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Global Warming - Again PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Jeff Wagg   

Global warming, or as it's more accurately known, global climate change, is one of the most divisive issues in skepticism. I was reminded of this recently when I gave a talk for Phoenix Skeptics. In the friendly chatter afterward, someone asked what I thought of the films An Inconvenient Truth and its counter, The Great Global Warming Swindle. As it turns out, I had watched An Inconvenient Truth on the airplane to Arizona, and I found it to be as I expected—too much Al Gore, and too little science. It was interesting, but it didn't convince me, and I know it left out some important pieces of data. As for the The Great Global Warming Swindle, I had not seen it (I've watched parts since), but I recommended that the group watch it.

One attendee was displeased with this. "It would be like watching Loose Change or Expelled!" And I agreed, it could be like that. I had heard that The Great Global Warming Swindle was even more of a propaganda piece than An Inconvenient Truth, but I still recommended they watch it.

Why? Because as skeptics, it's good to expose ourselves to material, even if it's biased or manipulative. I recommend that everyone watch Expelled! and What the BLEEP Do We Know. I forced myself to watch the latter, and I'm glad I did, because I'm now conversant on it and can address specific issues in the film.

Exposing yourself to a wide range of material is especially important for the global climate change question. Yes, I said question: I don't know what's going on. It appears that the Earth is warming, but there's a big debate over two things—are humans causing it, and can we stop it? Do we even need to? There are major sources of disinformation on both sides of the question, and they're polluting the knowledge pool to such and extent that it's difficult to know the truth.

I know some of you will savage me in the comments for this, but global warming is one of those issues where I have no clear opinion. I think it's always good to pollute as little as possible, and to have as little impact on the Earth as is reasonable, but the environmentalist movement has been ruthless in spreading its political agenda, and I simply don't trust them. On the other side, I don't trust the political pundits who say it's all a matter of left-wing propaganda. I believe the truth lies in the middle, and we should continue to gather data and study what's happening, while at the same time preparing ourselves for the worst case scenarios.

Humans excel at one thing more than any other, and that is adaptation. If another ice age hit or temperatures rose 10 degrees world-wide, I know we could adjust. It will just be a lot easier on us if we prepare ahead of time.

Review the data yourself, form your own opinions, and by all means post them in the comments. But please try to argue with data rather than hyperbole. We get enough of that over the airwaves.

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You Have to Look at Both Sides
written by Josh111485, October 14, 2009
I haven't looked at all the data on the issue of global warming, yet. I agree with Jeff, though, that we need to expose ourselves to both sides of every issue. We need to see which side has the strongest/most compelling evidence. We need to see which side has the strongest arguments. Which ever side has that, is the side we should go to. Let the evidence lead you to the truth. If the evidence leads to "we don't know" then we don't know. Just follow the evidence and let it lead you to where it leads you. smilies/grin.gif
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written by Daryl, October 14, 2009
This is a scientific issue. I'll trust the science and scientific consensus on this one, and ignore the propaganda on both sides. The questions "can we stop it?" and "do we need to?" are still valid, but I think your first question "are humans causing it?" has been pretty well answered.
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written by Mark P, October 14, 2009
but there's a big debate over two things—are humans causing it, and can we stop it?


But there isn't much debate on this, that's a major part of the problem.

The panic-stricken insist that of course we cause global warming and of course we must do everything to stop it. The denialists refuse to even accept the world is warming. Both tend to paint all moderate opponents into the extremes.

I think only a fraction of global warming is human caused, and that, while we can do something about the warming, CO2 reduction is not useful. Most people don't even seem to recognise that the position even exists.

When was the last time you saw a political figure both accept that global warming is happening fast and say that we have to mitigate now (rather than fight it)?
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written by geirha, October 14, 2009
Scientists have been debating the question of whether or not humans are causing it for decades. It was first when the ipcc report concluded that it indeed was caused by humans that the public became aware of it, and it turned into a public debate.

I am no expert on climate change, in fact I hardly know anything about it, so what else can I do then to rely on the scientists that do know a great deal about it, when they say it's most likely man made? I know, like meteorology, climate science is not an exact science, but I still listen to the weather man on TV and assume he/she is mostly right.
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written by Gaura, October 14, 2009
So Jeff, do you really think you know more climate science than the folks making up the IPCC who painstakingly looked at all the available evidence? Climatologists have reached a consensus that it's anthropogenic input that is causing MOST of the change. Anyone who doesn't accept that conclusion is probably being blinded by political ideology or an inflated ego. I've never disagreed with anything else you've written here, but in this case I suggest you consider that you may have some self-delusion going on in your brain. It happens to the best of us.

It's prudent to go with the experts on this, especially since their computer simulations/models have underestimated the rate of change thus far. The climatologists have not exaggerated. I wouldn't consider Al Gore to be a climate expert either, but one doesn't need to be an expert to report what the experts have concluded.

Now what should be done about all this is a value judgement. Sure, humans will adapt, but some other forms of life will not be as able. Humans have already caused many species to go extinct, some having nothing to do with increased CO2 - the passenger pigeon for example. But extinction of species is not an unnatural phenomenon. If one values only human animal life, we could conceivably live on this planet with nothing other than the bacteria we need to digest our food, and plants (we might need to figure out something like that for space travel anyway). Some people would rather have more diversity, other could live with less. It's a value judgement. The question of whether humans are increasing CO2 concentration in the earth's atmosphere by the burning of fossil fuels has been answered. Some skeptics just have to get used to the answer, that's all.
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Opinions....
written by kdv, October 14, 2009
There are some issues where one person's opinion is just as good as another. What is the nicest colour? What type of music is most enjoyable? ( Ok, I lie. MY opinion on these issues is obviously the correct one. )

There are other issues where most people of average intelligence can come to some sort of informed opinion by doing some fairly simple research. Should I smoke or not? Should I drive my car with a high blood alcohol reading?

But I'm afraid there are some areas where it's not practical for most of us to develop anything like a reasonable opinion without a great deal of effort. Sometimes many years' worth, sometimes it's beyond our mental capabilities. ( Well, beyond mine, anyway! ). That's why we pay people who have put in that time and effort for their expert advice.

Just a reminder, the business of making any reasonable predictions about climate ( at least at any level above the obvious ) only became possible with the advent of supercomputers, which have given climate scientists the ability to experiment and extrapolate way beyond what was possible even 20 years back. Remembering that, I wouldn't even try to form an "opinion" on the facts of the case based on my own knowledge, or even what books I can read. I listen to the experts, just as I would if I needed brain surgery, just as I would before trusting myself before getting on a plane.

Yes, the experts can be wrong, but it's the best we can do. It may one day turn out that a crowbar and a hammer are the best way of removing a brain tumour, rather than skilled neurosurgery. I'll take the latter, thanks, until there's *very* persuasive evidence in the other direction.

A large majority of world's climatologists believe climate change is happening and will get worse if nothing is done. Most of them also agree we can influence that to some degree ( sorry, no pun intended! ). Yes, they may be wrong, but I've always liked the old saying "Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst". We'll be a great deal better off if they're wrong but we act as if they're right, than the other way round.

As for "we can adjust", I suggest you put that idea to people living on many Pacific Islands, whose entire countries are about 1 metre above sea level. Just how much adjustment will it require for them to grow gills? And if you're happy to relocate a few million climate refugees from the Pacific, where will you put the hundreds of millions from countries like Bangladesh?

I'm all in favour of listening to both sides of a debated issue, but not *everyone* on the "other" side is worth listening to. I doubt that listening to a homeopath for a few hours will make you any more capable of deciding between two forms of brain surgery!
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written by emactan, October 14, 2009
I don't know enough to make an informed decision on this matter. And of course I will never become an expert on climate science nor am I motivated to gun for such expertise. So for now I am applying Bertrand Russell's heuristic: if an overwhelming majority of experts agree about X then it would do us well to go with their opinion. ("[T]he opinion of experts, when it is unanimous, must be accepted by non-experts as more likely to be right than the opposite opinion." http://www.positiveatheism.org/hist/russell4.htm)

A recent survey done by Doran and Zimmerman (http://tigger.uic.edu/~pdoran/..._final.pdf) shows that 75 out of 77 (97%) climatologists who are actively publishing on the subject of climate change agree that "human activity is a significant contributing factor in changing mean global temperatures." As for all the climatologists who responded, almost 90% agreed.

As for the degree of consequences of AGW, I guess that's where the debate rages.
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Terminology
written by AndyC, October 14, 2009
Jeff, I just wanted to correct you on your use of terminology at the beginning of this article:

You said "Global warming, or as it's more accurately known, global climate change"; this is not true. Global warming and climate change are two different (though, of course related) things. Global warming simply refers to the increasing trend in mean global temperature (measured on a decadal timescale), whereas climate change refers to the changes in climate that we can expect to see for a given level of global warming.

I think it's an important distinction because many people think that scientists changed terminology along the way, which is not the case; both terms remain valid, as long as you use them in the right way.
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The train has left...
written by Kajabla61, October 14, 2009
I am a science and education fanatic so I have read much about this issue over the years and, yes, the climatologists are overwhelmingly pointing to human caused global warming.

Like evolution, there isn't much debate among the experts.

Like any other species on earth, the best way for adaptation and survival is for massive die-offs of the population to take place first. That will be the first tragedy of this issue. We can't be perfect skeptics and sit on the fence too long.

Yes, An Inconvenient Truth was a bit heavy on Al Gore (no pun intended) but the science presented was quite accurate. I highly recommend watching NOVA: Dimming the Sun for a better understanding of the issue as well.
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Both Sides?
written by AZAtheist, October 14, 2009
In 1981, I crashed a class on Astronomy that my roommate was taking. It was on the Boulder campus at the University of Colorado and was held in the planetarium. As luck would have it, the class was hosting a guest lecturer from NOAA and the topic was the possibility of global temperature increase due to the increase of the concentration of CO2 due to the use of fossil fuel since the industrial revolution. Mean temperatures, CO2 concentration history (from core samples), and other data was presented through acetate slides projected on the domed ceiling. There was no political message only massive amounts of data and a final question, "Is it possible that the global temperature will continue to rise through the normal limit?" Up to that time the cyclical temperatures had stayed between a couple of bounds for the last 40K years. The instructor didn't know but it looked as if the temperature would continue to increase past the expected "knee" in the curve. This was in 1981 and the global temperature was still within expected bounds. Now the top 11 warmest years on record have occurred in the last 13 years (http://www.sciencedaily.com/re...101419.htm) and I think the instructor got his answer.

A friend of mine is on the other side of the debate. He sent me this: http://www.americanthinker.com..._glob.html
In the article which references the BBC, it is claimed that the world saw a peak temperature in 1998 and we've seen cooling since then. In other words, no problem, the world is cooling down--panic over.

Have I presented both sides? Not in the least. This is not a debate about what's your favorite dessert. Should we be giving "both sides" equal consideration? Absolutely not! One side is teasing out the data that supports their preconceived opinion. In the second article, the one siting the BBC references, it seems the most important data is centered about 1998, the warmest year on record. This is technique of eliminating vast amounts of data is a little like the "Texas Sharpshooter Fallacy" although not exactly because of the introduction of a preconceived notion. In the immediate area surrounding 1998, there may appear to be a cooling trend but you can't ignore the fact that 11 of the warmest years on record are very recent.

We don't give 9-11 truthers or moon landing deniers equal consideration and we shouldn't. I listen to their stories but I know that to get to their position, they've set aside ALL the data that doesn't support their position. It's obvious to me that the global warming deniers are in the same class.

Consider this, a scientist makes a hypothesis, collects the data and rejects the hypothesis if the data doesn't support it. A true believer, starts with an idea, examines the data and rejects the data if it doesn't agree with the initial idea.

Personally, I'm hoping that global warming turns out to be a false alarm. Unfortunately, it doesn't appear to be the case. It doesn't comfort me to see a couple of countering articles, especially when the data supporting them seems to be cherry picked.

