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Richard Lindzen: AGW movement driven by money, power and dubious science

That’s the conclusion I gathered from a devastating essay Richard Lindzen published this past Saturday.  Here are the lead 2 paragraphs:

The notion of a static, unchanging climate is foreign to the history of the earth or any other planet with a fluid envelope. The fact that the developed world went into hysterics over changes in global mean temperature anomaly of a few tenths of a degree will astound future generations. Such hysteria simply represents the scientific illiteracy of much of the public, the susceptibility of the public to the substitution of repetition for truth, and the exploitation of these weaknesses by politicians, environmental promoters, and, after 20 years of media drum beating, many others as well. Climate is always changing. We have had ice ages and warmer periods when alligators were found in Spitzbergen. Ice ages have occurred in a hundred thousand year cycle for the last 700 thousand years, and there have been previous periods that appear to have been warmer than the present despite CO2 levels being lower than they are now. More recently, we have had the medieval warm period and the little ice age. During the latter, alpine glaciers advanced to the chagrin of overrun villages. Since the beginning of the 19th Century these glaciers have been retreating. Frankly, we don’t fully understand either the advance or the retreat.

For small changes in climate associated with tenths of a degree, there is no need for any external cause. The earth is never exactly in equilibrium. The motions of the massive oceans where heat is moved between deep layers and the surface provides variability on time scales from years to centuries. Recent work (Tsonis et al, 2007), suggests that this variability is enough to account for all climate change since the 19th Century.

One of the reasons I constantly ask those who believe in AGW what the “perfect temperature” for the world is and how we can achieve it is I understand that the only constant in the earth’s climate is change.   The world’s climate has always been changing in various cycles since its formation.  History shows us that we’ve had periods of more CO2 than now, warmer periods than now and neither of the events can be explained away by blaming man.

How we got into this scared mode of screaming about gloom and doom if we don’t do something is both interesting and constructive.  But a couple of things first.   Lindzen discusses the role of models in the current debate and why anyone seeing their output should be very skeptical of their conclusions.  He first discusses the “dominant role” of cumulus convection in the tropics and how the models handled that.  His discussion is a scathing critique of the models used:

For warming since 1979, there is a further problem. The dominant role of cumulus convection in the tropics requires that temperature approximately follow what is called a moist adiabatic profile. This requires that warming in the tropical upper troposphere be 2-3 times greater than at the surface. Indeed, all models do show this, but the data doesn’t and this means that something is wrong with the data. It is well known that above about 2 km altitude, the tropical temperatures are pretty homogeneous in the horizontal so that sampling is not a problem. Below two km (roughly the height of what is referred to as the trade wind inversion), there is much more horizontal variability, and, therefore, there is a profound sampling problem. Under the circumstances, it is reasonable to conclude that the problem resides in the surface data, and that the actual trend at the surface is about 60% too large. Even the claimed trend is larger than what models would have projected but for the inclusion of an arbitrary fudge factor due to aerosol cooling. The discrepancy was reported by Lindzen (2007) and by Douglass et al (2007). Inevitably in climate science, when data conflicts with models, a small coterie of scientists can be counted upon to modify the data. Thus, Santer, et al (2008), argue that stretching uncertainties in observations and models might marginally eliminate the inconsistency. That the data should always need correcting to agree with models is totally implausible and indicative of a certain corruption within the climate science community.

It turns out that there is a much more fundamental and unambiguous check of the role of feedbacks in enhancing greenhouse warming that also shows that all models are greatly exaggerating climate sensitivity. Here, it must be noted that the greenhouse effect operates by inhibiting the cooling of the climate by reducing net outgoing radiation. However, the contribution of increasing CO2 alone does not, in fact, lead to much warming (approximately 1 deg. C for each doubling of CO2).

The larger predictions from climate models are due to the fact that, within these models, the more important greenhouse substances, water vapor and clouds, act to greatly amplify whatever CO2 does. This is referred to as a positive feedback. It means that increases in surface temperature are accompanied by reductions in the net outgoing radiation – thus enhancing the greenhouse warming. All climate models show such changes when forced by observed surface temperatures. Satellite observations of the earth’s radiation budget allow us to determine whether such a reduction does, in fact, accompany increases in surface temperature in nature. As it turns out, the satellite data from the ERBE instrument (Barkstrom, 1984, Wong et al, 2006) shows that the feedback in nature is strongly negative — strongly reducing the direct effect of CO2 (Lindzen and Choi, 2009) in profound contrast to the model behavior. This analysis makes clear that even when all models agree, they can all be wrong, and that this is the situation for the all important question of climate sensitivity.

So there is your “consensus” and, as Lindzen points out, the consensus is/was wrong.   Furthermore:

According to the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the greenhouse forcing from man made greenhouse gases is already about 86% of what one expects from a doubling of CO2 (with about half coming from methane, nitrous oxide, freons and ozone), and alarming predictions depend on models for which the sensitivity to a doubling for CO2 is greater than 2C which implies that we should already have seen much more warming than we have seen thus far, even if all the warming we have seen so far were due to man. This contradiction is rendered more acute by the fact that there has been no statistically significant net global warming for the last fourteen years. Modelers defend this situation, as we have already noted, by arguing that aerosols have cancelled much of the warming (viz Schwartz et al, 2010), and that models adequately account for natural unforced internal variability. However, a recent paper (Ramanathan, 2007) points out that aerosols can warm as well as cool, while scientists at the UK’s Hadley Centre for Climate Research recently noted that their model did not appropriately deal with natural internal variability thus demolishing the basis for the IPCC’s iconic attribution (Smith et al, 2007).

