November 24, 2009

Climate Change

We believe that the climate is warming and that human activities are likely adding to it. That doesn’t put us into Al Gore’s camp nor do we favor draconian international treaties to shift American resources to developing countries w/o addressing underlying ecological challenges. World leaders will gather next month in Copenhagen to discuss climate change. Talk will be the primary product and the Obama Administration has already gone into damage control mode. It is a tough subject, so we developed a seven point reasonable person’s guide to climate change.

1. Change is happening and will inevitably continue.

There is already enough in CO2 and other GHG the atmosphere to warm the planet enough to obliterate the Maldives and make parts of the Arctic Ocean ice free for part of the year. There is just a lag time, as when the warmest month of the year is July and the warmest time of day is 3pm. So let’s get used to it and stop trying to stop what has already happened but just is not yet manifest.

2. Nothing can be done to stop the climate change already cooked into the atmosphere.

But using the leverage of time we can make significant progress in mitigating the effects. Alternatives are developing very rapidly. Carbon-free nuclear power is becoming safer. We can limit building on places like barrier islands, coastal lowlands or erodible wetlands (or New Orleans). We can shift crops and employ new methods. Even fossil fuels can be used better. For example, we have learned how to get natural gas out of rock formation in the U.S. (America now has more recoverable natural gas than Saudi Arabia has coal.) A shift from coal to natural gas would result in around a 2/3 reduction in CO2, even better if gas fired plants were married to wind power stations.

3. It has been a lot hotter and a lot colder on earth before humans.

It was so hot during the Eocene epoch that forests covered the earth almost to the north and south poles and there was no permanent ice on earth. And it was so cold just around 20,000 year ago that glaciers covered half of what is now the U.S. and tundra reached almost to the tropics. We humans just have a short-term perspective.

From the nature’s non-anthropomorphic point of view, it just doesn’t matter. The human point of view is different. Our ancestors made good choices to move out of caves, develop agriculture, domesticate animals and put fire to use. They altered their environment. From the point of view of human survival, most of the changes were good. Our ancestors’ agricultural revolution may have been the first case of human induced global warming. It may have prevented the return of the ice age, and that is good.

4. The historical blame/credit game is stupid.

Climate change is not a judgment on humankind. It is not nature’s retribution. There is also no such thing as a “carbon debt” owed to developing countries. The atmosphere doesn’t care where GHG comes from and FUTURE emissions will come mostly from developing countries.

Developing countries cannot keep that undeservedly sweet deal they got in Kyoto. They had to do almost nothing and they actually could make money by imposing guilt on others. They argued that it was a developed world problem. Wrong. It WAS a developed world problem. In the future, the developing world will be the key to success or failure. Steven Chu, Nobel Prize winning physicist and President Obama’s Secretary of Energy, pointed out that China alone will emit more greenhouse gas in the next thirty years than the U.S. has since the beginning of the industrial revolution. Put another way, if U.S. and EU emissions dropped to zero, China would take up all the slack AND there are other developing nations besides China emitting growing amounts of GHG.

5. Doing is harder than promising and doing something about climate change is especially hard.

We take no joy in the prospect of the Obama Administration again being hoisted on its own petard. They are behaving a lot like the Bush , despite the highfalutin rhetoric, and so little or nothing practical will come out of climate talks in Copenhagen next month.

Climate change is a difficult political problem (see below) and with its priming and posturing and excruciatingly large delegations of hangers on who cannot propose real solutions and would not recognize it if was proposed to them , the UN is the wrong organization to carry on effective negotiations.

6. Climate change is a remarkably intractable POLITICAL problem because it involves real physical forces.

Political realities make difficult many of the best solutions, such as carbon taxes & nuclear power, and political concerns for “fairness” may well make any agreements nearly impossible. The atmosphere doesn’t care if the emitters are rich or poor. It doesn’t recognize good intentions. You cannot make arguments about social justice with the air. And you cannot get credit for your promises with the air. This drives politicians to distraction because this one problem that is immune to all their sweet talk and tools of deception that they use to bamboozler voters.

7. Climate change is a manageable problem.

Activists jump to the worst case scenarios, often extrapolate even beyond anything real science has postulated and intimidate scientists who might chart a more reasonable course. They use charismatic wildlife, such as polar bears, to scare people.

But a lot of things (including polar bears) can be managed. Over the next century, we can adapt to most of the realistic scenarios envisioned and change our energy mix in ways that do not contribute to further climate change. We cannot go back to the cooler world of 1900, but by 2100 nobody will want to do that anyway. The warmer world will be the new normal world and as your grandchildren enjoy their vacations on Ellesmere Island they will certainly not want to trade their world for ours.

Posted by Christine & John at November 24, 2009 10:40 PM
Comments
Comment #291543

1) The operative question is what the hell you’re getting used to. This is more than sea level rising, this is a change in climate patterns that our civilizations have counted on for the past 8000 years.

2) Fission Nuclear will never be fully safe Natural gas, even if it is better for the environment, remains a fuel in limited supply, and a net contributor of Carbon. We need to do better than that in the long run.

3) If we fail in this manmade experiment of ours, we won’t be the first culture to do so. Romans left plenty of silted harbors, the Mesopotamians plenty of hypersalinated fields, the Anasazi clear-cutted forests. The folks on Easter Island destroyed their forests, and their culture went downhill.

We are not invulnerable to the influences of climate, and we are not yet at the point(maybe never will be) where we can make absolute prediction, and when things become clear, it will be too late to act to hold things off. We should act now, while we have the luxury of correction capability, not when we have our backs to the wall with change we don’t understand.

4) We all must cut back. Even China recognizes the potential problems, as it now tries to green up its economy. Tom Friedman talked something about it, about the flattening of the world, as people seek out first world lifestyles. Can we truly expect people not to seek out what we’ve got? And when they do, what of our limited resources?

We can work towards better sustainability ourselves, or somebody’s going to figure it out before us an profit. We’ve got little to gain from the status quo- inevitably, our fuel sources will become scarcer, and more undependable.

We need a better alternative.

5) “I can’t do it, it’s too hard” should not be the words that America greets the 21st century with.

6)It can be, if your politics makes it such. For the Republicans, it becomes such because they are beholden to those industries. The best they cand do if they acknowledge the reality is soften the blows, and they are not being paid to soften the blows. They are being paid to halt, even reverse the legislation that puts the pressure on the energy companies. So are many Democrats.

But the difference is, those people are not accepted culturally as the Democrats as the folsk they’re going to really support.

7) It is a manageable problem, and in that we agree. However, it will only be so if we act soon, and the longer we delay, the more expensive and extensive our countermeasures much be.

We can cite many examples, during the past decade, where we encouraged to wait to do the right thing in the interests of the economy. Anybody who owned an SUV during the last five years knows how that ultimately turned out.

Truth is, we need to be prepared, and acting now, because this truly is a crisis. If it turns out we were wrong, then we have the options of relaxing the restrictions. If we are right, though, Americans have their collective butts on the line, and the greater the delay, the more expensive it becomes. Do we want to continue to test our luck in this country until something else awful happens?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 24, 2009 11:38 PM
Comment #291545

Stephen

Barack Obama is President of the United States and Democrats Control both houses of Congress. The talk has changed significantly. The actual output of CO2 has declined only because of the recession. There is a near zero chance that binding agreements will come out of Copenhagen.

I am being generous to the Obama Administration. I don’t blame them for not being able to change human nature or turn the economy.

I don’t have a problem with your assessment of the situation. But we have to move to action. If you can figure out a way to get the current government and the people to move fast, let us know.

You mention the Chinese. They have learned to talk the talk even better than Democrats. Meanwhile, they are commissioning new coal plants every week. Please follow the link to what energy secretary Steven Chu said. In the next 30 years China will emit more CO2 than the U.S. has done since the industrial revolution.

Talk is easy, but the atmosphere is unmoved by sweet words, promises and good intentions.

Posted by: Christine at November 24, 2009 11:56 PM
Comment #291554

C+J,
You are absolutely right regarding the situation with global climate change. The best solutions would have been a tax on carbon emissions and an easing of the barriers toward building new nuclear power plants.

I have a comment regarding the paleoclimate, which is that although the Earth has been much Warmer and Cooler in the past, our present civilized society has lost the ability to adapt to it that our ancestors once did. As nomads, our ancestors could easily pick up their stuff and move to a location with a better climate as well as move with the clanging coastlines such as how the indigenous Americans crossed the Bering Isthmus from Siberia to Russia. Today, it would be much harder to pickup New York City and move it miles inland in the wake of the flooding of Manhattan (of course, only the most extreme outlooks predict sea levels to rise by this much, this would require nearly the entire Antarctic Ice Sheet to melt). Also, one of the thermal maxima from the Eocene is associated with a mass extinction event that is thought to be related to the dramatic warming of the Earth at that time.

You also make a keen observation regarding the most activist faction of the environmental movement. I consider myself an environmentalist, I appreciate the resources the Earth provides for us and I want to make sure that those resources are available for posterity. As someone who is pursuing a career in the sciences (hopefully after I complete my college studies), I have witnessed such behaviors in this faction of environments. When I was in high school, I was a part of a team which won an oceanography tournament a few times. After one of those times were invited by a group to participate in a conference/discussion about our impact on Stellwagen Bank. There were stakeholders from a variety of groups, but I remember a large number of activists there. Their sole concern was for the North American Right Whale; namely that too many were being struck by ships traveling to/from the port of Boston as a shipping channel. While it certainly makes one feel good to go protect cute cetaceans, it makes far more sense to be concerned about the health of the North Atlantic Fisheries, which provides us with a good amount of seafood. The fishery is not only vulnerable to overfishing, but it is also sensitive to impacts further down the food-chain. Runoff of agricultural waste products (especially fertilizer) into the ocean causes overpopulation of various algal species that quickly deplete the dissolved oxygen (this is called eutrophication). No oxygen means no fish. The anoxia also ruins the benthic communities on which shellfish depend. Unfortunately, there is a lot less caring for benthic organisms like sea urchins than there is for Right Whales.

Regarding the People’s Republic of China, my patience is wearing thin over their antics on a variety issue. From their mistreatment of Tibetans and Uyghurs to their tacit support for the DPRK regime as well as their enthusiasm for building more and more sources of CO2 emissions. And don’t get me started on how they treat their own citizens. I almost feel the US should reverse the policy that began when Nixon went to China and return to a recognition of the Republic of China as the de jure government of China. I know this is sort of shooting from the hip (and somewhat Bushian), but this is why I would make a terrible president.

Stephen,
There is still a great deal of potential with fission power. Are there risks? Of course there are, but the risks are much smaller than they are for climate changer. There is both a smaller change that something awry may happen and most problems will ultimately be local rather than global tragedies. Of course, we shouldn’t encourage the use of fission generated power where there is a plentiful renewable source nearby (solar, wind, and geothermal). However, we need to permit the use of fission to carry us through the times when renewable sources cannot. I don’t know what to say about natural gas. If someone can find a way to make a profit burning natural gas while we have a hefty carbon tax in place, then I wouldn’t stop him/her, likewise with so-called clean coal.
I think you should look at this in the same way you often frame your opinions on the health-care debate (or non-debate if you consider the behavior of some people on the right). Don’t let the perfect become the enemy of the good. It is obvious that we’d be much better off from a climate change perspective if we got more of our electricity from nuclear fission and burning natural gas than if we stayed with our current mix of mostly coal and oil power production. The parallel in health-care is between a single-payer system which is definitely able to help control costs and the proposed system with a weak public option that a mere shadow of a single-payer system. I hope it will be able enough to accomplish the cost deductions we need; therefore I support the bill even though I know of some of its flaws. In a similar way, I know fission, natural gas and hydroelectric may sound unappealing, but it may be all we’ve got in some circumstances. I guess if I carry the analogy further, it also is why I support the Markey-Waxman bill. I’d prefer a carbon tax over a cap-trade system, but I’ve got to work with what we’ve got and hopefully the auction system will be pure enough so that it closely approximates a carbon tax system.


BTW, I had the opportunity last August to see Edward Markey talk about his climate change legislation in Lexington. He’s not my representative, but I did like what he had to say. He certainly is very good at selling his product, which also has the potential to revolutionize our foreign policy if we can break from the dependence of foreign oil. Then we would be free to do things such as put pressure on Saudi Arabia for their autocratic regime and inability to stop the money flow to our enemies (al Qaeda).

Posted by: Warped Reality at November 25, 2009 01:18 AM
Comment #291557

Christine-
The future isn’t written. the scariest of the climate predictions depend on things continuing to happen a certain way. We can get ahead of this, at least somewhat, stop loading little parcels of global warming on the climate conveyor belt.

China, like us, can learn to do things better. If they, like us, find and embrace vehicles and energy sources that are greener and more renewable, we can change our futures.

