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Climate Science VS Climate Skeptics
Posted by: Jon Henke on Monday, May 29, 2006

During yesterday's Podcast, I pointed out that I've come around to the global warming consensus view for one of the same reasons that, for me, settled the evolution "debate". That is, the scientific illiteracy and disingenuity of the global warming/evolution skeptics became very apparent. In the evolution debate, I'd heard grand claims about "no transition fossils" (false) or "irreducible complexity" (again, false) presented repeatedly. The "skeptics" are either unaware of long-established facts, or willfully obscuring the facts to claim "controversy exists".

Similarly sketchy skepticism exists in the global warming debate. Take, for example, this 2 year old Telegraph article which has been resurrected recently...
Global warming has finally been explained: the Earth is getting hotter because the Sun is burning more brightly than at any time during the past 1,000 years, according to new research.

Many bloggers picked up on the story. Few seem to have wondered why scientists would have ignored this years-old bit of rather important data. One answer, of course, is that the research in question did not say what the skeptics claimed it said. Visit the Max Planck Society, where study author Sami Solanki works and you'll find a more authoritative answer:
solar activity affects the climate but plays only a minor role in the current global warming
Solanki also said that [pdf] "solar variability is unlikely to have been the dominant cause of the strong warming during the past three decades." Unfortunately, this kind of easily-checkable, misleading and/or false claim appear to be the norm for many global warming lay-skeptics. Generally speaking, it's a good idea for laymen to learn a little bit about the subject before telling experts they don't know what they're talking about.

The same kind of faux-scientific skepticism can be found in the recent CEI responses to An Inconvenient Truth. FactCheck.org notes that the CEI claims are not only misleading, but actually outright misrepresent scientists work...
One of the ads says research shows "The Antarctic ice sheet is getting thicker, not thinner. . . Why are they trying to scare us?" Actually, scientists say increased snowfall in Antarctica's interior is evidence that global warming is taking place. Scientists also say that the ice sheet is melting at the ocean's edge and a recent report says it is shrinking overall.

The ads drew a protest from a University of Missouri professor who says they are "a deliberate effort to confuse and mislead the public about the global warming debate." He said one of them misuses a study he published in Science magazine last year on the Antarctic ice sheet. An editor of Science also said the ads misrepresent the findings of that study as well as a second study on Greenland's glaciers.
Even scientists they cite are calling shenanigans on them. One has to wonder why it's so difficult for them to find supportive data that they must resort to this?

Then, of course, there's this transparently phony pitch:


"Carbon dioxide: they call it pollution; we call it life"

Well, sure, carbon dioxide is important, but who is arguing for the eradication of carbon dioxide? Imagine a similar ad for H2O.


"Dihydrogen Oxide: they call it 'flooding'; we call it life"
 
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Comments
I pointed out that I’ve come around to the global warming consensus view for one of the same reasons that, for me, settled the evolution "debate". That is, the scientific illiteracy and disingenuity of the global warming/evolution skeptics became very apparent.
Jon, it seems you reject one arguement and therefore conclude the other is correct rather than remaining agnostic on it. Because one side is wrong does not mean the other side is correct by default.
Did I read you wrong?
 
Written By: tom scott
URL: http://
The same kind of faux-scientific skepticism can be found in the recent CEI responses to An Inconvenient Truth. FactCheck.org notes that the CEI claims are not only misleading, but actually outright misrepresent scientists work...
One of the ads says research shows "The Antarctic ice sheet is getting thicker, not thinner. . . Why are they trying to scare us?" Actually, scientists say increased snowfall in Antarctica’s interior is evidence that global warming is taking place. Scientists also say that the ice sheet is melting at the ocean’s edge and a recent report says it is shrinking overall.

The ads drew a protest from a University of Missouri professor who says they are "a deliberate effort to confuse and mislead the public about the global warming debate." He said one of them misuses a study he published in Science magazine last year on the Antarctic ice sheet. An editor of Science also said the ads misrepresent the findings of that study as well as a second study on Greenland’s glaciers.
Even scientists they cite are calling shenanigans on them. One has to wonder why it’s so difficult for them to find supportive data that they must resort to this?
Well here’s the article cited and the study of the eastern ice mass. While the ad may have misstated the results, the study, per Davis, does show that the eastern ice mass, the largest in the world, is getting thicker by about 45 billion tons a year. Now that’s a hard number. But what it points to is that the worst case scenario (the coastal regions are melting and sea levels will rise percipitously) is also disengenuous. The key to the entire debate is found in the last paragraph:
Current estimates indicate that the global sea level is rising due to global warming and the shrinkage of terrestrial, or land-based, ice. Recent scientific studies have shown that a variety of terrestrial ice sources, such as the Greenland ice sheet, the West Antarctic ice sheet and Alaskan mountain glaciers, are contributing significant amounts to the global sea-level rise. However, in a study to appear in this week’s online edition of Science, a researcher at the University of Missouri-Columbia has found that the interior of the East Antarctic ice sheet is actually gaining mass.

From 1992 to 2003, Curt Davis, MU professor of electrical and computer engineering, and his team of researchers observed 7.1 million kilometers of the ice sheet, using satellites to measure changes in elevation. They discovered that the ice sheet’s interior was gaining mass by about 45 billion tons per year, which was enough to slow sea level rise by .12 millimeters per year. The interior of the ice sheet is the only large terrestrial ice body that is likely gaining mass rather than losing it, Davis said.

"Many recent studies have focused on coastal ice sheet losses and their contributions to sea level rise," Davis said. "This study suggests that the interior areas of the ice sheet also can play an important role. In particular, the East Antarctic ice sheet is the largest in the world and contains enough mass to raise sea level by more than 50 meters. Thus, only small changes in its interior can have a significant affect on sea level."

The study, funded by NASA’s Cryospheric Processes Program and the National Science Foundation’s Antarctic Glaciology Program, suggests that increased precipitation was the likely cause of the gain. This was based on comparisons with precipitation model predictions over the same period of time. The most recent U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reported that Antarctica would gain mass due to increased precipitation in a warming climate. However, the study made no direct link to global warming.

"We need more ice core measurements from East Antarctica to determine if this increased precipitation is a change from the past or part of natural variability," said Joe McConnell of the Desert Research Institute in Reno, Nev., who co-authored the study.

The researchers used satellite radar altimeters from the European Space Agency’s ERS-1 and ERS-2 satellites to make 347 million elevation-change measurements between June 1992 to May 2003.

The research team found there was a strong correlation between the predicted precipitation trends and measured elevation change over the 11-year period for the ice sheet, which indicated that East Antarctica’s interior was likely gaining mass due to the increased precipitation. The results, though, did not assess the overall contribution of the entire Antarctic ice sheet to sea level rise.

"Ice sheet response to climate change is a complex process that is difficult to measure and even more difficult to predict," Davis said. "The overall contribution of the Antarctic ice sheet to global sea-level change will depend on how mass changes in the ice sheet’s interior balance mass changes from the coastal areas."
Or said another way, "we’re taking some scientific wild a**ed guesses here because in reality, given all the variables involved, we really have no good predictive methods to say if the ice that is presently melting continues to melt that sea levels will defniitely rise and by how much".

As we said on the podcast yesterday, disingenuousness on the political side of this is easy to find on both sides.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
Kinda. I am, like I assume most blog readers are, unqualified to evaluate the science on its merits. Let’s face it, neither you or I are qualified to evaluate most scientific claims on their merits. Short of becoming an expert in each field of study, there’s a certain degree of "I’ll take your word for it" that’s necessary to evaluate complicated issues.

So, we’re necessarily engaging in a little bit of "evaluation by proxy". In the sense that I have not independently confirmed each assertion, then yes, I’m reaching a conclusion by taking their word for it. But I have done some basic research, I have looked into competing claims, and I have considered the probabilities involved.

I think that, when some people hear "mankind-caused global warming is a legitimate problem", it comes across as "I believe every word that global warming alarmists say!" when the first statement implies nothing of the sort. What I say the first, it does not mean that I accept every argument made. I simply accept that — barring some serious, legitimate scientific research to the contrary — the preponderance of the evidence is with the "mankind-caused global warming is a legitimate problem" crowd.

If you want to argue persuasively to the contrary, it’s your responsibility to present equally persuasive scientific research. I side with the "mankind-caused global warming is a legitimate problem" crowd because the scientific research sides with them. Scientific consensus is not conspiracy; it’s consensus for a reason. Absent strong evidence to the contrary, one ought to assume that the reason for consensus is that the science is solid.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.qando.net/
Or said another way, "we’re taking some scientific wild a**ed guesses here because in reality, given all the variables involved, we really have no good predictive methods to say if the ice that is presently melting continues to melt that sea levels will defniitely rise and by how much".
I’m curious to know how you got "we’re taking some scientific wild a**ed guesses here" from "The results...did not assess the overall contribution of the entire Antarctic ice sheet to sea level rise".