The basic reason we’re still battling this nonsense? Uh, would you believe the usual – power and money:

When an issue like global warming is around for over twenty years, numerous agendas are developed to exploit the issue. The interests of the environmental movement in acquiring more power, influence, and donations are reasonably clear. So too are the interests of bureaucrats for whom control of CO2 is a dream-come-true. After all, CO2 is a product of breathing itself. Politicians can see the possibility of taxation that will be cheerfully accepted because it is necessary for ‘saving’ the earth. Nations have seen how to exploit this issue in order to gain competitive advantages. But, by now, things have gone much further. The case of ENRON (a now bankrupt Texas energy firm) is illustrative in this respect. Before disintegrating in a pyrotechnic display of unscrupulous manipulation, ENRON had been one of the most intense lobbyists for Kyoto. It had hoped to become a trading firm dealing in carbon emission rights. This was no small hope. These rights are likely to amount to over a trillion dollars, and the commissions will run into many billions. Hedge funds are actively examining the possibilities; so was the late Lehman Brothers. Goldman Sachs has lobbied extensively for the ‘cap and trade’ bill, and is well positioned to make billions. It is probably no accident that Gore, himself, is associated with such activities. The sale of indulgences is already in full swing with organizations selling offsets to one’s carbon footprint while sometimes acknowledging that the offsets are irrelevant. The possibilities for corruption are immense. Archer Daniels Midland (America’s largest agribusiness) has successfully lobbied for ethanol requirements for gasoline, and the resulting demand for ethanol may already be contributing to large increases in corn prices and associated hardship in the developing world (not to mention poorer car performance). And finally, there are the numerous well meaning individuals who have allowed propagandists to convince them that in accepting the alarmist view of anthropogenic climate change, they are displaying intelligence and virtue. For them, their psychic welfare is at stake.

So essentially, Lindzen is appealing for us all to stop this madness and, in a calm, rational way, discuss what we do know and why it isn’t a threat that needs drastic and expensive intervention  – for instance:

Given that the evidence (and I have noted only a few of many pieces of evidence) strongly implies that anthropogenic warming has been greatly exaggerated, the basis for alarm due to such warming is similarly diminished. However, a really important point is that the case for alarm would still be weak even if anthropogenic global warming were significant. Polar bears, arctic summer sea ice, regional droughts and floods, coral bleaching, hurricanes, alpine glaciers, malaria, etc. etc. all depend not on some global average of surface temperature anomaly, but on a huge number of regional variables including temperature, humidity, cloud cover, precipitation, and direction and magnitude of wind. The state of the ocean is also often crucial. Our ability to forecast any of these over periods beyond a few days is minimal (a leading modeler refers to it as essentially guesswork). Yet, each catastrophic forecast depends on each of these being in a specific range. The odds of any specific catastrophe actually occurring are almost zero. This was equally true for earlier forecasts of famine for the 1980’s, global cooling in the 1970’s, Y2K and many others. Regionally, year to year fluctuations in temperature are over four times larger than fluctuations in the global mean. Much of this variation has to be independent of the global mean; otherwise the global mean would vary much more. This is simply to note that factors other than global warming are more important to any specific situation. This is not to say that disasters will not occur; they always have occurred and this will not change in the future. Fighting global warming with symbolic gestures will certainly not change this. However, history tells us that greater wealth and development can profoundly increase our resilience.

Trying to claim there is a “global climate” and define it with a perfect temperature seems a fools errand in light of what Lindzen points out above about regional variability.  The models don’t explain those regional variables or their effects very well at all.  In fact, they insist on a “global” view vs. the view Lindzen gives us, and that makes the attempt to globalize regional events even more suspect.

My favorite paragraph though, is Lindzen’s parting shot , er, conclusion:

With all this at stake, one can readily suspect that there might be a sense of urgency provoked by the possibility that warming may have ceased and that the case for such warming as was seen being due in significant measure to man, disintegrating. For those committed to the more venal agendas, the need to act soon, before the public appreciates the situation, is real indeed. However, for more serious leaders, the need to courageously resist hysteria is clear. Wasting resources on symbolically fighting ever present climate change is no substitute for prudence. Nor is the assumption that the earth’s climate reached a point of perfection in the middle of the twentieth century a sign of intelligence.

I’m still laughing over the last sentence.   Given any intelligence and a smattering of curiosity about climate history, even a cursory examination of that history makes one immediately suspicious of the claims by the AGW crowd and very skeptical of the science.  For those who Lindzen describes as “well meaning individuals who have allowed propagandists to convince them that in accepting the alarmist view of anthropogenic climate change, they are displaying intelligence and virtue”, he’s saying it is neither intelligent or virtuous.

All I can say is, “agreed”.

~McQ

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55 Responses to Richard Lindzen: AGW movement driven by money, power and dubious science

  • What do you expect when you have politicians horning in on the apocalyptic disaster business of the clergy ?
    Funny how politicians have no problem with the mixing of state and religion when it suits their ends.

  • I don’t think we accidentally “fell into” this hoax.  It was deliberate and well planned. They pulled the whole over our eyes twice in the past, first in equating acid rain solely with sulphur emissions, then when they created a scare over the ozone hole which has natural fluctuations. 

    In both instances some people made a great deal of money over the new regulations.  I think that emboldened the pseudo science green crowd to think that they could pull off a really big one.  If successful it would be enough to suck endless amounts of money from gullible governments for decades.

    But they overreached.

    • I meant Pull the wool over our eyes

    • Environmentalism is, to a very large extent, politically-driven.  It has, IMO, managed to accomplish lots of good things but as the movement grew in influence and power, it was bound to start acting in the interests of expanding both.  And that means that actually safeguarding the environment was no longer the primary concern.
       
