Democrats & Liberals Archives

Preemption for War; Not for Climate Change

President George W. Bush and his Republican friends believe in preemption to keep America safe. When they thought that Iraq MAY pose a threat to U.S., they attacked. Of course, there was no threat; yet we’re still stuck in Iraq. However, when thousands of scientists predict catastrophic global warming, Bush says since we’re not positive about these predictions, let’s not rush into anything.

Scientists are positive, or as positive as they can be about something that may happen in the future. Here is what they are saying in a report titled "Meeting The Climate Challenge":

The global warming danger threshold for the world is clearly marked for the first time in an international report to be published tomorrow - and the bad news is, the world has nearly reached it already.

The countdown to climate-change catastrophe is spelt out by a task force of senior politicians, business leaders and academics from around the world - and it is remarkably brief. In as little as 10 years, or even less, their report indicates, the point of no return with global warming may have been reached.

Ten years is all we have. A lot less time than we have been expecting. It appears that each time a new report comes out, it gives us less time until we reach the "danger threshold."

The report is definitive. The article presents the "danger threshold" this way:

The report says this point will be two degrees centigrade above the average world temperature prevailing in 1750 before the industrial revolution, when human activities - mainly the production of waste gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2), which retain the sun's heat in the atmosphere - first started to affect the climate. But it points out that global average temperature has already risen by 0.8 degrees since then, with more rises already in the pipeline - so the world has little more than a single degree of temperature latitude before the crucial point is reached.

We are faced with this calamity because of rising carbon dioxide emissions that lead to a rising average Earth temperature. As Anderson Cooper reports:

Last night, Cooper interviewed biologist Jeff Corwin, who laid out the massive changes taking place in Greenland.... Today, it’s actually losing ice at about 100 billion tons a year. I mean, that’s incredible.

Next week the G8 industrial nations will meet in Germany where they will discuss climate change (among other things). What is Bush saying? He is "fundamentally opposed" to suggested climate change mitigation proposals. The deal “runs counter to our overall position and crosses multiple ‘red lines’ in terms of what we simply cannot agree to”.

Here it is preemption time. Yes, we're not sure about what is ahead. But we are an order of magnitude more sure about climate change than they ever were about Iraq being a threat to U.S. And Bush hems and haws. He is worried about the economy. He has no idea how reining in carbon dioxide emissions will affect the economy. There is catastrophe ahead and Bush does not even consider preemption to prevent it.

I hope he changes his mind. Blair and Pelosi are trying to convince him of the need to do something. I hope they succeed.

If Bush followed a preemption policy for a dubious war in Iraq, why can't he follow a preemption policy in attacking climate change?

Posted by Paul Siegel at May 28, 2007 5:01 PM
Comments
Comment #221466

In the early 70s scientists were sure the earth was cooling. Now they’re sure of the other end? uh…

Look it’s great for headlines and all that, but puny tiny little man doesn’t affect the world we live on to any significant effect. Global warming and cooling is the sun’s ballgame. Not ours.

But hey if it creates another reason to bash bush then that’s cool.

Posted by: EdB at May 28, 2007 5:13 PM
Comment #221467

Another blog about climate change. We hear 10 scientist saying we are in global warming and 10 say those 10 are full of crap. When science gets their sh*t together then maybe there will be inteligent discussion about if we have global warming or not. But in the mean time, Paul, I think you were around when the turbine engine came out that would burn anything combustible and the invention of the carburator that would permit a car to get 100 miles per gallon of gas. What ever happened to these? I think it was our illustrious politicians who let the big oil companies have those things shelved.

Posted by: KAP at May 28, 2007 5:30 PM
Comment #221477

Scientific American made it clear in its annual special issue of September 2006 that the issue is settled - global warming really exists. Quoting:

“The debate on global warming is over. Present levels of carbon dioxide—nearing 400 parts per million (ppm) in the earth’s atmosphere—are higher than they have been at any time in the past 650,000 years and could easily surpass 500 ppm by the year 2050 without radical intervention….

No one knows exactly what will happen if things are left unchecked—the exact date when a polar ice sheet will complete a phase change from solid to liquid cannot be foreseen with precision, which is why the Bush administration and warming-skeptical public-interest groups still carry on about the uncertainties of climate change. But no climat-ol-ogist wants to test what will arise if carbon dioxide levels drift much higher than 500 ppm.”

Granted, I’m inclined to cherry-pick evidence that makes Bush look bad, but I also feel that Scientific American is a very credible source. I’m certainly willing to change my mind about the issue, if a credible non-ax-grinding study is furnished by the other side. In Gore’s new book, he claims that much of the other side’s evidence is funded by the oil industry; obviously, that casts suspicion upon their findings, as they have a conflict of interest in the results, to say the least.

Posted by: Chazz at May 28, 2007 6:22 PM
Comment #221478

KAP, I do not have any numbers in front of me but I seriously doubt the ratio of global-warming concerned scientists to non-concerned scientists is 1:1. Not that strength-in-numbers justifies a scientific conclusion, but let’s just be clear that most scientists think the problem of green house gases is real.

Anyways, it is a sad excuse to not take a huge issue like this seriously because scientists are not getting along.


Posted by: Zeek at May 28, 2007 6:22 PM
Comment #221481

Carbon tax for those who really want solution. Lots of talk about other things for those “environmentalist lite” types who prefer the problem.

Posted by: Jack at May 28, 2007 6:27 PM
Comment #221482

Zeek
” Because scientist are not getting along” sounds to me like Dems. and Reps. WHO ARE WE TO BELIEVE. One says one thing another says something else. You wonder why some people are sceptical. Like I said when the scientific community gets their sh*t together then we can discuss this with some form of intelligence till then we have this you say he says theorys.

Posted by: KAP at May 28, 2007 6:34 PM
Comment #221483

That is absolutely ridiculous.

Why would you wait for universal agreement to do something? By then it would probably be too late and the realization will have become pointless.

But hey, we’ll all be dead by then so why should we care?

Posted by: Zeek at May 28, 2007 6:44 PM
Comment #221485

Al Gore an his gang are trying to sell us an UGLY truck called “global warming”, wait, that model didn’t sell, so they changed the name to “climate change.” In the ’60s they tried to sell the same model as “the comming ice age”. It’s still an ugly truck.

“DON’T YOU BUYYY NO UGLY TRUCK”.

Posted by: tomd at May 28, 2007 7:17 PM
Comment #221492

tomd,
The reason why the term “global warming” was changed to “climate change” was because the latter is more apt in describing the current situation. Global warming implies that the weather will get warmer around the globe, when in actuality this is not the case. As seen through the current climate, some parts of the globe, such as the North and South Pole, will get warmer; while other areas might stay the same or get colder, hence the term “climate change” is more efficient than the misleading term, “global warming”.

As for the “comming ice age”…The Day After Tomorrow isn’t really all that credible…

Posted by: greenstuff at May 28, 2007 7:52 PM
Comment #221493

tomd,

here is the problem with your argument that since there was news of global cooling in the 70s any news of global warming today is just wacky. well, we have come a long way in the technology we use today to track global weather and temperature. also, in the 70s there was no consensus on global cooling, there were a few scientists. here is an article that debunks the 70s global cooling argument

please argue facts with facts tomd.

Posted by: Tony CO at May 28, 2007 8:10 PM
Comment #221494

“tomd,
The reason why the term “global warming” was changed to “climate change” was because the latter is more apt in describing the current situation. Global warming implies that the weather will get warmer around the globe, when in actuality this is not the case. As seen through the current climate, some parts of the globe, such as the North and South Pole, will get warmer; while other areas might stay the same or get colder, hence the term “climate change” is more efficient than the misleading term, “global warming”.

We agree that it was changed from “global warming” to climate change”. The name was changed when it was pointed out that some places are cooling rather than warming. The name “global warming didn’t sell.

“As for the “comming ice age”…The Day After Tomorrow isn’t really all that credible…”

????????


The ugly truck you are trying to sell has a rusty fender under new shiny paint

I won’t BUYYY no ugly truck.

Posted by: tomd at May 28, 2007 8:12 PM
Comment #221496

tomd
Such eloquence. Love it.

Posted by: KAP at May 28, 2007 8:30 PM
Comment #221497

“tomd,

here is the problem with your argument that since there was news of global cooling in the 70s any news of global warming today is just wacky.”

Nowhere did I say that. I referenced that to illustrate that scientists were trying to change our lifestyle then for totally the opposite reason, I would venture a guess that many of those same scientists from the ’70s are among those claiming “climate change” now.

“well, we have come a long way in the technology we use today to track global weather and temperature.”

Yep, but there’s still too many questions you can’t answer.

“also, in the 70s there was no consensus on global cooling, there were a few scientists. here is an article that debunks the 70s global cooling argument”

Not sure what a “consensus” in science is. Science is provable. Is global warming a fact or a theory? If it can’t be proven, then it’s a theory.

“please argue facts with facts tomd.”

OK, It’s a fact that Mars is experiencing a warming periods now too. Since I haven’t been up there with my SUV, I assume it’s caused by the sun. Why can’t the same sun be responsible for our warm up?

I have a few more questions based on FACT, but let’s take one at a time.

I’m going to bed. Will be back in the wee hours.

Posted by: Tony CO at May 28, 2007 08:10 PM”

Posted by: tomd at May 28, 2007 8:34 PM
Comment #221500

tomd,

so it’s pretty clear you didn’t read the linked article.

gravity is a scientific theory — do you not belief in gravity? here is the definition of sceintific theory. please read the last paragraph.

Posted by: Tony CO at May 28, 2007 8:52 PM
Comment #221501

Good article.
We need Al Gore to run for president in ‘08.

Posted by: Adrienne at May 28, 2007 8:53 PM
Comment #221511

Paul
Did you really expect anything else. Bush has oil in his veins.Our hope lies in getting rid of him and his ilk from the halls of power. On the bright side I got a message from the Union of Concerned Scientist saying that Exxon is willing to meet with them. As a precondition Exxon agreed to stop funding the contrarian propaganda campaign. If they keep their word we might see less of the programed denial we see here every time the topic is brought up here by the less cerebral amongst us.

Posted by: BillS at May 28, 2007 10:38 PM
Comment #221512

EdB-
Your use of the word “scientists” is far too vague. Are these scientists in numbers that would constitute a consensus, or just two or more scientists.

Furthermore, the logic of what you’re saying depends strongly on the notion that scientists were wrong about cooling, so why can’t they be wrong about warming? The answer is that they can be wrong about both, but the potential to be wrong is not the same as the quality of being wrong. The question is not whether any number of scientists believed the Earth was heading for an ice age. The question is how well founded was this claim?

