Here is a fascinating suggestion — from an economist, yet — on how to reconcile the debate between those who believe Global Warming is real and man-made, versus those who don’t:

“To end this political stalemate, Dr. McKitrick proposes calling each side’s bluff. He suggests imposing financial penalties on carbon emissions that would be set according to the temperature in the earth’s atmosphere. The penalties could start off small enough to be politically palatable to skeptical voters.

If the skeptics are right and the earth isn’t warming, then the penalties for burning carbon would stay small or maybe even disappear. But if the climate modelers and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change are correct about the atmosphere heating up, then the penalties would quickly, and automatically, rise.”

All those in favor say “Aye.”

All those opposed, hack in Dr. McKitrick’s email account . . .

>
Source:
Trusting Nature as the Climate Referee
JOHN TIERNEY
NYT, December 14, 2009

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/15/science/15tier.html

Category: Science, UnScience

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.

96 Responses to “Solving the Climate Debate”

  1. Please keep your comments to the proposed soplution — not the debate . . .

  2. HCF says:

    Sounds reasonable, except for one thing: the debate shouldn’t center around whether the climate is warming or not, but around whether human activity is directly CAUSING climate change (or not). If you can’t prove the causality, then the debate is as useless as arguing about the best way to stop snow in New England in December…

    HCF

  3. Marcus Aurelius says:

    Can’t prove causality between germs and disease, or cigarettes and cancer, or HIV and AIDS. Why the need to do so with carbon in the atmosphere?

    Aye to the proposal.

  4. wally says:

    The difficulty is that the question also includes the element of time – if a problem, is it a decade problem or a thousands-of-years problem? Climate scientists talk in terms of cycles 23,000 years, 41,000 years and longer. In those cycles, small year to year variance is meaningless noise and it is possible that 100 and 1000 years changes are, too.

  5. The Window Washer says:

    AYE

  6. call me ahab says:

    ridiculous idea-

    once instituted any bureaucracy would find a reason for continuance regardless of the outcome-

    Department of Education and Department of Energy come to mind-

    utter failures and yet- they live

  7. The Window Washer says:

    HCF

    but around whether human activity is directly CAUSING climate change (or not).

    Wrong.
    If there is warming, reguardless of cause it’s in our interest to teraform away negative outcomes. Obviously cost should be considered.

  8. GetALife says:

    This proposed solution reflects the extraordinary ignorance of those proposing it…the “debate” won’t be settled for thousands of years. That much is clear from unbiased research on the topic.

  9. Machiavelli999 says:

    Here is the ultimate proof of global warming. We argue about temperatures and how to measure temperatures, but that’s not the main problem. The main problem is the effect of rising temperatures. Primarily, melting polar ice caps.

    And if you think the polar ice caps are not melting, you need to go and tell the Russians and the Canadians and all the oil companies who are busy now exploring and staking our claims to the continental shelf on the Artic Circle that they are all wrong and that global warming is a conspiracy. Also, go tell the shipping companies, who are planning routes through the Article Circle, in anticipation that it will be ice free soon, that they too are stupid and have fallen for the conspiracy.

    Because obviously all these companies and countries are wrong and all the Tea Partiers are correct.

  10. HCF says:

    @ Barry:
    >Please keep your comments to the proposed soplution — not the debate . . .

    Respectfully, I have to say that the debate is essential before the usefulness of a solution can be relevant. The problem with the whole climate change debate is that it’s become a political problem, economic problem, and policy problem far faster than it should be. It is primarily a SCIENTIFIC problem, which should be debated on its scientific merit first. What if climate change is occurring and we are causing it, but the climate is cooling and not warming? The proposed solution would be disastrous. What if the climate is changing and we are not causing it? Then the negative consequences for world economies would be adversely affected for little possible upside. What if climate change does not exist? Aren’t there better causes to spend trillions on? Perhaps clean water to third world countries? World hunger? Lack of educational and economic opportunities for girls and women in much of the world?

    A solution cannot be effective in a vacuum and without ample debate… A solution cannot be made without sacrificing something else. There is ALWAYS a trade-off

    HCF

  11. call me ahab says:

    so . . . uh . . .

    if climate change is natural . . .we do what exactly?

  12. jonhendry says:

    “Sounds reasonable, except for one thing: the debate shouldn’t center around whether the climate is warming or not, but around whether human activity is directly CAUSING climate change (or not).”

    Um, why does it matter if we’re causing the climate change? We *know* that CO2 traps heat. We *know* that we’re raising the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere by burning long-sequestered materials. These aren’t in question.

    If climate change is happening due to natural causes, our CO2 emissions will still seriously exacerbate any warming that results.

    The “if we didn’t cause it we don’t have to do anything” attitude is just absurd and childish. It’s like building a house in a California forest prone to frequent wildfires, then putting wooden shingles on the roof, and annually painting the house with a layer of highly flammable varnish.

    As for McKittrick’s suggestion, it’d be better to pin it to the level of CO2 in the atmosphere. Peg it to temperature and there’ll be all kind of maneuvering to measure the temperatures in advantageous places. CO2 strikes me as being less amenable to fudging.

  13. DeDude says:

    The debate amongst informed people who base their opinions on facts is not whether human activities and natural variation both influences the temperatures. But there is real debate as to how much of the observed increase in temperature is due to human activities. Some believe that the natural cycles are in the direction of reduced temperature and that humans are causing more temperature increases than observed, others believe that human activity is just adding to the temperature increases caused by the natural cycle.

    For this proposal it actually doesn’t matter if humans are causing 20%, 50%, 80% or 125% of the observed increase in global temperature. We know that the damage to civilization from global warming would be so expensive we cannot ignore it and do nothing. If we humans only are responsible for 20% of the observed warming (and the rest is natural) then we would have to cut our part of the warming drastically (at least in half) to avert catastrophy. If humans are responsible for 125% of the observed warming (meaning we are causing all the excess temperature and countering a natural cooling trend), then a 25% cut in our part of global warming would easily save all of Florida from having to be put on stilts within the next 100 years.

    ~~~

    BR: Excellent points!

  14. HCF says:

    @ The Window Washer:

    Yes, it is in our interest to act if climate change exists, regardless of causality. However, causality is very important in understanding the appropriate scope of a solution.

    As an example, if CO2 emissions are the basis for global warming, then logically, limiting their emissions would be an appropriate solution. However, if CO2 emissions are NOT the cause, then any solution has to center around how to help people affected by climate change. This would focus on things like moving people away from coastal areas as oceans rise and producing crops that are more resilient to drought conditions. If CO2 emissions are not the cause, but global warming exists, then switching away from carbon based fuels is useless (at least in this particular context).

    HCF

  15. HarryWanger says:

    Well, the earth’s definitely warming otherwise I’d be sitting under a glacier right now as I write this. It’s like calling a top in the market cycle. How hot does it get before the next the cycle turns and the next glacial period returns? Is it now? Is it 40 degrees on avg. hotter than now? Who knows? I won’t try to call the top in that one. But I’ll go with the trend that’s been in place for several thousand years now, it’s been getting warmer and until that changes the odds favor the warming guys.

  16. call me ahab says:

    the polar caps are MELTING!!!

    here- see for yourself-

    http://students.umf.maine.edu/~garneajl/Polar+Bear+on+thin+ice-1.jpg

  17. Transor Z says:

    Nay.

    What’s the lag time between a given manmade carbon load being released into the atmosphere and temperature increase? IOW I’d be afraid this proposal would allow things to get past a tipping point before triggering financial disincentives.