      The scientific establishment of our day is in the same position that religion enjoyed centuries ago; it had the unquestioning trust of the masses even when evidence of criminal behavior came to light, and it used, misused, and abused that trust in every way that it was able.  The amount of money and power that can come with regulation of carbon dioxide is probably more than most politicians and lobbyists have even dreamed of.  The AGW movement will not go quietly, they will fight to the very last at almost any cost, because the prize is so great and was oh, so very close.
       
      The UN is preparing its next IPCC report, and I get the feeling that skeptics are much more anxious to read it than the alarmists are.

      • They are defeated, they just don’t know it yet.  Once the seed of doubt crept in they had an uphill struggle. Couple that with the increasingly anti-government attitude in most of the world, and the total lack of money by corrupt bankrupt governments, and you get a perfect storm against them.

      • One of my concerns with the obsessive focus on CO2 is the distraction from other, rather real and concerning environmental problems.  There are true environmental threats, but due to the hysteria with AGW, few people you meet on the street could even name those problems much less tell you the best course of action.  Law of Unintended Consequences strikes again.

        • I am sure that the overwhelming majority of people on this planet do not like to live in filthy surroundins, and they would love to live somewhere that is completely without “pollution” .  Maybe somewhere called Eden or Utopia.  But environmentalists and their activist campaigners must continually generate new issues and threats and fears, to keep themselves in business.  As a result,  environmentalists cherry pick data, take quotes out of context, mis-apply scientific principles and analytical methods, spin, and downright lie in order to convince the populace that they are right.

          I have seen it in my professional field (nuclear energy), and in other scientific disciplines I know quite well.  I NEVER trust AYTHING said by an environmentalist on first impression.  Only after I have seen all the data (which never happens), the analysis methods, and the assumptions that drive them, would I begin to accept environmentalist arguments.  They twisted the case on DDT, on ALAR, on nuclear energy, and they have actually succeeded in demonizing elements in the periodic table (Chlorine, Mercury, Lead, everything radioactive, and now Carbon, the backbone of life)! 

          They have twisted the meaning of the word “organic”, made the word “chemical” into an epithet, and given us a “Precautionary Principle” that boils down to handing over rule of our society to the people who can tell the scariest stories.

          This has to stop.

    • I worked on the monitoring system over the north pole for ozone measurement.  Turns out there was a hole but the scare stories did not pan out.
      Like most of these “scary” phenomena, the environment is  more complex than the models that scientists make of them.  We often find counterbalancing processes that seem to appear.  I used to believe in global warming science unless I started looking into the statistical models they used.  Pure crap.
      I even remember when the big scare story in the 70s was an impending ice age.  Journalists are retarded and they believe every left liberal fantasy told to them.
       
       

  • “So there is your “consensus” and, as Lindzen points out, the consensus is/was wrong.”

    It will get changed and modified.  A new model will be created and show greater understanding.  It will still accredit some problems to human agency and a solution will still be sought.   Will you also deny the new model?  And the one after that?

    At the moment we have the interesting political dynamic of the Left pushing their political solution (and it is only their “solution”, not the solution) and the Right denying a solution will ever be needed.  That is the Right saying that we will never need a solution, because we will never figure out how pollutants effect the climate. 

    But the climate is not going to remain beyond human understanding forever.  We are an inventive and inquisitive lot, it will be solved.  

    Denialism is a hopeless course. 

    “The basic reason we’re still battling this nonsense? Uh, would you believe the usual – power and money:”

    Yes, I would.  But we’re doing it wrong.  As long as the Right insists on denialism as the default position the world is getting screwed over by the only suggested “solution” being total bureaucratisation of the air.  

    The Right wing default position should be what it is for every other issue.  The solution to climate change is capitalism, small government and free-er markets. 

    • How do you know that this “new model” will “accredit some problems to human agency”. You seem to think you are on the side of science, but it isn’t clear that you grasp how science works.

      • I’m not very interested in science (I read political blogs). 

        I think I grasp how politics works.  When there is a problem for which the “only solution” is assumed to be some veritable bureaucrats nirvana, that problem will be highlighted in any official report. 

        Therefore I know the new model will accredit some problems to human agency.  And it will be more robust, harder to attack.  It will probably encompass a lot of refutation of the current attacks.  Perhaps include focus on the local effects of global warming.

        Scientifically it might be complete horse pukky.  Or it might be true.  Couldn’t tell ya.  The climate is still largely uncharted science.

        What to do is destroy the visions of bureaucratic nirvana.   The traditional way to do this is to point out that bureaucrats are useless at everything ever and provide a better small government solution.

        • I disagree. Once AGW is toast, it’s toast.

          In fact, one of the long term problems with the climate science BS is that it is making science look bad. If it does turn out that there is truth to AGW and we really should consider solutions, the credibility of the science is so badly shot it wouldn’t go anywhere.

    • It’s not “denialism” Angus – it’s “show me the science”.

    • We do say that, pollution is a problem, and it can be solved or at least alleviated with free market solutions.

      But none of that will cut any ice with the zealots because they want only a big government solution.

      And although human caused pollution is a problem, there still remains no good evidence for Human caused global climate change.

    • Here is the core IPCC argument:  for the period after 1950, they claim their computer models cannot explain warming patterns without including a large effect from anthropogenic CO2.  Since almost all the warming in the latter half of the century really occurred between 1978 and 1998, the IPCC core argument boils down to “we are unable to attribute the global temperature increase in these 20 years to natural factors, so it must have been caused by man-made CO2.”
      If denying means that the IPCC doesn’t understand what’s going on and their “default” position is that it’s all man-made then call us “deniers.”  Real knowledge is better than buying into a “punt” by the blind.

      • What will the real knowledge be? 