We got to be careful not to change one dependence on fossile fuels for another, especially since natural gas serves other chemical purposes as well.

Warped Reality-
If there’s a major mechanical failure at a Solar power plant, the disaster’s effects are considerably less permanent.

Also, the projects there are slow. My mother worked on the South Texas Nuclear Project doing clerical work before she had me and that thing wasn’t finished up until ten or fifteen years after I was born. If you don’t want things done recklessly or poorly, then Fission Plants are not a cheap alternative. Better to learn how to put together windfarms and solar arrays, and learn how to store that energy, than to spend years trying to push an energy alternative that scares people more than global warming.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 25, 2009 01:42 AM
Comment #291558

I said before that we should utilize solar and wind resources to the fullest extent possible. Fission should only be used when renewable sources fall short, however we should not use oil/coal to fill these gaps when nuclear will do. I’ll gladly take the localized consequences of a nuclear power plant failure over the globalized consequences of unchecked global warming, and I’ll take the consequences of failure at a solar or wind facility over both nuclear power and global warming. I just don’t want radiophobia to make us keep coal or oil burning power plants when a nuclear power plant could work. As for costs, that’s for private industry to sort out, if the costs are too exorbitant maybe that means some sort of arrangement using natural gas and carbon sequestration will emerge.

Posted by: Warped Reality at November 25, 2009 03:01 AM
Comment #291563

Warped,

I agree fission may not always be unsafe, though in the foreseeable future it is unlikely to be so.

Posted by: gergle at November 25, 2009 08:47 AM
Comment #291564

Good article.
I would have preferred a president who used his political capital for a carbon tax and for supporting nuclear plants. Probably a political impossibility.

I am concerned about the future but could care less if there is a slight chance radioactive waste could contaminate ground water in a few thousand years.

Posted by: Schwamp at November 25, 2009 08:55 AM
Comment #291568

egads, I meant fusion.

Posted by: gergle at November 25, 2009 10:08 AM
Comment #291573

Fission itself is relatively safe, it’s the byproducts that are the problem. I think those can be handled relatively safely, when compared to carbon fuels.

Fusion may well be a solution to energy issues, but I just don’t see a near term way to make it productive and safe.

Posted by: gergle at November 25, 2009 10:33 AM
Comment #291575

“The future isn’t written”
No, but The Future Is Unwritten is the biopic of the late Joe Strummer:
“People can change anything they want to, and that means everything in the world. People are running about, following their little tracks, I am one of them, but we’ve all got to stop, just following our own little mouse trail. People can do anything. This is something that I’m beginning to learn. People are out there doing bad things to each other. It’s because they’re being dehumanized. It’s time to take the humanity back into the center of the ring and follow that for a time. Greed, it ain’t going anywhere. They should have that in a big billboard across Times Square. “Without people, you’re nothing” That’s my spiel.”

Quoting myself from here last year:
On global warming, we had 30 freeze and thaw cycles this winter in Chicago…

The main thing that humans can do about global warming is to grow big green things and stop paving over places where green things are growing. It’s not an irreversible process, but who says global warming is bad? An Arctic free of ice could reduce shipping costs and make the Panama Canal irrelevant. Some places would be underwater, but many other places would have longer growing seasons.

Posted by: ohrealy at November 25, 2009 10:37 AM
Comment #291584

ohrealy-
It’s not that simple. Temperature determines pressure, affects humidity, and changing temperatures will yield different systems that will process the heat, the moisture, and the pressure differently. Hell, even the absence of light-reflecting ice in the arctic changes things.

Global Warming isn’t just a problem of increasing heat, or rising seas. It’s a problem of weather changing from what has been for literally all of history, the weather we depend upon where we depend upon it to grow food and sustain cultures.

If we let things get worse, we don’t know what the consequences will be for the very geography and climate of the places we call home. And by the time we do know, it will be very expensive and very difficult to do something about it.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 25, 2009 12:26 PM
Comment #291588

I still don’t understand why you say things that aren’t true, Stephen…

It was warmer during the Mideaval Warming Period than it is now, yet we are all still here. It was colder just 250 years ago than the averages, yet we are all still here.

The problem AGW proponents have is that the trends are not following their predictions and now they are scrambling. The recent hack of emails points to that story interestingly enough. It’s about time that scientists admit that they can’t explain why it is getting cooler now than it was in the 90s. That the trend for the past 10 years has been down, not up. It makes it difficult to believe a lot of what is going on…

And what hurts even more is finding out that 15 tankers that cross the Atlantic ocean put out more CO than all of the cars on the planet… Maybe people are focusing on the wrong bogeymen? Is the goal to really do something?

Kyoto was a great example of saying a lot but not actually doing anything about the climate and Copenhagen is going to be the same. Money from developed countries to underdeveloped countries without an ounce of pollution cut back.

I’ve been staying out of this debate on here because most of the people are are so far out of the loop scientifically on the subject that it is just painful to discuss. In the end, we are going to see things change not because the government MANDATES it but because it is good business to have energy that costs less than the current fuels over the long haul. Right now we aren’t there, but we will, without governmental help, once the technology is discovered. The left just want to try to claim that THEY are the ones who got us there when in fact it wasn’t government at all. Just selling the story. Anyone looking for facts, just move along…

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 25, 2009 02:42 PM
Comment #291589

Rhinehold…you may place me in your column of belief regarding MMGW. OH wait…it isn’t called that anymore, now it’s called Global Climate change.
Well, any damn fool knows that climate changes so it is always an available target for spending billions of dollars.

MMGW on the other hand is a big lie. A so-called consensus doesn’t exist and will likely not for decades.

Mr. Daugherty talks about doing something…anything, and if we’re wrong…no harm done. To that I say BS. One can not penalize every human in developed countries by artificially making energy expensive and expect them to fall on their knees in adoration of pseudo-science. And in developing countries they will simply starve to death for want of energy to grow their crops.

It seems that liberals must always find the solution to problems by spending my money. Why is that? ALGORE is a proven liar and profiteer convicted by his own words and actions. The bunch at the UN predicting catastrophe are nothing but mean politicians.

Posted by: Royal Flush at November 25, 2009 04:26 PM
Comment #291597

Rhinehold-
The Sahara was once cool grasslands. There can be local variations in climate. Folks forget that nothing about AGW theory precludes the natural variations still acting.

As far as the predictions? Well, things are actually worse than we thought. The melting’s going faster.

The tough part of predicting all this stuff is that it’s an inherently sensitive system. Small changes today equal large differences tomorrow.

What you fail to recognize is that there’s an inherent conservatism for free enterprise, regarding the kinds of fuel and energy sources they use. The business out there do a lot to preserve the situations that make them money.

And they will even do this to our society’s overall disadvantage. The last few years has demonstrated this.

We need government intervention, because these people will not force themselves to evolve anymore than they have to, and that love of the status quo is not something we can afford to indulge in this day and age.

Royal Flush-
Don’t talk to me about pseudo science. I’m up on the the actual stuff, so I’m not convinced about arguments that essentially take the 19th century view of weather and climate.

We’ve looked at the climate record, and this picture of long terms stability, graceful changes, predictable reactions, and natural processes that drown out human interventions is almost totally wrong.

It took 200 years for the Sahara to become Desert. It took maybe nine years to go from one interglacial to another ice age. The changes can be violent, and sudden, building in the backrground until some unknown threshold is crossed.

The Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age were associated with incredibly small changes in solar outputs, not even full degree’s worth. But since climate is so complex, the implications were devastating differences.

Things can even work in reverse of expectations. Did you know that the change in the Sahara was caused by a cooling of the area? The cooling dried things out, the vegetation went away, and so on and so forth.

If your people a right, and this is all natural variation, then we can return to whatever part of the status quo we want to. If my people are right, which is what’s more likely, according to most scientists in the field, then if we do things your way and you’re wrong, we’re much more screwed than if I’m wrong. We can’t undo any of the damage if you’re wrong.

I don’t know: compelling evidence and terrible, irreversible mistakes versus scant proof and entireably reversible errors; Which kind of risk would you think it would be wiser to take?

It seems that liberals must always find the solution to problems by spending my money. Why is that? ALGORE is a proven liar and profiteer convicted by his own words and actions. The bunch at the UN predicting catastrophe are nothing but mean politicians.

It seems that some conservatives must always try and win their policy arguments by tearing down their opponents in the public eye. Are those the actions of those who can demonstrate their points on the merits?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 25, 2009 06:02 PM
Comment #291599

Mr. Daugherty writes; “Don’t talk to me about pseudo science. I’m up on the the actual stuff, so I’m not convinced about arguments that essentially take the 19th century view of weather and climate.”

Well…Well…I am also “up on the actual stuff” and I have a trump card…I can also think, not just follow the bull crap.

He also writes; “We can’t undo any of the damage if you’re wrong.”

And…we can’t do any of the damage when you’re proven wrong. Are you defending ALGORE? Do you actually believe the proven nonsense he is peddling? So sad.

Mr. Daugherty is anxious to blame big business for our so=called climate woes. Isn’t that always the bogeyman the liberals use to scare the lemmings who can’t think for themselves?

Perhaps Mr. Daugherty hasn’t noticed that climate control world opinion has changed drastically and efforts to break the the democracies left in the world with this claptrap is not working very well.

All the polls show liberals dropping like a rock along with their failed ideas and policies. They can’t even pass health care in the light of day and must use bribes and threats to get even some of their own members to sign up. The American public is waking up and that is not good for liberals. They must work their sorcery in the dark of night.

Posted by: Royal Flush at November 25, 2009 06:55 PM
Comment #291614

Stephen

You are just one step behind me. We have moved to the “so what do we do?”stage. You are still stuck at the “whose to blame and how bad will it get?” mode.

As I wrote above – the current science tells us that there is enough GHG in the air already to warm the world. So what do we DO?
- Gradually move away from the coasts. Don’t subsidize flood insurance. Don’t rebuilt the 9th Ward of New Orleans. Develop new crops. Plant forests farther north. Forget the Maldives. Prepare for the refugees from Bangladesh.

As I wrote – we can mitigate the effects. So what do we DO? Carbon tax. Nuclear power. “Big Business” cannot cut anything. It will ALL be passed along to individuals. This means energy will cost more and – yes – the poor will suffer more.

And the developing world holds the key. We cannot let the climate change debate be transformed into a development scheme or transfer to the developing world. These are dangerous diversions.
As I wrote – the world has been warmer and colder. We can adapt … or not. But complaining won’t help.

BTW – Al Gore asks for criticism. The whole “climate jet set” are a bunch of hypocrites. I don’t say that we should judge the message by the messengers, but it would be kind of nice if they would walk the walk instead of jetting around the world to attend conferences to talk about how people shouldn’t jet around the world.

Posted by: Christine at November 25, 2009 08:23 PM
Comment #291615

Stephen,

You know as well as I that we can change it if we wanted to, if we accept that we are changing it now then it means we have the power to change it later too. Logic would dictate, right?

Yes, our cimate has changed over time for various reasons. And when it has gotten warmer and the arctic sea has opened up with better growing seasons, we get things like the Renessance…

You assume that the warming you fear is a bad thing. You also assume that it is caused entirely by humans. You also assume the trend is warming…

None of these things are really proven beyond a shadow of a doubt. Warmer worldwide temperatures than we have now resulted in a great time in our history. Many things may be causing the warming trend you think is going on, not just humans. And finally, if we are warming, why has it been getting cooler for 10 years now? Shouldn’t a warming trend have an actual trend of warming going on?

The fact is it is getting colder and the scientists who thought they knew what was going on are now stumped to explain it. The air over land is warmer than the sea and while the arctic ice is coming and going, the anarctic ice is getting thicker.

But, the real issue is that all of the ways presented to counter emissions do **** all to do just that. They are a means of redistributing wealth and make no actual reduction in any kind of emissions. Under Kyoto, the EU was unable to lower the emissions as much as the US was without it, and China is clearly not reducing theirs or planning to anytime soon.

And among all of that, without force by the government, green technologies are continuing to be developed and discovered, at rates one would expect of how science and discovery work, and businesses are embracing those ways of lowering costs. Hell, in my line of work, we are developing servers that run less energy and save companies money. That’s real technology done from need and are good things for the country. Oh dear, how is that POSSIBLE?

Announced today: http://bink.nu/news/microsoft-and-ncomputing-align-for-multiuser-computing.aspx?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+binkdotnu+%28Bink.nu%29

NComputing and Microsoft share a commitment to advance multiuser computing (also known as shared resource computing) to make it easier for teachers and students in libraries, labs and classrooms to gain access to a genuine Windows experience at a lower total cost of hardware acquisition and ownership. The collaboration is aimed at helping educational institutions take full advantage of multiuser computing on the Windows Server platform. Multiuser computing is ideal for educational institutions that are looking to do the following:

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Cut electricity and carbon footprint by sharing computers

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 25, 2009 08:27 PM
Comment #291619

Rhinehold,

The problem AGW proponents have is that the trends are not following their predictions and now they are scrambling.