    Especially when you consider the dispute over the parameters of “natural” temperature fluctuations vs. theorized manmade changes. The skeptics would say, “fine — but only after a rise of X degrees.” The climate change proponents have hung their hats on current variations being the anomaly.

  18. Tom K says:

    Tierney’s solution makes sense IF you assume CO2 is a precursor to global warming, and not the other way around. There’s a lot of evidence that CO2 buildup is an effect of global warming, not the initial cause.

    BR, you love charts/info graphics, right? Watch this video – it puts global temperature data into historical context: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DFbUVBYIPlI&feature=player_embedded

    ~~~

    BR: Here are some interesting charts:
    http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2008/11/global-warming-what-evidence-do-you-have/

  19. HCF says:

    @ jonhendry:
    >Um, why does it matter if we’re causing the climate change?

    It matter A LOT if we cause climate change…. As an example, what causes winter between November and February in the northern parts of the northern hemisphere? Is it due to human intervention or is due to the earth’s tilt in relation to the sun? If human’s cause winter, then we should be able to come up some scheme to give us nice tropical weather in December here in Boston. As it stands, winter is natural, so therefore, we suck it up and buy better snow removal equipment.

    HCF

  20. Moss says:

    Does it really matter? Pollution is pollution and the less we have the better.

    See the future of electricity:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oaWXKiDAbOY

  21. TheUnrepentantGunner says:

    The worry, of course, is that there exists a real risk of the symptoms showing up long after the damage was done, and that the temperature would be a deeply trailing indicator of emissions levels.

    With that said, this is probably in the right direction in terms of a middle ground.

  22. HCF says:

    @ Moss:
    > Pollution is pollution and the less we have the better.

    Yes pollution is bad… Lead in water is bad; mercury in the ground is bad; sulfer dioxide in the air is bad. Considering CO2 as a pollutant is rather skewed. I think if plants could talk, they might take an issue with the popular stance that CO2 is a “pollutant”.

    HCF

  23. DeDude says:

    Tom; off course the initiater of PAST cycles of global warming was not increased human release of CO2 and other greenhouse gases; we didn’t have a culture that could release the kind of pollution that we can now. And off course increased temperatures are followed by increased natural release of CO2; have you ever observed a soda getting warmed up (yes warming does release CO2 from aqueous solution). The question is to what extend CO2 released from unnatural (human activity) causes increase temperatures (or is CO2 a “green house” gas). That question has been addressed in very simple laboratory experiments and the answer is yes.

  24. The Window Washer says:

    HCF

    Your first post is right after Barry’s stating post should not be on the debate, but the topic of his post. You’ve be allowed to play your game.

    ~~~
    BR: In fairness to HCF they both posted at the same moment (same time stamp)

  25. call me ahab says:

    people suck-

    damn CO2- plants love that shit- but let’s don’t over-indulge them

  26. Marcus Aurelius says:

    jonhendry:

    Well said.

  27. DeDude says:

    HCF; so you are ready to give the globe up to the plants ;-)

  28. HCF says:

    @TheUnrepentantGunner:
    > the temperature would be a deeply trailing indicator of emissions levels.

    This is a flawed argument, considering that CO2 levels rise and fall hundreds of years after temperatures change:
    http://joannenova.com.au/globalwarming/the_skeptics_handbook_2-3_lq.pdf

    This is why causality is so important. Do carbon levels cause climate change, or does climate change affect carbon levels. It is very important to understand which causes which if we are to ever propose the right solutions.

    HCF

  29. jack says:

    dr. mckitrick isn’t just ‘in the skeptical camp’ as the article says, he is one of the main players. he was prominent in the fox warming special last night. i have been reading him (and steve macintyre’s work) for years. i do think ‘HCF’ has a valid point here. to make this policy work, the causality has to be more obvious to all involved. in my mind, basically three scientific phenomenon have to be proven:
    1. the global temperatures are increasing.
    2. carbon dioxide, as one of the greenhouse gases, increases temperatures, all other things being equal.
    3. man made CO2 emissions are primarily responsible for the increase in temperature, dwarfing all other negative feedback sytems and/or natural variability.

    the most intelligent skeptics i read agree with numbers one and two. as these guys pointed out last night, we just don’t know enough about number three yet, at least not enough to begin taxing the entire global economy.

    i respect dr. mckitrick, though, and if we have to do something, then it would better than what they were pontificating about in nopenhagen.

    ahab also has a good point in that, if i don’t believe in number three above, and so i base my economic forecasting on this premise, and global temperatures start going down due to natural causes, say the mother of all solar minimums (sunspot activity right now is weirdly silent), i still have to pay the tax, only not so much. that doesn’t seem right.

  30. HCF says:

    @ Window Washer:

    My first post appeared BEFORE Barry’s “first” post. His post was a response to mine, but placed above it. I HAVE commented on the solution… My view is that any “solution” is a waste of time and worthless if you have not pin-pointed the actual cause. It’s quite interesting to me to you resort to ad hominem attacks on me as opposed to addressing the content of my posts. So much for civil discourse and goodwill towards all men.

    HCF

  31. Entrepreneur says:

    Non-solution because the scale is skewed.

    If the skeptics (of MMGW) are wrong, they owe a bunch of money. If they’re right, they still owe money… just less money. [BR: They would owe nothing]

    If the advocates are wrong, they owe nothing. If they are right, they gain a bunch of money.

    To be fair, one would have to include the costs of the advocates being wrong (for instance, the drag of all the extra spending and taxing on growth and wealth). That’s what’s missing here… a huge penalty for the advocates if they’re wrong.

    The suggested method has a skewed scale, thus a GIGO result. Not difficult to take the bet where your upside is big and your downside is zero.

  32. bsneath says:

    The entire Cap & Trade concept is too flawed. Much has to do with the “cap”. This ends up being a politicized process and you can surmise the results of that. Plus the “trade” opens up an entirely new market for Investment Bankers to do “Gods Work” on the rest of us.

    It would be far better to impose a revenue neutral, carbon based tax with an offset to the corporate income tax or payroll tax and to raise motor fuel taxes.

    We are a net importer of hundreds of billions of dollars of oil. It would be in our best economic interests to curtail the use of oil while keeping our businesses and industries revenue neutral so as to remain competitive in the global market place.

    Further our gas taxes are geared towards the days when we were self sufficient. Europe elected to impose a high tax on motor fuel long before climate change was an issue because they did not produce much and needed to import. Well we are there now also and we should adopt the same strategy.

    But to Cap & Trade is simply to give the banks, politicians and elites yet additional avenues to fleece.

  33. call me ahab says:

    so . . . if CO2 increases and plant life goes crazy . . . and it get’s warmer-

    are we talking world wide tropical paradise?

  34. Marcus Aurelius says:

    Tom K:

    Here’s a little more accurate info on the hockey stick:

    http://www.ucsusa.org/global_warming/science_and_impacts/science/past-present-and-future.html

  35. Lord says:

    The problem is there is no tax low enough to be politically palatable to skeptical voters and never will. Some like it hot. Some will benefit from it being hot. I am all for taxes that start low and rise with CO2 but are capped as a percentage of gdp so we do what we can but realize our limitations. Basing it on the least effective, least sensitive data imaginable, too late to do anything about it is not useful.

  36. HCF says:

    @DeDude:

    I like plants and in many ways prefer them to people. For one thing, they tend not to try to oppress you if your viewpoint is different

    HCF

  37. wally says:

    “so . . . uh . . .
    if climate change is natural . . .we do what exactly?”