Finally, if it does turn out that global warming turns out to be a false alarm, I maintain that there are still plenty of reasons for looking for alternate sources of energy.
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written by Space Cowboy, October 14, 2009
@Gaura
But extinction of species is not an unnatural phenomenon.
I agree with what else you said, but this clearly isn't true as it stands. Over 90% of species that have ever existed went extinct before humans came along. However, I do seem to recall the rate of extinction is rather higher than usual (for an era in which there hasn't been a huge asteroid strike or super-volcanoes erupting).
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written by Space Cowboy, October 14, 2009
Damnit, I'm an idiot that can't read a "not" when it's clearly there..
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written by Undecided, October 15, 2009
I know we could adjust.

This is not a skeptical position... this is dogma, faith. Did the shape of a banana lead to this conclusion?

But please try to argue with data rather than hyperbole.

Odd, I saw no data in the article...
Everything in this article after "I don't know what's going on" is not scientific or skeptical. Defaulting to not trusting anyone and arbitrarily thinking the truth is a compromised position perpetuates debates regardless of the preponderance of evidence. Arbitrarily placing two "positions" on an equal footing is not skeptical... It is a failure of both skepticism and inquiry.

Apply that same lack of reasoning to Evolution and you simply legitimize the Creationist position.

One would hope that skeptics would be self correcting on their own hypocrisy... but alas. As such I do not claim to be a skeptic, only that I endeavor to be skeptical... I will wait for the skeptical Jesus to judge whether I am a true skeptic and worthy of skeptical Heaven. smilies/wink.gif
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This is a really good guide to global warming
written by Arthur, October 15, 2009
A really good guide to global warming that cuts through the propaganda is the series on YouTube by Potholer54. Everyone must see it.

1. Climate Change -- the scientific debate

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=52KLGqDSAjo
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written by Sgt Skepper, October 15, 2009
"If another ice age hit or temperatures rose 10 degrees world-wide, I know we could adjust."

As a species, this is almost certainly true. However, many people would die in either of these eventualities. What's more, the people who will suffer most are those from developing countries, the people who are least responsible for causing the climate change. The scientific consensus seems pretty clear at this point that warming is and shall continue to occur, that humans are causing most of this warming, and that humans will suffer as a consequence. I find it rather callous to suggest that because the species will continue that it's not particularly important. Could you imagine ending an article on genocide with "if another million people are killed, I know we could adjust."? I know this seems like a needlessly extreme statement, but the fact is that many millions will die as a result of human-cause warming.
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written by sailor, October 15, 2009
Science is often about making predictions. If the prediction comes out the way you predicted it is compatible with your hypothesis. Back in the 1960s when I was in college, climate scientists started talking about the effects of CO2 and the industrial revolution. The prediction was that there would be a warming effect over time. It seemed so far away when we listened, another interesting little thing that did not really affect us. Well it turns out they were right and it is now more than noticeable.
It is always good to look at what the other side has to say, so Jeff's recommendation is fine. I was given that novel State of Fear by Michale Crichton by friends to look at as his arguments against global warming seemed quite persuasive. It took very little research to show that most of them were completely erroneous. Being able to assess evidence is important for skeptics.
While the broad parameters of global warming are obvious, the actual science is highly complex.If you want to make a start in understanding it, a site I highly recommend is http://www.realclimate.org/ They have open comments so detractors can and often do have their say. You can sort out for yourself who makes sense.
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written by MadScientist, October 15, 2009
As Daryl pointed out, the "are humans causing it?" is answered: humans are causing a significant fraction of the observed warming.

Can humans stop it? At best it will take many decades for the human contribution to be undone, and that's assuming that humans cease to exist today and hence no more CO2 from burning fossil fuels. Expect more heating as we burn more fossil fuels over the decades.

Should we even try to stop it? Well, let's change that to "should we even try to lessen our impact?" Yes, of course. No one knows how warmer weather will affect things overall, but there are many things of which we are certain and when you add them all up, things don't look good. We will have serious problems with the global food supply - how quick can you change your diet to suit whatever thrives? There is also the danger of pushing the earth to a point where it changes to a different state; different plants and animals will thrive then. Humans will probably survive since they are the most resourceful of animals, but don't imagine we'll have our big cities and computers and stuff - we may well fall back into an iron age (or worse). To persist with the status quo with ignorance on your side is certainly not the intelligent thing to do. We should try to change things and gauge how effective these changes are, and in the meantime we should try to learn more about the earth and how it responds.

Short story: at the moment both sides plead ignorance - no one can give the small details of what lies in the future. The difference is that the deniers choose to be ignorant and simply deny that there are any threats. People who look into the matter see credible threats even if we have not got the capacity to make accurate predictions. If you look at the present and past, increasing CO2 = more warming and this is consistent with what we know of physics. We can comfortably predict that there will be more warming and we can even set a lower limit with some confidence. The upper limit remains contentious, as do any predictions of what the actual warming may be.

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written by beowulff, October 15, 2009
You're point of also familiarizing oneself with the arguments of the other side is well taken. However:
...but the environmentalist movement has been ruthless in spreading its political agenda, and I simply don't trust them. On the other side, I don't trust the political pundits who say it's all a matter of left-wing propaganda. I believe the truth lies in the middle, and we should continue to gather data and study what's happening, while at the same time preparing ourselves for the worst case scenarios.
I'm amazed that you only mention the environmentalist movement and right-wing pundits, as if those are the only parties in this debate. Why don't you mention science at all? And the truth doesn't have to be in the middle (fallacy of moderation), the truth is where the evidence leads us. And the scientific evidence so far appears to be converging towards man-made global warming.

I don't understand why this is such a controversial topic within the skeptic movement, to be honest. Shouldn't skeptics normally side with science? We do so for biology without much of a struggle, so why not for climate science? Even if you'd argue that climate science isn't as mature yet as biology, it's still the best source of climate knowledge we have.

One reason I can think of is that climate change denialists will claim the label "skeptic", even though they really support pseudo-science. Basically the skeptic movement would be infiltrated by pseudo-skeptics.

Another reason might be that many people who resist accepting global warming appear to be libertarians and other types of free-market advocates, which are not uncommon among skeptics (Michael Schermer and Penn&Teller are well-known examples). If climate change is real and man-made and turns out to be disastrous, it would be one of the biggest failures of the free-market ever. Better to deny or at the very least downplay the consequences of global warming.
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written by Mr. Science, October 15, 2009
You know, it never ceases to amaze me. When creationists try to poo-poo evolution, skeptics will readily and correctly point out that the overwhelming majority of scientists who study biology accept evolution as a fact (if quibbling on details ie is the gradualism vs. punctuated equilibrium).

But bring up global warming, and the fact that human activity is affecting it? Then there are some skeptics who are quite willing to ignore that the overwhelming majority of scientists who study climate accept global warming/human impact as a fact.

It seems skeptics are not above letting (political) prejudices affect their ability to rationally evaluate evidence. smilies/cry.gif
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BOTH sides?
written by edgraham, October 15, 2009
There is only one truth about Climate Change, and scientists are searching for the answers. Most data suggests that people are part of the problem. It's ironic that Climate Change really affects our survival, the planet will be here long after we're gone.

There are rarely only two sides to any question. There might be 500 sides, but the truth is the only "side" that has any validity. For example, there are many religions, but there are only two possibilities. One religion is right, or none are right. When there is no data to support a belief, there are many opinions. Opinions are not sides until there is some, any shred of evidence. Evolution is a great example of a topic with one side. It's been proven. There may be room to refine the theory, but not the fact.

Climate change has divided a lot of people who don't need evidence.

I enjoyed your post, Jeff, and the links that readers sent in.
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Another Quota Met
written by Caller X, October 15, 2009
"In this article, I will tell about how I watched some movies." Brilliant!
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@edgraham, Lowly rated comment [Show]
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written by pxatkins, October 15, 2009
Evolution has NEVER been proven and never will.


There are none so blind, etc.
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written by crackerjack5, October 15, 2009
hi, I'm new here. Just wondering if Christian skeptics like me are welcome on this site. It seems to be rather anti-religious.
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written by PBall, October 15, 2009
I am a little divided about this subject too.
I think beowulff has it right about free market advocates, since I am one.
It made me think why I do not fully accept global warming.

1 - Climate science is not very accurate: 50 years ago they were talking about the coming of an Ice Age.
2 - The ambientalist are a little extreme: They show extreme scenarios where the Earth becomes a desert, or floods destroying everything withing a few years. Not credible at all.
3 - I don´t want to: Hey!, at least I am intellectually honest about it.

But after reading a bit, I am going the other way around.
I am going to get informed a bit and back.
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written by Random, October 15, 2009
Daryl comments "...I think your first question "are humans causing it?" has been pretty well answered" and has a rating of +23, which I find astonishing in a blog largely read by sceptics.

To say that this question has been pretty well answered is to fall for the politics and propaganda. There is no consensus, that is a great myth. Most of the strong evidence has either proved false (the hockey-stick curve) or simply disappeared (20 years of warming reversed in a decade). The models used to predict warming have proved woefully inadequate, and the people who made the predictions have lost all credibility by refusing to share their data. Since this means that their work cannot be reproduced, it is not science. Science is required to be shown to be reproducible.

I will not say that human activity has not changed the world climate. Obviously there will be some influence. However how often though have we sceptics said that "extraordinary claims demand extraordinary proof"?

Well human activity has added roughly 0.28% to the greenhouse effect. The greenhouse effect is estimated to increase the mean temperature on the surface of the Earth by 33 degrees. Now it is a while since I studied maths, but it seems to me that human activity can only have increased the temperature by less than one tenth of one degree. To claim that 0.28% change in one factor is dominating the climate, ane causing a predictable change is an extraordinary claim.

Oh, and 'An Inconvenient Truth' was not just light on facts, of the few it contained 35 were incorrect, nine of which have been tested in a UK court of law and found to be incorrect. Many of those Gore knew at the time to be wrong, yet he still released the film. Why did this honourable owner of a large carbon-offset company do that?
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written by Kuroyume, October 15, 2009
"And god created Ardipethicus Kadabba, Ardipethicus Ramidus, Australopithecus Afarensis, Australopithecus Africanus, Australopithecus Robustus, Homo Habilis, Homo Erectus, Homo Neanderthalensis, all of the intermediate forms between, and, finally, Homo Sapiens Sapiens as the most cherished."

Either god needed a lot of practice or evolution is a fact.

***

Global climate change is a fact and there is good evidence that humans are playing a significant role in the process through CO2 emissions and deforestation (and maintaining the largest populations of bovines known to exist!). I agree with those who see humans surviving but only after mass population losses. We will probably need to move billions of people from shorelines (East/West/Gulf Coasts of the US, coasts of Europe, Australia, Asia, Africa, South America). Imagine New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., Raleigh, Miami, New Orleans, so on and so on, all abandoned after being submerged by the rising oceans due to polar ice decline (already highly and horridly documented!).

While I still retain some minor doubts about the overall effects and the speed at which they will occur, simply following the environmental news and science on this subject is enough to instill a sense of urgency.
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@crackerjack5
written by PBall, October 15, 2009
This is (or intend to be) a site about Scientific Skepticism
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S...kepticism
Since most of the religious claims are not falsifiable nor scientifically accurate, saying that you are a religious skeptic is kind of an oxymoron
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@crackerjack5
written by PBall, October 15, 2009
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki /Scientific_skepticism

Sorry about the link
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To be fair
written by Randy, October 15, 2009
The point of Inconvenient Truth was to reach a lot of viewers.
It seems the more data and references you use in a documentary, the less people would watch it. More talk and less proof = viewers.

Penn & Teller has fallen into the same trap it seems. The show uses less and less factual points and more "in your face" tactics
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written by Karl_Withakay, October 15, 2009
I am not a climate scientist. No matter how much I read up on the data in my free time, I am not going to be qualified to make and educated, detailed analysis of anthropogenic global warming without going back to college to pick up a new major. I am intelligent enough to understand the issue and claims regarding the issues, and recognize the lazier opinions/positions on the subject. I am also intelligent to know that when the overwhelming majority of climate scientists agree on something, there's probably fire behind that smoke.