Really? You’ve detected climate trends in what, 2 years of data? Gee, that’s interesting. You’re a climatologist now?

Posted by: gergle at November 25, 2009 10:39 PM
Comment #291621

Oh, sorry missed your last post…10 years. It is getting cooler? Got data or some kind of at least pseudo science to back that up? Then why are the ice caps melting? Do you even understand what global climate is?

Posted by: gergle at November 25, 2009 10:43 PM
Comment #291623

We already have the solution: nuclear power. Clean and almost limitless.

It is not unsafe in the slightest if we use modern technologies with multiple and repetetive safeguards. Sure, nuclear power plants from the 1950s had their problems, but there is absolutely no reason at all that modern science couldn’t make them 100% safe. People get far too worried about the possibility of terrorists inflitrating them and causing a disaster. It would require an incredible degree of scientific acumen to even know what to do to cause a meltdown in a modern nuclear plant, even if you’d taken it over, and if you have that kind of acumen and ability to overcome the highest levels of security, you’re not getting much bang for your buck at all in going after something which isn’t already weaponized. Anybody who knows how to get through top security like that would go after the weaponized nuclear stockpiles we already have.

As for what to do with the waste: again, utilize and improve modern technology and stop thinking that was true in 1960 still needs to be true today. If it became a priority, it’s completely feasible to think that we could reprocess and recycle spent nuclear fuel to the point where it’s completely harmless. This is much more within our grasp than most of the science fiction floating around out there about other forms of “alternative” energy.

Posted by: Phillip at November 25, 2009 11:43 PM
Comment #291624

Phillip,

Apparently we are supposed to emulate France, except when it comes to nuclear power…

We already operate quite a lot of nuclear reactors in this country, both civilians and government operated. The US Navy is a great example of how nuclear power is used…

But apparently some people want us to use technology that doesn’t exist yet, that’s more safe isn’t it?

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 26, 2009 12:37 AM
Comment #291625

Rhinehold,
The ten year ‘cooling trend’ occurs because 1998 was the hottest on record. This year, 2009, is the fifth warmest to date so far. From 1998, the hottest, to 2009, the fifth hottest, is supposedly a cooling trend. Most of the other hottest years on record (after 1998) have occurred in the past ten years. The idea that this ‘cooling trend’ undermines AGW is ludicrous.

Deniers cannot refute the simple fact that CO2 is rising far beyond its previous range. For over 600,000 years CO2 has ranged between 150 - 280 ppm. It is now at 385 ppm. CO2 is a greenhouse gas. Its introduction into the atmosphere by human beings is indisputable.

At this point deniers will always change the subject.

Posted by: phx8 at November 26, 2009 12:53 AM
Comment #291626

…or if they control the post, simply stop allowing posts.

Posted by: gergle at November 26, 2009 01:06 AM
Comment #291629

Gergle,
I caught a few minutes of Limbaugh this morning. It was pretty crazy. He’s convinced all the scientists in the world are somehow collaborting & cooperating and promulgating the hoax of global warming. It was insane stuff. Complete nonsense. It didn’t hold together at all.

But the craziest thing of all is that a lot of people believe it. Close to half of all Americans don’t believe AGW is occurring. Sometimes it kind of strikes me: we’re really not so far from medieval times as we’d like to think.

Posted by: phx8 at November 26, 2009 01:52 AM
Comment #291631

Phx8,

Yeah, Drudge is selling this same crap. Someone is claiming to have emails showing data fixing. I’m just wondering when they figure out it’s a hoax are they gonna ask that the promoters of this load be fired like Dan Rather? Naw. That would be too symetric. Grasping at straws.

Posted by: gergle at November 26, 2009 03:30 AM
Comment #291632

Gergle & Phx8

It is the problem of any established orthodoxy. They go beyond the data and make a leap of faith. I recently attended a conference where the speaker said something like - the science is not compelling enough so we have to exaggerate to scare people to get action.

This is what Al Gore did and why it is so easy to attack his positions. The personal lifestyles of the Al Gore crowd also are easy to ridicule.

I don’t think you guys can really complain when opponents pick the low fruit.

As I wrote above, we believe warming is taking place and that it is human influenced. We object, however, to the quasi-religious aspects of some environmentalists.

It is a problem of physics, mitigation and adaption. When we mix in some kind of new age morality all we do is make it harder to address.


The other factor is the hypocritical political use of the topic. People who really don’t know or really care much about the subject worked themselves up into a phony frenzy. And they still want to continue.

Now we have to actually take action. This will be harder than talk. We need more nuclear power, for example. Anybody who opposes more nuclear power is saying that he doesn’t believe that climate change is not really the existential threat he says. Beyond that, many of the most effective measures will be politically unpleasant or “unjust”.

Too much of the climate debate is being tied to the tangentially related social and income redistribution issues. That is one of the reasons that Kyoto failed.

I won’t repeat all the points we made in the original post. Suffice to say that if we want to address climate change we have to address the factor of climate change. We need ideas on what to do, not a lot of political hot air, recriminations and conferences.

It is likely that the problem will be addressed by technological changes brought about by relative changes in prices and scarcity. Government can help by driving up the cost of carbon - one of the things they really don’t want to do. Otherwise Copenhagen, like Kyoto, will be just rich people talking.

Posted by: Christine at November 26, 2009 10:30 AM
Comment #291633
Someone is claiming to have emails showing data fixing.

Do you guys just not read the news?

http://edition.cnn.com/2009/TECH/11/23/hacker.climate/

The emails are real. Do they prove global warming is a hoax? No. Do they expose some concerns about how scientists discuss manipulating data? Yes. Do they raise concerns about a concerted effort to destroy emails in the face of Freedom of Information Requests? Unfortunately, Yes. :(

Of course, it is typical that the first response by some is to immediately tag these as a hoax, religion is a harsh mistress. Had they been from the Bush White House concerning the practices of the Attorney General? You two would be screaming for investigations, trials and impeachment…

How wonderfully hypocritical.

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 26, 2009 10:30 AM
Comment #291634
The ten year ‘cooling trend’ occurs because 1998 was the hottest on record.

Right, in the last hundred years or so, 1998 was the highest. It was higher during the Medieval Warming Period, but that doesn’t count, does it?

And yes, it was high in 1998 and has not gotten that warm again, getting cooler over the past 10 years since. You know, a cooling trend…

This year, 2009, is the fifth warmest to date so far.
So far. It was a pretty warm September.
From 1998, the hottest, to 2009, the fifth hottest, is supposedly a cooling trend.

What do you call it when the temperatures go down instead of up, AS WAS PREDICTED?

Most of the other hottest years on record (after 1998) have occurred in the past ten years.

Most? Which ones, phx8? 1998 was the warmest, 2005, the second, 2009 the third. The others were much lower… I’m trying to find the actual numbers, do you have a link that details it pretty clearly? I am actually interested in the science and facts, not the religion…

The idea that this ‘cooling trend’ undermines AGW is ludicrous.

Let’s see, all models predicted that between 1998 and 2009 there would be warmer years. They have not been warmer, instead they have been cooler. The arctic ice packs are reforming thicker and the antarctic ice is as thick as it has been on record. Perhaps the ‘models’ are not 100% accurate?

That’s the problem, phx8. The ridiculousness that the scientists know 100% what is going on, that humans are the main cause of warming and that anything other than educated guesses, which are turning out wrong, are being used to convince people to destroy whole economies is becoming more aware to people who are now doubting it. Had this not taken on the political expedience of developing a religion off of it, we might be closer to actually finding out what is really going on, but with the increasing debunking of many of the AGW’s golden calves it is more unlikely that anything will change now. Which is why the approach that many have pushed for, like for example Al Gore who has made up statistics (he even jokes about this on 30 rock) and basically lied to people, is turning on them.

I am a scientist/engineer/all about the numbers. I have no interest in religion and I want to know what the answers are. Because of this, the politicizing of this topic has been one of the saddest events that I’ve seen in my life.

Deniers cannot refute the simple fact that CO2 is rising far beyond its previous range. For over 600,000 years CO2 has ranged between 150 - 280 ppm. It is now at 385 ppm. CO2 is a greenhouse gas. Its introduction into the atmosphere by human beings is indisputable.

And with all of that, the temperatures are dropping… MAYBE we don’t the entire story of what is going on? And yes, humans are one of the ways that CO2 is put into the atmosphere. Are we supposed to all stop breathing now? Are we going to ration exhaling?

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 26, 2009 10:46 AM
Comment #291635

BTW, one of the more debated emails by Phil Jones (remember, he has admitted that they are accurate) states:

Well I have my own article on where the heck is global warming? We are asking that here in Boulder where we have broken records the past two days for the coldest days on record. We had 4 inches of snow. The high the last 2 days was below 30F and the normal is 69F, and it smashed the previous records for these days by 10F. The low was about 18F and also a record low, well below the previous record low. This is January weather (see the Rockies baseball playoff game was canceled on saturday and then played last night in below freezing weather). … The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t. The CERES data published in the August BAMS 09 supplement on 2008 shows there should be even more warming: but the data are surely wrong. Our observing system is inadequate.

There are some debates about the context of this email, but it is the same question many other people who are not ‘beholden’ to the church are asking.

Again, does it prove that AGW is a ‘hoax’? No. Does it mean that the scientist predicted something to happen and it hasn’t happened, pointing to not having all of the right information to know for sure what is going on? Pretty much.

However, the one that really got me the other day when I read it. (I mentioned the emails in #291588) was that there is an email calling for the deletion of emails ahead of a Freedom of Information Act query:

From: Phil Jones To: “Michael E. Mann” Subject: IPCC & FOI Date: Thu May 29 11:04:11 2008

Mike,

Can you delete any emails you may have had with Keith re AR4?

Keith will do likewise. He’s not in at the moment – minor family crisis.

Can you also email Gene and get him to do the same? I don’t have his new email address.

We will be getting Caspar to do likewise.

I see that CA claim they discovered the 1945 problem in the Nature paper!!

Cheers

Phil

Prof. Phil Jones
Climatic Research Unit

I am pretty sure that Phil, who has been scrambling the past few days as most of the emails involve him, might want to look into getting a lawyer. Not sure about the UK laws about destroying evidence ahead of a FOIA request, but I doubt that there are none… Does the deletion of emails prove that AGW is false? No, not necessarily. But again, imagine if, ahead of the Fitzpatrick investigation into Plame, we had evidence that the VP’s office had called for the deletion of specific emails related to that investigation… *shudder*

Just curious, have either of you two actually looked into the emails that were written or are you just accepting from the global warming websites that this is all nothing to be concerned about and likely a hoax?

Thought not…

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 26, 2009 11:07 AM
Comment #291645

Royal Flush-
Look, if I’m wrong, then what you have to repair are economic policies. Folks will rebound. It might even do you some good, given the fact that fossil fuels are still scarce and coal is still dirty as hell, even without the problem of global warming.

If you’re wrong, then we deal with climate change that can’t be reversed easily through human activity.

As for the polls on this matter? Irrelevant. Mother nature isn’t setting the pH levels of the ocean based on election day results.

You’re using arguments based on polls because you can’t match any arguments based on science. If you can do otherwise, show me this science you know, and we can contend on those grounds, not on what Gallup tells us people think.

Christine-
No, I’m in “the what do we do” stage. But what we do is critically reliant on what’s to blame. It’s not as if the blame is purely a political matter. It’s a matter of atmospheric physics.

My reasons for opposing a reliance on nuclear power is that you can’t really build these things quick enough to deal with the problem and build them well. Wind and solar, among other sources, are already present, and the technology gets better with the day.

As for Al Gore? You mix your message when you attack him, and especially when you use that specious argument about jet-setting. What mode of travel would you have him use? Folks point out this supposed hypocrisy as a means of justifying status-quo behavior. It doesn’t fit well with any call to action.

As for the developing world? We’re pumping out a huge chunk of the emissions. We’re not pure folks being mooched off of by these other countries. I think you have it backwards: we get our house in order, and then our innovations can aid the developing world in leap-frogging over unnecessary stages of industrial advancement, allowing them to use green technologies sooner.

It’s good that you’re acknowledging the problem, but you have to let go of the arguments and positions that suited those who didn’t want to acknowledge the problems in the first place.

Rhinehold-
The change going on right now is greater than what happened during the Medieval Warm Period. And for every renaissance a climate change has allowed in the past, there’ve been plenty of losers, too, and there’s no way to predict those winners and losers this far in advance.

It’s not that the warming itself is a bad thing, but we’re adapted to our current environment. We’re adapted to certain crops growing in certain locations, to being able to find drinking water from certain streams, rivers, and lakes.

