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Tilting at Windmills

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January 5, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

GLOBAL WARMING....John Quiggin summarizes the state of play of scientific evidence for global warming and concludes that "2005 saw the final nail hammered into the arguments climate change contrarians have been pushing for years." As he says, at this point virtually every legitimate question about the reality of human-induced climate change has been answered.

Equally important, though, is this:

Now that the scientific phase of the debate is over, attention will move to the question of the costs and benefits of mitigation options. There are legitimate issues to be debated here. But having seen the disregard for truth exhibited by anti-environmental think tanks in the first phase of the debate, we shouldnt give them a free pass in the second. Any analysis on this issue coming out of a think tank that has engaged in global warming contrarianism must be regarded as valueless unless its results have been reproduced independently, after taking account of possible data mining and cherry picking. That disqualifies virtually all the major right-wing think tanks, both here and in the US. Their performance on this and other scientific issues has been a disgrace.

Exactly right. With the scientific debate now largely over, the loony right and the corporate interests they represent will simply pick a different line of attack probably without even batting an eyelash. Their basic contempt for serious scientific and factual analysis, however, is a matter of public record. They simply don't deserve to be taken seriously on this subject.

Kevin Drum 1:34 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (109)

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Comments

Whoops! Famous last words? "This thing has been very tenacious," he said. "It's probably its last gasp."

With our luck, Zeta will strengthen and give Jupiter's Great Red Spot a run for the 600-year-storm title.

Posted by: Darryl Pearce on January 5, 2006 at 1:38 PM | PERMALINK

So this means Rush Limbaugh has no place at the table?

Posted by: Archie. on January 5, 2006 at 1:38 PM | PERMALINK

Congress, when it passed the resolution for the attack on Afghanistan after 9/11, authorised the President to declare that Global Warming is a myth. Henceforth anyone proclaiming otherwise will be deemed a traitor and subject to appropriate sanctions.

Posted by: lib on January 5, 2006 at 1:39 PM | PERMALINK

I'll post on topic later, but for now:

http://www.breitbart.com/news/2006/01/05/D8EUI2AO0.html

Eventually there will be some bad economic news that Kevin can worry over (decline in home sales, perhaps), but let's not ignore the whole story waiting til then.

Posted by: contentious on January 5, 2006 at 1:40 PM | PERMALINK

and yet, not only will they be taken seriously, they will control everything and continue to win.

Posted by: Gore/Obama '08 on January 5, 2006 at 1:42 PM | PERMALINK

Only one problem. Where does this "debate" take place? It should take place in the halls of policy making, but many policy makers have shown themselves to be as contemptuous of science as the think tanks.

Part of the issue is clearly that these think tanks should have no voice in the debate. The other part is that the debate itself will have no impact on policy until the policy makers are replaced.

Posted by: Liberel on January 5, 2006 at 1:43 PM | PERMALINK

The crucial scientific question at this point is whether anthropogenic global warming has already reached a "tipping point" of no return, such that self-reinforcing feedback loops (e.g. melting polar ice exposing dark water to the sun, thus accelerating the warming and the melting; warming soils releasing huge amounts of carbon and methane into the atmosphere) have already made runaway, accelerating, irreversible warming inevitable.

Without exception, ALL the news of the empirically observed effects of global warming in 2005 was hideously bad news, and ALL of it without exception was consistent with worst-case scenarios of accelerating and probably irreversible, self-reinforcing runaway warming.

NOAA reported in the fall of 2005 that the total "greenhouse effect" of the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere has increased by twenty percent in only fifteen years.

Apocalypse ... can you say that word?

Posted by: SecularAnimist on January 5, 2006 at 1:50 PM | PERMALINK

I read Quiggin on CT all the time (I especially try to link to his thoughts on paying for drug research). Your link took me to his personal blog (I believe he cross posts), and although I knew he had a beard -- DAMN!

That beard could cause enough insulation to explain recent warming trends.

PArt of what is so frustrating, is that people like Lomborg (sometimes labeled a sceptic, but really mostly addresses this second debate), is that he has let his legitimate arguments stand in for the illegitimate claims. At least, that is the sense I have. Reminds me of the old Dennett/Gould debates, where Dennett, correctly, imo, criticised Gould for sloppiness in allowing his ideas to give anti-darwinists cover.

Posted by: theCoach on January 5, 2006 at 1:59 PM | PERMALINK

There's no doubt that global warming is taking place. It has been going on since the last ice age. Human activity may be contributing to it. The question is what we should do about global warming.

Both sides lie. The Kyoto agreement was alleged to be a major step toward solving global warming, even though the weather model showed otherwise. Unfortunately, we don't currently know any effective way to stop global warming.

I am suspicious of those whose proposed solution is policies that they already favor. Twenty-five years ago there was a great concern that atomic bomb tests would cause massive global cooling. (the so-called "nuclear winter". See http://www.cooperativeindividualism.org/sagan_nuclear_winter.html ) When greens propose solving global warming by a series of above ground nuclear explosions, I will know they are truly concerned about global warming.

Posted by: David on January 5, 2006 at 1:59 PM | PERMALINK

Interesting, global warming must be human induced.

I don't suppose it'd be too much to ask what caused global warming before there were humans. Another temporal anomaly whereby the future existence of GW Bush caused it?

But ya, I can see where your argument is rock solid, no room for disagreement: global warming is necessarily human induced.

Posted by: conspiracy nut on January 5, 2006 at 2:00 PM | PERMALINK

Or when the greens call for the use of nuclear power to stop all the CO2 production....

Posted by: Joe on January 5, 2006 at 2:02 PM | PERMALINK

Top 5 George W. Bush Solutions For Global Warming...


5. NASA mission to turn down the sun's thermostat


4. Federal subsidies to boost production of Cool Ranch Doritos


3. I dunno---tax cuts for the rich?


2. Give the boys at Halliburton 90-billion dollar contract to patch hole in ozone


1. Invade Antarctica

(chopped from letterman)

Posted by: thisspaceavailable on January 5, 2006 at 2:03 PM | PERMALINK

The scientific debate over evolution ended 150 years ago, and that only inspired the aestheticians of dimbulbery.

Posted by: cld on January 5, 2006 at 2:04 PM | PERMALINK

The right will turn on a dime and it will be breathtaking how quick it will be. The story will change from 'we don't know enough to do anything' to 'it's too late to do anything, the damage is done'.
The switch is coming soon....watch for it.

Posted by: jimbo on January 5, 2006 at 2:07 PM | PERMALINK

conspiracy nut, in addition to being shockingly, amazingly, blitheringly stupid, you are utterly and completely ignorant.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on January 5, 2006 at 2:08 PM | PERMALINK

The debate is over - more studies are needed - or lots of scientists will have to go back to Hamburger U for a post grad degree.

Posted by: Walter E. Wallis on January 5, 2006 at 2:09 PM | PERMALINK

While it's true enough that many of those who have been arguing against human-caused global warming have axes to grind, it's incredibly naive to claim that those pushing human-caused global warming don't also have axes to grind.

There are political interests that see this as a good way to do what they've wanted to do for years, which is to get a hammerlock on the means of industrial production.

I've noticed that there has never been an environmental problem for which the recommended solution has been anything other than increased centralized control, preferably at an international level, and reduction of individual and economic freedoms.

There are other factors, too. In the scientific community, it's hard not to see that a certain view on this subject gets a more positive reception when things like publication, peer review, and grants are considered.

So, if we're going to examine motivations, let's be sure we examine them on all sides.

It's already apparent that whatever the problems, the Kyoto agreement wasn't the solution, but a system designed more to penalize the West than to reduce CO2. The record on Kyoto participants to date hasn't been that impressive, anyway.

All that being said, it makes sense to move away from burning fossil fuels. Oil is much more valuable as a raw material for processes and manufacturing than it is as a fuel, and we would need to move away from using up such a non-renewable resource, even if it were pollution-free.

In this sense, the high prices have been a blessing, since they're encouraging alternatives.

