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Tilting at Windmills

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February 16, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

GLOBAL WARMING UPDATE....Yet more bad news on the global warming front:

Greenland's glaciers are melting into the sea twice as fast as previously believed, the result of a warming trend that renders obsolete predictions of how quickly the Earth's oceans will rise over the next century, scientists said yesterday.

...."The implications are global," said Julian Dowdeswell, a glacier expert at the University of Cambridge in England who reviewed the new paper for Science. "We are not talking about walking along the sea front on a nice summer day, we are talking of the worst storm settings, the biggest storm surges...you are upping the probability major storms will take place."

I realize that Al Gore believes in global warming, and therefore all good conservatives believe global warming doesn't exist. But it's time to grow up and take notice that all the global warming news for the past few years has been bad. Not only is it happening, but every recent report I've seen indicates that it's happening faster and with more dire results than we've previously believed. It's really beyond belief that so many people are still burying their heads in the sand over this.

Kevin Drum 10:45 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (223)

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Comments

Actually, it is because of belief - in George Bush, and also the fundies - that this denial is happening.

Posted by: hopeless pedant on February 16, 2006 at 10:48 PM | PERMALINK

2006=democratic win=impeachment=crash effort to save the planet.

Posted by: Sparko on February 16, 2006 at 10:56 PM | PERMALINK

I am not a conservative but there is a contrary report that says while this report is true, the mass of Greenland's glaciers is actually showing net increases.....smaller, denser glaciers.
Like Bush.....smaller and denser

Posted by: murmeister on February 16, 2006 at 10:58 PM | PERMALINK

But it's time to grow up and take notice that all the global warming news for the past few years has been bad.

Well, geez, Kevin, do we have to spell it out for you? That's just because science has a liberal bias. Scientists never tell us the good news, like the cell phones and power grid and the schools, oh, the paintings of the schools!

Posted by: scarshapedstar on February 16, 2006 at 11:06 PM | PERMALINK

From CNN:

They tracked the speeds of the glaciers from space, using satellite data collected between 1996 and 2005.

When it comes to glaciers, I'd like to see a section of the curve a bit longer than nine years to see what kind of patterns we're talking.

It costs cash to read the original article, so maybe this has been covered.

Something to think about: If there is long-term large scale melting of the southern Greenland ice, it's more likely to screw up the ocean current conveyor system long before any serious ocean rise takes place. Bang--instant ice age.

Posted by: tbrosz on February 16, 2006 at 11:06 PM | PERMALINK

It's really beyond belief that so many people are "still burying their heads in the sand over this."
--

Ha. Freudian slip x 2.

Those good Republicans in the midwest heartland - may very well be "...walking along the sea front on a nice summer day."

Meanwhile, those of us on the coasts will be "...burying their heads in the sand over this."

Fascists and criminals.. the Bush administration.

Posted by: Jay in Oregon on February 16, 2006 at 11:12 PM | PERMALINK

Brosz: You're right. No sense erring on the side of caution. Human population density and resource depletion may not have an effect on anything of consequence except a few habitability issues here and there.

In reality:
We must move more quickly to diminish negative human impact on the planet, especially our CO2 emissions. There is no question that we are in a gray area without sufficient research time, and may not have time to forestall general ecosystem collapse.

Posted by: Sparko on February 16, 2006 at 11:17 PM | PERMALINK

If there is long-term large scale melting of the southern Greenland ice, it's more likely to screw up the ocean current conveyor system long before any serious ocean rise takes place. Bang--instant ice age.

We're going to see a similar theme from conservatives about global warming and melting of the ice caps-- namely, "Ok, we finally admit that it is happening, but in the end, it won't matter."

The final stop along this journey will end with, "Ok, it is happening, we did cause it, it does matter, but there's nothing we can do about it."

Posted by: Constantine on February 16, 2006 at 11:19 PM | PERMALINK

I can think of one bright and shiny irony - Limbaugh's 8-figure coastal Florida compound will be underwater.

Posted by: def on February 16, 2006 at 11:19 PM | PERMALINK

All we need to do is let tidal disasters befall all the low-lying areas on planet Earth, and everything will even itself out so that the Free Market can do its magic.

Posted by: dj moonbat on February 16, 2006 at 11:21 PM | PERMALINK

The conservative line is NOT that it is not happening... It is that "it is natural."

Hogwash to be sure, but a rather effective tool for dodging the human influence and hence the political solution.

Good to see your still working hard Kev. Seriously.

Posted by: def on February 16, 2006 at 11:22 PM | PERMALINK

It's really beyond belief that so many people are still burying their heads in the sand over this.

These people have sand down there?

Posted by: frankly0 on February 16, 2006 at 11:29 PM | PERMALINK

Boy, I hope I die before all of the bad stuff happens. George Bush and most other politicians in the Western world are hoping the same thing.

It looks as if there's an increasing chance that the world as we know it may end with a whimper rather than a banga slow roll into an ice age and/or other manifestations of the end of life as we know it. That would suit the so-called leaders of the U.S. (both parties, BTW) just fine. Eat drink and be merry. Tomorrow's another day. That's what I'm talking about.

Posted by: Nixon Did It on February 16, 2006 at 11:30 PM | PERMALINK

The evening news said that if all the ice in Greenland were to melt, the seas would rise by 21 feet. Not likely to happen real soon, but 21 feet worldwide from an island as small as Greenland, I have to wonder. But that is not my concern.

My concern is all the water locked up in ice in Antarctica. Much, much bigger than Greenland, Antarctica has at least another magnitude of ice. And ice in Antarctica will be also melting as Greenlands does.

Posted by: Chief on February 16, 2006 at 11:33 PM | PERMALINK

Sparko:

"erring on the side of caution?" I've heard that one before.

Interesting that "preemptive action" based on limited data seems to be a lot more attractive to liberals in ecological issues than political ones.

The kind of drastic approaches to "fix" global warming that I've seen proposed, of which Kyoto was only one, are not without their own consequences, mostly economic. Poverty kills more people on this planet than any environmental hazard does.

Regardless of what Kevin says, the opinions on this are not universally in one direction and scientific "consensus" is no less vulnerable to peer, financial and political pressure than anything else.

Posted by: tbrosz on February 16, 2006 at 11:35 PM | PERMALINK

Someone slap Flanders. He's hysterical again.

Posted by: shortstop on February 16, 2006 at 11:37 PM | PERMALINK

Tbrosz, as someone with a background in oceanography, I can tell you and the other Scaifelings (and have done so over at /,) that you are dead wrong. A shutoff of the conveyor belt maketh not another ice age, it will make for some colder winters and warmer summers in Europe and possibly parts of North America. However, depending on how fast global mean temperatures rise, these colder winters may not be that cold.

The real problem is encapsulated by two words: Florida and Andrew. Q: How many times does a beach have to be hit by a goddamn hurricane for people to not try to live there? A: More than anyone can guess. As oceans reclaim coastline, there may or may not be catastrophic storms, but there sure will be a lot of people who don't want to pack up and leave. That means a lot of scuffles with each other and the government,a lot of property (and likely life) lost in the weather events that do raise the sea level, like hurricanes and winter storms, and that's in a wealthy country like the US. In short, a lot of human suffering.

Conservauthoritatians are fond of pointing out "natural variability", as though this notion had never occurred to climate scientists who say that we've got real anthropogenic warming on our hands. The reality is that climate science is speaking (when 24-year-old college dropout Bush stooges aren't muzzling it) clearly that we need to take some real steps to curbs this problem or the possibility of catastrophe goes from being remote to being likely. And the proposed measures needed to do this, while anathema to conservauthoritarians are actually not very intrusive: some taxes and some serious investment in different energy sources. Commence boohooing about Kyoto now.

Posted by: Eric E on February 16, 2006 at 11:38 PM | PERMALINK

Ya'll are forgetting James G. Watt. Its not that they think that global warming isn't happening. They just don't care. The end times are nigh, party on.

Posted by: Keith G on February 16, 2006 at 11:39 PM | PERMALINK

Screw you crybaby liberals. God gave us this planet to crap on. Who cares if my kids and grandkids contract skin cancer, and the planet becomes unlivable in 100 years? I'll be fat from my big tax breaks until the day I die, which will likely be years before everything truly becomes apocalyptic. I've got mine, so to Hell with you, just like the Republican credo says.

Posted by: buddhistMonkey on February 16, 2006 at 11:41 PM | PERMALINK

Why do glaciers hate America?

Posted by: secularhuman on February 16, 2006 at 11:42 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin Drum >"...It's really beyond belief that so many people are still burying their heads in the sand over this."

No, it is their belief that Jebus will be along shortly & know who to Rapture by selecting the butts in the air

Really...

OK, maybe they are in denial because Global Warming threatens their trust funds

If you don`t like those choices then be like a ReThuglican & make something up

"The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist thinks it will change; the realist adjusts the sails." - William Arthur Ward

Posted by: daCascadian on February 16, 2006 at 11:45 PM | PERMALINK

"...and scientific "consensus" is no less vulnerable to peer, financial and political pressure than anything else."

Don't be silly. Not that scientists are always perfect, but science is based on data and evidence, not on votes, money, peer pressure, and wishful thinking because an SUV is a preferred fashion statement.

Posted by: Myron on February 16, 2006 at 11:46 PM | PERMALINK

The time constant for the phenomenon is too large for us to focus our resources on solving the global warming problem, especially since we are in the middle of the Long War. If we don't win the Long War, it wouldn't matter that the ice caps are melting.

Posted by: tbrosz on February 16, 2006 at 11:52 PM | PERMALINK

WARNING !!!

Here be actual climate scientists talking about, gasp, real data & science

"Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influence, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist." - John Maynard Keynes

Posted by: daCascadian on February 16, 2006 at 11:53 PM | PERMALINK

Hi Eric E (or anyone else with the expertise),
Can you explain, if there's a simple and understood explanation, why hurricane strength apparently scales nonlinearlly with ocean temperature? If the Gulf has only risen a couple of degrees at most in the past few decades I wouldn't have expected a very noticable change in hurricane frequency and strength. But science is full of highly nonlinear relationships, like the Gulf Stream's dependence on temperature. Is this a more or less understood phenomenon at this point?

Posted by: ChiSox Fan in LA on February 16, 2006 at 11:55 PM | PERMALINK

brosz: what part of global calamity and probable planetary death do you not understand? The science is in--it is just the timelines and our ability to delay catastrophe or head it off that is in question. It isn't rocket science, i.e. it is relevant. Some say we are passed the tipping point. Thanks for giving hope to pinheads and oil companies. This is not a political problem. It is a survival question.

Posted by: Sparko on February 16, 2006 at 11:58 PM | PERMALINK

Myron:

Don't be silly. Not that scientists are always perfect, but science is based on data and evidence, not on votes, money, peer pressure, and wishful thinking because an SUV is a preferred fashion statement.

Look up the recent history of stem cell research. The list of scientists who have falsified data in many fields is a long one. Why did they do it? As far as I can tell, not to get rich.

Also, if you think that one's general views have nothing to do with being published or funded in the scientific field, never mind winning the approval of fellow scientists, you're mistaken. Politics--in the general use of the term, not simple "Democrat/Republican,"--rears its head in almost every field of human endeavor.

Right now, someone who pushes a theory that supports human-caused global warming will get a much better reception in the general scientific community than someone who pushes ideas that do not. The attacks on Lomborg went far beyond simple criticism of his data.

Posted by: tbrosz on February 17, 2006 at 12:00 AM | PERMALINK

Interesting that "preemptive action" based on limited data seems to be a lot more attractive to liberals in ecological issues than political ones.

Your opinions are so childish and fatuous they're not even interesting.

Many of us evaluated the limited data on Iraq and correctly concluded from it there were no WMD's, no ties to Al Qaeda, no imminent threat, and predictable sectarian warfare.

And there is much more data available relatively speaking on the climate issue.

With our being so devastatingly correct on Iraq you'd think you'd be willing to permit the possibility that you're wrong on the environment as well.

But not only are your inductive reasoning skills poor, you are also unwise.

Posted by: Windhorse on February 17, 2006 at 12:01 AM | PERMALINK

the result of a warming trend that renders obsolete predictions of how quickly the Earth's oceans will rise over the next century, scientists said yesterday.

Herein lies a big problem - the models which underlie so much of climate science are too inaccurate and yet these very models are the basis for economic reform. These models don't accurately reflect the processes at work in the climate cycle and don't account for millenia long cycling. In short, they're not externally validated. This is why we keep getting "surprise announcement" like this one. While this is certainly a dramatic announcement, we really have no clue how reliable it is.

I take it that the reason liberals and/or environmentalists don't moot the question of proactive versus reactive measures is due to ideological limitations. IOW, is it better to take action now to slow antropogenic climate change or is it better to deal with the consequences is not entertained.

It would certainly help if the reformers would look at the question and had some grounding in economics. Considering that if the economic growth rate of the US was only 1% less over the last century, our GDP/capita would be the same as Mexico's the question of opportunity cost is certainly worthy of debate.

Further, the Kyoto exclusions of rapidly industrializing nations like China and India has political and economic consequences.

some taxes and some serious investment in different energy sources.

Which energy sources? Hydrogen? Nope, that's not a source of energy. Solar, wind, tidal, ocean thermal? Nope, they can't provide sufficient baseload power? Ethanol and bio-fuels? Nope, net energy losers. Coal? How are you going to sequester the emissions and are you prepared for the ecological devastation? Hydro? Which major rivers are still undammed? Nuclear? Go tame the anti-nuclear crowd. Space solar satellites? Good idea, but that requires an extensive orbital infrastructure that takes some time to ramp up? Fusion? I hear that it's only a decade away, though I've been hearing that for a couple of decades.

Posted by: TangoMan on February 17, 2006 at 12:06 AM | PERMALINK
Poverty kills more people on this planet than any environmental hazard does. Posted by: tbrosz
That is interesting since your Bush administration has increased poverty in American each year it has been in power and neither you nor Bush have ever expressed any concern for them.

Among environmental hazards, you need to include typhoons, floods, hurricanes, drought and fire. I think those have managed to cause a fairly large number of deaths. If their quantity isn't high enough to impress you yet, wait a bit.

Posted by: Mike on February 17, 2006 at 12:06 AM | PERMALINK

If people believe that CO2 is harming the planet why do they produce such large amounts?

It would be very simple to stop producing CO2, just live the lifestyle of 90% of the population. No car, no AC, no air travel, no mass transit, no single family home, no food out of season, etc.

I think the best way for to get people to follow is to lead by example. Anyone out there willing to give up all the comforts of modern life to save the enviroment? Kevin?

Posted by: mark on February 17, 2006 at 12:08 AM | PERMALINK

Scientists shouldn't get to decide whether glaciers are melting. Democracy is on the march and we should all get to vote on it, unless you're a liberal in which case we don't care what you think and you should just get in line with the rest of us and let the (right) politicians decide what is best. That's what Jesus would do.

Posted by: Charlie on February 17, 2006 at 12:08 AM | PERMALINK

The time constant for the phenomenon is too large for us to focus our resources on solving the global warming problem,

That's the spirit! What have your grandchildren ever done for you anyway?

especially since we are in the middle of the Long War. If we don't win the Long War, it wouldn't matter that the ice caps are melting.

I don't know exactly what you mean by "the Long War" but your rhetoric reminds me a great deal of the sort of things we used to hear about the Cold War. Remember the Cold War?

Posted by: Nagual Haven on February 17, 2006 at 12:08 AM | PERMALINK

It's questionable whether it's now true that

Poverty kills more people on this planet than any environmental hazard does.

but it wouldn't take much of a rise in the sea level to make it utterly false. Just check a topographical map of the planet.

Glaciers are disappearing all over. Large areas of Greenland are already free of ice. Things are changing fast.

