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:

0302_sci_COLD_web

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 . . .

>

Source:
Skeptics on Human Climate Impact Seize on Cold Spell
ANDREW C. REVKIN
NYT, March 2, 2008

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/02/science/02cold.html

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. odograph says:

    what is logic without domain-knowledge rj?

  2. Northern Observer says:

    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?
    Posted by: rj | Mar 3, 2008 8:30:22 AM

    True enough. But isn’t it a bit alarming that in all the core samples we’ve analysed in Greenland and the Arctic, the highest level of CO2 recorded in the past was 398 parts per million and we are currently at 377.3 parts per million? So we are approaching a CO2 concentration that corresponds with the warmest recorded temperatures in geological history. Oh, and out current CO2 vector is up up and up well on our way to surpase 390parts per million.

    Plus it makes tremendous intuitive sense. What are we doing when we burn fossil fuels? It’s like bringing all the forests of the past above ground and burning them every day. It kinda makes sense that this is not a climatologically stable practice.

    And finally, it is not as if switching to non carbon energy doesn’t have tremendous payback potential. It just seems prudent to me.

  3. rj says:

    “Plus it makes tremendous intuitive sense. What are we doing when we burn fossil fuels? It’s like bringing all the forests of the past above ground and burning them every day. It kinda makes sense that this is not a climatologically stable practice.”

    Yes, it’s true. I’m not sure if you listen to the Financial Sense weekly podcast. If not, I’d recommend it. They talk about energy weekly and the coming energy shortage due mainly to emerging countries’ development and their resultant energy needs. They’ve always said that anyone that worries about global warming will be a fan of peak oil once it finally comes.

    What happens when fossil fuels are used up or become more scarce? Simple, the price goes up and the standard of living declines for us normal folk unless you’re rich enough to not care about the cost of gasoline. What in our society is not dependent on fossil fuels? Take food for example, unless you live in “flyover country” as New Yorkers derisively call it, all your food gets shipped in. So if the price of gasoline goes up 20%, all food you buy will go up 20%. The standard of living continues to go lower and lower, and that is what will eventually happen in this country, sadly.

    Less people will have cars because they cannot afford the gasoline needed for trips. And then carbon emissions from cars will decline because less people use cars because they can’t afford it. It’s a good side-effect of a bad situation. A blog such as this, which ridicules Fed inflation cause of its effects on the dollar and it’s buying power, should understand that.

  4. Marcus Aurelius says:

    Posted by: SPECTRE of Deflation | Mar 3, 2008 8:13:30 AM

    ____

    How’s the Kool-aid, SPEC?

  5. DonKei says:

    Barry,

    I’m awaiting your lawyer’s take on the arguments here.

    Not that lawyers know anything about climate science particularly, but that lawyers should know something about rhetoric, and about making logically defensible arguments. (Disclosure–I am a lawyer.)

    In my estimation, were CO2 given the same benefit of the doubt as we give criminal defendants, (and if you could find a jury that hadn’t already made up its mind), it should never be convicted of causing the earth’s temperature to warm. It lacks the “but-for” causation, because, as I noted previously, if you claim A (CO2) causes B (climate warming), but then more of A, does not result in more of B, your argument fails. Logic dictates that A can’t be the sole, or perhaps, any, cause of B if more of A does not yield more of B.

    Of course, that’s not saying CO2 couldn’t in reality be convicted. Legions of defendants that happened to have the wrong skin color have been convicted of crimes they never committed just because of fear. Fortunately for some of them, DNA offers the opportunity for exoneration. CO2, having, in many respects come to represent the latent fear that mankind has always had about its future, might well be convicted on that basis (fear) alone. If convicted, it’s hard to see a similar scientific savior like DNA coming to CO2′s rescue, short of a new ice age.

    Alas, I learned only one abiding truth about human nature in three years of legal training–that, as Oliver Wendell Holmes observed, “the life of the law is not logic.” Neither, it seems, is it the life of climate science.

  6. rj says:

    So in closing, do you want to save the atmosphere? If so, buy a diesel engine, preferably from my employer Cummins. We are twice as efficient as gasoline engines and we now put out equal or less emissions. I know so, because this is my job.

    Not to mention diesel fuel needs less refinement than gasoline, and far far less refinement than ethanol, which actually uses up more fossil fuels to actually manufacture it and is also very inefficient at producing power in an engine, therefore meaning you have to produce even more ethanol to get you the same distance. It is really nothing more than a corn subsidy program for Midwestern farmers.

  7. odograph says:

    rj, the well-to-wheels figures I have don’t show “double” for diesels, at least not cars:

    15.5% diesel internal combustion engine cars
    12.4% gasoline internal combustion engine cars

    (gasoline hybrids rise to 15.3% efficiency, putting them in spitting distance to a plain diesel. hybrid diesels would be king … but none are on our market.)

    DonKei, IANAL, but the question I’d ask is simple: would limiting the CO2 limit the harm?

    Is there law for that kind of question?

  8. rj says:

    Ok, not twice. That was a grab from a textbook that I remember (gasoline engines are traditionally 12% efficient, diesels are 25%).

    Here’s what wikipedia says, and you can go there for the sources:

    “The density of petroleum diesel is about 850 grams per litre whereas petrol (gasoline) has a density of about 720 g/L, about 15% less. When burnt, diesel typically releases about 40.9 megajoules (MJ) per litre, whereas gasoline releases 34.8 MJ/L, about 15% less. Diesel is generally simpler to refine from petroleum than gasoline.”

    Less refinement should also be taken into account for efficiency, as less refinement means less machines running to refine it, which must also use petroleum products to run.

  9. DonKei says:

    Odograph–

    I don’t necessarily think so.

    Even though I fall in the denialist camp (I prefer “skeptic”, but you say tomato, I say tomatoe), I believe that CO2 is a fine proxy for the notion that we are extremely wasteful in our use of energy, and if conserving energy means also limiting its output, so much the better.

    I believe that energy consumption in the US is vastly subsidized in that its true externalities are not captured by its price. By my reckoning, considering the cost to the US of ethanol subsidies, wars in the mideast, a vast naval presence the globe over to keep the oil shipping lanes open, etc., gasoline alone should cost about $10/gallon.

    Instead, we borrow money to fund wars, we borrow money to subsidize inefficient agricultural energy production, etc., ad nauseam.

    The fall of the dollar (i.e., inflation at home and abroad) has been the direct result of this subsidy by government borrowing/dollar printing.

    As the dollar continues to fall, we might in fact get $10/gallon gasoline in the not-distant future, which would do more than any carbon-limiting regulation I could imagine to limit CO2 output–by dint of the energy conservation measures it would make imperative. Will that be good to help forestall global warming? Well, I think you know I’m skeptical on that score. But would it help the US survive and prosper in the long run? You bet. That it would also do what the global warming crowd wants is okay by me.

    I’d just never convict CO2 for warming.

  10. odograph says:

    In an adversarial system I’d expect some expert witnesses to be brought on both sides, but siding with the IPCC on climate is a little like siding with the AMA on health. It is the safe bet.

    Or put another way Don, if you were to bring experts on climate, do you think you’d have an easier time on one side of the issue than the other? Would you worry equally, on both sides, that your witness might seem a crank?

    rj, well-to-wheels is the key.

  11. Bud says:

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

    That’s entirely true — and the length of a human life in geological time is so utterly “short term” as to be laughable. Even generations don’t amount to much on that scale.

    The “Little Ice Age” began in the Middle Ages, lasted for several hundred years, and ended only after the birth of the United States.

    Whether or not the earth is now “warming” in an alarming way is a matter of some interest, and taking a close look at the technical means of gathering these “rising temperature” data doesn’t bear close scrutiny in a large number of cases. (Weather stations once remotely located are in some cases now surrounded by concrete buildings or located directly in the blast of air-conditioning exhaust.)

    Add to this the fact that even the two guys in charge of the climate temperature data themselves “deny” they see any necessary inference the observed rise is related to human activity.

    This opinion would, of course, place these gentlemen outside the circle of herd opinion by “qualified scientists” we are repeatedly told “all agree” (an anomaly in real “science”) as evidenced by their “peer reviewing” each other’s work to a fair-thee-well and disdaining any other equally informed opinion which may even so much as question their collective and mutually-reinforced “opinions” based on objectively inconclusive facts. Faith usually trumps facts.