They measured the size of the sheet and changes therein; they did not make predictions about what the future would hold. You appear to be objecting to claims they did not make.

 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.qando.net/
What I find very telling is the ’disingenuity’ of the proposed solutions from the global warming advocates.

Let’s ship the evil pollution sources to third world countries. Instead of making pollution standard necessary for all products sold in developed countries because their people can afford it. The rationale is to burden industry in developed countries so that industry in other countries without such standards have an economic advantage.

This may not be global wealth redistribution, but it is global wealth generation redistribution. And gives an advantage to polluters.

Many of these countries are producing products primarily for export to developed countries. It wouldn’t burden their own people to have pollution controls installed. It would help Global Warming.
 
Written By: jpm100
URL: http://
They measured the size of the sheet and changes therein; they did not make predictions about what the future would hold.
First, I was making an overall statement about what those scientists who are touting global warming are essentially saying even in the face of those who insist within their political arguments that the extreme cases are the "truth".

And second, yes, that’s why I highlighted the portion which said "[t]he results, though, did not assess the overall contribution of the entire Antarctic ice sheet to sea level rise", even though they also said, "[t]hey discovered that the ice sheet’s interior was gaining mass by about 45 billion tons per year, which was enough to slow sea level rise by .12 millimeters per year."

Now maybe it’s just me, but as I read it they did address sea level change as it pertains to that ice sheet, did they not? And with hard numbers.

Who is confusing who here?

 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
I think too many people let their prejudices about environmentalist, EPA, UN, and the EU, interfere with their reasoning; so that any thing they support, those people view as junk science.
There already exist polution controls for emissions that are produced from industrial sources. It’s an old technology. What would need to happen for China and India to use them? To change natural greenhouse gases, we have to play God.

I could not understand why some people did not understand what was significant between ground level ozone and stratospheric ozone. Their reasoning was like that CO2 ad.
 
Written By: VRB
URL: http://
Now maybe it’s just me, but as I read it they did address sea level change as it pertains to that ice sheet, did they not? And with hard numbers.
Yes, they measured the change in that particular ice sheet. They measured going backwards, not forwards. And the cited hard numbers going backwards are not the "difficult" part. Estimating the degree to which additional melting would/did slow sea level changes is just a matter of measuring the water released against the total volume of the oceans. They did not make predictive claims about what the ice would do in the future — just what measured changes meant and presented basic volume measurements in re:ice sheet/ocean.

Assuming there is not a unique extenuating circumstance, it’s not unreasonable to extrapolate those measurements into the future, but — as you say — making predictions on those extrapolations would require making predictions that the underlying circumstances would remain the same.

But, from the portions presented, they do not appear to have claimed that "our measurements predict X will happen".
Who is confusing who here?
At last, an easy one! You are confusing yourself!
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.qando.net/
Yes, they measured the change in that particular ice sheet. They measured going backwards, not forwards. And the cited hard numbers going backwards are not the "difficult" part. Estimating the degree to which additional melting would/did slow sea level changes is just a matter of measuring the water released against the total volume of the oceans. They did not make predictive claims about what the ice would do in the future — just what measured changes meant and presented basic volume measurements in re:ice sheet/ocean.
Yeesh ... No one said they did, Jon. Again that is why my comment said the last paragraph was key.

The two statements I made ("said another way") and the part about disingenuousness on both sides are separate issues.

In part one I point out that they [scientists] are essentially saying they don’t have the tools to predict the effect because of the complexity of the issue. That in the face of a mountain of predictive crap out there all the time by those with a political agenda which touts the worst case global warming scenarios. See "Inconvenient Truth".

I assume, based on your comment that you concur.

The second addresses your point that CEI was accused of "confusing" the issue by misinterpreting the data from Davis.

I’m only pointing out HOW that could have been confused, i.e. by stating hard numbers and the effect on sea level changes in the study for that ice sheet.
At last, an easy one! You are confusing yourself!
Hardly.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
In part one I point out that they [scientists] are essentially saying they don’t have the tools to predict the effect because of the complexity of the issue. That in the face of a mountain of predictive crap out there all the time by those with a political agenda which touts the worst case global warming scenarios. See "Inconvenient Truth".
I think you’re extrapolating the limitations of this particular study into a generalized "we can’t know anything". That’s an extrapolation too far.

I’d agree that the flooded cities illustration in Gore’s movie were on the far end of the medium-term possibility spectrum and unnecessarily alarmist. On the other hand, there’s widespread consensus that global warming will cause the sea level to rise between "4 to 35 inches in the coming century". That was the 2005 Statement by the National Academy of Sciences. [pdf] There are a ton more references to scientific research and measurement being done here. Finally, our own EPA research has indicated..
Global warming is most likely to raise sea level 15 cm by the year 2050 and 34 cm by the year 2100. There is also a 10 percent chance that climate change will contribute 30 cm by 2050 and 65 cm by 2100. These estimates do not include sea level rise caused by factors other than greenhouse warming.
"Science is hard" does not necessarily mean "science is impossible"; nor does "estimates are complicated" mean "we should just ignore them". By all means, let’s discuss the best way to respond to the best available science. But let’s not pretend it doesn’t exist or that it’s less clear than it actually is.
I’m only pointing out HOW that could have been confused, i.e. by stating hard numbers and the effect on sea level changes in the study for that ice sheet.
I could certainly see how the average layman could be confused about that. CEI has far less of an excuse.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.qando.net/
VRB, Kyoto exists because there is a supposed belief that CO2 level can be controlled. Other nations are off the hook from implimenting such controls.

Take you car for an instant. We could get substantially better gas mileage if we didn’t have to accommodate pollution controls. Sometimes better mileage help produce lower emmission. Sometime they are directly at odds with each other. Pulling the emmisions equipement would make the car cost less and give you better mileage. Hence cheaper. IF you were a delivery service. You’d have a cost advantage.

Unfortunately you can’t do that simply since the engine is calibrated to run expecting the emmissions equipment to be there. If you can pop in a new chip though, watch out.
 
Written By: jpm100
URL: http://
During yesterday’s Podcast, I pointed out that I’ve come around to the global warming consensus view for one of the same reasons that, for me, settled the evolution "debate". That is, the scientific illiteracy and disingenuity of the global warming/evolution skeptics became very apparent
Nobody disputes the globe is getting warmer.

Nobody even disputes that mans activities may have contributed to it.

That is the consensus.

Once you leave those 2 statements, you’re out of consensus land and into the same sea of questions:

Is this warming a cyclical trend? How much have we contributed to it, as opposed to other more nautral causes? What will the effects be? Can the rate of it be stopped or changed? Can it be reversed, etc etc.

On these questions, I submit that if you have any definitive answer, you’re just as scientifically illiterate as those you denigrate.

But hey! You’re part of the consensus for what it’s worth



 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Those CEI spots were so disingenuous that it made me chuckle while I spit up vomit into my mouth.

The only study you really need to point to is the one that says "Industrialization linked to the reduction of crushisng poverty in the 3rd world, as well as C02 emissions"

In other words, we don’t need to stop global warming, so much as enable poor people to deal with possible effects of said global warming. The benefits of industrialization far outweigh the costs, in terms of climate change.

Would you rather stop global warming completely, and have 1 million people die of natural disasters and extreme weather, OR would you rather increase global warming but have 1 thousand people die of extreme weather (even if global warming makes said weather worse).
 
Written By: Jimmy the Dhimmi
URL: http://religionandpolitics.ytmnd.com
Scientific consensus is not conspiracy; it’s consensus for a reason. Absent strong evidence to the contrary, one ought to assume that the reason for consensus is that the science is solid.
You mean like the population bomb of the 1980s?
I remember being taught in school that the world was going to run out of oil by 1985.
Or the consensus that ulcers are caused by stress?
 
Written By: Paul L
URL: http://kingdomofidiots.blogspot.com/
You mean like the population bomb of the 1980s?
Popular press is not scientific consensus.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.qando.net/
...I’ve come around to the global warming consensus view for one of the same reasons that, for me, settled the evolution "debate". That is, the scientific illiteracy and disingenuity of the global warming/evolution skeptics became very apparent.
As opposed to the rigorous, scientific approach of Al Gore and friends?