Posted by: tbrosz on January 5, 2006 at 2:15 PM | PERMALINK

I recommend we cap oil production in the next few years and then mandate that it's production drop off according to a formula that results in a nice bell shaped curve in global production through time.

For the time being I don't recommend any action on coal or natural gas and for God's sake don't let politicians take any resource off the table or mandate that any particular carbon resource stay in the ground.

And another thing. It's only fair to let the Brazillians do to their forests what we have already done to ours.

Posted by: B on January 5, 2006 at 2:15 PM | PERMALINK

It is, if nothing else, darkly amusing to witness the evolution of the position of those who gainsay global warming.

Stage 1: Global warming is a myth; we need not act because the data is inconclusive.
Stage 2: Global warming may be real but it's a natural phenomenon; we need not act because we're not responsible.

That's where we are at now. Witness the pablum coming from the mouths of the usual Persistent Idiots around here.

In the future, watch for further evolution:

Stage 3: We may be responsible for global warming but we need not act because global warming has its upsides - in balance we may actually be better off.
Stage 4: We may be far worse off because of global warming but we need not act because the process is so far gone that we can't do anything about it anyway.

I'm serious, by the way - in the next few years the reactionary thinktanks and their minions will begin to tout the "benefits" of global warming. You watch.

Posted by: S Ra on January 5, 2006 at 2:17 PM | PERMALINK

Another Australian comments here.

Posted by: tbrosz on January 5, 2006 at 2:19 PM | PERMALINK

Stage 5: The polar bears can tread water until Jesus returns, surely?

Posted by: Davis X. Machina on January 5, 2006 at 2:19 PM | PERMALINK

I share SecularAnimist's concern about the "tipping point." While we may or may not yet have passed that point, I fear that we are well beyond where we can do anything to forestall reaching it. What many also don't understand is that we are dealing with a complex non-linear system where eventually, small fluctuations in input parameters can yield huge variations in output. Those who yammer about pre-human climate change seem incapable of understanding that the human contribution to global warming can only exacerbate any change that might be naturally occurring.

Posted by: Ian S on January 5, 2006 at 2:24 PM | PERMALINK

tbrosz, the folks that have made this determination are subject to peer review. This doesn't leave them a lot of room to grind axes. Moreover, researchers have generally refrained from offering solutions, at least, solutions with any political content. I think you are confusing the scientific community with the political community which uses this data once it is published.

Posted by: CrackWilding on January 5, 2006 at 2:24 PM | PERMALINK

While it's true enough that many of those who have been arguing against human-caused global warming have axes to grind, it's incredibly naive to claim that those pushing human-caused global warming don't also have axes to grind.

Deep. Very deep.

Posted by: lib on January 5, 2006 at 2:25 PM | PERMALINK

Apocalypse ... can you say that word?

You got me. The Antichrist will be born on 6/6/06. You will recognize him by the glow of his tailpipe.

Posted by: satan on January 5, 2006 at 2:26 PM | PERMALINK

A couple hundred years from now, people (how many is arguable) will look back at the 20th and 21st century humans and think, "what a bunch of nitwits." Instead of debating whether or not humans actually are the cause, why couldn't these nitwits take progressive action on the premise that they may be the cause?

And CNut, Tbrosz, others, what if we find out, definitively, 20-30 years from now, that we were the cause, and that it is too late to do anything about it. How stupid is that?

Posted by: E. Henry Thripshaw on January 5, 2006 at 2:27 PM | PERMALINK

3 more Bush responses to global warming:

3) Require all globes manufactured in the US to include cooling fans.

2) Buy up most of southern Tennessee, so that the Bush family fortune will be assured when Chattanooga is beachfront property.

1) Affix tag to the ozone layer reading "Global warming is only a theory. Competing ideas, such as Intelligent Thermal Regulation, should also be taught."

Posted by: MJ Memphis on January 5, 2006 at 2:31 PM | PERMALINK

Another Australian comments here.

And Australia is entirely peopled with criminals. And criminals are used to having people not trust them, as you are not trusted by me. So I can clearly not choose the opinion in front of you.

Posted by: Darryl Pearce on January 5, 2006 at 2:33 PM | PERMALINK

If you'd like I'd be willing to sink a containership full of styrofoam blocks for the polar bears.

Posted by: satan on January 5, 2006 at 2:35 PM | PERMALINK

I've noticed that there has never been an environmental problem for which the recommended solution has been anything other than increased centralized control, preferably at an international level, and reduction of individual and economic freedoms.

Wow. It's almost as if he's never heard the phrase "tragedy of the commons" before.

Posted by: Anarch on January 5, 2006 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

The thread is young, and the denialists are already recycling tired arguments. There are two steps involved in global climate change: recognizing what is happening and deciding what (if anything) to do about it. An honest discussion on the second aspect requires real information on the first. The skeptics have been fundamentally incorrect on the basic issues, and as a result they have little credibility on the second aspect.

Yes, we know that there are natural climate cycles. No responsible scientist is saying otherwise, and the folks who are posing the situation as natural vs human-induced are not being honest. The steps of the argument that have been demonstrated beyond reasonable scientific doubt at this point are

1. Increased concentrations of greenhouse gasses trap heat. If you disagree with this you disagree with quantum mechanics, statistical mechanics, and the theory of radiative transfer.
Good luck.

2. The composition of the atmosphere is changing and human activity is responsible. The first is a fact, and the second is supported by a large body of evidence.

3. The Earth is getting warmer. There was earlier contradictory data, but the discrepancies between different temperature measures have been resolved. We also have numerous proxies (the disappearance of glaciers worldwide, melting at the polar caps, etc.) Some folks like to point to specific counterexamples, such as cooling in Antarctica. This is not even meaningful; climate models actually predict local cooling in some places.

The main legitimate issues have been related to feedback and "natural" components such as volcanoes and solar variability. These components do play a role, but there is very strong evidence that they are secondary. See the IPCC report and its appendices for a useful discussion. Feedback issues are steadily being answered with a lot of data and our rapidly expanding computational power. Future forecasts will always be more uncertain, of course, because they depend on what we decide to do about climate change. A warming globe does not require Kyoto either. But discredited arguments on what is actually occurring have no place.

Marc


Posted by: Marc on January 5, 2006 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

While it's true enough that many of those who have been arguing against homosexuality have sex with kittens, it's incredibly naive to claim that those pushing for homosexuality don't also have sex with small animals.

Posted by: lib on January 5, 2006 at 2:42 PM | PERMALINK

If we applied to global warming the same standards of proof used to justify the invasion of Iraq, we'd already be doing something.

Posted by: SavageView on January 5, 2006 at 2:44 PM | PERMALINK

tbrosz, you are totally full of shit and totally clueless and ignorant about the mechanisms that Kyoto proposed for reducing CO2 emissions. They are market-based, cap and trade. They have nothing to do with centralized international control of anything by anybody. You are nothing but a fountain of scripted, programmed, fake, phony, false, bullshit right-wing propaganda and you don't have the slightest idea of what the reality is.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on January 5, 2006 at 2:53 PM | PERMALINK

I expect that the debate on anthropogenic global warming in twenty years will be about where the ozone hole is today. Yes, there still is an ozone hole. It still comes on when it's winter high over Antarctica, it still fluctuates wildly, and it still goes away when when the stratosphere warms up slightly during Southern Hemisphere summer.

I expect that the reason the O.H. continues to behave this way is that it has always behaved this way. It never had anything to do with CFC's.
The proponents of big political science will never admit that and will continue over-estimating the amount of "residual" CFC's pouring into the atmosphere until not even the hardiest liar among them can maintain that fraud.

Conservative think tanks do not have to do one damn thing to defend their intellectual honor except wait. Twenty years from now there will be no "runaway" global warming. In fact, the global warming phenomenon is going to look like an egregious example of mass suggestion leading to "cherry picking" and outright falsification of data on the man-causes-it side of the debate. (They never should have "corrected" the balloon and satellite data to fit the G.W. orthodoxy.)