    We find scapegoats and collect taxes from them.

  38. Moss says:

    @HCF:

    Go spend some time in a garage with your car running and tell me how u feel, or speak with a few coal miners or visit a few cities in China. Like I said, it does not matter.. the world is already changing and embracing a greener energy future. I really do not care about global warming ‘proof’ or folly. The whole argument is meaningless to me, the consequences of it being correct however far outweigh the potential cost of doing nothing. All one needs to do it look at the percentage of the US economy now considered ‘green’ vs. say 10 years ago. Denying the inevitable shift afoot, is a fools game.

  39. call me ahab says:

    HCF-

    lmao :D

  40. DeDude says:

    The issue of natural CO2 (released from water during global warming) is actually more an issue of amplifiers for human caused global warming. And the historic data can tell us something about those natural amplifiers.

    Lets imagine that human activity increase CO2 by 100ppm and that raise temperatures 1 degree and that the 1 degree increase in temperature release enough CO2 to raise levels another 50ppm (raising temperatures ½ degree etc.). Those types of calculations are why some scientist believe that there are tipping points where human activity can raise temperatures to a level where it just starts running away on its own. So that is why the proposal to base the proposal above on CO2 rather than temperature increases makes sense.

  41. The Window Washer says:

    You’ve been allowed to play….

  42. Michel Caldwell says:

    While I like the concept of Dr. McKitrick’s suggestion, I must say I agree with HCF’s objections. Please allow me to add another unscientific thought.
    I heard the other day on the History Channel that between 1600 and 1800 there was a mini ice age. Assuming that claim is correct, is it possible that some of the global warming in the early 1800′s might simply be due to mean reversion (a phenomenon BR is familiar with). If so, we might need to reduce the length of the global warming trend. A week or so ago I noticed on MSN.com (it may have been on CNBC.com) that someone gave the temperature data to a group of professional statisticians and asked them if the “global cooling” we have noticed over the last few years is sufficient to indicate a trend reversal or if it may simply due to sampling error. Their conclusion — as I recall the post — was that the recent global cooling was better interpreted as sampling error. However, when did we begin the trend? Was it at the beginning of the 1800′s? If so and if the first part of the trend was due to mean reversion, then maybe we might better start with data which begin with mean temperatures that are closer to the “reverted mean” . If that is the case, do we still have a statistically significant ongoing trend?
    In case someone is trying to decide which side of the issue I am on from the above contradictory remarks, I am agnostic. I also, however, agree with HCF’s 3:28pm post that the proposed remedy for global warming will be very expensive and may preclude attempts to solve other real and pressing problems. Tying taxes to CO2 emissions rather than global temperatures assumes they are the cause of global warming which, I believe, is precisely the assumptions that is being hotly contested.

  43. Movie Guy says:

    Barry,

    Who do you suggest we trust with the thermometer?

    My cousin’s sons, 7 and 9, are threatening to put a butane torch to it. I think they’ve been reading too many CRU emails…

    PS: I am keeping all of my muscle cars. Regardless.

  44. bsneath says:

    DeDude Says: “We know that the damage to civilization from global warming would be so expensive we cannot ignore it and do nothing. ”

    With all due respect, many of us believe that we do not know this to be a fact.

    I will avoid lengthy arguments based on BR’s guidelines but it is important to recognize that there are many individuals who believe with absolute sincerity that there would be many favorable impacts in a warming climate scenario that are being suppressed. Perhaps this could be a good future topic of its own some day.

  45. mathman says:

    While we’re busy bullshitting around about our survival depending upon the way we extract resources, use energy and pollute the planet in the process, the earth’s going to continue doing what it’s doing whether we like it or not.

    Up until the industrial revolution we humans had much less of an effect on the entire system of heating and cooling, had access to clean water, used renewable energy (wood) to heat, walked or used public transportation (by and large). Once we gained access to power generation, flight, the automobile and using up oil to power this stuff, our population soared (with the advancement of medicine and the healing arts) to the point now where as a species we are considerably beyond the carrying capacity of the planet – our pollution is backing up on us, or to put it another way, the earth can’t process our way of living fast enough any longer (otherwise we wouldn’t have these problems).

    Since we’ve ignored all this for as long as i’ve been around (and before that, for sure), i’m now firmly in the
    “it’s WAY too late to do anything about it now” camp. Subsequently i believe we’re going to have big problems going forward, that humanity has become too stupid to live here any more and that an awful lot of people are going to go out of existence in a relatively short period of time within this coming century.

    It doesn’t matter what we think, how quickly we act or not – we’re toast. There will be water wars, resource clashes, massive food shortages and the complete breakdown of civilization in the process. Ya can’t fight starvation with guns.

    But to answer the question: AYE (just to kill some more time).

  46. jeg3 says:

    Naye
    Actually there is no debate among scientist, just a lot of loud noise from corporate instigated illiterates.

    Figures the Idea came from an economist.
    “Economists Are Trained to Ignore the Real World”
    http://georgewashington2.blogspot.com/

  47. Rikky says:

    the belief people believe humans adversely affecting the global climate is the highest form of arrogance. the earth has been around for millions of years. how can you take a infantesimal sample and build a trend model around it? any modeler worth his weight in salt knows this is poppycock. sometimes you just don’t have enough data to work with to draw a reasonably accurate conclusion.

  48. call me ahab says:

    wally-

    exactly-

    it would seem to me if people found it was out of their hands- and climate change will happen with or without them- they would really freak out-

    so- let’s pretend we can do something

  49. DeDude says:

    Can somebody please explain to me this folly of “if human activities cause less of the warming, then we should do less (or nothing) about these human activities? As explained above; if we only contribute 20% of the warming then it becomes much more important to cut our part in half than if we contribute 100% of the warming. The more of the warming we are responsible for the less we need to cut our activities to get this under control, before we are all out swimming like the polar bears. It is pretty obvious that 100 years from now, the use of fossile fuel will be as outdated as cooking over a fire is today. We just have to make it to the next century without drowning.

  50. DeDude says:

    Bsneath; I guess you are not living in Bangladesh or Florida – and also don’t think you will have to float the cost of massive building of sea walls ;-)

  51. Brendan says:

    In hindsight, taxing cigarettes and putting warning labels on them after millions died from lung cancer wasn’t a very good solution. Taxing carbon after a few coastal cities sink into the ocean (or more likely after we’re forced to spend billions trying to save them) isn’t a very good solution for the same reasons. Plus, just as the effects of secondhand smoke aren’t accounted for in the smoker’s lung cancer rates, ocean acidification (leading to such things as a collapse of fish populations) and other consequences aren’t accounted for in temperature readings. Overall, a crappy policy solution that appeases a certain willfully ignorant contingent is still crappy policy. When the choices are either pay for it now or pay more for it later and suffer additional consequences, I’ll still chose the former.

  52. jonhendry says:

    HCF wrote: “Yes pollution is bad… Lead in water is bad; mercury in the ground is bad; sulfer dioxide in the air is bad. Considering CO2 as a pollutant is rather skewed. I think if plants could talk, they might take an issue with the popular stance that CO2 is a “pollutant”.”

    Plants like water too, and humans need it to live, but water can still kill you, via drowning, or excessive intake leading to water intoxication, etc. And even plants die if they get swamped.

    Excrement is natural fertilizer, but I wouldn’t want to live next to a stockyard.

    The dose makes the poison.