It does not follow that if people on both sides of an issue use exaggeration, hyperbole, and lies to support their position, that the truth lies somewhere in the middle. The factualness of a position is independent of the arguments being made to support the position. When it comes to claims of fact, they are either true or not, regardless of the evidence or claims being presented.

Additionally, assuming neither side is 100% correct, it would not follow that the truth was "somewhere in the middle", since this implies both sides are roughly equidistant for the truth. If I claim the the word dozen means a quantity of 14, and someone else claims it means a quantity of 5000, the truth is somewhere in between, but not "in the middle"

Lastly, I know argument from consequences is a logical fallacy, but assume for the sake of argument that there is an equal probability that either "side" is correct- Which would you rather be wrong about, taking unnecessary action for non-existent anthropogenic global warming, or taking no action on real, catastrophic anthropogenic global warming?
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written by Random, October 15, 2009
Interesting that in a sceptical forum at least three people have negatively tagged my comment, but not a single one seems able to make a rational argument against it. Surely this is typical of the technique of the climate alarmists - condemn any other viewpoint without actually addressing it.
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written by sailor, October 15, 2009
"Well human activity has added roughly 0.28% to the greenhouse effect. The greenhouse effect is estimated to increase the mean temperature on the surface of the Earth by 33 degrees. Now it is a while since I studied maths, but it seems to me that human activity can only have increased the temperature by less than one tenth of one degree. To claim that 0.28% change in one factor is dominating the climate, ane causing a predictable change is an extraordinary claim."

Random focus your brain. The main greenhouse gas is CO2. Since the industrial revolution we have increased the the percentage of CO2 in the atmosphere between 30-36%.
We are heating the earth, the science on that is in. To deny that you might as well deny evolution of the effectiveness of vaccines. The questions still being discussed is how much the earth will heat up and what will the effects be. That it is heating due to us, and that it will effect us is as beyond doubt as scientific consensus gets.
references:
http://news.mongabay.com/2006/0313-co2.html
http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2005/06/how-much-of-the-recent-cosub2sub-increase-is-due-to-human-activities/
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written by sailor, October 15, 2009
Sorry typo, that was supposed to be: deny evolution OR the effectiveness of vaccines.
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Adapt to Global Climate Change?
written by AICHinEdmonton, October 15, 2009
Have you ever wondered just what it might mean to have to adapt to global climate change? Historian and author, Gwynne Dyer has and has produced “... a book and a radio series called 'Climate Wars', dealing with the geopolitics of climate change.”
( http://www.gwynnedyer.com/index.html)

The radio series is available as three Podcasts, ( Ideas1 Ideas2 Ideas3 ) accessible form his home page.

Gwynne Dyer has taken the current thinking regarding climate change and put it into a number of scenarios ranging from best to worst. So if you are wondering how humanity may end up adapting to global climate change, have a listen to the above podcasts.
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written by Otara, October 15, 2009
For me the distinction is between the causes and the solutions.

I trust global warming is scientifically sound as a phenomenon, I am far more dubious about many of the mooted solutions to it.

There is a fair bit of woo to be had in the environmental movement, and untangling the woo from the hard science isnt as easy as some posts above seem to imply. Its a lot easier to spot woo in areas we find ridiculous than it is in areas we generally personally support.

Unfortunately we all have to use heuristics for these issues, but the 'experts are more likely to be right' generally works best. Problem sometimes is making sure the particular issue really was decided by experts.

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written by Random, October 15, 2009
"Random focus your brain. The main greenhouse gas is CO2"

See this is the problem. You are making an assessment but have no idea what you are talking about. 95% of the greenhouse effect comes from water vapour. CO2 is responsible for a minor part of the remaining 5%. What makes you think, sailor, that you are qualified to make an assessment when you have just made up your 'facts'?

This is nothing like evolution or vaccines. The science is not well-understood. It is still very much in doubt, there are thousands of respectable researchers in the field that completely disagree with what you say. That fact is widely available on the internet if you take off the blinkers. So please, just look at the real situation, what the scientists are saying, not what the politicians and media are saying. They are very different things.
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written by Random, October 15, 2009
P.S. If you want more details then visit my blog and scroll down to find the labels list and click 'climate change'. A lot of links, most of them to respectable sources. A lot of details of the flaws in climate alarmists' arguments.
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@random, Lowly rated comment [Show]
Majority opinion = fact?, Lowly rated comment [Show]
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written by sailor, October 15, 2009
Random

I am not a climate scientist, but the guys at real climate are. Below is the link that gives their take to some of the denialist information that I think you are working with.

If you want sensible answers to your assertions I suggest you post them on their site. They know what they are talking about and will reason with you in a specific and scientific way. I am not knowledgeable enough to do that. When you have done that and can show they agree with you - or post you an answer that you feel does not make sense and you can give the reason why, let me know, I would love to read it.

In the meantime water vapor is a big factor, but it is taken into account by the models, and it does not stop CO2 being the critical gas leading to climate change right now. This is enough on the models to create a very significant rise in global temperature. Interestingly as we put more water into vapor by warming it may well have a positive feedback affect.

http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2006/01/calculating-the-greenhouse-effect/
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Oh Fer Sailor...
written by Caller X, October 15, 2009
Random focus your brain. The main greenhouse gas is CO2. Since the industrial revolution we have increased the the percentage of CO2 in the atmosphere between 30-36%.
We are heating the earth, the science on that is in. To deny that you might as well deny evolution of the effectiveness of vaccines. The questions still being discussed is how much the earth will heat up and what will the effects be. That it is heating due to us, and that it will effect us is as beyond doubt as scientific consensus gets.


"Random focus your brain"?

Someone has already pointed out your tenuous grasp on the facts by mentioning water vapor. Care to back up your [argument by] assertion that "Since the industrial revolution we have increased the the percentage of CO2 in the atmosphere between 30-36%"? I think you're making that up. You might want to begin by saying when the percentage of gases in the atmosphere began to be measured. By the way, "Industrial Revolution" is properly capitalized.

As for "scientific consensus", again, nicely asserted but you really mean that there are people who agree with you. I'm less interested in consensus than in who's right. Won't you join me?
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written by Gumba Masta, October 15, 2009
@wallacej14

I would'nt say it's altruistic, it's more of a result of scientist enviously watching each other, eager to spring into action when they spot an error in someone's published works, flaying them alive, skinning them and boiling their flesh in oil that is responsible for the overal reliance of the scientific method.
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written by sailor, October 15, 2009
"Science truly is a religion. Those who question the priests are branded as heretics and drummed out to the fringes. You can reply that "real" science isn't like that - it's a sort of Utopia in which almost everyone is altrusitically striving for the truth, and, to account for the tiny minority who aren't, the whole thing is perfectly self-correcting. Holding to such ideas is a matter of faith."

Wallace, there are two things here - science methodology and science as a human institution. Scientific consensus is certainly not always right. When new ideas come along, there is often resistance in the old guard, who often have positions of power, which leads to a period of time when sometimes a significant proportion of scientists are wrong. I think the idea of floating continents was one of those that took longer than it should to be accepted. Thus there are sayings like "science proceeds slowly, one death at a time" or "The contribution someone made in their field may be estimated by the time in which they held up all the new ideas after theirs".

Having said that, science is nothing like religion. There is competition for acceptance of new theories, and the bottom line is the theory that fits the data is the one that is finally accepted. So although we may have bumps and hold-ups, there is always progress. Compare that to religion where you have a fixed dogma from which there is no change.
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written by Undecided, October 15, 2009
It is disingenuous to point to water vapor in the global warming debate, intentionally confusing the greenhouse effect in the context of global warming and the greenhouse effect in relation to an Earth without an atmosphere. So that claim of a mere 0.28% temperature change because of human activity is pure propaganda, because it isn't counting warming from any historical average temperature, but from the huge hypothetical 33 degree change from a surface temperature Earth would have without air. So in the context of global warming, it is not a valid argument, and not at all scientific.
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written by Kuroyume, October 15, 2009
Religions do indeed change but not by acceptance of new theories or new data but by reinterpretation of -THE- data (the holy books). Unfortunately, this type of change is the main cause of schisms and religious cleansings. A prime example is Luther and the Protestant Reformation. Same book, same 'religion', but new principles on how to interpret the book and follow it. And, if you have enough power and the current religious institution doesn't allow you to do something, you can always make your own reinterpreted religion that does (Henry VIII and Anglican Church). smilies/smiley.gif

Not chiding you whatsoever. Just saying that religious change exists but not in the same way as scientific change. Otherwise, your explanation is very good. smilies/smiley.gif
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written by sailor, October 15, 2009
"Someone has already pointed out your tenuous grasp on the facts by mentioning water vapor. Care to back up your [argument by] assertion that "Since the industrial revolution we have increased the the percentage of CO2 in the atmosphere between 30-36%"? I think you're making that up."

Caller X. I gave two internet references at the bottom of that post. I suggest you look them up.
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written by kenhamer, October 15, 2009
To say that this question has been pretty well answered is to fall for the politics and propaganda...


So says you.

But just like all the other claims, they are still just claims. You offer no convincing or compelling evidence, only the authority of of your own opinion.

But it seems you've all fallen in with the atmospherist's conspiracy. It's a "proven fact"(tm) that there's really no atmosphere -- it just really, really thin jello.

Which I think is just about as valid as any other unsupported claim.


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written by Diverted Chrome, October 15, 2009
Global warming and climate change is very well studied. For Jeff to take the "jury is still out" position puts him in the camp of the deniers. Firmly.
What's apparent is that no fact will be good enough for Jeff, no matter how much more information is brought to light. Is he waiting for a set of data or that are more easily digestible? Glossier? Candy-coated? How is his position (I wouldn't call it a non-position, he's just hedging) different form that of a 9-11 truther or a holocaust denier?
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Latest Pew Research Data says...
written by Alencon, October 15, 2009
In a Pew Research poll from July 2009, 84% of scientists polled believed that Global Warming is due to human activity. That's only an eyelash below the 87% from the same poll that accept that living things evolved over time due to natural processes.

I suspect that very few of us would question the scientific conclusion about evolution, so why are we hesitant to accept the one about Global Warming?
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written by Steel Rat, October 15, 2009
The main greenhouse gas is CO2. Since the industrial revolution we have increased the the percentage of CO2 in the atmosphere between 30-36%.


Not true. It's a minor trace gas, totally overwhelmed by water vapor in its ability to store heat.
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written by Diverted Chrome, October 15, 2009
There are a few posters who confuse tending toward skepticism with being a contrarian.
One requires thoughtful evaluations while the other is simply a personality trait.
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written by Steel Rat, October 15, 2009
Whether or not you believe in Evolution is totally irrelevant as to whether you believe the global warming science is settled.
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written by Steel Rat, October 15, 2009
Which would you rather be wrong about, taking unnecessary action for non-existent anthropogenic global warming, or taking no action on real, catastrophic anthropogenic global warming?


Those aren't the only choices. There's no evidence that warming means catastrophe. Oh, right, coastal cities. Well, since when have ocean levels been static? How much higher were the oceans 2000 years ago? 5000? We're pretty stupid to think anything we do is permanent.
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written by Mark P, October 15, 2009
I suggest you put that idea to people living on many Pacific Islands, whose entire countries are about 1 metre above sea level.

You mean the Maldives. They aren't in the Pacific. The low Pacific islands generally are tiny (most populated ones are mountainous). Not that the Maldives are huge.

If relocating less than one million people in a planet of 5 billion is the biggest problem associated with global warming, then it is a very minor problem.

This is a typical scare issue that deflects away from the real ones.

A few coral islands go under water. The coral builds them back up again. That's why those islands are so low in the first place. At a certain point you can't fight nature.
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Global warming isn't the only issue with rising CO2 levels
written by inquisitiveraven, October 15, 2009
Mark P: Actually, no, the coral won't build up the reef again. You know why? It's because a large part of the uncertainty regarding global warming is tied to the fact that the oceans have been absorbing a large chunk of the CO2 we've been dumping into the atmosphere over the past couple hundred years. That has been lowering the pH of the ocean water which in turn has a negative impact on the ability of critters that used CaCO3 to build their exoskeletons to keep doing so. Detail with references, here.
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written by Steel Rat, October 15, 2009
@inquisitiveraven

Actually no. The corals and other creatures in question evolved during times when ocean CO2 levels were much higher than they are now. Most coral issues are due to actual pullution, like runoff from farming and the like, and not in the least because of absorbed CO2 from the atmosphere. Read up on how much CO2 the oceans contain in relation to the atmosphere and get back to us.

