Funny thing happens sometimes when you look at who the witnesses are in a public policy debate . . .


These Groups Say The Danger Of Manmade Global Warming Is A . . .
U.S. Agency for International Development
United States Department of Agriculture
National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration
National Institute of Standards and Technology
United States Department of Defense
United States Department of Energy
National Institutes of Health
United States Department of State
United States Department of Transportation
U.S. Geological Survey
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
University Corporation for Atmospheric Research
National Center for Atmospheric Research
National Aeronautics & Space Administration
National Science Foundation
Smithsonian Institution
International Arctic Science Committee
Arctic Council
African Academy of Sciences
Australian Academy of Sciences
Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Sciences
and the Arts
Academia Brasileira de Ciéncias
Cameroon Academy of Sciences
Royal Society of Canada
Caribbean Academy of Sciences
Chinese Academy of Sciences
Académie des Sciences, France
Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences
Deutsche Akademie der Naturforscher Leopoldina
of Germany
Indonesian Academy of Sciences
Royal Irish Academy
Accademia nazionale delle scienze of Italy
Indian National Science Academy
Science Council of Japan
Kenya National Academy of Sciences
Madagascar’s National Academy of Arts,
Letters and Sciences
Academy of Sciences Malaysia
Academia Mexicana de Ciencias
Nigerian Academy of Sciences
Royal Society of New Zealand
Polish Academy of Sciences
Russian Academy of Sciences
l’Académie des Sciences et Techniques
du Sénégal
Academy of Science of South Africa
Sudan Academy of Sciences
Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
Tanzania Academy of Sciences
Turkish Academy of Sciences
Uganda National Academy of Sciences
The Royal Society of the United Kingdom
National Academy of Sciences, United States
Zambia Academy of Sciences
Zimbabwe Academy of Science
American Academy of Pediatrics
American Association for the Advancement
of Science
American Association of Wildlife Veterinarians
American Astronomical Society
American Chemical Society
American College of Preventive Medicine
American Geophysical Union
American Institute of Physics
American Medical Association
American Meteorological Society
American Physical Society
American Public Health Association
American Quaternary Association
American Institute of Biological Sciences
American Society of Agronomy
American Society for Microbiology
American Society of Plant Biologists
American Statistical Association
Association of Ecosystem Research Centers
Botanical Society of America
Crop Science Society of America
Ecological Society of America
Federation of American Scientists
Geological Society of America
National Association of Geoscience Teachers
Natural Science Collections Alliance
Organization of Biological Field Stations
Society of American Foresters
Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics
Society of Systematic Biologists
Soil Science Society of America
Australian Coral Reef Society
Australian Medical Association
Australian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society
Engineers Australia
Federation of Australian Scientific and Technological Societies
Geological Society of Australia
British Antarctic Survey
Institute of Biology, UK
Royal Meteorological Society, UK
Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences
Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society
European Federation of Geologists
European Geosciences Union
European Physical Society
European Science Foundation
International Association for Great Lakes Research
International Union for Quaternary Research
International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
World Federation of Public Health Associations
World Health Organization
World Meteorological Organization
American Petroleum Institute
US Chamber of Commerce
National Association of Manufacturers
Competitive Enterprise Institute
Industrial Minerals Association
National Cattlemen’s Beef Association
Great Northern Project Development
Rosebud Mining
Massey Energy
Alpha Natural Resources
Southeastern Legal Foundation
Georgia Agribusiness Council
Georgia Motor Trucking Association
Corn Refiners Association
National Association of Home Builders
National Oilseed Processors Association
National Petrochemical and Refiners Association
Western States Petroleum Association
National Agnotology Producers Association
The Astroturfing Consortium
“FACT” organizations from Is There a Scientific Consensus on Global Warming?,“FRAUD” organizations are petitioners v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Endangerment and Cause or Contribute Findings for Greenhouse Gases under Section 202(a) of the Clean Air Act.


Source: Think Progress

Category: 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.

74 Responses to “Global Warming Debate is No Debate At All”

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  2. Oral Hazard says:

    After the agnotology producers, you forgot to add The Astroturfing Consortium, Barry.


    BR: Fixed

  3. Takeyourfinger says:

    I believe in Global Warming, but does that matter? It’s not like our fossil fuels are unlimited. At some point, like it or not, we will reduce our consumption.

  4. Calidony says:

    Geeze Barry, it sounds like you should change professions (maybe you could try organic farming), sell your high powered sports cars, and stop jet setting all over the world. If man made global warming is such an issue with you, than maybe you should take some personal responsibility.
    Those who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones


    BR: You missed the point. As I have said repeatedly with my giant carbon footprint, this is not my issue.

    But observing cognitive dissonance and all manner of biases are. If you have read this blog it all, the criticism is about people who push an ideological agenda, ignore math, science, and reality. Those are costly errors in my profession.


  5. Lyle says:

    One of the problems is that fixing global warming is like buying an insurance policy where the premium is tbd and you can’t choose not to pay. I view the issues as we can spend some money now to avoid problems in the future or spend it then. The question then starts with what discount rate do you use (unless you want it to be a morality arguement). From that and the potential harms you figure out the NPV of the happenings if nothing is done, and compare with the costs of taking measures now (NPV to NPV) and then you decide what to do.
    Of course cap and trade was flawed because the banks would make money on it, if you do something it has to be a carbon tax, perhaps used to reduce payroll taxes or pay for health care (that was my idea in 2009 put in a carbon tax and dedicate it to universal health care.

