scientists that would be qualified enough to even answer that. Secondly, the National Academies site doesn’t say anything about global warming on the front page; also, I tried searching (in that site) ice ages and global warming and all I got was a bunch of book listings, nothing that would answer my question. And, finally, the IPCC didn’t answer my question about the 5 major Ice Ages that existed before man. So, if you don’t have an anwser for it, then don’t waste my time.


    Gergle,

    “Stephen D. used it to educate me when I disputed the idea of global warming. It takes some reading to cover all the issues, but appears to be an unbiased and toughtful site.”


    First off, is Stephen D. a scientist?!** I do appreciate the link; it covers alot of ground. I also like to review other sources that have climatoligists and other scientists views and opinions on the subject of “Global Warming”, as well.

    Posted by: rahdigly at April 17, 2007 10:34 AM
    Comment #217023

    rahdigly,
    I’m glad to hear you visited the NAS site. If you cannot find any research there that answers your question, read this one from IPCC: http://www.ipcc.ch/SPM13apr07.pdf

    If you’re looking for a answer in layman’s terms to a specific technical question, I suggest you wander over to the nearest university and head to the natural sciences building.

    That link you cite from Canada Free Press: does it answer your question?

    Posted by: bobo at April 17, 2007 10:55 AM
    Comment #217031

    Rahdigly-
    No, I am not a scientist, but I have a strong interest in it. For example, in the linked article, Patterson talks about there being high CO2 levels when Earth was enveloped in its worst ice age, the so-called Snowball Earth phase.

    That would rule it out, right? No.

    First, CO2 is an established absorber and re-radiator of thermal energy. This was confirmed by physics long ago, and finds its explanation in the electromagnetic properties of CO2. Every chemical has set of frequencies on the Electromagnetic spectrum that it absorbs well. We see this in the blue sky, which is blue because of the way oxygen and nitrogen absorb higher wavelength radiation. We can be thankful for that because this is how we avoid getting fried by hard radiation. But they are poor absorbers on the other end of the spectrum, the infra-red. CO2, though, is excellent at this.

    Second, it helps to know something about how the sun was operating at the time. Particularly, that it was dimmer, by about a third. CO2 works by getting in the way of the escape of heat. The dimmer sun meant less heat to trap. Additionally, the high levels of CO2 eventually did managed to bring temperatures up, as we are most decidedly not in a global ice age now.

    Drink deeply, or not at all, as the saying goes. Too many people read these arguments only as far as the part that vindicates them. I have enough experience with science to know that even the theories you like are tentative.

    A recent example is genetics. For the longest time, many assumed their was a gene for every protein. They found out the proteins far outnumbered the genes. Kind of sad for those who pushed the “one gene, one protein” theory, right?

    Not necessarily. Consider this: that discovery means that genes are interacting. It’s a new line of research, and the world just got more interesting.

    I understand enough about the science of Global Warming to understand that a certain part of the uncertainty would be be there regardless of what theory reigned supreme. I’ve read enough to know that there’s a great deal of evidence for temperature change in the arctic, and the northward trending of different species. I’m not grabbing at one source and milking it for all its worth, because it takes many sources to get a good picture of things.

    I do think that some people want the scientific picture presented to the public to back their financial best interests. It might help you to know who pays your author’s paycheck

    I don’t approach science politically. It just doesn’t help. Either you’re right or you’re not. If you’re not, your support will be poor and folks will break through the political B.S. That’s not what’s happening with Global Warming. The consensus is growing, and is overtaking just about everything else. That doesn’t happen when the science is weak. The debates are much too intense, the scrutiny much too high for that to work long. There was certainly no shortage of skeptics at the start, no shortage of unanswered questions. Consensuses like this are only reached when critical questions are answered.

    Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 17, 2007 11:52 AM
    Comment #217035

    Rahdigly,

    Relevent here, you recently posted this in a different thread:

    Carter is one of hundreds of highly qualified non-governmental, non-industry, non-lobby group climate experts who contest the hypothesis that human emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) are causing significant global climate change.


    Can you cite: 1. The names and affiliations of these ” hundreds of highly qualified … experts” and 2. The research they have done?