Posted by: bad Jim on February 17, 2006 at 12:10 AM | PERMALINK

Tango uniform: your denial of reality has been entered into the GOP book of life. I should warn you that that version of earth has a rapture occurring before we start using renewable energy sources and obsoleting Haliburton stock.

Posted by: Sparko on February 17, 2006 at 12:10 AM | PERMALINK

Tbrosz, the thing is, if scientists falsify data (rare), or just screw up their measurements (very common) other scientists will notice when they try similar experiments and get different results. The more important the question, the more experiments are conducted to confirm the results.

As a scientist (well, sort of - I'm a baby academic in the field of software engineering), I know science is not perfect. What gets published in the big journals sometimes depends on the personal biases of the editors. Fashionable areas attract all sorts of work of often dubious quality. But, eventually, the facts win out. Science's self-correcting mechanisms work better than in any other field; and, frankly, my own field suffers worst in the areas in which it differs from the classical sciences.

Posted by: Robert Merkel on February 17, 2006 at 12:11 AM | PERMALINK

Note how seldom conservation is advanced as a solution, even though it's by far the quickest and easiest means of reducing energy use.

Posted by: bad Jim on February 17, 2006 at 12:14 AM | PERMALINK

The attacks on Lomborg went far beyond simple criticism of his data.

The point is, simple critical evaluation of his data was enough to discredit his argument. Whether or not someone said something that hurt his feelings also is kind of irrelevant, isn't it?

Posted by: Nagual Haven on February 17, 2006 at 12:17 AM | PERMALINK

tbrosz

"interesting that "preemptive action" based on limited data seems to be a lot more attractive to liberals in ecological issues than political ones."

man, this is an apples to oranges comparison and you know that. Disapointing. You shouldn't abandon your reason just to make a cheap shot. Actually tho, there is a kind of reverse correspondence going on: Not doing anything to address global warming likely causes consequences that we can't undo later. Similarly, invading Iraq preemptively seems to be causing similarly (but not quite as large scale, hopefully) hard-to-reverse consequences. But really, you're being petulant here. Stop.

"The kind of drastic approaches to "fix" global warming that I've seen proposed, of which Kyoto was only one, are not without their own consequences, mostly economic. Poverty kills more people on this planet than any environmental hazard does."

Your second point is true...right now. (Although poverty certainly makes environmental hazards more dangerous and more likely to affect your life.) What we're talking about is trying to keep it that way. It also isn't an either/or proposition, as you try to make it out to be. I do applaud your attention to world poverty, but it isn't the world's poor who are tanking up on SUVs. Anyway, this is where I come closest to agreeing with you, at least at the end. But this means it requires work, which the current administratin is discouraging, rather than encouraging.

"Regardless of what Kevin says, the opinions on this are not universally in one direction and scientific "consensus" is no less vulnerable to peer, financial and political pressure than anything else."

Scientific consensus is not invulnerable to these pressures, but it certainly is not as vulnerable as "anything else." And, scientific consensus is alot less vulnerable than the positions of individual scientists. Certainly you can find someone to disagree: absolute consensus on something that's this uncomfortable isn't likely to come until the disaster is here. But this is potentially an end-of-life-on-earth-as-we-know-it kind of issue. it's not one where our position needs to be crafted in regards to ideological positions regarding the sanctity of markets, the short term profits of major corporations or the political positions of those who already take it seriously.

Posted by: URK on February 17, 2006 at 12:18 AM | PERMALINK

need to include typhoons, floods, hurricanes, drought and fire. I think those have managed to cause a fairly large number of deaths.

Posted by: Mike on February 17, 2006 at 12:06 AM | PERMALINK

I think, you'd have to substantiate that the global warming measures proposed would have any impact on that though.

I think things started warming up pre-industrialization and people have always died from weather.

Some homeless froze to death in the recent Russian/Polish record winter.

The North East got a record winter.

Plus Bay Area snow.
http://www.ktvu.com/news/7117630/detail.html?rss=fran&psp=news

Global warming my foot!

Posted by: McA on February 17, 2006 at 12:22 AM | PERMALINK

When it comes to glaciers, I'd like to see a section of the curve a bit longer than nine years to see what kind of patterns we're talking.

I love it when layman pose such trivial issues to "debunk" what the PhDs say. It's so cute.

Posted by: teece on February 17, 2006 at 12:22 AM | PERMALINK

If conservatives want to freak out abaout an existential crisis, climate change seems a much more likely boogie man than terrorism. So why are they so uninterested in one, and so crybaby freaked out about the other?

It's a mystery.

Meanwhile, many civilizations have come, lasted much longer than ours, and then gone, mostly due to environmental catastrophe. Yet we think we are special, and immune. A hard rain's gonna fall...

Posted by: craigie on February 17, 2006 at 12:27 AM | PERMALINK

badJim: Note how seldom conservation is advanced as a solution, even though it's by far the quickest and easiest means of reducing energy use.

Yes, there all kinds of things we can do right now that don't require us to impose hardship on poor people and actually have a net economic plus for ourselves. Perhaps, we could start by implementing those things first. For some reason, every time this possibility is brought up someone like tbrosz insists that the situation is too hopeless to even think about it.

Posted by: Nagual Haven on February 17, 2006 at 12:28 AM | PERMALINK

need to include typhoons, floods, hurricanes, drought and fire. I think those have managed to cause a fairly large number of deaths.

You also need to include new, unknown diseases and disease vectors, caused by insects and other carriers able to populate territory previously denied to them, caused by insect predators dying out (eg, frogs), etc. The truth is, we just don't know how fucked we are going to get.

But enough about that. Tax cuts! I need a tax cut!

Posted by: craigie on February 17, 2006 at 12:29 AM | PERMALINK

Isn't it Ronald Reagan who said that facts are stubborn things? The evidence stacks up and up and up--compiled by biologists, climate scientists, meteorologists, chemists--that the planet is heating up and heating up fast. The American Geophysical Union, the American Meteorological Society, and a special panel of the National Academy of Sciences have all concluded that, in all likelihood, that greenhouse gases are causing the planet to warm up.

It's pretty unlikely that all of these researchers in all of these disparate fields are simply motivated by partisan or ideological impulses. Now is the time for everyone--conservative, liberal, reactionary, progressive----to work together to find a solution to this problem.

Yes, reducing carbon emissions is difficult. Yes, getting other countries on board is a real problem. But we can take simple steps to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions through conservation, and it would seem that massive subsidies for wind, solar, and yes, nuclear power would be in order.

Perhaps it is too late. But taking these steps (and moderating the oncoming calamity) would seem to be worth a shot. We owe it to our kids, anyway.

Posted by: Arthur on February 17, 2006 at 12:36 AM | PERMALINK

Tbrosz,
Scientists that lie (intentionally falsify data) are always looking for profit. Your example of the stem cell researcher fits that truism perfectly. He was using facilities and research monies to support a lavish lifestyle far beyond that of his peers. The long list of paid shills working for the tobacco industry, the logging industry, the chemical industry, and the pharmacuedical industry put paid to your idiot assertion that bad science is not the product of corruption.

Posted by: joe on February 17, 2006 at 12:37 AM | PERMALINK

Interesting that "preemptive action" based on limited data seems to be a lot more attractive to liberals in ecological issues than political ones.

By the way, this is below even your own low standards for creating meaningful sentences out of words arranged sequentially.

You disappoint me, Tom. I'm not angry - it's more like you're my teenage son, and the police just called to say you've been busted shoplifting or voting Republican.

So they bring you home and release you to me, and I just say "Tom, I'm not angry, but I am very disappointed." Then I shake my head in that slow, sad way we liberals have, that just drives men of action such as yourself completely crazy.

Then I put you up for adoption.

Posted by: craigie on February 17, 2006 at 12:37 AM | PERMALINK

tbrosz, the effect of global warming on North Atlantic circulation is not that clear -- but the conjecture that we'll see the same response we saw during continental deglaciation (where fresh water inputs were 10 to 100 times larger and the overall climate was very different) is not supported by any scientists. There's a decent summary here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Effects_of_global_warming#Shutdown_of_thermohaline_circulation.3F

The paper in question compared the last 10 years to a long term average calculated in previous papers -- i.e. E. Hanna et al., J. Geophys. Res. 110, D13108 (2004).

The major point of the paper was that models we use for prediction aren't taking full account of glacier dynamics. Their radar data suggests these models can't account for present rates of ice loss let alone predict the future:

The processes that control the timing and magnitude of glacier changes are, however, not completely characterized and understood at present. Glacier accelerations have been related to enhanced surface meltwater production penetrating to the bed to lubricate its motion (20), and ice-shelf removal (13), ice-front retreat, and glacier ungrounding (21, 22) that reduce resistance to flow. The magnitude of the glacier response to changes in air temperature (surface melting) and ocean temperature (submarine melting at calving faces) also depends on the glacier-bed properties, geometry, and depth below sea level and the characteristics of the subglacial and englacial water-storage systems (3, 20). Current models used to project the contribution to sea level from the Greenland Ice Sheet in a changing climate do not include such physical processes and hence do not account for the effect of glacier dynamics. As such, they only provide lower limits to the potential contribution of Greenland to sea-level rise. If more glaciers accelerate farther north, especially along the west coast, the mass loss from Greenland will continue to increase well above predictions.

They'll probably have a good summary for this paper on www.realcimate.org soon.

Posted by: ranaaurora on February 17, 2006 at 12:39 AM | PERMALINK

Joe,

Scientists that lie (intentionally falsify data) are always looking for profit.

How to reconcile this fracas concerning famed hurricane researcher, Dr. Landsea, to your hypothesis?

I am withdrawing because I have come to view the part of the IPCC to which my expertise is relevant as having become politicized. In addition, when I have raised my concerns to the IPCC leadership, their response was simply to dismiss my concerns.
Posted by: TangoMan on February 17, 2006 at 12:41 AM | PERMALINK

Isn't it Ronald Reagan who said that facts are stubborn things?

Actually, it was John Adams that said that. When Reagan tried to quote him he wound up saying, "facts are stupid things." Which has a certain poetry to it, also.

Posted by: Nagual Haven on February 17, 2006 at 12:41 AM | PERMALINK


Re John Adams--I stand corrected.

Has anybody tried compiling all of these depressing scientific reports about global warming in one database that is easily accessible? I think it would be really a good idea to have a website with links (perhaps geographically sorted) to all of these articles. The massive weight of data showing that the planet was indeed warming up would serve to convince a lot of skeptics who would do things like point to a single big snowstorm in Maryland in March as evidence that global warming is a myth.

Posted by: Arthur on February 17, 2006 at 12:53 AM | PERMALINK

I hope this gets them to finally do something about global warming. I took out a second mortgage to buy CO2 credits and if Bush doesn't sign Kyoto I won't be able to afford my ACLU membership and the french wine I drink with my communist friends in the hot tub on cold winter nights.

Posted by: averagescientist on February 17, 2006 at 12:55 AM | PERMALINK

Arthur -

knock yourself out

Posted by: craigie on February 17, 2006 at 12:59 AM | PERMALINK

The conservative line is NOT that it is not happening... It is that "it is natural." Hogwash to be sure, but a rather effective tool for dodging the human influence and hence the political solution.

Since when are human beings not "natural"? In fact we're every bit as "natural" as slime molds or dolphins. Other species or organism classes have impacted global climate before -- the colonization of the land by green plants comes to mind. This time it's no different. It likely will get more difficult to support billions and billions of human beings on this planet, but I strongly suspect we're on the verge of a major downsizing of the earth's human population in the first place (all those child rearing expenses!), and in the second, our species will soon (say within the next two hundred years) be undertaking a sizeable emmigration into our solar system.

Y'all need to relax. Climate change is to liberals what terrorism is to conservatives: an excuse for despair, paranoia, hand-wringing, and trampling of individual freedoms.

Posted by: Iguanadon on February 17, 2006 at 1:04 AM | PERMALINK

http://www.daviesand.com/Choices/Precautionary_Planning/New_Data/

Look at this graph, it is the Vostok ice core data, the premeir natural data set that confirms the general idea of glacial cycles over the last four or five glacial cycles.

Notice the current cycle. The current glaciation period is about 10,000 years late. We should be on the way down to ice cube earth. We are not. Why?

The ice age is triggeed by the build of of co2 gas, we assume, as this causes the melting of the last remaining ice, and turns off the warm water conveyer and sends us to freeze zone. For some reason, for the last 10,000 years we have not been able to the the co2 levels high enough to trigger the ice age. Why?

Posted by: Matt on February 17, 2006 at 1:04 AM | PERMALINK

Mike:

That is interesting since your Bush administration has increased poverty in American each year it has been in power and neither you nor Bush have ever expressed any concern for them.

If someone lives in the U.S., they don't know crap about what real poverty is.

Indcidentally, there are billions of people out there who want their chance at the good life, and while you're selling Americans on driving smaller cars, they want a car--period. An environmentalist telling them to stick with the ox for the sake of Mother Gaea isn't going to sell very well.

We need some heavy-duty technological solutions, including nuclear and all the other alternatives, if we are going to manage a whole planet that wants a middle-class lifestyle.

***

craigie:

...Then I put you up for adoption.

Not bad. Four paragraphs of insult without ever actually saying anything. You might have beaten Gregory's old record.

***

ranaurora:

Another factor in Greenland is the recent increase in ice thickness in the center of the land mass. Paper on that here.

Does anyone have a reference on Greenland ice conditions during the Medieval Warming when Vikings were colonizing it?

Posted by: tbrosz on February 17, 2006 at 1:12 AM | PERMALINK

...our species will soon (say within the next two hundred years) be undertaking a sizeable emmigration into our solar system.

What, as you blow 'em out your ass?

So we'll emmigrate from one fucked up planet to any one of a group of planets not that well-designed to support human life anyway. On our massive fleet of cargo spaceshiops, carrying all we need to supoport life on in hostile environments across the solar system.

In 200 years - based on our extensive experience of putting a few men and some golf balls on the moon for a few hours.

All those challenges, difficulties blithely dismissed with a "Y'all need to relax"!

Beautiful.

Or we could use less carbon-polluting energy.

Hmmm, let me think about that...

Posted by: floopmeister on February 17, 2006 at 1:17 AM | PERMALINK

Thanks for the heads up.

Wait a second...Iguanadon is saying that climate change may result in the death of billions of men, women, and children, but he bemoans the fact that this impending crisis will be used as justification to trample people's rights. Hey, the only things I'm asking for are mandatory improvements in automobile mileage, subsidies for fuel-efficient mass transit, and massive subsidies for the wind, solar, and nuclear industries. In the grand scheme of things, the right to manufacture a gas-guzzling vehicle and the right to deny the government tax monies that would go to build a windmill or atomic power plant are fairly trivial freedoms.

A massive emigration is out of the question. It's too expensive. How many billions will it cost to send a handful of men to Mars, under current NASA plans?

Posted by: Arthur on February 17, 2006 at 1:17 AM | PERMALINK

our species will soon (say within the next two hundred years) be undertaking a sizeable emmigration into our solar system

Maybe Xenu will blast us into space with hydrogen bombs.

Posted by: ranaaurora on February 17, 2006 at 1:18 AM | PERMALINK

Matt:

I've seen lots of graphs from the ice cores, including that one, and while it's obvious that CO2 and temperature are related, nobody has yet shown for sure, given the uncertainties in the data, which drives the other. Still, I could imagine more astronomical reasons that might result in a regular 10,000 year cycle in temperature, than I can for creating a 10,000 year cycle in CO2 emissions.

Posted by: tbrosz on February 17, 2006 at 1:19 AM | PERMALINK

So, all you folks want to sit at the top of the glacial cycle forever? It is hotter than hell, been that way for 10,000 years. It is like we have been stuck at summer and winter won't come. If winter never comes, then spring never comes and we are screwed. Where do you folks want to set the thermostat?