    The important thing to grasp about global warming — whether or not eventually confirmed by conclusive facts — is that it’s fundamentally a polito-economic movement, and certainly not “science”. It fuels a new government gravy train which may be increasingly relied upon to lard funding on shameless academics willing to cooperate in partaking of the spoils. At the top of this heap is the thoroughly corrupt United Nations, with its hand out on any pretext to tax the world for its benevolent works (never mind the permanently built-in fraud and corruption).

    I say these opinions are not “science”, properly speaking, because the very “weather experts” in charge of the various flawed “models” cannot predict even short-term trends like next years hurricane season — but we are to believe they know what will happen in a decade or century. It’s really too funny for sober consideration.

    They also frankly admit they cannot account for some observed climate mechanics — but they are no less confident in their predictions than any other anointed priesthood.

    No different than any other markets, the “global warming” trend is on in the market of ideas. And like those other false “scientists” called economists, these guys (also merely trend followers) will never foresee any change in the present trend before it actually happens. Their predictive ability is no better than that of economists, who can be collectively relied upon to be less accurate in their predictions than are ordinary people (per Taleb, et. al., whose observations also gall “experts” who cannot tolerate any other view but their own)

    These experts will likewise continue to insist “this time is different” and pout truculently and theaten excommunication of anyone who so much as as remotely questions their monolithic collective wisdom (oxymoron).

    Basically, these folks are no more than weather bulls who will hoot and yelp their “forecasts” on even the flimsiest evidence, ever insisting the trend direction is inevitably “up” — forever!!! — regardless of any newly arrived and contrary evidence.

    None of us will live long enough to discover whether they are in error (and laugh at them if they are) — but in the meantime, beating the drum of war against “global warming” will handsomely reward those on the “right” side of the prevailing and ever-rising hysteria.

    A more cautious and contrarian evaluation may suggest that hastily throwing massive money overboard to abate this presumed “emergency” makes about as much sense as the current corn-to-ethanol “solution” imposed by equally sterile political minds to “solve” our energy problem (at a net loss of BOTH energy AND food supplies to a world increasingly starved of both).

    It is worth mentioning that the previous generation of “weather scientists”, upon receiving evidence of a cooling trend, attempted to stir up the same hysteria about “global cooling” and expressed the notion we would all end up huddling at the equator in the fact of advancing walls of ice clam-shelling us from north and south. Oh, woe! Fortunately, the general public at that time wasn’t so gullible, having lived a bit closer to the real world, and ignored them.

    That “crisis” soon passed away when it didn’t bear any immediate financial fruit for its proponents, nor Nobel Prizes. This generation of ordinary citizens may prove more gullible.

  12. Joe Walker says:

    Barry,

    If you say the market is going down and somebody calls you a Holocaust denier- what would you think? When the global warming crowd starts calling people that don’t agree with them- Nazis, they are no longer argueing, they have crossed over into fanatasism, maybe even religious fanatasism.

    ~~~

    BR: Agreed.

    Right –

    The funny thing to me is that I made zero policy suggestions, and was branded by the wingnuts as a hysteric.

    When the use of the word “denialist” about those who do not believe global warming is real immediately brings up comparisons to the holocaust, it makes everything they say suspect.

  13. wally says:

    Obviously climate is religion to some people.

  14. odograph says:

    So what are you saying Joe, that you don’t have the science but still want the respect?

    Lots of crank-science here, and essentially demands for respect.

  15. “Bud” is a marvel of psychological projection, scientific illiteracy and painstaking avoidance of any factual content.

    1. Scientist William Connelley provides here a lengthy refutation of the myth that scientists in scientific journals in the 1970s were predicting imminent “global cooling.”

    2. The “urban heat island effect” is fully accounted for and compensated in the temperature records. See: Parker, D.E., Large-Scale Warming is not Urban, Nature 432, 290, doi:10.1038/432290a, 2004. Further overview discussion and literature cites can be found here.

    3. The “opinions” that “Bud” said are not “science” are actually science, given that they are drawn from actual scientific research and published in peer-reviewed and refereed professional scientific journals, such as Nature and Science. According to “Bud’s” standard, all scientific knowledge is just ‘fashionable opinion’ including the underlying physics of the computer his is typing on.

    4. There is a common logical fallacy that somehow, the fact that Earth’s climate has changed in the past (w/o humans) somehow proves that humans cause climate to change. This is like saying because people die of natural causes it’s impossible for this gun I’m holding to kill you if I pull the trigger.

    5. “Bud’s” analysis has all the intellectual rigor of a guy at a bar telling me why it’s obvious the sun goes ’round the Earth.

  16. odograph says:

    Did I get Joe backwards? If so I’m sorry. To be clear I think NASA and the National Academies (and many more) have the science. The random comment cranks who say “no, believe me!” do not.

  17. typo:

    There is a common logical fallacy that somehow, the fact that Earth’s climate has changed in the past (w/o humans) somehow proves that humans cannot cause climate to change.

    Urban heat island and meterological instrument overview here:

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/07/no-man-is-an-urban-heat-island/#more-454.

  18. 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.

    If this syllogism is true, then we probably should discount the veracity of all physical science, including gravity, because it’s just being promoted by a bunch of “physicists” who are making a lot of money with their silly “E=mc2″ and “F=ma” and don’t want to hurt their meal ticket.

    So, basically, if anyone earns an income doing anything, we should immediately doubt and reject their proficiency on the sole basis that they being financially compensated.

  19. Marcus Aurelius says:

    Anecdotal:

    A friend of mine and I were having a discussion on global warming. He picked a globe up off of his office shelf and pointed to LA, and said, “you mean to tell me that you believe that this little dot could pollute all of this,” as he moved his hand around the globe to demonstrate the expanse of the atmosphere. The globe was about 14″ in diameter, he was holding his hand about 2″ from its surface. I pushed his hand to about 3mm from the surface of the globe and answered, “yes.”

  20. DonKei says:

    Odograph,

    It would depend on the jurisdiction as to whether I’d want the IPPC as a witness. Remember that the IPCC is a United Nations organization. To convict CO2, I’d certainly rather the trial were in New York than in Texas.

    But, it would be a trial, like this blog on this topic, that would seem endless and repetitive–because the issue cuts to the essence of an individual’s world view, and there is plenty of rationally-deduced data on both sides to justify emotionally-held positions.

    There has already been a trial of sorts–Massachusetts v. Environmental Protection Agency (2006), in which the Supreme Court essentially decided that the EPA needs to regulate CO2 and other greenhouse gases, or come up w/ some scientific reason why it shouldn’t. The Supreme Court majority (Stevens, Kennedy, Souter, Ginsburg and Breyer) essentially bought all of the global warming arguments you’ve seen here. The dissenters– Roberts, Scalia, Thomas and Alito–didn’t.

    It’s quite a fascinating read, but if you read it, remember that everything except the ruling that the EPA must either regulate CO2 or determine scientifically why it needn’t, is dicta, which is another way of saying it’s blowhards in robes that like see their opinions put to paper.

  21. Bud says:

    For a recent reminder of the behavior of crowds in the face of opinions contrary to the popular belief, consider the “housing bubble” and the (admittedly small) number of us who said it was a false trend that would end in tears. I use the term “false trend” deliberately — Soros may be wrong about many things, but on balance he’s been richly rewarded by his own advice to “find the false trend and bet against it.”

    As to the poster who pilloried any who would dare “deny” the theory of evolution, I’d point out that arguing against a theory (strictly speaking) is what commonly happens among real scientists engaged in real science, and that a theory cannot be “denied” by anyone simply because anything less than what is demonstrated as conclusive scientific law is, by definition, subject to debate about the meaning of the facts that underpin it.

    Absence of debate is not characteristic of “science” but rather the opposite.

    Pause to recall that not too many decades ago, the “theory of continental drift” was ridiculed by most establishment scientists and thought by most of them to be entirely daft. New evidence forced them to accept that theory as the best explanation of earths evolution — and it’s probably safe to assume the former “deniers” now defend this theory as unassailable.