Similarly, twenty years from now no one will have created a prokaryotic cell that can reproduce itself in a test tube, nor will anyone have a plausible chemical pathway by which it could be done, nor will intelligent alien life have made contact with us. In two decades the science of genetic anthropology is probably going to have revealed some terrifically amazing stuff about how life has developed, but a lot of the incredible parts the intelligent design proponents (who will be stronger than ever) will pick up and run with.

Twenty years from now there may be a computer locus that claims to be intelligent, in that it will pass the Turing Test and Chinese Room type tests. Perhaps the only way we will know this computer is truly conscious will be if it invents its own religion and starts trying to preach it to us.

I'll be 78 in January of 2026 and I think I need to start taking better care of myself so I can be in on the great crow eating festival when a lot of today's left-wing establishment junk science gets GLORIOUSLY DEBUNKED.

Posted by: Michael L. Cook on January 5, 2006 at 2:53 PM | PERMALINK

流行歌曲,mp3下载

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歌曲,热门歌曲

Posted by: 歌曲 on January 5, 2006 at 2:55 PM | PERMALINK


tbroz....


so are higher energy prices the markets answer to global warming...

or is it the invention of waterwings?

Posted by: thisspaceavailable on January 5, 2006 at 2:55 PM | PERMALINK

Michael L. Cook,

I want to know why you like to eat
so much crow?

neutrino

Posted by: neutrino on January 5, 2006 at 3:04 PM | PERMALINK

"Any analysis on this issue coming out of a think tank that has engaged in global warming contrarianism must be regarded as valueless unless its results have been reproduced independently, after taking account of possible data mining and cherry picking."

... uh, actually any analysis on this issue or any other issue coming from Anyone, should be regarded as valueless unless the results have been reproduced independently.

Of course, any advocacy group, whether right- or left- wing, is less credible than groups that are completely without ideological bias (if you can find such institutions and researchers). If having been wrong at some point in the past disqualifies, that would disqualify most of the enviro groups, too, most of whom were yelling about "incontrovertible" proof of a new ice age a few years ago. Oh, and let's not forget the "population bomb" that seems to have fizzled a bit.

Posted by: peanut on January 5, 2006 at 3:11 PM | PERMALINK

That Chinese spam comment had more purpose and sense about it than the out-of-the-blue assertions of Cook. I imagine Cook looks at the game last night and says, "You know what, people thought USC was behind at the half, but they fixed it and dominated the third quarter, so it's obvious who the better team is. God, you Texas fans are so damned stupid, thinking you won that game! It makes me laugh!"

Cook is probably still waiting for people to inevitably share his realization that USC won the game while ignoring all news reports of the game being over. He'll go to his deathbed knowing that in a matter of mere years he'll be proven right for all time.

My God, he even talks about the strengthening of Intelligent Design and then dismisses "junk science" before you can blink and say, "Wait, did he just say something that stupid?" It's breathtaking. Really.

Posted by: Observer on January 5, 2006 at 3:18 PM | PERMALINK

Michael Cook's post above is actually hilarious.
The CFC-ozone depletion connection is scientifically not in doubt at all. See the 1995 Nobel prize citation in chemistry at

http://nobelprize.org/chemistry/laureates/1995/press.html

for a good writeup. The science was clear on the subject 20 years ago, and Nobel prizes in science are notoriously conservative. Einstein, for example, was not given a Nobel prize for his work on relativity - it was for his work on the photoelectric effect.

Let's keep score of the bonus denialist arguments:

1. It's all natural. Oddly enough, no one in the scientific community has thought of this and tested it.

2. Some scientists, decades ago, with much less data were worried about global cooling. Therefore we can't trust anything that scientists say today about climate.

3. There were natural climate cycles in the past, so there can't possibly be changes in climate induced by people today.

4. Scientists who present evidence for GCC are only motivated by the approval of their peers and the desire to get grant funding. No one would want to make a career by upending an existing scientific framework, which makes climate studies unlike all other fields. Scientists working for oil companies and conservative political think tanks, by contrast, are solely motivated by altruism.

5. Ozone depletion was a myth too! Hollow Earth! Alien abductions!

Ones that I predict we'll see:

6. It was cold today here or somewhere else. The Earth can't be warming up.

7. Bogus statistical arguments against the hockey-stick temperature increase will be presented as settled fact. The gross errors in the debunking of this work will be ignored.

8. Global warming somehow requires the Kyoto agreement. Kyoto is bad, thus global warming isn't happening.

9. The upper atmosphere is cooling, even though we now understand that in fact it isn't (see Quiggins original post on this). A variant of #7. We can expect other favorites of the libertarian and republican spheres of the blogosphere, but surely others can join in the fun and list em.

And, this being political animal...

10. Bush won the election. I hope you liberals campaign on a platform of gasoline tax increases. The GOP will rule forever...

What other silly arguments will people make?

Posted by: Marc on January 5, 2006 at 3:20 PM | PERMALINK

Geez, the Intelligent Design Creationism people remind me of Monty Python's Black Knight character. No matter how many times they get a limb lopped off, they are convinced victory is at hand.

Posted by: MJ Memphis on January 5, 2006 at 3:22 PM | PERMALINK

SecularAnimist:

Two facts:

--The original protocols do not include some nations that were and are huge generators of greenhouse gases

--They aren't working all that well for the nations that are participating. Catch up on the news.

Savageview:

If we applied to global warming the same standards of proof used to justify the invasion of Iraq, we'd already be doing something.

That argument works in both directions. It's amazing how many people are perfectly willing to drop a huge economic anvil on Western nations for a theoretical emergency.

Posted by: tbrosz on January 5, 2006 at 3:28 PM | PERMALINK

Corporate America will wake up to the facts as soon as the facts start hitting Corporate America's bottom line.

It won't be much longer. . .

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on January 5, 2006 at 3:29 PM | PERMALINK

Now, why is John Quiggin's unilateral declaration better than Kevin's unilateral declaration?

John Quiggin cites the Australian record. If he is using the land based measuremnts then he must explain the contradiction between GISS / NASA vs Bureau of Meteorology. The former shows a slight cooling trend, the later is based on land measurements.

See here:

http://www.warwickhughes.com/climate/gissbom.htm

His unilateral declaration, so eagerly awaited as proof positive by Kevin seems to disagree with NASA. Whom am I to believe?


Posted by: Matt on January 5, 2006 at 3:30 PM | PERMALINK

And CNut, Tbrosz, others, what if we find out, definitively, 20-30 years from now, that we were the cause, and that it is too late to do anything about it. How stupid is that?
Heh, global cooling, then global warming, now global cooling caused by global warming (or vice versa, I can't keep up with the moonbat whine du jour). And now this clown claiming that global warming is definitely human induced, and doing it without a shred of evidence.

Let me ask, if global warming is not human induced, doesn't that kind of change our response? Or does the moonbat solution fit all problems?

Posted by: conspiracy nut on January 5, 2006 at 3:36 PM | PERMALINK

http://www.earthsci.unimelb.edu.au/~jon/WWW/deniliquin.html

This is what the University of Melbourne says, according to their earth scienctist.

"Recent research in Deniliquin suggests that as country towns grow they experience warmer nights. The warming of the nighttime temperature is due to the Urban Heat Island (UHI) effect, which is the result of two main features of urban areas. First, buildings, roads and paved surfaces store heat during the day, which is then released slowly over the evening due to the thermal properties of the surface materials and the building geometry which traps the heat stored during the day. The second contributing factor to the UHI is due to the artificial heat released into the urban atmosphere by combustive processes from vehicles, industrial activity and the heat that escapes from commercial and domestic air conditioning."

Now, of course, the global warmists will cite this a proof positive that fossil fuels cause problems, tnough not global warming. The study says, in effect, if you want to reduce global warming in your Australian town, then use gravel roads, live in tents, and turn off the air conditioners.


Posted by: Matt on January 5, 2006 at 3:38 PM | PERMALINK

There is no contradiction Matt. The discrepancies between different temperature estimates have been decisively resolved as being a consequence of a calibration error in the satellite data.

See

http://www.realclimate.org/index.php?p=170

for a comprehensive discussion, or just go to the realclimate web page and click on the link for satellite/surface temperature measurements in the December 28th post.