    IPCC presents research. One (or even a hundred) scientist who disagrees does not.

    Posted by: bobo at April 17, 2007 11:57 AM
    Comment #217043

    Stephen,

    “The consensus is growing, and is overtaking just about everything else.”


    That’s not what science is about; elections are decided by votes, science is settled by data. You should listen to the data out there; especially, what that article in the CFP was saying about the (broad-range) scientists Gore cites and the equipment they used to determine their findings.


    I know how much of a religion Global Warming is to some; yet, I’m not buying it and neither are a number of scientists.


    Bobo,

    “I’m glad to hear you visited the NAS site. If you cannot find any research there that answers your question, read this one from IPCC: http://www.ipcc.ch/SPM13apr07.pdf”


    No, that source didn’t answer my question. Try again.


    “That link you cite from Canada Free Press: does it answer your question?”


    No, it wasn’t intended to answer my question; you or other bloggers were supposed to do that. It was in response (to another blogger) about different “climatoligists and other scientists views and opinions”. It did, however, explain some of the reasons the (so called) “experts” aren’t (truly) experts and that Al Gore’s “propaganda crusade is mostly based on junk science.”

    Posted by: rahdigly at April 17, 2007 12:26 PM
    Comment #217058

    rahdigly,

    You persist in an approach of accepting what you want to believe in and ignoring/ridiculing what you don’t want to accept. You write “science is settled by data” but when the IPCC compiles all the data in one place and summarizes it you ignore it. Instead, you call it a “vote,” which if you bothered to undersyand how the IPCC works you would know that is not correct. It’s sad that you cannot even pay address the data and facts when they are presented to you.

    Posted by: bobo at April 17, 2007 1:16 PM
    Comment #217064

    Bobo, you’re taking what the IPCC says as the “Gospel” truth; yet, there are many scientists who haven’t ascribed to their “concensus”. By the way, consensus is not what science is about; it’s more of a political agenda than a scientific one. By the way, no luck answering the question about the 5 ice ages, huh?!!!

    Take a look at this source, there are numerous scientist that don’t sign on to the “man-made” theory. Also, there’s a section titled “Climate forecasting isn’t as accurate as the IPCC ranges imply” that you ought to look at…

    Posted by: rahdigly at April 17, 2007 1:34 PM
    Comment #217067

    rahdigly,
    As I said: IPCC present facts, you ignore them. Now out of nowhere you say they have a “politcal agenda.” Where did that come from?

    Posted by: bobo at April 17, 2007 1:49 PM
    Comment #217075

    Rahdigly, Perhaps I can answer your questions.

    First, I’d like to point out that the list you cite on wikipedia contains 39 names out of the more than 566,330 people who have doctoral degrees in the sciences. Of those 39, only 24 actually disagree with global warming theory; the other 15 mainly disputing the way the IPCC report was presented or the extent to which a warmer climate will impact civilization.

    Second, Your question:

    Paul, could you, or any of the plethora of (“expert scientist”) bloggers*, please explain to us “industrialists” how the earth has had five (major) Ice Ages on this Planet?! And, how is it possible that the planet “warmed” up and melted in-between each of those periods; particularly before man and his “natural resource” abusing habits?!!!!**

    My answer is: Yes, Paul or one of a plethora of other bloggers can explain the phenomenon you discuss. To prove it, I will explain this phenomenon now.

    “How the earth has had five (major) Ice Ages on this Planet? And, how is it possible that the planet “warmed” up and melted in-between each of those periods”

    My Response: No one knows the exact cause, but in general Ice Ages (and climate change as a whole for that matter) can occur because of one of many reasons ranging from meteorite impacts to fluctuations in the concentrations of various atmospheric gases.

    However, when one looks at the interglacial-ice age cycle of the last half a million years, the majority opinion is that Milankovich Cycles are the primary cause. You read more about Milankovich cycles here and here.

    I will be more than glad to answer any additional questions that plague your mind provided they are reasonable and relevant.

    Posted by: Warren P at April 17, 2007 2:06 PM
    Comment #217076

    Some of you do not believe global warming is a threat. The book I refer to was written by a scientist with experience in climate science. realclimate.org will give you lots more information.