        Either/or:

        A – man is an insignificant contributing factor.

        B – man is a significant contributing factor.

        If it is “A” then excellent we get to avoid worldwide bureaucratic air allocation. 

        But if it is “B” then we’d better have got an effective small government solution out there beforehand, so it has a chance to gain some ground on the emmission trading/big government lie of a solution that has been galloping around the world for the past 20 years. 

        • Your missing C, which has been stated many times but most folks can’t or won’t wrap their heads around. C – if it is “B” there’s really nothing we can do about it short of sending us back to the 1700s economically and then we’re not even sure that will work. So the best course should that be the case is to adapt and overcome and quit worrying about it.

          • C – if it is “B” there’s really nothing we can do about it…

            The basic right wing solution (as far as I can work out) would be to price climate change footprints into the general marketplace with a consumption tax and use market economics as the solution to climate change.  That solution will necessitate minimising of non-market institutions (state run) that distort the marketplace and maximising the marketplace by lowering all other taxation. 

            Ideally we’d save the planet by taxing climate change footprints really high, take no other taxes at all and slash the state back to its bones.

            …short of sending us back to the 1700s economically and then we’re not even sure that will work.

             

            If favouring consumption tax over  income tax; slashing government spending; and eliminating government borrowing are going to “send us back to the 1700s” then I’ve been reading some pretty dubious stuff on several blogs – including this one.   

            If climate change is real this will “work” much better than the left wing Emission Cap BS.  If climate change is not real we’ll have to ask for forgiveness of future generations for slashing taxes and limiting the size of government.  Like Neo says it is a blind punt.   

  • Two legitimate questions (even though I’m sure they will get me jumped):

    1.  Why does the article not even mention increasing ocean acidity in the short term?  It is merely a hypothesis, but one I would think is worth addressing.

    2.  (Somewhat tangential to the issue.)  What is wrong with conservation?  Cap and trade is horrifying, but why not just conserve for conservation’s sake?  Who doesn’t want more fuel efficiency?  Why are there people like Ann Coulter on TV saying we should “rape the earth?”  It would seem like minor changes for the sake of conserving resources would just be smart.

    • Knock yourself out, TW.  Conserve all you want.  If you want a Volt, buy a Volt.
      Just leave me to my choices.  I respect the laws of thermodynamics, and they tell me a set amount of work is required to move a vehicle  down the road at a given speed.
      The only way to make a vehicle 20% MORE efficient is…after all the engineering we can do…to make it lighter.
      That means more people die in them.  That is not arguable.  That is why I’ll keep my choice, and let you have yours.

      • That’s a little simplistic, don’t you think?  Different energy sources have different amounts of potential energy.  Some are more efficient than others, some are cleaner than others.  I suppose if you put a nuclear reactor in the car it would REALLY go, but that doesn’t make it the most efficient choice of method.  There are other factors, principally disposal, that go into the equation.

        And your argument that lighter=more dangerous doesn’t have to be true.  Some materials are both lighter and have greater ultimate strength.  A diamond is a good example, I suppose. 

        But this is all tangential to the discussion.  If your argument is just that you want to waste because you think you have an inalieable right to waste, then so be it.

        • The best forms of energy for autos and light trucks remain oil based. Increased efficiency mostly comes from reduced weight. The trade off is lower capbability. Not everyone wants to make that trade off.

          As far as a right to waste, yes, as a matter of property rights we have a right to waste.

          • Don, the right to use (I prefer that word over “waste”) our resources–in this debate–is superfluous.  TW’s primary fallacy is that s/he believes that conservation and advances in efficiency will necessarily save resources and/or prolong some looming depletion.  S/he is either unacquainted with Jevons Paradox and/or Julian Simon’s bet with the execrable Paul Ehrlich.
            S/he displays the naive, normative, “the world should be rosy and bright” thinking that hallmarks liberals as a danger to civilization.  The static models that these types fixate on will never include the dynamics of incentives and actual human behavior.
             

        • Pardon, but that was a pretty dumb post.
          The issue is ergs.  Gotta have ‘em, no matter what the source.  Energy density MANDATES we use liquid fuels as motor fuel just now, and I see nothing on the horizon that will displace them.
          When you produce a diamond car, lemme know…
          My argument is, I WILL drive what I elect to drive.  That is NOT waste.  It is choice.  I will drive a survivable, well-equipped vehicle of my choice.  I thought you guys were pro-choice?

          • I am vehemently pro-life, but don’t change the subject.  (And when you start with juvenile name calling, you must subconsciously know that your argument is weak.)  Nothing mandates liquid fuels for propulsion, and to maintain as much is either willfully ignorant or dishonest.  I agree with Don that the best widely available motor fuel is oil based, at least in terms of potential energy density per unit of mass. 

            The diamond example was to demonstrate that your “ultimate tensile strength = weight” argument was physically unsound.   And you have to know that.

            While Don is correct that automobile efficiency is generally gained through a reduction of weight, it does not necessarily come at the expense of safety.  Cars have become lighter and lighter since 1970, yet per capita automobile deaths have decreased (almost) every year despite increases in speed limits.  Therefore, you can’t necessarily argue that less weight = less safe.  Advances in composites have helped in that.

          • Having a high tensile strength vehicle, like a glass car, isn’t the ultimate solution.  You really want a high yield strength vehicle.

          • Strictly speaking, reducing weight (assuming all else is equal) make cars safer. Less mass means less energy and less momentum in the accident.

            It’s the “all else is equal” assumption where there are problems. Bigger cars provide the potential for more crush zones for absorbing energy and momentum, etc. 

            Cars have gotten safer, it is true, but this is despite, not because of CAFE regs. 