Posted by: Marc on January 5, 2006 at 3:38 PM | PERMALINK
That argument works in both directions. It's amazing how many people are perfectly willing to drop a huge economic anvil on Western nations for a theoretical emergency.

FYI: We invaded Iraq.

Posted by: SavageView on January 5, 2006 at 3:40 PM | PERMALINK

The heat island effect is accounted for in all climate change studies. You are engaging in dishonest cherry-picking Matt. Spare us the spamming of the same nonsense that you cut and pasted from the other thread - it does not improve with repetition.

Off to the dentist, back in a couple of hours.

Posted by: Marc on January 5, 2006 at 3:40 PM | PERMALINK
Let me ask, if global warming is not human induced, doesn't that kind of change our response? Or does the moonbat solution fit all problems?

Let me ask, if Saddam didn't have WMDs, doesn't that change our response? Or does the fascist solution fit all problems?

Posted by: SavageView on January 5, 2006 at 3:42 PM | PERMALINK

tbrosz: The original protocols do not include some nations that were and are huge generators of greenhouse gases

False. The original protocols don't include mandatory reduction targets for developing countries, notably China and India, whose contributions of CO2 to date are miniscule compared with those of the USA, which remains now and will be for some time to come the world's top emitter of GHGs (with a fraction of China's population).

But it is not the case that emissions from these countries are not addressed in the original Kyoto treaty, and there are "clean development" mechanisms associated with the Kyoto treaty that are designed to help these countries start reducing their emissions. Moreover, Kyoto was and is only a first step -- a baby step -- towards dealing with GHG emissions, and the subsequent treaties (which of course the Bush administration has tried to preemptively destroy) would certainly include mandatory standards for both China and India.

You are just reciting the right-wing script, written by Exxon-Mobil. You don't know the first thing about Kyoto. All you can do is regurgitate propaganda.

They aren't working all that well for the nations that are participating.

That's a meaningless and contentless assertion, and again it's just another bullshit talking point regurgitated verbatim from Exxon-Mobil's script.

You are totally clueless about Kyoto.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on January 5, 2006 at 3:42 PM | PERMALINK

A debate on viable response to global warming should not involve anyone who has any personal or political investment in promoting "free" markets in their current form. One consequence of using the word free is the implication (indeed the promotion by many) that global markets are a natural phenomenon that mimics natural processes, free of the values laden activities of government control exhibited in socialist systems. This is a monumentally dangerous farce, and is at the foundation of what stands between current warming trends and a path of genuine viability both environmentally and economically.
Anyone who voices the slightest objection to the "free" market system is immediately labeled an enemy of freedom itself. But there are several factors that expose "free" markets for what they are: an isolated fundamentalist system which deems itself immune to criticism, debate, and changes of principle.
1. "Free" markets do not value anything that does not generate revenue. The accounting systems used to determine public policy do not include obviously vital concerns. For instance, it is impossible to prove that childcare facilities are needed under such a system because children do not directly produce revenue. This is especially true of the environment. Why put money into protecting the environment when its protection not only does not produce but blocks the efficiency of systems that do produce, such as industry and commerce systems? Without some external interference in "free" markets, environmental protection would, on the whole, not exist, certainly not in any way that will mitigate global warming. "Free" markets place value on the production of revenue and exclude the environment, child-rearing, and the health of individuals and communties, which are of course vital to civilized existence. Some will go on at length to show how it does, and many companies do support and value these things, but they are all secondary to the bottom line. Mitigating global warming will require direct interference with the bottom line.
2. When placed in the context of the above, compare the promotion of having as many children as possible to the same degree as consumption is promoted in our society, with billboards extolling the virtue of huge families and ads promoting large extended families as an ideal. The results would be disastrous. When considering exponential growth of populations, it is clear that its active promotion would result in eventual unsustainability. The same is true with the production/consumption scenario of "free" market systems, but it is promoted in every media and on every level of political, industrial, and social activity, while the cliff ahead is all but ignored, dubbed absurd by right-wing think tanks, and only given token gestures of concern by the powers that be.
3. Promoters of the "free" market system frequently summon Adam Smiths' "invisible hand" notion of self-regulation. However, there have been 4 key changes to Smiths' idea of free markets that exist in the "free" markets of today. 1) Smith's understanding of value was grounded in the amount of human labor that went into a good. This has been changed to utility value, or value determined by the buyers willingness to pay. Value has become subjective. 2) Mathematical equations and symbols have replaced direct observation of the results of economic activity on humans and society. 3) Smith emphasized the notions of "funds destined for the employment of productive labor, but this has been replaced by the social objective to preserve the value of owned money. 4) The already mentioned "values-free" notion of economy that falsely claims to have removed all political or value judgments from economic analysis. Because all of these changes remove economic activity way from the human realm, it bolsters the fourth notion of it being "values-free". But Smiths' himself promoted the market specifically as a system of values, a moral system. It still is a moral system; it just pretends to be objective. I could write at length on this as it is a huge subject, but the point is that "free" markets are founded on highly moral principles, which seek to tell others how to act. This is control, not freedom. As John McMurtry points out, "If we are not aware of the principles of freedom, choice, and contract in accordance with which we are said to be thinking and acting, but merely presuppose them as a program of behavior described as "axiomatic" or "rational" or "the way of the free world," we are not thinking as free or independent or responsible agents." Because this system of morality is specifically not concerned about the welfare of the whole-system, we find ourselves in a position of its advocates strongly defending our own eventual demise. If you are at all familiar with fundamentalist Christian ideology, you will recognize that the demise of the world isn't seen as such a bad thing.
The point I'm making is that "free" markets must be directly limited in order to mitigate the impacts of global warming.

Posted by: false freedom on January 5, 2006 at 3:44 PM | PERMALINK

conspiracy nut: And now this clown claiming that global warming is definitely human induced, and doing it without a shred of evidence.

You are really outdoing yourself on screaming ignorance today. Not a "shred of evidence" that global warming is human induced? You are far more ignorant and stupid than I previously imagined.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on January 5, 2006 at 3:44 PM | PERMALINK

Not a "shred of evidence" that global warming is human induced?
Maybe you can quote from his post where he had any evidence at all of this. Or maybe not.

Posted by: conspiracy nut on January 5, 2006 at 3:58 PM | PERMALINK

I'm serious, by the way - in the next few years the reactionary thinktanks and their minions will begin to tout the "benefits" of global warming. You watch.

Just this week, the SF-based talk show Forum (highly recommended - you can listen online at www.kqed.org) did a show on global warming. One of the guests, a member of Stanford's Hoover Insitution, made exactly that argument. And Hoover is relatively mainstream as conservative think tanks go.

Posted by: Beale on January 5, 2006 at 4:19 PM | PERMALINK

Marc:

Your post at 3:20 was great. Thank you.

Posted by: brewmn on January 5, 2006 at 4:23 PM | PERMALINK

When you consider the long-term costs of global warming, the cost of prevention starts to look cheap by comparison. The Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets would each cause the sea level to rise 20' if they melted. Forget about the human cost in countries like Bangladesh, consider the economic cost of having to rebuild all of our seaports and many of our airports on higher ground. Consider what life would be like without Silicon Valley, and with most or all of Florida gone. And I don't know what Manhattan's elevation is, but I don't recall the place being particularly mountainous.

Posted by: Beale on January 5, 2006 at 4:30 PM | PERMALINK

"Corporate America will wake up to the facts as soon as the facts start hitting Corporate America's bottom line.

It won't be much longer. . .
Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on January 5, 2006 at 3:29 PM |"

Already happening. The insurance companies and the larger re-insurers are biting grimly -- and, of course, as one would expect from true-belieing free-marketeers, their response has been...
to demand government handouts.
"We can't be expected to bear the increasing costs of these catastrophes by ourselves; we must have a gov't [= taxpayer = you] trust fund to pay our losses!"
They have, to their [tiny] credit, also -- slowly and o-so-gently -- started making noises about how maybe, just maybe, there might be something to them there "global warming" nuts.