We could try for mid-glacial period. That is an erratic period, but stable enough that we can set the temperature at 2 degrees cooler and stay there.

Then, sitting at midpoint, we can control the carbon and methane cycle and make small adjustments. Waddya say? Come on you chickens. It is easy, I can do, just give me a sledge hammer, a book of matches, and point me to the gas pipelines.

Posted by: Matt on February 17, 2006 at 1:23 AM | PERMALINK


Tbrosz--

You're right to say that a lot of people in the developing world want lifestyles that generate a lot of carbon emissions. That still doesn't excuse us in the USA from making efforts to reduce our CO2 emissions, and from finding new technologies that will allow more people to live lifestyles that are both low-emission and middle-class.

Posted by: Arthur on February 17, 2006 at 1:23 AM | PERMALINK

Did anybody read the Malkin piece?
The short summary: Some scientists in the Philippines say that land around Manilla Bay is sinking rather than the water rising. There she says that Al Gore is full of 'it'.

Short rebuttal: Won't the subsidence of land be made even worse if the sea rises also? And I know Al Gore has worked on other ecological issues, like watershed management, and related issues. There is such a thing as working on two problems, and many natural effects have multiple causes.

Posted by: MobiusKlein on February 17, 2006 at 1:25 AM | PERMALINK

Tbrosz -
You're right to say that a lot of people in the developing world want lifestyles that generate a lot of carbon emissions.

And Tbrosz is a member of the 5% that uses up 25% of the planet's resources.

The great catch with development - they can develop, grow rich and be just like us!

No they can't - not without tbrosz having less.

Posted by: floopmeister on February 17, 2006 at 1:27 AM | PERMALINK

tbroz,

The orbital inclination cycles set the phase of the glacial period, but they generally are considered to weak to drive us up to the top and back down. Temperature rises very rapidly, then drops gradually, as does the carbon. So, there is an amplifying function going on, as the orbital periods are composites of sine functions.

Obviously the shutting down of the Atlantic conveyer prevents warm ocean circulation, but that is only one part. I have a theory, wanna hear it?

Posted by: Matt on February 17, 2006 at 1:27 AM | PERMALINK

Put your money where your mouth is, huh?
OK
All florescent lighting
One car that gets around 34mpg for a family of 6
Lifestyle reworked to limit car use to about 20g of gas a month (not easy)
7.5 kw of solar panels on the roof of an all electric home
(for about the cost of a second car)
Planted nine trees in the yard in the last three years (the garden used to be an asphalt parking lot)
You don't have to give up a "modern" lifestyle to reduce your individual net CO2 production to a small fraction of the US average.
You just have to change your priorities.
Are you willing to continue to be a slave to your own convenience; or are you going to live responsibly?

That's right. I'm laying a guilt trip on the average American. A richly deserved one. Excuses or attacks on me for writing this are open admissions of base selfishness.

Current US energy consumption standards of behavior are the equivelent of a thug walking into a birthday party stealing the cake and most of the dinner and shitting on the kitchen table before he leaves.

Posted by: joe on February 17, 2006 at 1:32 AM | PERMALINK

I will give you all another hint.

In North America, today, our co2 budget, over all, is near zero, including our oil use. Other continents are net emitters of co2.

I will tell you why our co2 budget is near zero, and you all can shoot me in the face, though I am not a lawyer.

Our co2 budget is close to zero because we were the first to use steam in a large scale and the first to use oil onm a large scale.

Why?


Posted by: Matt on February 17, 2006 at 1:32 AM | PERMALINK

Tbrosz, yes, when you increase temps you can get precipitation further inland and at higher elevations. Some areas that were pretty high and dry get an increase in precipitation. That is part of Rignot's rather comprehensive survey. His satellite radar interferometry shows ice volume increases in 7 of 33 glaciers in 2000 and 4 of 33 in 2005. However, the rest are decreasing in volume. It's not that complex.

There were extensive viking plane table surveys of the ice cap in the years 984 and 1062. There might be a link to them here:

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

Posted by: ranaaurora on February 17, 2006 at 1:34 AM | PERMALINK

"Some scientists in the Philippines say that land around Manilla Bay is sinking rather than the water rising"

It was the local Phillipino scientists who have studied the sinking problem for years who bitched about that crying little baby Al Bore. They bitched because they knew the real problem was overuse of underground water around Manilla, not rising sea levels.

Posted by: Matt on February 17, 2006 at 1:35 AM | PERMALINK

Arthur:

When you get down to it, even if CO2 and global warming didn't exist at all, there are still many excellent reasons to get past burning hydrocarbons for energy. For one thing, petroleum is too damn useful in industry to waste pushing cars around.

Conservation is only going to go so far. I don't have the numbers, but if someone does, the math should be pretty easy. Assume that pretty much all the recommended conservation ideas are enacted. Higher car milage. Mandated housing standards. Super light bulbs in every fixture. Limits on everything. Huge taxes on just about anything you can think of. The works. Now, how much energy is the U.S. using? Divide it by the population. Take that number down. This is the energy required for a member of an "enlightened" civilization to maintain a reasonably decent standard of living. Assuming the economy is still alive, of course.

Now, how much energy would be used by the whole world if everyone on the planet was using that amount?

Ouch.

Somewhere, something's going to have to be done on the production end, and I don't think "Mr. Fusion" is going to pop up anytime soon.

No one alternative energy solution is going to do the job by itself. We're going to need all of them, each used where appropriate. Including nuclear.

Off to bed. Global warming or not, we've got frost here in California, and I've got to warm up the car in the morning to give my kid a ride to school. And yes, it's too far to walk.

Posted by: tbrosz on February 17, 2006 at 1:36 AM | PERMALINK

"Since when are human beings not "natural"? In fact we're every bit as "natural" as slime molds or dolphins."

Iguanadon is right! Polio and smallpox are totally natural! What were we thinking trying to eradicate them? Is there still time to release some smallpox into the wild, holding our breath while we wait to see it if thrives? I hear TB is making a comeback, heaven be thanked.

If "natural" global warming is occurring, we should just lie back and enjoy it. We shouldn't engage in unaesthetic and non-cool initiatives that we might lose. No, we MEANT to do that.
/sarcasm

WTF difference does it make whether global warming is "natural"? Shouldn't we try to determine what the effects are, and whether we can and should influence it? That's how we look at diseases like the Avian flu.

Posted by: cowalker on February 17, 2006 at 1:51 AM | PERMALINK

Hell, uranium is natural. Why keep the Iranians from letting it free?

Posted by: ranaaurora on February 17, 2006 at 1:53 AM | PERMALINK

Brosz is quick to argue that since X doesn't solve everything it's off the table. Nice move.

Whatever happened to the idea of "second-best tomorrow"? In other words, whatever we can do cheaply and quickly, we should. As a first step to mitigate the damage.

Posted by: bad Jim on February 17, 2006 at 1:55 AM | PERMALINK

We've got frost in San Francisco of all places too.

But for the topic, Conservation _and_ efficiency are tools to use to slow things down while we work on better cures.

And for the ground subsidence: Yes, the sea levels have not risen much. _YET_.

So to summarize:
Subsidence in Manilla bay - problem today.
Sea level rising globally - problem in the future.

Having one problem does not negate the other.

Posted by: MobiusKlein on February 17, 2006 at 1:58 AM | PERMALINK

Tangoman,
I read the dust up in SA. I don't understand where you see how it doesn't fit. I don't recall that he was accused of falsifying data (his interpretations of it were rather imaginitive). And, I seem to recall that he had taken work ($) from oil industry backed foundations (the articles were awhile back so I don't remember all the details).

I've followed climate research since the 70's and the evidence at first was sparce and the conclusions pretty erratic. By the early 80's though, CO2 driven warming was already the clear trend. As the proponents of cooling and dynamic equilibrium became fewer and fewer (because the persuadable switched sides), the remaining sceptics became more shrill and began to be courted by industry. The honesty stubborn aren't fired, but do occasionally resign, and some are still doing government and acedemic research with dogged determination.
Dr. Landsea was taken to task for beating the bleached bones of a long dead horse. If he had had anything new to bring to the argument, he might have found SA more receptive.

Posted by: joe on February 17, 2006 at 2:05 AM | PERMALINK

Iguanadon sez: Since when are human beings not "natural"? In fact we're every bit as "natural" as slime molds or dolphins. Other species or organism classes have impacted global climate before -- the colonization of the land by green plants comes to mind. This time it's no different.

Iguanadon needn't make such a strained analogy to prove his or her point. Industrial civilization isn't so much like plant evolution as it is like every other human civilization heretofore: it set in motion a cycle of intensification of production followed by ecological decline followed by (hopefully) technological change to compensate for said ecological decline. The cycle goes on and on until technology can't keep up with the rate of ecological decline, then the civilization in question falls apart.

Global warming differs from other instances of ecological decline in that is happening on a global scale, and that, if you think about it a bit, it quite startling.

Posted by: Jeff on February 17, 2006 at 2:08 AM | PERMALINK

It's very interesting that the idiots like tbrosz are so enamored of datamining as applied to spying on Americans, even though the techniques and assumptions of datamining, when compared to the methodologies of climate science, are more like those of astrology.

But when the infinitely more rigorous climate science is used to in discussions of global warming, they want incontrovertible proof that the work is airtight, based on quantum mechanical model of the behavior of the oceans and the atmosphere.

What idiots. Why do you guys encourage them?

Posted by: lib on February 17, 2006 at 2:08 AM | PERMALINK

Any comprehensive solution is going to require considerably less use of energy than the American norm. New energy sources aren't going to work on a global scale without that. We can immediately reduce our CO2 production and our dependence on foreign oil by increasing energy efficiency standards across the board.

We've got to develop alternative energy sources, but we're unlikely to see a near term payoff for anything, except wind and a little bit of solar. Conservation can deliver large savings immediately. A heavy tax on fossil fuel use, for example, could reduce consumption several percent per year.

It would be bad news for Ford and GM, addicted as they are to truck sales, but a further increase in gas prices might actually make people more inclined to buy new, more efficient cars.

Posted by: bad Jim on February 17, 2006 at 2:12 AM | PERMALINK

Poverty kills more people on this planet than any environmental hazard does.

Christ, that's a stupid thing to say, considering that in much of the Third World poverty is directly tied to environmental factors, such as increasing desertification, for example, wiping out arable land in Africa and Asia, or flooding/typhoons/monsoons/hurricanes etc. devastating coastal areas and disrupting local patterns of life, or the drying up of inland seas in Central Asia. As farmers and fishermen become less able to make a living from the land their forced to migrate to the cities, where they join the swelling ranks of the desperately poor.

Posted by: Stefan on February 17, 2006 at 2:19 AM | PERMALINK

Flanders: Look up the recent history of stem cell research. The list of scientists who have falsified data in many fields is a long one. Why did they do it? As far as I can tell, not to get rich.

And you know why you're able to look up the recent history? Because those scientists had to submit those falsified results to peer review, where other scientists were able to examine the data and determine it had been falsified. There is no such process in politics -- in fact, quite often the opposite applies, with the loud lie driving out the quiet truth.

Posted by: Stefan on February 17, 2006 at 2:21 AM | PERMALINK

Joe,

You're mixing and matching all sorts of different stories and attaching them to Dr. Landsea, who is still a highly respected climate scientist working for NOAA.

Posted by: TangoMan on February 17, 2006 at 2:22 AM | PERMALINK

Well look, the time to try to fix this was years ago. We've already lost this battle, so since the hosue is burning down right this moment and we can't get out why not party for the few minutes we have left?

Posted by: MNPundit on February 17, 2006 at 2:22 AM | PERMALINK

daCascadian beat me to the umpteenth time to post a link to RealClimate.org.

There is a real simple way to determine if published papers are coming from shills or not. Peer-Review. Sound scientific research always undergoes stringent peer-review. While not perfect, it weeds out most all the nefarious research.

oh and McA: Apparently your head can only operate in binary mode, so whenever you see the phrase "global warming", just replace it with "global climate change" (an oversimplification, but it may nudge you in the right direction). You continue to display your ignorance as to how climate systems work; let me just say it slowly for ya: they are C...O...M...P...L...I...C...A...T...E...D. Actually, why don't you just stfu when you obviously have no clue as to what you are talking about.

Posted by: Simp on February 17, 2006 at 2:28 AM | PERMALINK

We got flooded some 9,000 years ago, leaving large cities under 300 feet of water off of the coasts, especially around India and China.

So, were these ancient peoples putting too much greenhouse in the air?

Posted by: Matt on February 17, 2006 at 2:30 AM | PERMALINK

Guys, there is no point in arguing the science with tbrosz. He's a complete layman on this subject, and yet his hubris lets him think he has all the answers.

It's actually quite funny. It's like the TV repairman telling doctors how to do medicine.

tbrosz has an ideological position -- he'll selectively analyze data to prove it.

On the other hand, if you speak to people that actually know what the hell they are talking about, you will overwhelmingly (probably about 9 to 1) hear one story: global warming is real and human caused. All recent data points have painted a grimmer picture than we imagined.

Those people know what they are talking about. tbrosz, Bush, Limbaugh, Crichton, et al.: they don't have a fucking clue what they are talking about. Pat them on the head and ignore them.

"cute Republican" *pats on head*

Posted by: teece on February 17, 2006 at 2:34 AM | PERMALINK

Stefan: There is no 'long list' of scientists who falsfied data in Stem Cell Research. Tbrosz is just winging it. One Korean scientist and multiply that by ten to be generous, and even then the list is 'long' only in the idiot's fantasy.

Posted by: lib on February 17, 2006 at 2:44 AM | PERMALINK

Simp,

Sound scientific research always undergoes stringent peer-review. While not perfect, it weeds out most all the nefarious research.

Are you aware of how many climate research papers that get published are simply reports on running a computer model?

Take a look at this paper published in Nature that got a huge amount of press in the media - Extinction risk from climate change:

The approach has been validated by successfully predicting distributions of invading species when they arrive in new continents and by predicting distributional changes in response to glacial climate changes

To further compound the utter lack of utility the researchers commit a compositional fallacy.

I think that the model falls apart logically when it is extended beyond what is known. The model was validated so that we knew that parts of the whole X have characteristics A, B, C and then extended to the conclusion that therefore the whole X must have characteristics A, B, C. They validated their model against very specific situations and then they extend it to determine extinction rates, when extinction issues weren't part of the validation procedure.

How an article like this passes peer review is beyond me. I don't consider that to be science. It's simply a computer run with some data. It's quite possible to have a Garbage In - Garbage Out outcome to this kind of research. Yet, this paper passed peer review and was published in a very prestigious journal.

I come back full circle to the first comment I made in this thread, this subject of Kevin's post is that computer models were incorrect in predicting a phenomona that is described by real measurable data.

Posted by: TangoMan on February 17, 2006 at 2:48 AM | PERMALINK

"global warming is real and human caused."

So, then explain why the glacial period is late in arriving. If you believe that co2 spike and temp rise, go together, to trigger the next glacial cycle, then look again at the Vostok ice core data and explain why CO2 level did not keep rising on schedule some 10,000 years ago? It seems very real to me on the ice core data that the glacial cycle tried, but failed to get co2 levels up to the melting point (or temp depending on you view of the chicken and egg).


http://www.daviesand.com/Choices/Precautionary_Planning/New_Data/

Posted by: Matt on February 17, 2006 at 2:57 AM | PERMALINK

O ye global warming deniers, do ye not yet hear the call of energy independence? Or would you rather we expend further blood on subjugating the infidels whose lands provide the oil we depend upon?

Posted by: bad Jim on February 17, 2006 at 3:10 AM | PERMALINK

An additional reason to rally behind the president's proposal to increase American biofuels capacity. Everybody made fun of his inclusion of "switchgrass" in the SOTU, but the time is ripe (so to speak.)