    A team of scientists recently reported they had experimentally proven the speed of light is not a physical limit in the universe. Is the theory of relativity wrong? Right? Only time will tell if these experiments can be reliably duplicated by others, but in the meantime it’s probably wise to be uncertain of even the most compelling “stories”, whether in the marketplace of science or finance.

    Even the most compelling story, while enjoying lack of any apparent facts to contradict it, can suddenly be confronted by evidence which eventually renders it entirely unsalable — even to fools.

    As to this previous expression of faith:

    “The ‘opinions’ that ‘Bud’ said are not ‘science’ are actually science, given that they are drawn from actual scientific research and published in peer-reviewed and refereed professional scientific journals, such as Nature and Science. According to ‘Bud’s’ standard, all scientific knowledge is just ‘fashionable opinion’ including the underlying physics of the computer his is typing on.”

    Scientific inquiry (experimentation, search for facts, etc.) is entirely separable from “scientific opinion”, and conflating the two is the banal habit of an undisciplined mind.

    One obviously cannot argue against established facts (though established facts may very disagreeably argue with each other), but prevailing opinions about those facts typically constitutes ‘scientific knowledge’ which enjoys a notoriously short half-life.

  22. Kevin says:

    Over the weekend I was drving through Red Bank NJ and I was behind a guy in an Expedition towing a huge power boat probably from his house to the boatyard. In 5 minutes this guy wiped out all the energy savings and sacrifices I made in the last year.

    What do you propose we do to halt global warming?

  23. odograph says:

    Bud, some consensus answers of science have been overturned and some are still held valid. You are suggesting that the overturned ones favor your position.

    Isn’t that like looking around a bar and saying “some of the people here are tall, and so the next person that walks in the door will be tall”?

    (Some of the currently contested theories will be overturned, but we cannot on that basis judge them all false.)

  24. Bud says:

    “(Some of the currently contested theories will be overturned, but we cannot on that basis judge them all false.)”

    Nor can we know which ones. Adopting any of them as immutable “truth” is therefore foolish.

    You pose a false dilemma.

  25. odograph says:

    I didn’t say “immutable” Bob.

    Science does not, in fact, have “immutable” truths.

    But if we tried to take no action, ever, based on our current scientific judgment, I think we’d suffer.

  26. Chester White says:

    Everyone needs to read the 1975 NEWSWEEK piece on global cooling.:

    http://www.denisdutton.com/cooling_world.htm

    Note how strong the case is:

    “Meteorologists … are almost unanimous in the view that the trend will reduce agricultural productivity for the rest of the century.”

    I now write the following: “Meteorologists were almost unanimously stupid-ass ninnies in 1975, but in 2008 we now know for sure that they are all inerrant geniuses.”

    I am a chemist and I watched up close as two of the greatest chemical scams of the last half-century unfold: “polywater” and “cold fusion.”

    It would well serve some of you who are ABSOLUTELY POSITIVELY persuaded of human-generated “climate change” to go back and read some of the rot produced on those two subjects.

    As for whether scientists are totally noble and and dispassionate and unbiased and non-profit-minded, as a scientist and husband of a scientist, who has met more of these characters that I can count, I can only laugh my ass off.

  27. odograph says:

    Shorter Chester: Since someone cried wolf in the 70′s (probably Newsweek rather than the broad scientific community(*)), there are no wolves.

    * – The National Academies of Science quote in Chester’s article supports this:

    “Just what causes the onset of major and minor ice ages remains a mystery. “Our knowledge of the mechanisms of climatic change is at least as fragmentary as our data,” concedes the National Academy of Sciences report. “Not only are the basic scientific questions largely unanswered, but in many cases we do not yet know enough to pose the key questions.””

    Extra credit if you spot the spin in the word “concedes.”

    It is also interesting to note what the National Academy thinks they’ve learned in those 30 years.

  28. Greg0658 says:

    call me “Dulling Care”
    no sperm of mine mated with an egg

    so at 50yo not really my problem
    had a great seat in the theatre tho

  29. Patrick says:

    1. Barry, you are correct–of course one point does not disprove a trend.

    2. As far as global warming goes–of course it is happening. It has been happening for, what, 400 years after-all.

    3. The causes of global warming are many and varied but the overall picture of how it occurs and how these causes interact is largely unknown. It is not called a THEORY for nothing. The fact is that what is being interpreted as fact by some is really probabilities of probabilities in a model with thousands and thousands of variables–some of which are known, some of which aren’t, some of which are measured within a large probability of error relative to the other variables, and some of which are ASSUMED. Why don’t you go fly on an airplane that was built with such a model and see how long you last, huh?

    4. There is only one factual position that one can hold with true certainty–WE DON’T KNOW. Yes, you can argue one side or the other and suggest probabilities and argue probabilities. BUT AT THE END OF THE DAY WE DON’T KNOW YET. Give it a rest.

    5. For those on either side of the argument to insult someone’s intelligence or “scientific literacy” (whatever that means) is insulting and, frankly, stupid. Thanks, but some of us have degrees in the sciences and mathematics and are amazed that either side of the argument gets argued so rabidly. We who are undecided because the models and data are so poor find it amazing that some of you act like you know everything and think that the ENTIRE WORLD is convinced of your side. Do you know what being convinced of a theory is? It’s measuring an electron’s weight to within 14 decimal places of the theorized value. What’s not being convinced is your weather man not being able to tell you a rough approximation of the weather more than 60 minutes in advance.

    The fact that some of you can say “lol anyone who watches the discovery channel knows the truth!” and “scientific literacy” in the same sentence is laughable.

    6. There are clear political and economic reasons for pushing either argument. It’s the best ploy–a global issue that will impact what everyone in the world eats, drinks, consumes, does, grows, etc., all pandered about under the guise of the greatest moral flag: SAVE THE ENTIRE WORLD. Want to have more than 2 kids? Nope, gotta save the world. Want to produce more than xxx KW from coal to power your country? Nope, gotta save the world. Wanna raise your living standards to the developed world level? Nope, sorry, gotta save the world. Want to institute legislation to cut down all your trees and dig up all your rocks and export them to pay for universal education and health care? Nope, sorry, gotta save the world.

    Personally, I find the whole man-causes-global-warming-and-it-is-going-to-screw-us-all argument to be both unknown and unlikely. Face it: both the data and the models SUCK. I also find it, compared to other issues, to be irrelevant. Thanks, but I’m just a LITTLE more concerned that I’m going to wake up tomorrow with a mushroom cloud over my neighbor’s porch, witness WW III, or get cancer from whatever.

    And last but not least: I would like to point out that Life On Earth will be just fine. We could nuke the entire planet over 30 times and in 2 billion years the bacteria in the deep sea vents will have evolved and covered the entire earth with another trillion species of who-knows-what. You’re not that important to Life on Earth and you never will be–so don’t kid yourself that somehow we’re ruining the earth or are some sort of aberation or whatever. We could be, but that’s a human and ethical viewpoint, not a scientific one. Life goes on.

  30. Chester: By your syllogism, because “cold fusion” was false we should be equally skeptical about this whole “gravity” thing. And because your doctor gets paid, I assume you don’t believe him or her when they give you a physical …

    Shorter Bud: because someone might prove in the future that addition is non-commutative, we should not trust a single result from any calculating device that depends on the commutativeness of addition.

  31. SPECTRE of Deflation says:

    MA, 60 Trillion Dollars in unfunded liabilities, and the best part is you think it’s a vast right wing conspiracy. How’s the Kool-Aid indeed. LOL!

  32. Marcus Aurelius says:

    Not a conspiracy, a character flaw. A vast, right wing character flaw.

  33. Patrick — it is not a “theory” that CO2, methane, water vapor and certain other gasses have a “greenhouse” effect of capturing and retaining solar radiation in the atmosphere. It is just as proven as water being composed of two atoms of hydrogen and one of oxygen. And it is not a “theory” that human activities are putting X tons of CO2 into the atmosphere every minute and what that atmospheric concentration is today as opposed to other times. And it is not a “theory” that the temperature graph Barry showed shows the trend that it shows.

  34. ljl says:

    Has anybody ever considered that a warmer climate will benefit countries like Canada, Russia and Northern United States? Why is this never taken into account?