Posted by: smartalek on January 5, 2006 at 4:44 PM | PERMALINK

Great news Beale, but what if it's not preventable? Do you want to spend $100B in a futile attempt, and then do all the above?

That's the reason I'd rather see decent analysis performed. A bunch of moonbats producing reports and not letting anybody look at their data and/or models makes it look a whole lot like they're cooking data.

Posted by: conspiracy nut on January 5, 2006 at 4:44 PM | PERMALINK

Of Course there are benefits of global warming (locally), just as there are costs and downsides to the phenomenon (locally). It's just that (probably) the costs outweigh the benefits.

The question is do the costs of GW outweigh the benefits of GW plus the costs of reducing GW?

That depends on what solutions are offered to reduce GW.

Posted by: Peanut on January 5, 2006 at 4:45 PM | PERMALINK

conspiracy nut drooled: Maybe you can quote from his post where he had any evidence at all of this.

As I said, you are screamingly, howlingly ignorant. I don't need to refer to this post for the evidence that global warming is human-induced, because that evidence is already in the public record, and that conclusion has already been stated by multiple scientific bodies.

If you'd get your nose out of Rush Limbaugh's asshole, maybe you would find out such things.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on January 5, 2006 at 4:46 PM | PERMALINK

oops.
" true-belieing" in 4:44 post was asposed to be "true-believing" -- but y'know I think it may actually be more accurate as written.
Let's hear it for Freudian typos

Posted by: smartalek on January 5, 2006 at 4:49 PM | PERMALINK

Beale wrote: And I don't know what Manhattan's elevation is, but I don't recall the place being particularly mountainous.

Manhattan is at sea level. (NOAA's website www.weather.gov will display the elevation above sea level of a location when you look up the weather report; try New York, NY).

It would take a sea level rise far, far less than what the melting of the Greenland ice sheet would cause to make New York City uninhabitable.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on January 5, 2006 at 4:49 PM | PERMALINK

conspiracy nut: A bunch of moonbats producing reports and not letting anybody look at their data and/or models makes it look a whole lot like they're cooking data.

Of course, no such thing is actually happening, you brain-dead idiot.

You are totally pathetic. It is really beyond words how pathetic you are.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on January 5, 2006 at 4:51 PM | PERMALINK

Conspiracy Nut wrote: Let me ask, if global warming is not human induced, doesn't that kind of change our response?

You missed my point entirely. Even if one concedes that you can't prove it is human induced, you also can't prove that it is not. Wouldn't some element of prudence suggest that you consider that the connection between GW and humans factor into our strategy - and therefore seek ways to curtail our impact?

How about this CN -- what if we can't determine a definitive link - and the climate DOES change seriously, drastically, and negatively impacts us? Is it so hard to consider that we may be so negatively impacting the balance?

I happen to believe that humans ARE having an impact -- though how much is difficult to measure. But I would still advocate caution even if I didn't think that the evidence conclusively proved it does, simply because no evidence conclusively proves it does not. And as I said in my earlier post, how stupid it would be to be stubborn, and wrong.

Posted by: E. Henry Thripshaw on January 5, 2006 at 4:53 PM | PERMALINK

Of course, no such thing is actually happening, you brain-dead idiot.
Of course, such a thing has happened. The data and models are requested, the request are denied or the data has been conveniently "lost" (that happens a lot in the scientific community, ya).

You can try to hide behind bullshit if you want, but don't keep wondering why people don't believe that unverifiable crap.

Posted by: conspiracy nut on January 5, 2006 at 5:04 PM | PERMALINK

I happen to believe that humans ARE having an impact -- though how much is difficult to measure. But I would still advocate caution even if I didn't think that the evidence conclusively proved it does, simply because no evidence conclusively proves it does not.
Well now, E. Henry, if the rest of these clowns made that much sense I would take no joy from yanking their chains.

I don't see how we can't be making an impact, but I also don't know how large that impact is. I also read where Kyoto would hold off the effects for 6 years (I also take that number with a grain of salt), is $100B worth holding it off 6 years?

My biggest preference is that the moonbats would look at the reality instead of presenting a lot of Chicken Little scenarios that have nothing to back them up but the voices in their heads.

Then we could have a reasonable discussion.

Posted by: conspiracy nut on January 5, 2006 at 5:10 PM | PERMALINK

It would help a bit, nutster, if you could quantify precisely what about the global climate change issue you think is driven by moonbats. I gave a wee bit of an outline above on the science.

Do you dispute the basic greenhouse mechanism?

Do you dispute the volume of data, indicating that the composition of the atmosphere is changing and that the planet is getting warmer? Or the clear connections between these things and fossil fuel usage? Not everything is a political shouting match, and scientists opinions of scientific issues don't line up neatly in partisan boxes. In no particular order, I have no problem with nuclear power - but it isn't going to fuel cars and uranium is too rare to completely replace fossil fuel power generation. Nuclear winter was an interesting idea that didn't withstand scientific scrutiny; the CFC-ozone depletion connection did, as has climate change. As the science has improved our best estimates of the most probable effects of climate change have matured. Some things appear less likely, others more so.

I haven't seen much but chain-yanking and insults on your part. Let's see what you can come up with...

Posted by: marc on January 5, 2006 at 5:24 PM | PERMALINK

its pretty clear that Conspiracy Nut wouldnt know a data point if he were drowning in them. Go to the NOAA website! Learn some math. It might help you get a life.

Posted by: troglodyte on January 5, 2006 at 5:24 PM | PERMALINK

Do you want to spend $100B in a futile attempt...?

Why not, Nutter? You guys went and spent $300billion in Iraq and what do you have to show for it? This venture was foisted on the public with no analysis. Apparently it is not needed to spend vast sums of money.

Posted by: kaptain kapital on January 5, 2006 at 5:49 PM | PERMALINK

Neutrino, were you ever hanging around the "Dr. Neutrino" physics site about five years back? You may recall diracophile from those days.

On the subject of the infallibility of those who voted on Nobel Prizes in 1995, if virtually no CFC's or their breakdown products can be detected in the stratosphere today, but still the Antarctic Ozone Hole keeps making its regular appearance, shouldn't the consumers of the world be able to sue them for scientific malpractice or something?

One of the interesting things about global warming is the hypothesis that sea level should, on average, be increasing everywhere. The problem is that world is not only tectonically an active system, there are local subsidance issues and the unusual problem of the crust not being uniformly dense, which makes gravity stronger in some regions than others. When GPS measurements started becoming more accurate, we all learned that there is a "hole" in the Indian Ocean that is more than 100 feet below sea level!

What that means is that gravity is slightly less in this region, so the Indian Ocean water tends to hump up over regions of stronger gravity. The hole is similar to the tidal effect of the moon.

So many variables like that can exist, but the easy way to tell if the ocean is truly rising will be if the Dutch dikes fail, Venice and New Orleans become permanently uninhabitable, etc.

Some of the right-wing people who speculate on the positive aspects of global warming might become potential investors in direct tanker traffic through the Arctic Ocean in the summer, which would make North Slope oil more competitive on the U.S. East Coast. This was tried in the 1970's and the tanker made it through the way Henry Hudson would have liked to have sailed, but was somewhat beaten up.

I would like to speculate on Siberian farmland. Russia is only in the Kyoto thing as a means to do complicated shakedowns. In reality, Russia comes out of Global Warming as an immense, rich country with the climate of Germany.

Posted by: Michael L. Cook on January 5, 2006 at 5:53 PM | PERMALINK

I love moonbats. Next you can explain the connection between global warming and the Iraq war. While you're at it, work in a little song and dance, too. I like good entertainment.

I am also reminded that the answer for global warming was the same as the answer for global cooling. Maybe you can explain that shit too, that ought to round out the entertainment.

Or the clear connections between these things and fossil fuel usage?
That's the part the moonbats are unable to rigorously prove. The part about the globe getting warmer, hey, it does that sometimes; it gets cooler other times.

If anybody ever does a real analysis of this, however, they might also want to include the ability of our closed to system to adjust itself. Could be that increase in forest land over the last 100 years is a balancing mechanism.