  6. raholco says:

    Also missing: Heartland Institute (That Unabomber sign in Chicago), CATO, AEI, Republican Party

  7. aramps says:

    Yeah, but all those scientists have a fiduciary responsibility to their….

    ummm. yeah. okay. nevermind.

  8. daredevil23 says:

    How can you do a V.A.R. / NPV calculation when no one can tell what the tipping point / black swan moment will be?

  9. KickedintheCapital says:

    While we may see catastrophe from Global Warming yet, this is worth reading as a telling reminder that we cannot always accept consensus, especially on something as complex as global climate.


    BR: Yes, we should listen instead to the writers of fiction thrillers like Michael Crichton rather than actually understand science.

  10. DSS10 says:

    Missing the National Academy of Science on the left and the state government of Virginiastan under its republian leader Bin McDonald and the Cuccinelli network.

  11. Blif says:

    This is for the whole shebang and the smart money, i.e. “science”, is betting on catastrophe. I think the possible risk of overpaying on insurance might be worth it…

  12. NoKidding says:

    Globally, the Warmest year in last 30 was still 1998. USAs 2012 high is offset by lows in other nations. If there is such a thing as global temperature, and our current instruments are measuring it, it has been more or less flat for 15 years, and below the 90 percent confidence intervals of the previous consensus IPCC report.

  13. NoKidding says:

    Also, construct a similar chart of the finest and most respected finance and insurance corporations’ published, data driven reports on the housing market in 2006. How many saying higher, and how many saying lower?

    Where is more money, pressure, recruiting and selection applied? The largest component of household wealth for the last two centuries or the science of climatology, an immature offshoot of meteorology?

  14. Apinak says:


    Here is an even better link and video to debunk the myth that no global warming has occurred since 1998.

  15. John Adamson says:

    The problem with this presentation is that the same kind of presentation would have shown

  16. dctodd27 says:

    What difference does it make who is on what side? They’re all motivated by the same thing, and will say and do things contrary to what they actually think if it means more profits…er…funding….


    BR: I have found that thinking like a litigator cross examining witnesses helps me to determine who is lying

  17. [...] Global Warming Debate is No Debate at All The Big Picture. Treasury Nominee Jack Lew’s Pro-Bank, Austerity, Deregulation Legacy Amy [...]

  18. John Adamson says:

    The problem with this presentation is that the same kind of presentation would have shown pioneers such as Pasteur or Jenner to be “nuts” and “frauds.”

    Sometimes, the conventional wisdom of the scientific establishment is wrong. Sometimes, academics will go with the side that produces the grant money.

    A better presentation would be to quote the work of the folks at Swiss RE and Munich RE who believe in climate change. They have no political or social axe to grind. They bet their money on their actuarial studies – and their studies say climate change is real.

    I used to discount the climate change hypothesis when I saw politicians use it to increase their control and Wall Streeters use it as a way to scam money through carbon markets. The fact that Al Gore had a heated swimming pool, an obscene electric bill, and flew in private jets while he said the sky was falling wasn’t a big selling point for me either.

    However, the fact the re-insurers bet their money on it sold me on the concept. If you want to know the truth about an event see what the bookmaker says – he backs his opinion up with money.

    The presentations on the re-insurers’ web site changed my my mind on the subject.

  19. John,

    I think I understand the thinking behind the..”…the re-insurers bet their money on it sold me on the concept…”-Idea..

    though, doesn’t the Theory, merely, give them (the re-insurers) ‘cover’ to raise their Rates?

    differently, given the USG’s, strong, proponent(-ry) of the Theory, Why aren’t they pulling the Plug on..
    July 13, 2011
    “…The National Flood Insurance Program has been renewed for another five years, after a vote from the House on Tuesday. The program has been struggling financially for several years, unable to withstand the burden of past disasters and new clients. It has long been the last place people could find affordable flood insurance, especially after Hurricane Katrina drove many insurers away from coastal states. The program’s fate now lies in the hands of Congress, who must determine the final course of action before September 30th, when the program will expire outright.

    Supporters of the program say that it will help reinvigorate the housing market by placating some of the misgivings people may have over purchasing new homes without access to flood protection. While flood insurance is required by most mortgage agreements for properties in areas prone to flooding, the options available to consumers are relatively slim. In the absence of a robust, private insurance market, the National Flood Insurance Program has been offering coverage to property owners at rates well below the market average, a practice that has driven the program into crippling debt…”

    “…AS VACATIONING Americans drive by the rows of “No Vacancy” signs at the beach this summer, few realize that their tax dollars probably helped build, or re-build, many of those hotels, condominiums and second homes.

    They also may not realize that white beaches and clean coastal waters – and the multitudinous fish, shellfish and wildlife they support – could be going the way of the rainforests because of an onslaught of development and environmental degradation.

    Ultimately, shoreline development could threaten even the shoreline itself and the people who live in it. Coastal dwellings, and their inhabitants, are sitting ducks for hurricanes and storms. In the 20 years since the last deadly Class A hurricane, coastal development has exploded, leading the former director of the National Hurricane Center to conclude that “in virtually every coastal city of any size from Texas to Maine . . . the United States is building toward a hurricane disaster.”

    One major force behind booming coastal development is the mammoth National Flood Insurance Program…”
    August 4, 1991 | Beth Millemann

    she was Right, then (~20 years Ago), and she is Right, now.

    the ‘Enviros’ have been Where? on this Topic?