Climate change is altering the pattern of what is sustainable. You can academically attach a neutral value to that, But things like crop failures and water shortages have a way of making things tough on civilizations, and we are not immune from that sort of change.

Just look at the Dustbowl. Folks failed to farm properly, allowing ages worth of topsoil to blow off. When the drought hit, people starved, whole segments of the population were displaced. We make light of such events at our peril.

As for the E-mails?
They weren’t hiding anything the way you folks think they were. They were saying, as the authors of the paper with the data, that past a certain point, where the temperature proxies depart from the reality, they suggest not using those numbers.

It’s not a political coverup. The reality of a science that relies on real-world observation and sampling, which can’t be done in a sterile lab, is that you’re always going to have to deal with the mess that the real world is.

And deal with it, they do. The measure and data mentioned in that article are not the only ones out there. What’s more, things like that can be uncertain because different factors in the environment confound the measurement. You can complain about their lack of purism or the lack of completeness in the measures, but such complaints are disingenous given all that scientists do to identify such issues and deal with them.

They’re not trying to cover up anything. That’s just the accusation of their critics, who seem to be, for the most part, partisan supporters of the oil and gas companies, of the fossil fuel status quo.

If you want additional context (a bit technical) then you can follow this link.

If not, you can continue in your rhetorical quest to prove that most climate scientists are in a diabolical conspiracy.

Meanwhile, if you’re not busy, maybe you can tell me why the ice sheets are melting faster than the IPCC was predicting, or offer an alternative explanation of how temperatures are rising so disproportionately in the Arctic and Antarctic, while the temperatures in the tropics and the temperate areas change less quickly.

As far as cooling trends go, you can then explain to me why temperature in a warming trend has to go perpetually up, and why natural variability can’t operate even in times where human factors dominate the changes.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 26, 2009 01:50 PM
Comment #291646

Mr. Daugherty wrote; “Look, if I’m wrong, then what you have to repair are economic policies. Folks will rebound. It might even do you some good, given the fact that fossil fuels are still scarce and coal is still dirty as hell, even without the problem of global warming.”

What a bunch of baloney. The strain on our economic system are already at the breaking point with huge deficits getting larger every session of congress. Some things can’t be reversed and the huge taxes proposed with cap and trade will crush our earning class.

Fossil fuel scarce? Hardly…what’s scarce are the permits to drill where the oil and gas are located and the refineries to make crude usable.

I am not surprised at your spinning of the embarrassing emails that were released. Blame the oil, gas, and coal industries for everything which is the liberal way. May I suggest you try living just a week without using any of these energy sources.

I wonder when the liberals will try and suspend the laws of gravity? They seem to believe that they are powerful enough, using other people’s money, to change global climate. What an exercise in idolatry.

Posted by: Royal Flush at November 26, 2009 02:32 PM
Comment #291648

Stephen

The solar and wind power facilities and technologies are NOT currently available that can replace coal. You can bring nuclear power on line quicker than you can develop or install other alternatives. The key reason it takes so long to install nuclear power is the opposition of environmentalists. If they REALLY believe that global warming is the existential threat they say it is, they would embrace nuclear power as a necessary expedient, if nothing else. Many responsible environmentalists have, in fact, done so.

I attack Al Gore because it is time to attack his hysteria. He did some service by calling attention to the problem, but he exaggerated and lied in “An Inconvenient Truth” and some of the quasi-religious fervor he has helped provoke makes real solutions and compromise more difficult.

Those emails show the dishonesty of some “scientists”. They should go where the data takes them w/o concern for the politics.

Re Developing countries. Do the math. Yes we produce a lot of CO2. CO2 emission is largely tied to production. We have a large % of the world GDP and so produce similar % of CO2. But as the developing world grows, so do their emissions. China will emit more CO2 in the next 30 years than we have since our country was founded. That is the order of magnitude. Even if we reached zero emission, it wouldn’t matter w/o the developing world.

Our technologies can leap frog older tech. But we have to get the developing world to do it. China is commissioning a coal fired plant every couple of weeks. Why? Same reason we did. It is cheap. If we decommission our plants only to have them build ones that are generally LESS efficient, it serves no useful purpose.

You are indeed still arguing the old blame game and are stuck excluding particular technologies, such as nuclear, that offer the best hope for mitigating the problem.

I am not saying you are in this camp, but there are many environmentalists who WANT a problem like CO2. It allows them to attack the general industrial society. It is like a sort of original sin in their new-age religion. They are upset when non-punishment solutions could be proposed and guilt not assessed.

Posted by: Christine at November 26, 2009 03:03 PM
Comment #291651

Royal Flush-

What a bunch of baloney. The strain on our economic system are already at the breaking point with huge deficits getting larger every session of congress. Some things can’t be reversed and the huge taxes proposed with cap and trade will crush our earning class.

Behind this rhetoric is the mistaken assumption that energy prices aren’t already bad. What this will encourage is the use of forms of energy that will actually get less expensive as time goes on.

This, as opposed to fossil fuels, which being non-renewable resources, will only get more expensive as time goes on. If you can tell me what the reason for sticking with fossil fuels is other than a desperate fear of change, be my guest. You’re acting as if this is a stable status quo, and it’s not.

The sooner we transition, the cheaper and more effect it is.

Fossil fuel scarce? Hardly…what’s scarce are the permits to drill where the oil and gas are located and the refineries to make crude usable.

No, fossil fuels are getting scarce. The argument is, oil fields are already pumping out the most they ever will, and we’re only going to increase supply after going for ever more expensive sources.

As for Refineries? The oil companies shut down refineries after they merged, as the Bush Administration permitted them to do. Seems its not that efficient for the profits of the companies to keep refineries open, and too costly to start new ones.

I am not surprised at your spinning of the embarrassing emails that were released. Blame the oil, gas, and coal industries for everything which is the liberal way. May I suggest you try living just a week without using any of these energy sources.

Having fun arguing with that figment of your imagination? I’m not suggesting we ought to drop everything, I’m suggesting we make a change to energy sources that aren’t going anywhere, unlike the oil and gas supply.

As for the sources: your people have badly misinterpreted them, and as usual are trying to prove mainstream science is all a hoax. It doesn’t help that the e-mails in question were stolen off the server.

Is it fun pretending like everybody whose not conservative is out to get you? Out to destroy the economy? Out to destroy America?

I wonder when the liberals will try and suspend the laws of gravity? They seem to believe that they are powerful enough, using other people’s money, to change global climate. What an exercise in idolatry.

A funny argument to make when you’re disagreeing with most scientists who know the field.

Maybe in old, 19th century science, the effect is too small to be noticed, but that was before we discovered that small things can have large effects. People talk about the Butterfly Effect? They’re talking about this field.

Fact of the matter is, CO2 has a strong influence on Climate for something that’s averaged a few hundred parts per million for quite some time. Nonetheless, it has that effect, despite being a trace element. Are you telling me that a trace element that has that much punch at such low concentrations won’t make things warmer when you significantly increase how much of it’s in the atmosphere?

Show me the science that demonstrates where all this excess CO2 suddenly came from. Don’t just express personal disbelief at the possibility, prove your argument. That, or quit throwing around the bull.

Christine-
It’s not a matter of the technology not existing. It exists, and gets better everyday.

Nuclear power exists, but for it to be used safely, you have to over-engineer the hell out of them. Those plants are expensive and slow to build, and that’s even with government help. We can put up wind towers and solar panels a lot faster than nuclear plants, and the environmental effects from the later technologies are considerably less of a hindrance to siting and deployment.

The people who are telling you Al Gore lied would probably also paint you as a liar and a socialist for what you’re saying, if you were a high enough profile political figure to matter. Just try it. Try and bring this up with your fellow Republicans, see how far you get.

You’ve got to stop approaching Democrats as if we’re looking to instigate the end of the American economy. I mean, damn, do you think we’re that lacking in self-interest?

When Republicans stop politicizing the science, they’ll have a better voice in the matter. But for the time being, all people like me, who have the best of intentions, are accusations wildly out of line with our actual goals.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 26, 2009 03:58 PM
Comment #291653

Rhinehold,
For a record of temperatures, see:
http://www.pewclimate.org/analysis/nasa_us_temp

The Pew article gives a good explanation of the importance of temperature trends, as opposed to drawing conclusions based on any one year.

Another pretty good resource:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Temperature_record

The wikipedia article presents some nice graphs. Unfortunately, it has not been updated since 2004.

Personally, I couldn’t care less about the dust-up over the e-mails. I’ve read a couple. It’s irrelevant. It’s similar to the fallacy of attempting to discredit the scientific case for Anthropogenic Global Warming by attacking the person of Al Gore. The science behind Global Warming is not confined to one person, or to one institute. It is a matter of data and experiments which can be repeated by anybody. Credible scientific institutions around the world have reached the same conclusion about AGW, regardless of the politics of their respective governments. Communists, socialists, capitalists, Arabs, Israelies, rich nations, poor ones, all have independently reached the same conclusion:
The climate is changing, Earth is warming, and it is very likely (greater than 90% likelihood) that humanity is the main cause; and finally, the results of Climate Change are very likely to be catastrophic for humanity.

Posted by: phx8 at November 26, 2009 04:37 PM
Comment #291656

Stephen

What you wrote to Royal re fossil fuels is objectively untrue. The price of gasoline, adjusted for inflation, is actually cheaper than it was thirty years ago.

The problem with fossil fuels is that they are TOO CHEAP. If they cost more, we would have developed alternatives already.

And the idea that alternatives will be cheaper than oil or gas is silly. Why? Alternatives are more, labor, land and or resource intensive. Wind and sun may be free, but the machines and infrastructure required to harness them is not. Oil and gas are also free in the same way wind and sun are free. We pay for the machinery and labor to extract them. That is the nature of almost every resource. It costs very little to extract oil and gas from many of the most productive fields. That is the problem.

Re Solar tech etc – yes it exists and YES it costs more than oil, gas etc. You cannot install it fast enough AND it would be a bad idea is you did.

Think about it. Solar is developing rapidly and rapidly improving because we are making iterative improvements. It is like computer tech in this way. Imagine a liberal plan back about the time of Kyoto (just for reference) to get everyone a new computer. What if they succeeded and we all had installed the very best 486 computers. Not good.

Just as you would not want to be tied to old computer tech and old solar tech, you will not want to be tied to the 2010 solar tech in 2020. It is better to let the transition come in an iterative, improving fashion.

Re Democrats – I am not approaching Democrats as if they want to ruin the economy. I am confident that most responsible Democratic leaders will be/are in favor of nuclear energy. I believe that the smarter ones understand the need for iterative improvements.

You might want to abandon some of the partisan points of view and look to solutions. You do not speak for “the Democrats” any more than the people you attack are “the Republicans.” We are looking for American solutions. If “the Democrats” don’t figure it out, they may soon lose their jobs as “the majority”.

We have two parties, but we don’t have a binary system (as you pointed out a couple of years ago, as Rhinehold revealed). It is not like one party gets to do what they want and then the other does. We arrive at what I hope leaders believe is the BEST solution, not the partisan solutions.

One more thing re Al Gore. He was VP from 1993-2001. Kyoto was negotiated during that time. He had lots of opportunities to make changes. He didn’t. Talk is easier than action.

Posted by: Christine at November 26, 2009 05:36 PM
Comment #291657

Christine-
It’s a limited resource that’s going to be more and more expensive to get out of the ground as time goes on.

Meanwhile, solar generation continues to improve, even to the point where new battery and ultracapacitor technology will be able to ensure a constant flow of energy from these admittedly inconstant sources. The price will continue to fall as time goes on.

Which trend do you see as the better one to follow: the one that heads towards inevitably greater expense, or that which continues to greater economy? That’s my argument to Royal Flush, who seems to believe that there is actually capacity out there to drill, baby, drill. We don’t. We can’t get off of foreign oil and energy by relying on fossil fuels.

As for what we have to get passed in the Senate? Well, the Republicans can decide tomorrow that they’ll just vote against things they don’t like and persuade Democrats to join them. We’ve got majorities on many of these issues. Perhaps not enough to to overcome a sixty senator filibuster vote, but enough to pass a bill.

My problem here is that partisan politics seems to be dominating the conversation among the Republicans (such as this wellspring of hate for Al Gore, this politicization of the science) rather than the real stuff about the issues at hand. I know that seems the idealistic thing to say, but I think the real idealism and naivete is in this old-fashioned view of how the world works, how the science works. The real world doesn’t follow that old view of things, and fighting it, I think, has done this country and it’s interests a whole lot of harm.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 26, 2009 09:24 PM
Comment #291659

Rhinehold,

If I tell you the stock market will go up in the next ten years, can you tell me the price of AT&T on January 21, 2012 please?

If the answer is no, then why do you make such a claim about climate data?

For a scientist/engineer you’re saying some pretty dumb stuff.