Bottom line, atmospheric temps are driven by ocean temps and the sun. Atmospheric temperatures do NOT cause the oceans to warm.
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written by Steel Rat, October 15, 2009
Oh, and there hasn't been a single island "sinking" due to global warming. Any issues a handful of islands are having are mostly due to mismanagement by said inhabitants.
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yawn...
written by fuwafuwausagi, October 15, 2009
For those who place their faith in the preponderance of the collective opinion of so called scientist...

Scientists also tell us that there is a fate certain that resides for our planet, our solar system, our galaxy, and indeed our universe and it is one of cataclysm, one that will totally eradicate all forms of life, and eventually all life will cease in the cosmos; that appears the consensus opinion of scientists regarding the eventual fate of mankind, the known universe and beyond.

Given that, if I am to give weight to the words of the alleged consensus opinion of planetary scientists, why not give equal weight to the collective opinion of cosmologist?

And so I do, and thus comes the great yawn. For who truly cares. If I am to accept the word of groups of scientists than all this is much about nothing, for in the end it is a futile as debating the number of fairies dancing on a pinhead, and equally useful. Your genetic seed will eventually be eradicated and it matters not if it is today, tomorrow, next year, or in a million years. Dead is dead, that is man's destiny. All this discussion is clearly just a manifestation of man's collective ego, for in the end are import is obvious, for we matter not in the greater scheme of things, nor does anything.

To get this exercised over global warming is ridiculous. It matters not a single wit. Do any of you have an idea how many people died migrating to, and settling the American West? The logically drawn numbers are staggering to consider, the number of lives lost, the countless tales of adversity, hardship, bravery and tragedy. And this less than 150 years ago, and yet you now not their names. You life, my life is insignificant and it is only ego that compels anyone to care about that which is certainly nonsense to a rational person.

Have fun, I am going to go now and engage in some equally futile copulation with my woman, the result of that being equally as transient as mankinds footprint on the cosmos.


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@fuwafuwausagi
written by Kuroyume, October 15, 2009
Well, I totally agree. Humans (species designated by ourselves as Homo Sapiens Sapiens) will DEFINITELY go extinct sometime in the future (maybe in the next 10,000 or 1,000,000 years, who knows). As I've mentioned in the past, the lifespan of a 'species' is about one million years (give or take unfortunate catastrophes, adaptability, and so forth). People who envision humans galavanting among the stars and galaxies are dreaming (or fantasizing with science fiction). We will be visited by many catastrophes which will reign in our population and technological advances no matter how 'smart' we think we are. Just look at the tsunami of 2004 - a minor devastation. If something like the supervolcano under Yellowstone National Park were to erupt (and there is smoldering evidence that it is slowly becoming reactive), the devastation would be immeasurable in human history (and I'd probably perish living within its 'zone of destruction' currently). There is growing (but still speculative) evidence that the Clovis people were exterminated by a possible asteroid impact into the glacial sheet in North America 13000 years ago. Neanderthals, considered as a coexistent sentient species with our ancestors, disappeared completely with the end of the last ice age. Current genomic research indicates that they did not disappear by intermingling with our ancestors but went completely exinct due to variously designated circumstances. That should be a strong indicator that we are not special evolutionary results that can withstand any rigors of natural phenomena.

On the other hand, having reached our current level of knowledge and technology, not to invest it in attempts to avoid catastrophes or lessen their effect is ludicrous. Ignoring the information that we attain and taking the 'c'est la vie' attitude does not bode well for survivability. Some things we can't predict or do anything about. But in cases where we can, we should act. It is a sad state that our entire investment in extraterrestrial objects that might impact the Earth with catastrophic impact is so small. It may be, probabilistically speaking, a very rare thing but having foreknowledge and our propensity for problem solving could mitigate the situation unlike any possible in the past history of life on this planet. If we can do something about something that poses a threat to our existence or our current state of existence, we should apply our evolutionary advantage. If not, we will suffer the consequences.
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written by thatguywhojuggles, October 15, 2009
Gosh, has no one here seen Futurama? All we have to do is drop a giant ice cube in the ocean. Fixed!
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Oh the Irony.....
written by markbellis, October 16, 2009
I had watched An Inconvenient Truth on the airplane to Arizona

Pretty ironic, unless it was a glider launched from a solar power catapult.
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written by mrsean2k, October 16, 2009
This is a difficult and complex subject, but I'm now of the firm opinion that the consensus that has been reached is built on sand.

Multiple studies have relied on the same sparse datapoints to come to the "right" conclusion, that there is a "hockey stick" effect due to AGW.

But the analytical twists and turns, smears, innuendo, cross citation and, yes, deception that some of the principal (and heavily vested) researchers have engaged in is absolutely staggering.

Man *may* be influencing climate change, but the methods and data used to "prove" this is the case wouldn't get past the first stage for the $1M Challenge.


A good starting point to get to grips with the issue is the Bishop Hill Blog: http://bishophill.squarespace....osion.html

Backtrack from this to the source of the discussion at the Climate Audit Blog: http://www.climateaudit.org/


If you aren't horrified by what you read, you haven't read it properly.

And this is independent of the *truth* or otherwise of AGW: this is about the standards of quality control and openness of data that should be expected in areas where multi-billion pound expenditure is at stake, and where *we* fund the research.

Truly shocking.


I've never been an activist one way or the other on this issue. The past few weeks have changed my viewpoint completely.
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written by sailor, October 16, 2009
mrsean2k. I looked at the first of your links. The link below is a reply:

http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/09/hey-ya-mal/comment-page-4/
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written by mrsean2k, October 16, 2009
Hi sailor,

First, thanks for looking.

But the problem is that it take a lot of digging through the exchanges to see what was *actually* said, as opposed to what it is *claimed* someone said, for the purposes of rhetoric.

To take the simplest points in the response, everything from the title down to the "****" is utterly unrelated to the points that Climate Audit make. At best it's a "sort" of response to the more opinionated summary at Bishop Hill.

The response then goes on to ascribe motives and insults to Steve Mc. that have never been expressed (or certainly hadn't at the time of the posting) or implied.

If you follow through to the actual posts on Climate Audit and the actual words Steve Mc. writes, you'll see the accusations that Real Climate ascribe to him are without foundation. But still they make them.

What *does* happen is that other people, generally outraged and rather more uncharitable in their opinion, voice that opinion in the form of comments to Steve's posts. Steve Mc. then routinely snips these as irrelevant or provocative (if they are), or moves them onto another off-topic thread intact to concentrate on the *data*, *why* it was hidden for so long, *how* it's processed, and *how* it's manipulated.

But voices that dissent from Steve's conclusions or disagree with his questions aren't silenced. Compare and contrast with the editorial policy at Real Climate.

In his own words, this is about keeping your eye on the pea under the thimble - the data, the data, the data. Attempts to reposition the debate as "warmists" against "deniers" are distractions by vested interests.

I've spent weeks following the links of these exchanges through, and without exception I've seen moderate language with straightforward requests for more metadata or comment on analysis derailed by attempts to paint this line of enquiry as vendetta or "Big Oil" sticking it's oar in.

Please keep plugging away at the exchanges and analysis, whatever opinion you hold at the moment and whatever conclusion you eventually come to.

Thanks

Sean
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Um, no....
written by kdv, October 16, 2009
@Mark P

>> to people living on many Pacific Islands, whose entire countries are about 1 metre above sea level.

> You mean the Maldives.

Gosh, did I? Thanks for helping me out there. Here I was, thinking I was referring to Pacific Islands, given that they are in my part of the world, and that all the countries in this area have been trying to come up with plans to deal with the effects of climate change on the Pacific Islands, which the U.N. has declared to be at the most risk from sea level rise, and that many Pacific Islanders live and work right here. And now I find that I actually meant the Maldives, about which I know virtually nothing at all.... I must be older than I thought!

> They [ the Maldives ] aren't in the Pacific.

That's probably why I don't know anything about them.

> The low Pacific islands generally are tiny (most populated ones are mountainous).

Let me take a really wild guess here. You don't live in the Marshall Islands, right? Or, for that matter, in Tuvalu? Kiribati?

Perhaps you live on one of the islands that do have mountains? If so, please tell me, how many of the people on your island live up on the mountains? And how many people live down on the low coastal areas, where the fishing is, where the limited areas of land suitable for agriculture are, where the water is ( mostly underground, and very likely to be made useless by salt water intrusion ), and are most vulnerable to inundation, storm surges and erosion?

> If relocating less than one million people in a planet of 5 billion is the
> biggest problem associated with global warming, then it is a very minor problem

Let me make another wild stab in the dark. You aren't one of those people, right?

If you are, then let me be the first to thank you for your selfless willingness to sacrifice your homeland, your community and your means of earning a living, so that people in large, rich countries like mine can continue to burn huge amounts of fossil fuels to maintain our lifestyles.

However ... unless I'm much mistaken, nobody actually suggested that it was the "biggest" problem. Even my humble self, freely admitting my inability to really comprehend more than the broadest outlines of climate issues, seem to remember that I mentioned the Pacific islands only as a comment on our claimed ability to adapt, and that I followed it with a reference to hundreds of millions of people from places like Bangladesh, because it would seem that, if the scientists are right about climate change, they are probably also right about it affecting all sorts of places in all sorts of ways.

Time I went and took my medication. I'm getting really confused.
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written by sailor, October 16, 2009
Sean,

It was only meant as a reply to your first link, not the second.
Now, I am not a climate scientist, but I heard scientists predicting this warming back in the 1960's,and that it would be due to CO2. Nothing seemed to happen for many years. Then it slowly became quite obvious to me that the surface of the planet is warming. The evidence is all around. In the area I hang out in the USA spring and fall are earlier. The rating for the area has gone into the next more moderate category. I see photos and analysis of all the melting ice in the Arctic, we are soon likely to have an ice free polar region for the first time in our history. Glaciers are melting in mountains. I find it difficult to discount such obvious evidence - it is clear to me that things are a little warmer in just my lifetime.
No one has come up with an acceptable warming hypothesis apart from the rise in CO2, which has been out there for over 40 years. Things do seem to be progressing according to the models, or maybe even a little faster.
It will mean not much to me, I shall probably be dead before the really major ice sheets melt out, but for younger people it should be a concern.
For those that think humans are not capable of making the temperature change, it is worth thinking about the earth when then there was almost no oxygen. The oxygen we breath today was probably mainly a result of bacteria converting CO2 to oxygen. They must have been extremely successful at it, so successful, they eventually made the atmosphere poisonous to themselves. So in the past much bigger changes have been effected by much less sophisticated life forms..
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written by Random, October 16, 2009
Sailor

You completely misunderstand everything I have said, so have still failed to address my point. The human influence on the greenhouse effect is around 0.28%, that is well-established and not in serious dispute. The fact that the greenhouse effect equates to roughly 33 degrees is not in serious dispute - I got it from a variety of sources. It is a standard, accepted figure.

So do you seriously say that it is not an extraordinary claim that the 0.28% increase in the greenhouse effect has more than 0.1 degree effect on mean world temperatures? Given that it is an extraordinary claim, where is the extraordinary evidence?

That is my point. The fact that models written by people who want to prove AGW include water vapour is utterly irrelevant to that point. My mentioning of water vapour was just to show that CO2 is not the most important greenhouse gas as you had claimed.

Undecided

That is not hypothetical, or rather it is less hypothetical than the models that purport to show AGW. It is based on the same science, but a far simpler calculation. The 33 degrees is not disputed by climate alarmists, in fact it was in an alarmist article I first saw the figure. So why more than 0.1 of a degree?