  20. Apinak says:

    This post does a very thorough job debunking the idea that the IPCC overestimated warming.

  21. Tulips says:

    There needs to be real debate and discussion on the matter of global warming. However, when you have one side calling the other eejits or stoopid and the other calling them fear mongerers… then you can have no real advance in discussion. If this is a topic that truly warrants attention, then both sides should stop the name calling and bullying and discuss it like adults. But of course that will never happen…

  22. eideard says:

    Reblogged this at

  23. ReductiMat says:

    Yes Tulips, if only the global warming academics didn’t open up the debate over thirty years ago with, “Hey fuckheads, you’re all idiots”.

    … wait a minute … did they?

  24. NickAthens says:

    Can we agree that it is a rare government organization that does not aspire to more funding. The obvious source of more funding is more taxes.

    Can we also agree the whole point of Global Warming is to create a new form of taxation ?

    So when seeking unbiased sources should we not eliminate any organization that seeks to gain from being in favor of Global Warming?

    AS the old saying goes,” the more I learn, the less I believe”.

    Interesting to note that throughout history any “change” from the present is presumed to be a disaster. Whether it be cooling or warming. It is pretty obvious in both cases there would be beneficiaries and victims.

  25. No, most of these groups do not stand to profit from Cap & Trade

    National Institutes of Health
    American Association of Wildlife Veterinarians
    American Astronomical Society
    American Chemical Society
    American College of Preventive Medicine
    American Medical Association
    American Meteorological Society
    American Public Health Association
    American Institute of Biological Sciences
    American Society of Agronomy
    American Society for Microbiology


  26. formerlawyer says:

    @NickAthens Says:
    Can we agree that it is a rare government organization that does not aspire to more funding. The obvious source of more funding is more taxes.

    >No. How does an organization aspire?

    Can we also agree the whole point of Global Warming is to create a new form of taxation ?

    >No. The whole point of global warming is to reduce the human impact on global climate.

    So when seeking unbiased sources should we not eliminate any organization that seeks to gain from being in favor of Global Warming?

    No. Science is settled. Global warming is a fact. The idea that scientists are motivated by money is ludicrous. They are scientists. The are smarter than quants on Wall Street. If they were motivated by money they would go to Wall Street. (some have). More lab funding? Do you know how much goes to the scientists? None, nothing, nada. University procurement rules are arcane and insane designed to deny any personal benefit from any purchases. The more lab assistants & students the more hassles, the paperwork, administrative whoop-de-do not just linearly but geometrically.

    AS the old saying goes,” the more I learn, the less I believe”.

    >Good for you, a witty anti-intellectual, anti-science, anti-fact nostrum. Here is another equally meaningless: “You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink.”

    Interesting to note that throughout history any “change” from the present is presumed to be a disaster. Whether it be cooling or warming. It is pretty obvious in both cases there would be beneficiaries and victims.

    >The point is there is a real possibility that the change may be irreversible and there will be no human “beneficiaries and victims”. The possibility may be small but are your children or grandchildren prepared to take the consequences of your inaction?

    Go read:

  27. Petey Wheatstraw says:

    thank you, formerlawyer.

    One of these days, the heat, bad weather, desertification, crop failures, ocean acidification, and the attendant human migration and war to avoid it all, will make the naysayers finally STFU. If you don’t like scientific theory (backed by scads of data, the scientific method, and very little money), then perhaps reality will force you to put a sock in it.

    Here’s an experiment for the skeptics:

    Have some seafood for dinner. Tomorrow morning, take a crap in your coffee pot and then brew up a nice steaming pot of hot java. Now, drink it. When you start puking, blame it on the shellfish you ate last night, as there is no way to “prove” that the shit/coffee drink was what made you sick. No proof. Absolutely NONE. Anyone who says it was the coffee obviously has a profit motive.

    I swear to god, I’m so sick of this “debate” and the idiocy coming from the deniers that I can’t even believe I wasted the time to write this. If you wasted your time reading it, I apologize.

  28. george lomost says:

    Barry, the actual scientific hypothesis for “global warming” can be stated as: ‘Since the industrial revolution human activity (and population growth?) have caused an increase in the kinetic energy in the environment.”

    In plain English: kinetic energy can be measured as “heat” but can also manifest itself as more storms, same # but more intense storms, even fewer big storms but many, many localized and intense storms, etc. Melting of the polar ice cap may also alter ocean currents that warm northern Europe causing crop failures there (!).

    There are so many variables (most yet to be identified) that it is impossible to create decent predictions. Hard science is impossible without lots of numbers and measurements, and those are sorely lacking here. Hence the proliferation of verbal narratives that cannot be examined for truth value.

    By the time we have hard numbers it will be too late.

    Gotta start writing that blog, darn it …

  29. EMichael says:

    I have to tell you, of all the deniers inanities the one that bothers me the most is “the scientists are doing this for the grant money” thing.


    They are paid to research, not paid for the conclusion. Actually, if they wanted to make more money, that is to be found on the deniers side.

  30. Moss says:

    But it is snowing in Mississippi and Alabama.


    BR: Yes, exactly. That’s part of Global Weather Volatility.