    We need to get going immediately to fight the growth of CO2 emissions. Scientists think we have ten years, but we can continue after the ten year period. The important thing is not wait for breakthroughs but to start using the technology we have now.

    Carbon tax is good. But the tax alone will not be sufficient to do the job.

    Posted by: Paul Siegel at April 17, 2007 2:13 PM
    Comment #217085

    Paul,
    “We need to get going immediately to fight the growth of CO2 emissions. Scientists think we have ten years, but we can continue after the ten year period. The important thing is not wait for breakthroughs but to start using the technology we have now.”


    No, we don’t. (All) Scientists have not concurred on the CO2 emissions; there are many that disagree with it. So, commanding people to “not wait for breakthroughs” is definitely not the correct step. Who made you the “supreme” commander?!! All of a sudden, b/c you and the (UN backed) IPCC says so it’s ok to ignore scientists and “Tax” the heck out of people?!!! Don’t think so, pal!


    And, before you and “your” scientific community starts taxing the hell out of us; why don’t you explain how there have been 5 Ice Ages all before “man’s” time here on earth! Explain how the dinosaurs and the rest of the animals drove around in SUV’s and purchased “big oil” that caused the global warming and the CO2 emissions!!

    Posted by: rahdigly at April 17, 2007 3:28 PM
    Comment #217094

    Have you read your own link, rahdigly? It lists about 38 scientists. By contrast, the wikipedia page in support of that there is a real problem list about 25 organizations , each with hundreds or thousands of scientist members who disagree with the 38 you cite. That’s an important point: the following quotations are not just from one scientist, but each quotation has been agreed upon by hundreds or thousands of scientists. Here are a few choice quotations from that page:

    U.S. National Research Council: Human-induced warming and associated sea level rises are expected to continue through the 21st century

    American Meteorological Society: Human activities have become a major source of environmental change. Of great urgency are the climate consequences of the increasing atmospheric abundance of greenhouse gases

    American Geophysical Union: Human activities are increasingly altering the Earth’s climate. These effects add to natural influences that have been present over Earth’s history. Scientific evidence strongly indicates that natural influences cannot explain the rapid increase in global near-surface temperatures observed during the second half of the 20th century.

    American Association for the Advancement of Science: The scientific evidence is clear: global climate change caused by human activities is occurring now, and it is a growing threat to society.

    Geological Society of America: The Geological Society of America (GSA) supports the scientific conclusions that Earth’s climate is changing; the climate changes are due in part to human activities; and the probable consequences of the climate changes will be significant and blind to geopolitical boundaries.

    American Quaternary Association: Few credible scientists now doubt that humans have influenced the documented rise in global temperatures since the Industrial Revolution.

    US National Academy of Science: In the judgment of most climate scientists, Earth’s warming in recent decades has been caused primarily by human activities that have increased the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

    Posted by: bobo at April 17, 2007 4:07 PM
    Comment #217106

    Bobo,

    I did not say the site was a scientific report. It is an open forum, where climate science is discussed. It has good sections refuting most of the popular anti-global warming theories, even by some respected meterologists.

    As I said, it’s educational.

    If you take the time to read it, it is quite convincing. Unless you are a climatologist, I doubt you can evaluate the IPCC findings. Then it simply becomes a war of “experts”. Myself, I try to understand the issues.

    Rahdigly,

    I have not seen Al Gore’s movie or presentation. But in reading the link you provided, all I got were three or four opinions about subjects which aren’t the basis of the science about global warming. I agree there has been hype in the media about consequences which goes above and beyond the science. There is no scientific theory that is absolute, but to date, I haven’t seen a robust argument against this one.

    Posted by: gergle at April 17, 2007 4:45 PM
    Comment #217113

    gergle,

    Point well taken. But unless the website has a means to weed out incorrect scientific facts and data, it is easy for people to get wrong information from such a place. I do not know how or if the site does that.

    Regarding the IPCC, I don’t expect anyone here to “evaluate” their findings any more than any of us here would be able to identify specific bacterial infections from a slide. You have to have special training to do that. The IPCC’s and other bodies’ scientists do. We do not. We should trust their judgment like we trust the judgment of the medical community on issues like smoking and lung cancer. At least one person in this forum only listens to the physician who tells him it’s good for his health.