Inquisativeraven

About corals suffering, I would dispute that. My cousin happens to be a marine biologist, and has worked on reefs including the great barrier reef (he works for an Australian university). He says that they are not suffering, and sees no reason that they will. I am a geology graduate, and quite aware that we are in a period of very low carbon dioxide levels. The previous higher levels did not prevent the formation of all sorts of reefs and of calcite and aragonite tests. In fact the supply of carbon is needed in order to form these.
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Just show us the evidence
written by bigdoggy, October 16, 2009
If you want others to accept that humans are causing global warming then just show the evidence. There is none, just like homeopathy, auras, ghosts, telepathy etc. The arguments are because there's no evidence. Instead of arguing what you believe or claim that scientists believe, just show the evidence. You can't, because there is no evidence that humans are causing global warming. Don't say: 'you should read this or read that' because I've read everything looking for a scrap of evidence. There is none. None.
I challenge anyone posting here to stop shouting it's true and just post irrefutable evidence. Go on.
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written by mrsean2k, October 16, 2009
@sailor

Ah, I see, thanks.

It takes some wading through, but please persist. Getting to the source of things can be *very* time consuming.

One complication is that there is widespread agreement - event between "warmist" and "deniers" - that there are long term (cross century) cycles to climate.

You might see references to the MWP (Medieval Warming Period).

The focus of current analysis is how to separate this natural and apparently unavoidable cycle from any influence due to human activities that exaggerates this effect.

The claim - in multiple studies - is that when you take away the natural unavoidable part, you're left with a discrepancy that shows climate change at an alarming rate that *must* be due to human activity - industrialisation etc.

The problem is the data collected to "support" this view is not made routinely available for public scrutiny, the software that processes the data is not routinely made available to see how it processes that data, and the provenance of the data (where and when collected) is badly recorded, non-existent, held secret or some combination of all three.

When the data *is* made available and put to public scrutiny, massive inconsistencies in each area become apparent, rendering the interpretation suspect at very best.

This isn't to say that if it *is* all left to public scrutiny it won't produce the same conclusion, but the behaviour of people responsible for providing access to it and explaining their methods and assumptions is horribly suspicious.

We might still end up having to cope with upheaval due to climate change, but we shouldn't be wasting our money on wild goose chases if the degree man is responsible for isn't significant.

And none of this effects our responsibility to address pollution and waste for lots of other very good reasons.
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written by Undecided, October 16, 2009
Random,
There is no scientific basis to take that 33 degrees above vacuum as a yardstick... it is not relevant, and does nothing but make the numbers looks small... it is a political ploy and not science. It would make just as much sense to claim that in the entirety of Earth's history (past present and future) the greatest global warming is caused by the Sun going nova, and then claim that means man made global warming can be ignored because it is a insignificant 0.0000001% (or some nonsense) of some other number. Game playing with numbers and statistics is not science...
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Poor Planning On Your Part Does Not Constitute An Emergency On My Part
written by Caller X, October 16, 2009
I suggest you put that idea to people living on many Pacific Islands, whose entire countries are about 1 metre above sea level.


Would that be at high tide or low tide?

To be brutally honest, not my problem.
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written by Caller X, October 16, 2009
Now, I am not a climate scientist


Clearly.

but I heard scientists predicting this warming back in the 1960's


Would that be the scientists who weren't predicting a coming ice age?

and that it would be due to CO2. Nothing seemed to happen for many years. Then it slowly became quite obvious to me that the surface of the planet is warming. The evidence is all around.


Something being obvious to you is the definition of "not evidence."

In the area I hang out in the USA spring and fall are earlier. The rating for the area has gone into the next more moderate category. I see photos and analysis of all the melting ice in the Arctic, we are soon likely to have an ice free polar region for the first time in our history.


For the first time in your life, quite possibly. But "in our history"? You seem determined to take the short view and make it all about you.




Glaciers are melting in mountains. I find it difficult to discount such obvious evidence - it is clear to me that things are a little warmer in just my lifetime.


Again, what is clear to you means nothing. Glaciers have been melting for centuries; that's why you see glacier tracks in places where there are no longer glaciers.

To sum up: very poorly argued, short view of history, all about you. On the bright side, good spelling.
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written by Undecided, October 16, 2009
"Glaciers have been melting for centuries" is not a good scientific rebuff of "Glaciers are melting in mountains" because it ignores rates of melting and anything else scientifically redeemable. Neither statement trumps the other, because both claims are equally vague and without context.

To sum up: Science is not an argument. Science is a system of acquiring knowledge based on scientific method. A scientific debate does not result in a winner, just (hopefully) the advancement of science.
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written by Steel Rat, October 16, 2009
To sum up: Science is not an argument. Science is a system of acquiring knowledge based on scientific method. A scientific debate does not result in a winner, just (hopefully) the advancement of science.


Quite so. And when scientists refuse to divulge data and methods in order for others to replicate their results, they're no longer adhering to the scientific method.
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written by Steel Rat, October 16, 2009
"Glaciers have been melting for centuries" is not a good scientific rebuff of "Glaciers are melting in mountains" because it ignores rates of melting and anything else scientifically redeemable.


And in reality, glaciers are more sensitive to precipitation than ambient temperature.
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Kuroyume...
written by fuwafuwausagi, October 16, 2009
Kuroyume:

Thank you for the polite response.

I have read your response several times today, at various times, from different vantages.

I believe it would be fair of me to state your central points without diminishing them by editing your post as follows:

“… I totally agree. Humans (species designated by ourselves as Homo Sapiens Sapiens) will DEFINITELY go extinct sometime in the future”

And…

On the other hand, having reached our current level of knowledge and technology, not to invest it in attempts to avoid catastrophes or lessen their effect is ludicrous.

And…

If we can do something about something that poses a threat to our existence or our current state of existence, we should apply our evolutionary advantage. If not, we will suffer the consequences.

Once again I believe the above summation to be fair; if you disagree let me know.

Given that, I must call your attention to the first point, of which you concur. I just do not see how your second and third points logically follow the first. They look incongruent to me no matter how hard I try to rationalize them.

I suspect they need an emotional context to make sense. In other words I think your view gains more from advancing it as a moral imperative (the right thing to do) rather than as a logical argument, because as you have concurred, the human race is extinct in the long run.

As I mentioned the appeal to humanity or morality seems far more compelling to me. Ultimately I would discard it, because, from a anthropological and social standpoint I am not sure that it would not do homo sapiens a bit of good to have another massive decrease in population induced by cataclysm or disease.

Additionally maybe global warming (not that I accept it) is what the earth wants to do. By preventing it and artificially manipulating it we might by assuring our destruction by not allowing nature to alleviate planetary stress in a controlled fashion. For example perhaps higher sea levels might allow plate tectonics to expend energy in a more dissipated fashion rather than all at once. That all at once could ultimately be far more destructive to humanity than global warming. These are very integrated and complex systems, and once again I think it is man’s ego that compels him to believe he understand these system enough to alter them without creating a potential mayhem that far exceeds what he fears.

Stated differently, I am not arrogant enough to propose that I know what the correct temperature of the earth is. And I have certainly not been impressed enough by humanity to care if it survives an apocalypse, self inflicted or otherwise.

Regards…
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fuwafuwausagi
written by Kuroyume, October 17, 2009
They do follow. Humans will definitely go extinct eventually. This is how evolution works - the process doesn't create static things that last forever, it continually changes. But the fact that we will eventually go extinct shouldn't be a reason to just sit back and let catastrophes happen, ignore our knowledge and data and not apply them when we can or must, especially when we can attempt to mitigate the effects. For instance, since the efficacy of innoculation has grown in our medical science, there has been a long and successful attempt to create a herd immunity against common diseases to avoid pandemics and many deaths. One could say that we are 'artificially' changing the natural course of things so that humans continue as a successful species at the expense of these bacteria and viruses. Oh well. It is part of our evolutionary advantage that we can do this, so why shouldn't we? No moral imperative, just an evolutionary advantage. Our ability to think, reason, act, construct are granted by evolutionary processes. We either use them or we don't.

Again, I agree. I'm definitely not impressed by humanity. We speak great things but the reality is a neverending stream of wars, atrocities, and inequities. And it is possible that our attempts to mitigate one catastrophe will lead tangentially to another. Unfortunately, the one advantage not embued, not embuable, by evolution was the ability to see the future. smilies/smiley.gif
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written by Lee, October 17, 2009
This comment is probably too late to really add to this debate, but nevertheless I strongly recommend people glance over wattsupwiththat.com. The site hosts paper after paper criticising the consensus of climate change; I would add more but it is getting quite late here. I will post something a bit more substantive after I have had a good sleep!
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written by mrsean2k, October 17, 2009
This is also the first time I've taken any notice of comment ratings. I see my first comment gets a -2, but I couldn't see corresponding criticism.

I'm not after an argument about it, but I'd be very interested to know what prompts a negative rating. I think it's legitimate to think "I just don't agree but it takes too long to address - have a -1", but I'd be more interested if those ratings were related to the way I presented the comment - too confrontational, too wordy, etc.

Any feedback appreciated.
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Negative rating in place of evidence
written by bigdoggy, October 18, 2009
I agree with mrsean2k. People are voting down comments that they can't answer. What a shame for them, now they know how a religious zealot feels when asked for evidence of their God. They can't provide any so they dislike the person asking. Global warming caused by people is the one topic where so-called sceptics abandon everything they know about requiring evidence. Suddenly, it isn't required any more. People you trust have told you it's true so you just believe it, without there being any evidence whatsoever. To all those who voted down my comment: you are now officially a woo woo believer.
PS post evidence here or shut up. You can still do the sneaky vote down thing if it makes you feel better, though it's just a placebo really...
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written by Gnardude, October 18, 2009
What infuriates me is the bending of what is considered science. No matter the consensus, a scientist's opinion is not science. Science is repeatable and demonstrable. If there was a working model that we could all use to predict the weather that would be science. The Jehovah's Witness' try to use that opinion of scientists crap all the time. 3/4 Dentists recommend Crest toothpaste, that's not science either.
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What?
written by stevekelner, October 18, 2009
I put up several pieces of evidence last night, specifically regarding the rapid decrease in Arctic and Antarctic ice, the large number of "hot years", and a comment on long-term temperature trends as opposed to a year or two of variance (as well as another shout-out to www.realclimate.org), and it did not get posted. I don't know why - suddenly I needed to be moderated, and I hadn't experienced that before. Hopefully it will show up. In the meantime, I observe that this is indeed getting quite nasty.
97% of scientists in related fields think anthropogenic global warming is real, and significant, based on data. Yes, science isn't democracy, which is why the opinion of scientists working on the data is more meaningful than most of the people apparently posting here. The argument appears to be mostly about how much and how fast, not whether it exists. I suggest reading realclimate.org because it is written by genuine climate scientists (and won a Scientific American Web Award), and shows where the debate is taking place as well as commenting on the movies cited above. As early as 2004, they could state a clear consensus that (1) the Earth is warming, (2) humans were causing it, (3) and it will continue and accelerate if greenhouse gas emissions continue. (http://www.realclimate.org/ind...us-anyway/)
There's no doubt it is a complex issue, but the comparison with evolution is quite germane, because similarly to the days of evolutionary research pre-DNA analysis, it is based on a constellation of data rather than any single piece of data, and similarly no single datapoint in disagreement is enough to derail it. And the people saying "weren't they predicting an ice age forty years ago?" are correct - but that isn't a contradiction. By the normal cycles the climate change skeptics so love to cite, we should be entering an ice age. The fact that we are not is indicative of something else going on, and that is one of the pieces of evidence that global warming is occurring.
Sniping at each other isn't a good way to approach this, folks. And interesting that one common insult is to refer to climate change as a "religion." Better tell the many, many scientists working on this that they aren't scientists because some amateurs on a "skeptic" blog think they're living in a belief system instead. I think they'd be surprised.
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written by Gnardude, October 18, 2009
Wow,talk about missing the point. Where did you pull the 97% from? Somewhere dark I bet. The Earth's climate has always been dynamic, I believe we're in a warming trend but the point is that a scientist's opinion though more educated is not actually science. It's a hypothesis. The scientist needs to prove his opinion through the scientific method. We should be able to use these formulas to accurately predict things. Also, why attack skeptics? I won't feel guilty for being rational and demanding evidence.
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written by alex, October 18, 2009
To Gnardude: with all due respect, that stevekelner pulled 97% out of something dark is just your opinion and it is demonstrably wrong. Peter T. Doran, Professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago and named a Leopold Fellow in 2008 by Standford University's Woods Institute for the Environment, together with his former student published a survey of scientists in a publication of the American Geophysical Union. In it they asked 3146 scientists in relevant disciplines several questions on global warming among other things. 97% of the specialists in climate science said yes to whether temperatures have risen and whether it was caused by humans. These are not opinions but a result of decades-long painstaking research on the topic by the specialists. Are they 100% right? Not necessarily, but it is highly likely that they are. So, there is no meaningful debate among scientists (regardless of whether they will turn out to be right or wrong in the future).