The environmental movement is one of the most unscientific popular movements in existence today. Jon, do you not take that into account, too?

Look, there may be some pretty good reasons for choosing to agree with the global warming alarmists, though I’ve seen none I find compelling. But, for someone who works so hard to see both sides in every argument, I’m rather surprised that this becomes one of the main reasons that settled the question in your mind.
 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
Before I read the rants, remember, science is not a threat. All of our moral and political views are shaped by science. If some of us fear the results of climate scince, then it is likely that this same group is hiding the non-scientific basis of their own political views.

I can say this with clear neutrality, and receive harranges from all sides about things I never said. That to me is the clue that the harangues are coming from an unscientific world view.

 
Written By: Matt
URL: http://
Jon,

What consensus are you talking about?
Does this look like a consensus to you:

[link]

quotes:
"Sixty scientists call on Harper to revisit the science of global warming"

"there is no "consensus" among climate scientists about the relative importance of the various causes of global climate change"

"Global climate changes all the time due to natural causes and the human impact still remains impossible to distinguish from this natural "noise.""

or this

[link]
 
Written By: IR
URL: http://
I think you’re extrapolating the limitations of this particular study into a generalized "we can’t know anything". That’s an extrapolation too far.
Quit putting words in my mouth. I never even intimated "we can’t know anything". I’ve said that what we do know isn’t amenable to predictions because presently we don’t have the technical ability through modeling (or, in some cases, the scientific data) to address all the variables properly.

If you want proof of that, scroll down on your Wikipedia cite to "Future Sea Level Rise" and take a gander at the range of the IPCC predictions (110 to 770) and then tell me why you’ve settled on the most extreme below.
I’d agree that the flooded cities illustration in Gore’s movie were on the far end of the medium-term possibility spectrum and unnecessarily alarmist. On the other hand, there’s widespread consensus that global warming will cause the sea level to rise between "4 to 35 inches in the coming century".
On the back of predictions about the collpase of civilization due to overpopulation, nuclear winter from oil head fires in Kuwait, mass starvation from the inability to feed ourselves, etc (all backed by "scientific" studies and the like), why should I take a range of "4 to 35" seriously? Especially when other scientists disagree. Seems to me that skepticism remains the proper role for us "laymen".

Try this:
Long term mean sea level change is a variable of considerable interest in the studies of global climate change. The measurement of long term change in global mean sea level would provide important corroboration of predictions by climate models of global warming as a result of an increase in the "greenhouse" gases. There are primarily two methods of determining the long term sea level variations. Over the last century, global sea level change has typically been estimated from tide gauge measurements by long-term averaging. Most recent estimates of global mean sea level rise from tide gauge measurements range from 1.7 to 2.4 mm/yr.

Alternatively, satellite altimeter measurements can be combined with precisely known spacecraft orbits to provide an improved measurement of global sea level change, especially over shorter periods.

Since August of 1992 the TOPEX/POSEIDON satellite mission has been measuring sea level on a global basis every 10 days with unprecedented accuracy and precision. The latest global mean sea level results from TOPEX/POSEIDON can be found here.
And what you find when you go to the link is a mean rise of 3.1mm a year.

Now these are scientists who’s specialty is to trend sea level rises and falls. So I’m more inclined to consider their predictions as having a better base in data than perhaps Al Gore and crew.

So according to their data, if trends continue, the most it will rise in the next century is 12.2" and the least (based on the tide gauge measurement of 1.7) is 6.7". Again, that’s if current trends continue. Quite different than the dire predictions above.


Ah, you say, but the dire predictions include ice pack melt. I’ll get to that in a moment. First this:
Global warming is most likely to raise sea level 15 cm by the year 2050 and 34 cm by the year 2100. There is also a 10 percent chance that climate change will contribute 30 cm by 2050 and 65 cm by 2100. These estimates do not include sea level rise caused by factors other than greenhouse warming.
"Science is hard" does not necessarily mean "science is impossible"; nor does "estimates are complicated" mean "we should just ignore them". By all means, let’s discuss the best way to respond to the best available science. But let’s not pretend it doesn’t exist or that it’s less clear than it actually is.
Well I guess that means we’re limited to accepting your "science" if we are going to discuss this, huh? Is that the point?

As an aside, I love this "true believer" mantle you’ve assumed where you feel it necessary to denigrate anyone who dares to question your position while misrepresenting their position as you have mine.

Back to sea-level change. Let’s look an alternative view. And remember, it to is backed by science as noted in the excerpt:
Earlier this year, Eric Rignot and Pannir Kanagaratnam published a study in Science that used satellite measurements to calculate ice loss around Greenland’s coasts. They also used models to determine how much ice was vanishing from surface melt, and how much was accumulating from greater snowfall. Adding it all up, they got a decade of deficits: 91 cubic kilometers of ice lost in 1996, rising to 224 cubic kilometers in 2005. That translates to a sea-level rise of 0.23 millimeters in 1996 and 0.57 millimeters in 2005.

But, as the web publication CO2 Science has pointed out, their model-based estimate of the ice gain in Greenland’s interior was implausibly small. In fact, Science had earlier published a study by Ola Johannessen that used satellite measurements to determine how much the ice sheet was growing. Johannessen found that, between 1992 and 2003, it was gaining on average 5.4 centimeters of elevation per year.

That may not sound like a lot, but it adds up. Michaels, the University of Virginia professor, calculates that it amounts to about 74 cubic kilometers of ice per year. Rignot and Kanagaratnam could have subtracted that number from their estimate of coastal ice loss, which would have given them a negative total only for the past five years: 17 cubic kilometers lost in 2000, rising to 92 cubic kilometers in 2005. That would be equivalent to only 0.04 millimeters of sea-level rise in 2000 and 0.23 millimeters in 2005.

Add all the numbers from Greenland and Antarctica up, and you get a rather piddling total. In 2005, Jay Zwally of NASA published a study in the Journal of Glaciology that looked at the ice-mass changes for both Greenland and Antarctica from 1992 to 2002. He concluded that the total ice loss was equivalent to a sea-level rise of just 0.05 millimeters per year. At that rate, it would take the oceans a millennium to gain 5 centimeters, and a full 20,000 years to rise by a meter.
Now, given this, add .05mm a year for ice pack melt to the 3.1mm - 1.7mm range. We’re now up to 12.4" a century worst case and 6.9" best case. Let’s also remember "From 3,000 years ago to the start of the 19th century sea level was almost constant, rising at 0.1 to 0.2 mm/yr; since 1900 the level has risen at 1 to 3 mm/yr". And of course those number coincide nicely with us coming out of the little ice age which ended in 1850.

This assumes absolutely nothing changes in the next 100 years through technology. Nothing. We won’t develop alternative energy, we’ll continue to pollute at the levels we are today, nothing changes. I think you’d agree that’d be a pretty silly assumption. But it also assumes a warming trend will continue. Which it may very well do, considering the fact that the earth has been warmer in its history than it is today. Now I know the IPCC likes to write that off as anomolous, but sorry about that ... the temperature differences existed at both higher and lower temperatures than now and at both extremes man survived quite nicely.

So exuse me if I’m not ready to jump on your bandwageon given there is plenty of contrary science out there on this issue. as should be obvious, there isn’t scientific consensus on the predictions you’ve provided concerning sea level change.

So the debate STILL rages. And I remain skeptical of the extremes constantly cited predictively.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
jpm100, I knew that about China and India, since they are classified as developing countries; they were permitted to take much longer to reduce their greenhouse gases. With their growth, it would seem that they would be able to implement older technologies without experiencing exorbitant cost. I guess I was wondering what would make their industries do that? CO2 output can be controlled. The output can be known from an industrial process because of its chemical and physical properties.
A perfectly tuned engine would run with less polution. It would suck up much gas, though. I don’t know where you get your data, but we had high gas milage cars with the catalytic converter. The actual cost of the converter is less than what the auto companies charge you for floor mats. The public wanted more power. If you were a delivery company would it be necessary for your vehicles to go from 0 to 60 in 5.6 sec.
Auto emmisions are not the major source of CO2. The catalytic converter along with the better refinement of oil, precise engine control and low sulphur oil were supposed to reduce the emmisions of Oxides of Nitrogen, Sulphur Dioxide, and Carbon Monoxide, CO (incomplete combustion).
FYI - There are other greenhouse gases besides CO2. You will find out more if you check out the EPA site that Jon recommended.
 
Written By: VRB
URL: http://
Jon -

"Dihydrogen Oxide: they call it ’flooding’; we call it life"

Wow, that was funny.