  31. Patrick Neid says:

    The debate is really pretty moot at this point. Nothing is going to be done. A small step here, a small step there to keep the partisans on both sides corralled. China and India among others are yawning. Try to look on the bright side. The planet is either warming or cooling throughout its history. Given a choice, warming tends to be more enjoyable. Here’s hoping the amount projected by the computer modeling, above and beyond normal cycles, is wrong. It would not be the first time that long term predictions about anything were proved to be wrong to no matter how compelling the evidence.


    BR: Warming is better than an ice age, but look what it did this year to Australia, and what it does to farm production.

  32. EMichael says:


    Strangely enough, the “computer modeling” has been largely conservative over the last several decades.

  33. Taylor says:

    The greatest extinction event in the history of the planet happened during the Permian, and was due to climate change.

    That climate change took place over 100,000 years.

    We are on course to see similar climate change in the next 100 years.

    With the permafrost melting in Arctic areas, that is going to release vast quantities of methane gas. Methane is a thousand times worse than CO2 for trapping heat. The good thing is it does not last the thousand years in the atmosphere that CO2 does. It will only stay in the atmosphere for a couple of centuries.

    Big die-off coming.

  34. courageandmoney says:

    Once you have someone like Al Gore who was the spokesman, the debate becomes politcal and mute to me. Nothing is constand up or down, as traders we should all know that. In addition, anyone who’s says money is not a huge driving factor for funding or taxes is living in fantasy land and ignoring events. Just my two cents.

  35. JimRino says:

    NoKidding, the right has got the most Incompetent Method of Extrapolating Trends.
    Thanks for the laugh.

  36. JimRino says:

    Al Gore, sadly, has had an excellent track record of successful prediction, if you can call a movie based on the views of the mass of the scientific community “prediction”. To ignore the US drought, the North American Drought, the Global drought with just 1 degree of temperature increase, because you don’t like Al Gore, then ignore Al Gore and go right to his source material.

    Real Scientific Articles.

  37. EMichael says:

    Last I looked Al Gore was not part of the IPCC, and probably the most well paid college researcher in the field of climate science is Roy Spencer who is actually a real scientist(and denier) though he has never actually published anything that was not laughed at by the entire scientific community for its glaring errors and omissions.

    You could not count the money a scientist could make with even a tiny refutation of man made climate change.

  38. BITFU Search Engine says:

    Sorry to self-promote, but what follows is the truth:

    If you want a better idea as to what either side of the debate says on global warming, go to and enter your global warming query (any climate query will work) and there you really will get immediate access to the best arguments. [The arguments of those who deny AGW are on The Right (obviously) and vice-versa.]

  39. gorobei says:


    “Increased kinetic energy from human activity = increased heat = global warming” is either trivially true in terms of physics, or misleading unless you are including indirect effects like greenhouse gas behavior.

    The direct increase in heat from human activity (people burning stuff, etc) hardly moves the global warming meter.

    The indirect heating from greenhouse gases (a by-product of burning stuff) is 100 times greater.

  40. BITFU Search Engine says:


  41. [...] The climate change debate isn’t a debate at all. A list of groups on both “sides” (reality vs. fantasy). The disbelievers are, of course, mostly made up of petroleum and coal producers, construction companies and “The Astroturfing Consortium”. (Big Picture) [...]

  42. rd says:

    There is a middle ground that unfortunately has very few people occupying it.

    Even if you believe in anthropogenic global warming, there is room for a lot of doubt that the world will be able to dramatically reduce carbon emissions (Congress’s inability to execute the most basic functions of government, never mind carbon emissions, is Exhibit A).

    So regardless of whether or not you believe in global warming, there is stil la lot that can be done on a local and regional basis to prepare for the postential consequences of global warming that overlap with past weather and climate extremes as well as other impacts.

    Examples, include preparing our cities for flooding from hurricanes and interior storms that have occured in the past, never mind the future; reducing agricultural runoff that is creating large dead zones off our coastlines at the mouth of the Mississippi and many other places; making dry regions more drought-resisistant (that may even include changing land uses in those areas), etc.

    It is clear that we are not prepared agriculturally or structurally for the weather events that have occurred in the past 1,000 years, never mind the future – we have lost major portions of two cities over the past 7 years with many more vulnerable as well as having much of the country in drought on a scale like the 1930s. Similarly, agricultural runoff, urban pollution, damming of small creeks and rivers, and over-fishing, are destroying major fisheries, possibly irreparably.

    There are lots of measures that we can do to build a robust and resilient ecology and economy that can withstand variable weather and climate, as well as our own tendencies to short-sighted actions. Many of these measures can be agreed on without even entering into a discussion on global warming and carbon emissions.

  43. Apinak says:

    When deciding whether or not to take action on global warming we should consider two main things: 1) the probability that warming will happen, and 2) the relative costs of action and inaction.

    As the list in this post makes clear, the probability that warming is occurring is very high. The deniers try to spread misinformation and nitpick about details of the many complex computer models, but the facts are catching up with them.

    But, even if you are not completely convinced that warming is real, the relative costs of action and no action make a compelling case for doing something. If global warming is occurring and we do nothing the likely results are catastrophic; ocean acidification, drought, wildfires, flooding of most coastal cities, frequent extreme storms, and a nontrivial possibility of making much of the globe uninhabitable. On the flip side, the cost of curbing greenhouse gases are fairly small. For the most part it involves doing things we should do anyway.