Posted by: conspiracy nut on January 5, 2006 at 5:55 PM | PERMALINK

One of the best sites on climate change, if somewhat dated (and blighted by a slow server), is maintained by Stephen Schneider at Stanford. One of the best features is the probability of projected effects of human-caused global warming. His contrarians section is also nice but, as John Quiggin has pointed out, Chris Mooney has done the most complete job of revealing "the whole network of thinktanks, politicians and tame scientists who have popularised GW contrarianism."

It is now clear that environmental change and resource depletion caused by the interaction of global warming, habitat loss, degradation and over-exploitation (particularly in the oceans) will pose a far greater threat materially and ideologically to the expansion of capitalist prosperity. Communism and other nationalist movements are a political sideshow in comparison.


Mr. Cook, perhaps you should read the Pentagon's report on the 'winners' of global warming.

Posted by: bellumregio on January 5, 2006 at 5:58 PM | PERMALINK

It would help a bit, nutster, if you could quantify precisely what about the global climate change issue you think is driven by moonbats.
Sure.

1) They've cooked data. That's a pretty big no-no if you want to be taken seriously. Have they all cooked data? I don't know, the ones I don't know about come to the same conclusions as the ones that cook their data, though. Funny that.
2) They've produced all kinds of doomsday scenarios; which, strangely enough, all have the same solutions. You've already recognized this, previous work was insufficiently substantiated. Now couple this with point 1 on the current data, and tell my why anyone ought to believe.
3) They've offered unrealistic solutions to a problem they can't even be trusted to posit.
and finally
4) They've failed to realize that humans are part of the environment, not some outside entity looking on.

Posted by: conspiracy nut on January 5, 2006 at 6:08 PM | PERMALINK

Conspiracy Nut wrote:

1) They've cooked data. That's a pretty big no-no if you want to be taken seriously. Have they all cooked data? I don't know, the ones I don't know about come to the same conclusions as the ones that cook their data, though. Funny that.

*** Provide the evidence of your claim.
Which publications? And specifically what data was
cooked?

neutrino

Posted by: neutrino on January 5, 2006 at 6:37 PM | PERMALINK

Which publications? And specifically what data was cooked?
Do you guys ever leave the echo chamber?

linky
linky
linky
linky

And just for the kinda of related fun of it
linky

Posted by: conspiracy nut on January 5, 2006 at 6:44 PM | PERMALINK

You know, it kind of gives pause when you consider those links and Kevin's statement

[the loony right's] basic contempt for serious scientific and factual analysis, however, is a matter of public record. They simply don't deserve to be taken seriously on this subject.
When the loony left is cooking data.

Posted by: conspiracy nut on January 5, 2006 at 6:52 PM | PERMALINK

Conspiracy nut, you're pathetic. Your first link was to a study that has been utterly discredited - and that study isn't the record of temperature increases. I even predicted that some right-wing blog regular would bring up the so-called debunking of the increase in global temperatures featured in the IPCC report.

Like on other subjects, the realclimate site has a comprehesive guide to the whole sorry episode - and the clear losers are the hacks who casually tossed out accusations of fraud. For background, see

http://www.realclimate.org/index.php?p=121

There has also been more recent work confirming the original study. Long story short, McIntyre and McKitrick (2005) claimed that the original reconstruction of the climate record by Mann and collaborators was flawed. It turned out that MM had committed a deeply embarassing error, misreading a spreadsheet sent to them by the real scientists. Instead of retracting their bogus results they dug their heels in, and they and their allies have tossed dung at the climate scientists. None of the MM claims have withstood scrutiny, and this fall two other independent groups verified the original work. Tim Lambert, at http://timlambert.org/2005/02/climate3/
also followed the issue. It was taken seriously initially. It became an embarassment when it was revealed to be wrong and they chose the path that they did.

This is science, not insult-mongering as is your apparent goal on this forum.

Posted by: marc on January 5, 2006 at 7:21 PM | PERMALINK

marc, there's no point wasting your time with conspiracy nut. What you are writing is entirely over his head. He is a pathetic, clueless, ignorant stupid little asshole who only posts deliberately annoying bullshit to "troll" for attention. His grasp of science is limited to what Rush Limbaugh has to say on the subject.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on January 5, 2006 at 7:37 PM | PERMALINK

Mr Cook - I believe your assertion that there are no detectably levels of ozone depleting chemicals detectable in the upper atmosphere is sadly mistaken.
CFCs take many years to break down - the point of the Montreal protocols was to stop INCREASING them, so that over the next century, they would be sufficiently depleted as to resemble the atmospheric state prior to our extensive use of CFCs. And then maybe the melanoma rates in the far Southern hemisphere would likewise reverse their upward trend.

Posted by: kenga on January 5, 2006 at 7:38 PM | PERMALINK

marc wrote: Conspiracy nut, you're pathetic. Your first link was to a study that has been utterly discredited

If it appears on a corporate-funded right-wing so-called "think tank" website, or better yet if Rush Limbaugh said it, then as far as conspiracy nut is concerned, it is authoritative. Even if it has been conclusively shown to be bogus. And if you question anything that Rush Limbaugh said, then you are a moonbat.

That is conspiracy nut's understanding of how science works.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on January 5, 2006 at 8:12 PM | PERMALINK

Now there is an interesting topic--the melanoma rates in the far Southern hemisphere and their reputed upward trend. To start with, folks in the far southern hemisphere, even during their long summer days, tend to wear more clothes than people at the tropics. In the second place,most melanomas being benign, good statistics were not kept on them. To a certain extent, skin melanomas, like all cancers, are killing more people nowadays because people are now living long enough to die from cancer.
The idea that the seasonal (read wintertime)ozone hole was causing significantly more harmful radiation to reach the hides of people in Peru during the chilly winter months was one of the loopier exercises in the green theology of assuming all man-made things to be evil somehow. Yes, I tend to believe the "tame" scientists who work for corporations more than I believe undisciplined zealots who know that they can make any wild claim and the MSM will print it as gospel truth, end of story.
Well, let's see who will really be eating the crow 20 years from now.

Posted by: Michael L. Cook on January 5, 2006 at 8:15 PM | PERMALINK

All global warming conerns should go to: www.realclimate.org They're the experts.

Posted by: Mark A. York on January 5, 2006 at 8:35 PM | PERMALINK

realClimate

Posted by: Mark A. York on January 5, 2006 at 8:38 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks for the link, Mark. What NASA seems to be saying is that the stratosphere over both poles is getting colder. This is a measued phenomena and it must be quite undeniable, because the green gurus adjusted their instrument readings once before to make the colder stratosphere go away, but it just won't go away.

Aha! The green theorists have an explanation. It is ozone depletion that is making the stratosphere colder! That's a neat story, because it saves two lame and increasingly vulnerable environmental fables with one explanation. Man causes lower atmosphere greenhouse gases that make the lower atmosphere warmer and man causes the CFC's and halons that are persisting in killing ozone in the outer atmosphere, thus making it colder than ever.

Voila! Man causes everything. The fact that the stratosphere seems to be getting colder over the poles is accounted for, and the theory that the warming of the lower atmosphere is caused by man also can remain unmolested, except for contrarian theories that near-earth warming could be caused by entirely normal natural cycles.

There is a third popular "just so" story that fits into the plot oh so neatly, and that is the fact that, although humans are great producers of ozone in the lower atmosphere (where it warms things like a greenhouse gas should) the lower ozone just never rises to the upper atmosphere. Has this miraculous non-ascension of bad ozone been directly confirmed? Well, it can't be, but some lab studies claim to have replicated the complex interactions of the atmosphere and concluded that bad man-made ozone just never makes it high enough to become good ozone.

It is just marvelous how these stories keep working out and saving the bacon. Last year it was so cold high over the North Pole that scientists were surprised not to see a Northern Ozone Hole form. I wonder how things are going this year?

