Yesterday, I criticized those who made the claim that ““Twelve-month long drop in world temperatures wipes out a century of warming” in my usual understated and charming way.

I have to admit that the responses surprised me. First, I had no idea so many people rabidly disbelieve that 1) climate change is occurring and 2) we Humans are responsible for some of that. Truly eye opening to me.

There was a pretty amazing discussion in comments, ranging from brilliant to scientifically insightful to rhetoric of all manners, including some that had not yet achieved total enlightenment (so they got that going for them). I found the entire debate fascinating.

Sometime in the future, I will put the lawyer hat on to discuss evaluating witnesses. You will find that helpful when evaluating any speaker on any subject regardless of what media, politics, etc.

For now, some more weather change chart porn:

click for ginormo — and familiar looking — chart:


Courtesy of NYT

Here’s the ubiq-cerpt:™

“According to a host of climate experts, including some who question the extent and risks of global warming, it is mostly good old-fashioned weather, along with a cold kick from the tropical Pacific Ocean, which is in its La Niña phase for a few more months, a year after it was in the opposite warm El Niño pattern.

If anything else is afoot — like some cooling related to sunspot cycles or slow shifts in ocean and atmospheric patterns that can influence temperatures — an array of scientists who have staked out differing positions on the overall threat from global warming agree that there is no way to pinpoint whether such a new force is at work.

Many scientists also say that the cool spell in no way undermines the enormous body of evidence pointing to a warming world with disrupted weather patterns, less ice and rising seas should heat-trapping greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels and forests continue to accumulate in the air.

“The current downturn is not very unusual,” said Carl Mears, a scientist at Remote Sensing Systems, a private research group in Santa Rosa, Calif., that has been using satellite data to track global temperature and whose findings have been held out as reliable by a variety of climate experts. He pointed to similar drops in 1988, 1991-92, and 1998, but with a long-term warming trend clear nonetheless.

“Temperatures are very likely to recover after the La Niña event is over,” he said.

My point yesterday — which several commentors elected to ignore — was that confusing the short term trend with the longer term trend was simply wrong.

Using recent weather fluctuations to disprove climate change was like looking at the minute by minute S&P500 chart to determine long term markets trends . . .


Skeptics on Human Climate Impact Seize on Cold Spell
NYT, March 2, 2008

Category: Psychology, Science, Technical Analysis

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

166 Responses to “Reconciling Cold Weather and a Warming Climate”

  1. Steelduck says:

    What’s interesting is that here in France, MeteoFrance, reported that this winter is the WARMEST since 1950, and the 10th warmest since 1900. Sorry, I forgot we are on another planet…

  2. Socalcool says:

    However, I often wonder how reliably calculated the long term trend can be. For instance, while the thermometer has been around for centries, it hasn’t been deployed around the planet for very long. Second, growth rings, peet bogs, ice samples, etc. are unreliable measures of temperature if the variance you seek is of a fractional degree. Third, there has been no reliable procedure for taking temperature (glass tube exposed to direct sun, shade, etc.) and there is still no global standard or device. Fourth, climatic change is by definition a long term proposition, yet our reliable calculations are less than a century old, and still are isolated to specific parts of the globe. It would seem from even this cursory observation that the long term trend is very much in question. Nonetheless, it is much more obvious that there is a deployment of capital at work here. I guess next we need to ask ourselves about motive and opportunity…

  3. Marcus Aurelius says:

    We’re coming off of 8 years of denial and self-delusion and a century of hyperindustrialization. Old habits are hard to break.

    The deniers use rhetoric against science. I’ll side with science every time.

    Better safe than sorry is the grandaddy of all conservative values.

  4. NC Jim says:

    As you state, the error most people make is confusing weather (local) with climate (global). Even with a much warmer climate, it will be the coldest day on record somewhere most days.

    Of course shills from the Right will deny climate change to protect industry profits (recall the cigarette/cancer “debate”).


  5. pkut says:

    Actually, when the earth is 4+ billion yrs old, a 100yrs worth of data (which is all the *accurate* data we may actually have) is just as insignificant as 1yr and hardly equates to a “trend”. Its liking looking at 999 trillionth of a second’s worth of s&p data instead of a billionth and trying to extrapolate out a long term trend. The only way to predict would be to have accurate models. To say the current models out there are in their infancy would be an insult to multi-cell zygotes. Weather and climate modeling is as complex a system to model as you could conceive of, with billions of unknown, confounding variables that we have no idea about. This is why they are laughable wrong constantly (i.e. hurricane predicting, this yrs record snow, backdating to known data). While it’s certainly worth exploring, to put any stock into it would be foolish. People seem to forget, that scientists have as much of an agenda and bias as anyone. Do you think the government will fund research into climate modeling if someone tells the truth and admits we have no idea if the earth is warming/cooling, if it’s bad, if we can change it, etc? Of course not, but if your *science* corresponds to a political agenda, well then the money comes pouring in.

    Anyway, great site. Keep up the good work.

  6. larry says:

    Further proof of the dumbing down of America in my book. Politics should not enter into this issue. The consequences are too dire. The ones that deny global warming are also the ones that think the housing/credit crisis was caused by people that bought more home than they could afford. Evidently the fact that the financial community was offering mortgageas to anyone with a pulse and the gov was turning a blind eye to this activity counts for nothing in there book. It sure makes for tough investing when people are simply not rational.

  7. Marcus Aurelius says:

    Posted by: Socalcool | Mar 2, 2008 1:15:43 PM


    The ice cores you mention are instructive as to the the amounts and percentages of atmospheric gasses present at any point in history represented within the sample. Not only is the long term trend measurable, we have witnessed a sudden spike in C02 unprecedented in the ice-bound record.

    additionally, you don’ necessarily have to measure temperature in order to predict the effect of the changing chemical composition of a gaseous mixture. Example: If you remove the oxygen from a room inhabited by a human, the human will die (probability: 100%).

    As for the motives and opportunities of the scientists involved, not everybody is looking for an angle. The science types I know usually don’t think about profits, first.

    What are you – some kind of Luddite, or something?

  8. mark stotko says:

    Bravo Barry,
    No worries; I suspect like myself, the more pragmatic of readers are very happy with
    THE COMMONSENSE light you shine on so many issues– they simply just don’t respond!
    kinda reminds me of the second hand smoke debate–I really don’t know what a conservative IS anymore.

  9. Bob Wahr says:

    “People seem to forget, that scientists have as much of an agenda and bias as anyone. Do you think the government will fund research into climate modeling…”

    What’s the total budget of NOAA? (~$4 billion and facing cuts)

    What’s the total market cap of Exxon? (~$460 billion a climbing)

    Follow the money.

  10. Walker says:

    . First, I had no idea so many people rabidly disbelieve that 1) climate change is occurring and 2) we Humans are responsible for some of that. Truly eye opening to me.

    My experience is that you find a disproportionate number of these on economics blogs. Quite a few of them are investors or business owners that want a free ride subsidized by society and do not want to pay for the externalities that their business creates. As with most things these days, it comes down to “privatization of profit, socialization of risk”.

  11. donna says:

    This is why I prefer climate change to the term gloabl warming, which is confusing to a lot of people who expect it to just be warmer all over all the time. That isn’t what happens.

    What does happen is changes to weather patterns, including more extremes. Some places might be the warmest ever, some the coldest ever, some might get tornadoes in February. I look for the variations in intensity and the truly unexpected weather extremes that are popping up.

    And politics does indeed enter into every issue. It is always to someone’s advantage to keep others ignorant. Rather than denial or acceptance, we all need to start looking to facts and data, not anecdote.