  44. wally says:

    So, when we spend billions to rebuild after Hurricane Sandy, are we making an immense mistake to allow rebuilding in areas that each year have increased likelihood of another disaster?
    After the Mississippi flooding back in the 90′s, rebuilding in flood-prone areas was greatly restricted. I see no such thing happening on the East Coast.
    Someday, whether soon or late, rising sea levels will make many currently developed areas unlivable. This is true whatever the causes of warming and is separate from that debate.

  45. rd says:


    A potential solution to your point (which is a very good one) is to tie the use of federal reconstruction dollars to minimim standards. If something cannot be constructed to meet these standards, then it really should be a local decision as to whether or not they want to use local funds for that reconstruction with no federal help. A typical example of such a standard is:

    These are the types of points that should have been a topic of discussion in the debate on the second and third bills for Sandy assistance (much of the first bill was immediate response requirements). Unfortunately, the House was incapable of rational discussion so we probably ended up with a worse bill with more wasteful spending than necessary because of the pig-headed GOP reps who are trying to blindly slash government spending (without actually succeeding). They have been demonstrating the negotiating acumen of a two-year and appear to be wondering why the adults keep giving them time-outs in the corner.

  46. DeDude says:

    @Lyle “fixing global warming is like buying an insurance policy where the premium is tbd and you can’t choose not to pay”
    To me it looks like it’s the opposite. We can chose exactly how much we pay in “premium” as we pick and chose each specific policy or investment in reducing global warming. The uncertainty is in exactly how much effect each will have and to what extend other things (e.g., methane release from the arctic) pulling in the wrong direction will overcome the effects of policies pulling in the right direction.

    @KickedintheCapital @John Adamson
    The issue is not whether scientific consensus is right 100% of the time. The issue is whether it is right a lot more often than not. If I had a stock picking system that was right 60% of the time and equally wrong 40% of the time, it’s a no brainer that I would use it and get rich. Similarly society is much better off following the results of scientific studies and consensus, than to listen to whatever someone has pulled out of their gut. If you have the intellectual capacity and inclination you can sometimes pick out cases where the scientific consensus is wrong by actually looking at the arguments against it – generally a couple of clear cut (can’t be debunked) arguments from the opposing side is a minimum (before it is worth looking even deeper).

    @NickAthens “Can we agree that it is a rare government organization that does not aspire to more funding”
    And that makes it the more astonishing that during Bush II there were no climatologist shifting to the denial side. Huge sums of money and power awaited such a person as Cheney and his oil industry palls desperately were searching for someone who would prostitute his professional integrity in exchange for their money and power. That speaks to how absolutely humiliatingly absurd your arguments would have to be (in the eyes of professionals) in order to speak against global warming (the humiliation would so bad as to not be worth all the gold and glory promised by big oil).

  47. DeDude says:

    All energy comes from the sun in one way or another. If man were to be real stupid and devise a moronic, inefficient way to harvest and benefit from that energy, what could he do?

    Let me suggest. He could let the solar energy be collected by plants, then let those plants die and be buried deep in earths crust under high pressure for many millions of years as they converted into highly polluting and toxic materials. He would then take those toxic substances out and burn them in a very inefficient process that only harvest a small part of the energy, but releases all the toxins and pollution. Although this is about as stupid as stupid can do – it is exactly what we humans have chosen to do because of the dysfunction of both market forces and governments.

    The good news is that by some accident (and prodding from smart people), we are finally moving in a more sensible direction. Harvesting the suns energy the smart way will soon overcome the terror-regime and stupidity of market forces. Collection of energy directly from the sun and the storage of energy have been making huge progress. A few more doublings in efficiency, energy density per pound weigh, and cost reductions – then even the market forces cannot stop us from doing the smart thing. The cliff-hanger is whether this shift to smarter energy sources will happen before or after we have wrecked huge damage on ourselves with climate change. Having re-elected Obama rather than another oil industry sponsored thug may have been the smartest thing this country has done in centuries.

  48. Boz says:

    Ok, what I want to know is this: What is the appropriate average global temperature? In other words, if it is ultimately agreed by all that global warming is real and needs to be dealt with on human terms by applying such things as cap and trade, how will we know when we’ve won the war on global warming?

  49. mw says:

    Here is a dissenting view from author Robert Felix….

  50. Greg0658 says:

    I just have to log in (again)
    60% right is OK pushing money around .. in a business IT IS A Disaster

    take the Boeing 767 – a battery (riiight) probably a charger circuit maybe clicklink’d by a cellphone

    on the fight to rebuild or not to rebuild next to coastlines .. AYFKM – government (all us) lives for this kind of demand .. to take the discussion 1 step further into the shadows – I wonder just how living in a zone that likely see’s distruction shapes plans – skip furniture & stuff – go for European vacations – it floats inside your head with your Anatevka wagon of valuable stuff much easier

  51. Greg0658 says:

    ps – good thing the cloud keeps all of our file cabinets and audio recordings and video disks floating .. that stuff takes up alot of room in your wagon

  52. Apinak says:


    Bill McKibben lays out very clearly what needs to be done to avoid the most catastrophic effects of climate change.

    And here is a World Bank summary of the most likely effects of 4 degree C warming (pdf). Their conclusion is “Thus, given that uncertainty remains about the full nature and scale of impacts, there is also no certainty that adaptation to a 4°C world is possible.”

  53. rd says:


    The real key is rate of change occurring at a rate that allows for adaptation.