All things are not equal between how we understood climate in the late seventies, and how we understood it in the late part of this decade. From the understanding of currents and weather processes to the understanding of the atmosphere, to the advances in computer modelling, the comparison suffers from the fact that science has advanced so far.

You can score rhetorical points with that argument, because most people don’t know enough about the subject to know you’re wrong.

Did you know that the Sun’s grown somewhat dim in recent times? It’s actually decreasing in brightness a little bit. But climate is not just the sun’s ball game. We got an atmosphere that’s trapping that heat. It’s not mostly the Oxygen and the Nitrogen trapping heat. That’s not what they absorb readily. That’s where trace gases like Carbon Dioxide and Methane, plus water vapor come in. They make a huge difference, about fifty degrees farenheit.

Once you take a step down that road, the science leads onwards. If trace amounts of CO2 can keep the world warm, more of it can add to the warmth. The neat little formulation of increased solar strength to increased warming falls apart.

They’ve observed the retention of the heat. They’ve observed the power of the sun’s activity going down in the eighties, while temperatures rose. People suppose for some odd reason that just because they hadn’t personally heard of anybody taking on that particular possibility that the people whose job it is to actually look into these things somehow didn’t bother.

As for Bush? Bush has people editing scientific documents to reflect political attitudes. He waffles and pussyfoots around about climate change that few serious climatologist doubt is coming, and doubt comes from increases we’ve created.

In real terms, we put out gigatons of Carbon dioxide a year. We’re the only source of that size and consistency that anybody can find. You might find it personally astonishing that this could be the case, but what we find astonishing often has little to do with what one finds out to be true. We’re the only good explanation for much of that increase. Carbon dioxide is already a trace gas as is it. It’s not like we’re trying to affect the amount of Nitrogen or oxygen in the atmosphere.

Besides, we haven’t had to accumulate the large change of about a hundred parts per million all at once, nor when the day is done will nature not start pitching in as we top off the carbon sinks of the planet.

But of course, we must protect Bush’s reputation at all costs. Most scientists say he is wrong, but hey, what do scientists know?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at May 28, 2007 10:56 PM
Comment #221513

tomd-
The Mars thing is typical. You guys see a localized trend in one part of the planet, in a part of the planet experiencing its summer, and somehow, that’s proof. Never mind that solar radiation’s slightly decreased. Mars is a different planet, with a thinner atmosphere and much more sensitivity to small disturbances, like a change in season.

The criticism of global warming science often talks of scientific principles, exploits facts and conclusions that sound scientific, but often represent some rather unscientific thinking and rhetoric.

In my experience, knowing the science, the contrarians on global warming are a whole lot’s worth of ugly trucks.

To blunt, but hopefully not offensive, I see quite a few parked in your spaces. That bit about theories should not be repeated in front of a real scientist, because a theory is a body of explanation that’s passed many of the tests of data collection, experimentation, and attempts at deflation that constitute scientific method.

The problem is, many of your sources are doing their science from a standpoint of rhetorical needs and personal preference. Now, if people seem to get mad, it’s because those things are squarely in the bullseye as targets for the scientific method to filter out.

The ugly truck in science is not the unanswered question. There are plenty of those. The ugly truck is the person getting in the way of their own understanding.

Go read some of the mainstream material on global warming. Read up on the science. Don’t be intimidated into backing off. Work it out. Maybe then you’ll understand why folks aren’t giving your desired answers, and why what you desire may not be entirely good for you.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at May 28, 2007 11:17 PM
Comment #221522

“tomd,

so it’s pretty clear you didn’t read the linked article.

gravity is a scientific theory — do you not belief in gravity? here is the definition of sceintific theory. please read the last paragraph.

Posted by: Tony CO at May 28, 2007 08:52 PM”

Are you admitting that global warming is a THEORY?

I did read the article, and I know the difference between fact and theory. Now, since you didn’t answer my question…Do you believe in the warming properties of the sun?


Stephen,

“The Mars thing is typical. You guys see a localized trend in one part of the planet, in a part of the planet experiencing its summer, and somehow, that’s proof.”

I never said it is proof. It’s a QUESTION. And one so far that hasn’t been answered.

“The criticism of global warming science often talks of scientific principles, exploits facts and conclusions that sound scientific, but often represent some rather unscientific thinking and rhetoric.”

I think supporters of global warming often do the same things. So far, I haven’t done any of those things I don’t believe. I am only asking questions. (My first ewo haven’t been answered yet.)

“To blunt, but hopefully not offensive, I see quite a few parked in your spaces. That bit about theories should not be repeated in front of a real scientist, because a theory is a body of explanation that’s passed many of the tests of data collection, experimentation, and attempts at deflation that constitute scientific method.”

Tell me where I’m wrong with my definition of theory. A fact can be proven, while a theory can’t. Global warming is a THEORY. I’m sorry if
you don’t like it, and you can dress up the definition of theory any way you like and global warming is still a THEORY.

” The problem is, many of your sources are doing their science from a standpoint of rhetorical needs and personal preference. Now, if people seem to get mad, it’s because those things are squarely in the bullseye as targets for the scientific method to filter out.”

And what are the sources for my questions?

No amount of wax is going to hide the rust under the fender. It’s still an ugly truck.


Posted by: tomd at May 29, 2007 2:45 AM
Comment #221525

KAP,

Like I said when the scientific community gets their sh*t together then we can discuss this with some form of intelligence till then we have this you say he says theorys.

Do you get the irony of this statement in regard to Paul’s Saddam WMDs analogy?


Posted by: KAP

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at May 29, 2007 5:23 AM
Comment #221526

tomd,

The ugly truck you are trying to sell has a rusty fender under new shiny paint

I won’t BUYYY no ugly truck.

Whatever. This ugly truck is coming right in front of all us, at a faster rate everyday. Ugly, larger, quicker. We’ll all have to explained to our kids why we didn’t nothing or, worst, did nothing except increase at a faster rate the issue.

The world is pushing *more* CO2 in the atmosphere this year than the previous one. Free gas for the ugly truck. We’re so cool.

(Puns intended).

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at May 29, 2007 5:31 AM
Comment #221527

tomd,

Science is provable. Is global warming a fact or a theory? If it can’t be proven, then it’s a theory.

Well, temperature measures all around the world made by international scientists using approved scientific methods, ice carrots included, proved that the world average temperature is rising at a faster rate than ever since more than 650,000 years. World temperature getting warmer each year is not a theory anymore, that’s a damn FACT.

What’s still up to debate are:
1) is it due mostly to human-made GHG emissions?
2) what would be the exact consequence?
3) can we do anything about it?
4) if yes, why the most healthier nation of the world don’t want to?

OK, It’s a fact that Mars is experiencing a warming periods now too. Since I haven’t been up there with my SUV, I assume it’s caused by the sun. Why can’t the same sun be responsible for our warm up?

Because Sun didn’t drive his SUV (Sun Utility Vehicule) on Mars either?
:-p

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at May 29, 2007 5:47 AM
Comment #221529

Philippe,

I have asked 2 questions about global warming over the last couple of months. after probably a gig of replies, my questions remain unanswered. Yeah, I’m skeptical.

I ain’t buying no ugly truck from you either.

Posted by: tomd at May 29, 2007 6:10 AM
Comment #221530

tomd,

Nowhere did I say that. I referenced that to illustrate that scientists were trying to change our lifestyle then for totally the opposite reason, I would venture a guess that many of those same scientists from the ’70s are among those claiming “climate change” now.

How weird scientists calls both global cooling and global warming a climate change!? Are they fool or what!?

Come on Tomd, climate change threat is about the change, not which way, and its rate, not scientists’s bios measuring it. Some of them were wrong about the way the climate was changing fast. They were NOT wrong about the fact climate was and still is changing, but now even faster.

Maybe the future will prove them wrong again about the change speed too. So far, the rate seems higher than expected by scientists.
Hurray, one more proof they could be wrong!

Does this illustrate these optimistic scientists were trying to change our lifestyle then for totally the “opposite” reason or that they were just too much optimistic?

The rate is still higher, the change is still quicker, and by Occam razor logic, the threat is still more real.

We can debate about what to do about it, or if it worth it or even possible to reverse things.
But climate is currently changing at a rate faster than anything seen before, there is no debate there anymore.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at May 29, 2007 6:23 AM
Comment #221531

Paul,

If Bush followed a preemption policy for a dubious war in Iraq, why can’t he follow a preemption policy in attacking climate change?

Because militaro-industrial lobby have no weapons to sale against climate change?

Because Big Oil lobby have not yet exausted all the oil profits strategies, against climate change?

Because American Way of Life have is not negociable, against climate change?

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at May 29, 2007 6:32 AM
Comment #221532

tomd,

I have asked 2 questions about global warming over the last couple of months. after probably a gig of replies, my questions remain unanswered.

Hum, can’t find them. Can you help us?

Yeah, I’m skeptical.

I agree you are.

Skepticism is good. If it don’t last forever.
How many years still before your doubt will goes away, whatever way?

I ain’t buying no ugly truck from you either.

No problem, as this truck is 1) not mine and 2) not for sale.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at May 29, 2007 6:40 AM
Comment #221534

Okay, I was wrong, all wrong, that’s neither CO2, neither the Sun which causing global warming. Well, maybe that’s the Sun but, then, only indirectly, as shown with this new correlation found:

http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/05/fun-with-correlations/en/

Now I’m relieve. Climate change is fixable.
And easily.
;-)

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at May 29, 2007 6:51 AM
Comment #221537

Did anybody ever think that maybe the increase in CO2 was because of increased temperatures? Not the other way around.

Just asking.

Posted by: wkw at May 29, 2007 7:45 AM
Comment #221538

tomd-
My God how I hate the word games that get played with the word theory. The usage is so all over the place, it’s not funny. When a scientist talks about theory, they aren’t talking about something with an incredible amount of uncertainty to it. They’re talking about their best estimation of what’s actually going on.

The real trouble is, even if a theory is right, it’s confusing the issue to ask whether it’s fact, because theories aren’t about facts: they’re about explaining what the facts mean in the most reliable way.

We always had facts, for instance, about the way metal behaves in the forge and the blacksmith’s workshop. However, the ancient smiths had only rudimentary theory (though not necessarily unsophisticated or foolish) about how metals would behave. Modern workers of steel have far better explanations at their disposal concerning how the metal acts, where, when and why it does what it does. Bridges, skyscrapers, and cars hold up because of these advances in metallurgy.

And yet, we couldn’t call the theory behind it fact. It’s not final. Little in science is. However, the fact that a theory never attains the perfection of pure fact owes more to the fact that we’re trying feel our way imperfectly around a landscape we don’t perfectly observe.