  12. Pat G. says:

    “First, I had no idea so many people rabidly disbelieve that 1) climate change is occurring and 2) we Humans are responsible for some of that.”

    The people who disbelieve either 1 or 2 are either in denial or have no common sense.

    Man is this planet’s worst enemy. Always has been.

  13. zell says:

    There are 23 documented 11 year solar cycles. Cycle 24 should have fired up already- nothing! Check sspace weather or NASA. Cycle 24 was expected to peak 2010-11. I have no doubt human activity has contributed to some global warming but we have to keep in mind that the sun is what keeps us from being an ice ball. Where incremental changes in solar activity stack up to incremental changes in human activity I don’t know. It is an hypothesis that should be at least entertained.

  14. George says:

    Whether or not one believes in global warming, man-made or otherwise, it make sense to not be wasteful. Clearly, there’s money to be made in green industries, and it reduces our reliance on vile oil-spewing dictatorships, many of whom ain’t our friends.

    Interestingly, however, all but one of the 1,018 “green product positioning” product claims reviewed by the consulting company TerraChoice Environmental Marketing, “were false or misleading.”

    It’s the hype, hypocrisy, and political gamesmanship that makes many suspicious of global warming.

  15. Don says:

    Why do so many people want to argue over this?
    Let’s say there is no global warming, man made or otherwise, and that all the denial-ists on this comment page are much more and better informed than 98% of the world’s scientists. We have 2 choices (whether the scientists are right or wrong):
    1 – do nothing, or 2 – do something. If the planet is heating up and we do nothing – whoops, we’re screwed (and the rest of the world – which isn’t arguing over this point by the way – leads the way in technology and business that we will have to try to purchase, utilize and catch up with). So we lose by doing nothing in this case. If the world is heating up and we try do something – we have a chance to win. But, if the planet isn’t heating up and we do something – like LEAD the world in technology and business development and the PROFIT from a cleaner, healthier environment – we win big time (the rest of the world are fools who think the world is heating up – lets sell them the technology that they think will save us all!). IF WE LEAD WE WIN EITHER WAY! Get your heads out of you POLITICAL butts and think like a business person (if that’s what it take to make you care about what’s right).

    Sorry if I am repeating something someone has stated earlier, I haven’t had time to read through all the comments.

  16. drey says:

    “People seem to forget, that scientists have as much of an agenda and bias as anyone.”

    No, they don’t. In fact, that’s what makes a scientist a scientist – the willingness to adopt a sound methodology and follow the evidence where it leads, whether it fits any preconceived ideas they may have or not. If existing beliefs bias the outcome in any way then this is not science, it is the antithesis of science.

    I think there’s a dangerous, reductionist trend at work here to equate science with politics, and to discredit real science which doesn’t fit into one’s political ideology…

    Thanks for your lucid (and mercifully brief) posts on this subject, Marcus Aurelius. As usual they are spot on.

  17. David says:

    Solar cycles are about magnetic activity on the Sun (as the field lines get twisted), and end when the magnetic poles reverse. These are correlated with sunspots (caused by magnetic fields) and coronal mass ejections (same), neither of which affect the luminosity of the Sun in any significant way. Climate scientists are not idiots. If they could explain away global warming, the entire world would be grateful to them. (Contrary to bizarre popular belief, the Sierra Club et al. don’t like global warming.)

    “Actually, when the earth is 4+ billion yrs old, a 100yrs worth of data (which is all the *accurate* data we may actually have) is just as insignificant as 1yr and hardly equates to a “trend”.”

    This is not true, and that’s actually the point. The warming we’re seeing is unprecedentedly rapid. And correlated with a large increase of the CO2 levels in the atmosphere. Hence the belief it’s human-caused.

    And also, as pointed out, we have accurate data extended further back. On CO2 levels as well.

    “but if your *science* corresponds to a political agenda, well then the money comes pouring in.”

    My ass. You’ve never tried to get paid as a scientist, have you? And anyway, climate science has no political agenda. (People viewing the results might, since they think making our planet unsuitable for humans just might be a bad thing.)

    People who think climate scientists are rolling in money are… remarkable. Especially since they tend to be in business, and rather well off. The only scientists who ever get a shot at being a millionaire are those who win the Nobel Prize. And the CEO of a major corporation can make 100 times more by fucking up his job and being fired.

  18. David says:

    Sorry, all my paragraph breaks appear to have been removed after preview. Strange.

  19. sunsetbeachguy says:

    Other posters have mentioned the similarity of the tobacco/cancer “debate” and the climate change debate.

    As a poster on gristmill has opined, there is a boiler room inside the beltway where an astroturf group has hired a bunch of H1B visa immigrants to crank out denialist dreck 24/7/365.

    There is simply too much money to be made in delaying.

    Having said that, on this topic I agree with Winston Churchill who said “Americans can always be counted on to do the right thing, after exhausting all other options.”

  20. Ross says:

    I read somewhere that the funding to study global climate change, specifically global warming was instituted under Maggie Thacher’s government. Seems they wanted to break the coal unions in GB. Nasty stuff, coal.

    I give up. There is global warming. I’m convinced.

    Gotta go put a new flint in my Zippo. Bye

  21. Estragon says:

    BR – “Using recent weather fluctuations to disprove climate change was like looking at the minute by minute S&P500 chart to determine long term markets trends”

    IMHO, it’s even worse. At least a 1 min tick chart shares the same underlying supply/demand, fear/greed mechanics as a monthly chart.

    In the case of climate, the underlying forces at work are different. On the short term, local weather phenomena interact in apparently random ways to affect climate patterns. These phenomena tend to be self-limiting and cyclical. The longer term chart reflects changes in the climate system which apparently tend to be self-reinforcing.

    It’s surprising how little thought is being put into dealing with the likely impacts of climate change. Even if we drop carbon emissions to zero tomorrow, the path of change in our lifetimes is unlikely to be affected much. Sea levels, crop patterns, etc. are likely to be impacted (some good, some bad), and there doesn’t seem to be much discussion of how to exploit the good parts to offset the cost of dealing with the bad parts, or even in developing a better understanding of what we’re in for.

  22. dblwyo says:

    I’ll confess to not reading the slew of prior comments for obvious reasons but has anybody consulted the relevant history of temperature changes in Wikiepedia ? They do a very nice job. Recent temperature changes are significantly less than those from eons ago… BUT….a) the Earth’s geology and climate were enormously different and b) within the last several centuries we do appear to be having a spike. While it’s difficult to separate out the data from the noise and honest individuals can have differences of opinion it’s worth giving great weight. BtW – also for the record filtering the noise is itself dependent on complex models with major assumptions – a topic on which we’re all recently experienced.
    That said let us assume a)climate change is a problem and b) what would you propose to do about it ? For example the Kyoto protocols were unworkable and designed to make people feel good; Europe has been in violation since signing. Meanwhile the US is one of the lowest net CO2 emitters because of our forest cover which China and Europe lack. Curtailing emissions would call for emerging countries to sacrifice growth which would mean the collapse of their societies. Perhaps good for emissions but bad for overall human welfare. So we need new approaches that allow for rapidly increasing energy consumption while reducing environmental damage. Which leads us to conservation, nuclear energy and coal. But the technologies for controlling coal related pollution are primitive. Seems to me there’s a great “Manhattan” project here that would open up enormous VC vistas for clean, green energy and infrastructure investment as well as generating whole new industries.

  23. Uncle Jeffy says:

    Go to (University of Minnesota) and you can get a time series of average monthly high and low temparatures for each month back to November. 1869. Graph them in Excel (e.g., all Novembers from 1869 to present). Create a trend line for each series. What do you know -every single trend line is upward over that period. Anecdotal? Sure. Supportive of a human role in climate change? Yeah, I would go along with that.