            The right answer is to have the market decide, so people can make a decent choice between capability, safety, and efficiency on their own.  

    • There is nothing wrong with conservation per se.  But there is a lot wrong with some of the crap that comes down to us as conservation. 

      Renewable resources – huge money pits that have never been profitable
      Recycling – it only pays for metals, everything else needs subsidies
      CFbulbs – very dangerous mercury filled death bulbs, a nightmare for future landfills
      CAFE standards – caused tiny and unsafe autos on one end, and led to the rise in SUV’s because of the law of unintended consequences.

      • The EPA issued new procedures today reducing the official procedure for cleaning up a broken CFbulb by 15 minutes … now down to 8 hours to clean up.   The 3 page procedure indicates that the most dangerous time is the few minutes just after the breakage when the mercury vapor is released into the air while you are reading the cleanup procedure.

    • The conservation BS has been really pushed to insanity, and pushback is fun.

    • Nothing is wrong with conservation. Who made the argument there was? I don’t want dirty water, air or anything else anymore than anyone else. And I certainly don’t have an aversion to conservation.

      What is being talked about has nothing to do with conservation – it has to do with completely changing our culture and way of life based on bad science and an apparently non-existent threat. That’s the point.

      • Conservation is one thing, opposing pollution is another. The Europeans have some neat little diesel cars that are very efficient (conserver), but they also polute more than some less efficent cars (like the Prius).

        And CO2 isn’t pollution (as you know).

    • TW,

      Your comment regarding Ann Coulter is totally out of context.  When she made that comment she was actually laughing and making a joke.

      So I guess if one could be wrong about something that is so easily proven inaccurate, are you open to being wrong about other things?

      Regarding conservagtion, you are setting up a false argument.  I personally don’t know anyone that thinks something is wrong with conservation and I run in a crowd of “deniers”.

      How conserving is it to waste 100’s of millions of dollars that could be used more effectively as opposed to being used for things that might not amount to a hill of beans?

      And how far should we go in our conservation?  Should we eliminate the computer that the next Einstein might be using so we can save electricity?

      • I saw that comment live, and am fully capable of appreciating the context.  The larger point she was making was that conservation was unnecessary, as we can do what we want with the earth.

        And I am always open to being wrong.  Unfortunately, not many commenters share that same belief.

        • You don’t seem open, because you applied your context to her comment and not her own.

          For your context to be accurate she would have to truly believe that we should rape the earth.  Do you  believe if you asked her, “Do you think it is okay to rape the earth?” she would say yes?  Do you believe that if you asked her, “Why were you laughing when you made the comment?” she would say something other than… I was making fun of liberals, don’t they know joking and laughter go together.

          Here’s some context from one of her articles for you… Conservation, efficiency and using oil we hold in reserve for emergencies does not get us more energy. It’s as if we were running out of food and the Democrats were telling us: “Just eat a little less every day.” Great! We’ll die a little more slowly. That’s not what we call a “plan.” We need more energy, not a plan for a slower death.

          Not exactly and endorsement of rape and pillage.  As matter of fact, she makes a logical argument.  It appears many want to try and deny the logic and focus on the humor.

          You say commentors here aren’t open… point to me where someone said that conversation was a bad idea in and of itself?

    • “Why are there people like Ann Coulter on TV saying we should “rape the earth?”  ”

      Got a source for that?

    • I don’t want to “jump”, but calmly reply, and yes, I have already read the other replies.

      I’m not convinced that acidification of the oceans is really an issue at all.  It is true that increased CO2 in the atmosphere will cause an increase in carbonic acid in the oceans.  However, there are TWO negative feedback loops to negate the acidification.  First, carbonic acid (the product of CO2 dissolving in water) is a buffer, a chemical that resist further changes in pH.  In other words, the more CO2 dissolves, the less CO2 is an issue.  Second, the carbonic acid reacts with calcium carbonate which is naturally in sea water neutralizing the acid.  The products of the reaction sink to the ocean floor effectively removing the acid from the ocean.  So, if the oceans have two negative feedback mechanisms, then the threat of acidification of the oceans is minimal at best.
      Nothing is wrong with conservation.  However, if your reasoning for the conservation is faulty, then your methods of conservation could very well be faulty as well.  For example, we’re told that CO2 from cars is killing the earth.  Therefore, we should drive cars powered by fuel cells that can be refilled with hydrogen.  However, the CO2 producing that hydrogen is more than if we just used normal fuel.  Battery powered cars have another issue, not only do the still require CO2 to produce the electricity, the metals used in the batteries are environmental nightmares, much worse than anything locally emitted CO2 can do.  So you see, the reasons for conservation are as critical as conservation itself.

    •  
      TW says:


      “Why does the article not even mention increasing ocean acidity in the short term?  It is merely a hypothesis, but one I would think is worth addressing.



      It is not even a hypothesis. It is a conjecture. And it has been falsified. See:



      http://tiny.cc/rh5gk

  • Gorebal warming/colding/change/chaos/whatever is the witch-doctor religion of the Collective.
    No more.  No less.

  • The whole “greenhouse effect” was first proposed by Fourier in 1824. It was expanded upon by the Swede Arrehenius in 1906.  It was proved not to exist by an experiment – experiment, baby – performed by R. W. Wood in 1906. I’m surprised these witch doctors haven’t tried to use phlogiston in their babblings.
    http://www.natscience.com/Uwe/Forum.aspx/physics/22563/Greenhouse-Physics
     
     
     

    • Global warming fear is the progressive warm fuzzy fear of ‘CHANGE”.
       
      They got it into their heads that the world was obligated to stay the way they grew up with it.   It was an a nice, but essentially unreasonable and foolish notion and is a product of our continually declining education system.
       