Posted by: republicrat on February 17, 2006 at 3:16 AM | PERMALINK

Alternative fuels are touted by the enablers of our addiction. They tell us that we don't have to do anything right now, and our children will be able to run their Hummers on hydrogen.

They've put just about as much thought into that promise as they have into dealing with the national debt.

Who in his right mind would trust these guys?

Posted by: bad Jim on February 17, 2006 at 3:31 AM | PERMALINK

TangoMan, you speak very authoritatively. It's funny, considering how your writing betrays your complete ignorance of what climate scientists are doing with their computer models, how they make them, and what they are good for.

Posted by: teece on February 17, 2006 at 3:34 AM | PERMALINK

Teece,

Devastating comeback. Ouch. I await enlightenment. I'm particularly interested in the predictive validity issues. You may also want to address experimental design issues pertaining to researchers creating the models and then feeding their own data in and also validating the results.

Posted by: TangoMan on February 17, 2006 at 3:49 AM | PERMALINK

The evening news said that if all the ice in Greenland were to melt, the seas would rise by 21 feet. Not likely to happen real soon, but 21 feet worldwide from an island as small as Greenland, I have to wonder. But that is not my concern.

The glaciers of greenland rise a mile above sea-level. So if the surface area of ~250 Greenlands equals ocean area, which I doubt, you'd get that sort of level increase, assuming equal density between the ice and seawater.

Posted by: Boronx on February 17, 2006 at 3:51 AM | PERMALINK

In some ways, an ice-free Arctic ocean would be handy. Lots of shipping lanes would open up, and it would be easier to drill for oil all over the place. Too bad about the polar bears, but all they wanted to do was eat us anyway.

Posted by: bad Jim on February 17, 2006 at 3:59 AM | PERMALINK

I'm particularly interested in the predictive validity issues. You may also want to address experimental design issues pertaining to researchers creating the models and then feeding their own data in and also validating the results.

TangoMan says climate science is bunk. The computer models are bunk. Climate scientists practice voodoo. You don't understand how this crap can even get past peer review.

You're understanding of what they are doing with their computer models is childish.

I've known climate scientists. They have a solid discipline, they know what they are doing, working on a very hard problem.

Show of hands: who thinks it's more likely that TangoMan is just ignorant? Who thinks the entire field of climatology is really a scam based on crap? Yup, that's about what I thought.

Give me a break, buddy.

Posted by: teece on February 17, 2006 at 4:02 AM | PERMALINK

Actually, the cutting edge of global warming is expected to be the rapid disappearance of fresh water for drinking and irrigation. It seems that too many of us depend on upstream glaciers for our very existence.

Posted by: bad Jim on February 17, 2006 at 4:03 AM | PERMALINK

Teece,
I have the lattest talking point from Patrick Michaels and I am willing to use it.
Your feeble attempts to interfer with my thread highjacking by way of copious amounts of irrelevant data and name dropping makes me laugh. I am invincible and paid handsomely by my Tech Central Station handlers. If 40% of Americans do not believe in so called 'global warming' it must not be true.

Posted by: TangoMan on February 17, 2006 at 4:21 AM | PERMALINK

Teece,

When you're in a hole, the first thing to do is to stop digging. Building strawmen arguments doesn't help your credibility either. Appealing to popularity is just a sad spectacle.

TangoMan says climate science is bunk. .Climate scientists practice voodoo.

I do? Please provide a citation. There's plenty of good climate science, and some computer models qualify, but there is a lot published that doesn't qualify. The problem is discerning the good from the bad, especially for policymakers.

You're understanding of what they are doing with their computer models is childish.

Another devastating comeback, right on top of the last one you shot across my bow. Funny thing though, you completely avoided the questions I asked of you and your responses are wholly devoid of content.

I've known climate scientists.

I bet you used to have a girlfriend in Canada too.

Give me a break, buddy.

I'll tell you what, you take a look at the output from these 10 models which represent the differences between Growing Degree Days (GDD) for 6,000 years ago and present-day with the one on the lower right representing the same GDD difference inferred from pollen and you tell me which one is the most accurate. Bonus points awarded if you can tell me how the other 9 models differed and why their outcomes are so varied.

Posted by: TangoMan on February 17, 2006 at 4:21 AM | PERMALINK

Teece,

Do you really feel that you need to resort to impersonation? Tsk, tsk.

Posted by: TangoMan on February 17, 2006 at 4:23 AM | PERMALINK

Look up the recent history of stem cell research. The list of scientists who have falsified data in many fields is a long one. Why did they do it? As far as I can tell, not to get rich.
Look up the recent history in climate change research. The list of scientists that have corroberated the conclusions is thousands of times larger than any other single area of study in history. Why did they do it? As far as I can tell, not to get rich.

tbroz, I am amazed by your ability to consistently produce unsubstantiated opinion. You never, ever, cite reference or show even minimal understanding of how basic reasoning functions.

Something to think about: If there is long-term large scale melting of the southern Greenland ice, it's more likely to screw up the ocean current conveyor system long before any serious ocean rise takes place. Bang--instant ice age.

Posted by: tbrosz
What a dolt you are.

Posted by: mikmik on February 17, 2006 at 4:34 AM | PERMALINK

Practically speaking, if you're in a hole, once you're deep enough that your shovelsful of dirt don't reach the surface, further digging tends to build a either a shallow ramp providing an easy horizontal exit or lots of loose dirt in your hair and under your feet.

Blog that metaphor!

Posted by: bad Jim on February 17, 2006 at 4:41 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin, the argument really isn't over whether or not it's happening--even conservatives who aren't god-like wingnuts believe the evidence that it is. It's whether it's happening because of something man did, which implies man can stop it from happening. My husband, who is something of an expert and certainly not a rightwing fanatic, says it's likely a combination of the two: natural and unnatural forces at work.

Doesn't mean we shouldn't stop it from happening further, of course. But posing the argument as simplistic as you do here really doesn't serve either side.

(Sorry if this has been hashed out already in comments; I'm late to this thread.)

Posted by: KathyF on February 17, 2006 at 4:42 AM | PERMALINK

I'll tell you what, you take a look at the output from these 10 models which represent the differences between Growing Degree Days (GDD) for 6,000 years ago and present-day with the one on the lower right representing the same GDD difference inferred from pollen and you tell me which one is the most accurate. Bonus points awarded if you can tell me how the other 9 models differed and why their outcomes are so varied.
I just looked. Those mean nothing to me because there is no explanation of what is portrayed, why it is portrayed, no link to anything.
If you care to give me something with which to evaluate those pretty pictures, I will, butr I suspect that you do not have a clue what you are talking about because that is the most ludicrous attempt to look 'scientific' because it is so painfully meaningless.
If you really know what is empirical data, then show me, or quit wasting space. That is such a typically feeble attempt to 'pretend' because you wouldn't try to post such obviously lacking ... evidence of something?
If you really know what you are talking about, then prove it.

Posted by: mikmik on February 17, 2006 at 4:42 AM | PERMALINK

That wasn't Teece - why don't you bring your vast scientific knowledge over to Prometheus. We always welcome those in search of the truth.

Posted by: MangoTan on February 17, 2006 at 4:42 AM | PERMALINK

As we can see, real climate change deniers don't dispute the theory* or the evidence* or the implications* of global warming. They merely claim that we can't, and shouldn't, try to do anything about it.

* except when they do

Posted by: bad Jim on February 17, 2006 at 4:51 AM | PERMALINK

mikmik,

Glad you looked at the Brown University models. They're all modeling the same phenomona. Compare the range of results from that process to a different computer modeling process, like nuclear explosion modeling. See here for information on code validation experiments:

Simulations provide far more diagnostic information than a nuclear test does. Using models of the physical processes that occur in a nuclear detonation, a computer can calculate variables such as temperature and pressure for any point in the calculational space of the simulated explosion with high spatial resolutionfrom the time the virtual bomb goes off (or before) to any time later.

[ . . . . ]

But these stunning displays pose a daunting question: do they show what will really happen? A simulation is only as good as the equations, algorithms, and computer hardware that go into it, no matter how striking the display. If the computer models are wrong, inappropriate, or incorrectly implemented or executed, the simulation will be flawedwhich is unacceptable for stockpile stewardship.

The difference here is that the nuclear modeling is validated and is reliable. There is far too little work like this in climate modeling and instead we get a report like Kevin mentioned, which highlights the fact that observational data contradicts what the computer models predicted and too often the news stories are about what some model predicts will happen in the future and when you read the research there is very little effort expended on validation and reliability issues.

Posted by: TangoMan on February 17, 2006 at 4:59 AM | PERMALINK

tbroz= I've seen lots of graphs from the ice cores, including that one, and while it's obvious that CO2 and temperature are related, nobody has yet shown for sure, given the uncertainties in the data, which drives the other. Still, I could imagine more astronomical reasons that might result in a regular 10,000 year cycle in temperature, than I can for creating a 10,000 year cycle in CO2 emissions.

Posted by: tbrosz
nobody has yet shown for sure, given the uncertainties in the data, which drives the other
Uhhmmmm, yes they have.
Still, I could imagine more astronomical reasons that might result in a regular 10,000 year cycle in temperature, than I can for creating a 10,000 year cycle in CO2 emissions.
So what? First off, pray tell what you can imagine.
Second, pray tell why 10,000 year cycle? It sure sounds to me like to are talking about a 10,000 year cusp off temperature variation we are experiencing at the moment. we are at 650,000 year extremes right now, and more.
Stable relationship

Last year, the Epica team released its first data. The latest two papers analyse gas composition and temperature dating back 650,000 years.

This extends the picture drawn by another Antarctic ice core taken near Lake Vostok which looked 440,000 years into the past.

CO2 'highest for 650,000 years'
Did I say more? -->
Water rise

Another study reported in the same journal claims that for the last 150 years, sea levels have been rising twice as fast as in previous centuries.

Using data from tidal gauges and reviewing findings from many previous studies, US researchers have constructed a new sea level record covering the last 100 million years.


If any of you want to argue with this, then show something to do with the methodology, or contradictory research that can get evaluated.
I don't want to hear about supposed motives of researchers or funding or any other irrelevent speculating.

Posted by: mikmik on February 17, 2006 at 5:02 AM | PERMALINK

Wrong, tangoman, you didn't do what I asked. You are still bullshitting and you haven't specified what you are talking about.
What are the 10 pictures representative of, and how were they produced.
What is the specific research they are part of?????????

That is all that matters, all else you are yakking about is meaningless crap.
I already asked you once, and you failed to substantiate anything.

Posted by: mikmik on February 17, 2006 at 5:06 AM | PERMALINK

The difference here is that the nuclear modeling is validated and is reliable. There is far too little work like this in climate modeling and instead we get a report like Kevin mentioned, which highlights the fact that observational data contradicts what the computer models predicted and too often the news stories are about what some model predicts will happen in the future and when you read the research there is very little effort expended on validation and reliability issues.

I will tell you what is wrong with your 'conclusion' here.
You make a general statement, bad enough - a generalization, but then you not only fail to draw parallels for analogy, you apply your vague generalization to a specific situation that you haven't even validated THAT premise for!!

Posted by: mikmik on February 17, 2006 at 5:10 AM | PERMALINK

The difference here is that the nuclear modeling is validated and is reliable.
Okay, that is one of your premises. The nuclear model is validated and reliable.

What nuclear model? Are you talking about high energy collisions to produce particle decay? Chemisrty of ionic bonding? Quatum energy levels and radiation absorpsion? Cosmin phenomena? String theory, membrane theory?

You have to say so I can either agree, or stipulate, or disprove. I have to know in which way, and to what degree, you mean validatred and reliable.


There is far too little work like this in climate modeling
Whoa, whoa... you know what - this is getting ahead of ourselves, but before I go ...


and instead we get a report like Kevin mentioned, which highlights the fact that observational data contradicts what the computer models predicted Well then you just point to where that happens, after you draw a proper parallel to the 'nuclear modeling', and then, if all is still cohesive,
and too often the news stories are about what some model predicts will happen in the future and when you read the research there is very little effort expended on validation and reliability issues.

We can see if your conclusion is valid.

Posted by: mikmik on February 17, 2006 at 5:21 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin:

I read this too and even Drudge had a link to former NASA scientist James Hansen, saying that the melting of the polar ice caps is progressing far faster than anyone believed five years ago.

For anyone to be in denial about this is counterproductive and suicidal. If you want to kill yourselves, go hunting with Dick Cheney after he has had a few belts of Scotch. If you want to leave the earth a better place, get busy and do something environmentally helpful!!!

Posted by: Stephen Kriz on February 17, 2006 at 6:36 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin: it's things like this that give the lie to what you said in this month's Washington Monthly:

As with Nixon, it's not really Bush's conservatism that gets liberals seething. In fact, it's just the opposite. It's precisely his lack of political principle, combined with a vengeful ruthlessness so dark it's scary, that makes liberals break out in hives.

No. It's because of the actual consequences of Bush's Presidency. And this is the prime example.

Due to Bush, we've lost eight crucial years in addressing global warming. In that time, things haven't gotten better, nor have they stayed the same; they've gotten much worse. We'll spend decades just trying to get back to where we were in 2000.

We may be able to undo a lot of Bush's damage to America, though it will take awhile. But this...this isn't going away.

That's why I hate Bush. Because he wrecks things. He wrecks big things. That's all.

Posted by: RT on February 17, 2006 at 6:53 AM | PERMALINK

What the hell, I've always wanted to ask this: what if Harm de Bly (not a scientific dummy) is right about the conveyor belt thing?

That is, what if the melting glaciers put cold fresh water on top of salt sea currents that flow North from the Equator, so that they stop moving North -- and you get warmer Southern sea water that just sits, while the colder Northern water stops moving South. That way, the glaciers first melt for a generation or so, then -- with all kinds of oceanographic stuff nobody understands and specialists argue about -- start to freeze again.

And they keep freezing, for a generation: a new equilibrium, with a WHOLE lot less room for humans on the planet.

There is an argument about the collapse of the Roman Empire, that everybody involved was so focused on short term stuff (who got to be emperor, who got to MAKE the next guy emperor, who got to control the collection of taxes) that it only took a couple generations of short term calculations in the middle of long term changes: and the thing was gone, just like that.

Serious questions: what would be the unmistakeable signals of the return of that Ice that we'd see, so we COULD react?

How would folks resist those signs? Why would they do it?

When (if: this is a hypothetical) the Ice did begin to unmistakeably grow, what COULD we do?

Not looking for Doomsday stuff -- I'm still pissed at Hollywood for making this into a cheesy movie where it happens in hours, instead of decades.

I remember reading Richard Pipes about 25 years ago, where he predicted that the Soviets couldn't possibly sustain the Cold War, that their empire would collapse into lots of small ethnic states: and I didn't see it. I never thought the Soviets would just collapse -- until it happened.

That's why I'm asking now: what would be the signs? How would we react? What would we do?

Posted by: theAmericanist on February 17, 2006 at 7:07 AM | PERMALINK

Poverty kills more people on this planet than any environmental hazard does.

Let's start from the fact that there are now more people living on the knife edge of dire poverty than inhabited the planet a mere 50 years ago.

News item: China expects to have 130 million more automobiles on it's already gridlocked roads by 2010

Glacial melting is expected to pose a dangerous threat to the fresh water supplies in India in the very near term. The Ganges and other major river systems are already in decline. Also, Andean glacial melt endangers about 30% the population of the SoAmerican continent.

Posted by: CFShep on February 17, 2006 at 8:27 AM | PERMALINK

Not all opinions are equal, Tango. It's cheap and easy to dismiss the results of an entire field with a regal wave of your hands. In this particular case, it also happens to be politically convenient. It's also scientifically dishonest. And, just so you know, there are actual scientists here.