  53. call me ahab says:

    I hate to break this to everybody- but the earth is not static- the shorelines will change, the mountains will erode, forests will turn to deserts, glaciers will form and recede-

    but we can wring our hands and pretend we’re so important that the earth needs our guidance to remain exactly as we see it now-

    that’s not going to happen- and sure- sea walls could be constructed in Florida or Bangladesh but if the sea is destined to reclaim them- there is nothing we can do-

    I truly believe this whole issue revolves around the revolt against industrialization-

    which has some merit- but Stop Climate Change as the mantra- I don’t buy it

  54. crosey says:

    Theoretically the plan could work. But, money is involved, so who pays and at what proportion? Who gets a bye?

    With all the manipulation that will take place, theory quickly cedes to reality.

    Adam and Eve really screwed up when they ate the apple. I think that I could really enjoy Eden.

  55. hr says:

    I agree with what Entrepreneur said. This is a flawed risk/reward schedule.

    Its kind of like stupid “Double or Nothing” bets. If you win, you double your money. But if you lose, you lose your stake. Better than “Double or Nothing” bets would be “Double or Half” bets. But no smart bookie would offer it. Big Picture question: Why do people take those bets??

  56. DeDude says:

    Hate to break this to you ahab, those natural changes in shorelines and other geography normally occurs over thousands or millions of years and the inhabitants have in the past had no problem adjusting to the changes without it disrupting their lives. Yes fishies swam over the stones in the rocky mountains hundreds of millions of years ago (you can find the fossiles) but if they started swimming there again next summer Denver would be in deep doo-doo. If Florida and Bangladesh were to be drowning slowly over many thousands of years in a natural process then the cost of dealing with that would not only be much less (natural replacement of buildings would slowly move back), but also be spread over a much larger period.

  57. Mysticdog says:

    Wow, I really didn’t expect to see this level of denialism on this site…

    It really isn’t that hard. We know we take carbon that has been slowly sequestered in the earth for millions of years and burn it off as CO2. We know that. It is an enormous amount. We know that CO2 levels have been steadily rising continuously since we started measuring it from the atmosphere directly. We know that CO2 absorbs more infrared light and releases it back towards earth. Those are facts as indisputable as the Moon causing tides.

    (waits for the anti-tidalists to have their say)

    The problem with the solution as described above is that the earth is already warmer than it should be for sustaining the world as we know it. We are already losing the northern ice caps. We are already seeing mountains losing their glaciers. If the temperature stays right where it is, right now, a lot of land is going to flood to be permanently uninhabitable. That is going to change a lot of climates and weather patterns, and that is going to change food production.

    I mean, the solution as proposed is a lot better than nothing, but unfortunately is probably too little, too late. And what gets done with any “fine” money is going to be exceedingly critical. I mean really, who the fuck cares if india or china suddenly owes the world $100 billion? They are going to pay it with borrowed money, or by overheating their economy even more (and thus producing more CO2). $200 billion spent moving the people of Mayamar still just destabilizes all of the world around it. And its not like they will pay any fines anyway… just tie it up in world courts, and then still not pay because its not like people can really cut off trade with 1/3rd of the world’s population.

    Which is the whole problem with all of this… we are treating this like a minor regulatory matter, like polluting a river or poisoning a watershed or spilling oil on a coastline. This affects everyone, everywhere.

    We need a whole new paradigm for living sustainably. We survive now only because we have had so much energy store in the earth to burn off to raise our food production per acre, and to condition our homes to live in harsher climates, and to stack so many people into tiny areas.

    Personally, I don’t think we get there. To many people think that this is just one more tribalistic-team-sport-political issue, and could no more accept it than accept a new football team to root for. Logic is meaningless, and they can’t even wrap their heads around the idea that this could have real consequences for them. So I think that there will never be a “real” climate deal. We keep kicking more carbon into the air and heating things up, and use still more fossil fuels to try to compensate for the changes until the fossil fuels dry up.

    To me, the big question is: how long does it take for nature to absorb it all back up, and how many people will be left. Yes, plants can soak up CO2… if they have all of the other stuff they need (water, correct temperature, and nutrients), and have space to grow out, and aren’t being harvested for wood, aren’t subject to disease and insects, and have evolved to keep growing in the presence of all the extra CO2 (its not like you are suddenly going to have your 100 ft fir trees decide that growing 200′ tall is ok now…). They have not been able to keep up with the additional carbon we are dumping so far.

  58. hr says:

    I approve of Global Warming. I live in Wisconsin. Ha ha ha.

    I am glad that the Indians (a.k.a. First Americans) did something 10,000 years ago about the MILE-THICK ice sheets that used to cover the northern US. Not two feet of snow mind you, but mile-thick ice! Go read the descriptive signs in your state parks.

    I guess the indians were giving off a lot of CO2, didn’t they? Or, what caused the glaciers to retreat back then?

    NO ONE has an answer to that question. I sure would like to see one.

  59. call me ahab says:

    “[if] Florida and Bangladesh were to be drowning slowly over many thousands of years in a natural process”

    exaclty my point-

    all the other projections- in my opinion- are hysteria

  60. DeDude says:

    “all the other projections- in my opinion- are hysteria”

    So I guess your opinions are not based on scientific models, but rather on what is the most expedient for you to believe in.

  61. DeDude says:

    I agree that the simplest way is to just tax fossile fuel and let the individual ingenuity and market forces take care of finding a way out of using (now very expensive) fossile fuels. In addition to reducing CO2 and global warming there is just a whole long list of other advantages to getting this country out of its dependency and excessive use of these primitive energy technologies. It’s sad that we cannot have an adult discussion of these issues because as soon as the word tax is mentioned some people stick their fingers in their ears and scream “NO NO NO”.

  62. The suggestion is absurd.

    First, no one says the planet is going to be ‘hotter’ in a few years. These things take a long time, but the pace is accelerating. Thus, anyone paying that so-called penalty would never face a real penalty in their lifetimes.

    The suggestion is the right-wing agenda. It’s essentially a do-nothing approach.

    And more than that – if it this preposterous proposal is accepted, when happens if it’s proven that waiting as long as it takes to find the ‘winner – and the warming becomes irreversible? Some carbon spitting factory is going to pay a fine for making the earth unfit for life as we know it?

    Barry – how can you fall for this garbage?

  63. Transor Z says:

    “humanity has become too stupid to live here any more”

    I don’t think we were ever smarter, just less numerous and less industrialized. It’s all about how you fight the entropy. There’s no “sustainable” in entropy because it’s a constant upstream battle to organize things that want to fall into less utile states. Took my winter boots up from the basement over the weekend and they were musty, the leather had turned green at the toes, and the metal eyelets were all salt-corroded. My bad for letting entropy get the better of my boots.

    We continute to build a tower of complexity. Our competence in managing the complexity is pretty freaking doubtful. We all better hope that these tech advances and hadron colliders all add up to something substantial because now we’re thinking about having to manage the fucking weather.

    Anybody remember when the Hubble (HST) was first launched? Remember how the telescope was out of focus? Yee ha. Ha ha, yeah, we’ve got our best people on it. Good luck with that.

    But at least the Overseer class we support live a spartan and public spirited existence like members of Plato’s elite class. We can all rest assured that they devote their lives and their beings to public service. It’s not narcissism; it’s expansive big-heart thinking and giving.

    Face it. At some point we’re going to have to go socialist/hive mind or this whole thing is going to end badly for the peeps. The Borg Collective should be our new third party.