    Posted by: bobo at April 17, 2007 5:33 PM
    Comment #217238

    Bobo,

    There is robust debate on the site, much like this one. While innacuracies can occour, there is sufficient struggle to arrive at some degree of weeding out of b.s.

    I NEVER trust authority solely because they are authoritarian. But that’s me. I don’t really disagree with your ideas on this.

    Thanks for your comments.

    Posted by: gergle at April 18, 2007 1:27 AM
    Comment #217264

    gergle,

    Thank you for your comments.

    I hope your comment does not mean that you think the reports produced by IPCC, NAS, AAAS and others are “authoritarian.” They reflect the consensus view of their respective disciplines. There will always be dissenters, and they are welcome to air their dissent. The problem comes when certain people (as we have seen in this forum) view their dissent as an alternative, reasonable viewpoint of the science. It is not.

    I hope you don’t consider the peer-review process “authoritarian.” The peer-review process is what keeps science honest, accurate, and as error free as we can get.

    Putting these two things together, there is no part of the scientific community or scientific process that prevents any scientist from presenting any viewpoint of he wants. The only restriction is that you cannot publish you “facts” without a rigorous vetting process. But you can publish your opinions all you want.

    In the subject of global climate change, as has been presented by rahdigly here, he is confusing fact from opinion. I do not know how well the realclimate website distinguishes between the two and if it fails in any regard, someone like rahdigly will pick up on it in a heartbeat. That’s what worries me.

    Posted by: bobo at April 18, 2007 8:40 AM
    Comment #217268

    Bobo,

    I don’t mean authoritarian as in terms of repressive government, I mean in terms of the last word. Just because all the experts say it’s so, doesn’t make it so.

    While I respect science and the scientific process, that doesn’t mean that they can’t occasionally get it wrong. I don’t think the IPCC report is wrong, on it’s basic notion of global warming, as long as all the caveats are heard.

    I wasn’t suggesting Real Climate is the last word either.

    Posted by: gergle at April 18, 2007 9:06 AM
    Comment #217272

    gergle,
    Sounds good to me. In fact, the raging debate within the IPCC, AAAS and other groups is whether they are “extremely confident” or only “highly confident” about their findings. And as scientists they all agree that there is ALWAYS more to learn. But I object to the people out there who will grab on to any caveat or line of disagreement as say “see! see! The scientists are in doubt!” It just ain’t true.

    Posted by: bobo at April 18, 2007 9:49 AM
    Comment #217305

    Gergle,

    “I don’t mean authoritarian as in terms of repressive government, I mean in terms of the last word. Just because all the experts say it’s so, doesn’t make it so. While I respect science and the scientific process, that doesn’t mean that they can’t occasionally get it wrong. I don’t think the IPCC report is wrong, on it’s basic notion of global warming, as long as all the caveats are heard.I wasn’t suggesting Real Climate is the last word either.”

    Good to hear. This “global warming” thing is like a religion to some; it’s good to know it’s not yours. My argument has been that the IPCC “consensus” isn’t the “final word” in this global warming debate. Many (renown and qualified) scientists have and are debating it as we speak; I just don’t believe they should be shunned aside b/c they are not in the “consensus”. Consensus is not what science is about; scientists either agree or disagree; they don’t tax nations over their “consensus” beliefs. The consensus of global warming is trying to alter our way of life, just like Kyoto agreement, when the facts are not in yet. If people would look at it in those terms, I think there could be better dialogue. However, as I’ve said, some treat global warming as a religion and they will not concede to the slighest dissent on this issue.


    Posted by: rahdigly at April 18, 2007 1:30 PM
    Comment #217310

    Gergle,
    rahdigly’s last comment is precisely why I wrote my last few postings. He looks at the tiny sliver of qualification in your comments and pulls a “see! see! The scientists are in doubt!” He’s wrong, and I hope you reply to him why he is wrong. He has ignored every piece of evidence, scientific research and explanation of the scientific process that I have shown him.