Before one gets all warm and fuzzy from peeing in one’s own pants, one should let the truth come out about the email hack.

http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/11/the-cru-hack/

Posted by: gergle at November 26, 2009 10:44 PM
Comment #291660

Stephen

You are right in theory and in the very long run. But improvements in technology have confounded those sorts of predictions for more than 200 years. In the last year, for example, recoverable American reserves of natural gas have increased by 39% and the price of natural gas is plummeting.

Your analysis is flawed, as was the analysis done in 1972 by the Club of Rome. You might want to check that out.

So I guess that you are right – eventually. But in our lifetimes it probably is not true.

BTW – natural gas produces much less CO2 per unit of heat than coal. If we use gas instead of coal, we can reduce CO2 emissions by around 2/3.

What you are telling me about solar is true but not useful. If the price of solar comes down, it will replace gas and oil. UNTIL it does it is cheaper to use gas and oil. That is just a tautology.

Re Al Gore and the politicization of science – Big Al is the biggest violator here. He abused science in “An Inconvenient Truth”. He knew or should have known that his prediction were much on the high side and some of his analysis re mosquitoes in Africa and pine beetles in N. America, as well as hurricanes were completely unsupported by the data. That is why it has been so easy to debunk him. And Al Gore is one reason why some people remain skeptical. They don’t want to get fooled again. And what about those dishonest emails?

John has been an environmentalist since before most people were born. As a young man, he was panicked by the “population bomb”. Later he was warned about global cooling before he was warned about global warming. Read the Time Magazine cover story. He believed the Club of Rome when they told him that our resources would run out by the middle of the 1980s and he thought for sure that his beloved Lake Michigan would be an algae choked morass by the time his kids were old enough to look at it. None of this came to pass.

I believe in global warming as explained in the original post. But I get a lot less hysterical about such things than I used to.

Realistically, I believe that the U.S. will be able to reduce our emissions in the next decades, as technologies develop. We reduced emissions in 2006 and a lot in 2008. The 2006 drop was because of higher gas prices. 2008 came from the start of the recession. Neither was mandated. But all our reductions will be offset by vast increases from places like China, Brazil and India.

But if we go with the medium estimates of warming, we can adapt.

I am completely in favor of using science and data to make decisions. Others might want to try it. These things will lead you to advocate nuclear power and higher carbon taxes, among other things.

Posted by: Christine at November 26, 2009 11:00 PM
Comment #291671

C+J, You are right that Al Gore used exaggeration and hyperbole to amplify some of his points in his book/movie. I cringed when I saw the scene depicting sea level rise. I 200 foot rise in sea level corresponds to the complete melting of the ice sheets in East+West Antarctica and Greenland. This is unlikely given current trends, unless government for some reason acted to amplify the global warming by doing something really stupid like taxing alternative energies and giving out tax breaks for coal power + other fossil fuels (which you have correctly identified as TOO CHEAP).

I think your wrong to doubt the ability of solar and wind to dominate the post-carbon energy market. Traditionally, solar power and wind power have been extremely cheap. The problem has always been one of transportation and storage. It’s easy to load a tanker up with crude in Ceyhab and send it to the East Coast of the US (or load up a tanker in Valdez and send it to the west coast). It’s not easy to take the sunshine from the Mojave desert and ship it to where people live, same story with wind. Developments in batter technologies as well as other technologies should lower the cost of transporting this energy. As I have already stated, I have no objections toward using fission as a bridge towards the renewable energy sources. Stephen needs to recognize that in the forthcoming post-carbon world, nuclear fission will play a prominent role in the energy mix, a role larger than that which it currently occupies. While it will never be 100% safe as Phillip asserted above, the potential dangers posed by global warming outweighs any of these risks.

Rhinehold, you want the numbers? Here are a few paleoclimatological numbers for the Northern Hemisphere.
Source 1
Source 2
One more

This paper covers both hemispheres.

Posted by: Warped Reality at November 27, 2009 02:32 AM
Comment #291682

Sherry-
No, what he’s saying is that they ought to come clean about what really happened. He does not, however, believe that global warming is a hoax. He in fact works out what they were really saying: the quality of the papers involved in one e-mail, for example, was so bad that somebody resigned over it.

By the way, the data supposedly hidden? It is out in the open. It was a poor choice of words relating to substituting relevant, calibrated data sets at certain points, in order to create a composite picture.

Or to put it another way, Two rights (that is, properly calibrated sets of data for separate periods) do not make a wrong.

Christine-
The problem with your response is that your argument misses my point. I’m saying that

a) even if you can get additional fossil fuel supplies, their carbon emissions are what we’re trying to stave off;

b) America’s supply of natural gas will not last forever, even if we find more of it;

c) And the technology exists right now to get a start on making the transition to renewables.

It’s better to get that start NOW. If we wait until the supply really does get scarce, we compound the cost of transition with a scarcity problem.

If you’re saying we should have cap and trade, I agree. I’m saying we should also be concentrating on renewables and power sources that have no decline in their yield curve.

And, we should pioneer it here, for this country’s economic benefit, and then export it elsewhere, both gaining ourselves customers, jobs, and profits, and helping avoid the problem of having the less capitalized developing world having to take the lead on the very expensive R+D that it takes to make this stuff work.

Drop the Al Gore hate. It’s what the anti-environmentalists in your party are using to maintain resistance in the ranks to climate change legislation. It is counterproductive to your purposes. As for ease of debunking?

People find it very easy to debunk things if they take a slap-dash, politicized approach to it.

I don’t advocate nuclear power generation unless they can lick some of the problems of waste, and find designs less apt to fail spectacularly than water-cooled reactors. But I also don’t advocate it because construction on those things, and the sites and surveys needed to make them safe will take longer than we likely have to make the transition. Economically, as well, we must recognize that economically extractable supplies of uranium are limited, and it won’t get any better the more reactors we build.

I suggest solar and wind and other more renewable kinds of energy because they have two advantages: distributability (centralized power plants are not the only sources one can tie to the grid), and not being tied to a resource that can run out.

My logic here is economic logic: it’s always easier to make a transition on your feet, than to be forced to rise to the occasion from your knees. For once, we need to front load the costs while we can pay them, rather than putting them off to when we can’t.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 27, 2009 12:24 PM
Comment #291683
If not, you can continue in your rhetorical quest to prove that most climate scientists are in a diabolical conspiracy.

Except, Stephen, I have never once done that. Try reading what I’ve written, not what you want me to have written, something that you seem want to do quite a lot.

What I pointed out, and I am right about, even though you fail to accept it, is that we have emails of the scientists themselves accepting that the lack of a warming trend the past 10 years is troubling. As I said before, these emails do not DISPROVE anything. But they do back up the questions that some have been having.

But worse, way worse, is the call to destroy emails in front of a Freedom of Information request. Are you going to defend that? You are saying that these emails are ‘no big deal’, but that one email by Phil Jones is VERY DAMNING, not to the entire scientific community necessarily, but to HIM and the CRU especially. If we find that the other people did delete the emails or if this is a tactic being used by other organizations, then it will be an even bigger story.

And you know that had this been a Republican politician deleting emails before a Freedom of Information request, you would be SCREAMING about it. That you now say this type of behavior is ‘no big deal’ speaks to your hypocrisy AGAIN.

Meanwhile, if you’re not busy, maybe you can tell me why the ice sheets are melting faster than the IPCC was predicting

Because the scientists, despite their claiming that they have all of the answers, don’t? That there are other forces at play and things that they still don’t understand about how our COLOSSALLY COMPLEX environment operates, if automatic dampeners are at work, etc.

Perhaps you could tell me why now the ice sheets are NOT melting as fast as they were a couple of years ago and are getting thicker? Why Antarctica is as thick as it has been recorded, etc? There are a LOT of unanswered questions and things that are not following along with the models, as I stated years ago, so using them to destroy societies seems a bit hard handed to me. We still don’t know what is going on enough to say because what has been said 10 years ago has been proven over and over again to be wrong.

or offer an alternative explanation of how temperatures are rising so disproportionately in the Arctic and Antarctic, while the temperatures in the tropics and the temperate areas change less quickly.

Got me. There are a TON of factors. The scientists who do this for a living can’t explain it either. Could be lots of things, like:

Magnetic poles diverging
Increased magma activity in the ocean floor heating the oceans
A butterfly in China beating its wings a little faster because it is bored
An increase in fauna in response to increased CO2
The ozone layer getting thicker
The ozone layer getting thinner
More people becoming vegetarians
Too many french people

You tell ME Stephen, you are the one wanting the entire world to change the way it operates, increase the taxation of everyone to force their behavior to change since you aren’t able to convince them through dialog and facts (you are, but it isn’t good enough apparently).

BTW, The cap and trade bill, Kyoto, Copenhagen, etc, NONE of these things are going to decrease emissions AT ALL. Zero. Nada. It is only going to shuffle money from the developed countries to the undeveloped counties. You can say we need to enact these things to ‘save the planet’ but the facts are that it will have absolutely no impact at all on any CO or CO2 emissions.

The fact that we are going after the automobile industry when we now know that 15 tankers operating today put out more emissions than all of the cars on the planet speaks volumes to the real goals of the politics behind AGW.

As far as cooling trends go, you can then explain to me why temperature in a warming trend has to go perpetually up, and why natural variability can’t operate even in times where human factors dominate the changes.

I can’t explain it. The scientists can’t explain it. THAT IS MY POINT. You make the assumption that human factors DOMINATE the change, that is also not accurate. Of course, you don’t want to admit that either, there is politics in religion involved.

The sad part is that science is about re-examining and asking questions. Never assuming you know everything, especially when you haven’t been able to prove your theories. What most people in this discussion are interested in is definitely NOT science.

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 27, 2009 12:32 PM
Comment #291684

BTW, I find it very interesting that people are wanting to point me to RealClimate.org when they have shown up in the emails too…

From: “Michael E. Mann” To: Tim Osborn, Keith Briffa Subject: update Date: Thu, 09 Feb 2006 16:51:53 -0500 Cc: Gavin Schmidt

guys, I see that Science has already gone online w/ the new issue, so we put up the RC post. By now, you’ve probably read that nasty McIntyre thing. Apparently, he violated the embargo on his website (I don’t go there personally, but so I’m informed).

Anyway, I wanted you guys to know that you’re free to use RC in any way you think would be helpful. Gavin and I are going to be careful about what comments we screen through, and we’ll be very careful to answer any questions that come up to any extent we can. On the other hand, you might want to visit the thread and post replies yourself. We can hold
comments up in the queue and contact you about whether or not you think they should be screened through or not, and if so, any comments you’d like us to include.

You’re also welcome to do a followup guest post, etc. think of RC as a resource that is at your disposal to combat any disinformation put forward by the McIntyres of the world. Just let us know. We’ll use our best discretion to make sure the skeptics dont’get to use the RC comments as a megaphone…

So yeah, when they come out and tell us these emails are ‘no big deal’, we should take their word for it, you’ll excuse me if I call their motives into question…

And you assume that I haven’t seen every single link provided about the emails before I mentioned them on here. I have. That is why I haven’t bought into the hysteria, I stated matter of factually that these emails do not DISPROVE anything nor prove a conspiracy of any kind, other than the attempt to destroy emails unlawfully.

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 27, 2009 12:37 PM
Comment #291685
find designs less apt to fail spectacularly than water-cooled reactors.

It would be hard to do considering the inherit safety of those reactors…

We have been using hundreds of water-cooled reactors for, what, 60+ years? How are they ‘failing spectacularly’ again?

France gets nearly 80% of their electricity from nuclear power, how many people have they killed with it so far?

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 27, 2009 12:46 PM
Comment #291691

Ummm, so what exactly is your issue with RC controlling it’s content and not allowing it to become a disinformation megaphone?

I thought a libertarian would call it a right for a website to control it’s own content. Egads!!! Property rights!!!

Posted by: gergle at November 29, 2009 02:47 PM
Comment #291704
Ummm, so what exactly is your issue with RC controlling it’s content and not allowing it to become a disinformation megaphone?

Nothing at all. But they lose ANY claim to impartiality or pretense towards objective science when they act such a way.

I thought a libertarian would call it a right for a website to control it’s own content. Egads!!! Property rights!!!

gergle AGAIN completely misunderstanding the issue and making claims that have no basis in reality!!! EGADS!! Oh, wait, business as usuall, sorry…

BTW, you are dodging the issue of the destruction of emails ahead of a Freedom of Information request. You surely aren’t CONDONING that behavior, are you?

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 29, 2009 08:34 PM
Comment #291731

Rhinehold-

What I pointed out, and I am right about, even though you fail to accept it, is that we have emails of the scientists themselves accepting that the lack of a warming trend the past 10 years is troubling. As I said before, these emails do not DISPROVE anything. But they do back up the questions that some have been having.