  64. Transor Z says:

    “humanity has become too stupid to live here any more”

    I don’t think we were ever smarter, just less numerous and less industrialized. It’s all about how you fight the entropy. There’s no “sustainable” in entropy because it’s a constant upstream battle to organize things that want to fall into less utile states. Took my winter boots up from the basement over the weekend and they were musty, the leather had turned green at the toes, and the metal eyelets were all salt-corroded. My bad for letting entropy get the better of my boots.

    We continute to build a tower of complexity. Our competence in managing the complexity is pretty freaking doubtful. We all better hope that these tech advances and hadron colliders all add up to something substantial because now we’re thinking about having to manage the fucking weather.

    Anybody remember when the Hubble (HST) was first launched? Remember how the telescope was out of focus? Yee ha. Ha ha, yeah, we’ve got our best people on it. Good luck with that.

    But at least the Overseer class we support live a spartan and public spirited existence like members of Plato’s elite class. We can all rest assured that they devote their lives and their beings to public service. It’s not narcissism; it’s expansive big-heart thinking and giving.

    Face it. At some point we’re going to have to go soc1alist/hive mind or this whole thing is going to end badly for the peeps. The Borg Collective should be our new third party.

  65. DeDude says:

    Forgot to add that items from any country that doesn’t tax fossile fuel as much as we, would have to be subject to an import tax that “equalized” the competition for our domestic (fossile fuel taxed) industry.

  66. Grist says:

    How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic: Responses to the most common skeptical arguments on global warming

    http://www.grist.org/article/series/skeptics/

  67. call me ahab says:

    dedude-

    hey dude- I am a firm believer in a much higher gasoline tax to reduce dependence on foreign oil- and to alter people’s behavior regarding driving habits- however-

    I do not buy the global warming scare- and do not believe all the ridiculous projections of the likes of Al Gore-

    yes- scientists have models projecting man-made climate change due to CO2- but then the assumptions that went into making the models have to be taken as a given if a person is to accept the conclusions

  68. Anytime I see people arguing so emotionally, I know that a) Humans are involved; 2) There will be a boatload of money made by someone.

    Its a struggle to stay both calm and rational, but in the long run, that is your best strategy during debates. Show passion, but do not let it get the better of you.

    As you may have noticed by some of my expletive laden rants posted at TBP, it is something I wrestle with all the time . . .

  69. beaufou says:

    I’ll say aye.
    You don’t have to be a tree hugger to know we should respect nature a little more, a little bump on the head of coal burning a-holes woudn’t hurt.

    We will like many species disappear one day and are most probably accelerating the process, no big deal, we think too much of ourselves anyway.

  70. Transor Z says:

    Show passion, but do not let it get the better of you.

    Barry, you suck as a Sith Lord.

  71. jack says:

    ahab: ‘I truly believe this whole issue revolves around the revolt against industrialization-’

    therein, my friend, lies the crux of the issue. we can debate this topic, which is political, and we can debate AGW, which is scientific, but let us not confuse the two. this subject became hijacked, much like this thread, by the political underpinnings of the debaters. it stopped being all about science – if it ever was- a long time ago. learn the science (grist, that site is good for the pro AGW side, but i also like wattsupwiththat, which routinely counters nearly every argument on that page you linked to), and understand the political players, and you will be able to make better decisions for yourself.

  72. RB says:

    Mark Wolfinger: “Some carbon spitting factory is going to pay a fine for making the earth unfit for life as we know it?”

    McKitrick: “But if the climate models are correct, Dr. McKitrick calculates, within a decade his formula would cause the tax to at least double and possibly sextuple …”

    Aside from this issue, things like the La Nina cycle can contribute to temporary cooling. Even economists know that data doesn’t move in a straight line. More importantly, this will still do nothing to quiet the sceptics who will say that though the warming is undeniable, it is due to natural causes. Behaviorally, a tax that sextuples will also be difficult to swallow because of the anchoring bias. Still, some of the forward-looking incentives for planning by companies may be a worthwhile consideration. Doesn’t cap and trade achieve that already? (I know it has capacity for misuse and all that but Krugman seems to be on board with the idea)

  73. RB says:

    TomK:
    “There’s a lot of evidence that CO2 buildup is an effect of global warming, not the initial cause.”

    ..which is true, initially, that is there is a 800 year gap between rise in global temperatures from the ice age minimum to the rise in CO2. The same climate scientists who came up with this piece of information are telling you that human-induced CO2 is causing global warming. Perhaps you should look into understanding the science as we know it. (Hint: CO2 is part of the positive feedback mechanism – when that happens in stock market crashes, people unfortunately call it a negative feedback)

  74. DeDude says:

    Grist; Great link

    Ahab; you do not believe in the “warming scare” or “ridiculous projections from Al Gore”. What are you basing your lack of such believe on? Is it simply that you don’t want to make any sacrifices as long as you can blind yourself to not believe the experts, or do you have any credible alternatives to the current models, or specific objections to specific assumptions that went into the models?

    The fact about the models is that they for a long time showed a sufficiently big (over 5%) chance that humans did NOT cause global warming to prevent scientists from claiming to have proven that human did. The Bush administration tried to block further collection of data, but it continued anyway. As a result; for the last 5 years the already small chance that human activity does not cause the undeniable increase in global temperature has fallen below the cut, and scientists no longer accept that possibility. Cheney/Bush tried to push the assumptions in the models to the real absurd in order to keep the idea of “no human culpability” alive, but in the end their pushing on these assumptions became so absurd that even their own payed “experts” revolted and refused to stand up and look that idiotic at international climate science meetings. At this point in time only the usual handful of crack-pots within the field (see Holocoust denying historians, and creation “scientists”) are questioning the scientific fact that humans activities have increased global temperatures.

  75. RB says:

    BTW, everybody who points to mile-high ice and ice age cycles and so on, the climate scientist who explained all of that was Milankovitch. Yes, there are ice age cycles caused by variations in earth’s orbit around the sun. Stop using that argument, even a 1st year grad student knows that stuff.

  76. rootless_cosmopolitan says:

    On McKitrick’s “proposal”:

    It’s a scam. The purpose is to delay necessary changes by decades. Hack them!

    @Jack:

    “3. man made CO2 emissions are primarily responsible for the increase in temperature, dwarfing all other negative feedback sytems and/or natural variability.

    the most intelligent skeptics i read agree with numbers one and two. as these guys pointed out last night, we just don’t know enough about number three yet, …”

    And this statement, we wouldn’t know enough about the cause of global warming yet, is based on what exactly? As far I as I can evaluate it, the so-called “climate skeptics” haven’t provided any alternative hypothesis, which has an explanatory power both for all the direct or indirect measurements of various climate variables and their changes from the real world and for the results from model simulation based on our knowledge of the physics behind greenhouse gas warming, which is nearly as strong as the theory of anthropogenic global warming. The likelihood for that the global warming is caused by humans is assessed by the IPCC as at least 90%. Is a 90% likelihood for it not enough to say we have sufficient evidence?

    @hr:

    “I guess the indians were giving off a lot of CO2, didn’t they? Or, what caused the glaciers to retreat back then?

    NO ONE has an answer to that question. I sure would like to see one.”