    Posted by: bobo at April 18, 2007 1:51 PM
    Comment #217322

    The “rahdigster” is right on (yet again). I said “some treat global warming as a religion and they will not concede to the slighest dissent on this issue.” and the above comment proved that absolutely correct. I’m telling you, the “slightest” dissent (whatsoever) is “blasphemy” to some. By the way, I didn’t say the “scientists are in doubt!” in my last comment.


    “He has ignored every piece of evidence, scientific research and explanation of the scientific process that I have shown him.”


    And, (once again) I haven’t “ignored” your evidence; I’ve debated it and disputed it with what other scientist’s have said. You’re still getting debating and ignoring confused. And, talk about “ignoring”, what was your answer to how the earth has had 5 (major) Ice Ages?! What warmed them each time?!!

    Posted by: rahdigly at April 18, 2007 3:39 PM
    Comment #217324

    I haven’t ignored your evidence; I’ve debated it and disputed it with what other scientist’s have said.

    Then respond to this:

    U.S. National Research Council: Human-induced warming and associated sea level rises are expected to continue through the 21st century

    American Meteorological Society: Human activities have become a major source of environmental change. Of great urgency are the climate consequences of the increasing atmospheric abundance of greenhouse gases

    American Geophysical Union: Human activities are increasingly altering the Earth’s climate. These effects add to natural influences that have been present over Earth’s history. Scientific evidence strongly indicates that natural influences cannot explain the rapid increase in global near-surface temperatures observed during the second half of the 20th century.

    American Association for the Advancement of Science: The scientific evidence is clear: global climate change caused by human activities is occurring now, and it is a growing threat to society.

    Geological Society of America: The Geological Society of America (GSA) supports the scientific conclusions that Earth’s climate is changing; the climate changes are due in part to human activities; and the probable consequences of the climate changes will be significant and blind to geopolitical boundaries.

    American Quaternary Association: Few credible scientists now doubt that humans have influenced the documented rise in global temperatures since the Industrial Revolution.

    US National Academy of Science: In the judgment of most climate scientists, Earth’s warming in recent decades has been caused primarily by human activities that have increased the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

    Posted by: bobo at April 18, 2007 4:05 PM
    Comment #217336

    Nope. It doesn’t work that way, Bobo. That’s the second time you’ve accused me of ignoring; the first time you (eventually) admitted you were wrong, same applies this time. Also, you’ll have to prove that you know the difference between “ignoring” and “disagreeing” with a blogger; b/c you’ve been way off. Finally, you’ll have answer why earth has had 5 ice ages and what melted the ice each time?!

    If not, see ya, brutter…

    Posted by: rahdigly at April 18, 2007 4:49 PM
    Comment #217401

    Rahdigly,

    The IPCC is a scientific paper, it is not a religion. You may be right about how some people react to it.

    As to ice ages, try this.

    If you want to actually discuss the science, there are no short answers, or glib quips that can respond to your casual questions. That doesn’t mean there aren’t responses

    Posted by: gergle at April 18, 2007 9:23 PM
    Comment #217417

    When I read your post I had a picture in my mind of you running around in panicked circles, waving your arms in the air shrieking “The sky is falling! The sky is falling!”

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    (gasp, snort)

    {REPEAT}

    Posted by: traveller at April 18, 2007 10:17 PM
    Comment #217426

    traveller,

    Ummm, yeah. it’s ME who sounds nutty. Please step away from the keyboard.

    Posted by: gergle at April 18, 2007 10:44 PM
    Comment #217493

    That’s the second time you’ve accused me of ignoring

    Rahdigly,

    And when faced with overwhelming scientific facts and asked to respond to them, you don’t recognize their presence. All you are doing now is debating the definition of “ignore,” rather than anything having to do with climate science.

    Posted by: bobo at April 19, 2007 8:14 AM
    Comment #217504

    Rahdigly-
    So you’re implying that with rising carbon dioxide concentrations, nothing can lower air temperature?