One thing that all reasonable people can agree on is that the anti-global warming folks are right out there with the worst of the ’alarmists’ on disingenous quackery.
 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
Here is another excellent article about "scientific consensus"

http://ff.org/centers/csspp/library/co2weekly/20060126/20060126_13.pdf
 
Written By: IR
URL: http://
Anybody else remember the "Global Cooling" hysteria a few decades ago? Scientists were convinced we were entering a 2nd Ice Age. I don’t see any glaciers out my window.
 
Written By: Jordan
URL: http://
In the 1980’s:
New York under water by 2000
Massive world wide starvation due to climate change
etc. etc. etc.

While I do care about the enviroment, perhaps taking a step back once and a while, look at the history of foretelling future. Are these people ever right? Seems like the standard line use to be 10-12 degree in the next few decades. Now its what, 1-2 degrees in the next few hundred years? Still, Al Gore stating the CO2 was a poison gas, really, poison?, what a wake up call.
 
Written By: John
URL: http://
Jon, with respect, your reasoning (in the original post) is a good example of a genetic fallacy: Some critics are wrong, therefore all critics are wrong — even scientific critics.

As other commenters have pointed out, there is no "scientific consensus" about global wamrming. Scientists can be herded just about as easily as, say, Hollywood stars. Most scientists are mere technicians whose departure from the mainstream would be harmful to them professionally and personally (e.g., through ostracism, failure to make tenure, and failure to win grants). And there’s more to it than that. There is, for example, the arrogance of the highly educated — their (naive) belief in their ability to solve, and prescribe solutions for, every problem. Science is a great thing, but its practitioners are, at bottom, merely human.

Just weigh the evidence — as best you can — but don’t dismiss all skeptics just because some are loonies. And, for goodness sake, don’t be joining a "consensus." That’s so unlike you.
 
Written By: Tom Anger
URL: http://libertycorner.us
As opposed to the rigorous, scientific approach of Al Gore and friends?
Do you have specific criticisms, or is this just guilt by innuendo and association?
Look, there may be some pretty good reasons for choosing to agree with the global warming alarmists, though I’ve seen none I find compelling. But, for someone who works so hard to see both sides in every argument, I’m rather surprised that this becomes one of the main reasons that settled the question in your mind.
Billy, imagine looking into some programming issue about which you had no expertise. Imagine further that the people who did have expertise were pretty unanimous about the issue and could produce reams of research to back up their conclusions. Then, imagine that the people who disagreed with them either had no expertise in the field, or could produce no research of their own to back up their criticism. And then, imagine that every time you looked into one of their criticisms, you found that it was the kind of elementary mistake that even basic competence in the field would have precluded.

Now — time being scarce and you being otherwise occupied — you may still not know enough to be able to make expert evaluations. But at that point, you’d have enough to make a pretty informed judgement.
Does this look like a consensus to you:
It looks like scientists opposed to Kyoto. I’d oppose Kyoto, too. As for the rest, I decline to argue climate science here. There are venues that have discussed those questions if you are interested in researching on your own.

Quit putting words in my mouth. I never even intimated "we can’t know anything". I’ve said that what we do know isn’t amenable to predictions because presently we don’t have the technical ability through modeling (or, in some cases, the scientific data) to address all the variables properly.
Yes, yes, modeling is imperfect. But you’re arguing a sort of "don’t move till we get better models" course that would necessarily require paralysis. Models can always be improved. Imperfect models are a legitimate concern, but at some point one has to accept the best available data.

I know for a fact you’re not categorically opposed to making major decisions based on uncertain ("slam dunk") data about potential threats.
If you want proof of that, scroll down on your Wikipedia cite to "Future Sea Level Rise" and take a gander at the range of the IPCC predictions (110 to 770) and then tell me why you’ve settled on the most extreme below.
What?!?! The IPCC prediction range was "0.09 to 0.88 m for 1990 to 2100". That corresponds to the range I noted. Specifically, .09 meters is 3.543 inches, while .88 meters is 34.645 inches.
On the back of predictions about the collpase of civilization due to overpopulation, nuclear winter from oil head fires in Kuwait, mass starvation from the inability to feed ourselves, etc (all backed by "scientific" studies and the like), why should I take a range of "4 to 35" seriously?
This is the kind of determined ignorance to which I refer. Do you really, seriously believe that there was scientific consensus about "the collpase of civilization due to overpopulation, nuclear winter from oil head fires in Kuwait, mass starvation from the inability to feed ourselves"? I don’t mean "did a few scientists suggest this". I mean, did major, rigorous, peer-reviewed scientific research lead to a consensus on these points?

You know full well there was no such thing. Here’s more...
Now these are scientists who’s specialty is to trend sea level rises and falls. So I’m more inclined to consider their predictions as having a better base in data than perhaps Al Gore and crew.
That was not a prediction. That was a measurement. In what way do you suppose measurements of current sea levels is equivalent to predictions about future levels?
Back to sea-level change. Let’s look an alternative view. And remember, it to is backed by science as noted in the excerpt:
Look, like Dale with the evolution debate, I’m pretty determined not to get into a long discussion about the research. Answers to these objections are there, if you’d like to learn about it first. But I will note that this does not appear to mean what you think it means. (more on sea levels here)
As an aside, I love this "true believer" mantle you’ve assumed where you feel it necessary to denigrate anyone who dares to question your position while misrepresenting their position as you have mine.
I’ve pointed to the science and the actual, scientific research — and I’ve previously dealt with your lack of reading comprehension on this subject when you spent quite some time arguing that there was so debate on "The level to which mankind contributes to it", despite the fact that I’d written that the debate was now "on the degree to which mankind contributes to global warming..."

Debate about the proper recourse is fine, and I may participate. But I don’t intend to spend any more time alleviating your ignorance of existing science. There are resources out there. Look into them yourself.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
Jon, with respect, your reasoning (in the original post) is a good example of a genetic fallacy: Some critics are wrong, therefore all critics are wrong — even scientific critics.
I probably explained that poorly. I’m not "choosing sides because I don’t like the other side". I looked at both sides and concluded that one side had the research, the scientists and the peer-reviewed science. The other side had the ideologically stubborn and the self-interested (which is not, in itself, dispositive) and an almost complete lack of peer-reviewed research or science to back them up. All they had was, like creationists, ever-retreating claims of "but we don’t have enough data".

No, consensus isn’t proof. But when there’s a reason for the consensus...
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
I have stated the following in another post but will repeat it here:

Michael Crichton in a Cal Tech Lecture in January 2003 stated, “Let’s be clear: the work of science has nothing whatever to do with consensus. Consensus is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right, which means that he or she has results that are verifiable by reference to the real world. In science consensus is irrelevant. What is relevant is reproducible results. The greatest scientists in history are great precisely because they broke with the consensus. There is no such thing as consensus science. If it’s consensus, it isn’t science. If it’s science, it isn’t consensus. Period.”

Michael Crichton is widely despised in the environmental world. Why? Because he is skeptical of the conclusions of the accepted consensus and the complete and total unwillingness of the consensus to discuss or even contemplate any other conclusions. He does not question the fact of a warming trend. He does not question that man contributes to it. He questions whether man is the only culprit and if there is anything we can legitimately do to reverse the warming.

I have worked as an environmental professional for almost 20 years and in that time I have found the one area of which we know so much but really know so little is how the environment around us works. We can talk and provide documentation all day long regarding temperatures, tides, winds, clouds, O2 and H2O levels, and all of the other things that are evident in the world around us. And yet we can’t, with any real certainty, predict the weather for the next day. With that in mind, how can we predict what is essentially a climatological problem for the next century? And do so to the point where any question or mention of discussion is vilified.

Any student of the earth knows the planet has suffered period when it has been much warmer than it is now and much cooler. These cycles have occurred without the presence of man’s influence. These cycles have been of long and short duration. I do not know whether man’s influence upon the planet is such that we are creating a disaster. I do know that there is at least questions and anomalies that remain unresolved. And I think we should at least take the time to address these questions before we dismantle our economy in order to prevent what may be nothing.
 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
Yes, yes, modeling is imperfect.
Well, yes, I agree that a model which cannot be validated against past observations would be considered imperfect. I’m not certain why you would use it to predict the future, either.
 
Written By: Mark A. Flacy
URL: http://
SShiell, Tell us more about your environmental profession. For all we know it may well be waste management, which does not have much to do with air quality.
 
Written By: VRB
URL: http://
If it matters, here is the CEI ["CO2 is life"] position on global warming, straight from their web site:

"Global warming is happening and man is responsible for at least some of it."