The uncertainty around theories does not show rotten foundations under science. Instead, what it shows us is the room science leaves in every theory for improvement.

Take Newton’s theory of gravity. They still teach it, because in many ways it still approximates the real thing very well for the way gravity accelerates objects. Einstein’s theories essentially say much the same thing, but in such a way that improves our understanding of the way gravity an objects moving at extreme fractions of the speed of light behave.

For example, by itself, Quantum theory would say gold should have a more silvery color. The speed that the strongly positive nucleus of that atom flings the electrons around changes the color of the metal. These are just theories, but they make very good predictions. That is the mark of a good theory, and like I’ve told you a thousand times, the predictions of global warming theory are coming to pass.

You say “I’m only asking questions”. The questions you seem to have, though, seem ill-informed to me. The bull-hockey about theories is an example, the stuff about Mars seems to be another. There is no global (that is all over the world) warming on Mars. It’s local. It’s information taken out of context by those looking to make a point. Unfortunately, many of those people either don’t understand what they’re messing with, or they know full well that the truth, that climate does vary locally as well as globally on both worlds won’t sell people like you on continued skepticism.

What we’re talking about with Global warming is an overall change, where some parts might have local cooling, due to the rearrangement of certain currents, wind pattern, rainfall patterns, among other things. The change will be more severe in certain places than in others, at certain times of the year, certain times of the day.

The pattern of these implications make global warming theory testable. Do we see more heat retained? Yes. Are levels of CO2 rising considerably? Yes. Do the models show that this is the main driving effect? Yes. Does it matter what percentage of the warming is ours?

The question doesn’t have much meaning. Strictly speaking, we don’t warm the earth, the atmosphere does, with the help of the carbon dioxide put in there. The problem we have is not that we’re putting in a certain proportion. The problem is that we’re pushing CO2 into the system faster than the natural carbon sinks can take it out. You could dispute whether it’s ours, but they’ve done the research and made the connections proving that we’re the main source.

The alternative is to believe that by some bizzare coincidence, CO2 levels just happened to start rising in time to coincide with industrial development, that it just happens to have the carbon isotope profile and chemical bedfellows associated with human emissions.

Percentage becomes a moot point when you consider the nature of the problem. Any percentage and rates of emission that cause nature to accumulate carbon rather than sock it away makes the whole thing our responsibility.

If you want a comparison, if you run the faucet into a sink that drains poorly, it doesn’t matter how slow you’re running it if you’re running it any faster than the water can drain away. If it overflows, then it’s your fault. Even if somebody was running another watersource into it, if the system was taking that stuff in without complaint, your addition is what’s at fault. Or to put it more broadly: the total amount matters more than our proportion.

We know nature could absorb a certain share of it-that’s what it’s done throughout much of human history. Only with the advent of heavy industrial use of fossil fuels have we overwhelmed that equilibrium.

You can talk about ugly trucks, but it doesn’t seem to me that you know what a good truck’s supposed to look like.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at May 29, 2007 8:13 AM
Comment #221539

wkw-
It can go both ways. Warmth can release carbon dioxide, carbon dioxide can make things warm. There’s no mutual exclusivity. Warmth, though can also create changes that take back CO2, as well, such as plant growth. This is what makes the system so difficult to understand- nothing happens in isolation.

The real question, then, though, is where do we find the heat wave that caused this huge increase in CO2. Well, the trouble is, the CO2 starts rising during the Little Ice Age, a cooler period. Same thing happens in the seventies.

One of the reasons I doubt many contrarians is that they don’t really have an integrated perspective on these things. They’re not building models in their mind to predict how things would behave, if certain things were true. They pick up some piece of information off a conservative or contrarian website, and run with it. As a person who knows the science, I can’t really respect such an approach. It goes against the whole purpose of science: to separate good information from bad. These people are criticizing what scientists while applying a double standard to themselves. When the contrarians are caught with bad information, they’re just asking questions. They are not so forgiving to others.

If they wish to criticize science, they should do so scientifically. Otherwise they’re just fancy wordsmiths who win through the deus ex machine of language, the exact kind of hacks that they accuse others of being.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at May 29, 2007 8:29 AM
Comment #221541

Stephen,

Can the Earth be warmed by any other means than CO2? (e.g. other planets gravitational forces moving the Earth closer to the Sun).

Posted by: wkw at May 29, 2007 9:33 AM
Comment #221545

wkw,

CO2 is not the unique reason Earth could be warming currently. But the actual consensus among scientists is it’s the major one. Until they find a better explanation, what do we have to lost to reduce our CO2 emission, except CO2?
Does your way of life is about CO2?

It like obesity. Fat foods is not the unique reason in obesity. But the actual consensus among nutritionists is it’s the major one. Until they find a better explanation, what do we have to lost to reduce our fat consumption, except fat?
Does your way of life is about fat?

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at May 29, 2007 11:06 AM
Comment #221547

Stephen,

What does the scientific evidence say about the relationship between temperature and CO2? Does it say that CO2 causes warming or does it say warming causes CO2 release?

Phillipe,

I’m not sure what your argument is, but it’s not right, it isn’t even wrong.

Posted by: wkw at May 29, 2007 11:30 AM
Comment #221549

CO2 does not come from warmth or heat. All life is made from carbon. Fuels are decomposed life from eons ago. Any time you break carbon bonds such as by igniting fuel, the carbon bonds are broken and it immediately bonds to 2 oxygens. Thus CO2.

Posted by: Schwamp at May 29, 2007 11:42 AM
Comment #221550

Schwamp,

Thanks for the analysis, I was not referring to how the CO2 was made but where the release into the atmosphere came from (i.e. man, plants, oceanic resevoirs, etc.).

Posted by: wkw at May 29, 2007 11:50 AM
Comment #221552

OK, OK, OK.

I’ve held my peace long enough about global warming…or more the more politically correct misnomer…”climate change” (the climate changes constantly, hence the misnomer label).

The Global Warming Theory depends heavily on several things happening…or not happening to be more correct.

For The Global Warming Theory to become fact, nothing, absolutely NOTHING can change. Ever. Now, what’s the ONLY constant in ANY global future prediction?

You’re right. Change.

Climatologists (glorified weathermen) claim that if we do ABSOLUTELY NOTHING, then Global Warming will become a reality. These are the same people who can’t predict with a certainty what the weather will be like in 10 HOURS…and I’m supposed to believe they can tell us what the weather will be like in 10 YEARS?

Climatologists could take every single computer in the world, hook them all together…and STILL could not tell me if it will rain between 3:00 pm and 3:15 pm at the corner of 3rd Street and 2nd Avenue in Anytown, USA tomorrow. Why?

There are billions…hundreds of billions…of random variables that go into our daily weather. Underground volcanoes that heat the water in the Pacific Ocean, sun shining on a certain patch of ground (raising the ground temperature) and not on another, wind blowing at a certain speed in one area and not in another, etc., etc., etc. It is impossible to predict a specific weather (temperature, moisture, etc.) for a specific time, specific date for a specific spot on the earth. Impossible. That’s just 10 hours from now…not 10 YEARS from now. With hundreds of billions of random variables that go into our daily weather, how many more random variables go into predicting our weather 10 YEARS from now? Easily, this falls into the realm of Chaos Theory.

Why do you think Chaos Theory is usually described for the masses as, “A butterfly flaps its wings in China and we get tornadoes in Oklahoma”? Our climate has more random variables than we can calculate.

Now, knowing that Global Warming can only happen if everything…everything…stays absolutely the exact same way it is today, I think you will understand why I am skeptical at best.

For Global Warming to become a reality, all the scientists MUST promise…PROMISE me that there will be no:

1) Catastrophic volcano eruptions. Wikipedia says the following about Krakatoa:

In the year following the eruption, average global temperatures fell by as much as 1.2 degrees Celsius.[1] Weather patterns continued to be chaotic for years, and temperatures did not return to normal until 1888.[1] The eruption injected an unusually large amount of sulfur dioxide (SO2) gas high into the stratosphere which was subsequently transported by high-level winds all over the planet. This led to a global increase in sulfuric acid (H2SO4) concentration in high-level cirrus cloud. The resulting increase in cloud reflectivity (or albedo) would reflect more incoming light from the sun than usual, and cool the entire planet until the suspended sulfur fell to the ground as acid precipitation.[4]

Yes, that’s right. Average global temperatures FELL by 1.2 degrees Celsius from the erution in 1883 until temperatures returned to normal 5 years later. 5 YEARS of sub-normal temperatures. Global Warming? Right out the back door.

2) No large meteorites. A 30 meter meteorite caused the crater in Arizona and hit with an impact of about 20 million tons of TNT. A meteorite thoerized to be about 1 km in size killed 50% of all life on this planet including the dinosaurs. It hit with the impact of 100 million MEGAtons of TNT. The result was a massive ice age. Ice age? Well, there goes Global Warming again.

3) Don’t even get me started on assuring me that the sun will not warm or cool during that period.

Paul included this quote in his article…

As Anderson Cooper reports:

Last night, Cooper interviewed biologist Jeff Corwin, who laid out the massive changes taking place in Greenland…. Today, it’s actually losing ice at about 100 billion tons a year. I mean, that’s incredible.

That’s true…and do you know what they are finding? Evidence where people at one point in time were GROWING CROPS! On Greenland! Can anyone here say, “Everything is cyclical”?

These pro-Global Warming climatologists MUST assure me that absolutely NO catastrophic events will occur in the next 10 years…and that ABSOLUTELY NOTHING will change…EVER…within that time period. Then, maybe, I’ll look with something less than a jaundiced eye at their arguements. But then again, if they CAN assure me of the above, it will blow all their credibility with me.

Posted by: Jim T at May 29, 2007 12:20 PM
Comment #221555

wkw-
The sun warms the planet either way. What CO2 does is bounce around infrared within the atmosphere for longer.

The scientific evidence on CO2 is actually very specific. There are specific windows of frequencies that Carbon Dioxide is extremely good at absorbing and then scattering. This is not anything new to science. Oxygen and Nitrogen absorb and scatter higher frequency radiation rather well- it’s what turns our sky blue, and what protects us from hard radiation from space. Ozone, which is triatomic Oxygen, absorbs UV and Infrared well. Water scatters both visible light and infrared, depending on its state.

Carbon Dioxide has two “windows” within which it absorbs Infrared rather well. It was known to be a very good infrared absorber as long ago as the early 19th century. It’s properties as a greenhouse gas were deduced by scientists of that time. The greenhouse effect from CO2 is and was part of what keeps Earth’s atmosphere warm enough to support us. Our problem isn’t that it’s there, it’s that too much of it is there.