    Showed the graphs to an acquaintance who’s a denier. His response: “Well, that’s only because there are a lot more people around the Twin Cities now than there were in 1869.”

    Screw “logic” or “evidence” or “science” – even irony is wasted on these morons.

  24. riverrat says:

    Walker: “My experience is that you find a disproportionate number of these on economics blogs. Quite a few of them are investors or business owners that want a free ride subsidized by society and do not want to pay for the externalities that their business creates. As with most things these days, it comes down to ‘privatization of profit, socialization of risk’.”

    Very true. To that I would add, “socialization of costs” – the externalities to which you refer.

    Marcus Aurelius: “Better safe than sorry is the granddaddy of all conservative values.”

    Kind of makes a mockery of many who call themselves “conservative” these days- radical and irresponsible is more like it.

    A good place for information on climate change is the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) which has issued reports every 5-7 years since 1990. These reports document the gradual rise in consensus on what the available evidence says, to the very strong consensus that exists now.

    It is fascinating and depressing to read the comments of those who think they somehow know more than Nobel laureate scientists who are experts in their field, and accuse these experts of having an agenda one way or the other. The scientists whose work should be examined most critically are those working for “for profit” institutions or corporations with a vested interest in research findings.

    Most academic scientists work is peer-reviewed and would lose credibility if it was blatantly biased, and their conclusions did not follow from their data. There is often room for different interpretations of science findings, and the peer review process is not perfect – scientists are humans after all – but its the best we have come up with so far to ensure the greatest possible degree of objectivity in developing and disseminating technical knowledge.

    The current level of certainty regarding human effects on climate is the result of at least a 20-year trend of gradually increasing consensus. Climate science is indeed incredibly complex, but there are dozens of converging lines of evidence indicating that continuing to doubt the reality of climate change is a fool’s game.

    I remember when I first learned that the diameter of the earth is only 7,926 miles. If asked to guess, I’d have guessed much larger- it really brought home the point that our world is finite, and that humans could indeed have effects on a global scale.

  25. Paul M. says:

    I’m not surprised there are so many Americans that deny the affects of climate change. After all there many out there that deny the theory of evolution.

    I am surprised though, there are that many deniers who read your blog. That’s surely gotta change the demographics for your advertisers. Less Cartier more Zales?

  26. Deborah says:

    Seeing how others are reporting their trends, apparently I picked the coldest year in about 20-30 years to move to the North West Territories.

    With wind chill it reached -58 one day in January and I think for the month it averaged about 20 degrees cooler than normal. Seriously, with any luck this colder snap and extra snow fall works its way south and helps to improve snow pack and water reservoirs…

    It was -32 this morning and it has warmed to a totally balmy -24…

  27. Estragon says:


    Having also lived in the NWT for a time, I think I can safely say that there isn’t a whole lot of difference between -38 with the wind howling, and -58. The extra few seconds it takes for the wind to rip your face off aren’t all that pleasant anyway.

    When summer comes, do remember to keep your mouth closed. The vast but short-lived cloud of wind-driven bugs tend to get stuck in your throat otherwise.

    Strangely beautiful country in its own way though.

  28. jason says:

    Oh.. OK… and which “longer term” trend would that be? The long term 1000 year trend (which is against you), the longer term 5000 year trend (which is also against you)? Or do you mean the “long term” trend over the past 100 years, which is the one that works for your argument?

    This is a classic example of choosing a time series that supports the result you set out to prove. This cheap trick might actually work… (if we were a little stupider :)

  29. Byno says:


    Love the fact that you’ve addressed this topic, but I strongly disagree on your observations of the comments. Specifically, comments from the preceding post (the one with 125+ comments) were full of some of the most inane banter this side of Fark.

    What makes an expert re: global warming? A PhD in chemistry for starters. From MIT or Cal Tech or Mellon. And LOTS of peer-reviewed research.

    The mental miscreants that have invaded your blog recently do a disservice to both you and your research. I for one would not abide a History PhD lecturing me on the finer points of Poisson distributions because she got Statistics for dummies any more than she would allow me to pontificate on the fall of the Roman Empire because I played Civilization as an undegrad.

    Why in the hell are you allowing morons – and that is most assuredly the right word – to twist and distort the science of global warming when their last science class was in 9th grade?

    Or, is our arrogance so great that we as a public give as much weight to the Internet Troll as we do the Harvard-educated molecular chemist?

  30. Slumlord says:

    Idiots exists on both sides of this argument. The fact is that the historical record shows that the world has been both hotter and colder in the past. This is not an argument about global warming as much as the cause of global warming. There has definitely been a spike in CO2 production over the past two hundred years but is it responsible? I reckon there must be some influence, but I’m not sure how much.
    This argument is more about the Lefts desire for for societal change under the guise of saving the environment. The desire to return to some form of Luddite agrarian commune is seen as an ideal solution to global warming. The irony is that many of the strongest green inner city types are also the biggest consumers of energy on the planet. This crowd never mentions nuclear as an option which to informed and objective analysis is safe, clean and viable. The problem is of course is that this crowd likes to spend on Cartier instead of spending money on science books.

  31. B.B. says:

    Great posts,

    I am in the camp of not really believing in the global warming due to manmade items. But hey who cares. What I really like though is that there is finally a push for technology to improve the old gas driven engine after almost 100 years of use. Get us off of oil and suddenly Iran and Venezuela become much less significant. Now that sounds like a great idea.

  32. major tom says:

    I am not trying to convince anyone that my thoughts are better than yours, but as a Pilot that has flown around the world many times. Flying over the empty oceans for 10 hours and flying over the vastness of the US has convinced me that LA, NY, Beijing, have absolutely nothing to do with global warming. Everyone can believe what they want.

    Realizing from Carl Sagan that we (humans) are but the last 10 seconds of December 31st in a time scale, realizing that (as a former weather guy from the AF) data prior to the 1940′s was marginal at best (for exactness of temperatures), and realizing that the earth has endured many cycles of extreme temperatures (when was the last ice age?), we are not, can not, will never be the principle cause of whether the earth is heating up or not.

    If people want to conserve, more power to them, if they want to believe in global warming – yeah probably happening, but the earth itself – via volcanos, tectonic shifts, and earth orbit cause a bunch of C02 release and temperature increase by itself. I personally can’t wait for an electric car like Tesla to be affordable – just cause I get a little frustrated at seeing our dollars buy less gasoline and seeing Dubai grow so much with those dollars.

    Whoever said – it is about funding and I completely agree. Back in the 70′s the convential wisdom was Ice Age and all the research money went to that. Now, it is global warming and all the money is going there.

    The last warm period had alligators at 76 degrees North Latitude, and guess what, we weren’t around…

  33. Jmay says:

    It’s called pushback.

    People who exist in the old paradigm feel insulted that the way of like they have known is being criticized and re-evaluated by a new generation. There is an element of disdain that is inherent to the rejection of a previous way of being. It’s unavoidable.

    The racial and sexual mores of the early part of the 20th century were rejected by the Baby Boomer generation. And the parents of some boomers felt just as insulted by and hostile to those ideas. Now, some boomers are hostile to and disdainful of the green movement — “Are you saying that this amazing standard of living you’ve had has been a waste? Grow up you ungrateful &%*$*#!” Or something to that effect.

    The undeniable reality is that we are the world’s lone superpower. With that privilege comes a responsibility to hold ourselves accountable for the global impact of our economy — because no one else truly can.

    The Global Warming debate should be vigorous in this country. Resistance to it is healthy because it sharpens the terms of the discussion. So bring on the naysayers, it’s all good.