Posted by: Michael L. Cook on January 5, 2006 at 10:35 PM | PERMALINK

OK, Mr. nut, I sometimes find your skepticism intelligent and entertaining, but on this issue you are tediously arrogant and foolishly ignorant. If you want to actually learn something go read realClimate as suggested by the previous reader, and if you want a short, informed discussion of what we know and don't know about costs and benefits associated with human-induced climate change go read the piece CBO put out on the problem at http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/60xx/doc6061/01-24-ClimateChange.pdf. Unless you think CBO is full of wingnuts too, in which case there's no hope for you.

That said, I also warn all a y'all that if you think environmentalists aren't just as capable of putting out self-deluding or self-serving exaggerated crap as the coal industry is you are in dreamland. Separating fact (including fact about degrees of uncertainty) from propaganda on climate is a hell of a hard job, especially on the potential impacts, because the truth is we just don't know much and it's going to take a lot of hard work to learn more. That doesn't mean anyone is justified in thinking there's no problem - at this point only a real idiot can take such a position - but it does mean that any honest discussion has to allow for a range of possible developments from modest to severe change, with the likely outcomes somewhere in between and moving closer to severe the longer we take to begin slowing the growth of emissions and then gradually reduce them. So the John Quiggin post that started this discussion is only half right - it's true that you can't trust any of the right-wing think tanks on climate, but you can't trust many of the greens either.

Posted by: dcbob on January 5, 2006 at 10:42 PM | PERMALINK

Let's put it in simple terms:

Do you want "climate change denial" to have the same moral valence as "Holocaust denial," a century from now?

I'm not naming any particular nation as "Nazis" here: neoliberal capitalism has no national allegiances, and that's precisely the problem.

Posted by: sara on January 5, 2006 at 10:57 PM | PERMALINK

follow the $
Who has a bigger motovation to lie, the corporation-backed hack who only collects his paycheck if he produces research results that indicate that the company is free to piss in eveyone's wellwater or the professor who collects his paycheck only if he gets published in a peer-reviewed journal no matter what his results may indicate?

Conflict of interest is about money, assholes.

Posted by: joe on January 5, 2006 at 11:33 PM | PERMALINK

So if global warming is happening. Why was it so damn cold in winter?

Answer that!

Posted by: McAristotle on January 5, 2006 at 11:35 PM | PERMALINK

the professor who collects his paycheck only if he gets published in a peer-reviewed journal no matter what his results may indicate?

Conflict of interest is about money, assholes.

Posted by: joe on January 5, 2006 at 11:33 PM | PERMALINK

A peer-reviewed journal filled with professors whose research funds come from telling people there is a problem whether or not one exists...

I agree on the money.

Posted by: McAristotle on January 5, 2006 at 11:38 PM | PERMALINK

Where is that money coming from?
The global fossil fuel market is in the hundreds of billions of dollars a year, while the entire environmental movement tens of millions. A ten thousand to one advantage to the side that is exclusively devoted to making it's owners rich while the opposition is devoted to cleaning up the mess that industrialization has left all over the world.
Who has more money to pay shills, hmm?
Who has the most to lose, money-wise, in the short-term if there is a drastic reduction in the consumption of fossil fuels and polluters are made to pay for the damned mess they've made, hmm?
Who gives a damn about someone besides themselves, hmm?
get a clue!

Posted by: joe on January 6, 2006 at 1:33 AM | PERMALINK

To Michael Cook

The cooling stratosphere was predicted by computer models of anthropogenic climate change years ago. The observations confirmed the prediction, and at the time were cited by climate scientists as the telltale "fingerprint" that global warming was real. Do a google search on Drew Shindell and Ozone Hole. Or just go to a 1998 NASA study summary

http://www.columbia.edu/cu/pr/96_99/19310.html

You have a serious amount to learn before you can post intelligently on climate change. But you are starting to read, so keep at it.

Posted by: troglodyte on January 6, 2006 at 4:08 AM | PERMALINK

Several previous posts suggest that scientists publish results that support the notion that anthropogenic climate change is real because that is the best way to further their careers. These posters misunderstand how science works. Academic science jobs dont pay much compared to other fields that require advanced degrees, just compare doctors, lawyers and lobbyists. Successful young scientists are motivated largely by the desire to gain notoreity in the profession. There is no better way to do that than to debunk the conventional wisdom of the field.

If a young scientist could refute evidence for global warming with solid reasoning, he or she would have the spotlight and funding. In fact, if global warming were as settled in the political sphere as it is in the scientific sphere, there would be less government funding available for research into it. So the personal/subjective motivations for individual scientists (at least the clever ones) run counter to the trolls' assumptions.

Political sycophants get rewarded handsomely for their fealty, of course, so it is natural for the trolls to believe that the same motivations apply in other areas.

Posted by: troglodyte on January 6, 2006 at 4:30 AM | PERMALINK

I can tell you who has the most to lose short-term if there is a drastic reduction in the consumption of fossil fuels and "Polluters are made to pay for the mess they've made" --working class people like myself are going to pay for it and our standard of living is going to be the loser.

Every environmentalist notion of the last four decades has pounded or stepped on working class and particularly rural people unmercifully. The frets and fears of the elites tend to become law after "leading edge" enviro-intellectuals make prognostications that the MSM laps up uncritically like dogs at a suspicious puddle.

I believe that the hopes and dreams of the working class poor to have a little upward mobility hinge ENTIRELY on low cost energy sources (both petrol and kilowatts) fueling mass production and consumption of sustainable resources. The compassion of the rich and educated classes isn't worth a bucket of warm spit and never has been. Their benevolent planning for a perfect,ideal society inevitably ends up like a Confucian Chinese government in which enlightened bureaucrats control everything and everyone for the greater good according to an accepted book of wisdom (that they wrote and revise as hindsight suits them.)

You know, back in the 1970's an environmental scientist I really respected because he was a deeply committed and sincere Christian would rave to me over and over how this or that model "proved" that the world was going to run completely out of oil by 1984. He really liked the idea that "polluters" should be forced to pay for clean-ups of waste sites that were created under laws and permits that were completely legal at the time. Even people who own assets today should be forced to clean up conditions that were made by other people long ago who were doing things legal at the time. Basically, we have been living under a government and philosophy of confiscation.

To him ex-post-facto laws were perfectly reasonable because in his mind all polluters were sinners. All loggers and miners were big sinners, as were most farmers. He would allow his children to drink flouridated water, but went ballistic over trace amounts of radon in his basement, threatening to live in a tent so as to be in better tune with natural vapors and such.

It strikes me as odd that the same people who pooh-pooh fears that some Islamo-fascist tyrant will acquire a WMD, and who will tolerate no limitation of those civil liberties which are important to them, become hysterically terrified about micro-environmental traces of any manmade substance and are willing to crush the livelihoods and pleasures of working class Americans on the basis of computer models.

I don't doubt that there were computer models in 1998 that argued that the stratosphere would get colder even as the lower atmosphere gets warmer, all due to the assumption that what man is doing really matters. There are computer models for EVERYTHING out there, so twenty years from now some of them are bound to be right by chance alone.

Posted by: Michael L. Cook on January 6, 2006 at 5:13 AM | PERMALINK

Mr. Cook, your expressions of class resentment wont invalidate the laws of physics. You are confusing the diagnosis with the prescription.

If you are concerned about how the lives of ordinary workers can be crushed by computer models, you should read the business page more often. Notice how much Wall Street is concerned that the US economy might be creating too many jobs. Their computer models suggest that corporate profits wont be optimized without enough workers on the dole. You can argue with their economic laws if you wish.

Posted by: troglodyte on January 6, 2006 at 6:54 AM | PERMALINK

Michael just go to realclimate and tell that nutball fallacy collection to them. It will be a riot.

Posted by: Mark A. York on January 6, 2006 at 9:51 AM | PERMALINK

This is only the 127,657 time some liberal announce the 'final nail' in the coffin.

There will only be a final nail when conservatives say so. IN any event you so badly bungled the politics of this with Kyoto liberals will have no say in how we deal with environmental issues. The Europeans and the UN simply cannot be trusted. Check out this clip from the todays Canadain press report on energy prices:

Despite huge stocks of crude oil and rising inventories of gasoline and distillates, brokers from Sucden Commodity said geopolitical factors such as uncertainties in the Middle East and cold weather in Europe could be enough to keep prices firm.