As for what causes what? Heat can release CO2. If climate warming causes a drought and kills a forest, or thaws a permafrost with plenty of poorly decayed peat, then CO2 will be released as a decay product.

However, no matter where it comes from, CO2 remains good at absorbing and scattering heat energy. Whether it’s CO2 from plants, or CO2 from fossil fuels matters little: CO2 can warm the planet. Of course, more heat in certain places will turn those places into sources of carbon, others into carbon sinks.

We’re not dealing with simple relationships, but a complex, emergent situation where the system feeds back on itself, both in ways that resist and encourage change.

By far, one of the largest sources of CO2 is us. No other part of the system can account for the sharp increase of CO2. Some point to lags in past levels of CO2 to say that CO2 trails changes, but there’s a problem there: no law of nature says it has to do that. The lag then came because the natural variabilities and forcings that brought these things to pass were dominant, and CO2 was secondary at that point. However, various elements can take the lead, and have done so in the past. In the Mesozoic, greenhouse gases played a major role. In the Cenozoic, much of the cycling came from orbital and tectonic shifts. Nature doesn’t do things so simply or directly as we do, and those looking for one and only one possible cause of global warming and other climate changes are taking the wrong approach.

Atmospheric CO2 is one part of the climate system, and it’s the part that we’ve been pushing hardest, and that is pushing the current climate change itself hardest. We dominate the increase in greenhouse gases, and they in turn are dominating the change in climate.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at May 29, 2007 12:40 PM
Comment #221556

Jim T,
You’re right, things will change. In 5 billion years the sun will burn out and the earth will be a frozen iceball hurtling through space. At that point, nobody will care about climate changes.

In the meantime, we can use your logic to make any problem go away. By the way, can anyone guarentee it will be disastrous if we leave Iraq tomorrow? Well if they can, they will lose all credibility right?

Posted by: Schwamp at May 29, 2007 12:46 PM
Comment #221558

wkw, there are plenty of other ways the Earth can warm. There just isn’t any evidence that any of them are the primary forces behind the current warming trend. Here are a couple of examples: Plate Tectonics can arrange the continents in certain positions that change the albedo of the Earth; causing either warming or cooling. Another source of warming comes from the positive feedback effect of ice: If an external force causes a little bit of ice to melt and expose dark rock (which has a lower albedo than ice) then that rock will warm, causing more ice to melt; this in turn exposes more rock, decreasing the albedo further causing more ice to melt and so forth. Another way for the Earth to warm is through various cycles in Earth’s Orbit, collectively known as the Milankovitch Cycles.

What does the scientific evidence say about the relationship between temperature and CO2? Does it say that CO2 causes warming or does it say warming causes CO2 release?
Just like I said earlier with ice, CO2 is part of a feedback process. A warmer climate causes the ocean to release more of its dissolved CO2, this new CO2 warms the Earth, causing the ocean to release more CO2 in a seemingly endless cycle. So the answer to your question is that it works both ways, higher temperatures cause more CO2 and CO2 can cause higher temperatures.


Tomd, I suggest you brush up on your understanding of the scientific method before you start throwing around words like “fact” or “theory”.

Posted by: Warren P at May 29, 2007 1:00 PM
Comment #221559

please correct me if i am wrong, but i have heard that methane gas (from livestock)contributes more towards greenhouse gas than anything else. if this is true, we should quit eating meat.

Posted by: ANDY at May 29, 2007 1:22 PM
Comment #221560

CO2 levels actually decrease every year during the growing season in the Northern Hemisphere, see Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth. The rainforests further south used to help, but they are being depleted.

Melting ice in the Arctic ocean will not increase sea levels, only continental ice in Antarctica, Greenland, Canada and Russia. Those are the places that can help the most by growing more oxygen producing crops. Go to Russia if you do not believe in global warming. That is the country most affected by it right now.

Posted by: ohrealy at May 29, 2007 1:24 PM
Comment #221563

Jim T-
Climate does change, but does it tend to change like this? Not in recent history. Not in the levels of CO2, nor in the degree to which the global change is occuring. The whole thing is anomalous in terms of recent natural history.

Let me ask you something: what will happen to temperatures in the Winter? In the Summer, in the Spring and Fall? Quite naturally, everybody knows the answer to these questions, irrespective of the day to day changes. We all know the general trends of our weather during those times. Climate is the general pattern of the weather.

Chaos theory does in fact come from atmospheric modelling, but pop culture’s idea of it exaggerates its behavior grossly.

To understand your mistake in interpreting chaos theory, consider hurricanes. They tend to move in certain directions, from east to west. They tend to move through certain areas, and they require a certain temperature of water to maintain their energy. The winds that carry move along in a certain direction. Despite the chaotic, often emergent nature of Hurricanes, They act according to certain principles.

Chaos is not about randomness, it’s about two things: sensitive dependence on initial conditions, and the almost paradoxical structure that many chaotic systems demonstrate.

Looking back at our hurricane, we do not see complete randomness. This beast has a kind of structure to it. It’s incredibly recognizable. We all know what a hurricane generally looks like from space, because air, heat, and moisture move in and out of the Hurricane in certain ways. We can even say things like where the worst winds and rains can be found in a hurricane.

You’re right that weather prediction is subject to the problems that chaos brings, but to understand what precisely the problem is, you must understand where that cute little Butterfly Effect rears its head.

The thing most commonly left out of the description of the Butterfly effect is time. As I understand it, a month passes between a chinese butterfly’s flap, and the change in Central Park or Central Oklahoma’s weather.

Weather forecaster are calculated by iteration. That is, you take today’s data, with as great of resolution as you can get, and you feed it into a model, which changes that data. Then, the changed data is plugged right back into the equation again, and everything is run forward one more iteration. Forecasts do this over and and over again in order to figure out what conditions will emerge from today’s conditions. What we’ve got here is not randomness at all, like you describe, but a very complex kind of order, that if we knew enough, and had small enough errors in our observations, we could predict.

The trouble is, we cannot fill every square inch of our planet with weatherstations. We also can’t measure with arbitrary precision. Things are too interconnected, and our eyes on the ground always have limitations in resolution.

As long as the timeline is suitably short, specific weather forecasting can be somewhat reliable. Wait longer than that, though, and your mistakes and the blurriness of your vision reduce the effectiveness of your forecast. Past a certain point, your forecast and your actual results bear little resemblance to one another.

Sensitive dependence on initial conditions. It’s important because small details matter to systems like an atmosphere. However, here’s another place where the pop culture picture of chaos fails the average person. What gives chaos theory it’s point is that chaos, on large scales can have structure! So we go back to our hurricane. That’s one example there. Other examples include the way currents and winds move on the planet. They aren’t entirely predictable, but there are a range of behaviors that these kinds of systems can show.

Climate science engages weather on a broader scale in time and space, and with lower resolution on its observations. It’s not trying to tell you whether it will rain in New York in 2020 on August the first. It’s trying to tell you how warm summers might get, how cold the winters will be. It’s looking at the general, not specific behavior of the rainfall.

Because Climate modelling isn’t asking questions expecting precise answers in space or time, it isn’t as hindered by the effects of the system’s sensitivity, because its looking for a range outcomes, rather than a specific one.

If I asked you whether it was going to be below freezing in New York City on December twenty-second of next year, you might have a point if you said that this was unpredictable. But what if I asked whether it was likely that the average temperature for the region would remain below fifty for the month of December? One is a question about the weather. The other is a question about the climate. As you can see, chaos theory doesn’t necessarily get in the way of answering that question.

As for your conditions for global warming?

1)Volcanic eruptions may intervene, but it’s comparable to being in the shade on a hot day. Once the shade goes away, the CO2, which has a long shelf-life in the atmosphere, remains in place. Additionally, CO2 will ensure that what radiation gets past will still warm the planet more than it otherwise would.

2)An asteroid or comet impact surely would cool things down, and would likely knock the atmosphere’s chemical balance much more out of whack than we have. But it’s been 65 million years since we saw an appreciable impact of that scale. If you’re counting on that stopping global warming, it’s highly unlikely.

3)The Ice Pack on Greenland has been there for over a hundred thousand years. We’re not talking about a mere retreat here, we’re talking about the main body of the ice sheet melting. That hasn’t happened in recorded history. Additionally, you confuse the local warming of the Medieval Warm Period with the overall warming of our time.

As for everything being cyclical? Not if you buy into chaos theory! Yes,there are cycles, the Milankovitch cycles and the sunspot cycles being anmong them. But even these are not clear cut. The MC’s are the product of the confluence of different orbital characteristics, and so there’s a lot of interference between them. The sunspot cycles depend upon the Sun’s weather, which itself often has surprises in store for us, from year to year.

What’s more, climate has to deal with certain variations that can drastically shift the shape of things. El Nino is an example.

Climate does not tend to change in smooth cycles, though. It has a tendency to shift violently between different extremes, the system just changing itself all of a sudden from warm period to ice age.

I think you misunderstand the science of climate change.

andy-
Methane has a comparatively short life in the atmosphere, compared to CO2, a decade or two compared to a couple centuries.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at May 29, 2007 1:52 PM
Comment #221564

Jim T.,

Climatologists could take every single computer in the world, hook them all together…and STILL could not tell me if it will rain between 3:00 pm and 3:15 pm at the corner of 3rd Street and 2nd Avenue in Anytown, USA tomorrow. Why?

Because predicting very specific details is way harder than general probabilities.

I predict you will die one day. But I can’t tell you which one. See the difference?

Why do you think Chaos Theory is usually described for the masses as, “A butterfly flaps its wings in China and we get tornadoes in Oklahoma”? Our climate has more random variables than we can calculate.

In the exact butterfly effect line, we *MIGHT* get tornadoes.

Anyway, the Chaos Theory is all about that small variations of the initial condition of a nonlinear dynamical system, like world climate, may produce large variations in the long term behavior of the system.

You use it as a way to refute Global Warming long term predictions due to climate prediction complexity.

But do you understand it works both way?

Climatologists in fact use it to explain why very small variations - human made CO2 emission for example - of the atmosphere composition may produce large (and quick, which is the real threat here, not the change itself) variations in the long term of our climate.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at May 29, 2007 1:54 PM
Comment #221566

Paul,

“If Bush followed a preemption policy for a dubious war in Iraq, why can’t he follow a preemption policy in attacking climate change?”

So, (now) you are for preemption?!!! Uhh, didn’t the anti-Bush/war crowd cry “bloody murder” about “preemption”; now, you want him to “preempt” this “man-made” global warming conspiracy?!! Please!! “Man-made” global warming is nothing more than a religion to the “believers” and it’s being debunked (by prominent) scientists more and more each day.