  35. Bud says:

    “But if we tried to take no action, ever, based on our current scientific judgment, I think we’d suffer.”

    That is only true if the proposed action is suitable, effective, and achievable.

    Getting all three of these right based on well informed but nevertheless speculative theorizing by those who stand to benefit (while studiously ignoring others equally qualified and well informed — but entirely unconvinced) is something few people would endorse unless funded by other people’s money.

    That is not an argument to do nothing, nor to ignore possible dangers of continuing our present course unabated. Yep, go to work on alternate fuels, energy saving technologies, and less fuel-intensive methods of powering our lives. High prices are always the solution to high prices. (If it were not so, we’d still be burning wood in stone circles and huddling under animal skins — exactly what some of our more progressive “thinkers” would reckon we should return to in order to “save” the earth from humankind.)

    Accepting the need to adapt with all due diligence most certainly does NOT recommend being stampeded to join the ruminating herd in blind panic.

    And I entirely agree with the “laugh my ass off” comment above. Anyone who believes the modern university system promotes only big-brained, always wise, always honorable, truth-seeking, truth-telling “scientists” whose motives cannot be questioned is frankly ludicrous.

    There are many fine people who make their way through this process, but it tends to deliberately weed out heretics no less thoroughly than the ancient church. Modern academics declared heretics after having been annoited (particularly when big funding is at stake) tend to be just as readily burnt at the stake without mercy, and robed scientists who look strikingly like clerics when attending commencement will pay any price to preserve whatever delusion has been canonized in accordance with their cultural zeitgeist, no matter how obviously such canons may be based on a plainly false premise (AIDS “research” comes to mind as a sterling example).

    If one needs no other example of the really big-brained and highly accomplished liars which even the most distinguished Ivy League ivory towers graduate with distinction, please consider FED board members (individually or collectively) and ask yourself whether you really believe what ANY of these people say publicly. Of course you don’t. You’d have to be an idiot. Or they would have to be — take your pick.

    But I digress from the glow of the global warming “debate”, such as it is …

    Intellectually shameless people now wish to insinuate an attachment of their “cause” to the tragedy of the holocaust, aiming to wrap themselves in a self-righteous defense against any critique of their truly preposterous claim that “all responsible scientists agree” about BOTH the trend AND the inevitable human cause of global climate change.

    If that is true, then why did one highly regarded climate scientist have to literally SUE to get his name removed from the list of said respectable scientists who all allegedly “agree”?

    The present kabuki drama is not about reasoned science. It’s simply about fear-driven politics, the invariable hallmark of shallow claims erected on obviously shaky foundations by all the usual suspects.

    Does that mean a majority of scientists who believe in human-caused “global warming” are surely wrong in that claim? Nope, it doesn’t mean that at all. It just means it ain’t necessarily so — an important distinction when deciding how best to allocate scarce resources to best assure long term prosperity and safety for mankind here on planet earth.

  36. Eric says:

    We could nuke the entire planet over 30 times and in 2 billion years the bacteria in the deep sea vents will have evolved and covered the entire earth with another trillion species of who-knows-what.

    Just for fun, let’s take your 2 billions years numbers at face value. The sun is supposed to enter its red-giant phase in about 5 billion years, at which point the seas and atmosphere of the earth will be boiled away into space. Now, how unlikely was our civilization to appear, i.e., how many billions of years do you have to wait for something as interesting as us to appear again? And so: how many chances at producing an interesting civilization does this planet have within the next 5 billion years? One more chance? None?

    So I don’t find your “Life on earth will go on” perspective terribly uplifting. Let’s not give up on the one civilization we’re sure actually has appeared, just because it’s too painful to look around and see how we’re screwing it up at the moment.

  37. Eric says:

    Has anybody ever considered that a warmer climate will benefit countries like Canada, Russia and Northern United States? Why is this never taken into account?

    One prominent atmospheric scientist (I wish I could remember who or where) said: “One of the reasons global climate change is so difficult to do anything about is that there are both winners and losers. Not everybody loses.”

  38. Roger Bigod says:

    The Beeg Peekture is that science, securities markets and open public discussions such as this one are all products of the Enlightenment. And they all depend on the government and the legal system for support and regulation. Wanting to throw them out because we don’t like the outcome is self-destructive.

    The examples of polywater and cold fusion were actually examples of the self-policing nature of science. The norms of science are that when someone publishes, they have to make methods, reagents, computer programs and input data available to the community. In the case of those “discoveries”, no one could replicate the results, and they never became generally accepted. We don’t reject all science because of them any more than we close down the markets because Enron and WorldComm were um misvaluated for a while.

    Yeah, some of the global warming alarmists are irritatingly self-righteous. But sometimes such people are correct, which is even more irritating. OTOH, I don’t see them mounting systematic attacks on science to boost corporate profits (this ussue) or as election stunts to attract religious voters (Schiavo case, stem cell hokus-pokus).

    It’s amusing that Barry precipitated this by doing TA on a temperature chart and pointing out that a trend looks to be intact. In the spirit of Modern Portfolio Theory, I hope he can tell us the Sharpe ratio. Just from eyeballing it, I’d guess over 0.5, maybe over 1.0.

  39. Ruth says:

    Wonder if they’ll make Gore give back his prize?

    Recent article:
    Forget global warming: Welcome to the new Ice Age
    Lorne Gunter, National Post
    Published: Monday, February 25, 2008

    Snow cover over North America and much of Siberia, Mongolia and China is greater than at any time since 1966.

    The U.S. National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) reported that many American cities and towns suffered record cold temperatures in January and early February. According to the NCDC, the average temperature in January “was -0.3 F cooler than the 1901-2000 (20th century) average.”

    China is surviving its most brutal winter in a century. Temperatures in the normally balmy south were so low for so long that some middle-sized cities went days and even weeks without electricity because once power lines had toppled it was too cold or too icy to repair them.

    There have been so many snow and ice storms in Ontario and Quebec in the past two months that the real estate market has felt the pinch as home buyers have stayed home rather than venturing out looking for new houses.

    In just the first two weeks of February, Toronto received 70 cm of snow, smashing the record of 66.6 cm for the entire month set back in the pre-SUV, pre-Kyoto, pre-carbon footprint days of 1950.

    And remember the Arctic Sea ice? The ice we were told so hysterically last fall had melted to its “lowest levels on record? Never mind that those records only date back as far as 1972 and that there is anthropological and geological evidence of much greater melts in the past.

    The ice is back.

    Gilles Langis, a senior forecaster with the Canadian Ice Service in Ottawa, says the Arctic winter has been so severe the ice has not only recovered, it is actually 10 to 20 cm thicker in many places than at this time last year.

    OK, so one winter does not a climate make. It would be premature to claim an Ice Age is looming just because we have had one of our most brutal winters in decades.

    But if environmentalists and environment reporters can run around shrieking about the manmade destruction of the natural order every time a robin shows up on Georgian Bay two weeks early, then it is at least fair game to use this winter’s weather stories to wonder whether the alarmist are being a tad premature.

    And it’s not just anecdotal evidence that is piling up against the climate-change dogma.

    According to Robert Toggweiler of the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory at Princeton University and Joellen Russell, assistant professor of biogeochemical dynamics at the University of Arizona — two prominent climate modellers — the computer models that show polar ice-melt cooling the oceans, stopping the circulation of warm equatorial water to northern latitudes and triggering another Ice Age (a la the movie The Day After Tomorrow) are all wrong.

    “We missed what was right in front of our eyes,” says Prof. Russell. It’s not ice melt but rather wind circulation that drives ocean currents northward from the tropics. Climate models until now have not properly accounted for the wind’s effects on ocean circulation, so researchers have compensated by over-emphasizing the role of manmade warming on polar ice melt.

    But when Profs. Toggweiler and Russell rejigged their model to include the 40-year cycle of winds away from the equator (then back towards it again), the role of ocean currents bringing warm southern waters to the north was obvious in the current Arctic warming.

    Last month, Oleg Sorokhtin, a fellow of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, shrugged off manmade climate change as “a drop in the bucket.” Showing that solar activity has entered an inactive phase, Prof. Sorokhtin advised people to “stock up on fur coats.”