Here are the links: http://tigger.uic.edu/~pdoran/home.htm and http://tigger.uic.edu/~pdoran/..._final.pdf

I would strongly recommend Realclimate.org (generously pointed out by stevekelner). The interpretation of the actual observational data that they make there is very carefully thought out as far as I can judge as a scientist. I am not surprised by this at all as these people are distinguished peer-reviewed climate scientists.

I was disappointed by a rather weak piece by Jeff above. Saying that there is a big debate on whether humans are causing global warming are simply not true. This is a personal opinion, which is wrong as I have just demonstrated. I thought that JREF's site was intended to show how personal delusions/opinions can lead us to nowhere rather than to proclaim that it is good to distrust or ignore even serious scientific work.

In any case, if I offended anyone, I apologize as I certainly did not intend that to happen.
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written by Gnardude, October 18, 2009
Not my fault if the source is not quoted, I didn't cite the statistic stevekelner did. I could only guess where it comes from. My point is still that opinion is not science. Religion has been debated just as long by experts and it's not science either.
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@Gnardude and Alex
written by stevekelner, October 18, 2009
Thanks, alex, for saving me the trouble of looking up the source. Gnardude, did you consider asking me for a reference? I cited other sources, so you might have guessed that this one was legitimate and I simply overlooked citing the reference (which I did). Instead, you are arbitrarily dismissing anything I wrote because you cherry-picked one data point you disagreed with -- based on your opinion.
And I rather think you missed my point. Opinions in the absence of facts are not science. Informed opinions, however, are a different ballgame, and are a legitimate consideration when they capture the overall view of many working scientists. (In the social science biz, this is known as "qualitative data" or even "clinical judgment," which is not yet simply measurable, but is reliable as long as one is not trying to be too precise.) By your dismissal of those thousands of climate scientists' "opinion," you are implicitly making your inexpert opinion equal to thousands of people working with the data in this field for decades. In that case your opinion is not a skeptic's demand for facts, but a denial based on your own disbelief.
By the way, I am a social scientist used to working with complex data, so I have a great deal of sympathy for what climate scientists are doing. It's never, ever going to be as simple as physics was for its first several centuries, but I have been increasingly convinced of the importance of this issue over the years based on a reading of what the real scientists are saying, insofar as I understand it -- rather than the oil company shills, Michael Crichton, the movie-makers, and the GOP.
The difference between climate scientists debating facts and theologians debating religion is a vast one.
And I agree, alex, that Jeff's piece was weak and seemingly designed to provoke angry discussion. I don't think climate science bears any resemblance to "woo," even if there are legitimate people disagreeing with it.
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written by Gnardude, October 18, 2009
Are you really blaming me for your omission? Pretty unprofessional. As far as me being uninformed, I think my Geology professors would be disappointed to hear that. You guys are dancing around my point. Opinion is not science. 97% of Meteorologists think tomorrow will be partially cloudy with a chance of showers, cooler late in the day. You can look up a source for that for me. If there is no difference between opinion and fact in your world we will never agree. I think it's a pretty basic distinction that is often blurred so that stories can be spun.
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written by Steel Rat, October 18, 2009
By the way, I am a social scientist used to working with complex data, so I have a great deal of sympathy for what climate scientists are doing.


Then perhaps you should ask RealClimate why they refuse to disclose data and methods for their conclusions. That would be science. What they're doing is "trust me, I know", and nothing more. When scrutinized, the work of Michael Mann (a prominent figure at realclimate), and others who have helped create the "hockey stick" doesn't stand up. Go to climateaudit.org to see why they don't stand up to scrutiny.

It's never, ever going to be as simple as physics was for its first several centuries, but I have been increasingly convinced of the importance of this issue over the years based on a reading of what the real scientists are saying, insofar as I understand it -- rather than the oil company shills, Michael Crichton, the movie-makers, and the GOP.


Ad hominem attacks don't help the situation, nor do straw men. You've rather ignored some prominent climate scientists, such as MIT's Richard Lindzen, University of Alabama's Roy Spencer and John Christy. They don't have a NASA-funded web site to promote disinformation and ignore dissent like Gavin Schmidt at realclimate.
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written by Steel Rat, October 18, 2009
I put up several pieces of evidence last night, specifically regarding the rapid decrease in Arctic and Antarctic ice


http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/10/08/antarcticas-ice-story-has-been-put-on-ice/

Rapid? We've only been looking a very short time. We have no idea what normal is. But the Antarctic doesn't appear to be decreasing at all...

As for long term temperature trends, since we've only been measuring with any accuracy for less than 100 years, again we really don't know what's normal. We have seen nothing that hasn't been seen before, Polar Bears aren't in danger, we need to learn a lot more before we can come to any conclusions.
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written by Gnardude, October 18, 2009
And the people saying "weren't they predicting an ice age forty years ago?" are correct - but that isn't a contradiction. By the normal cycles the climate change skeptics so love to cite, we should be entering an ice age. The fact that we are not is indicative of something else going on, and that is one of the pieces of evidence that global warming is occurring.


So the opinions were right, but Earth was wrong?
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written by Gnardude, October 18, 2009
I was quoting stevekelner last post. Sorry I didn't highlight it.
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written by alex, October 18, 2009
It is painful to see the discussion above. How can we seriously rely on opinions of "blog scientists", who do not even have necessary training (Steve McIntyre, Anthony Watts and the like)? One of these never finished any serious training in any relevant discipline, another is a radio meteorologist on a Fox News affiliate, who according to himself "spent 25 years on the air and who also operates a weather technology and content business, as well as continues daily forecasting on radio, just for fun." Does that qualify for anything?

Richard Lindzen from MIT is indeed a respected scientist. However, I think his views have been misrepresented here. First, he is mostly in agreement with the majority of climate scientists. He's had some theory in 1990 about a negative feedback effect of the condensation of water vapor (i.e. more rain) and both drying and cooling of the troposphere above 5 km. Since then the theory has been shown to contradict data. He himself has stopped referring to it. In fact, he's changed his mind on a lot of things. He no longer denies that there is global warming. he is still reluctant to accept that this is due to GHGs from human activities. However, his arguments so far have been largely contrarian, i.e., without support.

Some statements above are just false. There is no evidence that RealClimate ever hid any evidence. My guess is that was said in reference to Mann et al (199smilies/cool.gif paper on the hockey stick pattern. The updated new data and programs are posted by them and available to anyone with a computer and internet access: http://www.meteo.psu.edu/~mann...oxyMeans07

I guess it is hard to convince a person if he's already made up his mind that scientists are liars of some sort. It is just like one of those commenters above. He asks to show evidence for global warming and not tell him "read this one and that one". He's already read all of it and figured out that there is nothing there. So, painstaking decades-long training and research work by thousands of renowned scientists has been discredited in a swift blow by a self-proclaimed skeptic. How can you argue with this person intelligently? He already knows everything. End of story.
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written by Otara, October 18, 2009
It doesnt pain me too much because the argument here is over how to interpret science rather than rejecting science entirely- if its being done its more by degree rather than the wholesale way you see with other issues. The idea that all skeptics are going to see something the same way isnt tenable, there are going to be area where disagreement occurs and this area isnt in the same vein as creationism vs evolution really.

That and I suspect that the length of this thread doesnt really show the level of disagreement anyhow. The +/- votes tend to suggest that the naysayers are a smaller group than the number of replies might initially suggest. Vocal doesnt necessarily meant convincing.
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written by Gnardude, October 19, 2009
Rather than take an opinion as fact like Alex does, I think I'll wait for testable proof.
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@Gnardude
written by stevekelner, October 19, 2009
But you've already made it clear you have rejected such proof as exists based on your opinion. When presented with facts by me and Alex (e.g., data available in various places at realclimate.org and elsewhere on Arctic melts and so forth, as well as the overwhelming conclusions of climate scientists), you apparently ignored the facts and rejected the overall opinion of 97% of climate scientists as "opinion." When I suggested that informed opinion is rather different from random opinion -- in precisely the same manner that the scientific definition of a "theory" is different from the common one -- you once again repeat that you won't "take an opinion as fact."
Let's turn it around: what will convince you? Please cite the specific nature of the facts you will accept. Because it isn't going to be like Galileo dropping cannonballs of the Leaning Tower of Pisa, no matter what happens, and even if the water level rises two meters next week, there will still be debate about how quickly the next step will take place.
For example, had we said that "97% of climate scientists agree that anthropogenic global warming is taking place based on their interpretation of the data collected by their colleagues and their own individual research," would you feel differently? Because that happens to be a fact.
Your insistence on "testable proof" leads me to believe you are taking a somewhat oversimplified view of scientific methodology. If you insist on a double-blind study with a control group, that's not going to be possible until we develop FTL drive and screw up an identical planet to our own. Having said that, studies of Venus (a near-twin in many respects) and studies over time produce a similar effect. So tell me, Gnardude - what exactly will you consider proof?
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What I would consider proof
written by bigdoggy, October 19, 2009
I don't know about Gnarnude but here's what I'd consider would make a convincing case that people burning fossil fuels is heating up the earth:
1 a rational explanation of how a tiny contribution to CO2 to the vast natural output makes enough of a difference to HEAT UP THE EARTH,
2 an acknowledgment that methane coming out of our asses and the asses of asses and other animals has a bigger effect than all the CO2,
3 an acknowledgment that yes, we can tax the fossil fuel (to SAVE THE PLANET BY MAKING IT COST MORE!) but we can't (yet) tax the methane,
4 a recognition that the earth cycles through hot and cold phases but this time it's different because:
5 the fossil fuel bit is to blame and we can demonstrate this by (insert any evidence here)

Does everyone here realise that the fossil fuel is all going to be burnt, whether we increase its price or not? Then it will be gone. Taxing it and blaming it will not stop it being used. It will all be used until it's no longer economical to extract it. This is a FACT. And here are some more FACTS:
a plane uses less fuel per person per mile than a car
a person riding a bicycle emits CO2, and making the bike did too
the Toyota Prius does less miles per gallon than a BMW (see Top Gear for proof)
There are twice as many people in the world as there were forty years ago, more people = more heat, but only partly due to fossil fuel usage
the same hippies who are protesting outside of coal-fired power stations were outside of nuclear ones twenty years ago
A warmer planet would benefit many people and would save many lives in colder climes
A rising sea level would take centuries and people move around over lifetimes. The fastest two metre rise possible would take hundreds of years. Just think if the sea had been two metres lower during the American war of independence than it is now.