    Not so true. Ever heard about changes in the Earth orbital parameters, or the so-called “Milankovitch cycles”, which are causing cyclical changes mainly in the latitudinal and seasonal distribution of the incoming solar radiation? Taking these cyclical changes into account, together with feedback mechanisms in the climate system, the transition from glacials to interglacials and back as they can be inferred from paleorecords over the last 1 million years can be explained at least in principle. It’s not such a mystery, as you suggest, just because it couldn’t be caused by humans. And it’s not in contradiction at all to the very recent warming be caused by anthropogenic greenhouse gases.

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

    rc

  77. call me ahab says:

    dedude-

    . . . and I should believe Al Gore why? What a hypocrite he is. I live small dude- always have always will- if more people did that our discussion would be moot-

    as a matter of principle I trust no-one that espouses absolutes- especially bullshit blowhard know-it-alls like Al Gore-

    . . . and i think the scientists who propose global warming DO believe it- but ask me if I believe their assumptions- I remember my kids use to go to the doctor and the doctor use to prescribe cough medicine and I told my kids not to take it- waste of time and probably caused more harm than good-

    so . . .what happened years later- ” cough medicine should not be prescribed to kids”- look it up- “more harm then good”-

    so . . .think what you want man- be a storm trooper for Climate Warming- but myself-

    I’ll get a good laugh when all the “experts” say- well- “our data was wrong”

  78. bsneath says:

    I reserve the right to continue to post emotion-laden immature rants when the topic is Goldman Sachs!

  79. TheInterest says:

    Which is what I’ve been waiting for someone to mention. If we’re using policy to “fix” something, then that implies that we will eventually “fix” something. Question becomes, how do we know when we’ve fixed something? And when we’re satisfied we’ve reached that “fix”, then can we stop what we were doing to make the “fix”?

  80. randy says:

    Which of the following do you think has a larger effect on the temperature of the planet at any given moment?
    a. man-made greenhouse gases (industry)
    b. non-man-made greenhouse gases (cow farts, algae pools, etc.)
    c. man-made surfaces either reflecting or absorbing heat
    d. non-man-made surfaces either reflecting or absorbing heat
    e. geothermal warming (lava and boiling deep-sea water)
    f. geothermal cooling (lack of lava and boiling sea-water, or dust clouds from big volcanoes)
    g. minor variations in the Earth’s orbit around the sun
    h. minor variations in the moon’s orbit around the Earth
    i. minor variations in the sun’s output

    The Earth has been cooling and warming in large and small cycles for as far back as we can see. We don’t understand the patterns. How can we credibly claim that any temperature change is caused by humans? The temperature was changing without us for a very long time.

    I’ve looked at the ice core data. I see two overlapping cycles in motion. There is a tens-of-millions-of-years cycle. In that cycle we are near the all time low and just heading back up. There is a hundred-thousand-year cycle that we look to be near the top of, and headed for a quick (geologically speaking) cool-down of about 8 degrees.

    Why has the temperature been holding one level for 90 thousand years, and then warming 8 degrees over a 10 thousand year period, and then cooling back down 8 degrees over the next 3 thousand years? The ice core data shows that clear pattern repeated 5 times, going back 5 hundred thousand years.

    Did you notice that the salinity of the sea has been rising? Fish populations are way down, more than would be explained by over fishing. The sea water patterns seem to be changing–higher salinity water heats and cools differently, and so warm water doesn’t flow as far towards the pole (either one) before turning back south. So maybe the world is warmer, but that warmth is more concentrated near the equator. If this trend continues then the winters are going to continue to get worse nearer the poles.

    I don’t think that just reducing greenhouse gases is going to fix that. I think that the cult of global warming is causing us to miss other more prominent threats.

    I don’t think that this proposal will work because I think that the temperature is going to get more volatile (hotter near the equator and colder near the poles) no matter what humans do.

    We cannot reliably alter a system that we fundamentally do not understand.

  81. randy says:

    Oh, I meant to say: I, G, H are my big three, in that order. See salinity is still a wild card that we don’t understand. It might be bigger than the variations in the sun’s output, over the next few thousand years.

  82. rootless_cosmopolitan says:

    @Randy:

    “Which of the following do you think has a larger effect on the temperature of the planet at any given moment?

    a.
    .
    .
    .
    i.”

    The question isn’t answerable, since “effect” implies both a reference point, with respect to which the effect is measured, and a time scale in which the effect takes place. Your question is just meaningless. What is the reference point supposed to be? The temperature of the background radiation of the universe, which would be the equilibrium temperature of the planet, if there wasn’t any external or internal energy source? Or the globally averaged temperature over a meaningful time period before industrialization? And what is the time-scale of the effect?

    “The Earth has been cooling and warming in large and small cycles for as far back as we can see. We don’t understand the patterns.”

    Nothing more than opinion.

    “How can we credibly claim that any temperature change is caused by humans? The temperature was changing without us for a very long time.”

    By studying the patterns of natural climate variability as seen in the data, the time-scales on which this variability occurs, applying our accumulated knowledge in physics, chemistry, and biology to build hypotheses on the causal relationships in the climate system and create model to reproduce these relationships, testing these hypotheses and models against data from the real world again and again until the set of hypotheses, if they hold up against testing, become a tested theory, which is further tested against data. If there are changes that seem to be different from the known natural patterns, it will be tested whether these changes differ significantly from the known natural pattern using mathematical-statistical methods. If they are different, a new hypotheses is created about what causes these changes, e.g. that is is caused by the increase in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere due to industrialization. Then again, this hypothesis is tested against data from the real world and models are used to reproduce these changes. It is tested whether the changes can be reproduced mainly by the known natural forcings, or if they can be reproduced only, when anthropogenic forcings are applied as well. Then, projections of future changes can also be made based on this knowledge, using these models. Depending on how comprehensive the theory is and how well it is tested against data, statements with certain degrees of confidence can be made about what the causes of the observed changes are and what future changes will occur. This has been a process of hypotheses and theory building on the climate change and testing those, going on for decades know, with contributions from thousands of scientific studies adding more and more pieces to the puzzle. The principles and methods are not different to any scientific process, based on which scientists make statement on anything.

    “I’ve looked at the ice core data. I see two overlapping cycles in motion. There is a tens-of-millions-of-years cycle. In that cycle we are near the all time low and just heading back up.”

    Is this a figment of your imagination? What ice core data are these supposed to be in which you can detect tens-of-million-of-years cycles? The longest ice core goes back about 800,000 years. Or how do you detect tens-of-millions-of-years cycles in an 800,000 year ice core?

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

    BTW: Ice core records do not record global temperatures. They record local temperatures (actually isotope ratios from which temperatures are inferred), i.e., temperatures in Arctica and Antarctica over hundreds of thousands of years. So one can’t prove with these local records that medieval temperatures on a global scale were higher than today’s globally averaged temperatures, in contrast to what some climate-”skeptic” websites want to make belief.

    “Why has the temperature been holding one level for 90 thousand years, and then warming 8 degrees over a 10 thousand year period, and then cooling back down 8 degrees over the next 3 thousand years? The ice core data shows that clear pattern repeated 5 times, going back 5 hundred thousand years.”

    Because of changes in Earth’s orbital parameters and feedbacks and nonlinearities in the climate system. Key word: “Milankovitch-cycles”. This has already been asked and answered in this thread. Let’s see when the next climate “skeptic” comes and repeats the same bogus argument again.

    “Did you notice that the salinity of the sea has been rising?”

    Well, I haven’t noticed personally yet. But yes, scientists have come to the conclusion from data that salinity has been increasing in recent decades, particular towards the tropics. This increase is consistent with global warming and increased evaporation due to it.