No, they don’t. I mentioned natural variability. Cooling trends happen naturally. There’s no reason those influences would just go away because Humans are adding an additional factor.

Yet still, this cooling trend represents average temperatures much warmer than those in previous decades. “Cooling” can be a relative term. After all, magnetic fluctuations on the sun lead to cooling of certain areas. We call them sunspots, and their temperatures would still cremate you dead if you were dropped into them.

Earth’s temperatures are less extreme, but when temperatures go down from the nineties here to the eighties, we call that cooling. But the question, trend-wise, is where it’s cooling from.

You talk of things being “VERY DAMNING”, while saying

these emails do not DISPROVE anything. But they do back up the questions that some have been having.

Questioning without aiming to distinguish between what is true or not is merely unskeptical doubt, and should not be given precedence over scientific doubt, where your concerns cannot merely remain in the air, but must be tested.

Because the scientists, despite their claiming that they have all of the answers, don’t? That there are other forces at play and things that they still don’t understand about how our COLOSSALLY COMPLEX environment operates, if automatic dampeners are at work, etc.

First, they don’t claim to have all the answers. But they’ve done more extensive study and have nailed down many claims as either true or false. They’ve eliminated a number of possibilities that the Contrarians still bring up, still treat as being unanswered by the scientists. Second, as collosally complex as things are, there’s a difference between chaos and randomness, between a system that is deterministic but sensitive to small changes, and one that is random, and therefore beyond any kind of prediction.

Perhaps you could tell me why now the ice sheets are NOT melting as fast as they were a couple of years ago and are getting thicker?

Further studies have shown that the ice sheets are loosing considerable mass, and faster than expected.

They’re overflying these things with satellites that have gravitational instruments, measuring the actual mass of the ice sheets. That mass is going down.

There are a LOT of unanswered questions and things that are not following along with the models, as I stated years ago, so using them to destroy societies seems a bit hard handed to me.

Let it never be said that you have a tendency in your arguments to slip towards the melodramatic.

I think it’s worth commenting that a lot of what’s not following models is happening faster and worse than it ought to.

We still don’t know what is going on enough to say because what has been said 10 years ago has been proven over and over again to be wrong.

Nice generalization. Truth is, science works in part through the testing of theories, and a theory can be wrong, but a step in the right direction. Or it can be hogwash. You lead with this argument that somehow, if a theory’s wrong, then the contrary hypothesis must be true.

No. Doesn’t work that way. In science, both hypotheses can be wrong. You’re not making a political choice between two theories, but an empirical examination of the merits.

If you want to blame magnetic poles, you have to show me magnetic poles diverging. Increased Magma activity? (how the thermodynamics of that work, I don’t know) Show me the increases.

Greater solar irradiation? Show me. Ozone layer changing? Show me.

Bored Butterfly in Peking? Hunt that like turd down, stick it to a board with a needle, and show me.

I don’t want the entire world to change the way it works. I want people to deal with the way the world really works, instead of burying their heads in the sand of myopic human concerns that won’t necessarily survive contact with those real events.

BTW, The cap and trade bill, Kyoto, Copenhagen, etc, NONE of these things are going to decrease emissions AT ALL. Zero. Nada. It is only going to shuffle money from the developed countries to the undeveloped counties. You can say we need to enact these things to ‘save the planet’ but the facts are that it will have absolutely no impact at all on any CO or CO2 emissions.

Funny how you can tell us what the facts are concerning policies and events that have not yet come to pass.

You seem intent on using the uncertainties of Science and of Atmospheric physics to essentially throw all the theories contrary to yours in the air and embrace the one you like.

The truth of the matter is, science is not merely about re-examining, nor about asking questions. It’s about constraining your claims to what you can justify based on the evidence. You talk about people proving their theories, yet ignore all that has been disproven, or at least don’t bother to research well enough to learn of the accounts contrary to yours. I have seen your charges answered elsewhere, yet am told again and again that these are such troubling questions.

To me, that seems to be where the politics is invading and getting in the way of the science. Some people want the troubling questions to remain troubling, no matter how close to correct the theories are, no matter how discredited the questions become by means of actual scientific discussion.

I’m familiar with what the science says and does not say. And one thing for sure, chaos and complexity theories do not justify this kind of solipsism and shrugging off of evidence. I know, because I’ve familiarized myself with those theories. They don’t say that nothing can be predicted.

They simply say that these things can’t be approached with traditional reductionism, of parsing everything out into individual causes that are supposed to add up to the sum of their parts, that some systems will have a greater propensity over longer periods of time to change their outcomes, which remain deterministic, when dealing with small changes in how things start off.

It means that it’s hard to predict the weather with great precision over longer than a few days, but it doesn’t mean that the forecasts are going to be off.

Or that tomorrow, the temperatures are suddenly going to shoot up to ninety and go back to normal the next day. There is an order to the way these systems work, but it’s an order that confounds and iterates upon itself.

It’s certainly a complex matter to predict climate change, and by definition, you’ll never get an exact answer, because even the true models cannot predict with arbitrary precision the results of small differences in starting conditions. But doing this is better than doing nothing.

Figuring out imperfect models and respecting the conclusions of those models is better than ignoring the implications of what climate scientists are saying in general and just betting that somehow they were completely wrong with no countervailing theory of any credibility to back that position up.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 30, 2009 02:08 PM
Comment #291732

Rhinehold,

RC is a private website like this one. If spam is not allowed here, why should it be allowed there?

A scientific discussion site is not the place for spam posts from ideologues. I don’t think that impinges on bias. I don’t exactly get where you justify your strays from libertarian ideals, suddenly. This isn’t a government body. It isn’t subject to FOIA requests.

But, yes, destroying emails for a governmental body prior to a FOIA request would be bad….if that is what occurred. You have proof that occurred?

Posted by: gergle at November 30, 2009 02:23 PM
Comment #291736

gergle-
I don’t think the e-mails ever got deleted, actually.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 30, 2009 03:04 PM
Comment #291742

Stephen, can’t get into detail now, will do when I get back to the hotel.

gergle, the emails were from a governmental agency, not the RC website. Have you even looked at what has occurred?

Stephen, how would we know if the emails were deleted or not? Isn’t the evidence of someone running the department asking others to delete their emails (and inferring in the email in question that others had agreed to do so) a major concern? Or do you just not care that an agency under the direction of the UK government directed the destruction of emails ahead of a Freedom of Information request?

Tell me, Stephen, what would be your reaction had this been someone in the Bush administration. And you wonder why people use the term hypocrisy a lot around you…

Hey, don’t worry anyone, Stephen doesn’t think any of the emails in question were actually deleted, so go about your business like nothing happened…

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 30, 2009 04:01 PM
Comment #291743

Rhinehold-
Speak for yourself. You’re constantly implying I’m a hypocrite. It seems to be your substitute for actually taking a stand on the issues apart from how it relates to Democrats and Liberals like me.

For those who want a nice solid answer to some of the objections made by the contrarians, here’s a nice article laying out scientists’ answers.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 30, 2009 04:20 PM
Comment #291768

Stephen

If what you say is true, you have a self-correcting problem. If solar gets to be so cheap, everybody will just buy it.

I know you don’t believe this any more than I do. Otherwise you would have to take no action. Just wait a few months and buy those solar panels.

Posted by: Christine at November 30, 2009 10:06 PM
Comment #291774

Stephen,

That was my point. There is the problem of the CRU in England destroying original data, but keeping “corrected data” and disallowing others to examine that data. That does make one suspicious of fraud or poor science IF there is no way to recover the original data based on methods of “correction”.

From what I have read, GW is not, however, based on one set of data, or one group’s conclusions.

Posted by: gergle at November 30, 2009 11:26 PM
Comment #291775

Rhinehold,

I haven’t seen reporting pinning this down. The emails may be personal emails, not on government systems, not unlike the Bush Administrations use of personal emails to conduct government business. While certainly questionable, I could understand deleting certain emails, however, as we all know, that isn’t as easy as it seems.

I use my personal laptop and personal email addresses to do business for my employer, sometimes. I have an email within their web based system, but find it awkward to use. If someone wanted to look at all my business emails, I wouldn’t mind, but if they wanted to delve into my personal emails, I would object to that invasion of my privacy. Thought a libertarian would support that.

Posted by: gergle at November 30, 2009 11:33 PM
Comment #291781

gergle,

… I seriously wonder sometimes.

Let me repost the email in question.

From: Phil Jones To: “Michael E. Mann” Subject: IPCC & FOI Date: Thu May 29 11:04:11 2008 Mike,

Can you delete any emails you may have had with Keith re AR4?

Keith will do likewise. He’s not in at the moment – minor family crisis.

Can you also email Gene and get him to do the same? I don’t have his new email address.

We will be getting Caspar to do likewise.

I see that CA claim they discovered the 1945 problem in the Nature paper!!

Cheers

Phil

Prof. Phil Jones
Climatic Research Unit

That you would even think of defending that is beyond amazing. No one has suggeted anywhere that these emails weren’t on the CRU servers and the information is obviously not ‘personal’ email.

Do you have ANY link to back up what you are suggesting?

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 1, 2009 12:49 AM
Comment #291782

Stephen,

Once again, you try to argue with me pretending that I hold beliefs that I have already stated clearly that I don’t hold.

I have never suggested that the emails ‘disprove’ anything. Nor do I think that if one thing is shown to be wrong or called into question that it automatically makes the alternative right. You can keep having this conversation with whoever you are arguing against all you want, but it has little to do with me.

I did, however, get quite the chuckle out of you using suspot activity to defend Human induced Global Warming (you need to figure out what is being talked about as well, slipping back and forth between two different scientific topics constantly is a poor debate technique against someone who actually knows what they are talking about). Apparently you don’t remember people arguing in the past that sunspot activity has much more to do with global warming than CO2 emissions. That delicious bit of irony was almost worth reading through the slog that you obviously intended for someone else.

BTW, an explanation as to why water is warmer than land could be the fact that the underwater environment is hardly static, warm magma and lava enter the water constantly. If this action increases it could raise the water temperature while leaving the land temperature alone. It makes a plausible explanation. Perhaps the fact that I have thermodynamic training allows me to see this possiblity, I don’t know, but in NO WAY am I saying that this *IS* what is happening, before you start another tirade against some unknown person…

The same with the other things I mentioned, they in no way are PROOF of anything, only plausible things that may not have been taken into account appropriately when determining how much of an impact CO2 or CO emissions are on global warming because it is obvious, to all but the religious, that something is missing. Even the scientists at CRU have admitted frustration at not being able to explain the cooling trend the last 10 years that, according to their science, says should not be happening.

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 1, 2009 01:02 AM
Comment #291783
Yet still, this cooling trend represents average temperatures much warmer than those in previous decades.

Decades, I see you use, not centuries. Because you know it would be an inaccurate statement. The late 1600s to the mid 1900s was a very strong cooling trend below normal. The warm we are seeing now is not ‘unprecidented’ even in human history. You say it is warmer than it has been in 8000 years, which is incorrect as well.

“Cooling” can be a relative term.

So can warming.

Earth’s temperatures are less extreme, but when temperatures go down from the nineties here to the eighties, we call that cooling. But the question, trend-wise, is where it’s cooling from.

Yes, it is. And it is cooling from recent record highs that were not supposed to cool from. Global warming was supposed to keep increasing because it is based on emissions that have increased. If increasing emissions do not equate to increased tempratures, perhaps the amount we attribute to the warming (or cooling) of the planet is a lot less that you would like for us to believe?

BTW, The cap and trade bill, Kyoto, Copenhagen, etc, NONE of these things are going to decrease emissions AT ALL. Zero. Nada. It is only going to shuffle money from the developed countries to the undeveloped counties. You can say we need to enact these things to ‘save the planet’ but the facts are that it will have absolutely no impact at all on any CO or CO2 emissions.

Funny how you can tell us what the facts are concerning policies and events that have not yet come to pass.

I’m sorry, Kyoto wasn’t in place for a decade? How many emissions did it stop? I can read a document and tell that there is nothing in there to actually STOP emissions, just charge people money from not lowering them, and then passing that on to countries that are not developed. How does that lower emimssions? I doesn’t, it just transfers wealth by taking money out of each American’s pocketbook. China (the biggest polluter) and India aren’t even included in that transfer of wealth! Kyoto was a political treaty, NOT a scientific one determined to actually lower emissions.

You seem intent on using the uncertainties of Science and of Atmospheric physics to essentially throw all the theories contrary to yours in the air and embrace the one you like.

No, I seem intent on looking for the facts and addressing them. Not come up with a theory, make predicitions on that theory and when those predictions do not come to pass pretend that my theory still holds. It may, but I have to explain the anomolies and the fact that the scientists CAN’T tells me that they either don’t have all of the information or they might be wrong in their initial theories. Because they are just that THEORIES, no matter how many of the religious hold these truths as gospel.