    Unfortunately, we have so many other things going on damaging the planet that scientists have not been able to do a good job of isolating the temperature impacts from pollution, siltation, land use changes etc.

    There is no such thing as a “normal” temperature, or at least one that we would want. The “normal” temperature for the planet for the past 1 to 2 million years has actually been cold enough to have a high percentage of the planet covered by ice with large adjacent areas of arctic steppe – North America was covered by ice or looked like Mongolia down to the Memphis area 20,000 years ago. We are currently living in an interglacial period which normally lasts about 10,000 to 20,000 years between 100,000 year glacial periods. We are about 10,000 or so years into this one. Ocean levels were about 300-400 feet lower than today 15,000 to 20,000 years ago. They reached something close to currently levels about 8,000 to 10,000 years ago.

    Forests re-advanced at about 100 m per year or so as the glaciers retreated. However, some species took thousands of years longer to migrate than others, so they are slower to adapt to new climate conditions. Changes that are too fast to allow large systems to migrate at an acceptable pace are where the big danger comes from.

  54. newulm55 says:

    Ok, so for the limited time we have been able to accurately be able to measure temperatures, about 150 years of the 4,600,000,000 years the earth has existed. The science has proved trend is moving towards warmer and CO2 is the cause (after a cooling in the 70s and pause in the first 10 yrs of 2000).

    Now, based on scientific evidence what would cap-n-trade or any of the tax proposals actually to do reverse or even dramatically slow the growth of CO2. The answer from what I can tell is NONE, except for the folks that want to kill off 6.5 bln of the 7 bln humans.

    If we are going to have a solution it need to be bound in hard facts, not Tax and Wish. A 10% or even 50% reductions in US emissions would hardly count as a rounding error in the growth of CO2 emissions on a global scale.

    The conversation needs to be open and honest, but our current political setting will not allow that.

  55. formerlawyer says:

    Robert Felix:
    Denier Argument:
    We’re heading into an ice age
    “One day you’ll wake up – or you won’t wake up, rather – buried beneath nine stories of snow. It’s all part of a dependable, predictable cycle, a natural cycle that returns like clockwork every 11,500 years. And since the last ice age ended almost exactly 11,500 years ago…” (Ice Age Now) (Run by the said Robert Felix)

    Simple answer:
    Worry about global warming impacts in the next 100 years, not an ice age in over 10,000 years.

    Intermediate Answer:
    The warming effect from more CO2 greatly outstrips the influence from changes in the Earth’s orbit or solar activity, even if solar levels were to drop to Maunder Minimum levels. (the Little Ice Age).

    From – the comments are good as well.

  56. DeDude says:


    There is no question that you want to be right as often as you can and that you should strive for that. The question was if you only have two sources of information for a decision that must be taken now (do X or don’t do X), one source is right at least 60% of the time the other is about as good as the flip of a coin (50%). Do you use the source with the highest score on being right (even if it is not ALWAYS right) or do you go back to something that is as good or worse than flip of a coin. We should most certainly attempt to get decision made based on better >90% right (and scientific consensus gets it better more often than that). But even if the best you can get is 60-40 you have to base your decision on that.

  57. Boz says:


    Actually, I believe the real key is one’s time frame. My preference is the George Carlin view. The planet will survive and it will be here long after we’re gone. We’re just a minor nuisance that may be temporarily affecting it’s surface for a little while. In a little more than a century, we’ve burned through possibly half the planet’s oil. In another 100 years, I imagine global warming may be the least of our worries. It’s all well and good to discuss options and wring our hands, but the fact is there are billions of people seeking to improve their economic condition. And, so until we all have cheap, mobile fusion reactors in our pockets, this means all arrows point to continued use of fossil fuels. It’s the Tragedy of the Commons. The effects of global warming, if it’s real, will run their course in due time. Personally, I’d rather it be this way than have some central planning government cram more regulation based on impossible to reach goals down our throats. Especially, since I imagine any regulation put in place will be exploited by the powerful (e.g. banksters) at the expense of the hoi polloi. As it always is.

  58. Biffah Bacon says:

    In the Firefly episode “Out of Gas” ( River Tam says the following:
    [River finds Book reading the Bible]
    River: Don’t be afraid. That’s what it says. “Don’t be afraid.”
    Shepherd Book: Yes.
    River: But you are afraid.
    Shepherd Book: Yes.
    River: You’re afraid we’re going to run out of air. That we’ll die gasping. But we won’t. That’s not going to happen.
    [Book looks at her hopefully]
    River: We’ll freeze to death first.

    Global Climate Volatility will kill us by starvation and other knock on effects long before the Midwest of the United States becomes unlivable. Look at Australia. Think they will be exporting much wheat this year?

    If we were smart we would incentivize through tax breaks and favored financing the massive conversion of the lower 48 states to Solar, repairing and upgrading the electrical grid to increase fault tolerance and decrease line loss, weatherizing houses, pushing the purchase of more electric cars and more efficient conventional fuel cars and trucks, tax breaks for electrifying railways, repurchasing swathes of land for federal holding to reestablish natural pathways for wildlife and refugia for native plants. \
    We can but we won’t and a lot of people will suffer and perhaps die because people refuse to look beyond the narratives they base their social and political identities on-because we are stubborn, self-destructive and dumb.

  59. ReductiMat says:

    Boz, how’s about we start with pulling all oil subsidies?