  34. Hawkeye says:

    There is a simple reason that people that are skeptical of human caused global warming are quick to point at the cooling trend of the last year. It is the fact that virtually every natural disaster, heat wave, or quirky weather event on the planet is pointed at by those that are advocating in favor of believing in human caused global warming as proof of human caused global warming.

    So, turn about is fair play, no?

  35. odograph says:

    I think part of it is that the blogs (comments sections) are what denialists have these days.

    When the National Review says:

    It is no longer possible, scientifically or politically, to deny that human activities have very likely increased global temperatures; what remains in dispute is the precise magnitude of the human impact. Conservatives should accept this reality — and move on to the question of what we should do about it.

    Where are people left to go? I guess the blogs, where you can throw out a quick “ice” or “water vapor” and hope it sounds good.

  36. David says:

    If you want to see an excellent video critique of the theory of man made global warming go here

    Production quality not perfect but the points are well made.

  37. Richard says:

    Wow, I`m glad I found this site, it`s fantastic.

  38. DonKei says:

    Major Tom, Socalcool, and PKUT…what you said…kudos.

    I’ve only one observation to add: If CO2 causes global warming, which is, I believe, the claim of the global warming supporters, then one year, or even ten years (like we’ve actually had) of temperatures that weren’t warmer than before, yet when CO2 concentrations have increased every single of those years, whether due to our activity or not, means that correlation can not logically equal causation.

    Every year CO2 levels go up, but temperatures do not. The argument that CO2 causes warming is a logical fallacy.

    Perhaps temperatures are going up and perhaps we are causing them to go up, but it is logically impossible to claim that their cause is increased levels of CO2, because temperatures are not going up, in either the magnitude, or with the consistency, that C02 levels are.

    Now, the answer for the alarmists will be that it is a complex system w/ many different factors impacting the climate. Which is precisely my point–and we don’t know what the factors all are, nor what their impacts are.

    Incidentally the post about the IPCC being a good source of information is dead on. But don’t fail to read the letter of 100 physicists, climate scientists, et al., to the IPCC detailing their skepticism that the conclusions of the latest report were correct.

  39. Darkness says:

    >Don: If the planet is heating up and we do nothing – whoops, we’re screwed (and the rest of the world – which isn’t arguing over this point by the way – leads the way in technology and business that we will have to try to purchase, utilize and catch up with).

    This is how I expect things will play out too.

    The politics goes deeper than everyone thinks. When I see releases from the American Enterprise Institute and their ilk they seem to be carefully aligning along two different purposes. They blanket argue that humans have no effect on world climate at the same time as they seem to be counting on exactly this change to render the middle east uninhabitable, thereby more easily securing “our” oil from the region. They psychotically deny climate change while counting on having it work to the U.S.’s advantage.

    The politics of defending our mass consumer culture from any moderation is one thing. Its purpose is obvious and transparent, if not a bit superficially knee-jerk given how empty that culture is. The politics of plotting ahead for a world where the climate will create strategic conveniences that destroy whole cultures is twisted and disturbed.

  40. AlB says:

    Had to chip in. My simple (very) view is that anything that is so politically correct can’t be right. Further, remember that the guru of Global Warming is Al Gore!!!!! Yes, the same guy who invented the internet!! That’s like asking Roger Moore about design criteria for the new Corvette engine
    Thanks anyway.

  41. jason says:

    A quote by Richard Dawkins quoting some other guy:

    “It’s worth recalling Wittgenstein’s remark on the subject. “Tell me,” he asked a friend, “Why do people always say it was natural for man to assume that the Sun went round the Earth, rather than that the Earth was rotating?” His friend replied, “Well obviously because it just looks as though the Sun is going round the Earth”. And Wittgenstein replied, “Well, what would it have looked like if it had looked as though the Earth was rotating?”

    What would it look like if suns heated and cooled nearby orbiting planets as surface activity fluctuated slightly?

  42. The argument that CO2 causes warming is a logical fallacy.

    Wow, lots of scientifically ignorant people here.

    There is no such thing as “politically correct” physics.

    Reality, however, does have a liberal bias.

  43. mikkel says:

    donna you are exactly right. Some regions will actually get colder for at least the next few hundred years. Some regions will get drier than they are now, and some more wet. It is just whole scale change.

    Speaking of which, the thing that a lot of people realize is that no scientist claims that the change will be greater than previous large scale changes. That charge is ridiculous. However, the claim is that the major change will occur a lot faster…too fast for the ecosystems around the world to adapt.

    The other misconception is that it will be Armageddon. In fact, the greater concern is that a huge number of people live in places that require very little change (either temperature wise or ocean level wise) to become unhabitable, or at least less hospitable. Climate change will not kill us, but it will make resources and land a lot scarcer and the political effects of that are extremely dangerous.

  44. edhopper says:

    Would you please find a quote anywhere where Al Gore claimed to invent the internet, rather than lead in Congress for it’s creation.

    It’s my view that anything that the Right is so opposed to has to be correct.

    Al Gore the man who was right about Iraq, Al Gore the Noble Prize winner.

    You should just keep worrying about not being politically correct. And continue to take your clues from Rush Limbaugh and Pres. Bush.

  45. mikkel says:

    Barry, I found the whole reaction fascinating too. In fact, I thought about it and discussed it with a friend and realized something.

    Most of the people that said they didn’t believe it relied on a few rhetorical tricks:

    1) Admitting they didn’t know much, but “common sense” telling them that humans can’t affect it (because it’s too big, how can you know prior temperatures? etc.), not realizing that a lot of the basic physics principles that have been used in many other applications are what originally led to the greenhouse gas theory over a hundred years ago.

    2) Thinking that scientists must be lying to get more funding…not realizing that academic scientists spend on average about 15+ years of school and training only to make around $60-$80k a year when they could work for industry with much less education and make twice that. Not to mention that the scientists that can disprove/challenge the common wisdom are the ones that end up getting the most money and fame.

    3) Not paying attention to non-linear correlations or thinking about feedback effects.

    And I thought it was really funny that people thought these things. Then I realized it.

    1) and 2) are what you would expect businesses/politicians to actually do and are the reason why we’re in trouble. The people that have their entire worldview formed from politics and business would be perfectly right to think that GW is all hot air. I really don’t know how a guy like yourself can make a living interacting with so many businessmen.

    And as for 3), well that’s forgivable because humans aren’t really able to think nonlinearly.

  46. Red Pill says:

    Actually, when the earth is 4+ billion yrs old, a 100yrs worth of data (which is all the *accurate* data we may actually have) is just as insignificant as 1yr and hardly equates to a “trend”.


    However, our species has only existed for 100-200 thousand years. That first few billion years probably would have really sucked for us. So the relevant climate for our species is in the last couple hundred thousand years. I don’t think data from the early Earth would be very helpful to us given the conditions then.:)

    However, it is only in the last 8000 years of civilization (and REALLY in the last 200) that we really became dependent on the current sea levels, weather patterns, and crop distributions.

  47. john says:

    Unfortunately Barry, you have a lot of idiots who would rather believe a bunch of weirdoes and fake “research institutes” funded by energy companies than the armies of reputable scientific organizations both independant and govt funded who have come down with 90% + certainty that global warming is a. happening and b. mainly man made. The similarity of global warming denial and how it has been created to “cigarettes are a cancer causing narcotic” denial is uncanny. Of course most of the nicotine deniers are now dead from cancer, emphysema or one of its many other ills. One can only hope that the global warming deniers suffer a similar nasty fate. Unfortunately, they are contributing to making us all share it with them. Reminds you of those similar idiots, probably largely the same people, who think there’d have been no mass shootings in VA, IL and CO if all the kids had been carrying concealed heat. But then there’s no explaining human stupidity but I have to say for an advanced western society we seem to have more than our fair share of it. No wonder much of the world thinks we have the muscles and brain of a dinosaur.