Climate models are complex, but they are also testable with a wide variety of data. Articles like the one Kevin pointed to don't show that climate modelling is useless. Brick by brick, papers like this permit us to make progressively ***more accurate*** models, as we can reduce the uncertainties. There is a range of warming rates in the future predicted trends, and the consistent trend in the last 5 years has indicated that things are changing on the fast side. In other words, all of those scientists who were somehow supposed to be dishonest radicals have been ***too conservative*** in estimating the consequences of climate change. This is exactly what a disinterested observer would predict in a field like this, but that storyline doesn't fit the political attacks on the subject so well, and is ignored.

A couple of years ago, folks like our Tango here were blandly claiming that there was no climate change. Now that the evidence for it has become overwhelming, it's all from natural cycles; doubtless when the trends become even more alarming it'll be cast as a good thing.

Posted by: Marc on February 17, 2006 at 8:32 AM | PERMALINK

craigie: If conservatives want to freak out abaout an existential crisis, climate change seems a much more likely boogie man than terrorism. So why are they so uninterested in one, and so crybaby freaked out about the other?

Because profits are considerably larger when their ruling class can get its followers to ignore the first and shadowbox the second.

Posted by: shortstop on February 17, 2006 at 8:39 AM | PERMALINK

You shouldn't abandon your reason just to make a cheap shot.

I agree, URK, but tbrosz does it all the time.

Posted by: Gregory on February 17, 2006 at 9:12 AM | PERMALINK

People assume that because conservatives aren't doing anything about global warming and more generally, environmental degradation, that means that they don't believe it is happening. That might not be the correct explanation. Another hypothesis that is consistent with their behavior is that conservatives know that we are in deep doo-doo, and believe that there is nothing to be done about it.

In that case, it is a waste of time, money, resources and political capital to spearhead a hopeless effort to prevent the inevitable. Better to arrange things so that some people (the rich and powerful) have the resources to survive what is coming down the pike, than to have us all perish together.

Posted by: Daryl McCullough on February 17, 2006 at 9:18 AM | PERMALINK

Not bad. Four paragraphs of insult without ever actually saying anything. You might have beaten Gregory's old record.

tbrosz, if you want hoenst debate, than debate honestly. If you're going to post the kind of bullshit you've been posting, then insult is all you deserve, and richly so. Need I point out that your constant dishonest portrayal of what liberals/Democrats/whoever believe is also an insult? To say nothing of accusing Bush's critics of rooting for failure in Iraq, without a single cited post to support your argument.

It's hardly surprising that you want to have it both ways, but it's a mug's game, tbrosz. too bad that the people familiar with your little games aren't suckered into debating your bullshit talking points. Shame on you.

Posted by: Gregory on February 17, 2006 at 9:18 AM | PERMALINK

Matt - numerous large cities at 9,000 BP (7000 BC)? Being drowned in 300ft of water? Do you have a link for this?

Posted by: Dan S. on February 17, 2006 at 9:23 AM | PERMALINK

TheAmericanist:

I would put the likely hood of a shut down of the TCH tipping us into an ice age into the "almost certainly not" category. We have seen evidence of this in the past and while it seems to produce local cooling it did not have a longterm effect on climate.

At the end of the last iceage a large inland lake (over western US and Canada) was held back by the glacers. When they melted and released the freshwater, we had enough fresh water running into Hudson Bay to raise the sealevels by about 1/2 meter in 10 years. (You might google Lake Agassiz.)


This did have a significant effect on the THC - Europe was much cooler (google Younger Dryas). But I would point out that we are seeing nothing like the rate of freshwater being put into the system now. Sea level rise is expected to be about 1/2 meter over the next 100 years with about 1/2 of that coming from thermal expansion and the rest from glacers all over the world (not just Greenland).

My guess is that we will see a fairly small showdown that is gradual enough for us to predict if it will be come a problem and at the same time provide new ammo for the "skeptic" side about how Europe is cooling so we can't be seeing Global Warming.

The above is based on my somewhat faulty memory and is mostly opinion anyway.

Regards, Y.

Posted by: Yelling in the fog on February 17, 2006 at 9:27 AM | PERMALINK

No shit, Sherlock.

Better to arrange things so that some people (the rich and powerful) have the resources to survive what is coming down the pike, than to have us all perish together.
Posted by: Daryl McCullough

Apres moi, le deluge...worked out so well for the ancien regime.

The delusion lies in the fact that so many little Bushies believe that they'll be allowed onto the lifeboats (helicopters, whatever) taking their masters off to their private security guarded, walled compounds in Wyoming...Hey, doesn't Uncle Dick have a 'ranch' there?

Posted by: CFShep on February 17, 2006 at 9:32 AM | PERMALINK

People assume that because conservatives aren't doing anything about global warming and more generally, environmental degradation, that means that they don't believe it is happening. [Quite possibly] conservatives know that we are in deep doo-doo, and believe that there is nothing to be done about it.

Or maybe they figure whatever happens to most people, they will do just fine, so why not play stallball until there really is nothing to be done about global warming?

Posted by: RT on February 17, 2006 at 9:43 AM | PERMALINK

Correction:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/4716528.stm

From zero 15 years ago, China last year became the world's number two oil importer.

Go out on the streets of Beijing and you can see why. Fifteen years ago, the roads were empty, save for the constant stream of bicycles.

Today they are jammed from morning to night with close to three million private cars.

A thousand new cars hit the city's streets every day. By 2020 China will have 140 million private cars, more even than the United States.

Posted by: CFShep on February 17, 2006 at 9:49 AM | PERMALINK

Fog, I know all that.

I asked a set of QUESTIONS.

You didn't answer 'em -- and so far as I can tell, you've never even considered 'em.

Posted by: theAmericanist on February 17, 2006 at 10:10 AM | PERMALINK

Dan S. Matt - numerous large cities at 9,000 BP (7000 BC)? Being drowned in 300ft of water? Do you have a link for this?

Why the Lost City of Atlantis of course:

Atlantis

Posted by: tripoley on February 17, 2006 at 10:11 AM | PERMALINK

Lots of scientifically ungrounded arguments here.

www.realclimate.org

seriously... a little factual information written by real climate scientists would do you good. I'm sure they will have a post on the subject of this Grenland Ice melting paper within a day or two.

www.realclimate.org

Posted by: Mitch on February 17, 2006 at 10:20 AM | PERMALINK

Actually, I was expressing my opinion that I didn;t think it was likely. This forms the basis of my answers.

1) what would be the signs?

As I said there would be a decrease in European temperature while there is an increase in the rest of the world (long term average of course).

As I also implied, sea level rise will give us a clear indication of the total melting that takes place over the globe.

Finally, we would see a decrease in salinity, especially the salinity of the North Atlantic Drift.

2) How would we react?

If it turns out that I am wrong, then I suspect that there would be large ramifications. Parts of Europe may become inhabitable (as you would know since you are familiar with the Younger Dryas).

3) What would we do?

To fix it you mean? I don;t know if there would be anything we could do. I doubt we could alter the NAD but maybe we could use reflecting mirrors in space. Of course that would have a significant set of problems associated with it.

However I am still of the opinion that it is not likely.

Posted by: Yelling in the fog on February 17, 2006 at 10:23 AM | PERMALINK

Conservatives don't believe in global warming because:
1. They come from a business/religion culture that values advertising/faith/believing and saying what you and your marks want to hear over rational, scientific thinking and reality testing.
2. Because they tend to have primitive, us v. them emotional investment in opposition as an intuitively felt impulse regardless of objective considerations.

IOW, *they* are the sentimental ones in the bad sense of the term, not liberals.

Posted by: Neil' on February 17, 2006 at 10:27 AM | PERMALINK

Dan S: the drowning of lots of human population centers around the end of the last Ice Age is fairly well known.

One example is the whole Atlantis myth, but the far better evidence, which many folks figure is the origin of the Deluge legends in Gilgamesh and Noah, is the expansion of the Black Sea.

William Ryan and Walter Pittman wrote a book about it, called Noah's Flood, and Bob Ballard did some National Geographic-funded investigation of it. Lake Bonneville, Lake Agassiz -- these were puddle floods compared to the big salt ones.

This happened at least twice that we know of -- the first time with the Mediterranean some millions of years ago: after Africa nearly smacked into Europe, pivoting from Egypt to Gibraltar, the Mediterranean was dry. Because of the Ice Ages, sea levels were low for a very long time, so the Atlantic didn't lap over into the bathtub between Italy and Libya -- until the ice melted, when the biggest waterfall of all time started. It chewed through most of the land plug that had held back the Atlantic in hours, they say, and filled the Mediterranean in a few months if not weeks.

Must have been impressive.

They've dated the expansion of the Black Sea to almost precisely (in a geological sense) to the end of the last Ice Age. Basically, the Black Sea was like half the size it is now, and below sea level. The little land bridge between Europe and Asia, partly occupied by the Sea of Marmara, was all that held back the Mediterranean, which in turn was (is) backed by the Atlantic, so as sea levels rose with all the melting ice, it was just a matter of time: a high tide on a full moon with a windy night.

There were people living all around the Black Sea in those days at a fairly high level of civilization -- ships, pottery, trade. Linguists argue this was the original scattering of traceable cultures into middle Europe, the steppes, and down toward the middle East.

The cataract that tore through the sea of Marmara and doubled the Black Sea drowned dozens, if not hundreds of small villages and even towns.

It was probably the single most important event at the edge that divides history from prehistoric times.

Posted by: theAmericanist on February 17, 2006 at 10:28 AM | PERMALINK

Yep, it's all China and India's fault.

Posted by: Mini Al on February 17, 2006 at 10:31 AM | PERMALINK

Stephen Kriz,

Did you happen to see James Hanson on Lou Dobbs?
Hanson said that the 24 yr old Public Affairs obfuscator was only following orders from higher authority in NASA. He said that NOAA is far worse in quashing any dissenting opinions concerning climate change or global warming.
So the highly respected scientist at NOAA mentioned by Tangoman maybe touting the company line.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on February 17, 2006 at 10:37 AM | PERMALINK

The cataract that tore through the sea of Marmara and doubled the Black Sea drowned dozens, if not hundreds of small villages and even towns.

It was probably the single most important event at the edge that divides history from prehistoric times.
Posted by: theAmericanist

Yeah, I realized after the fact that I'd left out the Black and Caspian Seas in my brief discourse on Great Flood myths on an earlier thread.

Thanks.

Posted by: CFShep on February 17, 2006 at 10:38 AM | PERMALINK

Matt - numerous large cities at 9,000 BP (7000 BC)?

Yes, and they were all under electronic surveillance as ordered by George Washington.

Posted by: Alberto Gonzales on February 17, 2006 at 10:59 AM | PERMALINK
I can think of one bright and shiny irony - Limbaugh's 8-figure coastal Florida compound will be underwater.

another is that Walker point, home to generations of bush's will also be under water. I'd love to see that fat cow barbara being helicopetered off the roof of the family mansion.

Posted by: mark on February 17, 2006 at 11:00 AM | PERMALINK

Ah, Lake Bonneville

Yes, bring it back - beach front property on the benches - Of course, there will be a slight problem down on Temple.

Posted by: stupid git on February 17, 2006 at 11:04 AM | PERMALINK

Its not science, its politics.

Posted by: Mike Van Winkle on February 17, 2006 at 11:04 AM | PERMALINK
Fog, I know all that. I asked a set of QUESTIONS. You didn't answer 'em -- and so far as I can tell, you've never even considered 'em.

Americanist,

How did you get to be such a pompous, self-important windbag?

Just asking.

Posted by: obscure on February 17, 2006 at 11:16 AM | PERMALINK

I'd love to see that fat cow barbara being helicopetered off the roof of the family mansion.

Wouldn't it be more fun to watch her sit on the roof in the hot sun for four days with a homemade "Help me" sign?

Posted by: shortstop on February 17, 2006 at 11:16 AM | PERMALINK

Late to the party on this one.

The glaciers and ice caps of the world have been around for some 25,000 years, correct? However, they have a shrunk dramatically in the temperate zones in the last 75 years. Don't believe this? Look at photos taken in Glacier National Park, Alaska, the North Cascades, the Alps, etc. etc. in the early 20th century, and compare these to photos taken in the last decade or so. Glaciers in drier regions have just about disappeared. Glaciers in wetter regions have decreased as much as 50% in size.

Nope. No global warming.

Posted by: Jeff II on February 17, 2006 at 11:19 AM | PERMALINK

People assume that because conservatives aren't doing anything about global warming and more generally, environmental degradation, that means that they don't believe it is happening. That might not be the correct explanation.

Maybe not - but I know that both of my senators, Inhofe and Coburn (yes, I know - I'm so proud) have called global climate change a "hoax." Now, they could be speaking disingenuously -- Lord knows that's certainly possible -- but they are both dyed-in-the-wool ideologues, and I take them at their word.

Posted by: Alek Hidell on February 17, 2006 at 11:19 AM | PERMALINK

thethirdPaul:

No, I don't watch Lou Dobbs. He comes across as a smug, self-important prick who thinks people less fortunate than himself are poor because they want to be - much like our president and the conservatives who post on this forum.

Conservatives chirp a lot about free markets and free speech, but their actions betray the fact that they don't really believe in them. The muzzling of Dr. Hansen is just more evidence of that. Thanks,

Stephen Kriz

Posted by: Stephen Kriz on February 17, 2006 at 11:25 AM | PERMALINK

The great flood myth???

Look folks, we were around some 12,000 years ago when the sea rose some 300 feet. We did not just evolve in the last 12,000 years. We been here, done that.

Posted by: Matt on February 17, 2006 at 11:32 AM | PERMALINK

Look folks, we were around some 12,000 years ago when the sea rose some 300 feet. We did not just evolve in the last 12,000 years. We been here, done that. Posted by: Matt

Yes, dumbass, but it didn't happen in less than a century. Furthermore, about half the water on earth was locked up in glaciers as the thaw began. Remember the land bridge between Asian and Alaska, or did you miss that in your third go around in 6th grade? Yes, I'm sure it was a breeze for prehistoric man to adjust to over several thousand years. "Shit honey, this hunter-gatherer lifestyle just doesn't cut it anymore now that the water level has risen five feet over the last fifty years. I guess we'll have to move to a new cave."

Posted by: Jeff II on February 17, 2006 at 11:42 AM | PERMALINK

"The glaciers and ice caps of the world have been around for some 25,000 years, correct? "

Depending on who you talk to, half or more of the ice melted before man started farming some 12,000 years ago.

"Matt - numerous large cities at 9,000 BP (7000 BC)? Being drowned in 300ft of water? Do you have a link for this?"

Plenty of links, for example:

http://www.grahamhancock.com/forum/BadrinaryanB1.php

You can also google "sea rise glacial period when"

Underwater archeology is little emphasized, as if our villages and towns just started immediately after the sea rise.

Posted by: Matt on February 17, 2006 at 11:43 AM | PERMALINK

Look, I like scientists, being one myself, however, they are just as likely to falsify their work as any other human being. I am just sick and tired of having people claim that scientists are some special paragons of society. We are no more ethical than the general population from which we arise.

Posted by: Yancey Ward on February 17, 2006 at 11:54 AM | PERMALINK


Tangoman:

"Solar, wind, tidal, ocean thermal? Nope, they can't provide sufficient baseload power?"

Sure, but you could use the peak power to load energy into energy storage infrastructure; pump-and-store or generate H2 by electrolysis and run it later through fuel cells. You also forgot fission nuke, which will (IMHO) have to be part of the t. I'm not crazy about nuclear waste, but I'd rather have a chronic, low impact long-term problem that is >98% containable using engineering solutions than an acute high impact problem that (beyond a certain point) does not have an engineering solution.

The bad news is that mitigating CO2 emissions would dramatically increase the costs of our electricity and energy infrastructure. The good news is we don't spend a lot of our GDP on electricity and energy infrastructure.

We're talking about 0.5%-2% of GDP here. So approximately 0.5-1.0 Iraq wars. Not cheap, but not back-to-the-stone-age either.