Here is their solution for environmental protection, which has a scientific basis:

"We believe that where individual property rights exist in environmental resources, the environment is most likely to be protected..."

Now, if this group represents the property rights position on protecting the environment, then, one has to ask, what is their position on emission controls?

"CEI is making the case that air quality has improved and will continue to improve with measures already in place..."

Current regulation works, but they prefer an alterative:

".. the law should create rules under which common property resources might be privatized. "


May I interpret their approach for a problem they acknowledge?

In their view, I own the air above me. To the extent that General Motors, Toyota, or a Chinese energy concern pollute that air, I have the right to sue. They state this concept publicly in the case of underwater pollution of my aquifer.

If I win in a court of law because I think my atmosphere, or my wildlife is suffering, then GM must pay me in a class action suit. I can collect from China in court ordered trade taxes.

How much can I collect? Two components go into my damage award, which scientists does the jury believe and the monetary value of my damage.

I say fine, go with this approach. But the CEI has put their sponsors into a very delicate position. If CEI convinces their sponsors and some of the public that the problem is less than science later proves, their sponsors are stuck with a huge accumulated bill. Hence, their sponsors have created a quandry for themselves in wich they have to consider future costs, accumulated today.

This is exactly waht libertarians want. Some of us disagree with amounts, but ultimately we libertarians and the CEI have agreed, be careful and start preparing; for the future lawsuit may bankrupt your company.


 
Written By: Matt
URL: http://
VRB:
That’s a fair question. My specialty within the Environmental Profession is in Environmental Planning - NEPA - the National Environmental Policy Act. I have participated (either through project management, analysis or oversight) in over 20 Environmental Impact Statements and 100 Environmental Assessments. And my own particular specialty was (and is) Air Quality and Air Conformity analysis.

Does this make me an expert? No. I do not claim to be. But it does give me enough knowledge to have questions that the Global Warming proponents have still not answered to my satisfaction.

I do not claim the earth is not warming. I do not claim man has contributed to that warming. I just question the full import of man’s contribution. And I question predictions of future climatological disaster when we cannot with any certainty predict tomorrow’s weather.
 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
Matt

If you owned a condo and the air space above belongs to another, how would you sue? Are you sure that we legally own the air space above an individual home?
 
Written By: VRB
URL: http://
Greenland was not named Whiteland; the Norsemen were actually growing crops there in the 800-1200 global warming event, whence the name. Definitely warmer then than now, since it ain’t greeen any more. And that was all done without CO2, or SUVs - that was before the industrial revolution. The Medieval warming developed throughout Europe and is well documented. See for example, Climate History and The Modern World, H.H. Lamb, 1982. Read about agriculture in Norway and fine British wines.

The climate "experts" such as Mann and the IPCC like to begin their published historic "studies" with the year 1000, conveniently missing the medieval warming as a basic contradiction to their CO2 theory.

We have a large number of people who depend on the global warming myth for a living. They must perpetrate the myth or loose their income. Many are imbued with socialistic control goals - If we can only control the world we can control climate change. You can see this theme again and again in all their writings.

Cardinal Pell rather nailed it like this: "...Some of the hysteric and extreme claims about global warming are also a symptom of pagan emptiness, or Western fear when confronted by the immense and basically uncontrollable forces of nature. Belief in a benign God who is master of the universe has a steadying phsycological effect, althogh it is no guarantee of Utopia, no guarantee that the continued climate and geographic changes will be benign. In the past pagans sacrificed animals and even humans in vain attempts to placate capricious and cruel gods. Today they demand a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions.. ..." This was from a discussion of the pagan emptiness engulfing Europe, in his paper "Islam and Western Democracies"(on the web).

It is a natural socialist tendency to think that government can control everything. It does not work that way with either man or nature.
 
Written By: Ron Kilmartin
URL: http://
Jon: "It looks like scientists opposed to Kyoto. I’d oppose Kyoto, too. As for the rest, I decline to argue climate science here."

I didn’t argue about the climate science at all. I argued about existence of consensus about climate science. Yes this letter is about Kyoto in part, but there is more there, that’s why I selected this specific quote:

"there is no "consensus" among climate scientists about the relative importance of the various causes of global climate change"



 
Written By: IR
URL: http://
I am on board with SShiel...dinosaurs riding around in SUVs did not lead to their extinction...there are plenty of reasons not to buy into the global warming line. I will also register an objection to lumping people who are global warming skeptics with those who do not agree with the theory of evolution. Jon, that was crap.
 
Written By: kirk
URL: http://
"Are you sure that we legally own the air space above an individual home? "

CEI addresses this problem, and they are more expert at it, but their viewpoints are scattered about in their web site. They do address constitutional questions.

Their guy, Fred Smith:

"I like to think that the Constitution envisioned a world in which the insights of evolutionary common law would gradually expand to incorporate resources as they became increasingly valued – wildlife, ground and surface waters, the electromagnetic spectrum, and even air quality. All would be incorporated into a system of meaningful property rights"

They discus both underground water and electromagnetic spectrum. He points to the evolution of spectrum property rights over time. He also points to the evolution of individual property rights from the Louisiana purcase.

They seem to be in favor of ownership of emission rights, which leads to trespass lawsuits. They discuss the European emissions trading market for co2 allocations, and its volatility, and seem to favo the scheme.

Emission markets would work, first, if large nations claimed atmospheric rights to volatile gas fluxes and used trade sanctions and property seizure to enforce foreign encroachmanet. Then, upon equalization of international rights, national trade in emissions would be effective.

The issue has come up in power plant emissions where eastern states subject to acid rain had threaten to file sit against midwestern states, as the wind blows west to east.

Emissions are ever more thoroughly monitored world wide on national boundaries and evironmental boundaries, and under an ownership approach, monitoring of climate and emissions would be greatly expanded so emitters could get more accurate data about future damage claims.

There is a threshold, as demonstrated by this debate we have here, below which a trading scheme is not cost effective. If we an ascribe only two percent of huricane damage to global warming, then why bother.



 
Written By: Matt
URL: http://
I don’t know who you think you’re fooling with stories that (with a straight face) say "the SUN has only a minor impact on climate". Well, if the sun ajdsfhj (forgive me I hit the keyboard while laughing) has only a minor impact on climate, what has the major impact? Is it volcanoes, man made pollution, the fluctuating magnetic fields of earth and the sun, changes in solar wind and solar dust? Because all of these things may affect climate, I would like you to explain to us oh wise one, what caused the "little ice age"? Why were Englands fields rich with wine growers 800 years ago, and yet none today (fyi it’s too cold now)?


Before you BS me an answer, you should know I do data analysis for a living, so I know common cause when I see it.

I suppose you can explain to me why the journal Nature lied to support the fraudulent claims of the "hockey stick".

I also suppose you can refute EVERY SCIENTIST QUOTED in stories at junkscience.com. Every one of them. Especially Richard Linzen?

Be aware that every bullet in the clip of these eco-whacko alarmists will be use to murder free markets. And every free market that gets murdered by socialism results in murdered people. By the millions. There’s no scientific reasearch needed for that conclusion. Just remember that before you support the other side.
 
Written By: Daniel Miller
URL: http://1776er.blogspot.com
I guess excess CO2 is OK to have in the atomsphere even though it may not produce global warming. What if the plant life can not support the ratio of oxygen needed to support animal life in this atmosphere? Do you think we will evolve fast enough so that we will have plant like qualities and be able to breathe? You think the free market will modify the gene quick enough?
First solution for human survival; kill off all other animals on the plantet.
If it may happens 100 or 1000 years from now; it doesn’t matter to us, we all will be dead.
 
Written By: VRB
URL: http://
I am, like I assume most blog readers are, unqualified to evaluate the science on its merits. Let’s face it, neither you or I are qualified to evaluate most scientific claims on their merits. Short of becoming an expert in each field of study, there’s a certain degree of "I’ll take your word for it" that’s necessary to evaluate complicated issues.

Interesting debate ya’ll have going on here. The problem as I see it is that the evidence and solutions offered are not terribly convincing, especially when many of those screaming about global warming pad their ’studies’ and do very good impressions of Chicken Little. If this were merely a debate in a classroom that would be one thing, but it’s not. They are demanding restrictive laws and tons of money which means they must get passed people like me. I am not a scientist nor qualified in any way in this matter, but I am one of the people that must be persuaded in order to enact these laws and pony up the cash. Democracy sucks sometimes, no? Ni modo. My message to the global warming crowd is very simple: convince me and do so without insulting my intelligence, calling me immoral, etc., along with offering reasonable solutions beyond the nonsense of the Kyoto Protocol, and perhaps I’ll listen. Until then, stick your grubby paws back in your pockets and kindly get to stepping because I remain very skeptical of anyone who pulls stunts like this crowd to get my attention.
 