  48. Winston Munn says:

    I had been ingnorant and ambivalent about the global warming debate until a recent discussion with a physicist altered my views.

    Bottom line is I am convinced it is occuring – but more importantly is the explanation of man’s contribution and what that portends.

    Accordingly, he explained that the natural phenomenon of natural warming has become unbalanced due to mankind’s contributions, whereas the natural phenomenom may have been expressed by (x)(y)=C, we have now added a new variable to the equation, (x)(y)+h=CC.

    It is not unlike chaos theory, in that small changes in the variables can dynamically affect the outcome.

  49. Mike Kennedy says:

    New York was once underwater. Ditto most of the east coast east of the Appalachians, including my home state of Georgia. You’re telling me that I need to be concerned about an ocean that is rising a few inches in the next 100 years. It’s stunning to me that people who are otherwise outstanding financial analysts cannot grasp this “manmade warming” garbage as hype. But then, Obama is a “phenomonon” right now.

    Nuff said.

  50. dave says:

    Walker: “My experience is that you find a disproportionate number of these on economics blogs.” That may be because good traders are always a little contrarian and have seen too many times that when “everyone” knows that something is true and you are ridiculed for being sceptical, then a sea change in reality or perception may not be far off. We are not deniers, we are sceptical.

  51. Dogwood says:

    A recently published paper by Ross McKitrick, an economics professor at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada, and Patrick Michaels, an environmental studies professor at the University of Virginia and Senior Fellow at CATO, concludes that half of the global warming trend from 1980 to 2002 is caused by nonclimatic effects (Urban Heat Island).

    Here is a summary of the report. Pay special attention to how their findings and the findings of other researchers whose independent work showed similar results were simply ignored by the IPCC.

    Here is the full paper if you are so interested.

    I’m sure this won’t change anyone’s mind, but it does demonstrate that there are legitimate reasons to doubt the CO2-centric view of global warming.

  52. Seeker says:

    “Scientists don’t have biases”…. Oh really? Then as a whole, they must have a “normal distribution” on political and economic topics. Just like members of the media. Evidence does not support that contention.

    CO2 is the product of “clean, complete combustion”. The definition of CO2 as a pollutant is political, not scientific. So is the substitution of one fuel that produces CO2 (Ethanol) for other hydrocarbons that produce CO2 as a result of a combustion process. The politics of bias is fouling our ability to engineer anything that might look like real, economic progress in “solving” these and related problems. The support of “concerned scientists” does not change that. Often, it means that dissenting views have been suppressed.

    Global population is doubling about every 50 years. That would seem to me to have a lot more to do with climate change than how many Americans drive SUVs and pick-up trucks. So we have a bait-and-switch. Kyoto doesn’t reduce “carbon emissions” because it exempts the largest sources — like coal fired power plants in China — a new megawatt plant every week. What the carbon tax does, and is intended to do, is to transfer wealth from developed countries to developing countries — to feed and sustain their growing populations.

    Tax legislation and regulation in the developed countries rewards the production and maintenance of children, and discourages the saving and compounding savings. Government social welfare programs are built on an ongoing shift of things like pensions and healthcare from private savings to the redistribution of current income and wealth. “Global Warming” becomes another excuse for people with agendas to tell other people how they must live their lives and spend what money is not taxed away “for higher purposes”.

    If the global population was not doubling at a rapid rate, we would probably experience none of the issues that dominate the politics of our time. But it is. So we criticize people for driving SUVs on gasoline. Bait-and-switch. This is more about who has political control than anything else. We may be forced to choose between bureaucrats and Jihadists. Will we choose between the freedom to own and use SUVs, pick-up trucks, and large suburban houses or the right to have three, four, five, or more children? Doesn’t every working family DESERVE a higher per child exemption or tax credit?

  53. SPECTRE of Deflation says:

    Using the most advanced supercomputers available to science today, they can’t tell us what the weather will be like in 2 weeks in NY, 4 weeks in NY, 16 weeks in NY… to infinium. In fact the very thing the Warmanistas fear may save the planet should it continue to cool.

    TPTB are licking their chops on the money that will be made in the Carbon Credit Market. J6P will once again be robbed by the elitists in the name of global salvation.

  54. David says:

    “Oh.. OK… and which “longer term” trend would that be? The long term 1000 year trend (which is against you), the longer term 5000 year trend (which is also against you)? Or do you mean the “long term” trend over the past 100 years, which is the one that works for your argument?”

    Jason has it right. Barry, I love your market commentary, but on this one, you’re making exactly the same mistake you are accusing others of, taking a little blip in the data and calling it a trend.

    What I haven’t seen here is the point that those of us who follow the solar models know that this downturn was predicted. Theodor Landscheidt’s model predicted a peak in solar activity in 1990 with the temperature high lagging 8 years to 1998, then a long drop off to a low around 2030. This recent drop, then is right on schedule, as is the predicted drop-off in solar activity.

    If we seem overly certain, it is only because events have been following the predictions so well to date, that it seems only a matter of time until even the most obstinate truth denier (i.e. global warmist) will have to admit the AGW hypothesis is and always has been a crock.

  55. Red Pill says:

    Uuummmm. Scientists know about urban heat islands.

    “Senior Fellow at CATO” LOL, like these nuts don’t have an agenda.

    Are we going to start quoting “data” from the lerouchies next? LOL

    The ignorance on this blog regarding the scientific method is astounding. I suspect most of you people’s “trading strategies” ar no better than reading animal intestines.

  56. Bob Wahr says:

    “It’s my view that anything that the Right is so opposed to has to be correct.”

    Spend any time doing some simple Google fact-checking in any blog debate about AGW pretty much sums this up to be true. I can’t tell you how much deceptive quote-mining I’ve caught, or supposed references to certain non-existent “facts” that fail to materialize when you do the footwork and dig up a PDF of a cited research paper.

    What surprises me is the insane amount of hostility and invective directed towards Gore and Hansen as “liars”, when the thinktanks fuel these denialists with nothing but dishonest lies.

    And therein lies the rub – the scientists will revise as they learn more. Therefore earlier incorrect information is easily attacked as “lies”. But the thinktanks aren’t hamstrung by having to revise their position to match reality. They have phalanxes of bloggers ready to perpetuate their disinformation straight to Armageddon.

  57. mrrunangun says:

    Back in the 70s John McPhee wrote several books on pop geology. Among other things, he mentioned that we are in the ending phase of an ice age and that the earth has been warming for about the last 10,000 years. Sea levels have risen c. 9 feet since Roman times according to excavations in Italy in recent years. McPhee also said that at the peak of the last warm phase on earth, sea levels were 50 feet higher than at present. His stuff was written 30 years before the global warming excitement, so he had no related political axe to grind.

  58. Brody P Smith says:

    How does one prove that a hundred year trend in warming is due to homo sapiens sapiens when the evidence points to thousands of years of global climatic changes?

    Also, why does everyone automatically assume that a warmer earth is a worse place to live? I would think that the northern US, Alaska, Canada, Russian, and the Antartic would provide a hedge against total death and destruction. Who knows, if global warming pans out, maybe people will stop moving south by the millions.

  59. Kurt says:

    You might want to do a little digging on the good Patrick Michaels. The guy is a straight up shill for the energy Co.’s and has been one of the very, very few folks with the title “Dr.” to poo poo climate change, which I’m sure has absolutely nothing to do with the $$ he receives from industry.