How perfect is it that after the European put the final nail in the coffin they go into a friggin Ice Age just as prices are peaking? There is a God!

Here's more news from the US weekly petroleum report:

Among the flurry of data released by the Energy Department was a detail that highlighted one impact of soaring energy prices in 2005: For the first time since 2001, total demand for petroleum and related products declined from the previous year. Energy demand is closely linked to overall economic activity.

Very impressive in view of strong economic growth. This means energy productivity grew by a stellar 4% in 2005 in the USA.

The markets work. UN and EU bureaucrats can only make the problem worse as they've consistently proven. They have already been replaced and they don't even know it.

Posted by: rdw on January 6, 2006 at 10:03 AM | PERMALINK

It turned out that MM had committed a deeply embarassing error
I'm aware of this marc, anything to say on the rest of the saga of missing data? Anything to say on my other points? Or would that require listening to something other than the voices in your head?

but on this issue you are tediously arrogant and foolishly ignorant
Not really Bob, neither side is producing anything trustworthy. Everyone here is excited to point out the flaws on the other side, and bury their head in sand about the flaws on their own side. So maybe instead of "not really Bob", I should have said "I have a lot of company Bob".

God forbid that we should make decisions based on unbiased science.

Posted by: conspiracy nut on January 6, 2006 at 10:04 AM | PERMALINK

Trog, I am genuinely skeptical of a lot of diagnosises(?)going around today, even some of the best-founded scientific concerns. For instance, the statistics on WWII shipyard workers who smoked and worked with asbestos are probably quite accurate: virtually 100% of such workers died of mesothelioma.

But I have to consider my own case. I lived and worked on WWII ships, twice being exposed to thick white dust from pipe insulation for long periods. Later I worked in the construction industry milling Johns-Manville and Certainteed asbestos pipe products for custom applications in the field. I have never smoked, but have been exposed to tremendous concentration of second hand cigarette smoke, particularly when I worked in a jail in the days when inmates were given virtually unlimited supplies of cigarette tobacco to keep them pacified.

My personal empirical experience is that I have very healthy lungs, knock on wood. But then I pay attention to news reports, like the fact that the WTC towers only had their beams clad with asbestos up to the 40th floor, when the total ban on asbestos kicked in during their construction. Arguably if the cladding had gone all the way up and if much of it had not been blown off by the airliner impacts, occupants of the twin towers may have had another 45 minutes to escape.

Then there was the great physicist Richard Feynman who did the great tabletop demonstration of practical physics during the inquiry on why the Challenger space shuttle blew up. Feynman took a piece of the O-Ring material and immersed it in a glass of ice water, noting how brittle it became.

What Feynman apparently was not told, however, is that the O-Rings were originally intended to be protected in their groves by an asbestos putty, which practice was discontinued after the total asbestos ban came into effect.

So, there is often more to these scientific issues than meets the eye. I could get going on the totally arbitrary and absolutely inconsistent ways that "species" are described in ways to throw ordinary, innocent working class people out of high paying rural careers and into McJobs in urban areas, but that would take a whole book to vent all the outrage and intellectual objections to that branch of green pseudo-science I feel.

Posted by: Michael L. Cook on January 6, 2006 at 10:31 AM | PERMALINK

Conspiracy nut, if you were aware of any shortcoming in your links you didn't bother to indicate that in any of your posts. There is
no reason to go into all of them, since your
only answer would be to claim that I was listening to voices in my head - as you just did.
You posted a link to claims that have been extensively studied and refuted. In a normal conversation you'd actually respond to what I said. But we both know that you're not interested in actually learning about the subject or sharing your knowledge about it.

You know nothing about the science and, as you yourself have indicated, you're only interested in yanking chains and getting a rise out of people. The only reason for me to post anything was to give other people - who might actually be confused about the issues at hand - some links to real information on the subject.

Posted by: Marc on January 6, 2006 at 11:47 AM | PERMALINK

The Republican-theo/plutocrat anti-rational, anti-reality-based style is hoisted on the twin pillars of religious piety and business/advertising-world selling of snake oil. It is fundamental to their MO and must be fought at every turn.

Posted by: Neil' on January 6, 2006 at 12:12 PM | PERMALINK

The only reason for me to post anything was to give other people - who might actually be confused about the issues at hand - some links to real information on the subject.
Right, the pursuit of truth is your only objective. That's why you're opposed to anyone seeing both sides of something.

Makes sense to me.

Posted by: conspiracy nut on January 6, 2006 at 12:35 PM | PERMALINK

conspiracy nut: That's why you're opposed to anyone seeing both sides of something.

I want everyone to see your "side" since there is nothing there to be seen except bullshit.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on January 6, 2006 at 12:46 PM | PERMALINK

I want everyone to see your "side" since there is nothing there to be seen except bullshit.
Sure you do. That's why you're always so excited when I show up to comment. That's why you're always so willing to let me be heard.

It'll be all right, just sip your hot chocolate and hold your teddy bear.

Oh wait, is hot chocolate allowed? Milk and all that? It could be soy based...

Posted by: conspiracy nut on January 6, 2006 at 12:52 PM | PERMALINK

Ah , right , Kevin....
You were the one who despite 2 years of mathematics at MIT drew a line straight to the axis of a *log graph* to supposedly refute Kurzweil's "Singularity" claim.

Sheesh. How about a little scientific/math literacy reciew before knocking others?

Posted by: remo williams on January 6, 2006 at 1:07 PM | PERMALINK

oops. I guess it was Cal Tech. No I understand the problem....

Posted by: remo wiliams on January 6, 2006 at 1:10 PM | PERMALINK

conspiracy nut: That's why you're always so willing to let me be heard.

Oh, let the right-wing whining begin. Let the conservative culture of eternal victimhood sing its pathetic little song. Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly and the rest of those phonies spend all day, every day, telling their mental slave right wing listeners that they are victims of the evil and powerful "liberals" who control everything (even though conservatives control all three branches of the Federal government, not to mention owning the corporations that own just about everything in America) and idiots like you soak it up.

Poor little conspiracy nut, that big bad lefty moonbat SecularAnimist won't "let you be heard".

As though I have, or could, do anything to interfere with you posting whatever you want whenever you want.

What a moron.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on January 6, 2006 at 2:15 PM | PERMALINK

I am the daddy of all right wing rural religious whiners, but I do think it is important to maintain civilized discourse. I enjoy this site because there are obviously a lot highly educated leftists hanging around, which makes it possible to post something controversial on a scientific or historical topic and get and intelligent response. This challenges me to get off my lazy duff and do some real research.

Now, like most hard core right wing, I believe that part of the global warming debate heat comes from the fact that not only is the left represented by openly green advocacy groups with budgets of tens of millions of dollars, but during the Clinton years various federal departments were stocked up with good Democrat civil servants, such as the types that the
Bushies are constantly feuding with at the CIA, the energy department, the Bureau of Land Management, and other regulatory agencies.

Such imbedded political conflict can result in a very distorted fact picture. Hopefully, like gentlemen, we will sort it out together.

At any rate, my enthusiasm du juor is still lingering on some very good intelligent design debates that Kevin sculpted. I have kind of fallen in love with the idea that any recursive mathematics implies a pre-existing mathematical higher order or Platonic, if you will, universe. Go ahead and make the Big Bang and everything you wish that has happened since as random and pointless as you will, something about existence has generated mathematical order and complexity of a very high nature, which parallels what Behe et al claim in the I.D. debate.

Global Warming is, of course, tied very much to the issue of fossil fuels, and I learned today that the Sago mine disaster may have been caused by exceptionally energetic lightning bolts. Apparently part of the practice of this mining company was to simply "wall off" sections of the mine that were prohibitively gassy. When lightning strikes the ground, however, its influence does not end with the surface, but apparently continues deep underground. I've had a lively time here maintaining that all Earthly lightning bolts are actually initiated by quasars billions of years ago, which implies that the Sago tragedy was, in way, curiously linked to the dawn of time.

Posted by: Michael L. Cook on January 6, 2006 at 10:09 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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