    “So maybe the world is warmer, but that warmth is more concentrated near the equator. If this trend continues then the winters are going to continue to get worse nearer the poles.”

    This isn’t backed by data from the real world. In the real world, the observed warming is largest in the high latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere. But exactly this warming and an increasing fresh water influx in the arctic regions could possibly cause a breakdown in the ocean conveyor belt, through which heat is transported to northern latitudes, particularly Europe. But this would be a secondary effect and a possible abrupt climate change, exactly caused by global warming. This possibility doesn’t contradict the global warming theory.

    “Oh, I meant to say: I, G, H are my big three, in that order.”

    Based on what? Gut feeling? Wishful thinkings? Your personal taste? With your own presumption that “we” didn’t understand anything, it can’t be based on anything else. I very much doubt that you can present any data or calculations that could reconcile your opinion on this with the global temperature record over the last 30 years.

    rc

  83. flipspiceland says:

    Out of the box, HCF first above, says it all.

  84. mathman says:

    Here’s a link to a video of a good explanation of CO2 correlation to temp rise on earth by a scientist:

    http://climateprogress.org/2009/12/21/agu-richard-alley-explains-biggest-control-knob-carbon-dioxide-in-earths-climate-history/#more-16505

    Again: nobody cares what you or i “believe” – it ain’t about us (we’re only a bi-product that will cease to exist when the conditions become such that our life can’t be supported by our planetary host, which is rapidly becoming the case).

  85. mknowles says:

    It won’t work. The folks who are climate deniers aren’t deniers because they don’t believe, they may very well believe climate change is caused by human activities, but they don’t care. They deny because it’s profitable to do so. Oil companies for example. They won’t participate in anything that will cause humans to change direction and cut their profits. They will invest in causing chaos to any activity or process that threatens their profits.

    There are those who want to maintain the status quo because it’s profitable, and they use their money to pay those who have faith that everything is in god’s hands, so no need to be stewards of the earth. Better for them to have the end times near, so they can meet their savior in heaven.

    We will never solve the climate change problem until we acknowledge this. We’re all wasting time with these arguments. I think we missed our window of opportunity back in 1990 anyway.

  86. jack says:

    rc,

    you are correct about ice cores and that they measure local temps. nothing measures global data. tree rings seem to be the proxy of choice for more temperate climates. however, tree rings are also at the heart of the cru email controversy. at issue is whether they were cherry picked to support agw hypothesis.

    since the cru temps are some of the base material for the ipcc report, then we have to step back and wonder if the 90% you cite above is a credible number. if you want scientific peer reviewed reports that dispute this number, just google roy spencer, roger pielke, richard lindzen. one of the other disturbing aspects of the cru emails are the possible attempts at suppressing peer reviewed reports:
    http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/12/a_climatology_conspiracy.html

    also, if you want to convince a skeptic, you will have to use as source material something other than wikipedia:
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/12/19/wikibullies-at-work-the-national-post-exposes-broad-trust-issues-over-wikipedia-climate-information/

  87. DeDude says:

    Ahab; Interesting; you seem to reject building your interpretation of the world on data because you have experienced some cases of wrong interpretations of data or individual “experts” presenting flawed data or interpretations.

    I have also experienced experts presenting flawed interpretations of data or raw data being handled in a flawed way so they produced “data” that was not correct. However, that has never tempted me to think that a “reality” pulled out of my own dumb a$$ would be better than one supported by data. I am fully comfortable in dealing with a reality that is described by probabilities. I would never think that a reality not supported by any data AND stongly rejected by a lot of data should be the one to act upon. If one expert from a prestigious research university comes out and say children should (or should not) take cough medicine, then I say show me the data to back up your conclusion. If every expert in pediatric infectious diseases say there is clear and undeniable evidence to suggest that children should not take cough medicine, then I may ask those who say the opposite to show me some convincing data to support their rejection of the experts consensus. I am not saying that there has never been a data supported expert consensus that was later toppled. However, it is fairly rare and usually only happens if there are some obvious flaws in the data that the consensus is build upon, or there is some solid data that simply cannot be explained in the context of the expert consensus.

  88. DeDude says:

    Randy; right now the polar bears are drowning because the arctic ice is melting and the distance from northern Canada to that ice has increased dramatically. I sure hope that the trend that your analysis picked up will catch up with the real observable world such that “If this trend continues then the winters are going to continue to get worse nearer the poles”. But don’t feel bad about your analysis being in contradiction with the observable facts. A great NASA scientist (Hansen) came to the same conclusion as you about 3-4 decades ago. However, he was realy smart so when he later realized that although his analysis of ice core and other climate cycle data suggested that the world was heading for a cooling trend but that reality of actual temperature measurments showed the globe is warming – he was able to connect the dots and realize that human activities must be heating the globe.

  89. rootless_cosmopolitan says:

    jack,

    “you are correct about ice cores and that they measure local temps. nothing measures global data.”

    The measure local temperatures and are representative to some degree for some region. But it’s not just one type of proxy data that is used for reconstructions of past global or Hemispheric temperatures.

    “however, tree rings are also at the heart of the cru email controversy. at issue is whether they were cherry picked to support agw hypothesis.”

    It is suggested by climate “skeptics”, that data were allegedly secretly manipulated to support global warming. More suggestion than proof, though. What results published in the scientific literature are supposed to be based on such manipulated data? The problem of the divergence between some tree ring proxies and the instrumental temperature record after the year 1960 was published by Briaffa and Co themselves in 1998. Nothing hidden there. And it’s a straw man argument as far as it is used to dismiss global warming. Assuming the suggestion was true, go to the IPCC report, which, I very strongly guess, you haven’t even read, and see what it would change about the results in there. The substantial statements on past temperatures from reconstructions in the report don’t really depend on what allegedly somewhat did 10 years ago. Tree rings aren’t even essential to be able to reconstruct the global warming in the proxy records. Other type of data show very similar patterns (e.g. boreholes) There has been a number of more studies since then, including studies by groups independent on the ones in question. Additionally, AGW theory isn’t solely based on reconstructions of past temperature records. Those are only a part of the data from the real world and the reconstructions are only one of the scientific approaches.

    “since the cru temps are some of the base material for the ipcc report, then we have to step back and wonder if the 90% you cite above is a credible number.”

    1. The uncertainties in the tree ring data, or generally, of proxy data and uncertainties in the temperature reconstruction resulting from it are all discussed in the IPCC-report. 2. The CRU temperatures have nothing to do with tree ring data. 3. The CRU temperatures are not the only temperature data. 4. Temperature data are not the only type of data used for the assessment. 5. The assessment isn’t only based on measurements and proxy data.

    The statement about the likelihood that the observed climate change is man-made is based on the comprehensive analysis of various types of data from the real world, which are also independent on each other, and the ability of climate models to reproduce observed climate change by taking into account the known natural and anthropogenic forcings.

    None of the climate “skeptics” has provided any hypothesis so far, which has the same explanatory strength for all the known data from the real world as the global warming theory does, and with which the observed climate can be reproduced using climate models.

    Of course, a 90% probability (if it’s even only 90%), leaves a chance of 10% that climate change isn’t man-made. But even if the probabily was 80% or 70% what would it change substantially? Would you enter a plane, if the odds for the plane is going to crash were 70%?