  60. major tom says:

    More on (meaningful pun) global warming…

    BTW – another site I found contributed the effect of cattle emissions to be more than vehicles due to the amount of cattle demand. The methane has a much higher warming effect than other forms of emitters.

    “It generates 65 percent of human-related nitrous oxide, which has 296 times the Global Warming Potential (GWP) of CO2. Most of this comes from manure.

    And it accounts for respectively 37 percent of all human-induced methane (23 times as warming as CO2), which is largely produced by the digestive system of ruminants, and 64 percent of ammonia, which contributes significantly to acid rain.”

    What would we do without research…

  61. Dogwood says:

    Red Pill,

    Ad hominem attacks have no place in science. Read the research, rebut the facts. Their findings are inline with two other independent reports.

    Ya’ll keep blasting “denialists” for our refusal to follow the science, but you’re throwing out the ad homs.

    Michaels is a professor of environmental studies at a very reputable university. I’m sure he is more qualified than you are to comment on the topic.

    Again, read the research, then rebut the findings, if you can. The IPCC couldn’t, but maybe you can.

    Good luck.

    P.S. Everyone has an agenda. Do you really believe that Hansen, Mann, and others in the AGW camp are going to allow their lifelong work to be discredited? How would you feel if you spent 30 years promoting something only to have it blow up in your face at the end of your career? Think you would be a little biased in how you respond to new information that contradicts everything you’ve worked for? Scientists are human beings, which means they have biases, prejudices and blind spots. Assuming their work is perfect and free from bias is dangerous.

    One of the major criticisms regarding climate science is the lack of transparency. Global Climate Models are used to create dire predictions, but then the scientists refuse to publish their data or computer code so independent scientists may review it, critique it, confirm it or discredit it.

    Author Michael Crichton offers a good critique of the state of climate science here.

    There are a lot of problems in climate science that most people don’t know about because the MSM doesn’t report on them.

  62. Dogwood says:


    Then his research should be very easy for you and others to discredit. Read the report, then rebut the findings.

    Also, the paper I linked to produced results that were inline with two other, independently produced studies.

    Read then rebut, if you can. The IPCC could not, but maybe you and Red Pill can.

    Good luck.

  63. Kurt says:

    Michael Crichton??
    Anyone recall a certain Senator Inhofe who actually held up Crichton’s novel “State of Fear” on the Senate floor as evidence against climate change?

  64. Dogwood says:

    Forgot to add, unlike many in the climate science field, McKitrick and Michaels have published their data sources and computer code so anyone who is interested can perform independent verification of their findings. I’m sure they would be happy to know if you find errors or inaccuracies in their computer code or findings.

  65. major tom says:

    BR – this site is manifestly chart porn about the history of temperatures on earth. Funny how warm and cold the earth has been when we weren’t around…

  66. Francois says:

    “People seem to forget, that scientists have as much of an agenda and bias as anyone. Do you think the government will fund research into climate modeling…”

    You bet scientists have an agenda! They want to know how things work, NOT how they SHOULD work.

    That means they must be critical of their own theories and hypotheses.

    That is a frame of mind that present a constant challenge to those who can’t do better than anchor themselves into a belief system for emotional and thalamic (the reptilian brain) reasons. Of course, that include anyone on the left and on the right of the political spectrum.

    I’ll take science (laced with a good dose of ethic thank you) over socio-political beliefs any day of the year.

  67. Dogwood says:


    Feel free to rebut each and every footnote contained in Crichton’s book. Don’t forget, the guy has a medical degree from Harvard. Probably smarter than you and I combined.

  68. Kurt says:

    Yes, he got his degree, but never practiced medicine and has been a novelist/producer for the last ~30yrs.

    On Michaels,
    Research Professor of Environmental Sciences, University of Virginia
    Senior Fellow, Cato Institute. Visiting Scientist, Marshall Institute. State Climatologist, Virginia. Advisor, American Legislative Exchange Council.

    Dr. Patrick Michaels is possibly the most prolific and widely-quoted climate change skeptic scientist. He has admitted receiving funding from various fossil fuel industry sources. His latest book, published in September 2004 by the Cato Institute, is titled: Meltdown: The Predictable Distortion of Global Warming by Scientists, Politicians, and the Media.

    Michaels is the Chief Editor for the “World Climate Review,” a newsletter on global warming funded by the Western Fuels Association. Dr. Michaels has acknowledged that 20% of his funding comes from fossil fuel sources: ( Known funding includes $49,000 from German Coal Mining Association, $15,000 from Edison Electric Institute and $40,000 from Cyprus Minerals Company, an early supporter of People for the West, a “wise use” group. He received $63,000 for research on global climate change from Western Fuels Association, above and beyond the undisclosed amount he is paid for the World Climate Report/Review. According to Harper’s magazine, Michaels has recieved over $115,000 over the past four years from coal and oil interests. Michaels wrote “Sound and Fury” and “The Satanic Gases” which were published by Cato Institute. Dr. Michaels signed the 1995 Leipzig Declaration. In July of 2006, it was revealed that the Intermountain Rural Electric Association “contributed $100,000 to Dr. Michaels.” ( ALEC advisor. and

    A.B. and S.M. degrees in biological sciences and plant ecology, University of Chicago Ph.D. in ecological climatology , University of Wisconsin at Madison. Former President of the American Association of State Climatologists, and Program Chair for the Committee on Applied Meterology of the American Meterological Society.

  69. Francois says:

    “This argument is more about the Lefts desire for for societal change under the guise of saving the environment. The desire to return to some form of Luddite agrarian commune is seen as an ideal solution to global warming.”

    Whaaaaat? You got that stuff in reverse: it is the necessity of changing the environment (note that we got only one and they ain’t got any spare at WalMart) that will induce societal change.

    But a “return to some form of Luddite agrarian commune”?

    Bwahahahaha! Pray inform us, then, why so much money is pouring in solar energy, wind energy, biomass and nuclear? Conversion of ordinary garbage into fuel? Harnessing of algae bacteria to produce ANY kind of fuel? Chevron liked this last item so much they bought a substantial participation in Solarzyme, the corporation that research this technology.

    Luddite agrarian commune…my ribs are still hurting. Thanks for the laugh.

  70. Dan Pangburn says:

    There is no historical data that supports the premise that human activity has any significant effect on climate. The observation of glaciers melting may look dramatic on TV but does not show that human activity is the cause. There is, however, substantial evidence that atmospheric carbon dioxide level does not significantly influence climate. You can check out the global warming issue yourself. Credible websites are included in my post at

  71. Dogwood says:

    Rebut his findings, if you can. If his funding sources have resulted in biased work, then invalidating those research results should be very easy to do.

    You and others go to great lengths to discredit people based upon where their funding comes from, thus saving you from actually having to address the research results.

    This is similar to calling someone opposed to affirmative action a racist. It is designed to end debate before the debate even begins.

    Quite frankly, governments and billionaires like Soros are all lined up on one side of the issue. The only folks left to pay for research that might disprove the CO2 theory is the business community. Where else is the money going to come from?

    Convenient for you, then, that any research conducted by the business community can then be dismissed as agenda-driven science.

    Do you see the dillema you are creating?

    Again, stop trying to discredit people and start trying to discredit their research findings. If you can’t, then maybe the consensus is wrong.

  72. Dogwood says:


    Take the time to read Crichton’s testimony before the Senate Committee and then let me know if you agree or disagree with his recommendation to establish a medical research-type process for climate science.

  73. Darkness says:

    I heard this “CO2 is a harmless non-pollutant” meme from the head of the Moonie Times the other day. I figured it’d get parroted. He isn’t a scientist either.