    He is not alone. Kenneth Tapping of our own National Research Council, who oversees a giant radio telescope focused on the sun, is convinced we are in for a long period of severely cold weather if sunspot activity does not pick up soon.

    The last time the sun was this inactive, Earth suffered the Little Ice Age that lasted about five centuries and ended in 1850. Crops failed through killer frosts and drought. Famine, plague and war were widespread. Harbours froze, so did rivers, and trade ceased.

    It’s way too early to claim the same is about to happen again, but then it’s way too early for the hysteria of the global warmers, too.

  40. Bud says:

    “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.”

    He also had no large, throbbing population of petrol-burning humans to “explain” that previous warm spell, either.

    That the trend may be warming (we are in an inter-glacial period, after all) is evidence of warming. It tells us nothing about fundamental causes.

    If sea levels do rise 50 feet, that will certainly be very inconvenient to people who continue to operate under a prevailing delusion that the conditions on earth after they were born represent a permanent planetary playpen they (and all their future generations) should feel “entitled” to expect. Neither human or planetary history will dissuade them from that view.

    And they will, by Jove, get a new law passed to GUARANTEE that outcome! They’ll also find any number of amiable politicians painfully eager to assure them the government will, indeed, protect them (by what particular magic won’t be entirely clear), and the rubes will again sleep soundly at night, secure in their belief that “government regulation” over the next 50 years will as reliably protect them as it has done in the past 50.

    BTW — got gold? :)

  41. Whammer says:

    Quantum mechanics is clearly crap, because nothing in my everyday experience substantiates that it could be possible.

    Relativity is also clearly crap for the same reason. I mean, what if I’m driving a car at the speed of light and turn the headlights on? What happens then, Mr. Smartypants Science Dude???

    Bud, just for yucks I tried to find out who the scientist was who “sued” to get his name removed from the IPCC report. Couldn’t find one. Of course, that meme is repeated across all kinds of climate-related posts on the Intertubes, stating it like it is a fact. The closest I could come was a Paul Reiter, who says he had to threaten to sue in order to get his name removed, although the IPCC denies that. In fact, another source says that Reiter was nominated to work on one of the IPCC reports but did not. So, not completely clear.

    Paul Reiter says that the IPCC is overstating the idea that global warming will lead to an increase in malaria.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Reiter

    So, at best it is a rumor that a scientist specializing in tropical diseases was unhappy about what the IPCC was saying about his field, and threatened to sue so that he was not included in the report. Far cry from “one highly regarded climate scientist have to literally SUE to get his name removed” — especially since he is not a climate scientist.

    If you have any other documentation on that topic, feel free to share, obviously.

  42. Ruth — that National Post article, and a similar one in Investors’ Business Daily has been debunked by the scientists it misquoted:

    http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2008/02/dont_trust_anything_you_read_i_1.php

    The quoted scientist, Kenneth Tapper, said:

    The article is rubbish.

    I believe that global climate change is the biggest problem facing us today. As yet we have no idea of exactly how serious it can get or where the tipping point may be.

    The lateness of the start of the solar activity cycle is not yet enough to be something to worry about. However, even if we were to go into another minimum, and the Sun dims for a few decades, as it did during the Maunder Minimum, it could reduce the problem for a while, but things will come back worse when the cycle starts again.

    http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2008/02/dont_trust_anything_you_read_i.php

    Try again. Next time with something not so provably false.

    Cheers.

  43. Has anybody ever considered that a warmer climate will benefit countries like Canada, Russia and Northern United States? Why is this never taken into account?

    Because that type of “thinking” leads one to conclude that setting your house on fire is a good way to prevent frostbite.

    Or buying a huge life insurance policy and then killing yourself is a great way to pay for your kids’ college tuition.

  44. Patrick says:

    Patrick — it is not a “theory” that CO2, methane, water vapor and certain other gasses have a “greenhouse” effect of capturing and retaining solar radiation in the atmosphere. It is just as proven as water being composed of two atoms of hydrogen and one of oxygen. And it is not a “theory” that human activities are putting X tons of CO2 into the atmosphere every minute and what that atmospheric concentration is today as opposed to other times. And it is not a “theory” that the temperature graph Barry showed shows the trend that it shows.

    Of course but so what?

    The fact the items are correlated doesn’t prove causation and that is precisely what a theory would have to accomplish. Furthermore you would have to use the theory to accurately predict future climate as well as it’s effects on wildlife, humans, etc., as well as the rate of change. Oh and as far as policy goes then of course you’d have to show that this change was detrimental in some way.

    We’re not even close to showing all this, hence, “theory.”

  45. Bud says:

    “So, at best it is a rumor that a scientist specializing in tropical diseases was unhappy about what the IPCC was saying about his field, and threatened to sue so that he was not included in the report. Far cry from “one highly regarded climate scientist have to literally SUE to get his name removed” — especially since he is not a climate scientist.

    “If you have any other documentation on that topic, feel free to share, obviously.”

    My pleasure.

    I find it exceedingly odd you should refer to a statement made in public by Reiter as a “rumor” on the sole merit those threatened with suit (and you are correct about that) say it isn’t so.

    You would expect this august body of selfless scientists to admit his statement is true? That a “scientific” group had not even the professional courtesy to withdraw a name when civilly requested and had to be threatened with suit? I bloody doubt it.

    And if he was not a “climate scientist” — then why would his name have ever been associated with this steaming political document to begin with? Either it should never have been included to begin with, or else what he had to say was considered relevant. You cannot have it both ways.

    Moreover, your fine point attempts to detract from the overarching fact that all (previously) respected scientists most certainly do NOT agree with the man-caused-global-warming thesis, a fact which you do not appear willing to dispute.

    Do you dispute it?

    That requires only a yes or no answer, though I’m certain it will come back so richly qualified with conditionals that it will be no answer at all.

    In the interest of time, therefore, let me offer a readily available and related wiki link:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_scientists_opposing_the_mainstream_scientific_assessment_of_global_warming

    While I’m perfectly willing to debate matters of informed opinion, I’m not prepared to debate matters of established fact.

    What is a well established fact is that hundreds of scientists have opined they were not convinced by established scientific fact that global warming owes significantly to activities of mankind.

    Those who dismiss these foks as “deniers” simply hope to finesse a quick conclusion to any further debate by pretending no valid basis for such debate exists. They operate on the bully brown shirt strategy of defaming and traducing their opponents to diminish their voices.

    If they succeed, the self-organized planet-posse will then be free to move forward unimpeded with the fore-ordained political agenda they judge admirable (with or without any basis in fact) owing solely to their presumed superior judgment.

    As a general rule, these folks tend to think of themselves as “progressives”, a term which amply attests to their hubris.

    Unfortunately, others tend to see their rather raw agenda as no more than the usual hokum which inevitably arises when science is forced into servitude as the whore of politics.

  46. Whammer says:

    Oh I’m sure this is shaping up to be a waste of time on my part. Reiter is not a climate scientist, nobody claims he is a climate scientist, except you, Bud, in your original post.

    So, explain to me how your original post is factual?

    Even Reiter says that he “threatened to sue”. You said that he sued. Explain to me how your post was factual?

    And how am I “trying to have it both ways”, when you have said two incorrect things about this one small thing, and I called you on it?

    Now you are saying that you are happy to have a debate about facts?

    So, I took a look at the list of people you linked to who disagree with the IPCC. One of them is John Christy, who is a pretty experienced climate guy, as opposed to a lot of people on the list. Let’s see what John Christy has to say:

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2003/12/18/MNGNV3PH9D1.DTL&type=printable

    Title of this article: Earth Warming at Faster Pace, Say Top Science Group’s Leaders.

    Hmm, what does John Christy say in the article? Is he disagreeing with the article? No.

    “Lead scientist of the organization that circulated the statement is Robert Dickinson, professor of atmospheric sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Another significant signer was John Christy, director of the University of Alabama’s Earth Systems Science Center, a more cautious supporter of the idea that humans are causing climate change.

    In a phone interview, Christy said that while he supports the AGU declaration, and is convinced that human activities are the major cause of the global warming that has been measured, he is “still a strong critic of scientists who make catastrophic predictions of huge increases in global temperatures and tremendous rises in sea levels.”