      Alert for warmists – Mother Nature doesn’t give a rat’s ass about you and your cheese.  My Suburban isn’t causing your fantasy problem.

  • THE EXIT OF AGEING BABY-BOOMERS
    a.n.ditchfield
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    Even when misguided, dissent is useful to stir debate over ideas that have grown fat and lazy with long and thoughtless acceptance; the vigour of sound ideas is restored after the clash. In the middle of the 20th century the accepted idea was that the main business of the world is raising the next generation, by men and women joined in wedlock. The more the merrier, was the spirit of the time that brought into the world a Baby-Boom Generation, a time of buoyant mood that followed the gloom of two World Wars and a Great Depression. Nothing seemed to stand in the way of progress to redeem mankind from want and disease. As the baby-boomers came of age, parents were amused by the antics of their hippy offspring and thought the fad would wear off. Not all of it did. The nihilist attitude was toned down but selfishness remained. Over the last forty years the baby-boomers rose to positions of power and now head for retirement. Will their hippy Green cult exit with them or will it remain the guiding light of a course to be held?
    The cult has three articles of faith that underpin the pessimism that doomsday is nigh:
    ·         We are running out of space. The world population is already excessive for a limited planet, and grows at exponential rates.
    ·         We are running out of means. The planet’s non-renewable resources are being depleted by runaway consumption; further expansion of the world economy is unsustainable.
    ·         We are running against time, as tipping points of irreversible climate processes are reached. Carbon dioxide emitted by the economic activity causes global warming. It will soon bring catastrophic climate disruption that will render the planet uninhabitable.
    When such issues are quantified, the contrast between true and false becomes clear. Articles of faith have no place in measurement and arithmetic.
    Is overcrowding a serious problem? It may seem so to the dweller of a crowded metropolitan city. It takes counter-intuitive thought to realise that the local sensation of cramped space is a parochial view that should not be generalised for the planet. The sum of U.S. urban areas amounts to 2% of the area of the country, and 6% in densely populated countries like England or Holland. And there is plenty of green in urban areas. If the comparison is restricted to the ground covered by buildings and pavements, the occupied area amounts to 0.04% of Earth’s terrestrial area. It was estimated that 6 billion people could live comfortably on 100 000 square miles, the area of Wyoming, or 0.2% of the total. With about 99.8% of free space available, the idea that the planet is overcrowded is an exaggeration. Demographic forecasts are uncertain, but the most accepted ones, of the UN, foresee the stability of the global population, to be reached in the 21st century. According to some, world population will start to decline at the end of this century and an aging population emerges as a matter of concern. With so much available space is untenable that the world population is excessive or has the possibility of ever becoming so.
    It is argued that, ultimately, a limited planet cannot allow unlimited growth. It can also be counter-argued that, ultimately, non-renewable natural resources do not exist, in a universe governed by the Law of Conservation of Mass. In popular form it states that “nothing is created, nothing is lost, everything changes.” Not a gram of human usage was ever subtracted from the mass of the planet and, in theory, all material used can be recycled. The feasibility of doing so depends on the availability and low cost of energy. When fusion energy becomes operational it will be available in virtually unlimited quantities. The source is deuterium, an isotope of hydrogen found in water in a proportion of 0.03% of naturally occurring hydrogen. A cubic kilometre of seawater contains more potential energy than would be obtained from combustion of all known oil reserves in the world. Since the oceans contain 3 billion cubic kilometres of water is safe to assume that energy will last longer than the human species. Water need not be a limitation, as is sometimes said; an innovation like nano-tube membranes holds the promise of reducing energy costs for desalination to a tenth of current costs, which would make feasible the use of desalinated water for irrigation along the coast of all continents (750,000 km). What grounds are there to assume such technologies will never come to fruition?
    There is no growing shortage of resources signalled by rising prices. Since the mid-19th century a London periodical, The Economist, has kept consistent records of commodity values; in real terms, they dropped over a century and a half, due to technological advances, to the cheapening of energy and to its more efficient use. The decline has been benign. The cost of feeding a human being was eight times higher in 1850 than it is today. Even in 1950, less than half the world population of 2 billion had a proper diet of more than 2000 calories per day; today 80% and have it and the world’s population is three times greater.
    There is no historical precedent to support the idea that human ingenuity is spent and that technology will henceforth stagnate at current levels. Two centuries ago, this error led to the pessimistic Malthus prediction of the exhaustion of land to feed a population that seemed to grow at exponential rates.
    The alleged global warming is based on a controversial reconstruction of unmeasured temperatures over 1000 years and its correlation with carbon dioxide generated by burning fossil fuels. In fact, measured temperatures alternated between highs and lows during the 20th century and have declined since 1998 after the ascent of the previous 23 years that sparked alarm about global warming by human hand. There are natural forces modifying climate, more powerful than carbon dioxide. Natural forces include cyclic fluctuation of ocean temperatures and current change, sunspot activity and the effect on cosmic rays of the sun’s magnetic activity. All of these have known cycles, but mankind can do nothing for or against forces of this magnitude. Measures to adapt to changes make sense; not the de-industrialization of a world where a quarter of mankind still has no electricity.
    Caution in public policy must be exerted because climate change predictions are subject to great uncertainty. The existing knowledge about climate comes from numerous fields such as meteorology, oceanography, mathematics, physics, chemistry, astronomy, geology, paleontology, biology, etc., with partial contributions to the understanding of climate. There is no general theory of climate with predictive capacity and perhaps there never will be one. Chaotic phenomena, in a mathematical sense, cannot be predicted. Climate forecasts that extend into the next century mean as much as readings of tea leaves by fortune-tellers.
    With no basis on solid theory and empirical evidence, the mathematical models that support alarmist predictions are nothing more than speculative thought which reflect the assumptions fed into models, chosen in the interest of sponsors. These computer simulations provide no rationale for public policies that inhibit economic activity “to save the planet.” And carbon dioxide is not toxic or a pollutant; it is a plant nutrient in the photosynthesis that sustains the food chain for all living beings on the planet.
    Disasters stories circulate daily. Anything that happens on earth is attributed to global warming: an earthquake in the Himalayas, the volcanic eruption in Iceland, the 2004 tsunami in the Indian Ocean; tribal wars in Africa, heat wave in Paris; plague of snails on the tiny Isle of Wight; forest fires in California; sandstorms during the dry season and floods during the wet season in Australia; recent severe winters in North America; the collapse of a bridge in Minnesota; the hurricane season in the Gulf of Mexico, known for five  centuries. Evo Morales blames Americans for summer floods in Bolivia.
    Such reckless allegations of cause and effect indicate that global warming is not a physical phenomenon; it is a political and journalistic phenomenon, which finds a parallel in the totalitarian doctrines that once incited masses deceived by demagogues.
    As Chris Patten put it: “Green politics at its worst amounts to a sort of Zen fascism; less extreme, it denounces growth and seeks to stop the world so that we can all get off”. In the opinion of Professor Aaron Wildavsky, global warming is the mother of all environmental alarm: “Warming (and warming alone), through its primary antidote of withdrawing carbon from production and consumption, is capable of realising the environmentalist’s dream of an egalitarian society based on rejection of economic growth in favour of a smaller population’s eating lower on the food chain, consuming a lot less, and sharing a much lower level of resources much more equally.” It is the hippy’s dream of a life of idleness, penury, long hair, unshaven face, blue jeans, sandals and a vegetarian diet; not as a personal choice, but a lifestyle to be foisted upon the world by dictatorial decree of an international eco-fascist dictatorship. Who doubts this as hyperbole must read the word of James Hansen: http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/mailings/2010/20101122_ChinaOpEd.pdf
    Self-indulgent consumption, shrinking investment, and a declining population have been the legacies of a misanthropic generation. A recurrent thought of Nigel Lawson is that much of the current malaise in the West is due to the erosion of traditional religion. The West has lost its bearings. In this he echoes G.K. Chesterton: “The first effect of not believing in God is to believe in anything”. The epigram expresses what anthropologists have long known: that religiosity seems to be hardwired into the human brain; if suppressed in one form it returns in another.
    Before the French Revolution all of Europe was referred to as Christendom and since then secularism has advanced by the hand of governments with agendas. In France, the Catholic clergy was disbanded, church property was confiscated and forked out to politicians in power. To bless their gain a First French Republic enthroned Goddess Reason at Nôtre Dame cathedral in Paris. Decades later, the Third French Republic gave the Statue of Liberty to New York City, locally seen as a handsome monument that greets the poor huddled masses that flow from Europe to the Land of the Free. To radical French politicians the statue is a lot more; an idol, the first person of the trinity of Liberté Egalité Fraternité of their Humanist creed. Bismarck sought to bolster the power of the Prussian state by instituting political control over religious activities, the Kulturkampf. State worship followed. Similar action was taken in Italy, Spain and Portugal at various times; all ended in fascist state worship. The Soviet Union went the whole hog to establish atheism as the official creed and to exorcise devils or burn heretics. While such state action eroded the hold of traditional religion, in more recent times Environmentalism has crept in as the religion of choice of urban dwellers, even in English-speaking countries, immune to European-style anticlericalism.
     “Chassez le naturel, il revient au galop”. The pagan-like worship of Nature has rites, such as planting a tree to atone for an air trip; believers neither fake nor dissemble the sin of consumerism, but acknowledge and confess it; the faithful make weekly trips to the countryside to enter into communion with Nature; their children attend Sunday school to hear Inconvenient Truths, the sayings of the high priest Al Gore. The congregation joins processions to sing hymns for green causes, of all things nice and beautiful for creatures great and small. It observes a calendar with red-letter days, such as Earth Day; perhaps green-letter days would be more to the point. There is a hagiography of saints, the followers of the righteous path of Rachel Carson, and a rogue’s gallery of demons, the big bad oil companies and the dirty coalminers that tempt mankind with the unclean combustion that lights the fires of Hades. Railroads that carry coal are merchants of death. The holy waters of the Gulf of Mexico were profaned by an oil spill. Religious orders such as Green Peace and Friends of Earth preach the true faith. The green religion even sells indulgences; the Carbon Credits for those who cannot stop sinning.
    These antics could be as harmless as a football match, were it not for consequences on a practical plane of beliefs that inspire policies to de-industrialise the West and block the ascent of hundreds of millions in India and China to an adequate diet, potable water, electricity, and basic education and health care. The opposing view sees this stance as the undoing of two centuries of achievements of the Industrial Revolution, a retreat back to poverty and want. Will the post Baby-Boom generation reverse course? Was the failed UN Copenhagen Climate Change Conference of 2009 a turning point in the swing of the pendulum?