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 1, 2009 01:14 AM
Comment #291806

Rhinehold-
This particular quotation, contemporary to the time of that quoted e-mail, is probably more indicative of what they really think:

Hi Phil, Seems to me that CRU should charge him a fee for the service. He shouldn’t be under the assumption that he has the right to demand reports be scanned in for him on a whim. CRU should require reasonable monetary compensation for the labor, effort (and postage!). It this were a colleague acting in good faith, I’d say do it at no cost. But of, course, he’s not. He’s not interested in the truth here, he’s just looking for another way to try to undermine confidence in our science. Henry’s review looks helpful and easy to deal w/. Will be interesting to see the other reviews. I guess you’re going to get your moneys’ worth out of your scanner, mik

I’d say many of the e-mails also indicate, if they are made in similarly candid circumstances, that these people were not simply hiding something.

Take this one, for example.

Mike, Ray, Caspar,

A couple of things - don’t pass on either.
1. Have seen you’re RC bet. Not entirely sure this is the right way to go,
but it will drum up some discussion.
Anyway Mike and Caspar have seen me present possible problems with the
SST data (in the 1940s/50s and since about 2000). The first of these will appear
in Nature on May 29. There should be a News and Views item with this article
by Dick Reynolds. The paper concludes by pointing out that SSTs now (or since
about 2000, when the effect gets larger) are likely too low. This likely won’t
get corrected quickly as it really needs more overlap to increase confidence.
Bottom line for me is that it appears SSTs now are about 0.1 deg C too cool
globally. Issue is that the preponderance of drifters now (which measure SST
better but between 0.1 and 0.2 lower than ships) mean anomalies are low
relative to the ship-based 1961-90 base.
This also means that the SST base the German modellers used in their runs
was likely too warm by a similar amount. This applies to all modellers, reanalyses etc.
There will be a lot of discussion of the global T series with people saying we can’t
even measure it properly now.
The 1940s/50s problem with SSTs (the May 29 paper) also means there will be
warmer SSTs for about 10 years. This will move the post-40s cooling to a little
later - more in line with higher sulphate aerosol loading in the late 50s and 1960s70s.
The paper doesn’t provide a correction. This will come, but will include the addition
of loads more British SSTs for WW2, which may very slightly cool the WW2 years.
More British SST data have also been digitized for the late 1940s. Budget
constraints mean that only about half the RN log books have been digitized. Emphasis
has been given to the South Atlantic and Indian Ocean log books.
As an aside, it is unfortunate that there are few in the Pacific. They have digitized
all the logbooks of the ships journeys from the Indian Ocean south of Australia and NZ
to Seattle for refits. Nice bit of history here - it turns out that most of the ships are
US ones the UK got under the Churchill/Roosevelt deal in early 1940. All the RN bases
in South Africa, India and Australia didn’t have parts for these ships for a few years.
So the German group would be stupid to take your bet. There is a likely
ongoing negative volcanic event in the offing!
2. You can delete this attachment if you want. Keep this quiet also, but
this is the person who is putting in FOI requests for all emails Keith and Tim
have written and received re Ch 6 of AR4. We think we’ve found a way
around this.
I can’t wait for the Wengen review to come out with the Appendix showing what
that 1990 IPCC Figure was really based on.
The Garnaut review appears to be an Australian version of the Stern Report.
This message will self destruct in 10 seconds!
Cheers
Phil

Prof. Phil Jones

Here’s my theory: these guys were constantly getting harrassed by people who essentially were looking to destroy what they considered valid and substantive work, in the interests of promulgating a message that they considered dangerously irresponsible. Boo-hoo, they’re not acting like perfect angels.

But these guys are serious scientists, who believe what they are doing is correct. They’re not revealing some awful conspiracy, nor are they probably hiding anything with the intention of committing a fraud. They’re probably just not that terribly interested in helping the cause of folks who are after their data to do a disservice to the science they spend their lives working on.

On the science, moving forward from these e-mails:

Yes, some have posited sunspots as a factor But as one of my links demonstrates, neither cosmic rays nor solar irradiance changes have been found or established as dominating factors.

See, it’s not that terribly difficult to figure out what a rise in CO2 does to the heat retention of the atmosphere. The difficulty is in figuring out what the response by the weather, in turn, will be, and the climate that results from all that. Solar irradiance’s role in matters has been conclusively proved to be insufficient. That is to say, scientists cannot balance the observed warming simply by accounting for the heat energy that absorbed sunlight brings into the system.

That doesn’t stop the deniers from bringing it up. Nor from bringing up the insufficiently modelled or studied cosmic ray hypothesis, which also fails to correspond to any increase observed out there.

The magma thing doesn’t hold up because most of the ocean isn’t in direct contact with hot molten lava, and there’s usually miles of insulating rock and oceanfloor ooze inbetween them. Volcanoes have been a source of greenhouse gases throughout history, but right now, our carbon footprint dwarfs theirs, and there’s no big Siberian Traps eruption (thank God) to pump it into the atmosphere.

Decades, I see you use, not centuries. Because you know it would be an inaccurate statement. The late 1600s to the mid 1900s was a very strong cooling trend below normal. The warm we are seeing now is not ‘unprecidented’ even in human history. You say it is warmer than it has been in 8000 years, which is incorrect as well.

Care to back that up with some evidence? You folks constantly go after the “Hockey Stick” graph, principly because it does show the unprecedented increase. It’s not the only proxy that shows it, so there’s no use in simply going after it alone.

Yes, it is. And it is cooling from recent record highs that were not supposed to cool from.

No, I never saw anything saying that there could not be cooling or anything like that.

I can read a document and tell that there is nothing in there to actually STOP emissions, just charge people money from not lowering them, and then passing that on to countries that are not developed. How does that lower emimssions?

If you’re talking Cap and Trade, then the idea is to establish carbon credits that those reducing emissions can sell to those who aren’t. The costs of buying the credits, and the incentives of selling them will lead folks to reduce emissions.

Whether this can truly deliver grand results all depends on the strength of the market incentives, and the pressure the politicians are willing to put on the market.

But it’s surely better than doing nothing. Folks like you nowadays tend to either deny there’s a problem, or deny that something should be done. I don’t think that’s a healthy, mature way to approach policy, unless you think special interests should run the country.

No, I seem intent on looking for the facts and addressing them. Not come up with a theory, make predicitions on that theory and when those predictions do not come to pass pretend that my theory still holds.

Mister, hypotheses and theories are HOW you address and look for the facts that matter.

People spent tens of thousands of years, not getting too far, trying to figure out the world. Only in the last few centuries did we get anywhere, and only recently have we moved with great speed. Why?

Science. Science is a discipline fundamentally founded on making claims that can be put to the test, putting them to that test, and then judging the fidelity of the results in reality to that predicted by the theories and the models.

It’s not perfect, and never will be perfect. It’s a human enterprise. But what it has us do is the exact opposite of what you describe.

See, your people keep on bringing up things like solar irradiation, or the possibility that the scientists were wrong about the origins of the CO2. People even raised doubts about the ability of CO2 to raise air temperatures when it goes up in concentration.

They raise these doubts, pose these alternatives, though, with scientists having already ruled these things out, having made models that featured these inputs, those assumptions, and having proved them false.

It’s amazing the things people just spout off, thinking that somehow, these guys don’t know what they’re doing. They just rely on what the media says is the latest theory and challenge that- a rhetorical approach, rather than a research approach.

People can get wrapped up in pretty words and compelling beliefs. Science is about putting those to the test. Yes, science can produce beautiful results. The wave-nature of light and the laws of electromagnetism can be expressed in four relatively simple equations you can wear on a t-shirt. But it can produce ugly results, like the standard model of quantum physics, that nonetheless also hold true. Scientists can have compelling beliefs. But compelling beliefs, like that of the belief in climate change as long, elegant, and gradual, can be found false, replaced with other ideas.

Maybe my problem with you is that you assume that the scientists haven’t done their homework, and I do. Why is it that you so mistrust their authority on the matter? Do you have a rational reason, or just a concept you can’t accept for personal reasons?

Ultimately, we must put aside personal beliefs for science to work well. There’s a well known story of a scientist who disbelieved in evolution because he couldn’t understand what a polar bear would have to hide from, for it to be valuable for that bear to be white.

Of course, the bear could hide from prey, but that scientist’s personal gripe kept him from being open to other possiblities that could be put to the test.

The theories you offer might explain anomalies in your opinion, but theories must also explain the everyday, as well. A theory of special exceptions isn’t of much use.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 1, 2009 02:23 PM
Comment #291887

God Stephen, are you just incapable of debating what one person says without going off on tangents and debating what other people say after lumping them in together? “Your folks…”

It seriously is one of the most ignorant tactics I have seen and it is altogether tiresome.

As for your ‘points’,

1) The ‘hockey stick’ has been completely debunked, even the IPCC will not touch it anymore and it has been removed from all future findings.

2) Preaching ‘science’ to me is insulting, to say the least.

3) We are still in our infancy in ‘figuring out the world’. The assertion that you have that ‘science has it all figured out’ is more dangerous than people who think ‘god’ is directing things, IMO.

Maybe my problem with you is that you assume that the scientists haven’t done their homework, and I do. Why is it that you so mistrust their authority on the matter? Do you have a rational reason, or just a concept you can’t accept for personal reasons?

I have never assumed that scientists haven’t done their homework, but I never assume that it is correct until proven so. And the fact that we can’t explain the cooling we have now with the increase in emissions that have been going on that should have increased the tempratures, tells me that they aren’t getting an A. It doesn’t mean that they are 100% wrong, but they are missing things and those things are important.

But it is all beyond the point. I am not for severely altering our way of life, BY FORCE, without knowing all of the answers. It is an immature position to take, that we have to put guns to people’s heads to ‘stave off global warming’ without knowing how much good it will or won’t do, what the exact causes are and what the effect will be of those actions, nor knowing for sure if it is even a bad thing for the earth to warm, if it is a natural trend or a minor blip?

NONE of these things have been proven, Stephen, just theorized upon.

But getting back to the CRU, this is the group that said a few months back that they didn’t have the raw data being requested because they ‘ran out of space’ (as if terabyte drives are not pretty cheap). Then we find that they were purposely deleting emails.

You can sit back and say ‘well, they were just being harassed’. I’m sorry, but is the evidence and raw data something that they should not be providing ALREADY? WE can only see the data after they have ‘normalized’ it? Where do the people of the planet GET OFF actually asking for the information and expecting to get it?

It’s harassment to want to see the data before they manipulate it? That was what the FOI requests were for, Stephen…

The fact that you cannot bring yourself to be outraged at this, if not just for the fact that it makes them look like they are hiding something and they should have known better, is mind-boggling.

What is worse, you actually think that you have more insight into this topic than others, including myself, do. As if we are just ‘listening to the words of others but YOU have done the real discovery work’. Truly amazing.

BTW, despite your best attempts to paint me as a nut, remember that I am building a green house right now (without government funds, that would be a bit hypocritical of me, wouldn’t it?) that will, hopefully, be adding energy back into the grid instead of taking it away. I am actually walking the walk, so to speak. So your ‘preaching’ is a huge waste of time.

I understand that green technologies WILL become the norm one day because it just makes sense. We are getting there, gradually, as the technology becomes available AND affordable. I have been touting those companies like Konarka and Tesla Motors that are really doing good work in these areas, all without needing ‘cap and trade’, etc.

The problem with ‘cap and trade’ is that we don’t have alternatives yet. When it was used in the 70s for CFCs, we had alternatives and it made sense. Today, we don’t have those technologies, not because of a lack of people trying to work on them, but because we are not there yet. Your ‘solution’ is going to cost each American home to pay an additional 1200 a year in taxes, when they are already overtaxed and having trouble making their mortgages, buying food, buying health insurance, etc. It is not responsible, nor is it wise, to do that now, especially in the light of the facts we have now that the doom and gloom predictions are turning out to be based on flawed assumptions and theories that are going to need to be re-examined.

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 2, 2009 10:55 AM
Comment #291902

BTW, http://reason.com/archives/2009/12/01/the-scientific-tragedy-of-clim is a good examination of what all of this means and WHY it is important…

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 2, 2009 12:53 PM
Comment #291903

Rhinehold-
Has the “hockey stick” been debunked entirely? Well, here’s the problem with that argument: the study, the graph, and the data it was based upon may have turned out to have some problem, but it’s conclusion has been replicated elsewhere with other proxies, other measurements. So, debunked entirely? Not really.

I have never preached science. I do not preach that it has everything figured out. Rather, I say that it’s a better way of figuring things out, because it helps to minimize the influences of our personal biases. I insist that a scientific theory should be judged scientifically.