This is a case of the cost of CO2 mitigation hitting one industry sector hard, but not having a big effect of the rest of the economy.

I haven't even delved into

"Ethanol and bio-fuels? Nope, net energy losers."

Err, don't know where you're getting your figures from, but latest DoE figures for the energy ratio for biodiesel is ~1.2, and ethanol-from-cornstarch is (IIRC) somewhat better. Lignocellulosic material to biofuel has better energy ratios, but those processes have a long way to go before they're ready for primetime (not that that stopped Shrub from touting it in the SoU speech). Now, a significant fraction of the energy/carbon consumed is in turning natural gas or coal into syngas (CO and H2) to make hydrogen, which is then made into ammonia, which is then used to make nitrate fertilizer. Making ammonia requires a pure stream of H2 with minimal CO2 as CO2 poisons the catalyst. So in producing ammonia for fertilizers you get a pure stream of CO2, which is (usually) used for commercial applications, but which easily could be sequestered.

It's not just the energy consumed; the type of fuel and whether the energy is consumed in a point source versus distributed form. Point source production of CO2 lends itself to CO2 capture and sequestration; distributed consumption of CO2 does not.

Please do not throw out Tech Central Station talking points on a technical subject for which you are a non-expert. Stick to the genetics, and we'll all be better off.

"Coal? How are you going to sequester the emissions and are you prepared for the ecological devastation? "

Saline aquifers look like the best bet: the Norwegian oil company StatOil is using this currently in the North Sea. Saline aquifers, as you know (or maybe you didn't) don't significantly interact with the biosphere. The CO2 becomes mineralized over time (albeit slowly). StatOil's cost is in the region of $40-50/tonne CO2. Piping and sequestration costs look like they are going to be small relative to the costs of CO2 capture (like around 10-15% of the costs of capture and sequestration, and there are a lot of ideas on how to reduce the cost of CO2 capture.

Fluid dynamic problems with the CO2/water clathrate look like deep-ocean disposal of CO2 as liquid is going to be a bit more complex than expected.

Another commenter:
"I read this too and even Drudge had a link to former NASA scientist James Hansen, saying that the melting of the polar ice caps is progressing far faster than anyone believed five years ago."

A colleague who sits on some of our state's water boards mentioned that members of some of the water boards, who scoff at Global Warming, are going cap in hand to Cal-EPA asking for waivers 'cos the Sierra snow pack is melting earlier and earlier in the year; this has been a >20 year trend. Somehow the contradiction in their beliefs and their position hasn't struck them. Best case regional projections are that California will lose 30% of its snow-pack by the end of the century; worst case we lose 90%.

There is a cost of doing nothing, folks.

Posted by: Urinated State of America on February 17, 2006 at 11:59 AM | PERMALINK

"Yes, dumbass, but it didn't happen in less than a century."

Look again. Much ot the sea level rise was very dramatic, faster than 300 feet in a century. It happened in stages, most of the stages very dramatic.

What is theis author? An advocate of intelligent design and the garden of eden?

Posted by: Matt on February 17, 2006 at 12:02 PM | PERMALINK

Bush acknowledged that global warming is real and manmade last year in the Guardian. I wish people would stop throwing around this "Bush says global warming isn't happening" meme.

Posted by: Jeff on February 17, 2006 at 12:05 PM | PERMALINK

Nope. No global warming.


Conservatives do not dispute temperature variations. We do not dispute we are either in a cooling trend or a warming trend. We are almost always in one or the other. We dispute the crackpots associated with Kyoto. It's a friggin disaster and the 'science' supporting it is garbage.

I am not sure who directed "The day after tomorrow" but he didn't do your religion any favors. Global Warming is as big as it is because it's become an industry. This is where the money is. If you are a scientist and want to make a living you have to be on the train.

Posted by: rdw on February 17, 2006 at 12:07 PM | PERMALINK

Depending on who you talk to, half or more of the ice melted before man started farming some 12,000 years ago. Posted by: Matt

Proto-agriculture, there, selectively-choosing-my-facts-boy.

Again, you fail to address the time line. The rise of agriculure happened thousands of years after the end of the last major ice age. And if, as the historical record shows, you date the beginning of civilization to the Fertile Crescent, that part of the world is far above sealevel, current and prehistoric. In fact, many of the areas of the world, the Himilayan plateau for example, with sea bed fossil record, are areas of of substantial uplift. However, you'd have us believe that the sea levels were once some 15,000 feet higher than they are now. You could melt all the ice on the planet and it wouldn't raise sea levels more than 200 feet.

Posted by: Jeff II on February 17, 2006 at 12:09 PM | PERMALINK

"Shit honey, this hunter-gatherer lifestyle just doesn't cut it anymore now that the water level has risen five feet over the last fifty years. I guess we'll have to move to a new cave."

Another Garden of Eden myth.

We were into extensive, low impact, no till, flood plain agriculture by 12,000-15,000 BP. Domestication of wheat goes back at least 8,000 BP on the North American continent alone. But all along the global ice line, man has been seeding photosynthesis on the baren soils left by the retreating ice. We still do this, and we are getting better at it.

Posted by: Matt on February 17, 2006 at 12:12 PM | PERMALINK

Look, I like scientists, being one myself, however, they are just as likely to falsify their work as any other human being. I am just sick and tired of having people claim that scientists are some special paragons of society. We are no more ethical than the general population from which we arise.

Just because you are a scientist with lousy ethics doesn't mean we all are. Moreover, if you continue to cheat in your research, we will find you out eventually, if your research has any significance.

Posted by: Nemo on February 17, 2006 at 12:12 PM | PERMALINK

"The rise of agriculure happened thousands of years after the end of the last major ice age."

The glacial minimum was 28,000 years ago. How long did it take hunter gather man to figure out that his foodstuffs grow new plants if you let it sit in barren, wet soil?

All human civilization that we know of took advantage of the seasonal flood and seeded the soils.


Posted by: Matt on February 17, 2006 at 12:17 PM | PERMALINK

Look who's serious about becoming the next President

On the Bush side of the rally, the Senate voted 53-47 this week in favor of extending the presidents investor tax cuts on dividends and capital gains. Joining in this breakthrough vote was John McCain, the senator who voted against these tax cuts when they were introduced in 2003. This is an important shift for the GOP presidential frontrunner and another big win for pro-growth fiscal policy.

Big John understands he can be President ONLY if conservatives support him. Very smart move here.

Posted by: rdw on February 17, 2006 at 12:24 PM | PERMALINK

Yancey Ward: scientists ... are just as likely to falsify their work as any other human being

Perhaps, but given that their work is peer reviewed, I'd say that the greater likelihood of being caught creates a greater-than-usual disincentive from doing so.

I don't think anyone's claiming that scientists are "some special paragons of society" or are "more ethical than the general population."

Your straw man argument, though, says a lot about your ethics. Of course, I don't consider it any more intellectually dishonest than is usual from the libertarian population from which you arise. Just typically so.

Posted by: Gregory on February 17, 2006 at 12:29 PM | PERMALINK

Just because you are a scientist with lousy ethics doesn't mean we all are. Moreover, if you continue to cheat in your research, we will find you out eventually, if your research has any significance.

the fact that he stated that scientists are no more ethical than the average person does not present proof that he is unethical himself. i've known yancey my entire life and 'unethical' and 'cheater' are not words i'd use to describe him.

Posted by: spacebaby on February 17, 2006 at 1:02 PM | PERMALINK

Your straw man argument, though, says a lot about your ethics. Of course, I don't consider it any more intellectually dishonest than is usual from the libertarian population from which you arise. Just typically so.

why does his statement say anything about his own ethics? you're the one engaging in bad debate tactics now.

Posted by: spacebaby on February 17, 2006 at 1:04 PM | PERMALINK

The american right is a bit spread out on the issue. Used to be that almost all of them thought global warming wasn't happening. As this becomes more and more unbeleivable some shift to thinking it is unconnected to the activities of man. As that becomes more unbeleivable some shift to thinking it is impossible or not worth doing anything about it. Once even that is found ludicrous they will look for something to blow up.

Posted by: jefff on February 17, 2006 at 1:06 PM | PERMALINK

Well, the advantage of conservatives burying their heads in the sand is that, as the ocean levels rise and inundate the beaches, the conservatives will drown more quickly in that position.

Posted by: The Confidence Man on February 17, 2006 at 1:13 PM | PERMALINK

"Someone slap Flanders. He's hysterical again." - Well said, Shortstop! [Although it seems to apply to WAY more threads than just this one!]

Posted by: chasmrich on February 17, 2006 at 1:21 PM | PERMALINK

the conservatives will drown more quickly in that position

Nah! We own the boats.

Posted by: rdw on February 17, 2006 at 1:24 PM | PERMALINK

rdw wrote: We dispute the crackpots associated with Kyoto. It's a friggin disaster and the 'science' supporting it is garbage.

No, you are garbage. You are an ignorant buffoon, you don't know what you are talking about, you are incapable of doing anything but spewing scripted, programmed right-wing drivel, and cheerleading for the gang of corrupt liars, thieves and war profiteers that you worship.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on February 17, 2006 at 1:26 PM | PERMALINK

Conservatives do not dispute temperature variations.

Of course not - they simply support moonbat politicians like Senator Inhofe who do.

Posted by: Irony Man on February 17, 2006 at 1:41 PM | PERMALINK

"Americanist,

How did you get to be such a pompous, self-important windbag?

Just asking.
Posted by: obscure"

Well, it seems sorta moot now that Obscure has cleared it up, but I meant 'em as a serious set of questions.

I mean, it's an sf cliche: aliens invade, an asteroid looms, a global plague happens (okay, maybe not that one), and all peoples of the earth unite in a common effort against the common enemy,

The movie plots generally have the crisis happening in days or weeks, of course: we concentrate. All other differences fade in the white hot light of Whatever It Is.

But what happens when, as folks predict with the return of the Ice, it happens in two generations or so? Especially if the first part is WARMING, not chilling?

When Fog dismissed the questions cuz he doesn't think it likely, that sorta missed the point.

I dunno if humans are accelerating global warming, if it's reversible, if it means milder weather, longer growing seasons, more food; I can never remember exactly how the North Atlantic Conveyor Belt is supposed to work.

But I do know that most big important human activities -- like, ya know, jobs -- are things people cling to, and I know that there are any number of examples of societies that react to dire long term crises in precisely the way they react to ordinary short term ones.

I'm even pretty sure that most new ideas do NOT, in fact, convince anybody at the time. What happens instead is that the next generation is taught the new idea, not hte old one, and eventually the folks who clung to the old one just die off -- but they're not persuaded before they perish.

So I thought asking what the unmistakeable signs would be, and how people would react to 'em, mighta been kinda important.

But then, I guess Obscure resolved that for us all.

Posted by: theAmericanist on February 17, 2006 at 2:26 PM | PERMALINK

"I dunno if humans are accelerating global warming, if it's reversible.."

Go back far enough and we discover that man stopped global warming.

Humans, in the early part of the glacial cycle constituted about 5 million folks, this is some 15,000 years ago, and probably further back.

These early humans performed a very primitive, inefficient agriculture which was just an extension of their gathering impulse. They discovered early that gathered foodstuffs grew in water, and so they learned to sow the flood plains.

This was no till, low impact, flood plain farming. These humans just looked for barren soil, they knew seasonal flood cycle, and they sowed the new soils made available by retreating ice.

Each human, in a lifetime would require about 100 acres of land, and generally they farmed barren soil for only a few years before natural vegetation took off, then moved on because they did not till.

This was very efficient from a carbon point, because the only carbon they emitted was what they breathed, and they left enormous quantities of carbon in the new soil.

Look at the numbers. 5 million folks across the ice line seeding photosynthesis.

Nature, or the glacial cycle, on the other hand was trying to oxidize the new soils with microbial action, releasing enormous quantities of CO2, to forcing rapid global warming. In the absence of man, this battle between microbial oxidation and photosynthesis favored the microbes on the glacial upswing, and favored photosynthesis on the downswing. In the glacial upswing, microbes win on the balance, and via positive feed back, the microbes would take over oxidizing the earth's surface.

Early humans tilted the scales slightly, just enough to boost photosynthesis and slow the rapid oxidation of the earth.

So, go back, look at the Vostok ice core data, and you see the glacial cycle stopped coincidant with the rise of low impact, no till, flood plain proto-agriculture.

Early man put us here, stuck at the high end of the glacial cycle. He did global cooling, not global warming.


Posted by: Matt on February 17, 2006 at 2:47 PM | PERMALINK

We dispute the crackpots associated with Kyoto.

189 countries have ratified Kyoto. That's almost every country in the world. You are such an elitist, which is why no one will ever take you seriously.

It's a friggin disaster and the 'science' supporting it is garbage.

The Chief Executive of British Petroleum disagrees:

When Browne stood up at Stanford this past spring, he was there to report hard numbers: BP had not just met its target -- to reduce its emissions of greenhouse gases by 10 percent below 1990 levels -- it had exceeded it, done so eight years ahead of schedule and with no net economic cost. In fact, because of energy efficiency measures, the emissions reductions amounted to a net gain of $600 million. ''And we are not,'' he told me later, ''an inefficient company.''

BP's achievement complicates matters for Bush, who has pronounced the Kyoto Protocol ''fatally flawed'' because regulating carbon-dioxide emissions ''does not make economic sense for America.''

That line of argument does not persuade Browne. ''If you say to people, 'Do you want to develop the world and have a good living standard, or do you want a safer environment?' people are terrified by the choice,'' Browne said to me last spring. ''That is a failure of leadership.'' Speaking of leadership, I asked, what did he think about Bush's position on the issue -- that caps on emissions would be too costly for American businesses? Browne paused, then answered, careful not to mention any names in particular: ''Well, it's unfair to the world to say that none of this is possible when it is.''

It's not a question of science, it's a question of will.

Posted by: Windhorse on February 17, 2006 at 2:56 PM | PERMALINK

Windhorse: The Chief Executive of British Petroleum disagrees

That's it, the Brits have just moved from New Europe to Old Europe. Cue rdw.

Posted by: alex on February 17, 2006 at 2:59 PM | PERMALINK

Burying my head in the sand down here in Flori-DUH may not be possible in the future, as we may all be treading water with no sand in sight.

Posted by: Flori-DUH on February 17, 2006 at 3:12 PM | PERMALINK

All we need to do is let tidal disasters befall all the low-lying areas on planet Earth, and everything will even itself out so that the Free Market can do its magic.

Well, hey, look on the bright, here in the US they'll take red states by the score (Florida, I'm looking at you...).

Posted by: tam1MI on February 17, 2006 at 3:22 PM | PERMALINK

Umm.... let me get this straight, Matt.

The Ice starts melting. Five million humans follow, throwing seeds on the mud. (Which seems more organized than hunting and gathering, no? The edge of the Ice couldn't have been good hunting grounds: there was nothing much to eat there, when it was only "microbial".) The stuff we planted grows, we eat it, then more plants grow, and we get tired of finding the stuff we like in all the underbrush, so we move on, following the mud.

Right so far?

If it wasn't for humans mucking around on the edge of the Ice, you're saying, there wouldn't have been green plants growing there, but ... well, funk. And that funk would have warmed the earth faster than green plants did.

I don't get "this battle between microbial oxidation and photosynthesis favored the microbes on the glacial upswing, and favored photosynthesis on the downswing..."

Does that mean before humans were turning the mud into food, the funk would heat up the world so fast that it wouldn't STAY warm, and the Ice would come back?

Cuz that's what "the glacial cycle stopped coincidant with the rise of low impact, no till, flood plain proto-agriculture.." seems to say -- and it sounds like a conclusion that goes a LOT further than the data possibly could.