Posted by: rahdigly at May 29, 2007 2:26 PM
Comment #221567

rahdigly,

care to provide some links backing up your statement that “prominent” scientists are debunking global warming.

Posted by: Tony CO at May 29, 2007 2:38 PM
Comment #221568

“A butterfly flaps its wings in China and we get tornadoes in Oklahoma”? Our climate has more random variables than we can calculate.

Thanks to Steven Daugherty for clarifying chaos theory.

I think it’s true that “climate has more variables than we can calculate.” This statement is also true with reference to war. But this did not stop Bush, did it?

We can’t sit and wait until we understand all the variables. Scientists - all the top scientists who wrote the United Nations’ IPCC report - agree that it is highly probable that greenhouse gas emissions, among which CO2 is the most important, is causing an increase in the Earth’s average temperature. They further agree that by reducing CO2 emission produced by burning carbon-fuels we can prevent the expected cataclysm.

What person in their right mind would not take this sort of advice? Of course, nothing is sure. But since when do you base your actions on sure things. Why do you go to college? It’s not a sure thing you’ll make more money as a result. Why do you get married? It’s not a sure thing it will make you happy. Why do you establish a business? It’s not a sure thing you’ll be successful.

The greater probability lies with what the major scientists are saying, not with what the few scientists who disagree say.

Be prudent and prepare for the worst.

Posted by: Paul Siegel at May 29, 2007 3:18 PM
Comment #221569

Stephen,

If this is true”

“those looking for one and only one possible cause of global warming and other climate changes are taking the wrong approach.”

and then this is also true

“Atmospheric CO2 is one part of the climate system, and it’s the part that we’ve been pushing hardest, and that is pushing the current climate change itself hardest. We dominate the increase in greenhouse gases, and they in turn are dominating the change in climate.”

Aren’t you saying that humans are the one cause and that you, by making this argument, are taking the wrong approach.

Just asking.


Posted by: wkw at May 29, 2007 3:27 PM
Comment #221571

To me science,religion, and politics are alike in a manner of speaking. You have one scientist saying one thing and another saying something 180 out. Same thing in religion 2 people can have 2 different ideas about certain passages in the bible, koran or whatever book you use. Dems have one idea Reps. another. And Philippe I stand by my statement When science gets it’s sh*t together we can have an intelligent discussion. Till then it is all THEORY

Posted by: KAP at May 29, 2007 4:33 PM
Comment #221572

The world is supposed to end with the Mayan Long Count in 2012, so I am not too worried. A Russian scientist claim that Global Warming will only last until then, then global cooling for another century, followed by global warming again.

The cause of the expected global cooling is a decrease in the flow of the Sun’s radiation, Khabibulo Absudamatov says.
from http://www.mosnews.com/news/2006/02/06/globalcold.shtml

or not

Vladimir Katsov, the head of a geophysics laboratory in Russia and a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, thinks that global warming will continue and even intensify in the 21st century….Katsov said average global temperatures have risen by 0.74C in the past 100 years, and that 11 out of the dozen years from 1995-2006 were among the 12 hottest since temperatures began to be monitored globally in 1850. He agreed with the IPCC report’s estimate that the temperature would rise by 1.8-4C (3.2-7.2F) by the end of the century.
from
http://www.mosnews.com/news/2007/02/06/climatedisaster.shtml

Anyway, I am basically in favor of Global Warming, since I do not ski any more. There is too much ice on the planet, new shipping lanes will open in frozen areas, and smart people will figure it all out anyway. We have been living under the monarchy of the extremely stupid for a few years, and if Florida and the WTC has to go to wake some people up, then that is what it is going to take to do something. Plant a tree.

Posted by: ohrealy at May 29, 2007 5:10 PM
Comment #221579

Rahdigly-
Yeah, I saw your debunks. In some cases, you were appealing to people outside the field. In others, you badly misinterpreted evidence that indicated that the system was more sensitive than the IPCC models had it- not something in your argument’s favor. In another, you offered forth the cosmic ray theory of global warming, where increased solar output shields us from cosmic rays that would otherwise cause more cloud formation by producing fine dust in the upper atmosphere.

It’s especially telling that you expect this theory, hardly supported at all by research, data, models or even clear theory on what the steps are in between to be the guaranteed successor to the anthropogenic greenhouse gas theory of global warming.

It seems to me that your way of arguing the case against global warming is to declare us the losers, yourselves the winners, and define the value of the science accordingly. Trouble is, the real game here runs by different rules, and no matter how much you triumph on the field of rhetoric, the data supports the position of those who subscribe to the anthropogenic theory of global warming.

wkw-
The problem is not suggesting a main cause of climate change. There can be one that dominates over others, with the others still contributing to the difference in temperature.

What I was saying is to see this in terms of a single cause, in terms of CO2 causing all climate change, or solar irradiance causing all climate change is wrong. Both causes, in varying proportions, add to the equation.

Changes in solar radiation can increase or decrease global temperatures. But what we’re seeing is a rise in global temperatures, despite slight declines in solar radiation. A lot of warming occured during the eighties, during a period of relative solar inactivity. Given that, the argument that solar irradiance dominates is problematic. There is no such problem in saying that CO2 dominates the current warming trend. The evidence is there for that.

The picture I’m trying to paint is of an mulipolar system from whose behavior climate emerges. No one actor has the stage to itself, but that does not say that one cannot take the lead.

KAP-
No, they are not. Religion deals with the supernatural, and with people’s behavior. Therefore it can get very subjective, with little to definitively raise one religion over another.

Politics deals with the real world, but with people’s perspectives about it, and what should be done about people’s problems. There are better strategies, but there also different workable strategies and systems that can exist at once.

Science has something objective to refer back to, to constrain the fevered flights of imagination and doctrine that sometimes occur in the other disciplines. It’s built to be so constrained, and to make progress by steadily working out what is and is not real.

What’s happening with Global warming is that you have people clouding the issue on purpose, and from cultural attitudes. They’re not studying the issue before they pronounce judgment, but are instead arguing things from personal disbelief. There is a right answer here, and one side is closer than the other. I base my opinion that the Global Warming proponents are right from what I’ve seen of the science.

The thing with science is, nothing is ever final All theories are approximations. The name of the game with science is refining and replacing those approximations until they best fit the real-world nature of the phenomena at hand.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at May 29, 2007 5:46 PM
Comment #221580

Stephen -

Methane has a comparatively short life in the atmosphere, compared to CO2, a decade or two compared to a couple centuries.

If the cows go away, will the methane ever go away?

Posted by: ANDY at May 29, 2007 5:55 PM
Comment #221581

I meant to say if the cows don’t go away.

Posted by: ANDY at May 29, 2007 5:57 PM
Comment #221582

Stephen D.
My statement blew right over your head. It’s the similarities of science, politics, and religion. It’s all about the possibility of no two people fully agreeing with each other.

Posted by: KAP at May 29, 2007 5:57 PM
Comment #221583

KAP-
It did not blow over my head. I simply have a difference of opinion. My opinion, though, is that with science disputes can be resolved by reference to study of the real world, which can disprove certain hypotheses, overturn wrongheaded theories, and resolve disputes on certain matters.

I also differ with you about two other things: The degree to which global warming is really in dispute as a theory, and the notion that any good comes of looking at all such opinions as if it makes little difference one way or another.

Though neither of the other disciplines depends on the real world for their logic, they and their followers do interact with it. The great religions tell their followers that their actions are as important as their words and ideas. Like Paul says, faith without works is dead.

It’s when faith and politics get abstracted in the wrong places away from the real world and their original context that we get people doing terrible things and becoming needlessly hateful about the matters.

Andy-
If we no longer raised cows, perhaps there would be less methane emitted. Unfortunately, they’re not the only source.

Methane is the stronger greenhouse gas, and I’ve heard people suggest that it’s a good place to start, given the strength of its effect. However, like I said, the excess CO2 we send up will remain in the system far longer, so it cannot be discounted, just because it’s effects ar not as profound. The name of the game here is accumulation.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at May 29, 2007 6:12 PM
Comment #221589

Stephen D.
That’s right DIFFERENCE OF OPINION. IN EACH GROUP THERE ARE DIFFERENCES OF OPINIONS. A simple statement that didn’t need to be complicated.

Posted by: KAP at May 29, 2007 7:27 PM
Comment #221609

KAP-
You take that statement and make what seems to be a case for doing nothing. I find that approach appalling. We ought to have a greater focus on what’s right, what’s wrong, what works, what doesn’t.

The point of our system is not merely to express points of view, it’s to have those points of view challenge each other, with neither given the advantage of artificially silencing the other.

The system is just pointless if everythings just a content neutral “everybody has their opinion.” Only when we can challenge each other, and when the facts are sought out and brought to bear, only when people seek the truth as a matter of course does our govenrment work at its best.

The science will not settle down to something simple in time for you or I to do something about it. Really, it’s never going to settle down to such simplicity. It’s not a reductionist system, where you can derive simple laws that scale up perfectly. It’s an emergent system, where the behavior comes from parts below, but where the whole is more than just the some of the parts.

This is part of the whole problem about how people deal with natural sciences nowadays. They expect science that examines stuff we find mystifying and unpredictable in real life to be simple and essentialized in theory.

The thing to take away form the current global warming science is that climate change tends to be violent and sudden, and that we’re pushing our system towards such an edge. This isn’t alarmism. This is the ugly truth. Do we have to undertake draconian methods to defeat this? Not necessarily. But the longer we let things go, the less influence we have over the outcome. It pays to start early, and with a good head of steam.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at May 29, 2007 9:25 PM
Comment #221613

Stephen D.
I said every one has an opinion. In each group I said have differences of opinion. It’s those opinions that we can work from to establish one common ground. To believe one group because they say it’s gospel is dumb. Example Al Gore, some of his followers think of him as a god, and what he says is gospel. I think we should weigh all findings before we jump to one conclusion. Climate change is still in the theory stage, when it becomes more fact then theory ok, but I do think we should be doing more to prevent it than we are.

Posted by: KAP at May 29, 2007 9:54 PM
Comment #221618

KAP-
Somebody misinformed you. The progression is not theory to fact, it’s hypothesis to theory. A hypothesis is an unproven educated guess.

The facts are the data. Theories are like computer programs. They give you a process with which to interpret the facts.

Anthropogenic Global Warming theory has found a great deal of backing from the facts on the ground. The sad part is that this is all getting clouded by a combination of scientific ignorance on the part of the public, and the contrarian’s noise machine, basically throwing every variation of the notion that Carbon Dioxide is not to blame that they can find.

If they had a real handle on things, one that deserved to hold the day over Anthropogenic warming, they would have settled on a dominant theory or two. The truth converges. The BS goes all over the place.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at May 29, 2007 10:19 PM
Comment #221627

Tony,

“care to provide some links backing up your statement that “prominent” scientists are debunking global warming.”

Okay, here’s one Prominent Scientist. Here’s another Promient Scientist.

Posted by: rahdigly at May 29, 2007 11:31 PM
Comment #221629

rahdigly,

well done — finally a something to back up your claim. i acknowledge i’ve read both these articles and on the face i can find nothing obviously out of the ordinary. so i pose you this… if we can a few scientists that say this that global warming is farce but the vast majority say it is so, do we cross our fingers and hope the few are right?

another question i pose: what do you believe the agenda is of the thousands of scientists pushing global warming is?

Posted by: Tony CO at May 30, 2007 12:28 AM
Comment #221633

Andy,

Capturing methane from cows is possible. Not from farts in the open fields yet ;-) , but from manure:

http://www.gardenrant.com/my_weblog/2006/07/600_cows_900_ho.html

In Europe, germans farmers does this already the most. I hope the other european farmers will follow their example.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at May 30, 2007 3:08 AM
Comment #221636

Seems to me Las Vegas should get in on this action. Set up a line on global warming, take bets. The only problem with this, is when that bookie comes to collect, you and I won’t be here to pay, regardless of which side you wager on.

In my view, that’s the best part about Climate Change. If this theory proves true, I’ll never be held accountable for my contribution to it. I don’t have kids, nor will I have any in the future. I’m perfectly comfortable with staking the lives of your children and grandchildren on the excesses I enjoy today.

Call me selfish, call me whatever you want, but I’m not willing to sweat in the summer, it’s easier to drive then walk. It’s a simple decision for me to make. I hope your children won’t have to live through the doom and gloom of some type of apocolyptic climate change, but honestly, I really don’t care.

Maybe everyone who believes climate change is real should start asking that time honored question “what about the children?” These are the ones that would be accountable for the actions of their parents. Once again, I’m comfortable with that.

Just a thought…

Posted by: Ignorance Is Bliss at May 30, 2007 3:58 AM
Comment #221640

Ignorance Is Bliss,

On behalf of Darwin, I’m glad you will never have children.

Honestly.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at May 30, 2007 5:54 AM
Comment #221641

Rahdigly-
Don’t look now, but your one climatologist, Dr Tim Bell,thinks another ice age is coming. With him, there’s an open question as to this qualifications to make the criticisms.

This fellow has done very little research on the kinds of climate interaction in question. He hasn’t been a full professor for as long as he claims, and the man’s thesis was a history of climate change in central Canada.

As for the other guy, he’s either a geochemist or a geophysicist. I have a geophysicist for a uncle, and his job is basically to analyze the structure of the earth from seismic evidence. Either way, prominent or not, he’s outside his field. Why do you pick so many people outside their specialty? Either you don’t care what these people actually have done their research in, or you don’t understand the difference.

Your claims tend to be supported by what could be called textbook cases of appeal to inappropriate authority.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at May 30, 2007 7:54 AM
Comment #221651

Stephen,

You can add Dr. Robert Geigengack to the list of scientists. He is the chair of the Dept. of Earth and Environmental Science at the Univ. of Pennsylvania.

He says, “When gravitation from other planets’ orbits causes the Earth to move closer to or further from the sun, tempuratures increase or decrease. When we find that CO2 levels follow that directly, it’s hard for us to say that CO2 drives temperature. It’s easier to say tempurature drives CO2.”

Seems like all you want to do is debunk the scientists who disagree.

Take a look at that huge list of scientists that apparently are supporters of global warming. Bet you find more than a few that are “outside their field”

Posted by: wkw at May 30, 2007 10:05 AM
Comment #221655
“i acknowledge i’ve read both these articles and on the face i can find nothing obviously out of the ordinary. so i pose you this… if we can a few scientists that say this that global warming is farce but the vast majority say it is so, do we cross our fingers and hope the few are right?…another question i pose: what do you believe the agenda is of the thousands of scientists pushing global warming is?”


First off, if you (truly) read those two articles, you would certainly have had your answers to your question(s).


if we can a few scientists that say this that global warming is farce but the vast majority say it is so, do we cross our fingers and hope the few are right?:
I think it may be because most people don’t understand the scientific method which Thomas Kuhn so skilfully and briefly set out in his book “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.” A scientist makes certain assumptions and then produces a theory which is only as valid as the assumptions. The theory of Global Warming assumes that CO2 is an atmospheric greenhouse gas and as it increases temperatures rise. It was then theorized that since humans were producing more CO2 than before, the temperature would inevitably rise. The theory was accepted before testing had started, and effectively became a law…”the consensus was reached before the research had even begun.” Now, any scientist who dares to question the prevailing wisdom is marginalized and called a sceptic, when in fact they are simply being good scientists. This has reached frightening levels with these scientists now being called climate change denier with all the holocaust connotations of that word. The normal scientific method is effectively being thwarted…Meanwhile, politicians are being listened to, even though most of them have no knowledge or understanding of science, especially the science of climate and climate change. Hence, they are in no position to question a policy on climate change when it threatens the entire planet. Moreover, using fear and creating hysteria makes it very difficult to make calm rational decisions about issues needing attention.

what do you believe the agenda is of the thousands of scientists pushing global warming is?:
What would happen if tomorrow we were told that, after all, the Earth is flat? It would probably be the most important piece of news in the media and would generate a lot of debate. So why is it that when scientists who have studied the Global Warming phenomenon for years say that humans are not the cause nobody listens? Why does no one acknowledge that the Emperor has no clothes on? Believe it or not, Global Warming is not due to human contribution of Carbon Dioxide (CO2). This in fact is the greatest deception in the history of science. We are wasting time, energy and trillions of dollars while creating unnecessary fear and consternation over an issue with no scientific justification. For example, Environment Canada brags about spending $3.7 billion in the last five years dealing with climate change almost all on propaganda trying to defend an indefensible scientific position while at the same time closing weather stations and failing to meet legislated pollution targets.

Posted by: rahdigly at May 30, 2007 10:48 AM
Comment #221666
What would happen if tomorrow we were told that, after all, the Earth is flat?

People will drill new vertical highway to travel faster to the other side?

So why is it that when scientists who have studied the Global Warming phenomenon for years say that humans are not the cause nobody listens?

Listens, I dunno. Reviewed by their peers, I guess they were. I also guess their studies didn’t succeed to convince their scientists fellows on their conclusion?

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at May 30, 2007 12:22 PM
Comment #221668

Correction: China will drill new vertical commercial roads to ship faster to the other side?

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at May 30, 2007 12:23 PM
Comment #221670

Er, frenglish hit me again. “Trade” roads.
But you all figured it, right?

(Note to myself: stop ruinning yourself joke)

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at May 30, 2007 12:27 PM
Comment #221676
“This fellow has done very little research on the kinds of climate interaction in question. He hasn’t been a full professor for as long as he claims, and the man’s thesis was a history of climate change in central Canada. As for the other guy, he’s either a geochemist or a geophysicist. I have a geophysicist for a uncle, and his job is basically to analyze the structure of the earth from seismic evidence. Either way, prominent or not, he’s outside his field. Why do you pick so many people outside their specialty? Either you don’t care what these people actually have done their research in, or you don’t understand the difference.”


First off Stephen, your dispute over his academic credentials has been made before, claiming “he does not have the academic background and qualifications to make serious comments on global warming”; just like you seem to be insinuating. You should know that he has sued those people for libel; don’t suppose you want to get in on that?!!

So, now, are you calling them irrelevant? A liar? A phony? You comparing him to your Uncle b/c they have the same scientific profession?! If they’re in Canada or not? What (exactly) are you insinuating? Or, is it that you can’t handle that they are (indeed) prominent scientist who are (again) indeed debunking the “man-made” global warming (religious) hoax?!! Let’s take a look at the two scientists I sourced earlier:


Claude Allègre
Claude Allegre received a Ph D in physics in 1962 from the University of Paris. He became the director of the geochemistry and cosmochemistry program at the French National Scientific Research Centre in 1967 and in 1971, he was appointed director of the University of Paris’s Department of Earth Sciences. In 1976, he became director of the Paris Institut de Physique du Globe. He is an author of more than 100 scientific articles, many of them seminal studies on the evolution of the Earth using isotopic evidence, and 11 books. He is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the French Academy of Science.

Dr. Allegre has the highest environmental credentials. The author of early environmental books, he fought successful battles to protect the ozone layer from CFCs and public health from lead pollution. His break with scientific dogma over global warming came at a personal cost: Colleagues in both the governmental and environmental spheres were aghast that he could publicly question the science behind climate change.


Dr. Timothy Ball
He has a B.A. from the University of Winnipeg and an M.A. from the University of Manitoba. Ball received a Ph.D.[2] from the University of London, England in 1983. [3] Ball taught at the University of Winnipeg from 1973 to 1996, starting as a Sessional Lecturer and retiring as a Professor.

Posted by: rahdigly at May 30, 2007 2:13 PM
Comment #221696

wkw-
The question you should ask yourself before you blame global warming on orbital forcings is what direction the forcings are heading.

There has been an observable rise in the amount of Watts per Meter hitting the surface. The data says the atmosphere is retaining more heat. Signs of Greenhouse gas related heating are showing up, including warming at higher latitudes and altitudes, warmer winters and nights, and cooling in the stratosphere. Observations of solar activity show a slight downturn in radiance, a downturn that also showed up as the Earth warmed in the eighties.

Scientific evidence has shown that climate changes much faster than people once thought. Instead of seeing changes over centuries, researchers looking into things found shifts that occured over a matter of decades or years We’re not talking gentle cycles, but violent metastability that is pushed and pulled by those cycles.

In earlier times, CO2 didn’t necessarily lead the changes. That doesn’t mean, though, that it’s shifts were not consequential. A drop in CO2 caused by colder oceans absorbing it would amplify the cooling effect, ditto a rise in it caused by them when times got warmer.

It’s the human intervention of burning fossil fuels that makes today’s climate change different, that puts the effect in the lead. Where we too reduce our emissions, that might change.

As for your concerns about supporters outside their field? No doubt, I could call myself one. The difference is how many people within the field support the idea. The way most contrarians deal with that is by saying its all political. That, though, is a political argument all by itself, and one that skips over the relevant questions of the theory’s validity.

My point in talking about the fields of the respective researchers is to call attention to the fact that most of the people making grand claims about climatology among the contrarians are not climatologists, and may not be familiar with the data or theory. That familiarity, not the status of being a scientist in general is the real issue of credibility that I’m insisting upon.

Rahdigly-
Thomas Kuhn’s doctrine of scientific revolution is one of the most badly abused pieces of pop-culture philosophy out there.

There is no assumption about CO2 as a greenhouse gas. It is one. It absorbs heat. I can get you the frequencies if you like. Thank God it does. We’d be a hell of lot frostier otherwise. The problem comes when we add more of it than the environment can cycle back into the carbon sinks.

The real question on the politics is what’s the status quo: the aggressive pursuit of alternative fuels and energy sources, or the heavy and ongoing reliance on fossil fuels? If you’re telling me politics is pushing global warming science on everybody, then please tell me what the attitudes of the previous congress and the current president were regarding the issue.

As far as agenda’s go, the real frustrating part here is that your side of the debate criticizes people for bad science and for dogmatically hewing to a certain scientific line at the same time that you make broad, unproven claims about the nature of the climate. Where’s your proof about this deception, about the nature of climate? Where’s your coherent, singular, alternative theory?

It’s telling that you include one source who fought the good fight on CFCs, and one who basically said that this whole thing was a fraud. Now there can be any number of reasons why Allegre took the position he did, but he remains a man who specializes in Earth Sciences, where the sensitivities of the system to chaotic behavior are fairly low. Geologists tend to think in terms of thousands if not millions of years, more towards that other end. They also tend to take a much more conservative attitude towards changes in complex systems, given the standard geological notions of uniformitarianism.

Modern climate scientists are faced with a much more fickle, much more quick-changing system. You talk about flat-earthers, but the people you often suggest as the new guard and innovators are pushing a view of cyclical climate that in recent years has been badly undermined by the evidence.

Some Contrarians point to chaos theory as one reason that Global Warming theory shouldn’t be trusted, but fail to understand the can of worms that opens. Even as they’re talking about the Milankovitch cycles, they’re blissfully unaware that the climate record shows that the shifts in temperature and climate have been brutally short and sharp, one major change taking less than a decade. They talk about solar variability and other forcings, unaware that the small changes in energy input kick off all the substantial natural climate change they love to talk about. Meanwhile, with an unprecedented spike in CO2 going on, with NASA showing a large increase in the total wattage, they merrily go on about how stable the climate is in the face of small changes.

In short, they don’t know what the hell they’re talking about. You talk about stability when stability suits you, sensitivity to natural forces when that’s what makes your argument. You bring up poorly supported and worked out theories and claim them unceremoniously to be superior to Anthropogenic theory. On what basis? You almost never address that. You simply claim that we couldn’t possibly be at fault, that CO2 couldn’t possibly be the culprit, and you chose whatever weapon to enter the fight with that is handy.

Maybe that’s a good way to win political or rhetorical disputes, but such a grab bag approach does not suit a discussion of the sciences. I think you’re smart enough to understand this stuff. Trouble is, you’re not interested in understanding it. You’re interested in winning the argument.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at May 30, 2007 4:59 PM
Comment #221702

Stephen,

You’re trying to sell that ugly truck by discrediting to other dealers salesmen. That won’t work.

If you want to sell the truck, you have to ANSWER the QUESTIONS.

DON’T YOU BUYYY NO UGLY TRUCK!

Posted by: tomd at May 30, 2007 5:33 PM
Comment #221705

Stephen D.
You continue to prove one point to me. That is NO ONE’s opinion matters except the ones you support.

Posted by: KAP at May 30, 2007 5:53 PM
Comment #221718
Dr. Allegre has the highest environmental credentials. The author of early environmental books, he fought successful battles to protect the ozone layer from CFCs and public health from lead pollution.

He also opposed in 1998 Asbestos being removed from one of the largest university campus in Paris, Jussieu, claiming risk is near zero. 2 years before, he was still working for Geologic and Mining Reserch Office (Bureau de recherches géologiques et minières), which was one of the Asbestos lobbying arm during the 80s and 90s.

Before that, in 1976, director of the Globe’s Physics Paris Institute (IPGP) he also forecasted wrongly the Guadeloupe’s volcano La Souffriere will erupt in pyroclastic flow against opinion of the best french expert in volcanology, Haroun Tazieff, at this time head of IPGP’s volcanology department. Tazieff was proved right. But Allègre fired him anyway, while he kept his director seat for years after that.

Each time, he was not *the* expert on the field, but the director of an institut, with industrial and political connections, and each time he push his director’s opinion above the experts ones.

If you think this guy is an expert, you’re wrong. This guy made a career, both scientific and political, in administrating, not doing research.
He may as been a good geologist at start, eventually. Doesn’t make him a better expert in climatology today than anyone else.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at May 30, 2007 7:15 PM
Comment #221720

wkw,

Looking at temperature readings over the course of 100 years in meaningless when based against a geologic timescale of hundreds of millions of years.

But it’s meaningfull to measure the current temperature trend for us human, not rocks. Earth don’t care about its temperature. Only living species does. Humankind don’t lives on geologic timescale. We’re not stoned (well, except a few days or months in our all lifetime!) yet.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at May 30, 2007 7:46 PM
Comment #221735

tomd-
I’m selling my particular vehicles with science as the driving force for both the critiques of the contrarians, and as the positive proof to justify people’s subscription to the theory.

Now, like a used car salesmen, I could stretch the facts, give easy answers to questions just for the sake of your acceptance of my point, but I’m going to give you credit for being smart enough to deserve better than that.

I’m not lying to you, or selling you something I don’t have trust in myself. I’m not sugarcoating this for you. The answers are there, they just aren’t the easy ones you’re looking for.

KAP-
I’m not a very diplomatic person when it comes to telling people they are wrong. It’s rather frustrating to tell somebody that typically in science the word “theory” carries much more certainty with it than it does in common usage. When you get that wrong, again and again, I will respond accordingly, because you are under a false impression if you think scientists are as uncertain about global warming as your sense of the word implies.

wkw-
I’m afraid I wasn’t clear enough: there will be nothing constant about the trend in the warming. Indications of natural climate shifts of the past show that the transitions tend to be sharp and sudden, rather than gradual.

They also show these systems to be very sensitive to disturbances, and there is nothing small about our contribution. We can measure volcanic CO2 output in megatons, and our own in gigatons. Is it hubris to consider the CO2 ours when it has an isotope profile that you can only get by burning fossil fuels? Is it hubris to consider ourselves to blame when there are measurable effects to a fifty percent rise in CO2?

As for meaningfulness of a century in geological context? Of course. But do you know anybody who actually lives on that timescale? We’re creatures of decades and centuries. Everything might be back to normal within a millenium, but that could be forty or fifty generations in our terms. Climate changes on the order of decades are not meaningless to folks like us. We have societies built upon centuries and millennia of climate stability, and history has shown us to be especially vulnerable to those kinds of shifts.

The Hubris is in thinking we can ignore this problem, given the likelihood that it is real.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at May 30, 2007 9:21 PM
Comment #221738

Stephen D.
What make you think evertone is wrong except you? Since when have you become god and MR Know it all? Your right you are not very diplomatic. Until theory becomes fact it is still THEORY.

Posted by: KAP at May 30, 2007 10:07 PM
Comment #221740

Phillip,

“If you think this guy is an expert, you’re wrong. This guy made a career, both scientific and political, in administrating, not doing research. He may as been a good geologist at start, eventually. Doesn’t make him a better expert in climatology today than anyone else.”

So, you are saying that his credentials are wrong and false?!! Heck, even Stephen took the position of not responding to the facts about this (prominent) scientist’s credentials. All this b/c you didn’t like his stance on some issues in the past (asbestos and volcano forecasts)?! He’s a scientist! They are not perfect, they make mistakes (trial and error). Galileo, Einstein, etc. all had phenomenal (promient) careers as scientists; however, they have certainly been wrong and made errors in their careers. Yet, Phillip doesn’t agree with Dr. Allegre, so this guy is not the climate expert his peers and his devotion to Science deemed so?!**** Please, Phillip. At least try to back up and dispute his claim that “man-made” global warming is: “over-hyped and an environmental concern of second rank.”…”Calling the arguments of those who see catastrophe in climate change “simplistic and obscuring the true dangers,” Dr. Allegre especially despairs at “the greenhouse-gas fanatics whose proclamations consist in denouncing man’s role on the climate without doing anything about it except organizing conferences and preparing protocols that become dead letters.”

Don’t attack his credentials b/c he’s had a stellar career that you (and I) couldn’t even begin to touch. Back it up, Phillip!!!!

Posted by: rahdigly at May 30, 2007 10:30 PM
Comment #221749

KAP-
Look, I’m just telling you what I know about the field. When people talk about the theory of relativity in relation to gravitational effects, they’re not implying that they just don’t have the facts yet. Neither are the proponents of quantum theory saying that. Now, other theories may supercede these ones as they did others. However, the condition for that is that they match the proven predictive power of those theories, in addition to explaining the anomalies the others don’t. The same thing applies to theory of plate tectonics, and the theory of evolution.

These are not wild guesses. These are not facts waiting to be proven. They are standard backbones of scientific study in their fields. That’s what I know of theories, in scientific terms.

So when you tell me that Global Warming is a theory, and therefore waiting to be proven fact, I mince no words about correcting you. Once that word game starts getting played, the misunderstandings only grow. If you’re going to use the word theory, use it right.

Rahdigly-
I didn’t respond because I thought Philip nailed him perfectly. You just want him for your collection of “prominent scientists”. He says, like many of them, what you want to hear: people aren’t to blame for the current warming.

I’m not a stranger to situations where there are solid theories in competition with one another. That doesn’t, however seem to be the case here. I don’t know what exactly the theory here is, that’s supposed to explain things better.

And for your side, that might just be on purpose. Not citing one theory as the most promising means you are in no danger of being totally wrong. You can always move on to the next quibble. But if you’re proclaiming that one theory or another casts down Global Warming from the pedestal, the legitimate question, as per what I said to KAP, is whether or not you really have a superior theory in hand.

In short, you want to have your cake and eat it, taking no firm position based on scholarship, but claiming any handy hypothesis as the revolutionary successor of Anthropogenic climate change.

The truth is, you’re taking very thin scientific positions, and claiming that they are better than they’ve so far been demonstrated because of some generalized prejudice against non-global warming theories. Everything becomes about science being victim to politics. Never mind whether what you’re suggesting is good science to begin with. You simply leave that question to whatever authorities you’re appealing to at the moment. You attack scientist’s honesty, integrity, and professionalism, yet express intense outrage when your scientists are put under scrutiny to determine the legitimacy of their credentials.

Do credentials and expertise only matter to you when the scientists are saying what you want to hear?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at May 31, 2007 1:45 AM
Comment #221750

“tomd-
I’m selling my particular vehicles with science as the driving force for both the critiques of the contrarians, and as the positive proof to justify people’s subscription to the theory.”

The Yugo had a few good points too, but it was an ugly car.

“Now, like a used car salesmen, I could stretch the facts, give easy answers to questions just for the sake of your acceptance of my point”

It wouldn’t work. You would be caught.

“but I’m going to give you credit for being smart enough to deserve better than that.”

That’s mighty nice of you, but tell me, What does intellegence have to do with “deserving” better than that? Are you saying that dumb people deserve less?

“I’m not lying to you, or selling you something I don’t have trust in myself. I’m not sugarcoating this for you. The answers are there, they just aren’t the easy ones you’re looking for.”

If the answers are there, you haven’t found them yet. You have written a book trying to explaine to me and others why our questions aren’t relevant without giving the answers. When prominant scientists are claiming your theories are wrong, instead of answering their challange, you criticize them for being “out of their field” You weren’t so quick to dismiss them when they agreed with your side. Tell me, how many of the scientists on your side are “out of their fields?

By the way, Stephen, May I ask what your field of expertise is?

Posted by: tomd at May 31, 2007 2:52 AM
Comment #221751

rahdigly,

So, you are saying that his credentials are wrong and false?!!

No, I say, contrary to what you claim, is has NOT “the highest environmental credentials”. I say he denounce Global Warming “fanatics” as trying to make a career of it, while during his own career he does the same, even he was notably wrong on some major predictions.

I claim his environmental credentials are, agreed, higher than mine or yours but not more higher than any other climatologists doing *research* on the field since decades.

All this b/c you didn’t like his stance on some issues in the past (asbestos and volcano forecasts)?!

Who will argue today that Asbestos pose zero risk to human health?!? I’m not just disliking his stance, I think he can be dangerously wrong, as proven by its bio and, unfortunately he will rather use his position to lobbying a wrong than losing his job. As proven by its bio.

He’s a scientist! They are not perfect, they make mistakes (trial and error). Galileo, Einstein, etc. all had phenomenal (promient) careers as scientists; however, they have certainly been wrong and made errors in their careers.

Agreed. But can’t he be wrong this time because you like his current stance on Global Warming?
You can’t have it both way.

That’s why scientists rely on peers-reviews.
See below for ones on Allegre claims…

Don’t attack his credentials b/c he’s had a stellar career that you (and I) couldn’t even begin to touch. Back it up, Phillip!!!!

You will find many links about Allegre here:
http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2006/10/con-allegre-ma-non-troppo/

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at May 31, 2007 2:56 AM
Comment #221753

KAP,

Until theory becomes fact it is still THEORY.

But when it becomes fact, it’s fact from *start* of the theory life, not from its *end*.
Can you notice an important Tic Tac difference there?


Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at May 31, 2007 3:36 AM
Comment #221757

In the event people do not believe pollution Kills, just go into your garage close the doors and
start your car an sit there for half an hour, an
you will never need to worry about an Ice Age or
a Global Warming. We have millions of vehicles an
factories polluting the air and the Rain Forests are
being destroyed. Since all these pollutants fall
back into our oceans, causing them to produce less
oxygen. I really do not believe anyone will need
to worry about desertification or an ice age!

Posted by: -DAVID- at May 31, 2007 5:30 AM
Comment #221770

Ok, I’m not going to let the “religious” fanatics of the “man-made” global warming crowd change this subject or ignore the facts. Some of you did not respond (directly) to the actual credentials of these two Prominent Scientists. Some did make comments about Dr. Ball’s professorship and that he studies in Canada (whatever that means); however, you did not respond to the fact that he does (indeed) have the credentials and the people that made the (initial) claim have either corrected their stance (newspaper) or have been sued for libel (colleague). I then listed both Scientists credentials and their stance on the issues. The only thing some of you bloggers did was attack a few of the scientists earlier works and dismiss their stance on their “skeptical” views of “man-made” global warming.


So, prove where these scientists are wrong in their stance. In other words, “either sh*t or get off the pot”! Until then, you are trying to sell an “ugly truck”; in fact, it’s like selling a yugo at Ferrari prices. No one is going to buy it unless they are completely stupid or just a religious fanatic with this “man-made” global warming crap.

Posted by: rahdigly at May 31, 2007 11:07 AM
Comment #221780

rahdigly- When ever a person debating a major
scientific, heated debate, ugly trucks an comparing
the prices of a Yugo an Ferrari, with a couple
Scientists an tries pitting that against the
majority of scientific evidence from World wide
communities, tell me that you may have bought that
Yugo for Ferrari prices!!

Posted by: -DAVID- at May 31, 2007 1:09 PM
Comment #221793

tomd-
I hold a Bachelor of Arts in Telecommunications from Baylor. I know the in and outs of writing, of film and electronic media. I also know quite a bit about science and technology, though I don’t hold a formal degree in that.

In compensation, I do typically try to find people within the right fields when I’m researching a scientific point. I prefer to know what’s right, rather than find what supports my argument. It helps me not to make dumb arguments. I don’t treat that distinction lightly, and if there is some misunderstanding here, I’ll gladly clear it up.

Before you turn my claim on me, it might help if you cite actual examples of my confusion in this area. I have done my homework everytime I’ve made the allegation. I went, looked up these people’s credentials, found out what they’re specialty is. The implicit point I’m making is how few of the contrarians the other side is offering up are actually specialists in that particular field. It’s not my fault so many of the names they drop of “prominent scientists” are prominent in something else. It may make me look a little overcritical, but should I just let that stuff fly for the sake of civility?

So, you would say, if you’re not a professional, why should we trust you to be any more reliable than those you critique? The answer is, you shouldn’t. That said, I’ve never been relying on my own authority. I’ve posted plenty of links to scientific sources in past discussions of the subject. On the other hand, it is precisely the prominence and the professional status of these scientists that contrarians are using to get their foot in the door.

Trouble is, they’re trying to bust their way in without having done all the other homework necessary to support their position. It’s amazing how stupid some of these people claim that scientists are. These people didn’t forget about solar irradiance, Milankovich cycles, natural sources, or that other stuff. Because most people don’t know about these things, though, people looking to score rhetorical points bring them up, and those who debunk them are portrayed as religious zealots trying to maintain the orthodoxy.

They then turn around and make claims about what other scientists say. They provide these scientists, in their literature, with an aura of authority, regardless of their actual specialization. The Oregon Petition is a good example. The list was packed thousands of mathematicians, biologists, and scientists from other fields. The operative word they emphasized was “scientists” It didn’t matter whether they would be well researched enough in the field to have a true, credentialed professional opinion about the matter. All these people are interested in is putting doubt in people’s minds, and for that purpose, referring to scientists is enough.

Or it’s enough for those who think more along the lines of rhetoric and politics, rather than science. In reality, most scientists are deeply involved in their fields. If the field relates to climatology, then you could say the person has real credibility, true authority, but otherwise, the person is unlikely to know all the crucial in and outs of this incredibly complex system we call climate.

Some scientists, confronted with a certain subject, might be no better informed than you or I. That hardly puts them in a good position to gainsay those who actually have relevant experience. If the real question is whether one person knows better than another about a subject, then their credentials are a good place to start. Their behavior is another good place to determine this. The acceptance of their material is fairly important, as is the relevant data.

In dealing with science, you can’t take a content neutral approach, because the content is what tests your hypotheses. Global warming by increase in solar radiance should of course be accompanied by such an increase. If it doesn’t show up, or if it’s not strong enough to explain things, then something else is at work. Similar constraints would test Milankovich cycles. This is why I present the reams of evidence concerning these things. I think, if a scientist is offering up a point of view that has been substantively shot down by the evidence, then their beliefs should be treated with a degree of strong skepticism.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at May 31, 2007 4:27 PM
Comment #221877

DAVID,

“When ever a person debating a major
scientific, heated debate, ugly trucks an comparing
the prices of a Yugo an Ferrari, with a couple
Scientists an tries pitting that against the
majority of scientific evidence from World wide
communities, tell me that you may have bought that
Yugo for Ferrari prices!!”


Even though that statement was a “fragment” (rather than a sentence); I have to say that you left out “Religious” fanatics, as well. Oh and, I only used two (PROMINENT) Scientist to start off with; there are many, many more. I just wanted to debunk the bloggers (first) that jump all over their credentials b/c they didn’t like their stance as skeptics; to which both Scientist made that point about being alienated from the scientific community b/c they didn’t “drink the Kool-aid of the religious cult of man-made global warming”!!!


Oh and, here’s a little tidbit on that (great) “consensus” some of you so (blindly) follow.

Posted by: rahdigly at June 1, 2007 10:45 AM
Comment #221889

-

rahdigly-

I have no interest in the religious fanatics or in

a few scientists that still believe the World is

flat. The most important objective for our

generation, should be leaving the World in a

safer environment than we found it.

Posted by: -DAVID- at June 1, 2007 1:03 PM
Comment #221890

Rahdigly-
Good, now you’ve added a nuclear materials scientist to the mix.

I don’t get your methods. You tell us not to have faith in science merely on the basis of consensus, but then turn around and use a bunch of scientists who share more in their consensus than in their field of study.

The precise reason to insist that the people be specialists in the field they are critiquing is to avoid having consensus be the only measure of scientific agreement. It’s also the reason I bring science into my arguments, to exclude possibilities and hypotheses that do not fit the evidence. We don’t appeal to consensus because it means something by itself. We appeal to it because its short hand for the fairly broad agreement among scientists, agreement fueled by the convergence of models and principles derived by the scientists.

Like I said before, science is not content neutral. There is plenty of evidence to show that greenhouse gases dominate the climate change, and we dominate the tremendous upsurge that has put half again as much CO2 in the atmosphere as was there at the beginning of the 19th century.

You appeal to no consistent theory. You appeal to the prominence and the supposed growing numbers of scientists to sell your point.

I’ve made it a point to appeal to people on a scientific level, to explain why a particular assertion is wrong, rather than accuse them of various personality defects when they don’t agree with me.

Rhetoric about the popularity of a theory is not enough. Only problem is, that’s most of what you appeal to in order to sell it. I never see you go into the science to justify your points. You accuse people of making a religion out of it, but you’re the one asking us to take your position on faith, because you provide no consistent rational reason to believe that your position to be correct.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at June 1, 2007 1:04 PM
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