    “It is scientifically inconceivable that after changing forests into cities, turning millions of acres into farmland, putting massive quantities of soot and dust into the atmosphere and sending quantities of greenhouse gases into the air, that the natural course of climate change hasn’t been increased in the past century.”

    So essentially this guy is saying that humans influence climate, but he disagrees that it is going to be a big catastrophe.

    That is a very different debate than saying it is all a charade.

    You might try actually reading some of this stuff, Bud. It can be interesting.

  47. Climate Skeptics Are Really Denialists and Alarmists are Misnamed

    This week, New York City is playing host to an international conference on climate change different from any other that has gone before. The people convening it, and those making presentations, are all self-proclaimed “climate skeptics.” And here is the purpose of the conference, in words taken verbatim from the invitation letter sent by the sponsor, the Heartland Institute:

    The purpose of the conference is to generate international media attention to the fact that many scientists believe forecasts of rapid warming and catastrophic events are not supported by sound science, and that expensive campaigns to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are not necessary or cost-effective.

    In other words, it’s a media event designed to promote a fixed point of view with a negative agenda of opposition.

    That, ladies and gentlemen (of the media especially) is not a “skeptical” agenda but a denialist enterprise.

    And here is what is most sinister: they are out to deny the validity of the most organized and effective form of skepticism we know — empirical science, in the present instance put in the service of studying the earth’s climate. They have turned reality upside-down. They have stolen the name “skeptic” from its rightful owners and given them another name instead — “alarmists.”

    Skepticism implies a rational process of evaluation based on empirical evidence, and a willingness to allow the mass of evidence to persuade. This is precisely what the scientists of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change –the largest, collaborative scientific enterprise in human history — have done.

    If you trace their findings from their first assessment report through the fourth — a period of scientific inquiry spanning almost two decades — you will see the gradual and careful evolution of their thought as evidence of global warming has accumulated. Only in the very last report released last year do they say with certainty that global warming is human induced and urgent action is needed.

    What took them so long? Their skepticism, which is practiced through the scientific method to which they are devoted.

    Hired Denialist Guns

    What about the Heartland Institute? On what is their skepticism based? The scientific method? Peer-reviewed science? Actually, no. They have circulated petitions and collected signatures and written op-eds and convened a conference and published pseudo-science and done many other things to deny the findings that have emerged out of the true scientific process. They use the methods of political operatives, not scientists.

    They do claim they have scientists on their side. But these are not scientists qualified to conduct climate research, or to pass judgment upon it. Perhaps they have one or two qualified scientists on their roster of paid attendees. But one or two paid scientists do not a conference make. IPCC has more than 2000 independent scientists working without professional allegiance to political ideology. (Media please take note of this ratio when you insert balance into your reporting.)

    Let’s remember a few other things about Heartland. Before taking up the cause of global warming denialism, they worked to help the tobacco industry deny that smoking causes cancer. Their primary agenda appears to be this: protect the right to put smoke — in your lungs or in our air.

    And they are guns for hire. They’ve received $800,000 from Exxon since 1998 to mount their denialist campaign. Please recall, it was in 1998 that we saw the disclosure of that famous oil industry memo — the one that kicked off a deliberate campaign to sow doubt on climate science in order to protect industry profits.

    The Wall Street Journal’s Denialism

    So step one is to make sure that we do not let Heartland and its comrades-in-arms at the John Locke Foundation and many other places use the noble title “skeptic.” They are not skeptics in the least. They demean the tradition.

    By calling themselves “skeptics” they engage in a form of propaganda that would make Stalin proud. Because this conference and their intensifying denialist campaign is murdering truth to serve ideological ends.

    What is also worth noting is that they have the support of one of the great organs of denialist propaganda — the Wall Street Journal’s editorial page. The editors there — led by Paul Gigot — have long supported the denialist enterprise, and last week wrote in support of the Heartland conference. It has required the Journal to be in denial of the action afoot to put a price on carbon and to capitalize upon the opportunity, the hottest business story there is.

    Yet these editors refuse responsible engagement with this reality and prefer to turn it on its head. They support denialism and so force themselves into adopting an anti-business position. Isn’t that odd — the Wall Street Journal, America’s financial newspaper of record — anti-business? It would be like Johnson & Johnson, known for Band-Aids and baby powder, campaigning to promote assisted suicide.

    Alarmists

    Not only have the denialists stolen the noble name that belongs to the Earth’s honest scientists, they have coined a term to unfairly label the true scientists and skeptics: “alarmists.” It is amazing that we let the denialists get away with this crime. If they tried to do the same thing in the realm of medical science instead of climate science, we’d have thrown them in jail a long time ago.

    Would we call a medical doctor who diagnoses a terminal disease and prescribes a difficult cure an “alarmist”? Are the doctors who identified AIDS and SARS and other epidemics — alarmists?

    Let’s say you were an HMO intent on denial — of coverage — for these conditions, and you bankrolled a campaign so you wouldn’t have to pay for the cures — as Exxon has bankrolled Heartland. That would be called practicing medicine without a license. And we would all be horrified by the callous disregard for human life, lock up the offenders and throw away the key.

    So let’s not be fooled by the false dichotomy that the fossil fuel propaganda machine has succeeded in selling to the media and the American public. It looks like there is a debate between skeptics and alarmists over global warming. There isn’t. It’s a manufactured illusion.

    What’s really going on is this: there’s a war being waged by denialists against scientists, who are the true skeptics, and against humankind and against the earth.

    It is a war that the media has yet to cover, and it is a war that should be the cause of universal alarm.

  48. Bud says:

    “That is a very different debate than saying it is all a charade.”

    I never said it was a charade — I said it is a claim not proven to the satisfaction of many people qualified to speak to that subject. I have also said that these claimants may very well prove right. That they have not done so to universal satisfaction of contrary arguments is evidence of exactly nothing.

    One problem with partisans, of course, is that they simply cannot tolerate ambiguity.

    Having previously conceded I was in error in stating a lawsuit was levied rather than the threat of doing so, it seems a bit churlish for you to require confirmation, but if it pleases you to beat a dead horse, let me say it clearly so we can move on to more substantive issues: I was in error in that statement, and say so again.

    As to whether Reiter is a ‘climate scientist’, I’ll hold you to account for why the utterly unimportant opinion of an utterly unimportant scientist on an utterly unimportant topic should have been included in this report to begin with.

    You have twice carefully evaded that question, and are, indeed, attempting to have it both ways at once. If you have no way to account for what is a logical contradiction obvious even from a trotting horse, then simply say so.

    I’d also make book on the likelihood you are far less qualified to address this topic with any real knowledge of the science (real or alleged) than the collection of scientists you lightly dismiss in favor of focusing on one who sorta-kinda supports your preferred thesis that man-caused climate change is the inevitable conclusion possible based on a review of all the facts available.

    There has been a great deal of sturm und drang about “science” cited in postings above. Perhaps a little refresher course in what science is — and what is not — is in order.

    The “scientific method” is to assemble all the known facts, and from those facts to form an hypothesis which attempts to best explain those facts on a cause and effect basis. And then…???

    The next step in scientific inquiry is to attempt to REFUTE the hypothesis.

    This requires a high degree of skepticism and no emotional investment in whatever the outcome may be. A real skeptic remains skeptical even of his own conclusions, no matter how compelling the thesis may appear.

    The “anti-scientific” method, buy contrast, proceeds quite differently:

    First, form a compelling hypothesis, then fetch all the facts that appear to support it (and ignore any which may contradict it or simply don’t “fit”), and then fight like a tiger to defend the candidate hypothesis against any argument which may be brought against it. Agree only with those who agree with you, and deny (oh, that ugly word again) the “qualifications” of any who won’t capitulate even in the face of ridicule.

    Skepticism, of course, becomes a necessary and early casualty of such adventurism. But the pay is swell and the laurels are sweet, with — dare one dream??? — maybe even a Nobel prize if the story is good enough to fool the Swedes.

    There is a great load of mischief in the notion that computer models can predict the future.

    If an LTCM fails owing to the unparalled genius of Nobel laureates having no real clue, it’s just a threat to the financial system.

    One wonders just how much grief may lie ahead as true believers insist they “know” the future and disaster can be averted only on condition of accepting their sage advice based on “answers” their devices have spat out.