Posted by: theAmericanist on February 17, 2006 at 3:27 PM | PERMALINK

Matt is what's known as a "crank". A couple of weeks ago he was writing comments here in which he claimed that he, and apparently he alone in all the world, had noted basic mechanisms of the global carbon cycle crucial to understanding the earth's climate that, according to him, had been completely ignored by 100% of the world's climate scientists. He was repeatedly given links by other commenters showing that he was simply, flatly, hilariously wrong, but he persisted. Now I guess he's given up on that angle and come up with this science fiction fantasy about humans practicing "no-till, flood plain proto-agriculture" in the wake of the receding glaciers, thousands of years before there is any evidence that any humans on earth practiced any form of agriculture, proto or otherwise. He's imaginative, I'll grant him that.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on February 17, 2006 at 3:48 PM | PERMALINK

"it sounds like a conclusion that goes a LOT further than the data possibly could."

The beauty of being an amateur scientist.

If you believe that the glacial cycle is driven by co2 levels, on the upswing, then you have to look at the total numbers. Land plant and soils hold twice the amount of carbon than is available on the surface ocean and in the armosphere.

Tundra, when it melts, actually heats up faster than the ambient temperature because of microbial action. The Tunda belt would have followed the ice south, collected and encapsulated most of the land carbon as the ice advanced.

When soils are exposed, the first action is microbial, it starts immediately. It takes 5-20 years for vegetation to overcome the affect.

Green plants fix carbon, microbes oxidize carbon, on the margin. They work together, but I would think that given the extreme difference in the glacial upswing and down swing, one or the other would be favored on one side or the other. The CO2 rise on the upswing clearly says that if land carbon is the driver, then microbial action or direct forest fires is the mechanism.

The numbers for human terra farming are not to hard to imagine. We have evidence that ancient Mayan civilization were making some substantial changes to the habitat as early as 8,000. But, you have to extend that concept to early Chinese, Indians, Europeans, and Africans, all of them working from the equatorial region, south or north, following the ice.

European settlers clear cut and farmed the Southwest using only mules (and slaves). The early humans would have had an abundance and increasing inventory of barren fertile soils. Early humans could flood crop the barren soils for a few years, then move on, actully causing much more environmental change over time than European settlers in North America.

Right now, at this point in the glacial cycle, humans control nearly half the surface carbon in the Northern hemisphere, up to the ice line. That is almost a 1,000 giga tons, compared to our emissions since 1950 of about 150 gigatons. This is a huge woodpile. We got this amount of land carbon under our control by following the ice north with terra engineering.

Later stage civilizations easily moved hundreds of gigatons of carbon around in construction over the ages. These are all large numbers. Irrigation farming would have amplified our effect on the carbon cycle. Then we have forest management today. How much carbon would have been released without man from boreal forest fires?

It makes sense. I did the back of the envelope calculation on a per human basis of land utilization, and 5 million humans could easily have seeded most of the ice line, continually.

Posted by: Matt on February 17, 2006 at 4:02 PM | PERMALINK

You do realize you're nuts, Matt?

Posted by: theAmericanist on February 17, 2006 at 4:19 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, the argument, that scientists are special paragons, isn't trotted out whenever it is suggested that some may be skewing their results to obtain funding or to advance some of their political objectives? It is entirely reasonable to ask what biases the scientists have, and it is reasonable to expect that some portion of them are falsifying the data or eliminating the contradictory evidence from the data sets.

Peer review in science is no different than having one's work examined in other pursuits (accounting, for example). In peer review, you almost never reperform the experiments or studies the scientist conducted. You usually accept the data he claims to have found and, rather, examine the arguments and the conclusions. Occasionally, you will doubt the data presented, and you may ask for more evidence, or you may attempt to repeat the experiment yourself; however, this kind of detailed examination is fairly rare. I have served in the capacity of peer review on many, many occasions, and only once did I uncover what appeared to be a fraud, and I was only able to uncover it because I had tried an almost identical experiment once in the past without success (and, I would also point out that the other two referees approved the paper); but, I have to admit that others probably got by me because I did not have such specific reasons to doubt the data. Peer review is no better a guard against scientific fraud than, lets say, the IRS is a guard against tax fraud.

Posted by: Yancey Ward on February 17, 2006 at 4:28 PM | PERMALINK

http://www.erin.utoronto.ca/~w3env100y/oldstuff/lect25.html

shows the human population growth. The jump at 10,000 years ago is presumed to be because of the development of agriculture.

HUMAN POPULATION HISTORY (figures prior to AD 1850 are rough estimates)
60,000 years ago: World population 1 million
40,000 years ago: World population 2.5 million
10,000 years ago: World population 10 million
2,000 years ago: World population 250 to 300 million

Go back to the ice core, and look at 12,000 years ago. The rise in CO2 levels stopped.

http://www.daviesand.com/Choices/Precautionary_Planning/Closer_Look/index.html

Our estimate of the start of agriculture is bases on land sites only, we ignore the underwater archeology sites. Yet, almost all early humans lived near the coast, which is now under 300 feet of water.

The rise of agriculture is marked with tilled soils. Prior to 10,000 what kind of agriculture did we practice?

Posted by: Matt on February 17, 2006 at 4:49 PM | PERMALINK

Americanist,

So I thought asking what the unmistakeable signs would be, and how people would react to 'em, mighta been kinda important. But then, I guess Obscure resolved that for us all.

I ask that you pay attention, friend. I didn't pretend to resolve anything. I asked you why you were such an (insufferable) blowhard.

When Fog dismissed the questions cuz he doesn't think it likely, that sorta missed the point.

Yelling the the fog did not dismiss your questions. He rather politely and consciensciously addressed your supposition. But your questions struck me as too speculative to be of any value. Not to mention the rather obvious fact that since GW is a much more likely threat, your curiosity about how mankind will react to a global environmental crisis seemed rather misdirected.

That's why I'm asking now: what would be the signs? How would we react? What would we do?

Here's a hint: Try looking around you right now for the answers to your 'questions.' Because as far as the best science can tell, GW is happening.

Right now.

Posted by: obscure on February 17, 2006 at 4:50 PM | PERMALINK

spacebaby,

You have a special place in my heart here for no other reason than some kind remarks you directed at me some time ago. And I realize that Yancey is your brother.

And I don't much know about Yancey's ethics.

But I do know that when he gets his behind duly thwacked, like he did just recently, he doesn't stick around and admit errors. He runs.

Posted by: obscure on February 17, 2006 at 4:56 PM | PERMALINK

Who gives a whit about Greenland and global warming when Exxon is making $36 billion in profits?

The stock market -- now that's a real leader's concern.

Posted by: pj_in_jesusland on February 17, 2006 at 5:03 PM | PERMALINK

"Plus Bay Area snow"

Yeah, in the hills.

This has happened many times in my lifetime (spent most of my life here since being born here) but has been *far* less common in recent years. Plus, we've never gotten the depth of snow in my lifetime that San Francisco and the Bay Area got in the 19th Century (4 inches downtown and up to 11" in the hills of San Francisco).

Not that local weather proves anything about global climate change, but it certainly doesn't prove your point. What ignorance!

Posted by: Bill D. on February 17, 2006 at 5:10 PM | PERMALINK

"If you believe that the glacial cycle is driven by co2 levels, on the upswing, then you have to look at the total numbers."

No, it's driven by Milankovich cycles; changes in the geometry of the Earth's orbit. In previous cycles, the change in CO2 levels lags the temperature swing by a few hundred years. In this change, the CO2 is leading the temperature change.

Also, let's look at the periods between the last few peak temperatures:

Date of peak temperatures (based on the Vostok ice core)
420k BCE
325k BCE
240k BCE
130k BCE

That gives us a previous cycle length of 95k, 85k, and 110k years. Fair bit of variability here. And you're basing your whole theory 'cos, by your assertion, the cycle is 10k years off. You're gonna need something stronger, I'm afraid.

"Land plant and soils hold twice the amount of carbon than is available on the surface ocean and in the armosphere. "

Note the "surface ocean" qualifier in the statement above. Also, if you do the numbers, you'll realise that change in fixed CO2 from e.g. reforestation is pretty minimal. No-till farming and reforestation can only offset ~5 years of the projected anthropogenic CO2 emissions.

Matt, somebody else said it correctly; you're a crank.

Posted by: Urinated State of America on February 17, 2006 at 5:11 PM | PERMALINK

I think we are well beyond any doubts on this issue. Climate is changing, and getting warmer. As European, it's interesting to see, how hard it is for some others, and I am not going to point fingers, to realise it's time to make a change.

For those with some idle computing time - i.e. most of us - check the following link: http://bbc.cpdn.org/

Posted by: teemu on February 17, 2006 at 5:13 PM | PERMALINK

"Because as far as the best science can tell, GW is happening. "

You bet. At the top of the glacial cycle, we would expect very dramatic changes in temperature, we should not be at all stable. The glacial cycle was never stable at this point over the past 500,000 years.

If you believe in the land carbon theory, then you have to say, something is too balanced, namely photosynthesis is too well balanced against soil oxidation.

What would happen to the carbon cycle if man just dissapeared? It depends on whether you think we have already tipped the cycle toward photosynthesis or if soil oxidation still wins.

Scenario one, soil oxidation wins:

First the co2 levels would drop. But after 50 years, the hundreds of gigatons of carbon in our cities would start rotting or burning. The hundreds of gigatons of new growth boreal forests along North America would burn. Irrigated agriculture would stop and the parched soils would oxidize (hundreds of gigatons). This would trigger the melting of the tundra, releasing another 400 gigatons into the atmosphere.

Scenario two:

Or, all this photosynthesis we created would tip the balance against soil oxidation and things would cool rapidly. Rain would increase dramatically on land, photosynthesis would accelerate, carbon would be sucked out of the atmosphere, we would cool, somewhat more slowly, but none the less dramatically.


Posted by: Matt on February 17, 2006 at 5:15 PM | PERMALINK

secular,

sorry but kyoto is garbage. it is the dumbest agreement ever conceived in the history of man. it is designed to slow the rise of greenhouse gases and is doing exactly the opposite. There has been a massive transfer of manufacturing to the 3rd world where no pollution controls exists. China and India are ecological disasters created by Kyoto.

Liberals are the last group to design a system using economic incentives to reduce pollution. These are the same fools in America blocking drilling in Anwar. No one does not in my backyard a well as liberals. Ask the Kennedy's. The brilliance of their blockage in ANWR is the US replaces every drop of that 1M a day source with Tar Sands oil. This is without question the filthyist and most energy intensive method of oil extraction in the history of man.

The bad news. It will significantly add to pollution. The good news for American libs? It's Canadian filth. It's their pollution. The good news for American Conservatives? The Canadians have no choice but to tell the Kyoto folk to shove it up their a**. Of course they could pay $100M+ to the Russians. I'm sure Canadian tree-huggers will be thrilled knowing Russia invest NOTHING in pollution control.

If they tried to develop a DUMBER system they could not have suceeded.

Harper will of course take him time with this one and let it play out. He will of course have to let the liberals take the credit they so richly deserve and wait for them to beg him to pull out of Kyoto. We are watching knowing with 100% certainty a political train wreck is about to occur. Canada could not possibly meet their commitments. The challenge now is not to miss by more than 50%.

As an American conservative I fully support the ban on ANWR. It is going to destroy Kyoto for eternity.

Posted by: rdw on February 17, 2006 at 5:21 PM | PERMALINK

"No, it's driven by Milankovich cycles; changes in the geometry of the Earth's orbit. In previous cycles, the change in CO2 levels lags the temperature swing by a few hundred years. In this change, the CO2 is leading the temperature change."

Not quite the consensus among climatologists, most of whom believe the tilting of the earth surface and distance relative to the sun does not generate enough energy change to drive the cycle. Almost all of them believe the change is amplified on the upswing by co2 levels.

The downswing is a little more problematic relative to the CO2 levels, the lag seems quite dramatic. And, the drop on co2 seems to take too long to be explained completely by partial pressure equilibrium with ocean cooling.

Then, of course, you are back to numbers. With twice the land carbon on land surface than ocean surface, and with the dramatic advance and retreat of the ice, one is forced to explain what the effect of all this change is land carbon will do.

Posted by: Matt on February 17, 2006 at 5:25 PM | PERMALINK

Regarding land carbon cycles, remember we used to be all CO2, and it wasn't until the evolution of photosynthesis fixers that oxygen appeared in the atmosphere.

(Please correct me hear, as this is a vague memory)

With the rise in o2 levels, respiration microbes evolved, and the cycles started. Hence, it makes perfect sense to believe the two work in opposition to each other, phased by the orbital perturbations.


Posted by: Matt on February 17, 2006 at 5:29 PM | PERMALINK

Obscure,

When did I get my behind whacked and run away? I can only assume you are talking about my statement that cmdicely pointed out was incorrect, that increasing taxes to support the retired cannot provide the increased buying power that may be required 20 years from now. In that case, I had erred in making too general a statement. My statement is never true in a relative sense (ignoring tax evasion), but it is true at some point in an absolute sense, which is what I meant to write- a tax rate too high will be self defeating since it will cause a decrease in actual product.

However, I did not "run" away, I just rarely visit Political Animal after about 6:00 p.m., and I have to let the threads go at some point. I am perfectly willing to admit mistakes if someone can prove I am wrong. However, I don't take assertions as proof. However, you may have had some other thread in mind?

Posted by: Yancey Ward on February 17, 2006 at 5:33 PM | PERMALINK

rdw: sorry but kyoto is garbage. it is the dumbest agreement ever conceived in the history of man. it is designed to slow the rise of greenhouse gases and is doing exactly the opposite.

Sorry, rdw, but you are an ignorant idiot and you don't have the slightest idea what you are talking about. It is obvious that you don't know anything at all about Kyoto.

You are not a "conservative", you are merely a dumbass regurgitating whatever nonsensical, inane, and utterly bogus bullshit Rush Limbaugh spoonfeeds you. Your entire world view and the entirety of every comment you have ever posted here consists of "My side's gonna win! My side's gonna win! Nyah Nyah Nyah!"

Stick to what you are good at: slavishly worshipping rightwing power and cheerleading for the pack of liars, thieves and career corporate criminals led by Dick Cheney who would just as soon stomp you into a gooey stain as piss on you. I'm sure they appreciate the support of ignorant, gullible, dumbass twits like yourself.


Posted by: SecularAnimist on February 17, 2006 at 5:45 PM | PERMALINK

rdw is correct to denigrate the Kyoto treaty. It is at best ineffective. However, the treaty is not the reason for the growing industrialization of India and China. If Kyoto had never been written, the world would still look pretty much as it does today. These countries are industrializing because they are finally putting into place the requisite environment for the finer division of labor, finally utilizing their natural advantages with respect to the developed world.

Posted by: Yancey Ward on February 17, 2006 at 5:55 PM | PERMALINK

So, let's engineer the glacial cycle the way we want, waddya say?

I vote for an the mid point in the glacial period, plus or minus 2 degrees.

We will need to get the snow socialists in Canada and Scandanavia to give up half their land mass for ice cycling. This should keep the ice out of the U.S., naturally, and a plus or minus two degrees at the mid point would work just fine.

The seas will be lower, and we have to worry that effect on the hydrologic conveyer circulation.

We will need to take out enormous quantities of carbon from circulation to keep from cycling through the extremes.

We will need a fast growing herb that we can alternatively burn or grow to make fine tune adjustments. As an addition, we might engineer a fast breathing microbe, then we can mix the various ratios of our engineered herb with our respirating microbe for fine tuning.

We can have Haliburton take the contract, but Cheney will want to shoot some lawyers.

Posted by: Matt on February 17, 2006 at 5:55 PM | PERMALINK

Obscure, you seem sorta, well, slow: it's not like anybody doesn't notice folks stomping all over the trail.

But if you're gonna figure out which tracks are whose and lead where, it helps to, yanno, pay attention.

That the world's weather is measureably warmer now than it used to be is a fact. That this can do all kinds of things, some of which are really bad, is widely known.