You can talk about us being in the infancy of understanding the world, but to me this argument is too convenient by half, and relies on an appeal to ignorance as premise. Oh, we can’t know what’s right, so why trust AGW theory?

No, I’m not going to accept that kind of argumentation. That defeats the point of science, because arguments from ignorance, given their missing proof, always yield conclusions that cannot be put to the test on their premises.

As far as cooling goes, I made that point about sunspots for a reason. You see, climate is still as variable as it always was. All the things that might, at some point, push the climate of the world towards a cooler period, still operate. The human factor here is dominating the shift in climate, but it’s not running the whole show. 1998 was a hot year, but since then, we’ve still had warm years. Statisticians looking at the recent cooler temperatures see little deviation from the overall warming trend.

Fact is, it just doesn’t go in a straight line, always. There will be periods where natural processes pull temperatures in the other direction. But right now, they’re pulling agaisnt more than just other natural forces. They’re pulling against the consequences of all those added Greenhouse gases, agaisnt the consequences of the warming and the other things we’re doing.

This tug of war was not called off when we got into the game as a factor. Whether cool periods still occur or not, we will still see a climate that is warmer than it otherwise would have been.

You keep on asking for absolute proof. But nobody can claim absolute proof in science, especially not in something as complex as climate science. The absolute proof will come in the form of the actual outcome, which is considerably more behind the curve on climate change than it’s wise to be. The time to predict the course of a hurricane is not when it’s moving over your city.

Which leads me to another point: uncertainty aside, we’ve gotten pretty good at figuring out where a hurricane is likely to go. the models are not absolutely correct, but the improvement just over the last few years has been enormous.

Not all controversy is useful, or enlightening. When the means used to settle controversies are more political than empirical, when folks start out with a point to prove, and keep on trying to prove it no matter what countervailing evidence emerges, it gets a bit tiring for those who work by stricter, more substantive standards.

Even so, I provided you with proof countering your notion that they were simply trying to cover up for data manipulations. But why would you think they were monkeying with the data in the first place?

That’s the thing. The charge is implicit in the accusation, as much as its unproven by anything you’ve offered. Fraud.

But is it fraud? or not merely wanting to be bothered with sharing every bit of your correspondence with people who are looking to pick apart everything for evidence of a grand conspiracy, or at the very least, politically incorrect thoughts and behavior?

The folks out there want a fair shake they never give anybody else. They want people to bend over backwards to cut their own throats.

And it seems, like you, that it’s inaction from the government they seek.

You talk of guns to people’s heads, of freedoms taken away. Inaction, inaction, inaction. I understand and believe in a degree of emergent market behavior, but I don’t think we can really run a society well with only a bottom up approach. Sometimes, for the sake of speed and efficiency, the policy might be better directed at a national level.

The real question is why do we have to run the rest of the country to suit the attitudes of a few. Why we have to ignore perceived threats and discount information we get on good authority, just because you folks in particular disagree. Your self-determination, it seems, requires the rest of us to let you to determine what we can and cannot say and do.

You ever wonder why I don’t jump at your offer of libertarian freedom? Because I believe the freedom in this country is not from having a majority rule that goes against you. It’s from having that particular majority, at that particular time becoming the one that can tell everybody how the balance of power stands forever more after that point.

The Freedom of America is that there are no eternal winners in the contest of ideas and political paradigms.

That bothers those, left, right, center, or otherwise, who want to be the eternal champions of the contest. It should. But their response to being bothered should be a degree of humility. A Tyrant isn’t necessarily the person who refuses you. It can be the person who grants you what you want, while many other people suffer.

America’s government is always in tension between what powers it is allowed, and what checks and balances are forced upon it. It was not meant to favor any one group permanently, but to be the perpetual forum of negotiations between all the different factions that no politician of the 1700s could have imagined.

All the different factions, I guess, they knew they couldn’t imagine.

The Founding Fathers, the framers, didn’t merely give us a government that worked according to their principles, but one that would work according to ours, as we worked it out. The Constitution would not be a dead document, only allowing a government like the framers would want it- it would be Democracy, a Republic, responsive to its people.

The people want to move forward on any number of issues. They’re sick of letting the captains of industry run the country. They haven’t gotten near enough for it, so they want to use their rights to get them the kind of government that will do what they want.

You object to this, talk about minority rights, but the real purpose of those minority rights is not to even the score between the majority and it. It’s to keep the majority- or should we say, the section of the population in charge of a policy at a given time- from becoming this fixed section of the public. Instead, the majorities shift with issues, with what people free to speak and publish tell them, and so on and so forth. It doesn’t matter who agrees with one another to create a majority. A majority is a majority.

You should seek to create a new majority, rather than work to undermine the strength of the governing majority. What we do to one majority, we do to any other possible majority.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 2, 2009 12:53 PM
Comment #291905
Even so, I provided you with proof countering your notion that they were simply trying to cover up for data manipulations. But why would you think they were monkeying with the data in the first place?

You are making assumptions Stephen. Science should not be locking away raw data from anyone. WHY were they doing that? Why were they fighting so hard against FOI requests, why did they delete emails in response to an FOI request and why did they allow the data, only 1 set of the 3 that exist, to be DELETED?

The problem is that with the raw data, we may see where they may have messed up. For Example:

In an email to University of Alabama climatologist John Christy I asked, “Is there a possibility that the teams that compile temperature data could all be making the same set of errors which would result in them finding similar (and perhaps) spurious trends?” Christy replied that he believed this was possible and cited some recent work he had done on temperature trends in East Africa as evidence. In that article he found that using both the maximum and minimum temperature rather than the mean temperature (TMean) used by the three official data sets gives a better indication of actual temperature trends in the region.

Christy found that the maximum temperature (TMax) trend has been essentially zero since 1900 while the minimum temperature (TMin) trend has been increasing. In his email to me, Christy explained, “As it turns out, TMin warms significantly due to factors other than the greenhouse effect, so TMean, because it is affected by TMin, is a poor proxy for understanding the greenhouse effect of ‘global warming’.” Or as his journal article puts it, “There appears to be little change in East Africa’s TMax, and if TMax is a suitable proxy for climate changes affecting the deep atmosphere, there has been little impact in the past half-century.” So if Christy’s analysis is correct, much of the global warming in East Africa reported by the three official data sets is exaggerated. Christy has found similar effects on temperature trend reporting for other regions of the world.

Roger Pielke Jr. notes, “If it turns out that the choices made by CRU, GISS, NOAA fall on the ‘maximize historical trends’ end of the scale that will not help their perceived credibility for obvious reasons.” On the other hand, Pielke Jr. adds that Climategate could dissipate if probing by outside researchers finds that CRU, GISS, and NOAA researchers made temperature data adjustments “in the middle of the range or even low end, then this will enhance their credibility.” The good news is that a truly independent set of temperature data has been produced over the past thirty years by NOAA satellites. In general, the global satellite temperature trends tend to be on the low end of the climate computer model projections.

IF the assumptions that led to the manipulation of data which has been occurring as part of the science for decades were based on flawed assumptions, it blows the numbers out of whack. The amount of influence humans are having on the Climate may not be as great as YOU have been led to believe. If that IS the case, then we are overreacting, thinking that we must act NOW in violation of individual rights AND the way our government is set up, when we could allow the market forces inherit in the system and that have been working for decades to provide cleaner and less costly alternatives to powering our society to run their course and solve the problem without fascist responses.

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 2, 2009 01:42 PM
Comment #291945

Rhinehold,

I am not defending it, but neither am I’m sure of the significance. What is Ar4? What discussion are they deleting? What is the CA claim from 1945? Is that related or a side issue? Is the date of the email significant?

I’ve yet to see anyone explain this. Mostly I’ve seen a lot of hand waving and pointing, but little substance.

Frankly, this sounds like a pretty casual consverstation.

I once worked for an engineering company that was working with a Congressman/Lobbyist on the collider program in Texas. They issued an internal circular requesting political contributions. Sudddenly, the secretary that distributed it went about collecting them. I’m guessing something was untoward about the request. This happened in the same day. It amounted to a simple mistake and appearance problem.

Is your contention that since it sounds possibly bad, it therefore is criminal?

Posted by: gergle at December 2, 2009 10:18 PM
Comment #291946

Rhinehold,

I read your Reason link. The problem that this article presents is that it claims data sets are shared. There goes the argument that raw data was deleted or is missing.

It’s one or the other.

Science is messy.

Having been involved in data collection, there is always the problem of evaluating the validity of the data. “Diddling” with the data is standard practice.

My take on climate science is this: We know a trend is occurring, it seems to be related to anthropromorphic activity.

Beyond that, exact values, sea level changes or even the ranges of climate change are subject to further analysis. The hyperbole about NYC flooding is crap, as RC has stated.

Posted by: gergle at December 2, 2009 10:30 PM
Comment #291994

Rhinehold-
Why are they fighting the FOI requests?

The bad faith of the researchers on the other side, for one thing, which we could probably say has been confirmed by the response to the e-mails. When somebody’s literally looking to discredit you and your work with their requests, defensiveness is a natural response.

Also, I get the impression that these guys would rather be doing science than fulfilling those requests. People actually have to take up precious work hours and resources to get what these folks want. And for what? So a bunch of unrprofessional twits can crap on the science you work so hard to manage?

You folks (and here I do use this second person plural in an accusative sense) think that the scientists have these perfect little records just nicely placed here and there, ready for analysis. No muss, no fuss.

Wrong. First, in order to get a decent picture of climate as a whole, the scientists first have to determine relationships between temperatures and whatever it is they’re using to measure it. If the measurement process throws off the reading in some way (like the way you measure water temperature, whether from a regular bucket, an insulated one, or an intake for a ship’s engine or something) you have to allow for it.

If it’s something like a proxy, then you’re dealing with many separate sources of data, each of which requires complex interpretation to get a good measurement. You have to allow for all the things that might affect the variable you’re measuring the temperature with.

And then you have to fit everything together, and figure out what was going on on a global scale, allowing for the local variations that also happen, along with the global variations.

This notion that adjustments of the numbers somehow means that everything’s being hidden runs in the face of the truth: that in order to get useful, meaningful information that represents something real, you need to be constantly, carefully calibrating your numbers as you learn more about the other variable and other issues concerning the data.

This is also the problem of injected heated rhetoric and accusations into the mix. Some folks are thinking more in terms of self-interests that might be affected by the policies, rather than in terms of whether the information is correct.

Which is where people like you get into trouble, Rhinehold.

Take those satellite measurements. First, they are not direct. What you have are microwave signals processed from the upper troposphere, which are then interpreted to derive the temperatures. Second, they are of the upper troposphere, which will naturally have different temperature characteristics than that of the lower troposphere.

Third, temperatures for the surface derived from interpretations of that data have been found to be cooler than the actual recorded temperatures at those locations.

This is the problem with leading with politics and outrage, rather than listening to those who have a decent idea of the actual science. There is quite a bit of competition in science to weed out the bad stuff, because such science can make somebody’s name.

It should concern you that the supposed debunking comes not in the form of a reasoned, scientific debunking of the claims made by others, but from a critiques of what was said in some e-mail, relating to information that your people don’t seem to fully understand.

So much is being made of this, but this is not a concern of substance, rather it’s just the weakness that the Anti-AGW crowd found to pour their perpetual outrage through.

To answer your other charge, I think your people worry needlessly, and probably, if your wish is granted, will lose much of what you seek to save. The Stern Review in the UK basically set out that for a trillion dollars, we can prevent the destruction of 20 trillion dollars worth of GDP.

The status quo is not stable, and we will pay a heavy price to stick with our current favored technology. You’re so concerned with nobody being forced to do anything they don’t want to do, that you fail to see that a great number of people will be forced to deal with unwanted, catastrophic changes, if events continue to unfold.

We already failed to dodge a bullet with the economy, and now we have to clean up a mess where some folk’s precious, unlimited freedom to sell derivatives led to a massive distortion of the market, a massive creation of false wealth.

And what are the market libertarian’s saying? Don’t screw around with the status quo.

I’ve been around about thirty years, and all along this path of deregulation, I have seen one underregulated enterprise blow up in our face after another. The market is like any other social activity. Left to lawlessness, folks will set up their own order, and the powerful will often set it at other’s expense. The freedom that is supposed to come ends up becoming freedom for just a privileged few, who use their knowledge to benefit themselves, and to put others at a disadvantage.

Which brings me back to this contrarian BS. Who do you think funds the research institutes that come up with those claims? Whose political agenda do they serve?

We’ve been through the internal memoes of these companies. They’re not selling people a story they believe themselves. They’re selling doubt for a story that could lose them money. The contrarianism here is for-profit propaganda, meant not to increase freedom or prosperity for everyone, but merely for those to whose advantage it works. They are not exercising reason except to corrupt it. They are not focusing on things like these e-mail to reveal the truth, but instead to obscure it.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 3, 2009 01:14 PM
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