  60. Lyle says:

    Since the reinsurance companies have an idea what the costs are why are these not pushed i.e. get of the science and look at the economics of the question. But then one is accused of not being moral, just like if you say that to avoid a fatality in a device one must spend more that $x and that puts a price on life. Of course there is a price on life.
    For the sake of argument assume it is 100% certian, but then work out the costs/benefits, but since the critical factor is the discount rate and no set of economists can agree on it this attempt will fail. If you can’t agree on a discount rate you can’t find the NPV of the effects and thus calculate how much to spend to attempt to stop them.

    So much of the policy argument gets into hand waving and folks convinced that the last 400 years of economic history have been on the wrong track. It is to late to argue that and to boot who would beam them selves back to the 16th century and live there with the tech of the time?

  61. NickAthens says:

    So this topic sure bares many similarities to gun control debates. Even the WSJ acknowledges stats in that area are so conflicting you can’t prove anything with them. Since this site has a left bent here is a “right” data source with references if you really have interest on the “other side”.

    Secondly, I admit part of my bias to “models” is personal experience when building a model that relies on inputting historical data. I built a 500 variable macro economic computer model in the 70′s (remember punch cards?)using decades of available data, had to run at Stanford. When I graduated with my M.B.A., I promptly tried to use it for trading and lost a student loan. As has been said a million times in trading since bad idea..thanks good lesson.

    But yes, it is intuitively obvious, without stats, that burning carbon fuels unfettered must eventually have a bad impact. You don’t have to trot out models to convince a scientist of that. The argument is not about how much solar energy we receive and whether it is the casue, but rather the incremental impact caused by burning. For example, it is obvious burning wood was unsustainable and had nothing to do with carbon.

    Also, obvious all “burning” is not created equal. So the US is improving dramatically its current carbon load contribution with the rapid changing from coal to natural gas. It is actually going down! This doesn’t make it the end all be all either, but it is improvement. In business, we seek constant improvement don’t we? I think there is a good probability that all methane is NOT a fossil fuel, but rather part of the output of the “core”.

    I think we also all know “energy” is the key to economic growth. The reasons we aren’t starving as predicted by Malthus is simple …energy. IF we want to “level” the well being of the planet we need a lot of it and need to use it wisely. I have a very strong bias to “does it make economic sense” . For example, current nuclear energy on a total cost basis does not make economic sense. BUT, small scale could. Another topic.

    Right NOW, we could make a small improvement with a simple executive order by OBAMA allowing the substitution of Methanol for Ethanol in all laws. Not a permanent fix, but a load off of burning food for energy that has no economic basis. Good enough for NASCAR but not for us. Methanol is HALF PRICE!

    Where I come to object is the people who reject the idea of “improvement” and want to simply jump to the “fix” . Solar and Wind. Already, we are realizing “mechanical” generation by windmills are proving to only have half the life as predicted. DUH! 25 years ?come on! They have to be subsidized on the old models, lowering the depreciation schedule by half will it even worse economically.

    Now I used to work on Solar arrays for USAF satellites. Back then solar cell efficiency was roughly 20% at high cost. 40 years later consumer quality has dramatically improved in cost and efficiency. BUT, still not economically competitive. I think we need another 40 years! (opinion) So we should only be buying enough to keep improving and not requiring huge subsidies. Solar is not maintenance free either, and also depreciates (i.e. output declines ).

    Again, instead of saying “I know the answer and it is xxxx” we should stay focused on IMPROVEMENT just as we did with air pollution. Good chance NEW answers will arrive as well!

    I submit the US should pursue an aggressive INTERIM transition to methane even for vehicles. While not the BTU per pound of gas or diesel, it is an environmental and economic improvement over gasoline. BTW converting gas to diesel in the US is 10 to 20x the cost in India or Brazil on a per car basis …Why? On an economic basis it looks like 30,000 miles per year is crossover point between methane and gas/diesel.

    Note: China has passed us up in CARBON loading, so focusing on IMPROVEMENT and ECONOMIC solutions are more likely to be adopted by third world countries which is what we really need!

    I can give you very simple ideas to cool the earth ( I also worked on large space structure ideas, no weight big size) with current technology. BUT it doesn’t do anything about the carbon load. Beats spraying sulfur particles in the air.

    I am pleased to see the restraint in name calling hence my willingness to respond.

  62. Glen says:


    Thanks for a little bit of sanity on an important subjuct.


  63. Theravadin says:

    The problem with global warming as a subject is that it is like trying to look at an elephant with a microscope. The impacts are so huge (might as well call it everything), and the causes or equally huge (might as well call it civilization), that it’s just really hard to see. The scientests are looking at the first half. The deniers (in a completely selfish way, usually), are looking at the second half. In a wierd sort of way, the deniers are sort of right, for all the wrong reasons. The impacts of acknowledging this are just plain… gigantic. Even where I am right now (Zambia) net GHG emissions are all around me, in charcoal production, in the steel in the bicycles, in farming practices…

    It’s really time now to step back and look at the whole elephant. I’ve spent ten year’s deeply engaged in trying to solve the problem one detail at a time… and I still can’t even see a whole leg. The subject is actually… civilization 2.0. Now there’s a challenge!

  64. Theravadin says:

    Further on this, my motto on global warming is now “we have seen the enemy, and it is us”

  65. formerlawyer says:

    Your mention of the Pogo quote got me thinking as to what Walt Kelly was talking about (yes I remember the original strip and vaguely the context) but his point regarding Earth Day is so appropriate in the Global Warming/Climate Change/Global Weather Volatility (Nice one BR) context.