     

    • Just wanted to mention that I enjoyed this comment. Particularly the rebuttal against Malthusian angst. 

  • Lindzen is a racist homophobe teabagger hurling vitriol that civil rights leaders find scarily reminiscent of the right-wing rhetoric they experienced when JFK and MLK were murdered.  And there’s a consensus (which is practically a Scientific Law) that global warming climate change climate disruption is real, and only deniers who don’t know anything about science because they listen to Rush or are in the pay of Big Oil say differently.

    Now, I challenge ANYBODY to contest this unassailable argument.

    / sarc

    TW: Why does the article not even mention increasing ocean acidity in the short term?

    Why should it?  The issue is global warming: the models have been shown repeatedly to be wrong.  Casting about for an explanation of why the models are wrong but (somehow) still right is a fool’s errand.

    TW: What is wrong with conservation?  Cap and trade is horrifying, but why not just conserve for conservation’s sake?

    I don’t wish to be accusatory as I don’t think you intended it in this manner, but this is the sort of bait-and-switch the greenies like to engage in when challenged.  As various other commenters have said, nobody is against conservation.  Nobody is against having clean air and water.  I will even go so far as to say (apostate!  heretic!) that the free market does not offer good means to keep things clean (I work in the chemical industry, and it would be a damned sight cheaper to dump waste into the nearest river than it is to have it trucked away for incineration or other “safe” disposal).  However, the Gorebots are trying to make out that (1) CO2 is an atmospheric pollutant on the order of dirty smoke from a Chinese coal plant or fumes from a sulfuric acid plant, and (2) world governments must take drastic and immediate action to not only reduce CO2 emissions but also transfer billions of dollars from “rich” countries to “poor” countries to… to… er… well, to do some sort of good.  The calls for immediate action smack of desperation: the science, despite claims from the greenies, is NOT settled and not especially well understood.  Therefore, we’ve got to implement their plans ASAP… before people catch on that they are being sold a very expensive pig in a poke.

    JustinFor example, we’re told that CO2 from cars is killing the earth.  Therefore, we should drive cars powered by fuel cells that can be refilled with hydrogen.  However, the CO2 producing that hydrogen is more than if we just used normal fuel.  Battery powered cars have another issue, not only do the still require CO2 to produce the electricity, the metals used in the batteries are environmental nightmares, much worse than anything locally emitted CO2 can do.

    Excellent points.  The greenies don’t think more than one step ahead.  So long as they can have the appearance of taking (virtuous) action, they don’t worry too much about what really happens in the real world.  They are saving the planet by using CFL’s; if that means illnesses and birth defects ten or twenty years from now due to our homes and water being contaminated with mercury… Oops.  There I go again, being a denier.  Shame on me!

    •   I will even go so far as to say (apostate!  heretic!) that the free market does not offer good means to keep things clean (I work in the chemical industry, and it would be a damned sight cheaper to dump waste into the nearest river than it is to have it trucked away for incineration or other “safe” disposal). 

      I’ll note that communism has a worse record. See the late Soviet Union for one example. Further, various environmentalist efforts have produced interesting results, for example the Endangered Species Act has the result that it is best to “disapear” any endanged species on your property prior to applying for any permits.

      Excellent points.  The greenies don’t think more than one step ahead.  So long as they can have the appearance of taking (virtuous) action, they don’t worry too much about what really happens in the real world. 

      That’s no doubt true for the rank and file, but I think the serious ones realize they will turn on solar or wind or whatever once it becomes productive (assuming it ever does). Their plan, it seems, is to oppose whatever works.

  • WE did it. For once, we acted collectively, as humans, huddled together on a fragile planet, rather than as selfish individuals. And we did it: we beat global warming.
    So now let’s move on.
    According to the Bureau of Meteorology, 2010 was Australia’s coldest year since 2001. Since logic tells us the planet can’t be getting hotter and colder at the same time, we can confidently pronounce global warming dead, buried and comprehensively beaten.
    This victory happened because individuals pulled together, within nations, and then the nations of the world themselves pulled together. Meetings were held in places such Kyoto. Rousing speeches were made by world leaders. People clapped and felt good about themselves. Documents were signed.
    Clearly, with each meeting, each speech, each inked treaty, global warming was pushed back.

    Dang …. we .. are .. good

    • Outstanding. If talking worked for Global Warming, maybe Obama can also talk us out of the entitlements problem, the recession, and our problems with Iran, China, et al. The possibilities are endless.

  • Just out of curiosity, how does one get an otherwise rational and intelligent person – such as QandO’s former Jon Henke – to read Lindzen’s article and not dismiss it as bunk?  Is the “scientific consensus” such an appealing authoritative source as to reject any and all arguments to the contrary?

  • Prof Richard Lindzen is head of the Atmospheric Sciences department at MIT – arguably one of the  best, if not the best engineering school on the planet. He has 235 peer reviewed papers on the climate in his C.V. He is 70 years old, at the pinnacle of his career, and he has no reason to throw it all away with false, questionable or inaccurate statements.
    I appreciate the fact that Lindzen is not afraid to use the corruption regarding the government grant-fed climate scare industry, which is based on money and politics, not science. The UN is heavily involved, now demanding that the West must give $100 billion each year to atone for putting a harmless, beneficial trace gas/plant food into the air.
    The only verifiable result of increased CO2 is in substantially  increased agricultural productivity. There is NO verifiable evidence of any harm to the planet from CO2. In a world where one billion people subsist on less than $1 a day, and another billion on $2 a day, the increased food production from that harmless airborne fertilizer means the difference for many of them between life and death.
    But the UN/IPCC does not care about starvation. It only wants that $100 billion funneled through the thoroughly corrupt UN – which will take its hefty cut – before handing over what’s left to national governments. Does anyone really believe people like Robert Mugabe will spread the wealth to the poor citizens of Zimbabwe?
    Students of human nature will see exactly how this scam works: a harmless and beneficial trace gas is demonized as “carbon,” and government steps in to save the day with Cap & Tax… selfless humanitarians that they are [/sarc].
    If $100 billion a year were actually to go to the world’s poorest, that might be a valid argument. But like all past international assistance since the Marshall Plan, it will go into the pockets of the elite. And the poor will still be with us.

  • Typo in 2nd paragraph above”…use the word corruption…”