    “also, if you want to convince a skeptic, you will have to use as source material something other than wikipedia:
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/12/19/wikibullies-at-work-the-national-post-exposes-broad-trust-issues-over-wikipedia-climate-information/

    Very funny. The masters of cherry picking and biased information talk about alleged cherry picking and biased information. When you ask me to provide other source material than wikipedia and link to political hacks and paranoid conspiracy nuts at the same time, then it is obvious that none of anything to what I would refer will be accepted by you. IPCC certainly not. NASA, NOAA sources neither. Or any scientific publication in any climate journal unless it would argue against the global warming theory. There is only a handful of latter. All others are part of the big climate conspiracy consisting of hundreds or thousands of scientists from research groups all over the world who have systematically brainwashed the public for some sinister purposes, power, and personal wealth for decades now. Therefore, it doesn’t really matter whether I link to wikipedia or to any other source of my choice.

    So, either you tell which of the information on results from scientific research in wikipedia to which I linked is seriously flawed or distorted and why, or your counter-argument is just another example where someone tries to dismiss results from science he doesn’t like by discrediting the sources, because the content itself can’t be refuted.

    BTW: You got it wrong. My intention isn’t to convince any climate skeptics. This would be a futile attempt. It just will make me depressed, when I try that.

    rc

  90. Jessica6 says:

    The trouble with that is that if there is increased solar activity then according to certain hypothesis there will be warming anyway, just not ‘man made’ warming…

    I’ll stick with this for now: Bring in a carbon tax but make it voluntary. Heck, even put in as much peer pressure as they do for Earth Day and make it a public flaunt for all I care.

    And on top of that everybody who attends any conference on the environment or goes to ‘protest’ it not going far enough either has to walk there or physically pay – out of their own pocket, no tax deductions or expense accounts – a supplemental ‘carbon tax’ equal to whatever calculus they use for determining the carbon ‘footprint’ of any given activity. And no, they can’t trade it or plant a rainforest in lieu. This comes out of your own pocket. Put your money where your mouth is.

    I’ll believe it’s a crisis when the people who keep telling me it’s a crisis start acting like it’s a crisis.

  91. Jessica6 says:

    @rootless_cosmopolitan Says:
    None of the climate “skeptics” has provided any hypothesis so far, which has the same explanatory strength for all the known data from the real world as the global warming theory does, and with which the observed climate can be reproduced using climate models.

    Cute. Anytime I see someone go onto RC asking if they can come up with a ‘falsifiable hypothesis’ they get a snark from Gavin about ‘Science has moved on since Karl Popper’ or other such rubbish. Also, if you don’t think skeptics provide alternative hypotheses at all proves to me that you’ve never bothered to look at all. Which says more about your own biases and filters than about the science.

    Look up climate change and solar activity for instance (which is not the same as the irradiation that Gavin blathers on about.) Even in the IPCC’s own documents about various ‘forcings’ show that solar ‘forcing’ was shown to be at a very low LOSU (level of scientific understanding). Same for the cloud albedo effect.

    http://www.erikturner.net/images/figures/IPCC_2007_Syn_Fig2_4_Forcing_gasses.png

    You cannot reasonably have a low level of scientific understanding about the single solitary ‘natural’ forcing AND at the same time claim that it doesn’t account for much. And beyond that, it’s a bit of a stretch to consider things like water vapor and cloud albedo being primarily ‘anthropogenic’ either.

    See, I’m not taken in by right-wing media or bought by an oil company – I just have the ability to think critically so that makes me – heaven forbid! – a skeptic. But I’m equally skeptical of crap that comes out of the Cato Institute or something on John Stossel’s show.

    DeDude Says:
    Randy; right now the polar bears are drowning because the arctic ice is melting and the distance from northern Canada to that ice has increased dramatically.

    Nonsense claims like this is why people are ‘skeptic’ and well they should be.

    ONE: polar bears can swim.

    TWO: Arctic ice extent has been increasing this year. There’s only really good (i.e. satellite) data for about 30 years – not enough to prove anything.

    DeDude Says:
    Hate to break this to you ahab, those natural changes in shorelines and other geography normally occurs over thousands or millions of years and the inhabitants have in the past had no problem adjusting to the changes without it disrupting their lives.

    Wrong – those natural changes can take seconds. Earthquakes and volcanoes. Just ask anyone in the way of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami how much time they had to vamoose, or the folks living near Vesuvius. And a new ice age wouldn’t take that long either, geologically speaking.

  92. rootless_cosmopolitan says:

    @Jessica6:

    Don’t make the main culprits that are responsible for greenhouse gas emission pay for it and enforce changes of their technologies, but punish first the individuals who warn about the consequences and whose individual behavior is irrelevant for the outcome, just make anything what they do impossible. Now that would be convenient, wouldn’t it? You must hate reality a lot to make this kind of proposals. BTW: I know a few environmentalist and those are usually much more conscious about their behavior and its impact on climate than the average person.

    “The trouble with that is that if there is increased solar activity then according to certain hypothesis there will be warming anyway, just not ‘man made’ warming…”

    A logical flaw here is that no one says increased solar activity wouldn’t contribute to a global warming. It would exacerbate the problem, since it would add to the man-made contribution. The more reason to do something about the man-made contribution.

    However, anyone who attributes global warming in recent decades to solar activity has a little problem. It’s difficult to reconcile with the data:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Solar-cycle-data.png

    There hasn’t been any significant upward trend in these data. Now, compare these data to the trend in temperature and other climate variables, which consistently show a significant warming signal over recent decades.

    Why should one follow the hypothesis that solar activity is the cause? Unless, there is some mechanism not understood so far, that causes very small solar activity changes to be amplified in the climate system and translated to relative large temperature changes. Then again, this is difficult to reconcile with past climate variability, which doesn’t provide supportive evidence for such a high sensitivity of the global temperature to such small solar activity changes.

    So, why think a hypothesis about solar activity with additional, arbitrary assumptions should be correct, but not the theory that doesn’t need additional assumptions and can explain recent large scale changes in the climate system very well and consistently.

    And what strange reasoning is this anyway? Because, there is small chance that global warming isn’t man-made, only a >90% chance that it is, one doesn’t really need to do anything? Because it isn’t 100%? So, you apparently would enter a plan, because the chance of a crash with it is only 90%, and not 100%? The difference is that the ones who warn about the very probable plane crash can choose to exit the plan. One can’t really choose to exit society and escape the consequences in this way.

    rc

  93. rootless_cosmopolitan says:

    Jessica6:

    “Cute. Anytime I see someone go onto RC asking if they can come up with a ‘falsifiable hypothesis’ they get a snark from Gavin about ‘Science has moved on since Karl Popper’ or other such rubbish. Also, if you don’t think skeptics provide alternative hypotheses at all proves to me that you’ve never bothered to look at all. Which says more about your own biases and filters than about the science.”

    You apparently didn’t read what I wrote, or you don’t care to understand. I didn’t say climate “skeptics” wouldn’t provide alternative hypotheses. Please, read again.

    And, yes. The understanding how sciences works has moved on since Popper. What I wrote has nothing to do with Popper.

    rc

  94. rootless_cosmopolitan says:

    Jessica6:

    “TWO: Arctic ice extent has been increasing this year. There’s only really good (i.e. satellite) data for about 30 years – not enough to prove anything.”

    Not by itself. If a 30 year decreasing trend in the ice extend isn’t enough to prove anything, what again was the relevance of a 1 year increase (a little wobble, like the others before, compared to the 30 year trend) in the ice extend?

    rc

  95. pemorris says:

    I think McKitrick’s proposal is a ruse. As a sceptic, he wants to see the “currency” of the debate shift from speculation (theories and models) to actual observations.