Written By: AGJ
URL: http://averagegayjoe.blogspot.com
Oxygen is 16-20% of the air.
CO2 is < 500 ppm

I’m pretty sure we dont have to worry, yet. Its the plants that cant breath.
 
Written By: John
URL: http://
I don’t know who you think you’re fooling with stories that (with a straight face) say "the SUN has only a minor impact on climate".
Nobody posted that. No such phrase exists on the post or in the comments. In addition to inventing quotes...
I suppose you can explain to me why the journal Nature lied to support the fraudulent claims of the "hockey stick".
...you also appear to have a poor understanding of the questions surrounding the "hockey stick" model. In fact, the mathematical problems do not obscure the science at all...
the basic conclusions of Mann et al (1998,1999) are affirmed in multiple independent studies. Thus, even if there were errors in the Mann et al (1998) reconstruction, numerous other studies independently support the conclusion of anomalous late 20th century hemispheric-scale warmth. [...] [The] "corrections have no influence at all on the actual analysis or any of the results shown in Mann et al (1998). Claims that the corrigendum reflects any errors at all in the Mann et al (1998) reconstruction are entirely false."
Finally, you bring up an appeal to consequences...
Be aware that every bullet in the clip of these eco-whacko alarmists will be use to murder free markets.
If your argument is that we need to "lie for the greater good", then count me out. This is no better than the (paraphrased) "if Darwinism was true, then Hitler was right" argument. Appeals to negative consequences are neither logically valid, nor particularly persuasive. If the arguments you have are false, then change your mind or get better arguments.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
If it matters, here is the CEI ["CO2 is life"] position on global warming, straight from their web site:
Thanks, Matt. I should note very carefully that I do not disagree with everything CEI says, nor did I intend to give that impression. Some of their positions on possible paths forward are actually fairly reasonable. Again — other than general approval of increased reliance on nuclear power and flex fuels, along with shifting from deadweight loss taxes to better cost-internalizing taxes — I’ve not expressed much opinion about possible paths forward. I do believe we’ll be better off dealing with this via progress and innovation, rather than burdensome regulation.
I didn’t argue about the climate science at all. I argued about existence of consensus about climate science.
"Debates about science" are not "scientific debate". Nor are signed letters. Show me peer-reviewed research.
"there is no "consensus" among climate scientists about the relative importance of the various causes of global climate change"
That is a remarkably unspecific statement.
If this were merely a debate in a classroom that would be one thing, but it’s not. They are demanding restrictive laws and tons of money which means they must get passed people like me.
So, if you’re deeply concerned about personal responsibility, how to you propose to deal with the existing externalities that allow harmful pollution? These pollutants effluents are every bit as much an imposition as are taxes and regulations to correct them. I don’t see you asking permission of others before you produce effluents.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
John, I was assuming that the adaptation would have to be in the lungs. From what info I could find the average concentration is around 370ppm. What I thought interesting, the concentration has increased approximately 17% over a 25 year period. I admit, I don’t remember how to calculate how long it would take to get to 20,000ppm, if it were to increase at that same rate.

My point is that we need to be concerned about our impact on the earth.
What do they say,"There is no such thing as a free lunch."
 
Written By: VRB
URL: http://
Appeals to negative consequences are neither logically valid, nor particularly persuasive. If the arguments you have are false, then change your mind or get better arguments.

Ditto for appeals to the majority, which is about all this "scientific consensus" nonsense adds up to being. In addition:
Consensus is further compromised in this field of study [climatology] due to students being attracted to the field by their belief that something should be done about global warming. They complete their education and add their voices to the consensus, which gives a perceived bias.
link

So, if you’re deeply concerned about personal responsibility, how to you propose to deal with the existing externalities that allow harmful pollution? These pollutants effluents are every bit as much an imposition as are taxes and regulations to correct them. I don’t see you asking permission of others before you produce effluents.

I live in a capitalist and still somewhat democratic society, "permission" is generally not necessary when using legally-sold products. Now if you’d like to discuss pollution, that’s fine and we may find room for agreement. As for the global warming bit, well let’s just say the ol’ saying "you’ll catch more flies with honey than vinegar" applies. IOW, instead of playing Chicken Little adovcates of global warming theory need to make proposed solutions attractive to the general public thereby making them want to see them enacted. For example, the hybrid vehicle. Attempts to guilt me into buying one are guaranteed to fail. However, build one that doesn’t look like a weenie-mobile, has the room I need along with all that I’m used to from my SUV, and toss in some incentives like a tax credit and the ability to drive on the HOV (N.Virginia thing) and I’ll consider it.
 
Written By: AGJ
URL: http://averagegayjoe.blogspot.com
As CO2 goes up plant respiration rate will also increase, mitigating the rise. The idea that CO2 levels are going to rise linearly to 200,000 ppm is quite foolish, akin to suggesting that cutting down one tree per year will wipe out a forest, or that doubling a motors HP will double the max speed. The world just doesn’t work that way. Prehaps your great-grandfather was worried about starvation, since the horse drawn plow could never produce enough food to feed the people in the growing cities.

 
Written By: John
URL: http://
Btw, with regards to your comments regarding an article from 2 years ago on the effects of the Sun on global warming, you characterize critics as engaging in "faux-scientific skepticism". Well that’s hardly liable to win friends and influence people, but regardless there is just a wee bit more involved than pop-cynicism. link
 
Written By: AGJ
URL: http://averagegayjoe.blogspot.com
Rate is nonlinear.
Could there be enough space to accommendate all those plants?
 
Written By: VRB
URL: http://
"As for the rest, I decline to argue climate science here."

Ah, that’s so scientific and logical: announce that you agree with one opinion, then refuse to discuss your reasons.
 
Written By: Charles Martin
URL: http://
As opposed to the rigorous, scientific approach of Al Gore and friends?
Do you have specific criticisms, or is this just guilt by innuendo and association?
Well, I’d suggest starting here. As well known as Lomborg and his book are, I didn’t think I was stating anything particularly controversial. Let me turn it around. Do you consider Al Gore’s position to be based in authoritative science? Because if you do, I guess we’re just too far apart to discuss this any further.

Others have referred to Micheal Crighton, who’s also done a good job from an intelligent layman’s standpoint of analyzing the modern environmental movement.

As for your hypothetical about programming, I can’t see that it applies. Others have done a pretty good job of indicating that the scientific side is not nearly as one-sided as that hypothetical programming situation you posed.

Not to mention that the programming situation you posed presumably has no outside influences on the professional’s opinion. That’s not nearly as clear to me in the real case. Given the leftist tilt of academia, and some actual complaints from people like Lomborg, it appears that the contra opinion on manmade global warming can be marginalized by denial of research grants, media coverage, etc.

Finally, in the programming situation you posed, there’s no indication that I have any particular self-interest at stake. I certainly have some in the global warming debate. My income and/or freedom might be significantly curtailed by solutions such as Kyoto, which even the proponents admit won’t make much difference. Given the readiness of folks like Gore to rush to judgement, even if their intentions are good, I’m certainly interested in viewing their evidence with a pretty skeptical eye.

So I don’t grant any equivalance at all between your hypothetical and the global warming debate.
 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
I don’t know who you think you’re fooling with stories that (with a straight face) say "the SUN has only a minor impact on climate".
Nobody posted that. No such phrase exists on the post or in the comments. In addition to inventing quotes...
thank goodness someone’s vigilant

I think you’re extrapolating the limitations of this particular study into a generalized "we can’t know anything". That’s an extrapolation too far.
Quit putting words in my mouth. I never even intimated "we can’t know anything". I’ve said that what we do know isn’t amenable to predictions because presently we don’t have the technical ability through modeling (or, in some cases, the scientific data) to address all the variables properly.
Woops...

I guess its only important if that someone is putting words into YOUR mouth, Jon!

As much as you rail against traditional libertarians Mr. Henke, lately you are more and more representitive of them.
 
Written By: bains
URL: http://
Representative in that you seemingly will sacrifice the good for the ideal...
 
Written By: bains
URL: http://
I don’t know who you think you’re fooling with stories that (with a straight face) say "the SUN has only a minor impact on climate".
Nobody posted that. No such phrase exists on the post or in the comments. In addition to inventing quotes...
I believe it was a paraphrase; from the post, John:
Visit the Max Planck Society, where study author Sami Solanki works and you’ll find a more authoritative answer:
solar activity affects the climate but plays only a minor role in the current global warming
I believe that this is the part Mr. Miller was referring to.
 
