Posts filed under “UnScience”
Jeremy Grantham, who has long had investments in Timber and Natural Resources, puts a surprising smackdown on the Global Warming denialist crowd.
In the updated version of Bailout Nation, I specifically mention the same think tanks slavish devotion to ideology and disproven ideas (EMH, etc.). I find it encouraging Grantham calls them out as well.
Everything You Need to Know About Global Warming in 5 Minutes
1) The amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere, after at least several hundred thousand years of remaining within a constant range, started to rise with the advent of the Industrial Revolution. It has increased by almost 40% and is rising each year. This is certain and straightforward.
2) One of the properties of CO2 is that it creates a greenhouse effect and, all other things being equal, an increase in its concentration in the atmosphere causes the Earth’s temperature to rise. This is just physics. (The amount of other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, such as methane, has also risen steeply since industrialization, which has added to the impact of higher CO2 levels.)
3) Several other factors, like changes in solar output, have major inﬂuences on climate over millennia, but these effects have been observed and measured. They alone cannot explain the rise in the global temperature over the past 50 years.
4) The uncertainties arise when it comes to the interaction between greenhouse gases and other factors in the complicated climate system. It is impossible to be sure exactly how quickly or how much the temperature will rise. But, the past can be measured. The temperature has indeed steadily risen over the past century while greenhouse gas levels have increased. But the forecasts still range very widely for what will happen in the future, ranging from a small but still potentially harmful rise of 1 to 2 degrees Fahrenheit to a potentially disastrous level of +6 to +10 degrees Fahrenheit within this century. A warmer atmosphere melts glaciers and ice sheets, and causes global sea levels to rise. A warmer atmosphere also contains more energy and holds more water, changing the global occurrences of storms, ﬂ oods, and other extreme weather events.
> I have been speaking with a number of the other presenters here in private. One of the speakers here claimed that there is no such thing as Global Warming. Now, I want to repeat what he said: Not that the global weather is a complex, variable system, or that we cannot tell with a…Read More
New Scientist: Special report: Living in denial: STATE OF DENIAL From climate change to vaccines, evolution to flu, denialists are on the march. Why are so many people refusing to accept what the evidence is telling them? In this special feature we look at the phenomenon in depth. What is denial? What attracts people to…Read More
Here is a decidedly contrarian viewpoint, from University of Alabama Professor Dr. Roy Spencer. Prof Spencer notes that the general commentary regarding the BP spill as “the worst environmental disaster in history” is wildly overblown. His graph below is designed to put this spill into perspective. Now, before you wail that he is a global…Read More
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…Read More
Wow, the results of this WSJ poll was surprising: > chart courtesy of WSJ > And they teed up the poll with this description: This decade is on track to become the warmest since records began in 1850, and 2009 could rank among the top-five warmest years, the U.N. weather agency reported on the second…Read More
Jared Diamond, professor of geography at UCLA, received the Pulitzer Prize for non-fiction in 1998 for Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies. In 1999, he received the National Medal of Science. His most recent book is Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed (2004).
Professor Diamond argues that religion has encompassed at least four independent components that have arisen or disappeared at different stages of development of human societies over the last 10,000 years.
Fascinating discussion via Wired‘s Clive Thompson, and Stanford historian of science Robert Proctor, on Agnotology: “When it comes to many contentious subjects, our usual relationship to information is reversed: Ignorance increases. [Proctor] has developed a word inspired by this trend: agnotology. Derived from the Greek root agnosis, it is “the study of culturally constructed ignorance.”…Read More
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A recent paper by the Minneapolis Federal Reserve has gotten a lot of attention. The paper is titled Facts and Myths About the Financial Crisis of 2008 and it argues there was in fact no credit crisis. Several people have used this paper to argue that Wall Street overstated the severity of the credit crisis in order to get a bail-out they didn’t need. What these commentators have failed to heed is this paper was widely criticized within the financial community, even drawing a rare rebuke from a sister Federal Reserve Bank. In short, to argue there was no credit crisis — to say we were “punked by Wall Street” — flies in the face of every available fact on the crisis.
First, let’s provide some background for this debate. As of this writing 311 lenders have “imploded.” The XLFs — the ETF that tracks the financial sector – is down almost 70% from a high in the summer of 2007. Total credit losses at the world’s financial institutions have totaled 1 trillion dollars:
The gauge is down 46 percent in 2008 as credit losses and writedowns at the world’s largest banks surpassed $1 trillion and the U.S., Europe and Japan entered the first simultaneous recessions since World War II.
In other words, the financial sector’s economic position is terrible at best.
But the evidence runs deeper. About every six weeks the Federal Reserve issues a paper titled “The Beige Book.” This is a book complied from anecdotal evidence from the Federal Reserve Districts on the general economic environment. Every Beige book issued in 2008 has indicated credit conditions were tightening and loan demand was decreasing.