That we may or may not be able to do anything much about it, is open to debate.

With me so far, Obscure?

So I asked (cuz the biggest influence on my own thinking about this is Harm de Bly, not anybody political), well: what IS the political dynamic, here?

I'm much less interested in the scientific debate, particularly among folks who are more or less like Matt. You guys reflect the politics of these issues, far more than provide insight into 'em.

This thread doesn't answer my questions -- the fact is, most of you still haven't thought about 'em.

When Richard Pipes was writing that the Soviet Union was either gonna blow up the world, or collapse in pieces, I heard any # of folks say: no way, neither is even possible, it's unthinkable, he must WANT the latter so bad he's willing to CAUSE the former....

but Pipes was right. I was wrong not to see it at the time. Looking back now, I can see that he was pointing to very specific signs that he noted as we went past 'em, and I didn't.

So -- I asked the right questions, I think.

'Course, that could be just cuz I'm such a pompous windbag, huh?

Posted by: theAmericanist on February 17, 2006 at 5:57 PM | PERMALINK

obscure:

i'll admit that there's an element of family loyalty in my defense of yancey. i also know that his politics drive a lot of other people here batty sometimes, me included. the experience of being a reader/commentor at political animal at the same time as a close family member whose politics are very different from mine has been an eye-opener.

i see people here ascribe malevolence, selfishness, greed, and all kinds of character faults to him because of his (admittedly maddening) devotion to libertarian positions *all the time*. i barely recognize the person some of you see. so, to sum it up, i've learned a lot about separating my judgment of a person's politics and from that of their character.*

*okay, charlie is an exception. i'm weak about being well-behaved when he's around.

Posted by: obscure on February 17, 2006 at 6:06 PM | PERMALINK

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um..... i not sure why i posted that under obscure's nym. i think i was trying to pay attention to too many things at one time. my apologies. the impersonation was unintended.
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obscure:

i'll admit that there's an element of family loyalty in my defense of yancey. i also know that his politics drive a lot of other people here batty sometimes, me included. the experience of being a reader/commentor at political animal at the same time as a close family member whose politics are very different from mine has been an eye-opener.

i see people here ascribe malevolence, selfishness, greed, and all kinds of character faults to him because of his (admittedly maddening) devotion to libertarian positions *all the time*. i barely recognize the person some of you see. so, to sum it up, i've learned a lot about separating my judgment of a person's politics and from that of their character.*

*okay, charlie is an exception. i'm weak about being well-behaved when he's around.

Posted by: spacebaby on February 17, 2006 at 6:08 PM | PERMALINK

Yancey Ward: rdw is correct to denigrate the Kyoto treaty. It is at best ineffective.

rdw is wrong to "denigrate" the Kyoto treaty, and so are you. I expect you are just as misinformed as rdw about Kyoto, relying exlusively on grossly distorted accounts of the treaty and preposterous claims of its supposed terrible effects that are spoon-fed to you by the bought-and-paid-for shills of the fossil fuel corporations.

If Kyoto is "ineffective" it is because the United States government under the leadership of de facto President Dick Cheney has aggressively done everything possible to make sure that it will not be effective, while folks like you cheer him on. Obviously the Kyoto treatly cannot be optimally "effective" when the world's largest producer of greenhouse gases not only refuses to participate but actively seeks to undermine the treaty at every opportunity, including trying to intimidate other countries into rejecting it.

Kyoto was never intended or expected to be, and no one has ever claimed it to be, the "solution" to the global warming crisis (and it is indeed a crisis). Kyoto is only a first step, and a baby step at that. It does not go anywhere near enough in restricting greenhouse gases -- reductions far beyond what Kyoto mandates, in the range of 90% or more from today's emissions, within at most a decade from now, will be needed if we are to prevent a global ecological catastrophe that will almost certainly end civilization as we know it.

Nor does it impose mandatory restrictions on developing countries whose emissions are growing rapidly, principally China and India, although it does engage those countries and (contrary to rdw's ignorant bullshit) it engages the industrialized nations in "clean development mechanisms" to transfer modern, alternative energy technologies to those nations. It is worth pointing out, however, the shameless hypocrisy of anti-Kyoto demagogues who belabor this point, given that the USA is not only historically the overwhelming leader in GHG emissions and is directly responsible for most of the GHG buildup that is causing the warming we are experiencing now, but even today still produces one quarter of the world's GHG emissions (with 5% of the world's population), more than twice what China produces (with a much larger population).

Nonetheless, the crucial importance of the Kyoto treaty is that it establishes the principle of binding international limits on greenhouse gas emissions, which are absolutely necessary if the human species is to survive on this planet, and establishes a framework which can be extended and expanded to bring the developing countries into that regime and to escalate the limits over time.

The real "problems" with Kyoto are that it does not go nearly far enough or fast enough in imposing mandatory GHG reductions, but those are problems that the treaty's creators understood would have to be addressed by enhancing the protocol over time. The fake, phony "problems" that bought-and-paid-for Kyoto-bashing shills and their gullible, ignorant audience talk about are only problems for the ultra-rich CEOs of the fossil fuel companies who don't want to see their almost inconceivable profits begin to shift to other industries that will be the economic winners in a carbon-constrained world.

None of this has anything whatever to do with political "conservatism" or "libertarianism". It has to do with the federal government of the United States of America being in the death grip of the fossil fuel industry who are using it in a Nazi Stalinist way to guarantee their continued economic supremacy, block the transition to other energy sources, and screw the whole world so they can amass unlimited wealth and power.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on February 17, 2006 at 6:56 PM | PERMALINK

The Stop Global Warming Virtual March is a non-partisan effort to bring all Americans together in one place to prove that global warming is here now... and, it is time for us to do something about it.

One person can change the world. Over 275,000 people have already joined. Imagine what millions of marchers can do! Together we will be heard.
Join the March Now!

www.stopglobalwarming.org

Its easy! There is every reason in the world to become a virtual marcher. Why? Because it affects our public health, our national security, our economy, our planet's future.

On Earth Day 2006, the March will arrive in Washington, DC and use the strength of our numbers to urge 1) Our government to join the rest of the world in addressing global warming, and 2) American business to start a new industrial revolution on clean energy products that reduce our dependence on oil and other global warming pollution.

Posted by: alison on February 17, 2006 at 6:57 PM | PERMALINK

Something to think about: If there is long-term large scale melting of the southern Greenland ice, it's more likely to screw up the ocean current conveyor system long before any serious ocean rise takes place. Bang--instant ice age.

Posted by: tbrosz on February 16, 2006 at 11:06 PM |

Sorry, no cigar.
It's more like:
This melting is likely to screw up the ocean conveyor system
BUT
rising levels of greenhouse gases keep arctic and night time temperatures higher than at any previous time of an ocean conveyor system
SO
There is very little buildup of ice over summers and hence no "ice age".
INSTEAD
Northern Europe experiences really cold, nasty winters and mild summers. But the ice melts at night and there's none left by the end of summer. Sea level continues to rise.

Posted by: slanted tom on February 17, 2006 at 7:08 PM | PERMALINK

Marc,

A couple of years ago, folks like our Tango here were blandly claiming that there was no climate change.

No, that was never me. My only beef through this whole thread has been a very narrow criticism that there is too much naive acceptance of computer modelling. You may have noticed that I didn't say boo about glacial melting. What I pointed out was that the melting was a surprise and significantly deviated from current models.

Further, I understand the role that models play, and must play, in complex systems. However, I'm bothered by professional practices in the climate modelling community. For instance, I'd much prefer to see a group of researchers develop the model and another group gather the data and a third group analyze the results. You see in the nuclear explosion modelling community that they separate out these tasks. You see this done in medical research. It aids the credibility of the research. There is a real world reason why medical scientists don't design the experiment, gather their own data, or in other words, run the experiment from conception to completion. Same with pharmaceutical research.

Further, I'd be less critical if I was reading Nature or Science and coming across reports where groups decide to validate models created by other groups, but use their own data. The more varied the datasets and the more groups that run a model the more reliable the model should become.

So, in a nutshell - this isn't in any way shape or form an issue of global warming denial but is a very specific criticism and I raised it here because I'm bothered by the wide-eyed acceptance of any research by many commenters simply because it feeds into their ideology. Equally depressing is the kneejerk reaction that equates methodological criticism with global warming denial. Lastly, I could even point to real climate scientists that address the very issues that I've raised, like those at Real Climate, who of course take the position that everything is hunky dory with the state of climate modelling (not surprising since they're climate modellers themselves), to other climate scientists who aren't modellers and do acknowledge these very concerns regarding validation - (references available upon request.)

Urinated,

Sure, but you could use the peak power to load energy into energy storage infrastructure; pump-and-store or generate H2 by electrolysis and run it later through fuel cells.

My point here is that it's one thing to utter a liberal platitude about shifting our energy infrastructure to an alternative energy framework, and it's a whole other thing to spell out precisely what that means. I threw out that quick list to indicate some fo the elementary roadblocks that would ensue. Too many people are jazzed by hydrogen technology but when you ask them where the hydrogen will come from they get stumped. When you point out to them that hydrogen isn't an energy source, but a battery, some become confused. When you tell them that the largest current source of hydrogen feedstock is natural gas, they start to see that perhaps hydrogen isn't the wonder fuel that they're so jazzed about. Of course, then the issue of electrolyzation comes up, especially if you're near the coast, but that enthusiasm fizzles a little when they start to ponder where the electrical power required for the electrolysis will come from.

What bothers me are simply platitudes from both the Right and the Left. The Right is more inclined to avoid the situation and the Left is more inclined to propose grandiose solutions without paying any heed to opportunity costs and market forces. They're into the vision thing, and the reality thing that bothers conservatives so, well that's just a drag that can be ignored, especially when liberal dreams of getting closer to nature are applicable. What life would really be like, rather than what life is imagined to be like, are two different things that liberals seem to not even address.

As to the specific issue of baseload power and storage during off-peak hours, there are a whole range of issues that come to the fore. Same thing with the decentralization versus centralization debate. At the core of the problem, as I see it, is the issue of actual power sources. The brightest candidate is Space Solar Power. Insolation levels in orbit are uniform, you'll get 27x more power from a PV cell in orbit than youd get in Seattle and you get the power 24 hr/day. Drawback - huge cost to industrialize orbit. Added benefit - additional orbital industry and commerce can piggyback off of the infrastructure that is there. That would certainly give the US a competitive advantage in relation to other nations.

If not SPS, then more nuclear & coal as baseload power sources, with an extensive national grid of alternative sources that can diversify the power load.

For transport, more research into fuels like vanadium redox so that the energy/liter can be increased.

Please do not throw out Tech Central Station talking points

Never, ever, will you see that from the likes of me.

Posted by: TangoMan on February 17, 2006 at 7:17 PM | PERMALINK

TangoMan: My point here is that it's one thing to utter a liberal platitude about shifting our energy infrastructure to an alternative energy framework, and it's a whole other thing to spell out precisely what that means.

It means solar photovoltaic (mostly distributed, e.g. rooftop) and wind turbine (mostly centralized, e.g. windfarms, but also distributed) generated electricity, with distributed local storage capacity (batteries, flywheels and hydrogen) and a smart power grid, or rather a network of local and regional grids (an electric power Internet) that can seamlessly integrate diverse electricity producers and consumers. It means sustainably, organically produced biofuels (as well as -- crucially -- sustainably, organically and locally produced food). It means commercialized mainstream geothermal heat pumps for residential heating and cooling. It means ultra-efficient "hypercars" and net-zero energy buildings (including low-cost net-zero energy housing like DOE is developing in conjunction with Habitat for Humanity). It means ubiquitous affordable public transit. It means redesigning community land use to eliminate our absolute dependence on the automobile.

That's what it means.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on February 17, 2006 at 7:29 PM | PERMALINK

Again for all the naysayers go to RealClimate

They'll take care of your myths and misconceptions.

Posted by: Mark A. York on February 17, 2006 at 7:50 PM | PERMALINK

"At the core of the problem, as I see it, is the issue of actual power sources. The brightest candidate is Space Solar Power. Insolation levels in orbit are uniform, you'll get 27x more power from a PV cell in orbit than youd get in Seattle and you get the power 24 hr/day."

Aside, umm, from the problem of connecting it to the power source. Also, have you done the energy balance on the CO2 emitted to get the f***ing thing up there to see whether you're in the black or not. This is an over-engineered solution where there are alternate routes feasible.

"Too many people are jazzed by hydrogen technology but when you ask them where the hydrogen will come from they get stumped"

Like, umm, Shrub, for instance?

"My point here is that it's one thing to utter a liberal platitude about shifting our energy infrastructure to an alternative energy framework, and it's a whole other thing to spell out precisely what that means. "

That's not necessarily the position. Mine is that you're going to need several different strategies to get where we need to go. Conservation, nuke, biomass, . But a big part of it is going to be using fossil fuels and sequestering the CO2. And, economically.

But it doesn't start, and the technology doesn't start getting out of the National Lab sandboxes, until there's some $$$ there. And there'll be none until there's a price put on CO2 emissions. But I'm actually sanguine on finding engineering solutions to the problem that won't involve a World Government forcing us into the Stone Age.

Incidentally, the current proposed 2007 US budget has R&D into renewable energy zeroed out.

Posted by: Urinated State of America on February 17, 2006 at 7:59 PM | PERMALINK

"For transport, more research into fuels like vanadium redox so that the energy/liter can be increased."

?? Vanadium ain't a fuel. I'm presuming you meant energy storage system.

I'm also a fan of methanol as a future trasnportation fuel, as you can create it from reforming of H2 and CO2. Use it in hybrids which have batteries that are mostly powered from the grid.

Posted by: Urinated State of America on February 17, 2006 at 8:05 PM | PERMALINK

If Kyoto is "ineffective" it is because the United States government under the leadership of de facto President Dick Cheney has aggressively done everything possible to make sure that it will not be effective, while folks like you cheer him on.

It's the ANWR twits who screwed Canada. Cheney had zero to do with it. 11 of the 13 original EU signee's have no shot at hitting their targets and at least 5 of them will be over by more than 30%. Cheney had zero to do with it.

Bill Clinton signed the piece of garbage and then did what?

NOTHING!!!!!


Guess which country is doing better than Canada? and Denmark? and Spain?

nor does it impose mandatory restrictions on developing countries whose emissions are growing rapidly, principally China and India, although it does engage those countries and (contrary to rdw's ignorant bullshit) it engages the industrialized nations in "clean development mechanisms" to transfer modern, alternative energy technologies to those nations.

China, India and Brazil told the Ktoyo folk to cram it and they are doing NOTHING to curb pollution. They are growing as fast as they can.

Posted by: rdw on February 17, 2006 at 8:08 PM | PERMALINK

Nonetheless, the crucial importance of the Kyoto treaty is that it establishes the principle of binding international limits on greenhouse gas emissions,

It established nothing. The USA, China, India, Brazil, Indonesia and the entire 3rd word did not participate. The UK, Germany and Russia were effectively excluded by choosing 1990 as the base year. It was a clumsly, stupid attempt to fleece the USA and it had NO CHANCE.

Your concept will NEVER be implemented.

It was interesting in the month before the Montreal meetings Tony Blair put it out there that mandatory limits will not work in 2012. He was excoriated. He just smiled. He's not going to be PM but we know where the UK stands.

It was also interesting Bill Clinton traveled to Montreal to make an impassioned plea to fight on. I think Bill wants to be the General Secretary of the UN. It's classic Bill Clinton. He had 8 years as President and did NOTHING.

It was also cool how the Montreal meetings ended. The announced a watershed agreement. They'll talk more next year. They're pathetic. Since then Harper was elected in Canada after making it clear on the campaign trail Canada would not be paying any fines.

Kyoto is DEAD.

There is no chance the USA, China, India, