Global Warming Again

Global warming is happening and humans are a big part it. The evidence is more and more incontrovertible, according to a report issued today. I have written several posts on the subject. My themes repeat. We have serious problems. We can address those problems. Solutions are going to include things like higher energy prices, alternatives and nuclear power, but expect no panacea breakthrough in our lifetimes.

Excuse me if I link my own posts. I have addressed these issues before and it is better to link than rewrite.

First le's clear the decks. Global warming is happening and there is nothing we can do will prevent it. Barring extraordinary volcanic activity or a meteor collision, the earth will be significantly warmer in 2100 than it is today. The best we can do is mitigate it and adapt to the changes. We CAN adapt.

We do not know the details of what will happen, but we can make some general assumptions. We will face sea level rises, water shortages, and changes in weather patterns. It will be significantly warmer near the poles and somewhat warmer and drier nearer the equator. So what can we do now?

There are some simple things. For example, if you expect a sea level rise of a couple of feet, do not build permanent structures on land less than a few feet above sea level. For example, we would not rebuild below sea level areas of New Orleans or subsidize building near the ocean in general. Since trees live a long time, we might also consider planting southern species further north. Genetic engineering will allow plant species to adapt quicker.

Humans can adapt to these changes. We evolved during the transition from the ice ages to the warm period we are in now. It almost finished our species off. This will be a cake walk compared to that. The earth has been much warmer than it is today, and much colder. Life thrived in the Mesozoic and survived during the ice ages. The problem is change itself. Natural and human communities are adapted to today's world. People and animals can move; forests maybe not.

I have a hypothetical and I would like some opinions. Some years from now, our grandchildren might face a different dilemma. What if the world has become warmer and human & natural communities have begun to adapt? What if they develop this carbon free pancea of an energy source? Do they see reversing climate change as a threat? Maybe they want to keep it warm. After all, we would not want to go back to conditions of the little ice age in 1770. Climate change is a problem in either direction.

Posted by Jack at February 3, 2007 12:18 AM
Comments
Comment #206435

If this is our ‘magic bullet’ for getting us off our dependence on oil from elsewhere.. I’m ALL FOR IT!

Posted by: dawn at February 3, 2007 12:30 AM
Comment #206437

If history has shown us anything, its that change often requires a catalyst. And we can adapt to nearly any change.

There’s a give and take with nature. The more comfortable we get, the more we ignore the needs of mother earth. She gets sick and puts us back on the defense until a balance is found. I think the popular consensus is that she’s got the sniffles. When she starts sneezing, everything is going to change. Humans will probably survive. Simple folks with big families and no inhibitions will have the edge over people like me at that point to be certain.

One of my guilty pleasures is Bruce Campbell movies. He once said: “Good…bad…I’m the guy with the gun.”

Anyway, this topic makes me want to take my family camping to keep them from getting too comfortable.

Posted by: Kevin23 at February 3, 2007 1:26 AM
Comment #206438

Increasing carbon dioxide levels in our atmosphere, is just one small factor in the many variables that mankind affects that contributes to weather change. For example, we’ve known for a long time that the wide scale development that mankind now needs, affects the weather not only locally but also globally. While some cities try to mitigate this as much as possible, weather patterns are still being affected.

I suspect sometime in the not too distant future, science will progress far enough to allow mankind to manipulate the global weather into a beneficial stable pattern. Just as we have learned how to manipulate the other resources we now utilize. Initially, while trying to benefit one location others could be negatively impacted. This could lead to conflicts amongst nations, and be a weapon that countries would wield over each other. Eventually a governing board would need to be formed that would regulate the earth’s weather. But until we reach the point that science can negate the affects that mankind has on the weather, we must do what we can with the science we possess.

I suspect, to offer an observation to your questions; mankind will eventually settle on a weather pattern that offers the greatest bio-diversity possible without the violent extremes that our weather now offers us.

Posted by: Cube at February 3, 2007 2:52 AM
Comment #206439

I see you bought the hype of Global Warming. Typical. You should read Republican Senator Inhofe’s research on the subject. Senator Inhofe proved that Global Warming is a MYTH and a HOAX. I cannot believe that a true Red Republican like Jack would fall for such liberal propaganda.

As in the words of Senator Inhofe:
“satellite data, confirmed by NOAA balloon measurements, confirms that no meaningful warming has occurred over the last century.”

Global Warming is simply a threat exagerated by the liberal media, hollywood elites and our pop culture.

“From the late 1920s until the 1960s they [the media] warned of global warming. From the 1950s until the 1970s they warned us again of a coming ice age. This makes modern global warming the fourth estate’s fourth attempt to promote opposing climate change fears during the last 100 years.”, so sayth Inhofe.

Yes, I know. You liberal America haters will point to the contributions Inhofe has received from the energy and natural resource sector since taking office that have exceeded one million dollars as proof that he’s biased. Well, he’s not!!!

Senator James Mountain Inhofe is an American Patriot who will continue to protect our vital oil and gas industries for decades to come. AND under his leadership of the United States Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, he will continue to block any America-hating moves to reinforce environment protection!!!

LONG LIVE AMERICA!!!

Posted by: Juan dela Cruz at February 3, 2007 6:27 AM
Comment #206443

Jack,
I’m glad to see you finally say something on this subject that makes sense.
Climatic variation (change) is what’s happening, not “global warming” and all we can do is adapt to the changes.
Climate change, which has happened many times, many centuries before the industrial revolution, will cause changes to society as we adapt.
As has happened before, some parts of the world will become virtually uninhabitable that are fecund now and other areas will become more habitable. An overall increase in arable land is probable. As before, man will reap many benefits of a warmer climate.
The fear mongering of chicken littles like AlGore and the panic of the lemmings who follow him (I know I’m mixing metaphors) will soon go the way of the other doomsday predictions.
To answer your question, I believe when the cycle returns to a cooling period there will be an AlGore to instill panic in the gullible that man has to do something about “global cooling” or we’ll all die in ten years.

Posted by: traveller at February 3, 2007 8:49 AM
Comment #206445

I agree with traveler.

I’m all for getting away from foreign oil. I think we can and will find alternative sources of energy. Technology is the key.

Posted by: tomd at February 3, 2007 9:07 AM
Comment #206449

Juan dela Cruz,

I really hope you were being sarcastic. Sen. Inhofe is far from a reliable source on the issue. His “proof” is anything but, and have been easily refuted by those who actually know what they are talking about. Inhofe abuses science.

If you want to know the current state of science, don’t look to a Senator who regularly disregards science. Look instead at what the scientists say. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a body which involves thousands of scientists from over 120 countries who develop detailed reports on climate change, produced a report in 2001 which was reviewed by more than 1,000 top experts, including so-called “climate skeptics” and representatives from industry. The report stated, “There is new and stronger evidence that most of the warming observed over the last 50 years is attributable to human activities.” And then they released another report this week saying the case for Global Warming is even stronger now than it was then.

No peer-reviewed article in the last five years has found evidence or conclusions that would cast doubt on Global Warming. Inhofe is the hoaxer, not the entire scientific community.

Posted by: LawnBoy at February 3, 2007 9:48 AM
Comment #206450

Juan,

You had me going there for a bit. Juvenal and Swift would be proud.

Posted by: Trent at February 3, 2007 9:58 AM
Comment #206451

Juan,

Inhofe said that he believes Sept. 11th was Gods retribution for America’s lack of support of Israel.
He also called the Environmental Protection Agency “a bunch of Nazis”.

Yep, this is the guy I want making environmental decisions for me.

Posted by: Rocky at February 3, 2007 10:15 AM
Comment #206456

In the Little Ice Age Greenland was really green. So apparently there was a cooling period to allow so much ice in Greenland.

There are a couple of sites that research was done recently and both showed cooling rather than warming. One of those sites is Farmville, VA and the other is described as in the Corn Belt of central United States. The reports can be read at www.co2science.org. Another interesting are of study going on is the CO2 on Mars.

I reference these things to show an indication that man made global warming is being overplayed.

Jack

Moving trees that are growing in a specific geographic area, then transplanting those trees to a new area can cause allergies among the people in the new area. For instance, somebody some time ago brought olive trees to AZ. They did not grow here as a native tree. They now cause allergies to some people in AZ. This may not be true with all trees but with a substancial number it is true.

Posted by: tomh at February 3, 2007 11:25 AM
Comment #206459
There are a couple of sites that research was done recently and both showed cooling rather than warming.

And that is in no way a disproof of Global Warming. The observation with Global Warming is that the overall average temperature of the Globe increases. That such a Global change might have contradictory local effects (due to changes in jet streams, for instance), or might be overwhelmed in a certain area by an unrelated local phenomena does not mean that the overall Global temperature is not increasing.

This mistake is the same that people made when saying that the warm winter on the east coast is evidence of Global Warming; discrete local conditions will not always follow the Global general trend. Discrete local conditions should be accumulated to get the Global view, but no single data point proves or disproves the overall conclusions.

Posted by: LawnBoy at February 3, 2007 11:39 AM
Comment #206460

I don’t comment much on global warming because I have only a layman’s understanding of it. But I can understand some tactics used in the debate. For me it is enough that the vast majority of specialists believe that it exists and that man is a major cause. When folks emphasize the small minority of dissenters who have respectable credentials, they are essentially searching for confirmation of what they want to believe. You seem the same phenomenon in the evolution/creation debate. When folks bring up the warming and cooling periods in the historical record, they amazingly do not seem to consider that the specialists are aware of them and incorporate that evidence in their analyses.

I was listening to Neil Bortz (sp?) yesterday. He was claiming that global warming is a fraud perpetrated by Democrats who want to dismantle capitalism. Huh? The Dems are as beholden to the capitalist system as we all are. We take minor differences in policy, toss in a reference to the views of those far on the fringe, and then for fear-mongering purposes make absurd claims.

We do not have to frame everything in political terms.

Posted by: Trent at February 3, 2007 11:41 AM
Comment #206463

Also most measurements are done in large cities where, for instance asphalt can hold heat longer and cause measurements that could not be accurate.

Neither side of this issue has the inside track. Much more needs to develop.

I brought up CO2 and Mars.
Along with Mars the sunspot activity is at a 1,000 yeaar high. The increase in sunspots causes an increase in temperatures. Several studies at the Max Planck Institue in Germany tell a lot more along with the CO2 and Mars studies.

Posted by: tomh at February 3, 2007 12:03 PM
Comment #206464

Jack since you are repeating yourself I will take the liberty to do the same. The problems we face with the energy crisis are not scientific. They are political. We could get all the energy we need through OTEC.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ocean_thermal_energy_conversion#How_OTEC_works

It is already being used, and is profitable.

http://www.ocees.com/main2.html

We could use the energy for electrolysis to generate hydrogen. We already have vehicle that are powered by natural gas. We could do the same with Hydrogen. The problem is NOT the technology.

We could do the same with Nuclear energy. Agin the problems like waste were solved years ago. We just don’t have the political will to enact them.

Posted by: 037 at February 3, 2007 12:09 PM
Comment #206465

The only obstacle is fear. The only deficiency is will.

Time to screw our courage to the sticking point.

Posted by: David R. Remer at February 3, 2007 12:15 PM
Comment #206468
Also most measurements are done in large cities

Huh? What crap.

Posted by: womanmarine at February 3, 2007 12:41 PM
Comment #206469

Fight Global Warming – Buy American

Here’s a win-win. Let’s find ways to get our manufacturing jobs back from China. We need the working-class salaries, and our industries are cleaner than theirs.

We need to restructure our tax code to reduce the burdens on American businesses while capturing appropriate taxes on incoming products – abolish the 16th amendment, remove all income taxes, and move to a system of consumption-based taxes. Insist that China’s currency be fairly valued on the basis of free international exchange.

There’s no way we’ll ever offset the global carbon output of China’s growing coal-based economy – unless we put our economy in the toilet. Let’s find ways to ensure that more of the junk we buy at Walmart comes from our cleaner industries, versus China’s carbon-belching sweatshops. Environmentalists would do better to embrace US industry than to scapegoat them.

Posted by: Michael Smith at February 3, 2007 1:01 PM
Comment #206471

TomH

Allergies are going to be the least of our problems.

I do not propose transplanting, just thinking about that was we replant with changes in mind. For example, I have a wet area that I am planting in baldcypress. My land sits just above the northern range of those trees, but they will grow and I figure by the time they are big in 100 years or so they will be right at home.

Re Mars, it would be good if there was more CO2 on Mars to create more of a greenhouse effect. It is important also to remember that w/o greenhouse gases on earth, our world would be a frozen wasteland. Nothing too much. We need enough CO2 in the air, but not too much.

Trent

I think we can differentiate global warming and responses to it. You can believe global warming is a factor and still be against specific responses such as Kyoto, which has more to do with global income redistribution than environmental protection. What conservatives like me fear is that leftists will succeed in using environmental threats to impose more government controls. Most solutions will require government action, but may not require government management. For example, I favor a carbon tax. That will encourage alternatives and conservation. We do not need and should not try to micromanage HOW that is done.

037

Yes. Energy use is political and economic, not scientific. We use oil because it is a cheap and easy source of energy. It is not because we are stupid or deluded. That is precisely the challenge. Alternatives cost more or are harder to use. A carbon tax might equalize some of the advantages.

Posted by: Jack at February 3, 2007 1:07 PM
Comment #206474

I say tax (lets call it the “Patriot Tax”) the extraction, manufacturing and distribution activities of all non-renewable resources at rates that change on a sliding scale depending on their scarcity and importance in nature…this should be based upon the best science available at the time. Government policies should not regulate the “how”, but instead punish exploitation. Give business an incentive to be conscious of the finite assets in the public trust. It just makes sense to me.

Michael Smith-

I always love reading your posting, but if the US implemented the reasonable sounding protectionist policies you advocated, the biggest impact would be on the poor and power middle class…thus increasing the divide. I’m all about simplicity and fairness in the tax code, but we need to compete on a global scale through the export of ideas. That is the future of a forward looking education-based society, in my view. We should spend on education and investment in meaningful infrastructure. Otherwise just make certain we provide for our own existence in the future.

I think that a society that looks to the future in a practical way - looking to protect opportunity - is better than one that bogs itself down with producing better results today. And I also believe that, in the end, America can compete on a global level without protectionism.

Posted by: Kevin23 at February 3, 2007 2:16 PM
Comment #206478

No Nukes until the power companies profiting them agree to both be responsible for and pay for the waste disposal.

It is the absolute only intelligent and responsible approach to nuclear power utilities.

Posted by: David R. Remer at February 3, 2007 2:26 PM
Comment #206481

tomh-
It was before the Little Ice Age that Greenland was green, mostly in the southern part, during the Medieval Warm Period. The beginning of the Little Ice Age marks the beginning of the end of the old Viking settlement. It’s ice shelves pre-date that. They are ancient, and only now are they heading towards collapse. We are in fact warmer now than we were during the Medieval Warm Period- in fact warmer than anything in thousands of years. And most of that, very recently, in the last few decades.

Not all places become warmer when the Earth in general warms. There are many things that factor into local temperatures, like sea currents, the behavior of prevailing winds, the behavior of continental and maritime air masses, and of course the kind of oceanic oscillations that made this last year relatively easy to deal with compared to 2005. Any of these can locally lower temperatures while the overall averages increase.

As far as CO2 and Mars goes? The Atmosphere on Mars is pressurized at .7-.9 kPa. by comparison, ours at sea level is 101.3 kPa. Mars’ atmosphere is more than a hundred times thinner, with the consequent reduction in the ability to hold heat. It is also an additional sixty million miles out, two-thirds again our distance from the sun. Because of the inverse square law, that distance reduces the amount of solar radiation that reaches Mars.

As for solar variation, studies indicate that it’s too weak to explain the current increases in temperature. Even if there is involvement, the CO2 increase would add to it, making what would otherwise be a more sedate warming influence stronger. In essence, there would be more solar radiation, and more to trap its heat.

As for the Heat Island Effect, the temperature readings taken out on the open ocean, once calibrated for local variations, show the same trend in temperatures. If both temperature sensors in urban areas and on open ocean read the same change, it cannot be a product of the local change in surface characteristics.

As for the increase in real estate? Real Estate under water.

As I’ve said before, it puzzles me how people exploit the uncertainties of climate change research to deny global warming, yet don’t account for it when they make these definitive statements about what you folks believe is happening. Look, you can’t have it both ways. Either it’s impossible to tell, and your positions have no more crediblity than ours, or there is some degree of certainty one can have, and scientific study is necessary to make the claims, not just a bunch of unfocused, opportunistic quibbling.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 3, 2007 2:47 PM
Comment #206483

“No Nukes until the power companies profiting them agree to both be responsible for and pay for the waste disposal.

It is the absolute only intelligent and responsible approach to nuclear power utilities.”

I agree with you David, to a point. The amount of responsibility they have should be balanced with the amount of regulation they have to endure and the amount of profit they are “allowed” to keep. Obviously I’m not proposing that we allow nukes without strict regulation, but we all know there are excesses and any company that will take that responsibility and risk should make a really good return on the dollar don’t you think? On that point, or maybe for another topic, What is a fair return on your business investment?

Posted by: tomd at February 3, 2007 3:08 PM
Comment #206485

Kevin23

Carbon tax. That takes care of most of what we need in an elegant way. The non-renewable thing is harder to figure. Scientists would not agree on many things and it would get hopelessly political.

David

You cannot really charge the firms. You could just drive them out of business at some future date. People use power. People pay for it and should. No energy is free of risk. Coal, oil etc have great costs not included in the price too.

In the U.S. all the risk from nuclear energy has been hypothetical. Other forms of energy have caused significant death and destruction in the real world.

Posted by: Jack at February 3, 2007 3:22 PM
Comment #206487

Jack-

I understand what you are saying. But some things are going to be political no matter what you do. There is just too much at stake. And the problem goes beyond carbon. A carbon tax is attacking a notable symptom, but I think honesty demands we limit our legislation language to the heart of the problem whenever possible. There is no reason a responsible government who has the means to do so should shun the responsibility to balance the interests of the economy against the interests of self preservation or responsible conservation.

Posted by: Kevin23 at February 3, 2007 3:40 PM
Comment #206489

Kevi23

I do not disagree with you in principle, but I do not think it practical.

Take the example of oil. Each year we figure out new ways to get more oil. Reserves are actually growing.

Or take the example of metals. Most are recyclable. How would you tax iron or aluminium?

The carbon tax would serve as a good proxy for most of the others.

BTW - we have to be very careful not to mix up the carbon tax with a BTU tax. That almost happened during the Clinton Administration. Of course, they were not confused. It is a way of protecting coal interests.

Posted by: Jack at February 3, 2007 3:52 PM
Comment #206490

Jack,

I’ve heard you mention your carbon tax idea several times and I understand the principal of higher prices fueling the transformation to alternative energy. Why a special tax? The government isn’t putting any risk or capital into the production. They should get no more tax from an oil company than they do a tree farmer. Let the market work. Prices are going to rise in the energy industry to a point that it’s cost effective to switch from carbon based products.

Posted by: tomd at February 3, 2007 4:03 PM
Comment #206492

womanmarine

Tell those dudes in Paris it is a load of crap. They are the ones that said it.

Posted by: tomh at February 3, 2007 4:21 PM
Comment #206493

Jack-

I’m not convinced it would not be practical. You just have a little less faith in government than I do. The reason I feel this wouldn’t become overly political is because it would be necessarily tied to research science. There is, of course, always the risk that government officials become corrupted and a good law gets ignored or interpreted in a dishonest way. The focus should always be on honesty and necessity when directly affecting business opportunity via legislation.

Good science, while not always 100% correct, is honest.

Posted by: Kevin23 at February 3, 2007 4:21 PM
Comment #206495

re: growing oil reserves - A sliding scale of taxation would account for this. As known reserves grow, the scale is pushed back, stays the same, or moves slower towards the higher end. Incentive still exists to discover them. I see no problem.

Posted by: Kevin23 at February 3, 2007 4:25 PM
Comment #206498
Tell those dudes in Paris it is a load of crap. They are the ones that said it.

And if you every provided a useful citation, we could look into your claim. However, you once again just made an unsupported claim that runs counter to the evidence at hand (see Stephen D’s comment about mid-ocean measurements), and you expect us to just accept your claims.

How thrilling.

Posted by: LawnBoy at February 3, 2007 4:35 PM
Comment #206499

Tonh

The carbon tax is meant to drive up the cost of carbon based fuels relative to other, presumably more benign forms of energy. It has the advantage of elegance and simplicity. It allows government to set a necessary goal w/o dictating means to reach it. It also minimizes the opportunity for corruption.

Since we all use energy, the cost of the carbon tax would be spread throughout society with the tax falling most on those using the most, giving them the incentive to change their habits and practices.

One added advantages to this tax for the cynical person is that uninformed but vocal leftists would think we were taxing big oil, so they would get off our backs and on board with the program.

Whether you tax a oil firm or a tree farm, it is just a pass through to a consumer of oil or wood. If you raise the price of something, people use less. I think we want to use less oil. I am not sure we want to use less wood, considering that it is much more environmental friendly than concrete, plastics or other synthetics we would use as substitutes. If you tax it, we will use less.

Kevin

If you push back the tax on oil as reserves grow, you are still left with the damage that sort of fuel causes in terms of global warming. Something like coal, where we have prodigious reserves would hardly be taxed at all, even though it is not among the cleanest fuels.

Posted by: Jack at February 3, 2007 5:01 PM
Comment #206501

And if we use less trees, the trees will consume some of the CO2.

Posted by: tomh at February 3, 2007 5:20 PM
Comment #206504

Tomh

It doesn’t work that way. A young forest consumes lots of CO2. As the trees get older, they consume less and less. A mature forest is mostly in balance, i.e. it emits about as much CO2 as it consumes. Remember, CO2 is NOT pollution. It is a natural and necessary part of the atmosphere. We worry only about the balance.

Besides, you will use alternatives, such as cement, rock and plastics. All these things tend to create more CO2. The process of making cement is extraordinarily carbon intensive. Even rock has to be moved, crushed etc.

One more thing about American tree farms. Southern pine plantations produce 58% of the wood we use in the U.S. and satify almost 16% of the world demand. These trees are grown in a sustainable way. The products of our forests are wood, clean water, clean air and wildlife. Our wood takes the place of steel, cement, plastic etc, but it also takes the place of wood that might be “mined” from old growth forests that would be better protected or from rain forests that will not easily regenerate.

Posted by: Jack at February 3, 2007 5:36 PM
Comment #206506


Jack: That was pretty slick, appeal to the deliberately uninformed right by proclaiming that the left is uninformed. Isn’t it the right that has slogans like global warming is a hoax, no changes and stay the course. What is really funny though is that tomh comes back with use less trees, hitting you right in your or your childrens wallet.

Here is a little information from the uninformed left that many may not be aware of. The projected 1 to 2 foot rise in sea levels is based on the expansion of ocean water as it warms up and does not reflect the rise that will occur due to melting ice.

Posted by: jlw at February 3, 2007 5:48 PM
Comment #206507

jlw

I am referring only to the favorite lefty hobby horse or taxing big oil. I am for it, but I understand that you cannot tax a corporation. It passes the cost to the consumers. That is good.

If you read my posts, you know that I believe global warming is a problem. That is what this whole post is about. That and how to adapt.

Re trees, what I wrote is true. Lots of people are misinformed about forestry, too much bambi watching.

Posted by: Jack at February 3, 2007 5:57 PM
Comment #206510

jlw

Another thing about forest ownership. Forest owners are under constant pressure or temptation to develop their land. That is another risk of laying onerous regulations on forestry and farming. My kid will probably be able to make more money from development than from forest. I am trying to make sure they do not do that, but eventually I will have no say in it. I am afraid forest fragmention is a real danger. Lots of animal and plant communities are isolated when you do that. All those bambi loving people buy 10 acres and set up a “preserve” but their very presence ensures the preserve consists only of an idea in their own minds and a sign in the real world.

Posted by: Jack at February 3, 2007 6:06 PM
Comment #206511


Jack: It is true. Since I have been posting on WatchBlog, I have watched you become a progressive on this issue.

I have a tip for everyone especially the southerners, kudzu may soon become a cash crop used to produce ethanol. I think I’ll apply for a government permit to build a still, hic cup, kudzu is getting pretty thick here in southern Ohio.

Posted by: jlw at February 3, 2007 6:14 PM
Comment #206512

Push the technology, not the taxes. We shouldn’t be trying to artificially disadvantage petroleum. We should be simply requiring through legislation and regulation that certain fuel efficiencies and emissions limits be reached by such and such a date. Phase it in. It’s like those external fixators you see on patients with one limb too short: bit by bit, you adjust the the screws to lengthen the leg, letting the body heal itself, grow new structures.

Same thing here: phase in efficiency standards, bit by bit, give the market the chance to gradually get better at low-emissions, high efficiency vehicles. If there is damage, let the market heal it.

The interests of the company, if they’re not too busy trying to stonewall the whole thing, will lead them to innovate and create. Heck, if they get ahead faster than expected, raise the floor to meet that.

In the meantime, fund research into renewables and higher efficiency machines, and make it government policy to make use of them.

Maybe even bring the military into it. After all, a tank or a vehicle that doesn’t have to refuel as much is less vulnerable to breaks in the supply chain than a gas guzzler.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 3, 2007 6:37 PM
Comment #206515

Stephen

We WANT to disadvantage carbon. The goal is to use less carbon.

We would not disadvantage petroleum per se. Some sorts of petroleum would do relatively better than coal etc.

This is exactly the problem we constantly face with deeds versus talk. If we are going to tackle the problem, we MUST disadvantage carbon. Energy WILL become more expensive.

With all due respect to liberals on this issue, they liked it better when they could just berate conservatives for not believing in global warming. They could take the high ground in the near certainty that they could goad some conservative into making sure nothing happened. Now we are in the action phase. It is less pleasant. We will do something.

This is the same thing I have observed with gun control. Liberals want strict laws against guns, but they do not want to enforce the laws. When they catch a bad guy with a gun, they fall all over themselves trying to protect him. My state of Virginia has lax gun laws and not much gun violence because we are strict about enforcement. DC has strict laws on guns and lots of gun violence because they lax about enforcement.

Posted by: Jack at February 3, 2007 7:27 PM
Comment #206516

Jack-

I said that the tax rate should take into consideration all we know about a given resource’s effects when extracted and consumed. Coal would obviously be taxed higher because the very nature of its use results in so many levels of harm, not just its disappearance but its re-emergence into the environment in a form that does us long-term harm. If business decides that coal is still the most economical approach despite being taxed an amount proportional with governments political response to the looming crisis (a direct democratic response), then so be it. But its abundance alone is not the sole factor to be considered. There’s scarcity, relative value, purity, etc., etc.

Re-read my comment:

“I say tax (lets call it the “Patriot Tax”) the extraction, manufacturing and distribution activities of all non-renewable resources at rates that change on a sliding scale depending on their scarcity and importance in nature…this should be based upon the best science available at the time. Government policies should not regulate the “how”, but instead punish exploitation.”

Posted by: Kevin23 at February 3, 2007 7:36 PM
Comment #206519

I think just about all has been said about this subject that can be said, but I had to laugh at Juan de la Cruz’s comment about looking at senator inhofe’s “research”.
Senator inhofe could not find the lint in his belly button if he had help!!!

Posted by: charles ross at February 3, 2007 7:42 PM
Comment #206524

Kevin

I did read your comment, and I actually disagree with your intent. I do not think we should “punish” exploitation. There is bad use and good use. Presumably exploitation would be out of bounds compleltly. We do not allow some murder, but we allow some drinking.

I think that when we get to your bottom line, it is a lot like a carbon tax anyway.

Re response - governments are not very good a recognizing long term threats early on. Democratic governments are maybe worse. They tend to overreact to big news things and underreact to others. The proof is right before you with global warming. No governments have done much about it, despite all the talk. CO2 emissions actually increased more in the EU in the last couple of years than in the U.S.

When you want to solve a problem, you have to look for the leverage points and make responses as apolitical as possible. In the case of global warming, carbon is such a leverage point. We would also probably need to go after methane and black soot.

With your use tax, we would have lots of fluctuations. Besides, it misses the goal. It really does not make much difference what resource you are using to accomplish a particular goal.

Posted by: Jack at February 3, 2007 8:18 PM
Comment #206525

Jack,
This might sound odd, coming from me, but I do not think we have reached the action phase yet.

The first step is recognizing the problem. Most of the American public recognizes the problem of climate change, but any meaningful action while the Bush administration is still in place is unlikely. In other words, the recognition has to work its way to the top.

The same holds true for countries like China, Australia, and India.

My guess is that it will take catastrophic events to bring this about. And my guess is that the catastrophic events may not even necessarily be linked to climate change- but they will seem that way to the public, and that is what it will take to create the right international frame of mind for united action.

Again, these are just musings, but something about the current Kyoto approach strikes me as misguided. Hopefully, by 2012, the US & Australia & China & India will be sufficiently mobilized to get onboard and take action, but I do not think the current approach will ultimately be the one that works.

The switch to alternative energies seems obvious. Nuclear power is an option, but fraught with difficulties. (Iran may no longer be exporting oil by 2015, but the idea of lots of nuclear power plants in Iran opens the door for other problems). Mandatory, top-down imposition of worldwide CAFE standards seems obvious, too. And the only viable worldwide organization capable of implementing a revised Kyote Treaty in 2012 would be the UN.

Europe is leading the way. Let us hope they prove to be better leaders than the US.

Posted by: phx8 at February 3, 2007 8:35 PM
Comment #206529

phx8

The Europeans have been a disappointment. I was a lot more hopeful about them just a couple months ago. But they set their cap and trade so high that there is no reason to bring down use. They also are buying credits from former communist countries, where the simple fall of communism has brought down emissions. In other words, they are claiming credit for things that just happened. Sort of like the rooster taking credit for the sunrise.

We have two possible ways ahead. One is the carbon tax. Any country can do this unilaterally. If it uses it to replace other taxes, it will have no effect on its overall competiveness, so there is no excuse to do nothing because others are not on board.

The second way is to use the cap and trade, BUT sell the permits on an open market. Do NOT give any away. If a firm cannot buy the permits to emit what it is doing already, it will have to shut down those operations. NO grandfather clauses, no exceptions for national security, no nothin’.

Worldwide CAFE standards will get at the transportation sector, but may not really help much. If you get twice the milage but drive twice the distance you have gained nothing.

Posted by: Jack at February 3, 2007 8:49 PM
Comment #206532

Jack-

I disagree. I used the word exploitation in a certain context to which you are not staying true. And your comparison of my plan to government response time under the present system misses the boat completely.

There will be a lot of fluctuations. It does not miss the goal.

A carbon tax is basically the same thing…only less inclusive and practically will be slower in responding to scientific facts. It partially addresses a symptom of the problem. It is basically more of the same.

With legislation, you have to decide what to punish. My idea is to punish all those who would deprive the environment and public trust of a known precious resource to the extent that they make a known impact. Lines will be drawn, and they will change over time as the foundational science is reviewed.

A carbon tax is more specific and less tied to science. It is more reactionary, more impunitive, and less effective at actually solving the problems that got us here. My tax can evolve, it is more universally applicable, and attacks core issues of our society (economic benefit v. environmental detriment) honestly.

Posted by: Kevin23 at February 3, 2007 9:54 PM
Comment #206534

Jack said: “In the U.S. all the risk from nuclear energy has been hypothetical.”

Try drinking it for a year or two, then tell me its theoretical, Jack. There is nothing theoretical about how nuclear waste ingested or sitting next to a human body affects it, Jack.

Posted by: David R. Remer at February 3, 2007 10:07 PM
Comment #206538

Wacky stuff here!

The earth has gone though ice ages and global warming before, several times long before man could have had any effect on causation or cure. What makes us think that we can do much either to cause or cure it now!

I wish I could remember where I read this, (someone is bound to have read the same thing)… “mankind is responsible for just 3% of the carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere in the last 100 years.” If that is true then what effect can we possibly have in “solving” this problem? (Maybe we could cut the man-made emissions in half by killing off half of the human race?…let’s count by two’s…”1”…)

I’m for eliminating dependency upon foreign oil in any case.

Posted by: Don at February 3, 2007 10:38 PM
Comment #206540

David, that’s not a very good criticism of an energy source because it could be just as well applied to any, including the most environmentally “safe.”

Drink ethanol for a year and you’ll fare no better. Try munching on the ingredients of a solar cell.

Fact is that widmills have killed more people in the United States than have nuclear reactors, and new technology could allow reprocessing of spent fuels that would elimate the waste problem.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at February 3, 2007 10:58 PM
Comment #206541

Jack,
Worldwide participatinon in some form of a Kyoto agreement is key, but first there needs to be worldwide agreement that participation is absolutely necessary.

Kyoto is modelled on the Montreal Accord, which has been pretty successful at reducing CFC production, and hopefully preserving the ozone layer.

However, CFCs are more easily replaceable than the numerous contributors to CO2. In addition, DuPont was primarily responsible for CFC production. DuPont recognized the scientific implications and, by corporate standards anyway, did a pretty good job of acting responsibly.

A 2012 version of Kyoto will need to be more absolute. We cannot have our cake and eat it too. I picture an agreement which sets an absolute limit of CO2 production per country, with a fractional percentage increase allowing for growth. Each country would have the latitude to choose its own methods of slowing and stopping CO2 emissions. Failure to adhere would result in worldwide tariffs assessed against violators.

But like I said, this would require a worldwide recognition of the problem as the paramount concern of our time, and it would have to be so clear that the need to act would be obvious and highly desirable by nearly everyone.

Posted by: phx8 at February 3, 2007 11:29 PM
Comment #206545

Kevin

The punitive nature is exactly the problem I have with your formulation. It implies a kind of morality which we really have no basis to hold.

I think we may have a difference of point of view re resources. Please do not be offended if I try to characterize what I think you believe. You seem to say that resources are out there to be taken or left. I say that there is no such thing as a resource outside a cultural and technological context. Oil was not a resource for the ancient people of the Persian Gulf. Their technology could neither access it or use it had they been able to get it. Science does not determine the resource. Science might be able to estimate how much of something is around at the current levels of technologies, but cannot tell you how useful it will be tomorrow.

David

Try drinking waste from almost any industrial process. Nuclear energy is potentially dangerous, like almost any form of energy. How many people has wood energy killed when the chimney fire burned down the house? Oh the problems of killer creosote.

Loyal & David

Yeah, try drinking even one bottle of pure ethanol one time.

Posted by: Jack at February 4, 2007 12:03 AM
Comment #206547

phx8

I have no hope/fear we will get anything like that. The world economy is not cleanly divided into countries. China supplies the U.S. market, for example.

The other problem is the benchmark. Do you distribute CO2 rights on current output, population, geography or what?

I also understand there is a big problem with carbon sinks and how to assess them. There are some big paradoxes. A young forest in N. America is a carbon sink. It becomes more of a carbon sink if you fertilize it. A rain forest is not a carbon sink and neither is an old growth forest, but if you destroy them, they become producers of CO2 until and unless the trees grow back.

That is why I keep on returning to the carbon tax. It has the beauty of being applicable by any country at any time. It does not require an international agreement.

One of the most promising agreements is not Kyoto, but the Asian Pacific Partnership. We will solve this problem with technology, not redistribution.

This is a good publication re.

Posted by: Jack at February 4, 2007 12:19 AM
Comment #206551

Jack,
“The other problem is the benchmark. Do you distribute CO2 rights on current output, population, geography or what?”

GDP,
“We will solve this problem with technology, not redistribution.”

Yes, but… Conservation is the fastest, easiest fix to implement. Over the long run, it will come down to alternate energies.

On the one hand, I am confident about an ability to innovate. On the other hand, Global Warming is a problem which involves such huge amounts of energy, such enormous amounts of momentum, that we may wait too long. We have already waited too long.

It seems unlikely that anything will stop atmospheric CO2 from increasing by 3 ppm/year anytime soon. Somewhere around 2014 it will top 400 ppm. Technological solutions might slow the incresae enough to level it at 450 ppm in, say, 25 years, but there are other side effects which will not be solved by technology.

For example, for a long time no one could account for all of the CO2 that humanity was producing. Why was all of it not showing up in the atmosphere? Were plants absorbing it? It turns out 25% of the CO2 is being absorbed by the oceans. This absorption is making the oceans more acidic. That, in turn, will interfere with the ability of the smallest creatures at the bottom of the food chain to make their shells. At some point it could cause the ocean food chain to collapse.

What is the tipping point?

Don,
Put politics aside, and rent “An Inconvenient Truth.” If you see it and disagree, or want to dismiss it as political grandstanding, that is fine. But I believe you will find it carefully reasoned, surprisingly watchable, and informative.

Posted by: phx8 at February 4, 2007 1:00 AM
Comment #206552

Jack-

All laws are punitive. Otherwise they are worthless. When we’re talking about what government can do, it all involves asking for some form of sacrifice, either monetarily or in liberty. I am not for punishing business without just cause. I’m just against shortsighted capital ventures that have foreseeable and irreversible consequences. We don’t need to wait until there is a popular backlash against a certain resource before we push business to consider the consequences of their actions.

re: resources - I agree that it is all in context. But I also think we’re getting to a point in our knowledge of the world where we can start to make educated guesses as to the effects of our activities. I just wish we could be less reactive in the approach. I just think my “sliding scale” approach is more proactive, and fosters and relies upon meaningful research going forward.

You’re approach would serve a good purpose too, don’t get me wrong. I’d support it were it proposed in congress tomorrow.

Posted by: Kevin23 at February 4, 2007 1:11 AM
Comment #206558
Maybe [our kids] want to keep it warm.

Maybe. Or, maybe we are on the path to destruction. Shouldn’t we plan for the worst and do something about it while we can?

Posted by: Max at February 4, 2007 2:05 AM
Comment #206576

LO,

“Fact is that widmills have killed more people in the United States than have nuclear reactors, and new technology could allow reprocessing of spent fuels that would elimate the waste problem.”

We can only assume that not very many people have fallen off of a nuclear reactor, not to mention that windmills have been around for centuries, while nuclear reactors have only been around for 50 years or so.

Frankly, I don’t think that the failure of a windmill would be catastrophic to those that lived downwind.

I don’t think the same could be said of a nuclear reactor.

Posted by: Rocky at February 4, 2007 10:18 AM
Comment #206581

Max

We should take reasonable steps.

My point was that a warmer world is neither good nor bad. Our world has been much warmer than it is today, and much colder. Life survived both, rather better in the warmer world. Our problem is adapting to the rapid change. That is the problem. If a century from now the world has become warmer, I doubt that people at that time will want to “restore” it to conditions of the 20th Century, since it is the change that will cause most of the trouble.

Phx8

Conservation is important. Our carbon intensity is improving a lot. It improves, BTW, when the price of energy increases. It improves a lot until the late 1980s and then it improved less until about 2002. Since we had four different administrations in power during these times, both Dem and Republican controlled congresses, the only variable that seems to be important is price.

But even when carbon intensity improves, economic growth still ensures that we use more energy. If that energy is produced with hydrocarbons, we will have MORE CO2.

When I talk about the technological advance, I am talking about technologies that produce energy w/o carbon.

Re redistribution – the major problem with Kyoto is that is more a redistribution treaty than an environmental agreement. The U.S. currently produces around a quarter of all the world GDP. That means it also produces around a quarter of the worlds CO2. The two go together. U.S. carbon intensity is around the middle of the world distribution. We can and are improving, but there is no way we can bring our CO2 emission in line with our % of the world population w/o causing a collapse of our own and the world economy.

You know that the % of CO2 the U.S. produces has declined a great deal, not because we use less CO2, but rather because other economies have grown. This shows the nature of our problem and the world’s.

Kevin

The is the problem with law. You can be for it or against it. That is why we should make laws only about things that are serious and certain. In the environment, I think we face more of a management issue, which is best handled with a combination of incentives and penalties.

Re resources - we will never get to the point you are talking about because resources are meaningless without a technological or context. The free market is very good at pricing for relative scarcity. This system is not broken and doesn’t need fixing. The problem with hydrocarbons is NOT scarcity, but rather an external cost. We are taxing to equalize this. There is no reason to tax on scarcity. Prices quickly reflect that. Prices are always forward looking. If iron is becoming more scarce, the price will rise, unless government manages to interfere with it. In that case, you will get shortages.

Posted by: Jack at February 4, 2007 11:06 AM
Comment #206585

Don-
True enough, the world never needed us to regulate climate, to cause ice ages or warm-ups. But nothing about that fact precludes our ability to affect things. Aquifers have gone dry before without our help; that doesn’t mean that cities and states can’t drain them.

What we do to the environment, the environment has been able to do to itself before. Both what we do, and what the environment does are determined by the laws of physics. The environment sees no difference between the release of gigatons of CO2 by natural sources from natural causes and us doing the same.

The big difference here is that we can choose, as species, how we behavior. Nature grinds on, changing and rearranging the world without permission from any creature. It does so with next to no concern for whether the creatures around it survive, and that includes us. Does nature care whether it’s natural response to our input of CO2 ruins our civilization? It doesn’t give a crap! It has no capacity to be compassionate! If we are given any rest by the environment, it’s by blind happenstance.

We know what carbon dioxide can do. We know that it will warm the planet. It’s the pattern of the warming, and how the climate shifts in response to the greater heat trapping that is important, and so difficult to anticipate precisely. We know the globe will warm, but we have no clear idea of what the local consequences of that will be. We have arranged our society and civilization in response to the patterns we are familiar with in climate and weather. These have been stable over the long term of our history. Our interference in the climate will change those patterns. It will change where crops can grow and how dependable those yields will be. It will change what places have water in abundance, and those that don’t. It will change what places feel the brunt of powerful storms. It will change the very shape of our coasts, and that will have consequences for port facilities, seaside cities, and other assets there.

The question is whether we make relatively easy choices now, or whether we’re reduced to much more draconian changes later. The climate will not wait for us to get our act together. There is a great deal of momentum to the changes it’s producing, and only if we start working on the problem now do we stand any chance of putting the brakes on.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 4, 2007 11:18 AM
Comment #206590

The problem I have with all of this is that if you actually read what the scientists say, it is something about probabilities. There is a probability that we are in a warming trend. There is a probability that this trend may be associated with human activity.

That is the limit of scientific statements. The statements made by the global warming enthusiasts always neglect the political aspect of this panel. There are 113 politicians on this panel, as well. It is in essence a political body. Is global warming happening? Maybe. Is it caused by humans? Maybe. Do we have accurate global climate models? Doubtful. Is there a large range of error in the predicted outcomes? Yes. Do we thoroughly understand climate or global weather? No.

Scientists are by nature skeptical. There is a lack of appropiate caution in the statements of this body due to it’s political components. This is new science. This is speculative science. This is the problem I have with the excitement surrounding this issue. Phrenolgy was a popular theory espoused by some mainstream scientists in its day. Gravitons have been postulated by science and supposedly detected by Weber in the 60’s.While they may exist,no one has yet proven it.

We have a very limited understanding and record of climate. Geologic evidence is not conclusive, even though it often is presented as such. It has similar problems that archaelogy has. It is an attempt to piece together spotty clues and draw conclusions.

We well might be in a warming trend. It may be long term, it may be short term. That no one can say with any surety. This 90% number being tossed about is nonsense. I know many eco friendly people want to jump on this bandwagon. I will sit and watch the parade go by and continue to be skeptical. Science KNOWS a few things. It does not KNOW many more. I believe strongly in scientific research. I do not believe in starting political movements based on speculation.

Posted by: gergle at February 4, 2007 1:06 PM
Comment #206592

Gergle-
The trouble is, nobody is ever going to be 100% certain about global warming. The system’s just too complex. We don’t have the benefit of an alternative system here, of an alternative theory that explains the facts equally well or better.

This is not phrenology. Phrenology was based on a misunderstanding of the system. Yes, the brain does have some places which are crucial to certain functions and their development. And yes, there is a change in those structures with use and non-use. But that doesn’t change the shape of your skull. Skepticism is warranted. Soft brain tissue does not deform hard bone.

What warrants your skepticism on Global Warming? What leads you to believe that political pressure was the main reason for the extent of its certainty? There’s been far too much poisoning of the well with pseudoscience and groundless accusations of partisanship on the scientists part.

I think you need to examine what’s actually being said, what the actual context for all this is.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 4, 2007 1:32 PM
Comment #206598
The problem I have with all of this is that if you actually read what the scientists say, it is something about probabilities.

The problem is that science always deals n probabilities. Do scientists really doubt evolution? No. But they have to say that it’s still a theory, because the only “proof” of evolution would be to actually watch it happen, which, of course, is impossible due to the fact that evolution happens very slowly.

Do scientists doubt that global warming is real, and could easily have disastrous results? No. But they cannot say anything with 100% certainty, because science doesn’t work that way. Science is about probabilities.

I’ll tell you this, there’s a lot more certainty that something terrible will happen due to global warming than there ever was about Sadaam having WMDs. There’s a potential, very real threat we face. The choice is ours. Do we act? Or do we sit on our collective butts, cross our fingers, and hope nothing will happen?

We need a real task force of Manhattan project like proportions to address this problem. Tony Blair has said that according to very conservative estimates every dollar we spend today on this problem will save us four in the near future. I just don’t understand the debate or what we’re waiting for. Let’s fix this now.

Posted by: Max at February 4, 2007 2:40 PM
Comment #206599

Jack-

“The is the problem with law. You can be for it or against it. That is why we should make laws only about things that are serious and certain. In the environment, I think we face more of a management issue, which is best handled with a combination of incentives and penalties.”

Yes. Of course.

Re: resources - I’m not requiring perfection. That’s the beauty of it. And again, scarcity is NOT the only factor. Of course it is always in context of what we know. External costs are becoming more measurable. We’re measuring them anyway out of necessity, so why shouldn’t law take that into account in a logical way?

Posted by: Kevin23 at February 4, 2007 2:52 PM
Comment #206602

Gergle,

Suppose you are responsible for the water supply of a large city. The city depends upon glacial melt for its year-round water supply.

The glacier is melting. It is receding. You can actually go to the glacier and see that is has receded a great deal.

If the glacier melts, your city will not have water for six months of the year. Not only that, electricity for your city is generated by a dam on the river, and without water in the river for six months of the year, you will have to find an alternate method of providing electrical power.

You gather together 100 scientists. Ninety say the glacier will be gone in fifty years, maybe as few as twenty-five, & you had better do something soon. Eight scientists shrug their shoulders and say, ‘who knows.’ Two say not to worry.

What do you do?

This is the actual situation facing Cuzco, Peru. Many cities around the world face the same situation. It is not a game. It is not speculation.

Do nothing, and every indication is that the problem will grow worse. Inaction will make exacerbate an already bad situation.

The IPCC reports says it is 90% certain Global Warming is happening, and that it is caused by human activity. There has been a debate within the IPCC over whether the percentage should be 99%. Lowering that percentage reflects the influence of politicians. I believe approval requires unanimity among countries, and many countries do not want to be forced into action. For example, the economic growth of China depends upon coal, which is imported from Australia. They desperately want to avoid any restrictions.

Posted by: phx8 at February 4, 2007 3:08 PM
Comment #206605

Did I miss it?? I’ve been looking for someone to give the percentage of overall CO2 that humans have been responsible for producing in the last 100 years. I read (somewhere) that it is merely 3%.

Before I get all excited about changing my way of life I want to know that I can make a REAL (not just a political) difference.

Posted by: Don at February 4, 2007 4:01 PM
Comment #206607

Kevin

We are mostly of the same mind in this situation. We disagree about the price structure. Scarcity does not really have an external cost. The price reflects the expectations of supply and both buyers and selling have significant incentive to get it right.

I also think we might have a different concept of science. Science is just the scientific method. Those who employ the scientific method are scientists. Very often the people who have the best access to information are not government experts, but those practicing.

The history of science has often featured a conflict between those engaged in the practical work and those who study it academically.

I think it is very interesting when you hear people say about science that “we thought that before but now we KNOW”. We never know and those who study seldom agree. That is why when we make hard and fast laws, we need to stick to what we know for sure and cut a lot of slack to those who SEEM to know less. Or maybe in the case of law less is better.

Posted by: Jack at February 4, 2007 4:07 PM
Comment #206609

Don

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Co2-temperature-plot.svg

See the link. CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere and termperatures follow each other closely. If you spend a moment looking at the chart, the CO2 level over the past 650,000 years has peaked several times at 280 ppm. It held at 280 ppm during the 1800s. Starting about 1950, the CO2 level started to trend upward, matching an overall trend of increasing termperatures. Today, CO2 stands at 383 ppm, and is increasing 3 ppm per year.

Three percent seems like a low number. If all factors, direct as well as indirect side effects are included, humanity has probably caused the increase from 280 ppm to 383 ppm, which obviously is a much greater than three percent. You might be thinking of the 3 ppm number.

Posted by: phx8 at February 4, 2007 4:26 PM
Comment #206611

Don-
The amount of Carbon Dioxide in the atmosphere, according to Wikipedia is about 0.0383%. But that third of a tenth of a percent makes for twenty to thirty degrees difference. Additionally, the excess emissions we make will linger in the atmosphere for tens of thousands of years, so the percentage isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. if we add three percent a year for the next ten years, that’s thirty percent, and how much of that stays depends on how much gets absorbed. Evidence shows that much of what could absorb the CO2 is starting to become saturated.

We can’t prevent everything, but why not prevent the worst?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 4, 2007 4:47 PM
Comment #206613

To expand on what gergle was saying please have a look at this.

Forget all the “fact” people are spewing here and just look at the odds of being able to predict the future of a hypercomplex system. And with the odds that you would find we could do a lot better than turning our lives upside down. Technology will happen and thing will get better unless the government takes over.

It would be nice if the ICCP report did come out this week, but of course it didn’t. This was just a summary. The “real” report won’t be out until May. Good way to cause a bunch of political hype without having to prove anything isn’t it?

Posted by: jimmyray at February 4, 2007 5:21 PM
Comment #206615

Jack-

I here what you are saying. But I think you still misunderstand my intentions. I mean to make the law more flexible and more forward looking. Management would, in fact, be crucial. But The review/revision process would be built in (i.e. the “best science available” clause). There is generally very little debate as to what the “best science” is…it is that which is most proven.

I would never advocate allowing “government scientists” have any more discretionary control than any other legitimate scientist. When a consensus is reached, act in accordance to what we know. It is simple. Legislative language, I think, could account for this. It just requires a different focus.

Posted by: Kevin23 at February 4, 2007 5:48 PM
Comment #206616

gergle,

I can respect a true skeptic, as you appear to be. Skepticism is not the same as denial, of course, because that requires certainty itself. But we know there is a correlation over the eons between relatively high C02 levels and warmer temperatures, though, of course, the warming generally precedes the higher level of CO2. Apparently warming leads to greater release of C02 which in turn leads to higher temperatures, a feedback cycle. I find the arguments claiming man is behind much of the current warming trend plausible for a couple of reasons. First, we now have very high CO2 levels and natural causes have largely been ruled out (that is, solar variation, orbital deviations, etc.) Maybe there is some other causes besides CO2, but the reasoning seems plausible. Second, most experts affirm it. I know that argument using authority is not ideal, but in such a complicated field, a nonexpert such as myself has little choice.

At any rate, I hope all these scientists are wrong because, frankly, I don’t see the human race radically curbing CO2 emission anytime soon. And even if we do, we are talking about mitgation of the effects, not elimination.

This all ties in with energy, of course. We have a national security interest in getting off oil, so we have other reasons to seek out other fuel sources besides petroleum. It just seems prudent to me that we take these warnings seriously. If they are wrong, then we have have stressed our economy more than it would have, but I don’t believe that even that has to be too drastic. If they are right, well, anything we can do to mitigate the effects will be good for our descendents.

Like I said, I don’t claim any expertise here. I’m just demonstrating how this non-expert sees it.

Posted by: Trent at February 4, 2007 6:00 PM
Comment #206619

gergle,

And then I see a chart like this one that shows how much CO2 levels have spiked since the beginning of the industrial revolution — compare that to how gradually the CO2 level rises and falls over the rest of the 20,000 years (from the last ice age up until now).

And then read this article about how current CO2 has a manmade isotopic signature.

I don’t know, gergle. Maybe it’s all bogus, but it seems to me there is something there there. Next year, or over the next decade or so, global temperature could fall, and it still wouldn’t invalidate the reasoning because we always see fluctuation. As a poker player, I know that solid play wins long term, but you might have endure weeks of losing at a time. Doesn’t matter. Good play always prevails over a sufficiently long period.

Posted by: Trent at February 4, 2007 6:27 PM
Comment #206621

Jimmyray,
Your link leaves something to be desired:

First, the author does not give his real name. He is supposedly an “academic scientist.” Is he a Nobel Prize winner? Does he wear a white lab coat while handing out goggles at a tanning salon? We do not know, nor do we know his area of experitise.

His area of expertise sure does not sound like it has anything to do with science.

According to his his specious reasoning, climate is complex, with many variables; therefore anything we say about climate is merely a hypothesis. In fact, according to this “academic scientist,” if any hypothesis has 100 variables, and each variable has only a 99% probability of being correct, then taken cumulatively the hypothesis has only a 36% chance of being correct.

By that line of reasoning, we can never successfully hypothesize about any complex problem.

It also ignores the sophistication of the climate models now in use. While the author, academic scientist Frank James, uses a google calculator to show why a complex hypothesis can never be true, climate models use supercomputers, consistently test & update, and rely upon observable, repeatable data. The premier ones are located at the Max Planck Institute in Germany, there is the Hadley model in the UK, and… drat… what is the place where they do the weapons research in CA?… Fillmore? No, that’s for rock concerts… well, anyway, there is one at Las Alamos, too.

As for the IPCC report, please do a little research.

Data collected up to 2007 shows the 2001 report underestimated Global Warming. Some are already suggesting the 2007 report does the same.

Posted by: phx8 at February 4, 2007 7:07 PM
Comment #206626

Max et al:

The problem I have is that these supposedly accurate models. How have they been tested? They haven’t. There are people who claim they can predict the rise and fall of the stock market. They are wrong lots of times.

If you listen to scientists who aren’t financially obliged to spout the significance of these models, you find a great deal of question as to their results.

The sample we have is either not direct,but inferred and what is direct is to small to extrapolate and expect accuracy.

Science does say that evolution is a theory because it is. We have evidence of some sort of linkage over time. What that exact linkage and the exact means of selection is not well known. We cannot predict what the next species is that will evolve and succeed. It isn’t well understood.

This is the exact same problem we have with climate. We understand that climate changes and some of the mechanisms that might cause change. WE DO NOT HAVE A GOOD UNDERSTANDING of all these mechanisms, which makes modeling and extrapolation problematic. Weather prediction is a science yes, but not a well developed technology. There is a difference.

It is a good thing that they are attempting to model climate. It is a bad thing to promote it as a sure thing. Which IS happening.

I also have no problem in making major economic decisions which reduce our carbon profiles and reduce polution in general. China and India will produce far more pollutants than we do, in the very near future. Energy consumption is a problem in this country, which is at least partially behind the reason US soldiers are dying in Iraq. Population is still increasing (despite what Jack has said in the past)and that will continue to impact our enviroment.

What I have a problem with is the politicization of science into an eco-movement. It is an attempt to sell ideas for economic gain on the part of groups who stand to gain from promoting this idea. Some may believe the hype, others simply go along because it benefits them, too. All I am saying is don’t loose your skepticism and jump over the cliff.

Posted by: gergle at February 4, 2007 8:53 PM
Comment #206629

jimmyray-
The link is to a bunch of numerical twaddle. He’s taking the chance given by climate scientists that they’re right about Global warming being anthropogenically forced, and he’s treating it like the roll of the dice done a hundred times.

That’s not the kind of probabilities we’re dealing with here. Climate is very complex, but it’s not without its patterns, and though specific events are difficult, or sometimes impossible to predict, our Climate scientists have gotten very good at predicting general trends.

The trouble is, some people are treating the uncertainties as a free pass to essentially offer the status quo position on climate as “sound science”. The reality is, that the truly sound science is what lead to the support of the notion of global warming. We are essentially letting millions of years of stored, buried carbon back out into the environment. CO2’s heat trapping capability has been known for well over a century and a half. The real question is what the effect of this much infusion of it is. That’s what makes for the complicated equations.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 4, 2007 9:06 PM
Comment #206631

I have been an afficianado of science most of my life. I often read scientific journals because I like to know what is going on.

Anyone I know with a real scientific background understands the limits of science.

There is a perception among the general public that scientists can do anything and know everything. They can’t and don’t. It is truly amazing the speed with which some areas have advanced while many areas are as cloudy as ever.

Particle physics is still in it’s infancy. While many advances have been made since the time of Einstein’s Relativity (circa 1900), in a more general rule we haven’t come far. This article shows the messiness and building blocks involved in scientific advances. I don’t agree with the conclusions of the article, but it demonstrates the politics of science. There have been similar arguments over Watson and Crick’s discoveries and Curie’s work.

Science knows some particular things very well. We understand fission well enough to make reactors, but we don’t even understand the basics of what all the particles and energies involved are. String theory is a popular and relatively new theory that attempts to explain some of these ideas.

Microwave ovens seem amazing to some, but an incandescent bulb was amazing in Einsteins time.

My point here is that humans are human. Even really smart guys lie and are sometimes deluded.
All the foilbles apply. Don’t be fooled into believing we are in a new age. We are in the same continum we have always been. Up close some things can look incredible, but from a distance they may look silly and petty.

Posted by: gergle at February 4, 2007 9:25 PM
Comment #206634

Stephen,
You say scientists have gotten very good at predicting climate trends. What is your evidence of this?. I’m curious how you prove a prediction about climate considering we have little more than 100 years of weather data and less than 20 years of extensive weather data.

Trent, I couldn’t pull up your links.

Posted by: gergle at February 4, 2007 9:41 PM
Comment #206635

phx8,

Per the use of supercomputers, one principle still applies: Garbage in = garbage out. Was I supposed to be impressed because we use supercomputers? what does that prove?

Posted by: gergle at February 4, 2007 9:43 PM
Comment #206638

Let me get this striaght.Because there is an ever shrinking shred of doubt about human caused climate change we should drag our feet in making changes that we should be making for national security reasons anyway? Does not seem too logical to me. Niether does it seem logical that considering all the carbon we are digging up and dumping in the atmosphere at such a huge rate would not have an effect.

Posted by: BillS at February 4, 2007 9:59 PM
Comment #206639

Gergle,
Supercomputers are needed to model the complexity of global climate.

Every Global Climate Model shows the same thing; add greenhouse gases the atmosphere, and the climate warms. Not one model suggests the climate will stay the same, or cool. Not one.

Furthermore, if the models are wrong, it is not likely to be an error in our favor. If the Global Climate Models are wrong, the situation may be much worse than we expect. Not better. Worse.

113 countries, including the US, have already signed off on the IPCC findings. The IPCC itself does no research. Its findings are based on peer-reviewed articles and journals. The IPCC findings are matter of science.

What we choose to do with those findings- THAT is political.

Posted by: phx8 at February 4, 2007 10:05 PM
Comment #206645

There is hope that an innovative technological solution for an alternate energy source could come from unexpected quarters.

The Chinese will land on the moon in a decade or less, and they will be looking into the feasibility of mining 3HE. If it is there, as is suspected, and advances could be made with fusion reactors here on earth, the problem of an alternate energy source could be decisively solved- and solved without radioactive wastes!

Posted by: phx8 at February 4, 2007 11:38 PM
Comment #206649

Gergle-
I would trust that article as far as I could throw a printing press.

Nobody writes this stuff up in a vacuum. Einstein’s genius was in getting all this stuff to cohere together. His theories have stood up to much scrutiny, and form the basis for a great deal of science today. We have actually observed the strange effects of relativity in action. The author of the piece tries to paint the gravitational lensing effect as a fraud, but though doubt exists as to whether the 1919 experiment really produced the results, gravitational lensing has been observed elsewhere.

Particle physics is not in its infancy. It’s a pretty advanced field. If it weren’t, our correspondence here would not be possible. The behavior of electrons and light particles is fundamental for the transmission and processing of data today. It’s only through a profoundly accurate understanding of how electrons work that microchips, routers, fiber optics, and other elements of the internet actually work.

Hell, if we didn’t have a very good understanding of quantum physics, we’d have a very difficult time making a nuclear reactor work, much less a nuclear bomb. The energies are a known quantity, in no small part because of Einstein’s contribution. E=MC^2 is a fundamental measure of the energy released by the conversion of matter to energy. We understand the particles, the problem comes in explaining them in a more elegant fashion. Quantum theory, as it is, is extraordinarily accurate, but also very ugly compared to some of the more beautiful mathematical explanations of things.

String theory has its adherents, and its detractors. One of the problems is proving it. If you can’t distinguish some means of telling what a good theory is from a bad one, you’re not really doing good science.

Things like GPS, The increase of mass for high-speed particles, the deflection of light by gravitational forces (which in Newtonian terms would have nothing to grasp with light, which has no mass at rest), are among the tests by which one can demonstrate the validity of Einstein’s theories.

As for forecasting the weather, one of the ways to test theories is to run them with past data, and see what develops. Doing this, scientists were able to recapitulate much of the general behavior of climate systems durin the 80’s and 90’s, with the exception of Mount Pinatubo’s cooling effect. They were also able to predict that a hurricane would develop for the first time off of the Brazilian coast below the equator. It did. Specific behavior is what throws the computers. However, as models have refined, and computers have advanced, the models are coming into clearer focus.

We’ve got more than a hundred years worth of climate data. We’ve got millions. It’s the last few hundred that we have in any kind of precise detail.

We are in a new age as far as our understanding of the world goes. It’s a hell of a lot more complicated. The classical world of Einsteins time was already dying. Science has change profoundly.

The trouble is, much of this doubt about what scientist know is applied from prejudice, by those who have a self-interest in misleading others, or who do not fully understand what they’re looking at. The foibles apply, smart guys do lie and are sometimes deluded, but that doesn’t mean the contrarians are right.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 4, 2007 11:54 PM
Comment #206650

phx8,

How can you say things like:
`if the models are wrong, it is not likely to be an error in our favor.`

If they are wrong you can predict which way?

`By that line of reasoning, we can never successfully hypothesize about any complex problem.`

Exactly!!!! If we could we would never have lost a space shuttle. Is global weather more complex than launching and landing a space shuttle?

Stephen,
`That’s not the kind of probabilities we’re dealing with here. Climate is very complex, but it’s not without its patterns`

Ok. How long are these cycles? How much temperature data do we? What have we used instead of temperature data? Tree rings? I’m sure that has introduced any errors. Have we taken in all the variables? What about cosmic rays? Solar flares? Cows farting? Is CO2 a cause or an effect? I love the way everybody has latched onto CO2. If we cut man made global CO2 in half what would be the global temperature change? .5C? 1C?

Posted by: jimmyray at February 5, 2007 12:00 AM
Comment #206651

Does anyone remember Y2K? As a computer programmer I had to calm my friends down. They were heading to the woods and buying generators. This is like Y2K on a global scale. Hype.

Posted by: jimmyray at February 5, 2007 12:05 AM
Comment #206652

Jimmyray,
There have been no climate models which show climate staying the same, or cooling, even though there is tremendous economic incentive to do so. China, Australia, the US, the coal industry, oil, insurance industries, all would stand to gain by such a model. But no model shows this.

Climate models run into difficulty with changes at the high end. Self-reinforcing feedback loops can be unpredictable. For example, all models predict the arctic will show signs of warming first, and heat up the most; a wide array of evidence already validates this prediciton. But warming in the arctic involves melting permafrost; it releases large amounts of methane (another greenhouse gas). How fast this will happen & how much it will feed upon itself is open to debate.

New data from Greenland shows the ice is melting faster than expected, and at an accelerating pace. As I mentioned earlier in the thread, the IPCC report gives a conservative estimate of rising sea levels, because the data from Greenland was not anticipated.

Historical data for climate is good going back 650,000 years, but we are going to see greenhouse gas concentrations at levels which have not occurred in 20 million years. It is unexplored territory.

Posted by: phx8 at February 5, 2007 12:20 AM
Comment #206653

Comment #206651
Does anyone remember Y2K? As a computer programmer I had to calm my friends down. They were heading to the woods and buying generators. This is like Y2K on a global scale. Hype.

Posted by: jimmyray at February 5, 2007 12:05 AM


I love this one…and you a programmer no less? The fact is had we done nothing Y2K would have been a disaster. We acted and the potential problems were solved.

It takes a lot of arrogance and a good heaping of disregard for humanities future for a laymen like yourself to claim to know better then some of the worlds best scientist.

Posted by: muirgeo at February 5, 2007 12:29 AM
Comment #206654

“Solutions are going to include things like higher energy prices, alternatives and nuclear power, but expect no panacea breakthrough in our lifetimes.”


Solutions will incude governmental intervention.

Oil companies have trillions more of profit to make from the status quo…they have no incentive to change on a strictly free market basis. Change will come in the form of a statesmen-like politician lead by the will of the people to fund an Apollo like program for renewables.

Ideally energy will be a readily available commodity not subject to market monopolization. If people could make their own energy from wind, solar, biomass and NOT be dependent on high tech forms of transportation or centralized power companies the cause of freedom will be advanced.

Posted by: muirgeo at February 5, 2007 12:38 AM
Comment #206659
Climatic variation (change) is what’s happening, not “global warming” and all we can do is adapt to the changes.

No. We can do far more: reduce the speed of climatic change. By reducing our contribution to it.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at February 5, 2007 4:54 AM
Comment #206663

Max,

I’ll tell you this, there’s a lot more certainty that something terrible will happen due to global warming than there ever was about Sadaam having WMDs. There’s a potential, very real threat we face. The choice is ours. Do we act? Or do we sit on our collective butts, cross our fingers, and hope nothing will happen?

So true.
Isn’t it hironic that when facing hypothetic Saddam’s WMDs threats the same people who refused to wait for proof, the famous smoking gun, are often *now* asking definitive proof of Global Warming before acting.

Double standard at work.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at February 5, 2007 5:27 AM
Comment #206665

jimmyray,

Does anyone remember Y2K? As a computer programmer I had to calm my friends down. They were heading to the woods and buying generators. This is like Y2K on a global scale. Hype.

Thanks for pointing that, indeed, when people act before a well-known disaster happen, the problems are resolved in time and nothing goes wrong.
In the meantime, in Y2K case, thousand of old softwares were reviewed, some replaced, some enhanced not just Y2K patched, and part of good economy around this time was dragged by IT industry…

Why not apply the same plan for climate change? In the process, we could even replaced old energy with newer, better ones, while the economy could get a little boost?

muirgeo,

It takes a lot of arrogance and a good heaping of disregard for humanities future for a laymen like yourself to claim to know better then some of the worlds best scientist.

Or the famous programmer über-ego. ;-)

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at February 5, 2007 5:42 AM
Comment #206668

Stephen,

Climate is not modeled on a 20 year span, yet that is your answer to my question about how can we test climate modeling. What happens in a 20 year cycle is meaningless to climate.

As to your supposition that we have millions of years of weather data, that is simply a falsehood. What you are refering to is geologic evidence that is used to infer climatic conditions. We do not know the actual weather conditions. Neither do we know everything about the society of the Egyptians, but we have lots of “evidence” of their culture. Inference is sometimes completely wrong. Why do we not know what ended the dinosaurs? Your suppositions are simply an aceptance of conventional thought, not scientific fact.

Concentrations of CO2 is something we have only recently been able to measure. We infer that these concentrations have a major effect on climate. While that inference is likely, it is by no means an absolute one on one connection to climate change. We are looking at relatively small effects that could create a “feedback” cycle. But that presumes we understand that “feedback” cycle. We do not. There is tons of research on the feedback cycle invlvolved the development of diabetes, yet we do not have the complete understanding of that issue. A recent study suggested a neurologic causation, yet many other researchers are skeptical of it. Why? Because that is the nature of science. It is also the nature of scientific funding. If it means your research will be defunded, you are not likely to support that idea.

As to Einstein, he was theoretical physicist, not an experimental scientist. He was primarily a mathematician who approached things from a different perspective. My point was he was not the first to suggest these ideas. He is credited with publishing his ideas, but even he would admit he built upon other research. This is the kind of behind the scenes bickering that actually goes on in science. Breakthroughs do not happen in leaps and bounds, they happen incrementally. This is part of the problem I have with this modeling. We are suddenly pronouncing that we understand climate. We do not. We have theories about it. We can model climate change and over long periods of time these theories will be tested. To date that is impossible. That doesn’t mean we know nothing.

The reasons that supercomputers are used is because of the large matrices used in solving these complex systems. These matrices could not be calculated otherwise. The problem with complex systems is we often don’t understand all the varibles. There has been supposition that we could use particulates to modify the weather. I think that is highly dangerous.

I took a differential equations course in which the professor was working on a system that tracked eye movement. It was a defense project used in targeting. He excitedly touted his equations as defining human behavior. I have my doubts about that. It may have allowed eye movement to be linked to triggering and targeting devices, but I don’t think he has captured human behavior in his models. Over excitement about one’s own revelations is common in science.

Again, I have no problem with reducing the poluting effects of man. That is smart, for multiple reasons. I do not know all the implications of Kyoto. If China and India aren’t held to similar standards of behavior as the US then it probably isn’t economically smart from our point of view. That doesn’t preclude other agreements. I think the global warming issue can be used to pressure these developing nations to cleaner standards. That would be smart use of this theory and the political psitioning that is going on.

I believe a clean enviroment is necessary in an ever expanding population. I think climate study is very interesting and could at some point be useful. It is something to watch closely. It has also been recently stated that no matter what we do this change is going to occur. Given that, I’m not sure what the excitement is about as to what we do.

My only issue with this is the way it is presented as scientific fact. It is a theory, it is based on shakey evidence. It is being erroneously presented, in my opinion.

As to particle physics being well developed, I would have to say compared to what? I am looking at it as a technology and over history. Some parts, yes. We use plasmas and high energy particles in semiconductor and conductor development and other research. BUT, we do not even know what all the particles are that compose matter. We don’t know the very nature of matter, in some aspects. How can you say it is well developed? That’s a bit hasty.

Posted by: gergle at February 5, 2007 7:39 AM
Comment #206670

“113 countries, including the US, have already signed off on the IPCC findings. The IPCC itself does no research. Its findings are based on peer-reviewed articles and journals. The IPCC findings are matter of science.”

This summary (the actual report hasn’t been published yet)was edited word by word by 500 bureaucrats from 113 governments, mostly socialist in nature.
Whether the scientists work is valid or not it is now tainted by people who work to increase government control over the lives and activities of common people.
The IPCC itself is an agency of an organization that promotes world socialism.
This report is a matter of politics promoted by an authoritarian mindset.
All of the suggestions I’ve seen for a “solution” to the “crisis” involve an authoritarian world government.
Many of the scientists whose findings are used in this summary are funded by radical environmental groups that are anti-industrial, anti-capitalist and misanthropic.
That’s the motivation for this hoax and you lemmings are lapping it up.

“Bizarrely, the actual report will be retained for another three months to facilitate editing — to suit the summary! IPCC procedures state that: Changes (other than grammatical or minor editorial changes) made after acceptance by the Working Group or the Panel shall be those necessary to ensure consistency with the Summary for Policymakers or the Overview Chapter (Appendix A to the Principles Governing IPCC Work, p4/15)” Junkscience.com

Posted by: traveller at February 5, 2007 8:44 AM
Comment #206673
The IPCC itself is an agency of an organization that promotes world socialism.

Never mind the evidence or the complete scientific consensus on the issue - full steam with the ad hominem attacks!

Posted by: LawnBoy at February 5, 2007 9:02 AM
Comment #206674

LawnBoy, how could ignore that world climate is socialist?!
Everybody knows it!

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at February 5, 2007 9:10 AM
Comment #206701

According to the information I am reading here, we are doomed and there is no way out! We can delay it, but we can’t stop it. If CO2 started increasing in the 1800’s when there was less than 1/2 of our current world population creating less than 1/2 of our current per capita CO2, what chance do we have to reverse this? The only human chance to stop this gloomy situation is to kill off 1/2 of the population and go back to pre-industrialized societies. (Like that’s going to happen.)

So let’s all change to compact florescent light bulbs and electric cars?? Not a chance that will reverse anything! Let’s talk turkey…life, as we know it, is over! We need to count off by 2’s and send all the 2’s to a permanent early retirement.

Posted by: Don at February 5, 2007 12:04 PM
Comment #206702

Don,

According to the information I am reading here, we are doomed and there is no way out! We can delay it, but we can’t stop it.

We can’t even delay it, because it’s already happened and, yes, happened since long time. It just happened at an unprecedent quick rate, which according to a majority of climate experts could be due to our own contribution thru polution.

What we can do is slow it.

To give more time to more people to adapt to such quick climate change.

If CO2 started increasing in the 1800’s when there was less than 1/2 of our current world population creating less than 1/2 of our current per capita CO2, what chance do we have to reverse this?

None. Not without radical solution.
What we could do, meanwhile, is trying to reduce CO2 emission, with as first milestone being CO2 emission stabilization.

Reducing polution now is give more time for everyone on the planet to adapt to a warmer climate.

It’s not armageddon, it’s change. No need, we will adapt. The longer we have to do it, the less painfull will be, though.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at February 5, 2007 12:18 PM
Comment #206710

LawnBoy,
The truth is not determined by consensus. If it was we’d be on a flat earth orbited by the sun.
There isn’t complete consensus anyway. If there was AlGore, Heidi Cullen and others wouldn’t be trying to silence the “deniers”. One idiot even proposed the death penalty for people who deny the global warming religion.
Questioning the motives of people who are funded by organizations whose purpose is to subjugate us under a global authoritarian regime isn’t ad hominem any more than adherents of your religion questioning the motives of the “deniers” who are funded by industry.
There is plenty of evidence of climate change. The claim that man is causing it is an assumption. This assumption is no more scientific than so-called “scientific creationism”. The same error has been made in both cases. A conclusion was reached and then evidence to support that conclusion was pursued with all contrary evidence suppressed or ignored.
This IPCC summary isn’t a scientific report. It’s a political tract issued to support an agenda.

Posted by: traveller at February 5, 2007 2:21 PM
Comment #206718
The truth is not determined by consensus. If it was we’d be on a flat earth orbited by the sun.

On one level, you’re right. However, the “flat earth” idea was disproven by scientists for centuries before the religious and political leaders accepted the truths that were inconvenient for them.

There isn’t complete consensus anyway.

You’re right, among the politicians. However, among the experts in the field the consensus is nearly unanimous.

If there was AlGore, Heidi Cullen and others wouldn’t be trying to silence the “deniers”.

How exactly did creating a documentary to better expose his opinion become an attempt to silence by Al Gore? It didn’t.

One idiot even proposed the death penalty for people who deny the global warming religion.

Assuming for the moment that you just forgot to put the citation in there instead of making this up, I’ll say that such a person is an idiot.

Questioning the motives…isn’t ad hominem

Pretty much by definition, questioning motives is ad hominem attack.

There is plenty of evidence of climate change. The claim that man is causing it is an assumption.

No. Please look at the science. It’s the inescapable conclusion of reasoned analysis of the evidence at hand.

This assumption is no more scientific than so-called “scientific creationism”. The same error has been made in both cases. A conclusion was reached and then evidence to support that conclusion was pursued with all contrary evidence suppressed or ignored.

Did you say that just to bait me? There is no comparison between the two. One is supported by facts, evidence, and logic. The other isn’t.

This IPCC summary isn’t a scientific report. It’s a political tract issued to support an agenda.

No, it’s a political report. You just don’t like the results, so you invent an ad hominem attack to smear it.

Posted by: LawnBoy at February 5, 2007 3:18 PM
Comment #206720

Ack! The last line should be: “No, it’s a scientific report. You just don’t like the results, so you invent an ad hominem attack to smear it.”

Posted by: LawnBoy at February 5, 2007 3:29 PM
Comment #206724

traveller,

The truth is not determined by consensus. If it was we’d be on a flat earth orbited by the sun. There isn’t complete consensus anyway.

Great, isn’t it.
Which means nobody knows all the truth about world climate change.

If there was AlGore, Heidi Cullen and others wouldn’t be trying to silence the “deniers”.

Silencing? I didn’t know Al Gore was in power. And until recently, the so-called “liberals” had no power in both chambers. I wonder how they could silence anyone.
You must confuse with White House censoring EPA experts memos and reports.

One idiot even proposed the death penalty for people who deny the global warming religion.

You know what, some nations don’t even have death penalty, by constitution. What idiot nations, they can’t make such idiotic suggestion anymore.

Questioning the motives of people who are funded by organizations whose purpose is to subjugate us under a global authoritarian regime isn’t ad hominem any more than adherents of your religion questioning the motives of the “deniers” who are funded by industry.

I’ll agree when you will have provided facts to back your claim that IPCC’s purpose is to subjugate you under a global authoritarian regime.
Meanwhile, it’s just your opinion, while some global warming “deniers” being funded by industrial lobby had been proven more than often.

This IPCC summary isn’t a scientific report. It’s a political tract issued to support an agenda.

That’s bad luck then, because I’ll bet most politicians can’t and won’t even read it.
The statistical graphics at ends hardly help.
The report states on front page it’s a climate change science basis for (intergovernmental) policymakers, though.

At least, we do know that current US policymakers don’t have any agenda about climate change. What a relief!
And they don’t need a summary to decide to have none. How clever they’re, they don’t even wait for the climate scientists group they, with many other governments, agreed to setup to investigate the climate change basis.
Oh, wait, I think I’ve a deja vu… wait… no, no, I can’t remember when US government didn’t wait for some international experts group’s report and instead jump to their own.
Sorry. Maybe someone else will remember…

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at February 5, 2007 4:00 PM
Comment #206725

Lawnboy, methinks that was a Freudian slip.
You’re right, among the politicians. However, among the experts in the field the consensus is nearly unanimous.

What about Dr.Gray from Colorado, or Dr. Neil Frank to name two dissenters ( not on the selected panel), don’t their voices count. I keep hearing about consensus, as though no one disagrees. It must be nice to live in a world without dissent. Kind of reminds me of a president we all know and love.

To question the motives of a senator who sends pork to his district is O.K., but to question the motives of a scientist who makes a living on grants for the study of climate is ad hominem?

Posted by: gergle at February 5, 2007 4:03 PM
Comment #206726
Lawnboy, methinks that was a Freudian slip.

No, just a bad copy-paste.

That there are a few scientists that disagree does not contradict the statement that “consensus is nearly unanimous”.

Kind of reminds me of a president we all know and love.

The situations are completely different. Dr. Gray and Dr. Frank have every right to investigate their hypotheses and publish their results. If they find something that disagrees with current understanding, then science will advance. Unfortunately, you seem to think that the 99% of climate experts that concur either don’t know about or just just ignore those findings they find inconvenient. Instead, as Trent said above, the others specialists are aware of them and incorporate that evidence in their analyses.

This is very different than the political environment you compare it to, in which there is a single source of power that gets to decide what is acceptable. In fact, you have the analogy backwards - the Bush administration has bent over backwards to suppress evidence for Global Warming.

To question the motives of a senator who sends pork to his district is O.K., but to question the motives of a scientist who makes a living on grants for the study of climate is ad hominem?

That’s not what I’m saying. It’s ad hominem in both directions. Unfortunately, traveller’s comment has no substance whatsoever besides the ad hominem attack. When we criticize Inhofe, it’s not just ad hominem - we also link to explanations of how the substance is wrong. traveller would have us reject the IPCC report solely because it’s connected to the UN. That’s pure ad hominem.

Posted by: LawnBoy at February 5, 2007 4:19 PM
Comment #206728

Jimmyray-
Look, we run machines just as complicated as space shuttle every day. Sometimes they fail. No technology is foolproof, no science without gaps in understanding. However, jetliners do not drop out of the sky with the frequency of the space shuttle (One every fifty or so launches).

Similarly, we run the computers we look at with astonishing precision in the engineering. Again, imperfect, but we can work at incredibly small scales.

What happened to the Shuttle both times was pretty simple. With the Challenger Disaster, it was O-Rings that failed to spring back into shape after being cooled (which contracted them)The resulting failure in the seal allowed rocket exhaust to burn through the joint into the hydrogen fuel tank and that blew up the shuttle. With Columbia, the event was the result of a piece of the foam insulation coming loose and breaking the fragile carbon-carbon tile along the leading edge of the shuttle’s wing. This essentially sent a stream of plasma into the shuttle superstructure instead of around it, destroying the wing and subsequently the shuttle.

In each case, the cause was pretty simple, with the design and safety culture responsible for letting it spin out of control.

The Shuttle simply isn’t that good of a craft. It’s expensive, it’s cobbled together and it’s a roadblock in the way of much more worthy pursuits.

But you simply assume that this is inevitable at our level of technology. Yes and no: accidents will happen, but behavior in ignorance or willful disregard of known consequences can make them happen much sooner than otherwise, and much more often.

As for your questions? In terms of cycles, we’re not dealing with the kind of system that has predictable cycles that you can nail down absolutely in advance. Not all variables are significant to global temperature. As for cuts in CO2 now, the result would not be an instant cut in temperature.

CO2 can be both cause AND effect. CO2 warms the atmosphere, atmosphere warms ocean, ocean warmth warms air, air warms permafrost, CO2 comes from the decaying matter of the land as it warms, along with methane, and so on and so forth. Some clouds formed by the heat will reflect solar radiation, creating a negative feedback, while others will create a positive feedback, trapping even more heat.

The honest answer, given with every report, and exploited by those who think scientific uncertainties about climate science don’t apply to them, is that we don’t know absolutely what will happen. We know, though, with a fairly high degree of certainty that our carbon emissions are responsible. We have chemical and isotopic signatures that have our names all over this.

We know it’s happening. We’re observing the increase in process. It’s not going to be smooth or uniform- that’s not how the system runs. But the general shape of it is visible in the recent records. As for less recent records?

Well, what’s your alternative? You guys are trying to have it both ways: either no systematic temperature records before about 1850, or everything’s uncertain without limit.

The truth is, we can sort out some kind of temperature record out of this, however less resolution and precision we get on the measurements. It’s better than nothing, and nothing but badly thought out statistical quibbles is what we’ve gotten from the contrarians.

Gergle-
1)Scientists have recorded changes in climate that have taken just a few decades or less to occur. Modern climate study indicates the highly emergent, metastable nature of climate. Records in ice cores and elsewhere indicate violent changes in climate that took place on human time-scales.

2)You got to do better than “inference is sometimes completely wrong.” What makes Global Warming’s inference wrong? Nearly thirty years of study has worked to confirm the hypothesis, not throw it in dispute.

3)CO2 is known to have heat trapping properties, and to be a prime component of the greenhouse effect that traps heat and stabilizes earth’s climate.

4)Your diabetes reference is too content-free. We understand diabetes well enough to treat it. All we usually have to do is keep an eye on sugar levels. Also, there are reasons that somebody might be dubious about neurologic causation when it comes to diabetes that go beyond it just being the nature of science to be skeptical. How and why you’re skeptical is important. How and why are you skeptical of global warming? That’s the difference between scientific objections, and those that are merely built on unaccountable personal opinions.

Concerning Einstein, I would say that he was a man concerned with physics. He had to learn and modify the math in order to deal with the physics. As theoretical as he was, his theories have remarkable predictions that the experimental physicists managed to confirm. They were confirmable. They predicted what other theories couldn’t. When theories like this come along, the clarity allows us to rethink other things that were puzzling.

I don’t know what you’re comparing modern science to. What alien science would you prefer to use? Real science is messy, imperfect, and made of theories that are merely the best approximation. We should not fail to take heed of what they say simply because they cannot reveal everything; science will never make us godlike in power, judgment, or range of perception.

You should consider that although the theory behind global warming is imperfect, few folks have offered a reasonable alternative that the competitive scientific community could embrace in its stead. The real question is what’s the better explanation for all that we see? What’s hasty is to come to any conclusion about a theory, negative or postive, without judging it on its merits. It’s not as simple as finding a bunch of little quibbles. If it’s not anthropogenic global warming, what is it? There is so much evidence for that theory, How do the other theories explain it better? It’s hasty to dismiss a good explanation without a better explanation to take its place.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 5, 2007 5:02 PM
Comment #206730

Traveller-
Lemmings, are we? That sure got a little rodent laugh from me.

Mostly socialist. Ooooh it’s the communists again, looking to sink capitalism!

Politics promoted by an authoritarian mindset. Well, tell that to the scientists and officials who were going to publish stuff on climate change, only to have their work edited because it acknowledged global warming. Just who the hell is persecuting who?

An authoritarian world Government? Yes, renewable energy sources and breaking our oil habit are just the first waves of liberal conquest! Or maybe it won’t require that kind of crap, and you’re just trying to scare those who get worried when they see these reports.

As for what I’m lapping up? Gee, do you have a real argument here, something that goes beyond putting down the IPCC and those who buy its findings?

As for Junk Science? Lawyerly word parsing. Who’s lapping what up? Where’s the problem with the studies themselves? Where’s the problems with the findings themselves? All this rhetorical crap is just a means of avoiding the real meat of the report, to discredit it prejudicially, before people see it for themselves, and- God forbid! - come up with their own opinions. So what’s the problem with the FACTS and the SCIENCE in there?

What are your facts to support your accusations, what you will say will come as a result?

Don-
If you’re heading towards a cliff in a car with bad brakes, the first question is not whether you can put that car in reverse, it’s whether you can get it to stop short of the edge, your point of no return. Whether we stop now can mean the difference between runaway climate change, and a much more manageable increase. One or two degrees won’t kill us. It’s five degrees, or something like that, that’s really going to kick our ass.

If you’re really listening to the scientific community you’d find our suggestions are not the stereotypical decimation and return to pre-industrialized society. We’re talking advances here, not retreats, It’s just the carbon we’re trying to kill, not the economy, and certainly not half the country.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 5, 2007 5:20 PM
Comment #206740

Stephen D-
The problem I have with this debate is that most of what I am hearing from the Al Gore camp says that we have seriously messed up and that we are heading toward something horrible (the loss of New York City, global-scale loss of life, etc.). IF what is being said is TRUE, then my suggestion is the only sensible one. IF, on the other hand, it is merely being OVERSTATED, then what you are saying is sensible. So, is it true or overstated?

Posted by: Don at February 5, 2007 6:43 PM
Comment #206741

look, the temperatures of our planet have always gone up then gone dow. Gone up then gone down. and raising the enrgy prices isnt going to solve anything. maybe if we would just leave it up to god to decide our temerature then things would be a whole lot better! and besides i saw a movie from discovery (which is a pretty reliable source) that said that every year the polar ice cap grows!!!! Oh yeah we are definetly getting to hot!!!

Posted by: Jonh at February 5, 2007 6:45 PM
Comment #206742

Sorry, let me correct one of my statements above: “IF what is being said is TRUE, then my suggestion is the only sensible one.”

It should read: “IF what is being said is TRUE, then my suggestion is a sensible one.”

Posted by: Don at February 5, 2007 6:46 PM
Comment #206754

Stephen,
You seem to believe in what you are saying as absolute fact. You seem to state it as a matter of faith. I doubt any amount of evidence will dissuade you.

You continue to state that ice core records are as reliable as weather satellite data. You give asssurance that 99% of scientists believe in this theory. I’m not sure where that percentage comes from, but I smell fanaticism. I do not have evidence to dissuade you. I simply have experience with overstatement.

We shall agree to disagree. My only goal is to plant a seed of skepticism. I preach caution. Whenever “science” becomes a movement,I worry.

I read these days that everyone believed that Sadaam had WMD. Scott Ritter didn’t. Greg Palast didn’t. Numerous physicists didn’t buy the aluminum tube argument. I thought Sadamm probably had some chemical weapons, until I saw a report that when our forces approached Bahgdad, they didn’t wear gasmasks. When a military leader was asked why, he said they didn’t think it was necessary. I then knew the real intelligence was completely different than what had been presented.

I now never hear these things refered to in the MSM.

Whether it is Bush or any political movement, I suggest skepticism.

Posted by: gergle at February 5, 2007 8:32 PM
Comment #206770

I do enjoy challenging your dogma. I always get the reaction I expect.

“The whole aim of politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be lead to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.” H.L. Mencken

Lemmings! Gotta love ‘em!

Posted by: traveller at February 5, 2007 11:47 PM
Comment #206773

Traveller & Gergle,
I have known about the possibility of Global Warming for a long time. I used to think there was not enough data.

Eventually, the data changed my mind. In particular, the chart showing the correlation between CO2 & temperatures shocked me when I first saw it, years ago. Now, correlation & causation are not one and the same, but nevertheless, the connection seems undeniable: add greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, and temperatures climb.

It is easy to be a skeptic. Cynicism is easy. But all of us have an obligation to take a stand. Want certainty? In the long run, we are all dead. That is certainty. In the meantime, the easy dismissal of the skeptic and the cynic provides an easy out on every issue. It means standing for nothing.

Posted by: phx8 at February 6, 2007 12:28 AM
Comment #206774

Don-
What I’m saying here is that we do not know the precise point at which the tipping point- the point where the climate starts reinforcing the change rather than resisting it- will arrive. This means two things: all hope may not be lost. But our hope for slowing down global warming by cutting emissions may not last all that much longer. Do we want to waste the opportunity to moderate this potentially catastrophic change? I think it’d be rather shameful not to try. We should have more guts than that. It will be a challenge to both maintain our economy and cut the emissions, but we’re the nation that put a man on the moon, and which has already managed to reduce our carbon emissions substantially from a few decades ago.

jonh-
The polar ice cap both grows and contracts during the year. What we’re talking about are ice shelfs about two to three miles thick sitting on top of land. When they melt, the water goes into the oceans. They are melting.

Yes, the temperature rises and falls, but not like some wave graph you see in trigonometry. Climate, as recorded in the fossil record, in geological results of the last ice age, and in recent times, has varied considerably.

The real question is, is why it’s so damn hot now, even hotter than it was during the medieval warm period? Why this last decade?

Gergle-
Not absolute. What bothers me is that you’re buying far too much into the junk science movement, which to my observation is more junk science itself than what it criticizes.

I have never stated that ice core data is as reliable or precise as satellite data. Nor has anybody I’ve read from. But it’s something rather than nothing, and in the end, with science, you don’t give up and go home because you can’t get everything perfect. This is the real world, and often you have to distinguish and calibrate measurements from what you can get, especially if you’re wanting to do better in terms of distinguishing good climate theory from bad. Now there, the goal of somebody looking through tree rings or ice cores, or whatever else is to get a clearer picture of what the local and global climate was. Methods and calibration become important. You can’t merely dismiss it because it isn’t 100% accurate. You do the best you can.

Also, the 99% number is scientists, used to hedging their bets, telling us what the likelihood is that we’re responsible for global warming. The real question is why they’re so sure. I don’t know exactly myself, but the isotopic and chemical signatures that I’ve heard about suggest that they’ve found a pretty good way of differentiating between natural and anthropogenic carbon emissions. I’ve already read that they found a particular accompanying pattern of chemical pollutants to go with the CO2 in question, and that was about 1999 as I recall it.

The skepticism I see coming from your direction doesn’t seem to be based on issues brought up in the evidence, but rather distrust of institutions, cynicism about people’s motives. In my experience, if you start letting the political aspect of science influence your thinking about what’s legitimate science, you’re already missing the point. Sometimes, scientific advances have been relatively uncontroversial. Other times, they’ve been contentious. Global Warming, at this point, has convinced a lot of people, mostly through the preponderance of evidence. Others might bring up the aspects of confounding variables over time, but there’s a whole literature full of these studies and the calibrations and everything done to distinguish human from natural warming. It’s not as if these people aren’t aware of the reasons to be skeptical. In fact, they may have dealt with these reasons and moved on. Unfortunately, not everybody wants the debate to move on. Many people, and I’m not including you, necessarily, want things not to move on. They want things to remain nice and profitable and unregulated, and they’ll go as far as Traveller has gone, in painting all this to be the work of the world communist party, or people trying to destroy the economy.

But neither events, nor real science has stopped for that. I would rather follow the science than the politics, because the politics without the science is simply people spinning in their rhetorical loops. Unfortunately, some people just want to keep on spinning.

I have too much respect for science and scientists to let people do that sort of thing in front of me. I’m afraid I don’t have much patience for it.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 6, 2007 12:30 AM
Comment #206775


Traveller: You are exactly right, those who argue that human induced global warming is a hoax want to do nothing and thus lead the World over a cliff.

An international team of scientist have examined 2006 levels of carbon dioxide, temperature and sea level and compared them to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 1990 models that predicted the changes that would occur between 1990 and 2100.

“The authors found that carbon dioxide concentration followed the modelled scenarios almost exactly, the global-mean temperatures were in the upper part of the range projected by the IPCC, and the observed sea level has been rising faster than the models had projected and closely followed the IPCC Third Assessment Report upper limit of an 88cm rise between 1990 and 2100.”

“Scientists noted that because the review period (1990 to 2006) was short, it would be premature to conclude that sea levels will continue to increase at the same rate in the future. However, they also said their findings show that previous projections have not exagerated the rate of change but may in some respects have underestimated it.”

The article can be read at the ScienceDaily website.

Posted by: jlw at February 6, 2007 12:41 AM
Comment #206779

jlw,

I find it humerous that because a 16 year change that fits a model, the model is therefore declared an exact fit. It is akin to me saying because a stock rose 1 dollar in the month of May, it is therefore going to rise 16 dollars in 16 months.

I must be reading Junk Science because I do not believe what a panel of scientists have stated for the last few years, as though what a group of scientist say must be believed or I am a heretic. I consider heretics good company. My subscription to Junk Science ran out years ago. Irregardless that the claim we were entering an ice age was made only a few short years ago. I am now to believe that 99% of climate scientists worldwide believe that this science is 90% accurate(even though that number is REALLY low, wink, wink). Further, inspite of my stated desire to clean up polution, I believe in doing nothing in the face of inevitable change, even though doing something doesn’t effect the inevitability. Ummm , well sort of.

I wonder what the argument will be in ten or twenty years.

A hoax? No. Breathless excitement? Yes.

Premature? I’ll say. There’s a joke about a preacher and a breeze, but I best not go there.

I’m glad we’re all thinking about climate change, I’m just not sure if thought or fantasy is what is going on in some cases.

Posted by: gergle at February 6, 2007 3:07 AM
Comment #206786

CHICKEN LITTLE LIVES!

30 years ago, when I was just getting out of college, it was GLOBAL COOLING….

…another ice age was just around the corner.

Now, it’s GLOBAL WARMING….

…the planet is about to become a desert.

So LITTLE, what’s your next junk science, alarmist
project?

Posted by: loose flywheel at February 6, 2007 6:31 AM
Comment #206789

jlw,
ZOOM!
That’s the sound of my lemmings metaphor going over your head.
The cliff the lemmings are scurrying toward is the edge of the abyss of world government. Take a good look at the “solutions” being proposed. They all require an authoritarian world regime to implement.
Standing back from the cliff is hardly leading the world over it.

Actually, I don’t advocate doing nothing. I just want people to stop panicking before they do something stupid and irreversible.
A reasoned approach to adapting to the changing climate is what’s called for, not a panicked rush to destroy our economy, our liberty and our standard of living.

I don’t agree with much of what phx8 says but he’s right about correlation and causation. They are not the same. It’s true that when co2 rises, temperatures rise. It’s also true that when temperatures rise, co2 rises.

motls.blogspot.com/2006/07/carbon-dioxide-and-temperatures-ice.html

www.realclimate.org/index.php?p=13

co2science.org/scripts/CO2ScienceB2C/about/position/globalwarming.jsp

www.brighton73.freeserve.co.uk/gw/paleo/400000yrfig.htm

Posted by: traveller at February 6, 2007 8:52 AM
Comment #206790
I do enjoy challenging your dogma. I always get the reaction I expect.

What do you expect? Criticism of your invalid logic? Links to the evidence that supports our case? A discussion of how science actually works?

If that’s how you get your kicks, more power to you. Just please don’t pretend you’ve proven anything in that our response to you is consistently based on the evidence at hand and a logical interpretation of it.

Posted by: LawnBoy at February 6, 2007 8:54 AM
Comment #206802

Gergle-
If you were paying attention, The scientists themselves made your point, that it was premature to say that things would continue as modelled, but they also made the point that there is that fit, and that the model may in fact be too conservative in predicting the rate of sea level rise.

Your argument is an argument from ignorance, saying that since you don’t know what the scientists are going to get wrong, that you’re free to assume they’re wrong or lacking crediblity now and in the future. That’s not skepticism, that an unskeptical belief in the untrustworthy nature of science.

What is your criteria, your proof, for charging the scientists with trying to pass off fantasy and politics as science along these lines?

I’m sorry if I’m being hard on you here, but you’re accusing people of intellectual fraud, professional misconduct and/or incompetence on these matters. If you are a moral person, you should not accuse people of such things without firm knowledge of what’s been done wrong, and scrupulous checking of what the other side’s saying.

It’s also important to put science in its proper context. Many people in the media talk about finding a fat gene, or a smoking gene or something else, When the reality is, scientist are actually talking about predispositions, not hard and fast determinant destinies. You can be more likely to get obese if you have one genes, because of the way the processes of the body work. Genes themselves are not straight instructions. Scientists found that there were fewer genes than proteins, indicating a complex layer of interaction between genes, in addition to any straight coding of them.

It’s better to seek out scientific knowledge on your own, instead of dealing with the media’s hype about it. The folks in the media writing the reports aren’t necessarily all that scientifically literate, and the short blurbs of these reports are often deficient of the detail that backs the credibility.

Skepticism must have foundation. The point is to put ideas to the factual test, not maintain a constant state of denial. You should be open to information that allows you to make the distinctions.

loose flywheel-
A common canard, but not that well founded. Global cooling had more support in the media than in the scientific community. Global Warming, by comparison, has much more foundation.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 6, 2007 1:26 PM
Comment #206812

traveller-
We are no longer the lemmings who go kapow. We are now the knights who say “Ni!”

Ni!
Ni!

That bit of silliness out of the way…

The Reference Frame article is from a physicist (not a climatologist) who does refute the notion that correlation is causation, but manages to make a basic scientific error: liquids which are warmed are more, not less able to hold gases in solution. The ability of our oceans to hold CO2 in solution is one of the influences that has kept our emissions from having as much of an effect on the atmosphere.

As for the car model, I don’t care for it. The carbon dioxide emissions aren’t localized, but instead are just about evenly distributed throughout the atmosphere.

As for the first real climate model, the mistake that the contrarians would make is asserting that scientists are saying that CO2 is the only mediator of warming trends. This, of course, is not true. Other factors can get the ball rolling, other gases as well. Anything that can cause a change in air temperature could cause this.

This article does not exclude CO2 as a cause of global warming over natural history, only as the sole cause of all such warming. Let’s take the case of volcanic aerosols as an example here. It’s been established that things such as the current position and glaciation of Antarctica, and the cycles of orbital oscillations called the Milankovich cycles have helped to trigger ice ages in the past. But are they the sole possible or contributing causes? No, if we look at the results of eruptions like Pinatubo, Krakatoa, and others, we can see examples where such volcanic blasts have brought global temperatures down as a result of higher level blockages of solar radiation.

Not all means of changing a system are mutually exclusive of one another. They can act in concert, or act against each other. It’s kind of like a person standing in the wind. The wind can move them, the person can move against the wind, or they can move together, with the result for the person being increased running speed. Nature doesn’t have to choose between greenhouse gases and solar radiation when it comes to heating up earth. The greenhouse gases can compound the impact of solar radiation and other heat increasing elements. Compound enough other factors, and the overall system can move to a different equilbrium altogether. It’s like pushing a boulder off the side of the hill and having it come to rest in the valley below. After you’ve pushed the rock over the threshold, there’s no more need to add any more push to get it going- it is going.

As for CO2Science.org? Exxon pays for their research. If people stopped paying Exxon so much, who would pay their bills? I’m sure Exxon has made that relationship clear.

As for the final link, I would argue this: Any factor in global climate change can take the lead. It won’t necessarily be CO2. But nothing says it can’t be, especially when we’re releasing billions of tons of it into the air every year, with little chance of most of it leaving the atmosphere for tens of thousands of years.

Let me tell you what real lemmings are: they are creatures so wrapped up in their own drives, they don’t look beyond themselves, except to see what the herd is doing. People have made Global warming a matter of belief. It’s not. It’s a matter of discernment. It’s science that can be reproduced, where people can look at the material and draw conclusions. There is debate, of course, but not merely of a rhetorical or political variety, where persuasion is the only guiding principle. You can’t just be persuasive, or convincing, you have to be right.

Too many people who push contrarianism on global warming do so not with science, but with rhetoric. They argue what they would think cannot be, about how humans could not possibly do this, presenting arguments that seem more keen on proving the status quo correct than determining independently of that what may be wise and proper.

Yet climate will work not as politicians or masters of rhetoric desire it to, and certainly not along our lines of common sense, but instead along its own internal logic. It doesn’t matter whether we believe in global warming. It matters whether it is occuring, how it’s occuring, and what we can do.

We can play politics and be left behind, or we can engage the reality. There are ways to profit from the opportunities that new energy sources will produce. People profited from the rise of fossil fuels. Undoubtedly people can profit from the rise of other energy sources. It’s a lack of imagination that has people getting gloom and doom on the prospects of the end of the oil economy. It’s a lack of the vision to see where the future could be headed. Has America grown so lazy and complacent that we cling to the past, to a technology that hasn’t advanced much in over a century? Good heavens. We’re in a new age! Can’t we do better? I think, traveller, that you assertion that to reduce the emissions, we’d have to go world communist shows remarkably little faith in the market economy, and remarkably little faith in America’s ability to adjust to technological changes. We can move into the new energy age, and profit by it to boot. Would you rather have other draw the profit, others benefit while we lag behind? Then we really will pay the price. I’d rather we pay the price for moving too quickly forward, than for getting left behind.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 6, 2007 2:58 PM
Comment #206828

Gergle: The scientific community is not saying that they know for a fact, that they are 100% sure that humans are causing global warming. They are saying that the evidence shows that global warming is occuring and that the evidence suggests that human activity in the form of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere is the primary source of the current warming trend.

There are extremists on each end of this issue. The mainstream scientific community is not saying that they know with certainity what is going to happen down the road, no one knows the future. They are saying that the evidence is holding up remarkably well to what the models have predicted and if this continues to be the case, it will cause major problems. Perhaps we can continue to do what we are doing and adjust to the problems that are caused by our actions. Perhaps the good will out weigh the bad. We don’t know for sure. All we know for sure is that our decisions will affect future generations, for better or worse.

Traveller: Your lemmings metaphor has actually gone right over your head because like it or not, we are headed towards a World government. It is the natural progression of civilization. The question is shall it be a democratic government in which all men have a say or shall it be a oligarchy ruled by the wealthy through their corporate entities, who know what is best for all men. We already know that democracy is a major impediment to their ideas of a totally free market approach to economics. We already know that they are using their wealth to interfere in the democratic process and influence the government to favor their approach. We already know that their agents in government have no moral restraint to prevent them from lying to us, to frighten us and compel us to do their bidding in the Middle East and beyond in the future if we continue to let them do this to us. Just keep listening to Dick Cheney and the other neocon mouths and they will lead you straight down the path to their version of a One World Government. The meaning of the word freedom has always been conformity even if we choose to fool ourselves into believing otherwise. The question is shall we humans conform to something that we all have a say in what is fair or shall we let a few decide that for us, be they communists or capitalists?

Posted by: jlw at February 6, 2007 4:31 PM
Comment #206849

jlw,
Ah, yes, the old “inevitability of communism”. How Marxian.
The enslavement of the entire human race under a single hegemonic regime is not the “natural progression of civilization”. We’re being pushed in that direction by groups consumed by man’s oldest pathology-power lust-aided by the lemmings crying for protection from the bogeyman du jour.
The choice is not between a democratic government and an oligarchy. America is already a mixture of the two and is rapidly becoming a police state. If the statists win our grandchildren will suffer under the jackboots of a global police state. Our only chance to regain our freedom is to remain sovereign under the rule of law (our Constitution) and return to republican principles. You should read what the Founders had to say about democracy. They were right.
Are you really so naive as to believe the corporations want free markets? They have from their earliest beginnings been the foremost advocates and drivers of government regulation. Restricting entry to markets and gaining tax and other advantages over their competition has always been a high priority.
I recommend educating yourself on the neoconservatives. They are most definitely NOT conservative. They are Trotskyist and internationalist.
I have some socialist friends. You sound just like them.

Posted by: traveller at February 6, 2007 6:44 PM
Comment #206850

Stephen Daugherty,
The advocates of global warming are funded by eco-looney groups and governments with a statist bent. I’ll bet their funding would dry up pretty quickly if their research didn’t produce the results they want.

Posted by: traveller at February 6, 2007 6:53 PM
Comment #206852
The advocates of global warming are funded by eco-looney groups and governments with a statist bent.

Interesting. Any proof? Any evidence that hundreds of universities and U.S. and foreign government institutions around the world are funded by unnamed “eco-looney groups and governments with a statist bent”?

No, of course not. Evidence is never needed for such a conspiracy theory.

Nothing to see here… Please move along…

Posted by: LawnBoy at February 6, 2007 7:02 PM
Comment #206855

Traveller-
If that were really the case, why all the uncertainty? Why do climate scientists volunteer that kind of information? Why would they hedge? Why not go whole hog on it?

As for politics and science, here’s the deal: the Russians had brilliant physicists, but their biology suffered. Why? Because physics on the one hand was left alone, and on the other hand they forced that Lysenko bullshit on Russian Biologists.

I don’t recall ever hearing about Clinton editing global warming reports, or forcing creationism on the National Parks Service. Yet we constantly hear about Bush appointees editing science that’s unfavorable to industry.

That’s the organizing principle, it seems. I mean, jeez, why would one of the world’s leading producers of carbon dioxide emitting fuel be interested in selling the whole world on the idea that global warming is a myth, or if it’s not, it’s good thing, and if it’s not, then it’s inevitable, or the result of something we can’t control. Why is is it that the vast majority of the contrarians seem to have links to those who have an interest in the continued use of hydrocarbon fuels? That, to me, is more suspicious than most of the climatology community coming to the conclusion that global warming is real.

What I see here, among the contrarians, is folks doing their damnedest to discredit global warming, the human role in it, or making it out to be a good thing. What I don’t see is a suitable counter theory.

Einstein demonstrated that gravity was not some mysterious force, but the consequence of mass and energy warping space, and warped space changing what the shortest distance between two points was. He didn’t prance around gloating about how his science destroyed newtonian physics. Instead, he clarified the picture of the world, in ways that were provable. His 1905 work was not accepted immediately, but earned its way as the effects he described manifested. People don’t trust e=mc^2 because it’s the politically correct thing to do, but people have actually documented in experiment and observation just those kinds of things happening. In fact, the way gold glints is in part a result of relativity!

So where’s the beef here? Where’s the counter theory, the documentation that would demonstrate how wrong everybody is? Where’s the alternative narrative of modern climate change? When reality produces results just as theory says it will, then until a better theory comes along and explains those result with greater truth, the theory predicting things best should be accorded some credibility.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 6, 2007 8:06 PM
Comment #206887

Stephen,

I want people to be hard on me, it is what science and debate IS about. Your assumptions that I haven’t read on the issue are incorrect. I don’t subscribe to Junk Science nor accuse anyone of fraud.

Again, yes there is data that could mean there is global warming occurring. Yes, there is data that CO2 is increasing. Yes, there is a likely correlation between man’s activity and and this increase. Yes, it is possible that this feedback cycle cycle is causative of climate change.

What is not known is: Are these data points significant? Are these models accurate, and is Climate affected primarily by this feedback cycle? While there may be some probabilty that yes is the correct answer to the above posed questions, I find 90%, highly unlikely. As to the 99% of climatologists (not just IPPC panel members) agreeing with this number, I also find highly unlikely. I have made no numerical analysis of this and will not report a probability figure on this.

I would quote Rumsfeld’s “knowing the knowable” speech here, but I sound pompous enough as it is.

I’ve accused no one of fraud, though others have.

I used the phrase “breathless excitement” which often describes proponents of any view, including myself and scientists.

Again, my only problem is the surety with which you and the IPPC are stating these claims in numerous News articles.

My skepticism is not based on ignorance, but contrary views of other scientists, and old age. I’ve learned over time to recognize patterns of overexhuberance. I did not use a supecomputer to model this. I am not a climatologist.

Space curvature was a result of Einstein’s Relativity idea’s, but not his first thrust. His use of time as a variable and the speed of light as a constant was his primary twist on Newtonian Mechanics, which did not undermine Newtonian Mechanics, which is still quite intact, thank you..in relative terms. Special Relativity is what Einstein was proven right on..General relativity or Field theory while demonstrated right in many ways is still in flux. There are problems with this theory and quantum mechanics. I am not a theorectical physicist.

Posted by: gergle at February 7, 2007 2:08 AM
Comment #206903

Stephen Daugherty,

“What I don’t see is a suitable counter theory.”

That’s because you don’t want to.
As I and others have said many times, climate change is a natural occurence, caused and influenced by the complex interactions of many factors, some of which we aren’t even aware of.
The doomsday predictions of the global warming cult aren’t supported by the historical and geologic record.
You focus on the imagined effects of a couple of gasses comprising less than one half of one percent of the atmosphere to the exclusion of all else.
The IPCC summary (the actual report hasn’t been released yet) is a political tract issued by bureaucrats with a vested interest in increasing government power. The report won’t be released for another three months to give the bureaucrats time edit it to “conform the report to the summary” according to the IPCC rules. Yeah, there’s objective science.
One of the problems with the global warming theory is that it claims to predict everything. No matter what happens it’s attributed to global warming. It’s very dogmatic.

Posted by: traveller at February 7, 2007 8:12 AM
Comment #206937

LawnBoy,

A little food for thought.

I don’t know how to link to it so if you want to read it you’ll have to go to the site and look up the articles. It’s really easy, even for a lemming.

The site is www.townhall.com

Hot House Science by Debra J. Saunders

Global Warming, Ethics, Pork and Politics by Paul Driessen

Warm or Not, It’s a Climate of Undercooked Legislation by Bill Murchison

Posted by: traveller at February 7, 2007 11:50 AM
Comment #206944

traveller,

You can’t read the instructions for linking that are directly above the box in which you’ve placed every single one of your comments?

And yet you present yourself as someone capable of criticizing the near unanimous conclusion of the experts in a field in which you are not an expert?

And then to defend against a charge of using ad hominem attacks instead of science, you point us to articles that attack motives instead of attacking the science?

Do you see a credibility problem here?

Posted by: LawnBoy at February 7, 2007 12:07 PM
Comment #207021

LawnBoy,
Lots of us older folks, not that I’m saying traveller is one, aren’t knowledgable about HTML and UBB. There are numerous engineers and doctors unfamiliar with that particular technology, and those aren’t instructions but reminders of code. Many folks love print and books and don’t want to learn it, have no one in their lives to teach them, nor want to learn it(my sister for instance). That doesn’t make them dumb, but your comment makes you sound a bit on the arrogant side. I’ve only learned it in the last couple of years. I learned Basic and Fortran in college, so don’t be such a smart a**.:)

Posted by: gergle at February 7, 2007 5:20 PM
Comment #207023

What’s more arrogant, expecting someone on the web to be able to read instructions presented to them every time they post, or to believe that you know more about a topic than all the experts in a complex scientific field?

Posted by: LawnBoy at February 7, 2007 5:31 PM
Comment #207031

Lawnboy,

“Do you see a credibility problem here?”

Yes, with many of the experts. Challenging the credibility of people who are held up as authority figures we’re supposed to follow, apparently without question, is NOT ad hominem.

Like gergle, I’m one of the older folks (51), and I too learned Basic and Fortran in college. We programmed with punch cards. (there’s no face of terror like someone who has spent months on a program dropping her boxes of punch cards in the student union) This was before the PC was even in private use. Until a year ago I was computer illiterate.(I had no need to learn it) I haven’t gotten to HTML programming yet.

Posted by: traveller at February 7, 2007 5:48 PM
Comment #207041
Challenging the credibility of people who are held up as authority figures we’re supposed to follow, apparently without question, is NOT ad hominem.

But challenging the credibility based only on their connection to a group that you don’t like is ad hominem.

There was nothing in the articles you referenced that brought up real concerns with the science; it was all attacks on the man - ad hominem. Of course, this in no way supports your position that you are not relying on ad hominem.

Posted by: LawnBoy at February 7, 2007 6:00 PM
Comment #207043

By the way Lawnboy,
Please support your idea that a near unamimous poll of experts in the field has been taken… and no I don’t mean the IPCC. That is not the sum total of worldwide expertise on the subject. That experts are incapable of being wrong, unanimous or otherwise, is easy to disprove. How many climatologists exist worlwide? Does anyone here know? What exactly qualifies one as a climatologist? I’m betting no one has these answers. I’ve looked and cannot find them. Why exactly would a biologist be an expert on Climatology?

There are “experts” with contrary views. I’m curious why you always exclude them?

Once again, science is about collecting data, composing a theory,AND TESTING that theory. Since no one I know has lived through a period that would be defined as a climatic period. I wonder exactly what has been tested.

When you banty about words and numbers like 99%, 90% and nearly unanimous, I would expect a little more proof.

Do YOU see a problem with credibility?

Posted by: gergle at February 7, 2007 6:02 PM
Comment #207044

LawnBoy,

Those aren’t instructions, they’re tips for people who already have some knowledge of HTML.
You get my vote for arrogance.

“or to believe that you know more about a topic than all the experts in a complex scientific field?”

The word “all” is the wrong word to use. They’re not “all” in your cult. Also, I’ve never claimed to know more than “all” the experts. I do know enough to recognize a big load of BS when I see it.
An advantage I have over a lot of people is that I was trained in propaganda recognition and use. The propaganda techniques being used to push global warming are very sophisticated. Even though I hate the evil I must applaud the brilliance.


Posted by: traveller at February 7, 2007 6:06 PM
Comment #207047

Responding to charges of ad hominem was neither my intention nor my point.
Like I said in the first line of my post “a little food for thought”.
I referenced opinion pieces regarding the credibility of the people pushing global warming because the authors stated it so articulately.

Posted by: traveller at February 7, 2007 6:16 PM
Comment #207050

Lawnboy,It is not arrogant to question authority. Science demands that you SHOULD.

It is smug to point to someone’s grammar on this site,(given the range of folks here) including HTML tips, which to be precise are NOT instructions, and question their intelligence. I mean, I suppose your inability to distinguish between instructions and tips about format could be construed as an inability to distinguish between science and authoritarianism, but I haven’t gone there.

Posted by: gergle at February 7, 2007 6:23 PM
Comment #207064

Ohhh! I think I see it now!

The scientists THINK they have evidence for global warming CAUSED by humans.

They don’t KNOW what the result will be, if there is a result. But they THINK we should do something about it because they THINK it might be bad if we don’t do something about it, but they don’t know how much of something we should do to stop the progression nor do they know if we can stop the progression, they just think we should do something because it appears that there could be bad results. That clears it up nicely. Thank you.

Posted by: Don at February 7, 2007 7:02 PM
Comment #207068

Traveller,

I personally don’t believe the science of Global Warming is necessarily wrong. My only issue is it’s presentation as fact. I do believe that the issue has been politicized and waaay overstated.

I suspect that many proponents are true believers and find it troubling when confronted about their beliefs.

Sometimes, people do not have the perspective to see that fervor does not yield truth. Some of us old guys still have a use in that we have that perspective.

Lawnboy,

I respect your intelligence and enjoy your posts regularly,and I am mostly playing Devil’s Advocate here, but I do sincerely question this theory, as to it’s significance. I am a long time reader of Dr. Gray, since I live on the Gulf Coast and find myself vunerable to Hurricanes.

As always, I find you and Stephen, et al., keep my mind working and quite often find I am educated and hopefully others are as well, by the debates we conduct here. Thanks for the time and effort.


Posted by: gergle at February 7, 2007 7:10 PM
Comment #207118
Please support your idea that a near unamimous poll of experts in the field has been taken… and no I don’t mean the IPCC.

Well, then I guess we’re out of luck. Because that’s the only poll taken of the world’s climate experts that I know of. Perhaps we can look instead at the fact that of 928 peer-reviewed scientific papers on global warming published between 1993 and 2003, not a single one challenged the scientific consensus the earth’s temperature is rising due to human activity. I suppose you’ll just take that as evidence of the conspiracy instead of seeing it as an answer to this question.

I’m curious why you always exclude them?
I don’t. I usually say something like “nearly unanimous” or “near universal consensus”.
Once again, science is about collecting data, composing a theory,AND TESTING that theory. Since no one I know has lived through a period that would be defined as a climatic period. I wonder exactly what has been tested.

We haven’t directly tested the theory fully for extended periods of time; that’s probably why the report gave a 10% chance of being wrong about human causes of climate change. However, we have tested many different models over the past few decades of data, and the vast majority (if not all) of the models that do well to explain the recent past also predict human-caused global warming.

When you banty about words and numbers like 99%, 90% and nearly unanimous, I would expect a little more proof.
Are you looking for it in the right places?
You get my vote for arrogance.

Then we’re even. :)

However, I do apologize for going too far.

They’re not “all” in your cult.
You use the word “cult” here. You referred to the “global warming religion” earlier. If your characterization is right, then I’m also an adherent of the Gravity religion, the Plate Tectonics cult, the Atomic Theory sect, and the Quantum Mechanics denomination.

This tactic of yours makes it particularly ironic that you earlier compared Global Warming to “scientific creationism”. In fact, this tactic is one that creationists often use, to treat Evolution like a religion instead of a science in order to discredit it.

It’s pretty sad.

It is not arrogant to question authority. Science demands that you SHOULD.

Science demands that you question the received wisdom by trying to show mistakes in the earlier reasoning or to find new evidence that calls earlier conclusions into question. It does not equate that with simply dismissing information you don’t like because the report was paid for by the UN.

In traveller’s earlier comparison of Global Warming to “scientific creationism”, he said that “A conclusion (Global Warming) was reached and then evidence to support that conclusion was pursued with all contrary evidence suppressed or ignored.” That’s not how it worked. When Global Warming was originally hypothesized, it was a very unpopular idea within the scientific community because it was unexpected. However, as additional research and additional evidence have been conducted, it has progressed naturally from new hypothesis to promising theory to well-supported theory. It has become the primary explanation for the Earth’s climate condition because it is the best explanation for the evidence at hand, not because it’s “dogma” or “a cult” or imposed in advance.

Are there some people and organizations (the “eco-looney groups”) that have goals that are inline with the results of the research? Sure! Does that mean that the research that has been done independently by thousands of scientists in hundreds of labs in dozens of countries was pre-determined by an agenda? Of course not.

You say that you see Global Warming for the propaganda that you think it is. While it might be used for propaganda purposes, that doesn’t mean that the scientific conclusions are themselves propaganda. You’re getting frustration at application of scientific discovery mixed up with a desire to deny the science itself; that’s not very healthy.

Is there a chance that Global Warming will be disproved in the future, or that the current predictions will turn out to be false? Absolutely. However, the best explanation at this point for the existing evidence and research is Global Warming. If Global Warming is one day disproved, it will be through the regular scientific process, not through the politicization of the issue, or acts by the government to suppress evidence, or through ad hominem attacks.

I personally don’t believe the science of Global Warming is necessarily wrong. My only issue is it’s presentation as fact. I do believe that the issue has been politicized and waaay overstated.

gergle,

My impression is that the need to present it strongly (to “overstate”) is a result of the politicization of the issue by those that wish to deny it. There are such strong political and financial motives for some groups to deny human responsibility for Global Warming that it has never been allowed to just be science. Even though not a single peer-reviewed study in the last 10 years has brought up reason to question Global Warming, the few scientists that are funded by Exxon and/or disagree with the Theory are given equal time. The 1% that disagree get 50% of the inches in news reports.

If this were a less important issue (say, the mating habits of a Zambian fruit fly), then not only would we not have scientists funded explicitly to try to deny the overwhelming results of research, but we would also not have people so frustrated that almost complete unanimity of the experts in the field is so questioned.

If this weren’t such a consequential issue, we as a society would have just accepted Global Warming because of the strength of the logic and evidence. However, it’s so important that there are people that want to turn it into a political battle in order to turn people like you off.

After all, all (or nearly all) scientists accept that earthquakes are caused by Plate Tectonics. Does that mean it’s dogma? Or Propaganda? Or a cult? No. It means that it’s the best answer we have.

Posted by: LawnBoy at February 7, 2007 10:33 PM
Comment #207120

Here’s an interesting blog I came across regarding the Bush administration’s supposed censorship of a climate report.

http://www.nationalcenter.org/climate-censorship-IPCC=9020607.html

gergle,
I believe the science of climate change is valid and the theory of global warming is a hoax. When the global cooling scare got smacked by reality the enviromentalists immediately started the now familiar cry that the earth’s heating up, we’re causing it and we’re all gonna die-unless we surrender our freedom, of course. Then they started looking for evidence to back up their claims. Done in that direction , it ain’t science. I agree that it’s highly politicized and way overstated.
What really sets me off are the doomsday predictions. I guess in my 51 years I’ve just heard too many people say we’re all going to die or the world will end if we don’t submit to some authoritarian scheme. I really got a good laugh out of AlGore’s “the world will end in 10 years” schtick. My reaction (when I stopped laughing long enough to catch my breath) was “What?! Again?!” Maybe I’m just jaded by all the bogeymen.

Posted by: traveller at February 7, 2007 10:34 PM
Comment #207133

Gergle-
If you want a good explanation of the science behind this all, I recommend The Change in the Weather: People, Weather, and the Science of Climate by William K. Stevens.

I think you should be skeptical of both sides. However, the skepticism should be more specifically informed, especially in terms of real scientific methods, the phenomena addressed, and the relationship between the data and the science.

Exuberance doesn’t bother me. I’m sort of the type of person who’s naturally exuberant about what he believes. However, I also try to match my exuberance with being well-informed, to limit the number of times I’m forced to eat crow. Others go about things the same.

I’ve recognized through a lifelong experience of science that theories do change, and there are built in issues with some sciences in terms of coming to definitive conclusions.

I don’t sense breathless exuberance here. When I get into what these people actually say, it’s more like these things are emerging from the studies, rather than being forced out. They hedge and hedge and hedge. Yet, many contrarians accuse them of being reckless, of being dogmatic and not open to other interpretations. It’s kind of hypocritical that they display such certainty, yet accuse those who acknowledge the qualifications and caveats openly of not acknowledging that things could be otherwise.

As for expertise, I would say that there are degrees in fields like climatology, atmospheric physics and relevant disciplines. Just look up universities graduate and undergraduate programs, and I’ll think you find them. It’s important to pay attention to what field a person is in. While it’s no guarantee that a person is right, it’s a much better sign that a person is familiar with the important research.

As for what’s testable for climate science? Well, you can compare prediction of a model with actual outcomes. You can run data from the past through to see if the situation within the model develops like real life did. You can look for certain balances of chemicals and isotopes in atmospheric samples whose presence would imply a certain arrangement of things. It’s not like a laboratory test, but a lot of science isn’t. You find other ways to verify and discern what’s true and what’s not.

The real danger with trying to filter politics out of science is throwing the baby out with the bathwater, associating a certain position with a certain theory, and rejecting the theory because you don’t agree with the political position. I don’t agree with Richard Dawkins about religion, but his explanation of what evolution is happens to be one of the most elegant I know of. (Try The Blind Watchmaker for one of the best defenses of evolution you’ll ever read.)

Consider the science first. That’s my doctrine. All other credibility flows from the science.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 7, 2007 11:42 PM
Comment #207139

Don-
There’s a reason that weather forecasts get more inaccurate after about a week: it’s called sensitive dependence on initial conditions. Or, in laymen’s terms, chaos. Atmospheric science is where we first see what’s called the butterfly effect, dealing with what a Meteorologist named Edward Lorenz discovered.

He was working on a very simplified model of Earth’s air circulation, trying to discern the periodic structure of the system- the cycles you folks keep talking about.

What he discovered is that the system had two aspects to it: it was not periodical. It was also not without structure. It’s called a Lorenz Attractor.

You want a precise answer, but with chaotic and emergent systems like climate and the weather (really different scales of the same thing), precision in predictions is incredibly difficult. As difficult as things are, that doesn’t make them impossible. Like the Lorenz attractor, the system has structure; non-linear, sensitive, non-repeating, but structure nonetheless. The scientist won’t give you precise answers for the same reason that Physicists won’t tell you precisely where a particle is and what it’s path is the nature of the system itself precludes such a straight answer.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 8, 2007 12:24 AM
Comment #207140

Stephen and Lawnboy,

While I agree with most of your statements. The big red flag waving before me is the recent 90% number, based on a relatively short and limited data base of both C02 and temperature data. I know you believe that ice cores and the like account for a much longer range of data, but I think the infinitessimal movements they are reading and the complexities of the system make it highly unlikely, via simple mathematics, that they can discern a signal over the “noise” that is 90% accurate. When you process a signal through filters, you introduce error. It’s a mathematical phenomenon. I never heard of Einstein quoting percentages as to the likelyhood of the correctness of his theory. It’s a little absurd.

This is the basic argument Dr. Gray has made. (I did link an article of his in my last post, though my aging eyes makes the link in the word them,in this post hard to see) I was trained in Physics to reduce arguments to numbers and quantities you can deal with. It helps to avoid making large quantitative errors. If the numbers don’t make sense, you need to relook at the numbers.

I think this is the argument both myself and traveller are making.

He chooses the word hoax, I use the terms beathless exhuberance. I think we all agree there is sound science behind this idea, it is the significance and meaning of it that I wonder about.

Posted by: gergle at February 8, 2007 12:27 AM
Comment #207142

traveller-
These Guys? Their “Enviro-truth” website’s talking point sounds rather familiar, alleging an environmental jihad against the corporations.

Did I mention this group has accepted over 280,000 dollars from Exxon Mobil since 1998, 165,000 in the last three years?

Also, this is an avowedly conservative thinktank. What’s a good independent like you doing depending on the talking points of an obviously partisan institution?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 8, 2007 12:40 AM
Comment #207146

Stephen Daugherty,
I’m independent as far as political parties go but I’m quite conservative. I consider the Bush administration and the neocons leftists. (if you research the neocons you’ll find that they’re Trotskyite)
I also don’t depend on any one institution for information. I found that blog and thought it was interesting.
Are you saying that only liberal thinktanks are valid? If so, why?
So the NCPPR has accepted $280,000 from Exxon over 8 years. That’s not much considering their revenues were $6.6 million in 2002 alone.
I wonder how much money some liberal thinktanks have accepted from radical environmentalist groups and socialists.

Posted by: traveller at February 8, 2007 1:05 AM
Comment #207148

Gergle-
According to this article, Gray’s numbers don’t add up. I think the guy who wrote it gives a pretty good explanation for why Gray’s thesis is incorrect.

Gray’s theory is based on the notion that the Thermohaline Conveyor was speeding up, and upwelling in the tropics. In fact, scientists looking at the current, which helps to keep Northern Europe warm, have found it slowing down, and not upwelling where he said they were.

The article also says he makes a fundamental error about where the CO2 is supposed to affect the heat balance (upper atmosphere, not ground level).

Gray is of an older school of Meteorologists that had to guess more about the weather systems, to recognize patterns rather than process direct data. That can happen, especially in complicated sciences like climatology. Many of the technological advances in the field, as well as the advances in paleoclimatology are rather recent. This guy trained in a different world.

I know all about exuberance. What I’ve seen is both sides are capable of it. Some go overboard for The Day after Tomorrow notion of things. Others go for “global warming is a hoax” notion. Be as careful about contrarians as you are about supporters, because the door swings both ways.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 8, 2007 1:11 AM
Comment #207149

LawnBoy,

“You use the word “cult” here. You referred to the “global warming religion” earlier. If your characterization is right, then I’m also an adherent of the Gravity religion, the Plate Tectonics cult, the Atomic Theory sect, and the Quantum Mechanics denomination.”

I refer to global warming as a religion or cult to express the derision it so richly deserves. That doesn’t mean I regard real science that way.
Climatology is valid science and it’s being documented in great detail. The studies being done around the world are gathering a mountain of data from which we will someday develop a good understanding of climate history. Someday we’ll probably even be able to understand how the many factors affecting climate interact.
The global warming predictions are politically driven fear mongering.

Posted by: traveller at February 8, 2007 1:22 AM
Comment #207150

traveller-
You may not depend on any one organization, but you certainly depend on a lot of conservative ones, especially ones getting paid by companies with vested interests in the continued use of fossil fuels.

The support for the science behind global warming is broad. The support for it’s opposite number seems mainly supported by think-tanks, not the scientific community. It’s politics over science. If it’s such a damn conspiracy, show me the money! Follow the money, find the real connections. I can show you who’s paying the think tanks’s bills, and whose bills they’re paying.

You can’t just play the tu quoque game. You have to come up with evidence of your own that the whole things a set up. No more conspiracy theory: give me the conspiracy facts, if you can. I’m not basing my opinion on what liberal thinktanks are telling me. I haven’t even brought up the name of one. So what’s going on here? If you know it’s all rotten show me how and why that is.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 8, 2007 1:33 AM
Comment #207151

traveller-
On what basis do you judge real science? Whose authority, and why? What makes you so able to blithely dismiss the vast majority of the material coming out of the science?

You just seem to believe that if they don’t confirm your position, their views are invalid. You concentrate on the politic surrounding the science to the exclusion of the science.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 8, 2007 1:37 AM
Comment #207160
The global warming predictions are politically driven fear mongering.

That’s your repeated claim. Unfortunately, that’s not what the evidence says. If you want to believe in conspiracy theories, there’s nothing I can do to stop you. However, I would hope that other people reading this debate would see that you’re making dark claims about politics and fear driving the science without presenting a shred of evidence.

If you are going to impugn the work and motives of thousands of scientists around the world, it would be in your interest to have some support for your claims. Otherwise, it looks like you are rejecting scientific discovery because you don’t like the results.

Which side is like “scientific creationism”?

And, what Stephen said.

Posted by: LawnBoy at February 8, 2007 8:46 AM
Comment #207163

Stephen,

Thanks for the link on Dr. Grays ideas. I had seen that site before, but not that post. Perhaps his ideas are outmoded.

I thought it interesting that the site acknowledged it had not addressed the predictions associated with the IPCC report.

Posted by: gergle at February 8, 2007 9:54 AM
Comment #207189

It’s time to dump the radical left wings socialist invironmental agenda and to build the nuclear power plants we need.

the left would rather beat people over the head until they agree to their “man caused the warming so we need socialism” agenda rather than install the technology we have today (nuclear) that can shut down those coal plants.

Posted by: Stephen at February 8, 2007 12:50 PM
Comment #207211

its all a bunch of crap look we are having a bad winter i think this is the left starting shit with us

Posted by: jake at February 8, 2007 3:57 PM
Comment #207462

Stephen Daugherty,
Support for the science of climate change is broad. Support for global warming is political.
I don’t dimiss the science. Indeed, it’s the science that has brought me to my conclusions. It’s the politics I dismiss.
The IPCC summary isn’t science, it’s politics.
You say follow the money to find the real connections. I have. You should do the same. Who’s financing the global warming advocates?
You’ll find that they all have a vested interest in increasing government control over our lives.

Posted by: traveller at February 10, 2007 10:55 AM
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