    Plenty of things can. We could get hit by an asteroid, have a major volcano blow (Yellowstone if our luck’s really in the toilet), the sun could dim for a while, the orbit and spin of the planet could change

    All CO2 does is take whatever heat is bouncing around in the atmosphere, and get in the way of it escaping. It doesn’t take much to do it. Venus, our nearest and dearest neighbor is good evidence that a little goes a long way. Because of the Cloud cover, only 25% penetrates the clouds, making the energy that reaches the Venusian surface actually less than what we get, despite Venus being closer to the sun. Venus, though, has an atmosphere that is a hundred times denser, where temperatures reach well over 900 degrees farenheit.

    The truth is, our friends Nitrogen and Oxygen, are better at absorbing the higher end of the spectrum, terrible at keeping heat in.

    The truth is, CO2 is part of a system, that includes elements of oceanic behavior, of geographical barriers, and of weather and wind activity that redistributes the heat that CO2 helps trap. Our scientists are not saying that CO2 determines the state of climate exclusively. What they’re saying is that its effects in the system will not simply be absorbed by the negative feedbacks or the inertia of the system.

    An Ice age could still occur, despite all the CO2. The Climate would only have to be able to counteract the forcing brought on by the greenhouse gas, to reflect, recirculate, or somehow otherwise redistribute the heat.

    Climate is the result of a balancing act between heat coming into the system, and heat going out of it. Some forces drive its release, some drive it’s retainment. CO2, regardless of other forces, works for its retainment. Nothing says, though, that other forces can’t work at the same time to radiate the heat back into space, cooling the earth.

    CO2 is part of a team of climate factors. It never acts alone. However, that does not mean, that like Michael Jordan on the Bulls, CO2 can’t raise the score on temperature.

    Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 19, 2007 9:33 AM
    Comment #217650

    Sorry gergle, I left off Paul’s name by accident

    Posted by: traveller at April 19, 2007 4:39 PM
    Comment #217656

    gergle,
    btw, the IPCC isn’t a scientific group, it’s a political one.
    Indeed, it’s a panel formed by a political organization (the UN) to promote the UN’s agenda (world socialism).
    The scientists reports are edited to ensure that the final product comports with the UN’s socialist agenda.
    The science doesn’t justify the alarmism.

    http://www.reason.com/news/show/34753.html

    http://www.americanthinker.com/2007/02/the_ipcc_should_leave_science.html

    And a lot of climatologists disagree with the alarmist claims of the IPCC, the Goracle and the global warming cultists.

    http://meteo.lcd.lu/globalwarming/McLean/Disputed_Science_of_Global_Warming.pdf

    I haven’t had time to watch the whole video but it looks interesting.

    http://www.friendsofscience.org/index.php?ide=3

    Posted by: traveller at April 19, 2007 5:25 PM
    Comment #217706

    Folks
    All this my study is better than your study, or I have more scientists than you do and mine are smarter isn’t getting us anywhere. We may as well admit that it’s too late to prevent profound change and that its every man for him/her self. We were all “in this together” back when we could have made a difference, but since we can’t save everyone anyway a reasonable strategy is to take action now to increase the chances that our genes survive. The denyers and delayers can stay where they are. Any good sites or studies of ideal available terra firma?

    Posted by: marcwdaquila at April 19, 2007 9:19 PM
    Comment #217789

    Traveller-
    This is what Ronald Bailey thinks now.

    This is who funds the Friends of Science

    More on the other sources later.

    Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 20, 2007 9:41 AM
    Comment #217806

    marcwdaquila,
    When every study researching the issue reaches the same conclusion — that global warming is real and being caused by humans — it does get us somewhere. It’s just that there are people who are in denial.

    When every scientist and scientific organization researching the issue reaches the same conclusion — that global warming is real and being caused by humans — it does get us somewhere. It’s just that there are people who are in denial.

    I do not beleive it is too late and I doing my small part to resolve the problem, inlcusing modifying my own habits and trying to convince others to do the same.

    Posted by: bobo at April 20, 2007 10:31 AM
    Comment #217858

    bobo,
    It is encouraging that you, Al Gore and I care. Is there anyone else out there? Maybe we can get a movement together by earth day. Denial comes from not having the capacity to truely comprehend the situation because it either is too complex, too scary, too much trouble or from a concern for the people who are profiting from the status quo, their good friends, multinational corporations. I personanally am not concerned for either group. The group of people I am concerned about is everyone else -us.
    To the point re: is it too late, I just think we are beyond agreeing that we should do 50 simple things and really only doing 2 easy things when we feel like it. We are more at the place where we need to DO 50 difficult things.