  66. rd says:


    I understand your perspective on the time frame.

    My points in my couple of posts above is that people are focused on an all or nothing solution – either deny global warming is occurring and do nothing or completely change how every person on the planet goes about their daily life.

    Neither are realistic or tenable positions. In the end many of the solutions will have to be local. Galveston was wiped out in 1900 by a massive storm surge; they did not elect to re-build the entire city where it got wiped out but instead moved much of it inland to higher ground and just retained the tenable locations where they originally were. In effect some of that has happened in New Orleans where many people left and have not returned. It occurred in the 30s when many people left the Dust Bowl region and the remaining people changined their farming practices.

    Climate is dynamic and changes much more frequently than people realize. Entire civilizations have risen and fallen over the past 5,000 years because of climate shifts. We now have more control over what we can do to adapt to these changes but some will still be very large and require local shifts. Farming may shoft to new regions; places that used to farm may now have to be abandoned or change their practices dramatically. Zoning ordinances along coastlines need serious review. Things like Wall Street may need to move their physical location or disappear altogether over the next few decades since that area will likely become more prone to major flooding and infrastructure destruction. We are going to discover over the next coupel of decades that making the Southwest more water efficient will backfire as the water demand is becoming hardened and increased drought will be very disruptive as the demand elasticity will have vanished.

    People are resistant to change, especially people in leadership conditions as they represent the status quo. But change can be either planned or unplenned. It is our choice.

  67. sherparick says:

    It is sort of interesting to see how quickly the deniers on this thread quickly go to ad hominem attacks (Al Gore is Fat!!! Climate scientists of corrupt!!! Taxes!!!!!) with little interest in the facts of Geology or Climatology (a branch of Geology, not meterology). Somehow, I don’t think ol’ John Tyndall made much from his discovery:

    “Like many Victorian natural philosophers, John Tyndall was fascinated by a great variety of questions. While he was preparing an important treatise on “Heat as a Mode of Motion” he took time to consider geology. Tyndall had hands-on knowledge of the subject, for he was an ardent Alpinist (in 1861 he made the first ascent of the Weisshorn). Familiar with glaciers, he had been convinced by the evidence — hotly debated among scientists of his day — that tens of thousands of years ago, colossal layers of ice had covered all of northern Europe. How could climate possibly change so radically?

    One possible answer was a change in the composition of the Earth’s atmosphere. Beginning with work by Joseph Fourier in the 1820s, scientists had understood that gases in the atmosphere might trap the heat received from the Sun. As Fourier put it, energy in the form of visible light from the Sun easily penetrates the atmosphere to reach the surface and heat it up, but heat cannot so easily escape back into space. For the air absorbs invisible heat rays (“infrared radiation”) rising from the surface. The warmed air radiates some of the energy back down to the surface, helping it stay warm. This was the effect that would later be called, by an inaccurate analogy, the “greenhouse effect.” The equations and data available to 19th-century scientists were far too poor to allow an accurate calculation. Yet the physics was straightforward enough to show that a bare, airless rock at the Earth’s distance from the Sun should be far colder than the Earth actually is.

    Tyndall set out to find whether there was in fact any gas in the atmosphere that could trap heat rays. In 1859, his careful laboratory work identified several gases that did just that. The most important was simple water vapor (H2O). Also effective was carbon dioxide (CO2), although in the atmosphere the gas is only a few parts in ten thousand. Just as a sheet of paper will block more light than an entire pool of clear water, so the trace of CO2 altered the balance of heat radiation through the entire atmosphere….”

    Actually, the Global Warming hypothesis arose at the same time, and was connected to the plate tectonics revolution. It is the “new, radical, science” replacing the old “conventional” beliefs of a relatively unchanging world. And “creationists,” hate it for exactly that reason. Unfortunately, religious “creationists,” “Christianism” a political ideology (not Christianity) now control one of America’s political parties, the Republicans.

    By the way, since this is an investment blog, one investment that takes the side of us “Warmers” right now is to be long on agricultural commodities. There will be price cycles up and down, but the rising affluence in China, India, and Southeast Asia combined with the U.S. and Australian droughts, will tend to keep the pressure on the upside of the price cycle for wheat, corn, soy beans, etc. At least we can be wealthy as we watch the world go to hell.

  68. The Pale Scot says:

    Re: Robert W. Felix, “is a crank extraordinaire promoting his own brand of Earth changes, which acts as a framework that he can shoehorn various other types of crankery into. All of his “theories” revolve around pole shifts and cosmic rays. ”

  69. The Pale Scot says:

    I think I originally saw this graphic here at BP, but nobody has mentioned it so;

    What’s more likely? A conspiracy of millions, or oil companies doing what they do.

  70. Greg0658 says:

    if I retracted (edit not an option) .. FYI: I checked the 767# on Google with Dreamliner in the search bar .. a number of hits arrived – I did not diligently read them – only used the results as confirmation – many times a correction is presented for approval
    maybe if I had clicked Images and let pictures help
    maybe if I stay in my field and let autopilot work itself out
    duncecap on ^ – I banish myself from flypoop drops
    the Dreamliner# in post ref is a 787

  71. [...] and have accepted the scientific consensus. Some have simply admitted they are funded by Oil and Coal companies. The reason for this: The alternative narrative simply lacked sufficient data to respond [...]