    CO2, carbon dioxide, is a poison. It kills rapidly in fact. Because it is heavier than n2 and o2 it pools in low areas (around volcanoes when the wind is low, around manure pits, and inside silos). One deep breath, you pass out, you die.

  74. Marcus Aurelius says:

    This is not a scientific/political debate, as there is no such thing. This is a scientific subject polluted by political opinion. The same can be said of any discussion regarding science, religion, culture, morals or ethics over the past 8 years.

    The startling thing abut the past two days of comments on this subject is the sudden emergence of what can only be described as right-wing, Neocon, zealots who persist in denying scientific evidence – as if this were a matter of political opinion.

    This is how we got into Iraq (we’ll be liberators greeted with roses and it won’t cost us a penny). This is how we mismanaged our national finances (deficits don’t matter/go out and shop/homeowner society). This is how we came to torture people in the name of freedom (there has never been any doubt that waterboarding is torture, yet we have been drawn into a debate about it, as if there were). This is why we don’t do stem cell research. This is why we have school boards pushing “intelligent design” as science.

    This is why our Senate and President would convene after midnight to “save the life” of a woman deemed brain dead by her own physicians. (the Schiavo case is particularly enlightening when viewed against the global warming comments of the past several days).

    In the Schiavo case, the right wing was up in arms about a specific scientific fact. Their opinions were presented as being just as valid as those of the woman’s doctors. Their opinions were stated with authority and couched in pseudo scientific terms. There were appeals to emotion and accusations of the doctors and “liberal media” having the agenda of destroying a vital human life (and enjoying it). The woman’s family family was drawn into it. Her ex-husband was accused of having a profit motive. A faux expert (Frist) was trotted out to give his “professional” opinion of the extent of Ms. Schiavo’s condition.

    Ms. Schiavo’s autopsy confirmed what everyone had known all along – she was brain dead.

    No political argument could change the scientific fact.

    So now we have the same people the same intellectually dishonest crap regarding global warming science, except this time, there might be no one to conduct the autopsy if we screw up.

    The right wing is intellectually, morally, and ideologically bankrupt. Their track record is abysmal. Their opinions should be discounted, accordingly.

    Why should we believe a word they say?

  75. Parker James says:

    Then by ontogeny recapitulating phylogeny, we
    should look at the current short-term cooling
    in the stock markets as just a little El Nina
    in long term flatulent inflationary heat wave,
    current beneficiary of, ancient antiquities.
    If you’re going to trade in commodities,
    make darn sure then can’t print more, or coin more!

    Look for a brief cooling phase (the “dump”)
    before the mega pre-election $auna t$unami.

    They just have to get the sheeple into the slaughter house before they slam the gate.

  76. Marcus Aurelius says:

    For once, I’d like to make it through the day without someone bringing up ontogeny recapitulating phylogeny.

  77. Shelley Bermann says:

    Francois, hate to pop your bubble, but the energy-to-garbage, the algal-is-fungal and the corn-liquor-zoom-zoom folks are NOT the liberal luddites, but neo-con carbon and tax credit corporate-socialism welfare monkies, intent on converting investor savings into tax windfall generators piped straight into their vaults, then when credits go by-by,
    as they will, the investors will own some pretty cool sci-fi techno junk, you betcha!

    Garbage-to-energy, as example, is merely a
    way for ConAgra etc to illegally incinerate
    their slaughterhouse offal, in distilling
    a minute amount of “diesel” from the smog,
    and even earning Good Housekeeping carbon
    credits! Wow, that’s some kind of racket,
    not one of which passes a full-cycle test,
    not one of which is stand-alone profitable!

    Even our beloved bicycle renaissance isn’t
    any more efficient than a VW Passat, when
    you full-cycle the BTU’s and their source,
    carbon it takes to feed their leg muscles.
    Better a Passat, and Brazilian ethanol E85,
    but those are foreign tariff sanctioned.

    Flying carpets! That’s the next ‘real deal’!
    Anti-gravity flying carpets!! Just a little
    more on DOD’s communion plate, just another
    $100B, we’re so close volken! It’s a big USA
    break thru! Can you say, “Praise Jebesus?!”

  78. mikkel says:

    Dogwood I read the McKitrick and Michaels paper.

    I have to say, it is very interesting. I am quite pleased at how rigorous their mathematical presentation was (they even tested for correlations in the residuals to see if the model should be nonlinear, which I was very happy about). I think it was a very good paper in showing that there is a correlation between socioeconomic trends and observed temperatures.

    Then they made a huge mistake. Their conclusion has nothing to do with their tested hypothesis. I believe the hypothesis, I don’t believe the conclusion.

    “Peterson (2003) shows that US data can, in principle, be adjusted to remove extraneous biases of significant size. On this basis we postulate that countries with public sector resources and general public skill levels comparable to those in the US would be, in principle, able to provide uncontaminated climatic data. We therefore generated an adjusted vector of predicted values under the assumptions that all countries have GDP density and educational levels equivalent to those in the USA and that all other surface and inhomogeneity effects were set equal to zero”

    and they said that the warming is less than half of what’s reported. Basically, they just made a completely wild assertion that has absolutely no backing and then produced a number.

    They state that most of the lower GDP areas had higher levels of warming. Well, those are mostly in Africa and South America. Those climates are completely different than North America and Asia. Of course they will respond quite differently to warming than other areas.

    They make a HUGE mistake (or a deliberate lie) and assume that temperature increases will be equal across the globe.

    In fact, the models show that it is widely differing, and what do you know — the poorer countries are going to have the worse effects.

    They completely break the first law of science, correlation does not imply causation.

    Poorer areas reporting larger increases
    does not imply poorer areas report larger areas BECAUSE they are poor.

    Also, I’d like to point out the tons of references about scientists trying to correct all the stuff (and I commend them for bringing up something else to look for…as I said I just disagree with their 50% less warming part) to show that there is a ton of work in this area.

  79. mikkel says:

    Er I meant to say I believe the conclusions they make about the hypothesis (i.e. that observed warming is correlated with socioeconomic trends) but not the completely speculative 50% less warming part. Which was not even part of their hypothesis.

    See in most papers you have complete speculation in the discussion about things that could arise from your research and then say that you will look at it later with a new hypothesis. You’d never have a paper that tests something and then concludes with a number about a different question. That’s just bad science practice.

  80. DavidB says:


    Doesn’t opening a can of worms cause global warming?

  81. Dogwood says:


    Thanks for the feedback. Is it okay with you if I forward your comments to McKitrick and Michaels and ask them to respond? If you approve, I’ll either ask them to post here or I’ll post what they send to me via email, if anything.

    Let me know if this is okay with you.


  82. mikkel says:

    Dogwood: no.

    If you are going to get in an argument with a scientist you better damn well be able to back up what you’re saying. Although I think my criticism is perfectly valid if I was intent on confronting them I’d want to read about a few things since it’s not my field.

    Their picture clearly shows a “positive bias” in western Europe and SE Asia, including Japan. If the basic hypothesis is that rich countries are better at making corrections (the whole point of the re-computation of temperature) then why do those areas have such a large and relatively uniform adjustment?

    They point to the troposphere to validate their claims, but I know that there is very recent research about how that acts differently. I just don’t know what it is specifically.

    They also don’t have a picture of the trends themselves, only the change of their correction, so I would have to find that out.

    I also don’t get this: “This result mirrors that in McKitrick and Michaels 2004, as well as the findings in deLaat and Maurellis (2004, 2006) and Kalnay and Cai (2005), all of whom found the overall effect of surface processes to be a positive bias to observed temperature trends.”

    whereas earlier it said
    “For example, Feddema et al. (2005a,b) estimate that global land surface changes since before industrialization have yielded a net cooling effect on the climate system.”