    Posted by: mwd at April 20, 2007 3:38 PM
    Comment #217925

    traveller-
    The American Thinker report, in my opinion, should heed it’s own advice. It’s by no means a piece of balance Reporting. Not once is anybody given an opportunity to defend the actions of the committee. In fact, beyond some vague charges of political manipulation, no real incidents are spoken of. We are meant to rely on the word of unabashed global warming critics, and theirs alone.

    Even with the Bill Nye incident, he neglects one important fact. Truly enough, the meltwater would hardly interfere with the wind driven gyre that is the Gulf Stream. The associated Thermohaline conveyor, though, which relies on temperature and salinity effects sinking the water and pulling more after it, does not. He didn’t even give Bill Nye a chance to comment on that, or admit the error.

    This wasn’t objective reporting. This was advocacy, and advocacy is a dangerous approach to take with science, since science does not always cooperate with the conveniences of politics. Certainly, things would be a lot easier for Liberals if we could erase all the question marks for what will happen, if we could edit out all the caveats and everything. That, though would be both wrong, and would not stand up to scrutiny.

    No, we have to deal with the non-linear uncertainties of atmospheric physics, which introduced us to the Butterfly Effect over four decades ago. We have to deal with the limitations of models. The advocates against global warming want to make out like they have the better answers, but they offer little in the way of countertheories beside vague and sometimes scientifically invalid allegations

    On the PDF, it’s trickier, but I think I can speak to it. I’ll do at least the first three points, and follow up on the other ones later.

    On point one, they aren’t disputing one fact: temperature readings at the surface reflect an overall warming trend. They try, though, to claim that satellite data shows that global warming isn’t going on. What the improved interpretations of the data show is that for certain thermodynamic reasons, relating to the different way each layer of the atmosphere responds to warming, we should expect stratospheric cooling. At least we should expect it if a well mixed in greenhouse gas is responsible.

    Interestingly enough, the report also indicates that solar variation might be ruled out because an increase in solar radiation would heat both the Troposphere and the Stratosphere. The reason? Much of the warming in the outer atmosphere comes from hard radiation being absorbed by the outer layers. The Troposphere, by comparison, is mostly heated by energy being absorbed by the earth and its oceans and being radiated back into the atmosphere, to be absorbed once again by the thick air with its greenhouse gases.

    If I were to venture a guess about the reason the Stratosphere might cool with increased heating, is that as I understand it, warm moist air creates low pressure, and air becomes cooler at greater altitudes as it expands. At the tropopause, you’ve essentially hit the ceiling of the Troposphere’s convective layer, where the cooling of the air would take place. Since the effect.

    As for the Heat Island effect, The evidence indicates that regardless of the local increases, the trends of the warming match that of rural regions. Additionally, because some cities put their gauges in parks, the effects have been shown to be cooler than the surrounding areas.

    Point number two makes a false point. Some local temperatures might very well go down, due to the shift of some current or some wind system. If the winds shift such that air comes off of a colder current rather than a warmer, that can affect temperatures. We see this with El Nino and other natural climate variations. Since the numbers speak of an average, the allegation that it’s all false become some areas become locally cooler ignores both the nature of an average and the nature of a complex climate.

    The charges that the stations are not evenly spaced doesn’t make sense unless you idealize the earth as a perfect sphere. In reality, especially on land sites, it’s impossible to create a perfect network of evenly spaced sites. Addtionally, the chaotic nature of the atmosphere would make even spacing pretty pointless. You’d still miss something potentially important.

    On number three, real climate says they failed on a number of counts. The question is especially misleading since they don’t separate the question of global averages from regional. This is especially important since Northern Europe is warmed by the North Atlantic Drift, and therefore is warmer than it’s latitude would have it be.

    Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 20, 2007 10:48 PM
    Comment #218249

    OK, i agree we need to get off the fossile fuels. For different reasons than you. But i wanted to ask, can you explain why Mars is warming up too?
    Martian reliance on fossile fuels?

    Posted by: john at April 24, 2007 10:08 AM
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