Written By: Scott Crawford
URL: http://
BTW, I realize it was more than a paraphrase. However, I don’t agree with you that we can’t argue with authority until we’re experts ourselves. His statement that you quoted appears to be based on measuring "solar variability" by analyzing sunspot activity only. If any other solar output affects "solar variability" (and the distance to the Earth does, for example), then his conclusion is, at best, arguable.

Which is my current position re: global warming. Its parameters, causes, and trends are still perfectly arguable, even among scientists. BTW, it was the "hockey stick" fraud in Nature that made me a confirmed skeptic.

Regards,

Scott
 
Written By: Scott Crawford
URL: http://
One helpful perspective is the history of science. Scientists have always been very susceptible to hubris, feeling that the ultimate truth is just around the corner. Sure, some minor pieces have to fall into place but then, boy, they’ll have all the answers.

Problem is, it seems the deeper we dig (whatever the discipline) the more we find out we don’t know. Physicists at the end of the 19th century figured they had it all sewn up but for a few fine details, then BANG - Einstein turned the world upside down. General relativity and quantum mechanics opened a new chapter in mankind’s misunderstanding.

Climate science is arguably the most complex field of scientific inquiry after brain science and cognition. We’re still just in the early stages of understanding. I, for one, am not ready to risk forfeiting the promise of our technological society, and what it portends for developing nations and their mortality rates, based on the inflated opinions of politically-charged climate researchers.
 
Written By: equitus
URL: http://
In the 1980’s:
New York under water by 2000
Massive world wide starvation due to climate change
etc. etc. etc.

While I do care about the enviroment, perhaps taking a step back once and a while, look at the history of foretelling future. Are these people ever right? Seems like the standard line use to be 10-12 degree in the next few decades. Now its what, 1-2 degrees in the next few hundred years? Still, Al Gore stating the CO2 was a poison gas, really, poison?, what a wake up call.

Written By: John
The answer to your question is, They are always right. You see the purpose of raising bogus alarms is to sell books, and get research funding. That is why I am a little put out by this worship of "Science" and the scientific community which we saw a little of in this thread.
Scientists are often motivated by all of the same things other people are motivated by including fighting each other for funding, tenure, and reputation.
 
Written By: kyle N
URL: http://impudent.blognation.us/blog
Ditto for appeals to the majority, which is about all this "scientific consensus" nonsense adds up to being.
As I’ve repeatedly mentioned, it’s not merely that there’s consensus, but that there’s consensus for a reason.
...adovcates of global warming theory need to make proposed solutions attractive to the general public thereby making them want to see them enacted.
Generally, I agree.
Ah, that’s so scientific and logical: announce that you agree with one opinion, then refuse to discuss your reasons.
There are proper venues for learning about the science. I’ve pointed to them, but I will no more turn QandO into a discussion of the minutiae of existing climate research after writing a post about the topic than I would turn QandO into a website focused on precambrian fossil data when I write a post about evolution. I’ve discussed my reasons, but there’s only so far into the tall grass that I’m willing to go with you.
Do you consider Al Gore’s position to be based in authoritative science?
Some of his positions, certainly. You’d have to be more specific if you want more specific answers.
So I don’t grant any equivalance at all between your hypothetical and the global warming debate.
Well, that’s the problem with analogies. Somebody will always come along to point out that they eventually break down.
I guess its only important if that someone is putting words into YOUR mouth, Jon!
I thought it was clear ("generalized") that what I wrote was not a direct quote. Perhaps I should italicize those statements, instead, to be more clear.
I believe that this is the part Mr. Miller was referring to.
Yes, I know. The problem was that it was not a paraphrase, but a completely new concept.
However, I don’t agree with you that we can’t argue with authority until we’re experts ourselves.
I don’t believe I’ve made that argument.
BTW, it was the "hockey stick" fraud in Nature that made me a confirmed skeptic.
Then, as I’ve pointed out a number of times, you don’t understand the limited scope of the hockey stick "fraud". The math problem in Mann’s research did not substantively change the results of his or other research. Yet "skeptics" (but just of one side) continue to tout the "hockey stick fraud". We’ll call it the "Hockey Stick Fraud Fraud".
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
It would seem to me that the computer models for predicting the weather next week would be several orders of magnitude less complex than predicting the next century. So far, it seems that the models for next week don’t work any better than an almanac, so how can we rely on models for the next 50 years?

Science by consensus is not science. Science is about reproducible, predictive truth. The difference between science and faith lies in being able to predict in mathematical certainty the results of observable phenomenon. The Law of gravity is not the Theory of gravity specifically because science has developed the model that can predict with certainty results from observation and measurement (at least to a 9.999% accuracy rate, I know some recent observations don’t yet seem to fit). It you have to look for agreement rather than present truth, verifiable by reproducible experiments, it is belief (faith) not science. If you want to accept it, fine, but don’t delude yourself, for you are in the company of Torquemada not Galileo.
 
Written By: Richard
URL: http://soslies.blogspot.com
Sorry 99.99, Lost a decimal point. PIMF
 
Written By: Richard
URL: http://soslies.blogspot.com
Jon, do you agree with Gore that there is an impending "Palentary Emergency"

Are you willing to go on record as saying what the emergency is, and are you willing to characterize the parameters of the emergency as being within a band of some specified values?

In short, if you aren’t buying Global Warming (TM), then what have you bought and what are you trying to sell?

Beware, there’ll be a pop quiz in 30 or 40 years to see what you got right.

Yours, TDP, ml,msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
Richard,
Isn’t Quantum Mechanics still considered theoretical and is used in physics and chemistry to describe behavior and properties of matter?
 
Written By: VRB
URL: http://
Jon, do you agree with Gore that there is an impending "Palentary Emergency"
That’s rhetoric, not science. "Planetary emergency" doesn’t have a concrete meaning with which I could either agree or disagree.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.qando.net/
OK, how many people here think that America is currently at a tremendous economic disadvantage due to its environmental regulations.

We use energy more efficiently then a great number of nations.

We pollute less per capita then a great number of nations.

Industry is not moving out of the country because of environmental regulations, they are doing so because the cost of certain labor is cheaper in other countries, among other reasons.

So, there’s no reason not to expect our country to continue to become more efficient and less polluting. Between market forces, and government regulation, we’ve done a pretty good job balancing prosperity and conservation. I remain convinced that American ingenuity will solve many of the problems we face today.

The problem as I see it, is that many people want to equate agreeing with the statements "global warming is a problem, and mankind contributes to the problem" as agreeing with the "solutions" the alarmists prescribe for it (i.e. Kyoto, et al.)

Jon has clearly made a distinction between the problem, and possible solutions. And yet many want to attack him as if he were suggesting we should all agree to advancing Kyoto as the solution. Guilt by association is at work there. In effect, because others who promote GLOBAL WARMING are alarmists, and their solutions bunk, then anyone who agrees that global warming is a problem, must agree with their solutions.

That is simply not the case. For instance, many of us here can agree that there are problems in Iraq, but we recognize that acknowledging that doesn’t put us in the same camp as the anti-war left.

Acknowledging there is a problem, doesn’t necessarily put you on the same page as everyone else who acknowledges the problem. It also means you can take ownership of the solution.

If you don’t want to see Kyoto or other overly restrictive measures in place, it would be far easier to work from a position of, yes it’s a problem and there are ways to solve it without hurting our economy or standard of living, then saying it isn’t a problem and not offering any solutions. Because politicians love offering solutions, even solutions to non-existent (or minimal) problems (like the assault weapons ban.)

In the end, we ought to do the lest amount of harm to the environment we live in. That is the moral choice.

To me, this debate is less about the science (imperfect as it is) and more about the politics behind the proposed solutions.
 
Written By: Keith, Indy
URL: http://
Not to mention that the programming situation you posed presumably has no outside influences on the professional’s opinion. That’s not nearly as clear to me in the real case. Given the leftist tilt of academia, and some actual complaints from people like Lomborg, it appears that the contra opinion on manmade global warming can be marginalized by denial of research grants, media coverage, etc.

Finally, in the programming situation you posed, there’s no indication that I have any particular self-interest at stake. I certainly have some in the global warming debate. My income and/or freedom might be significantly curtailed by solutions such as Kyoto, which even the proponents admit won’t make much difference. Given the readiness of folks like Gore to rush to judgement, even if their intentions are good, I’m certainly interested in viewing their evidence with a pretty skeptical eye.


Translation: Al Gore says global warming is a problem, and I don’t like Al Gore, therefore I believe everything Al Gore says is a lie.