And one final fact, for Alex. You CAN argue with me intelligently, you just have to use intelligence yourself, rather than slogans that your priests have taught you.
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written by alex, October 19, 2009
The fact is, Gnardude, that science does not deal in complete certainty ever. I think it is a common misunderstanding of science that I see again and again including this chat.
At least half of us dies from cancer. I do not see people telling their doctors " see doc, you do not know for sure whether this chemo treatment will help me survive, so I will pass, doc, as this is only your opinion that I may survive - you have no proof of that". Indeed, according to such a definition, there is no proof of that. In fact, the best they can tell you is that you have, say, 15% chance of surviving through the next 5 years. Hardly a proof. Yet, most people will go for it. Ok, maybe except for some oddballs, who are deeply religious and know "for sure" (i.e., have 100% proof, witness accounts and what not) that prayer will help. Then they skip treatment and often die (see recent court case in Australia for an example of that kind of disregard of reality). Yet, such a 15% chance is a far cry from how certain climate scientists are about future problems and human cause of global warming. The uncertainty is not about whether it will be bad but about how bad it will be and how soon. Climate science by the way has far less uncertainty than most areas of medicine.
Another example, we first observed Pluto in 1930. Yet we know that its orbital period is 248 years. How on earth do we know that? There is certainly no proof of that by definition. We still have to wait 168 years to prove that. Does it mean that this is an opinion? Gnardude thinks it is as there is no proof. Try telling this to physicists. I would like to see the reaction.
I have yet to hear which opinions exactly I took as facts. My forced guess is that just saying that I did does not prove that I did (according to your definition of proof as I read it). Would you please list the opinions that I took as facts and please prove that these are opinions and not a result of painstaking research. I am listening.
When I give evidence that people are simply lying to get their agenda across, it is not an opinion. I gave the reference to the data that someone said was hidden by Realclimate. Yet, some people are just immune to evidence.
I highly doubt though that anybody on this chat will study these data very carefully and test the programs trying to identify whether they work properly. What is the point for lying about and/or asking for evidence if people ignore it right from the start? You people have been pointed to Realclimate site. Tell us which part of what they say there is an opinion and why. Please do not refer me to climateaudit.org or anything of that sort as it is not organized by peer-reviewed scientists (not even by scientists with relevant credentials). Relying on that site is sort of like asking a political scientist for help with understanding the consequences of fixed exchange rates for an economy. He may know something about it but is not qualified to answer the question due to lack of grasp of relevant literature and most likely the lack of relevant technical skills.
Please refer me to published research by serious qualified people with specific reasons why you think they are wrong.

P.S. Stephen McIntyre's piece in a non-climate-science journal has since been completely destroyed as a spurious opinion. It was published in a social science journal, which is not surprising as McIntyre's co-author McKitrick is an economist, not a climate scientist. When they sent it to Nature, one of the most prestigious scientific journals, it was rejected due to overwhelmingly negative reviews by referees and the editor. If that is not enough as evidence of the poor quality of that work, then what is enough? By the way all of the above is easily verified and referenced. But i guess it would be of little interest to some people here.
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written by mrsean2k, October 19, 2009
@alex

I'd like those references if you have them to hand. For those non-technical parts I've been able to follow, it looked clear to me that Steve Mc., whatever the quality of his analysis, was routinely misquoted and misattributed, and none too unwittingly. That aside, I'm still interested in seeing chapter and verse on the various rebuttals.
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written by mrsean2k, October 19, 2009
@alex

Bizarrely I've had email notifaction of your response to the request for links twice, but they don't appear here when I follow the links, and they aren't there when I look directly.

Is there some kind of refresh I need to do, or are you just tidying for clarity? I'd be quite happy with just a list of suitable links.
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written by alex, October 19, 2009
I think they are reviewing my post. Wait up.
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written by Caller X, October 19, 2009
written by Gnardude, October 18, 2009
And the people saying "weren't they predicting an ice age forty years ago?" are correct - but that isn't a contradiction. By the normal cycles the climate change skeptics so love to cite, we should be entering an ice age. The fact that we are not is indicative of something else going on, and that is one of the pieces of evidence that global warming is occurring.


Well, since the Earth has been cooling for the last 10 years, maybe it's just behind schedule. I gotcher number, see? Yer one o' dem guys dat always finds a way how an argument disproving his point actually proves it, given enough ingenuity on the part of the arguer.

Guess what? Both the people who were predicting an Ice Age and the Global Warmsters were/are wrong. It's that simple.

-- Rockin' Ockham checkin' in on a good lookin' Monday!!
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written by mrsean2k, October 19, 2009
@alex

I didn't even realise there was any kind of pre-publication review.
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written by Gnardude, October 19, 2009
What percentage of Climatologists would still have a job if they said "We're fine for a while, our entire history is less than a blink of the eye in geologic terms. We don't have an accurate formula to predict the weather yet so let's not panic."?

Stevekelner accuses me of writing off opinion as "opinion". Guilty as charged. That is my point.

Alex regarding your Pluto reference you would expect to see it in a certain place at a certain time. If you can do that consistently you can be reasonably certain that you have a formula that works. You could show me how I can do it, and we could all predict Pluto's orbit. It would be proven. If you don't have a working model for climate change you are left with opinion. You can't predict the weather. In chemistry we can't say where an electron will be at any one time but we don't poll chemists and get them to speculate it's location. We admit that we know only that it will be within certain parameters.

I don't have an "oversimplified view of science methodology" as accused, rather I have studied Geology enough to understand how intellectually arrogant it is to be certain on this matter.

You both write long rambling posts which make it not worthwhile for me to address each point. It's a good tactic though, often used by Theists who want to get their piece in and make it take a long time to refute each assertion. I'll just keep picking and choosing at my leisure.
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written by Steel Rat, October 19, 2009
Nature is such a prestigious journal they don't even require archived data and code for these epic papers. McIntyre had to go searching for the MBH1998 data, found it by accident. Then he gets criticized for not doing enough with it. Amazing.

As for McIntyre's credentials. I'd be willing to bet he's got more statistical training and experience than just about any climate scientist. And let's face it. The "hockey stick" papers are nothing more than statistical data manipulation. There's virtually no original field work involved on Mann's part.

So because Watts is associated with Fox News and now does weather reporting "for fun" means he, as a meterologist, has no qualifications? James Hansen is an astrophysicist. What are his qualifications as a climate scientist? Try looking up some logical fallacies...

And as for "Some statements above are just false. There is no evidence that RealClimate ever hid any evidence." I didn't say they hid evidence. RealClimate doesn't do science, they just to blog posts. The authors of the "hockey stick" papers refused to disclose data and methods required for replicating their results. Or maybe you're conflating two different issues; the refusal to disclose, and the extreme censorship of dissenting opinions on RealClimate? The latter has definitely occurred, but you won't see "evidence" of that at RC, because... umm, the opinions weren't dumped! Duh! I'm sure many of the dumped comments were just vitriol, but many were legitimate questions that RC simply refuses to answer.
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written by Steel Rat, October 19, 2009
I think comments with more than a couple links in them are getting placed in a moderation queue, but I don't think anyone is moderating them. My first comment in this thread had a couple links, and it hasn't shown up yet, after a couple days.
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written by Steel Rat, October 19, 2009
the opinions weren't dumped!


Should have read,

the opinions were dumped!
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Yes, Steel Rat, one of my posts was lost, too.
written by stevekelner, October 19, 2009
As was one post that made it to my mailbox, but not to here, strangely enough. Both had lengthy links (to evidence, of course), but I think the real issue must be oddball characters. Perhaps if I had done a tinyurl it would have gotten in. Anyone know?
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written by Steel Rat, October 19, 2009
I don't think it's oddball characters, but the number of links. It's a common spam filtering method, as far as I know. Might be a relatively new feature that someone is forgetting to administer.
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written by sherro, October 19, 2009
As an Australian Skeptic member for years, as a scientist of 30 years, as one who has countered extremist activism in nuclear and forestry projects of world scale, as one who has taken politicians with bad motives before the highest court in our land, I have to say that the Global Warming syndrome is one you should examine very closely.

In brief, a number of powerful people, some with newspaper ownership/control, have helped fund the familiar faces of activism into production of a Global Warmng story that does not stand close scrutiny. They hope in return to make squillions of $$, because money is to be made when the financial systems of the world go into rapid change. So don't believe all you read in the newspapers (if you ever did).

Global Warming has me wrong-footed because in the past there was every indication that the mainstream was right and I was prudent to side with them. This time, I have little choice but to say that the mainstream view of "settled" science is often wrong on key issues.

When you start to examine the bold assertions of the IPCC, you find first one error, then another .... until the avalanche happens. It's not easy work because many sub-disciplines are covered and because certain key authors resolutely refuse to reveal their raw data despite Journal requirements to do so. When some have been forced by Editors, the correlation between bad science and refusal to divulge becomes apparent.

I have found example after example of what I would label as deliberate scientific fraud, but I can't say that in public and name names because I don't have the money to fight in Court. But, as an example, try a graph that shows tree rings indicating a modern temperature fall. No problem, just invert the graph, say that Principal Component analysis is insensitive to sign, and press on.

You might find it beneficial to go to the blogs climateaudit.org by Canadian Steve McIntyre, or Niche Modeling by mathematician David Stockwell or The Air Vent by Jeff Id. The readers of and contibutors to these blogs in particular are highly qualified as a rule and you will find cutting edge analysis.

It is important to note that the position taken by these blog owners, and mine, is not to deny that there is climate change. It is emphasised that the positions are fairly neutral re politics, with the conclusions standing on the quality of the science and maths. That is, correctly "audits", not "opinions".
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written by alex, October 19, 2009
Watts has neither training nor peer-reviewed papers in climate science, just doing the funny thing on a radio. That is why he is not qualified. No fallacy here.
Hansen is not an astrophysicist. he got his MS in astronomy and PhD in Physics with main field in atmospheric physics. The latter is a part of climate science. More importantly, he is best known for his peer reviewed work in radiative transfer, planetary atmospheres, and climate models. Pretty self-explanatory. What are Watts' peer reviewed papers on any of these subjects? Could not find any.
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written by sherro, October 19, 2009
Alex, I stress that we are fairly neutral on politics and you immediately write a political ad hom. Disappointing. What about the science?

It is just so, so typical of the global warming thingo that people close their eyes to what they do not want to see and spurt off in another direction. Does not work with me.
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written by Steel Rat, October 19, 2009
Watts has neither training nor peer-reviewed papers in climate science, just doing the funny thing on a radio. That is why he is not qualified. No fallacy here.


Guilt by association with Fox is the fallacy. Ok so Hansen was a bad choice on my part. How about Al Gore? David Suzuki? Tim Flannery?

As for McIntyre, he was an expert reviewer for AR3, so someone felt he was qualified.
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written by Geoff, October 19, 2009
People who say they will go with the majority opinion as represented by the IPPC should understand that this is a political organisation & has a prior commitment to AGW. Consider the following observational data & how IPPC 2007 handled it.

During the warming in the 1980’s & 1990’s (HADCRUT), which incidentally was not unlike the degree & pace of warming in the 1920’s & 1930’s (HADCRUT), observational data shows that there was a significant increase in the flux of short wave radiation reaching the earth . This is confirmed both by measurements at the earth's surface, by satellite data sets & by measurement of the earth’s albedo (moonshine). Over the period 1985-2000 these data sets ranged from 2-6 watts/sq metre & are far higher than the estimated direct forcing effect of all greenhouse gases of about 0.8 watts/sq metre, accumulated over the same period. (Palle et al, 2005 but see also Pinker et al, 2005, Wielicki et al, 2005 and Wild et al, 2004;2005).

http://www.iac.es/galeria/epalle/reprints/Palle_GRL_2005.pdf

In IPPC 2007, WG1 confirms a 4% decline in cloud cover in the ISCCP data which is the most likely cause of the above increase in short wave flux.

Doesn’t this suggest that those natural causes were far more dominant than anthropogenic greenhouse gases in causing this warming?

The above data & arguments were apparently debated in the WG1 (2007) yet the WG1 summary glossed over this & simply questioned the data & no mention was made of this lack of consensus in the SPM.

One needs to look at the science supporting both GHG & natural reasons for the recent warming; unfortunately the latter doesn't have a well funded organisation like the IPPC backing it. Beware.
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stevekelner
written by Geoff, October 19, 2009
"Let's turn it around: what will convince you? Please cite the specific nature of the facts you will accept. Because it isn't going to be like Galileo dropping cannonballs of the Leaning Tower of Pisa"

Well speaking for myself it would help for example if the slope of the ERLB observations of delta F Flux W/sq m (Top of Atmos)versus delta Temp were negative like ALL the 12 models outputs shown in the attached paper. As it is they are positive suggesting the climate sensitivity to GHG is a faction of what the models are based on. Lindzen & Choi, "On the determination of climate feedbacks from ERBE", Published in Geophysical Research Letters, 26 Aug 2009.

http://www.leif.org/EOS/2009GL039628-pip.pdf

Alex above, you are the one misrepresenting Richard Lindzen. Yes Lindzen is in the minority but given his views & given the initial brief of the IPPC & it's prior commitment at this stage, this is hardly surprising. I believe in the long one he will be vindicated in the science. Reading further back in this blog I am of the opinion that most of your pieces can only be described as propaganda, accentuated with ad hominem on people like Steve McIntyre and devoid of any hard facts.