    No doubt these soothsayers are rightful heirs to earlier generations of wise men who likewise offered assurance that society could safely survive based on evidence available only to this priesthood by expert examination of the entrails of sheep.

    So there has surely been some progress; the modern business of prophesy no longer requires gutting live animals, and now demands only the bloodless task of gutting the public purse.

  49. Bud says:

    Endnote:

    computer models are not “empirical science”, and the only evidence of future climate change (with or without dire consequences) is based on output of computer models.

    How much faith one should put in this output is doubtful. Quoting from a posting above:

    “We missed what was right in front of our eyes,” says Prof. Russell.

    Glad to hear you’re making progress with your little toy, Doc. Do get back to us when you guys have at least located the right planet.

  50. Whammer says:

    Bud statement #1:

    “why did one highly regarded climate scientist have to literally SUE to get his name removed from the list of said respectable scientists who all allegedly “agree”?”

    Then, when it turns out that he can’t identify the guy, and the guy didn’t literally SUE, and the guy turns out to be an expert in mosquitoes (not that there’s anything wrong with that), Bud says:

    “As to whether Reiter is a ‘climate scientist’, I’ll hold you to account for why the utterly unimportant opinion of an utterly unimportant scientist on an utterly unimportant topic should have been included in this report to begin with.”

    Um, Bud, I didn’t bring him up and say that he was a climate scientist. So why exactly am I supposed to be held to account for your half-assed statement? You used him as an example of how climate scientists don’t agree with the IPCC, not me. Now you can’t back that one up.

    Now comes the next part:

    Bud says “I’d also make book on the likelihood you are far less qualified to address this topic with any real knowledge of the science (real or alleged) than the collection of scientists you lightly dismiss in favor of focusing on one who sorta-kinda supports your preferred thesis that man-caused climate change is the inevitable conclusion possible based on a review of all the facts available.”

    This, after I pick a guy from your list of scientists who you say disagrees with the hypothesis of man-caused climate change. Let’s agree that both of us probably know less about climate than any of the scientists involved in this. I think it is rather humorous that you give me a list of guys that you say supports your argument, and in about two minutes I find a guy from your own list that disagrees with you.

    Your response is to shift and blame me. Comedy gold, I must say.

  51. Here’s Patrick: The fact the items are correlated doesn’t prove causation and that is precisely what a theory would have to accomplish. Furthermore you would have to use the theory to accurately predict future climate as well as it’s effects on wildlife, humans, etc., as well as the rate of change. We’re not even close to showing all this, hence, “theory.” Posted by: Patrick | Mar 3, 2008 6:37:14 PM

    Patrick is a man who, if he was given an F in high school algebra for not applying a quadratic equation correctly, would accuse the teacher of being biased toward the “politically correct” theory of multiplication and failing to consider other competing, free market theories.

    Did you work for Arthur Anderson, by chance ?

  52. Actually, Bud, models are empirical science because they can and always are tested against real-life and real-time data. This is the only purpose of models. Edmund Halley used a model to predict the next appearance of Halley’s Comet. Everything Isaac Newton and Johannes Kepler did was creating mathematical models of planetary orbits and then testing them against real-world observations.

    Sorry, “Bud,” but these comments indicate you lack even a 4th grade science education.

    Hit the books, my friend, they are your friend.

  53. Patrick says:

    Patrick is a man who, if he was given an F in high school algebra for not applying a quadratic equation correctly, would accuse the teacher of being biased toward the “politically correct” theory of multiplication and failing to consider other competing, free market theories.

    Doug, LOL WHAT. I’m not sure where this whole BS hate fest thing came from. Here I am, commenting generally, and you decided that I’m some liberal POS. Actually I’m not sure you think that. Apparently you think I work for The Man at Enron. Thanks for letting your politics show through though.

    But whatever, you’re obviously not listening to me. Have fun continuing to flame people over the internet.

    And for what it its worth–I have an undergrad degree in mathematics and politics (double) and a grad degree in computer science. I spent a year doing statistics. I am versed enough in the details to be able brush off your inane comments in about a half second.

    Maybe you should learn how to read sentences?

  54. Darkness says:

    >Quantum mechanics is clearly crap, because nothing in my everyday experience substantiates that it could be possible.

    Except that the computer you are typing on, every single n-p junction in every one of the 7 million transistors has electrons tunneling across it. They exist on one side and then disappear from existence briefly and then reform on the other… oh, wait. That was snark wasn’t it…

    >Actually, Bud, models are empirical science because they can and always are tested against real-life and real-time data. This is the only purpose of models.

    Except economic models, that is. ;-) Perhaps an inside joke …

  55. VJ says:

    Wow.

    I’m beginning to appreciate how Galileo must have felt surrounded by the unenlightened multitudes.
    .

  56. I thought this today, after I read a chunk of this thread. It basically said:

    1. You have shown no proof that all the fish in this river are dying.
    2. And if you can show proof all the fish in this river are dying you cannot show we are killing them.
    3. And even if you can show proof we are killing all of them, we all are all going to die eventually, so what’s the point.

    Seriously, folks.

    Do you want to give big $$$ (let’s say, all your money) to an investment advisor whose big pitch is that< even if I’m wrong, we’re all going to be dead in a few years, anyways, so who cares?

    I think this was Barry’s point originally …

  57. SPECTRE of Deflation says:

    MA, character flaw? LOL! Your liberal closet is full, and you act like the rest of the high priests of the left with your hypocrisy. Unsoiled my arse.

    Do you ever talk economics, or are you here for comedy?

  58. Greg0658 says:

    its all a big picture

    Greg0658 SPECTRE of Deflation Douglas Watts VJ Darkness Patrick Whammer Bud …

    time for a complete picture on pundits and citizens of the new world order

    bar code link revealing a persons resume(forget the statute of limitations)
    1> lineage
    2> education
    3> work history
    4> financial history
    5> medical history
    6> criminal history
    7> thoughts engraved

    available to all – not just Corporations and Governments

    but to work a system needs to be in place that allows
    real freedom of life and the pursuit of happiness for all

  59. Marcus Aurelius says:

    Whammer wins the debate.

  60. Marcus Aurelius says:

    He SPECTER:

    I never accused you of having a character flaw – I accused the right wingers/Neocons of having a character flaw. If you put the shoe on, and it fits, it’s not my problem.

    Go back to my original post and refute the details I provided that led to my conclusion, and refute those details. You won’t, ’cause you can’t.

  61. SPECTRE of Deflation says:

    Both Political Juntas are corrupt to maximum potential. It’s hysterical to think that sheeple actually pin their hopes on one group or another. You are sheeple who are easily led without well reasoned thought of your own. Who among the elites is for the J6P’s of the world? As per usual, not a damn one of them, but by all means delude yourselves with supposed saviors who will magically make it all better and right for everyone.

    Meanwhile they steal us all blind. “Saps” is the word that comes to mind for your religious zealotry to the Juntas. McCain, Clinton, Obama for the J6P’s of the world is laughable. You have a better chance of finding Dorothy’s Ruby Slippers.

  62. Bud says:

    “Actually, Bud, models are empirical science because they can and always are tested against real-life and real-time data.”

    No, they are NOT empirical science. The real life and real time data most certainly are. Comparing one to the other does not make them the same — and indeed it’s self-evident that if they were the same there would be no need to compare them. QED.

    You also overlook the inconvenient fact that computer models obviously cannot be verified in their predictions of future events against which there are (as yet) no factual empirical data available for comparison. And it is precisely those future purported events which we are warned will carry us all off to hell based on the forecasts (not empirical data) the models produce.

    “This is the only purpose of models. Edmund Halley used a model to predict the next appearance of Halley’s Comet.”

    Based on observed empirical data, his prediction was proven correct. That is no evidence that all — or even any — other predictions will be proven correct. If this were so, there would be no need for empirical observation since any asserted prediction would require no verification by observation. Surely you cannot be serious.

    “Sorry, “Bud,” but these comments indicate you lack even a 4th grade science education.”

    It’s clearly superior to yours, since you are obviously lacking in even the most rudimentary concepts. Empiricism is a reliance on observed phenomena of the real world. Observation of the output of a computer “model” is, by definition, non-empirical — thus the reason for calling it a “model”. Confusing the map for the territory is a rookie error.