Conclusion: I have no capacity for evaluating the logic of a statement - I just decide if things I hear are true or false based on my political prejuidices and my opinions of the people who tell me the statements.

Congradulations, Billy. You’ve proved my point. I don’t see the need to discuss anything with you further.


 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
As I’ve repeatedly mentioned, it’s not merely that there’s consensus, but that there’s consensus for a reason.

Jon, that’s still consensus science and an appeal to the majority. Why? Because you are denigrating those whose reasoned views oppose this "consensus" by their own examination of the known facts as practicing "faux-scientific skepticism". Some objectors may indeed be doing such, as are some proponents of global warming theory, but to make this a blanket indictment stretches the bounds of credulity and runs smack dab into logical fallacy. It makes no difference whether it is the IPCC, the NAS, or the Queen of England making an assertion by examining the facts, their position is not sustained merely by their reputation alone. If the mere existense of global warming is all you wish to establish then there is no disagreement. I agree it does exist. That seems pretty easy to substantiate: temperatures are rising. Where we part is why this is occuring, though we may find some agreement on the periphery. It is in answering the "why" where I believe you have fallen into a logical fallacy for reasoned arguments stemming from the known facts have been made from both "sides".
 
Written By: AGJ
URL: http://averagegayjoe.blogspot.com
If you don’t want to see Kyoto or other overly restrictive measures in place, it would be far easier to work from a position of, yes it’s a problem and there are ways to solve it without hurting our economy or standard of living, then saying it isn’t a problem and not offering any solutions. Because politicians love offering solutions, even solutions to non-existent (or minimal) problems (like the assault weapons ban.)

There is an essential point you are missing: not everyone who objects to current global warming theory even agrees that man’s contribution to it or any proposed solutions have much of an impact. I personally happen to believe that the impact is minor necessitating only small changes.
 
Written By: AGJ
URL: http://averagegayjoe.blogspot.com
Translation: Al Gore says global warming is a problem, and I don’t like Al Gore, therefore I believe everything Al Gore says is a lie.

Conclusion: I have no capacity for evaluating the logic of a statement - I just decide if things I hear are true or false based on my political prejuidices and my opinions of the people who tell me the statements.

Congradulations, Billy. You’ve proved my point. I don’t see the need to discuss anything with you further.


Actually, nicely done and a good reminder for everyone (myself included) not to let their passions cloud their judgment.
 
Written By: AGJ
URL: http://averagegayjoe.blogspot.com
Is global warming a problem? How do you determine that it is without accepting at least some of the apparently debatable predictions of warming enthusiasts such as AlGore?
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
I don’t see the need to discuss anything with you further.
Heh. Has that started yet?
 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
There is an essential point you are missing: not everyone who objects to current global warming theory even agrees that man’s contribution to it or any proposed solutions have much of an impact. I personally happen to believe that the impact is minor necessitating only small changes.
Actually that point is not lost on me.

We can make many small changes now, or we can wait until it is proven or disproven later.

If it is proven later that man has a significant impact on climate change, then the cost of correction will be much greater (if it can be corrected at that point.)

If it is proven later that man doesn’t have a significant impact on climate change, then the cost of what we’ve done isn’t wasted, as we’ve likely contributed less to pollution and been more economical in our energy use.

We are already making changes, to our behaviour, industry, and energy production and use, for other equally valid reasons. Driving less, seeking alternative energies, etc. Reasons for doing so, volativity of the sources for and cost of energy.

What I’m saying is that the path that is less risky in the long run is making small changes now. Whether we assume we have a small or great impact on climate change isn’t as important since there are other equally valid reasons for enacting some measures.
 
Written By: Keith, Indy
URL: http://
Unfortunately, Al Gore and the environmental lobby has decided the time of taking small bites of the apple are behind us. Any reading of Gore and Company at this time reads the same. We are doomed unless you people listen to me and do what I say. It is now the time to throw off the shackles of the Bush regime and their Halliburton masters and employ massive changes in order to save the world! Kyoto be d*mned, we are past even that mockery of a treaty. There is no middle ground to the Gore position. He and his side of the debate will not allow it.

With that in mind what do we do? We can argue for a steady, measured approach to the issue - employing methods that will effect "small changes now" and measure the changes and increase those measures as they show their effectiveness. I would endorse such measures but will they be acceptable to those who claim the end is near?

My response is to keep the debate going. There are still answers to be found to questions not yet asked. Pick a side at your peril.
 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
"One thing that all reasonable people can agree on is that the anti-global warming folks..."

So I’m not reasonable if I disagree with you, eh glasnost? This is one of your favorite tricks. Don’t muddy your statements with appeals to emotion.
 
Written By: Unknown
URL: http://
We are already making changes, to our behaviour, industry, and energy production and use, for other equally valid reasons. Driving less, seeking alternative energies, etc. Reasons for doing so, volativity of the sources for and cost of energy.

I would add security to the list, but essentially agree with you here.

What I’m saying is that the path that is less risky in the long run is making small changes now. Whether we assume we have a small or great impact on climate change isn’t as important since there are other equally valid reasons for enacting some measures

Ah, overlap. It would appear we have found common ground.
 
Written By: AGJ
URL: http://averagegayjoe.blogspot.com
So I’m not reasonable if I disagree with you, eh glasnost?

Exactly. Now go away or I shall taunt you a second time!


(sorry, couldn’t resist)
 
Written By: AGJ
URL: http://averagegayjoe.blogspot.com
VRB,
Yep, A lot of it (maybe most of it as it is applied more and more subjects) is still considered theoretical because there are areas in which the observed results don’t exactly match the prediction. This leads the scientists working on that aspect of that subject’s theory to continue to work on that aspect.

Which is my point. When a theory is proven, there is no "consensus" there is fact. Reproducible by experimentation. Which leads to this excerpt from OpinionJournal’s Best of Web 05/30/2006:
A Washington Post magazine article on "global warming" includes this howler:
James Hansen, the prominent NASA scientist, points out that the models don’t realistically include ice sheets and the biosphere—all the plants and animals on Earth. The global climate surely has more surprises for us. . . .
Hansen thinks we have less than 10 years to make drastic cuts in greenhouse emissions, lest we reach a "tipping point" at which the climate will be out of our control.
Someone might want to take Hansen aside and explain that the climate has always been out of our control.
I met Al Gore when he was 17, I was 14. I’m afraid I’ll never be able to take him seriously.
 
Written By: Richard
URL: http://soslies.blogspot.com
Richard wrote:
"Which is my point. When a theory is proven, there is no "consensus" there is fact. Reproducible by experimentation."
Which says far better than I have why Jon has been ridiculous to speak of a "scientific consensus" that Global Warming (TM) is anything other than a hoax perpetrated by persons wanting power.

They cannot say what will happen or how we would be harmed or helped by such a gradual increase in the Earth’s temperature, and they are not interested in waiting for the science to make such predictions possible to happen.

I am not interested in giving them control over the least aspect my life, and I am giving no more of my time to trying to pin Jon down.

We don’t need to use government to provide "market forces—and I can’t believe I had to write that oxymoronic (or is that just moronic) statement—to reduce carbon emissions.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
Not that at would make any difference at this point, since others have already recommended excellent sources of unbiased information, namely and foremost Bjorn Llomborg’s book, The Skeptical Environmentalist. What is the point of even debating this issue with someone who cannot address his impeccably researched presentation of the facts on global warming? I’ll make a deal with you John: if you’re willing to read and consider the relevant sections of that book on the issue of Global Warming, I’ll buy it for you.

Oh, and Peer Reviewed research? Little more than a running joke any more.

Take a look at NOAA’s view of world temperature.

You’re referencing a movie, now, for your facts? If you’re going to get your views on climate from fiction writers, you might as well read State of Fear.

And realclimate.org? Are they even pretending to come across unbiased anymore?

Can the global warming evangelists explain the cooling period in the middle of the 20th century? Since sun activity has been debated, this discussion gives an excellent review of the solar affect on global temperature.

Or wait... maybe global warming is happening because pirates kept the world cool!
 
Written By: Walt
URL: http://ri.mercersburg.net/b2/
Jon...your use of the phrase "Dihydrogen Oxide" reminded me of an old hoax to ban water.

That hoax was perpetrated precisely to show how easily people can be lead to back the environmental disaster du jour. Given that gullibility and all the valid information provided above showing that there IS NOT a consensus on the the issue of man-made global warming or whether such warming is indeed a problem, you will kindly excuse those of us who have not yet reached the epiphany you have.
 
Written By: Liberty Dog
URL: http://

 
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