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written by sherro, October 19, 2009
If you have the time and the desire for self-flagellation, you can read the instructions to authors who contributed to past IPCC reports.

One requirement is that raw data be made available to others, such as scientists with overlapping interests. Another requirement is that the supervising authors, about a dozen for AR4, were to ensure that all objections and dissenting views dutifully submitted were discussed and the reasons for the subsequent responses given. Now, try to get a copy of the dissenting views and the IPCC authors' comments. It cantake years.

This comment verges on the politics of science, but the motivation is to free the science for examination by other scientists who just might be able to contribute helpful input.

The United Nations is in the grip of a few wealthy and powerful people. It seems paralysed, like a chook that goes cross eyed and still, before a snake strikes it.
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written by alex, October 20, 2009
I will just repeat (may be it takes several times for audience to see it) that Watts has neither training nor peer-reviewed papers in climate science, just the radio job. I do not recall saying that simply because he is a Republican (actually, I do not know for sure that he is, although given his views it is a good guess, but that's irrelevant for the question), he does not qualify. I invite you ladies and gentlemen to read what I said again more carefully. Radio job is no substitute for training and, more importantly, a record of serious peer-reviewed work. By the way, I did cut-and-paste of that "FOX News affiliate" from Wiki, so it is an accurate job description. Sorry if that sounded like an ad hom, which certainly it was not.

Al Gore, Tim Flannery at al are not climate scientists, and I do not remember anybody calling them such. Have you heard that? The fact that they are global warming activists is not a sufficient quality to classify them as climate scientists. They do not seem to have established reputations as serious climate scientists through relevant training and peer-reviewed pubs.
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written by Gnardude, October 20, 2009
Alex you wouldn't have to argue credentials if this was really science you are defending. You seem to have a very arrogant position in that respect.
As for "Wiki" being your source, you are absolutely untouchable there as it is more accurate than science or even the Bible.
No matter how much you link and cut/paste you do not have real scientific proof. Give me some predictions based on your models and we'll see. If you're right you're right, and if you're wrong it was the Earth being wrong.
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written by alex, October 20, 2009
Gnardude, as I have said before, you cannot be right 100% in science. There is always a degree of uncertainty about it. You always condition your statements on currently available evidence, which changes over time. The concept of right in the usual sense does not exist in science.
Some of my specific responses did not go through for whatever reason. So, sorry mrsean2k for that.
Have fun giving yourselves stars, guys. Checking out.
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written by mrsean2k, October 20, 2009
@alex

When I was notified of your responses. what appeared to be the full text of your response and links came through in the email, even if it didn't appear here. I didn't want to reproduce or comment on any of it as I wasn't sure if it wasn't appearing because you'd subsequently removed it or otherwise wanted to change it.

I'll work on the basis that the last one I received was intended and follow those links, thanks.

Also a shame to leave the thread, but it does seem hard to generally maintain civility over this issue - as much down to the huge complexity of the data as anything else I'd guess.

I've fallen into this trap elsewhere of getting quite vitriolic over it - I've yet to make amends, and I'm keen not to repeat the error here or elsewhere.
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written by Otara, October 20, 2009
"People who say they will go with the majority opinion as represented by the IPPC should understand that this is a political organisation & has a prior commitment to AGW."

This is certainly possible but there are always reasons given by minorities for the majority not to be listened to in any scientific area. They're biassed, politically motivated, sheep, whatever.

When you dont know an area well enough to decide for yourself, its still the safest heuristic to use, but by definition as a heuristic it could be wrong.
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written by sherro, October 20, 2009
There are published accounts of meetings preceding the IPCC formation. They make it quite clear that a purpose was to disrupt current global economic structure. Some detailed plans to do this are accessible after difficult search and there is little doubt in my mind that they are of hostile purpose. They include quotations of the nature that "It does not matter of we are wrong with the science so long as we can get the public on side". Should a skeptic react to that?

Another place for skeptism comes from Willis Eschenbach, who has contributed original and thoughtful input to global warming topics. He wrote on Climate Audit -
"I don't know if you noticed, but this is a science blog. Wikipedia is well know for the antics of one Wm. Connelly, a Wikipedia "editor" who ruthlessly censors any climate science postings with non-AGW points of view, to the point where other Wikipedia editors have forced him to put back things that he has erased. Please confine your citations to science, not to Connelly's fantasies …"

www.climateaudit.org/?p=867 at post 733.

These are social diversions.

The skeptic might ask instead, "Is there any controlled, real-life experiment that produces a reult that quantitatively links the magnitude of atmospheric CO2 change (or GHG change) to a change in global temperature in a demonstrated cause/effect manner?" This question remains unanswered after years of asking and numerous attempts to divert and obfuscate. Personally, from a spectroscopy background, I would expect a small amount of warming, so I am not a denialist. But the inability to quantify perhaphs the central relationship of the hypothesis of Global Warming might interest skeptics also. (Please don't qoute numerous IPCC estimates back to me - I've read the main ones and find them lacking the vital link. The most common failing is to invoke a subjective input somewhere).
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written by newshopstyle, November 02, 2009
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Why no skepticism over CO2-driven warming on Venus?
written by jack956, November 22, 2009
Human nature holds the answer to this so-called debate. If AGW-skepticism is merely a matter of opposing scientific camps, why is there no debate over the existence of extreme CO2-generated warming on the planet Venus?

On Earth we have the same general cause, but milder. The catch is that people have a much bigger stake in it. They have no reason to care that it's pushing 900 degrees Fahrenheit on Venus, but show them a slightly cooler temperature in their hometown next Tuesday and they'll rail that "the Earth can't be getting warmer!" They persist in confusing local weather with global climate, and cite dissident TV weathermen as more qualified than career climatologists.

People take science for granted until it cramps their personal lifestyle or questions their religious views. This is basically creationism vs. evolution with a climate spin. Half the population in polls still clings to Bible myths and doesn't like the idea that they aren't descendants of a supreme being, entitled to Earth's bounty (oil & coal) with no downsides. Pure ego.

Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin are Creationists, and when it comes to AGW, most "skeptics" tend to side with them over seasoned climatologists. Limbaugh does no original research (how could he?) but he's keen on quoting think-tanks and other cherry-picked info sources. The very papers of "pro" AGW climatologists are taken out of context. The makers of "The Great Global Warming Swindle" used trick interview tactics and angered several scientists whose views were twisted.

The fact that most AGW "skeptics" have Right-leaning politics and minimal respect for nature is not coincidental. These are the same folks who claimed that cutting CFCs to save the ozone layer would hurt the economy. All they really care about is making a buck off natural resources. Pillage now, future be damned. The tone of their arguments is mostly anthropocentric; put people first, and other species like Polar Bears can go stuff themselves.

People have a lot invested in the fossil fuel gravy-train. There's the obvious money aspect, for starters. Oil and coal have created billionaires and a huge industrial machine with millions of jobs riding on continued extraction. Staggering salaries can be made by even forklift drivers in the Canadian tar sands industry. Millions of people drive large pickup trucks and SUVs they don't really need. They're often bought as conspicuous consumption items, or purely for ego (towering over other drivers). Braggadocio has long been a facet of human nature. How could this have NO bearing on the propensity to deny that oil has downsides?

With the above in mind, it's highly unlikely that this is just a scientific squabble. It's ego & money vs. personal restraint and we know how that usually goes down. The reptilian part of human nature is trying to defend itself from the whole concept of scaling back growthism and greed. Historical examples of this are everywhere, so why would AGW-denial be "different" case?

I submit that the author of this piece is biased for one or more of the above reasons. There is nothing illogical on an Occam's Razor level about the bulk of evidence. Something else is motivating dissent and you needn't look far to see it.
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written by Steel Rat, November 22, 2009
Human nature holds the answer to this so-called debate. If AGW-skepticism is merely a matter of opposing scientific camps, why is there no debate over the existence of extreme CO2-generated warming on the planet Venus?


There is. We simply don't know if Venus warmed because of CO2, or if CO2 accumulated due to warming form being 1/3 closer to the sun than the Earth. The atmosphere of Venus is also MUCH denser than that of Earth, with 92 times the surface pressure. Comparing Earth to Venus isn't even apples and oranges. To say that what happened to Venus could happen to Earth due to human activity is worse than any science fiction I've ever heard of.
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Re: Why no skepticism over CO2-driven warming on Venus?
written by jack956, November 28, 2009
Steel Rat, you side-stepped the big human psychology aspect of this. Any time people think their livelihood, way of life or religion is under threat, they dig up all kinds of conspiracies. Remember when banning CFCs was going to ruin the economy and auto-shop/HVAC people were up in arms? Remember before that when catalytic converters were a socialist conspiracy to rob power for the sake of breathable air? The theme has always been that nature is expendable and people can somehow live on money alone.

Venus is just a way to demonstrate the cherry-picking of scientific debates. Science is otherwise taken for granted. You casually state that "we" don't know what caused the warming on Venus, but scientists show little disagreement over the fact that CO2 maintains the "runaway global warming" on that planet, regardless of its exact origin. Venus is a general example of something that doesn't affect earthlings, therefore they have no vested interest in the science. Got it?

I never stated that Earth will end up just like Venus. Note the word "milder." Shades of gray tend to be lost on reactionaries who favor conspiracy theories about controlling the common man. AGW-deniers typically scoff at the whole idea of man-made environmental problems, which makes them liars right out of the gate (e.g. Rush Limbaugh claiming there's more forest acreage now vs. the days of the founding fathers; blatant Creationist ignorance of what's happened to nature). My apologies if you don't fit that particular mindset but the odds are good.

Climatologists (vs. people with oil/lifestyle axes to grind) are NOT in fundamental disagreement over the anthropogenic CO2 effect on Earth. That's a well-crafted conspiracy theory you seem to have bought into. Anti-evolutionists have been heckling Darwinists for 150 years, so AGW skeptics will probably be at it until their coastal vacation homes flood. The risk of waiting for that to happen is not worth humoring.

Again, this comes down to human nature, greed and not wanting to have a boat called "My Big Fat Happy Life" rocked. People have been behaving thusly since our genus first evolved. It's a frontal cortex deficiency, according to some behaviorists.
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written by Steel Rat, November 28, 2009
I didn't side-step it, I didn't address it at all.

You certainly seem to have put me in a nice little niche, all tidied up for your chastisement.

I'd like to point out that not once have I mentioned conspiracy, you folks have. But, since you're going down that road, the recent CRU debacle has indeed exposed a conspiracy of sorts. But I suppose you'll just handwave that aside.

I've said in another thread, I don't know if human industrial CO2 emissions are a problem. I merely think the case has not been made. There are some correlations, but no causative link has been established. And as the CRU emails point out (Trenberth), we don't know enough to say one way or the other.

I might also add, if you're that concerned about it, why do you still use technology? The only way you're going to make a dent in atmospheric CO2 is to cease ALL human industrial activity. If you use a computer, drive a car, turn on a light, then you're part of the so-called problem.
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AGW conspiracies
written by sherro, November 28, 2009
The main scientific question relates to massively important decisions being made on scientific evidence that is not settled and that is repolete with understated error. There simply is NO global temperature model of the Earth than has error bounds small enough to correlate and causate with other physical properties on earth, over a long enough term to calibrate for proxy use.

We therefore do not know if we have man-made global warming because we cannot show that it it is inarguably hotter than at some previous time. The n-th version of the hockey stick has been trotted out complete with the same errors as before, with the usual suspect authors including errors they admitted were errors in earlier papers.

Science does not march to the beat of a false drum, however repetitive.

In practical terms, most global temperature reconstructions are statistically disfunctional, use doubtful geodesy, are leaps of faith, use data from too short a term or from locations that are too sparse (like Antarctica) or are rigged. The problem is to find if a useful one exists.
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