    So I’d have to learn about that.

    Scientists are almost always open to criticism but it has to be very pointed and very informed. Almost any one can learn some basic principles and raise some questions, but they won’t be able to evaluate whether the response is adequate.

    If you are really interested, I would send it to the realclimate people and say what they say since they will have all the information readily available, but I don’t want to spend all that time learning things for myself. The paper just came out too. If it goes nine months without any one confronting it maybe I would consider it worth my time to learn it enough to gauge whether their response makes sense.

  83. mikkel says:

    You can paraphrase me and get your own answers from them though. I just don’t want to get into a dogfight if I don’t know every angle.

  84. Gegner says:

    We ‘know’ one millionth of one percent of nothing…perhaps I’m showing my age but I distinctly remember these same ‘experts’ predicting another ‘ice age’ back in the 70′s

  85. Gegner says:

    We ‘know’ one millionth of one percent of nothing…perhaps I’m showing my age but I distinctly remember these same ‘experts’ predicting another ‘ice age’ back in the 70′s

  86. reason says:

    I’m puzzled about this data point. Is this US only or world wide. Europe has (again) had an unusually mild winter (in fact spring has started already).

  87. Simon Cast says:

    Something that is not made very clear by scientists and others when discussing global warming/climate change (and in fact the names are somewhat misleading from this perspective) is that what is happening is a an increased amount of energy is being dumped into the system.

    Dumping energy into a system creates two system changes 1) the average point (or median) of the system changes and 2) the amplitude of oscillations about this average point increases.

    Put in weather terms, weather will go between greater extremes of heat and cold and an increase probability of extreme weather (hurricanes, floods, thunderstorms, blizzards etc).

  88. Eric says:

    I have to admit that the responses surprised me. First, I had no idea so many people rabidly disbelieve that 1) climate change is occurring and 2) we Humans are responsible for some of that. Truly eye opening to me.

    Barry, with this statement you struck a chord with me. I have been amazed at my own experiences when taking controversial positions, about 90 percent of the time: otherwise perfectly intelligent and educated people instantly disagree with me, they get upset, they impulsively throw around silly uninformed arguments — but the one thing they don’t do is to take a look at the evidence I point to. Note I don’t say they are taking the wrong position! Only that rational responses include looking at the evidence, or conceding inability to evaluate the evidence, or simply asserting disinterest. But knee-jerk disagreement is not a rational response.

    As you say, it has been truly eye-opening.

    (By the way, here is an example of the kind of information I am talking about: see the article “Is US Health Really the Best in the World?” in JAMA, 2000;284:483-485. Here it is essentially asserted that as of the year 2000 the American health care system is the third leading cause of death in America, after heart-disease and cancer, with 225,000 deaths. A significant portion of these, about 106,000, are ascribed to adverse reactions to pharmaceutical drugs, the rest going to hospital-acquired infections and medical errors.)

  89. Dogwood says:


    No problem.


  90. odograph says:

    I see two main groups of comments from the skeptics above.

    The first is that climate has always changed, change is not dangerous. As evidence they talk about 10,000 year or even 1,000,000 year timeframes.

    Well, if that’s all we were talking about I wouldn’t worry either. The climate can do what it wants over the next 10,000 years.

    Unfortunately we are talking about a sudden shock to the system (and the food systems upon which we depend) over a few decades. You can find such sudden shocks in the historical record, and they do cause stress to human civilizations (particularly long-term droughts).

    The other argument seems to be a gut-feel thing. Since CO2 doesn’t feel like a pollutant, it isn’t.

    Well sure, CO2 doesn’t feel that way. That’s why it was not immediately obvious. That’s why it took some serious math (and decades of study by thousands of scientists).

    The question you’ve got to ask yourself is whether you are going to stick with your gut, or trust the numbers?

    I choose the numbers because the alternative is to live like Aristotle’s beast in the field. It would be to take whatever we get.

    Humanity is supposed to do better than that.

  91. Dogwood says:


    I thought you might find this of interest, too.

    It is not a published research paper, but it is another example of how you can detect surface level biases that still exist in the surface temperature record. Biases that everyone assumes have been removed, but in fact are still there.

  92. Dogwood says:


    The entire warming trend is .7 degrees celsius over 100 years, roughly half, give or take, prior to 1940. Sorry, but that is not much of a shock to the planet.

  93. odograph says:

    Dogwood, do you have numbers on how this will affect (say) seafood harvest, or (say) Kansas dry farms?

    Or are you going with your gut?

    The numbers I’ve seen are not good.

  94. SPECTRE of Deflation says:

    The right wing is intellectually, morally, and ideologically bankrupt. Their track record is abysmal. Their opinions should be discounted, accordingly.

    MA, you sniping again? Did you put your Lilly White Robe on before you began your sermon? LOL! Thank God for the left? ROFLMAO!

  95. rj says:


    My grand take on it is that it’s a bunch of scientists that are making a lot of money, and they don’t want to hurt their meal ticket. What would Al Gore have done the last few years if not for global warming (and last I checked he still uses a private plane, so of course he believes in it).

    As an engineer though, I will state some things concerning global warming that are my view:

    1. The Earth has been here a very long time.
    2. The Earth, over that time, has warmed and cooled many times naturally. If you looked at a temperature scale over a long period of time it would look like a sine wave.
    3. Records of temperature have only been held for a couple hundred years, giving us only a very small part of that sine wave.
    4. The Earth only started coming out of a mini-Ice Age in the early 1800s according to geologists.
    5. Due to point 2, no one has considered the point that maybe these icebergs are supposed to melt naturally, even if humans were not here.
    6. We should still do all we can to reduce emissions. Cleaner air is good for everyone. I remember driving to L.A. for the first time from San Diego a few years ago. I was in Irvine and the landscape looked horrible.

    End hypothesis: The Earth may be warming, but that just could be because it is supposed to warm. We only came out of a mini-Ice Age a couple hundred years ago, and what follows Ice Ages?

  96. odograph says:

    There are lots of engineers here. I got a chem degree, went into medical programming, environmental programming, and finally business applications. In that time I’ve worked with a lot of engineers.

    Tell me guys, would you trust your retirement planning and investment to any random co-worker you’ve had over the years? Would you trust any random member of your team to cast your presidential vote? To make your medical diagnosis?

    Yes, we engineers have skills, especially when focused on the the tasks we have experience with. But, in my experience that does not make us Renaissance Men, balanced and wise in all manner of art and science.

    (Put more simply, you wouldn’t hire a civil engineer to do your database schema … so why do you assume that YOU have an intuitive sense of climate change and its impact on environmental services?)

  97. rj says:

    A postscript to my post: if we assume for a second that global warming is real, then the culprits that need to be reigned in is not the United States, it’s India and China. My sister’s firms is not allowed to do certain civil engineering work in China due to their ethics (China allows sewers to drain into rivers).

    So why aren’t all these people busting their chops at the Indian and Chinese government? I know why, I just want other people to admit it.

  98. rj says:

    “Put more simply, you wouldn’t hire a civil engineer to do your database schema … so why do you assume that YOU have an intuitive sense of climate change and its impact on environmental services?”

    It’s called logic, and applying it to the circumstances that surround you and that you observe.

  99. odograph says:

    Geez rj, read some news.

    Lots of people are engaging with China. The problem, to put it bluntly, is not to come off as dicks. We don’t want to say “yeah, we’re rich but you never can be.”

    So you have to figure a path that allows development while managing emissions.