  63. Marcus Aurelius says:

    Last!

  64. Nathan Rive says:

    Deconstructing Channel 4′s Great Global Warming Swindle

    Images Those of you watching Channel 4′s slick documentary, The Great Global Warming Swindle, may be forgiven for second guessing the foundations upon which many of us rest our policy research. The big guns were wheeled out to cut into Global Warming theory, and to the layman it could have appeared to be a bloodbath. Even the Channel 4 announcer took a swing before the start: “Climate change; is it down to the car you drive, the airmiles you clock, the light you didn’t turn off? Questionable.”

    The documentary had plenty of big names, and much name-dropping of institutions and awards. The content, however, was riddled with old half-truths and some straw man arguments thrown in for good measure. The main content is summarized below, and annotated with comment and links for better info. I would be happy to discuss any of my comments here – feel free to make corrections, improvements, additions below.

    1. Climate is always changing, this temperature is not strange. We shouldn’t worry, as warming will bring “vineyards … [a] wonderfully rich time.” (Philip Scott) Climatologists have never denied that temperature variation has been a part of the Earth’s history. What is worrying, however, is that the levels of CO2 are higher than they have been for 650,000 years (link) and likely in 20 million years (link), and the rate that current changes are taking place (see here and here) are much faster than they have been in the past. And while we may have vineyards and a wonderful time here in the UK, the developing countries will certainly get the short end of the stick.

    2. Historically, CO2 trends appears to lag global mean temperature increases; CO2 doesn’t drive temperature change. Yet another old argument. Oddly, they laugh at Al Gore’s comment that the relationship between CO2 and temperature change is “complicated”, suggesting he was glossing over the details and hid the truth. (If the carbon cycle isn’t complicated, I don’t know what is!) They then proceed to give an overly simplistic view of the climate, stating that during the heaviest industrialisation post-WWI, there was global cooling – therefore CO2 had no effect. They fatally neglect the time lag for warming from CO2, or the cooling impact from aerosols like SO2. But Real Climate to debunk their claim here: the apparent lag of CO2 from temperature in the historical records is a result of feedbacks which release more CO2.

    57519459contrails 3. Human’s can’t change the atmosphere – it’s so immense. [Update 15.03.07: Having read the transcript, I see that misheard Stott's comment. He indicated the Sun was so immense, suggesting we were just small fry with no impact. I think my comment still holds, however.] Logical fallacy here – appealing to emotion and wonder. For a really accessible example of humans impacting the climate, we just have to look at the impact that the lack of airplane contrails had on temperature in the US after 9/11 (link).

    4. Humans contribute only a minor part of total CO2. This is also not disputed. However, we do know that CO2 is a greenhouse gas, and that humans have contributed to recent increases in CO2 concentrations (link, link). It appears, that by disrupting the natural balance of the carbon cycle (which involves the atmosphere, plants, animals, oceans, and geology), we are able to warm the planet.

    5. The surface of the Earth is warming faster than the troposphere, which is the opposite of what greenhouse warming theory would suggest. This argument has been going on for years. However, a 2004 article in Nature (link, and more discussion here) puts rest to these concerns, and the IPCC Fourth Assessment report will conclude that the troposphere is warming at least as quickly as the surface – consistent with theory. The confusion of whether the troposphere was warming quickly enough arose from a cooling bias from the stratosphere (which cooled as a result of less ozone). [Update 15.03.07: See also a US CCSP report which Christy himself co-authored here. It said: "Previously reported discrepancies between the amount of warming near the surface and higher in the atmosphere have been used to challenge the reliability of climate models and the reality of human induced global warming. ... This significant discrepancy no longer exists because errors in the satellite and radiosonde data have been identified and corrected."]

    7. Cosmic rays can explain warming, as they affect cloud cover – which has a cooling affect. The argument from Nigel Calder and Danish space science skeptics has featured on this blog before, and on BBC’s Newsnight – where Calder was thoroughly demolished by an atmospheric physicist from Imperial College. Basically, the Danes have found that cosmic rays produced ionized particles, an published it in a peer reviewed paper here. The article made no mention of global warming or climate change, but the documentery makes numerous jumps of assumption to say that those ionized particles would produce more clouds and thus cool the Earth. However, those assumptions have not been peer-reviewed, and there exists no long-term trend for cosmic ray flux, while global mean temperature keeps rising. RealClimate has discussed his claim (here). More arguments for cosmic rays came from Nir Shaviv et al. These have also been questioned in peer-reviewed literature here and discussed in RealClimate.org here.

    6. Media and scientific self-interest in reporting more and more dramatic results. The global warming community needs to perpetuate itself to keep the money flowing. This, however, is not an argument against the science, but a clever tactic by the documentary makers to get the audience thinking that it is all a big conspiracy. Yet they fail to mention that hysteria is not new to the media – see crime, pedophilia, and immigrants as other examples. As for self-interest in science, it is of course in anyone’s interest to promote the importance of their work – for publicity or money. However, the documentary makers failed to show how this debunked the theory of global warming.

    8. Environmentalists say industrialisation causes global warming, and thus want to stop industrialisation and the great improvments it has given our lives. A straw man argument if I’ve ever seen one. By associating CO2 emissions with industrialisation and economic growth, the documentary plays an emotional trick by making us think that the quality of life we have will be taken away from us if the environmentalists had their way. While CO2 emissions are indeed associated with industrialisation, it is not a relationship that cannot be undone. For example, Vestas in Denmark have generated immense wealth by producing wind power generators. China has recently decoupled economic growth from greenhouse gas emissions growth (link) [Update 15.03.07: Better info in this and this article. Thanks, Bruce, for the comment.].

    Mudhut 9. “Developing countries are coming under intense pressure not to develop.” They finally claimed that environmentalists are stopping developing countries from installing fossil fuel plants, forcing them instead to use expensive renewable source of energy instead. This was called “anti-human”. Unfortunately, no evidence was presented on this point – no data on World Bank projects, or similar. They did, however, visit a hospital that had been fitted with a solar panel, which could power either the fridge or the lights – but not both. The inference was that if environmentalists hadn’t stopped the building of a fossil fuel power stations, the hospital could use the fridge and lights at the same time. Yet did the documentary prove that the hospital was in proximity to be wired to the grid at lower cost than the panel? You bet they didn’t! [Update 15.03.07: See a further discussion regarding rural renewables in a new post by Chiara from In the Green here.]

  65. Bud says:

    Having not seen the program you refer to, I’ve no basis to comment on either its contents or your analysis of its various flaws.

    However, where you say “and while we may have vineyards and a wonderful time here in the UK, [...]“, I believe that would simply return Britain to the exceedingly warm and cheery weather prior to the Little Ice Age which wiped out the many British vineyards planted during the Roman occupation.

    It is difficult to quarrel with the assertion that the earth changes over time, though that certainly cannot lead to any sense of comfort. Indeed, the earth has evolved through prior extreme climatic periods which — if repeated — would surely eliminate most or all human life on this planet.

    Those conditions may very well come again, whether or not mankind does or does not change its evil ways.

    That leaves an interesting puzzle to ponder: if whatever we invest in time and energy to overcome a long term trend that will arrive no matter what, then would that not eventually prove to be a classic (and fatal) misallocation of resources?

    After all, if the planet eventually will go to hell in a ball of fire, in any case, then the appropriate human action going forward would be to figure out how to migrate elsewhere — a completely different set of technological skills than figuring out how to reduce carbon emissions or abate rising sea levels.

  66. Lance Lowe says:

    There is nothing sweeter than using someone’s own argument against them to prove them an idiot… Your Premise: “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.” You glorious baffoon… Using the last 5,10,25, or even 100 years (max available) of climate change data to draw conclusions on the trends of billions of years of climate change is – to ANY objective observer – laughable. Using your example, you would be determining ‘long term market trends’ by looking a 1/100 of one second of a S&P chart…… to heck with the minute by minute. It is impossible for you to refute this or even one single word of this post. Now shut up and go away…….better yet – let’s see you respond with ANY refutable evidence to the point made here, it will surely provide me with a giggle.:)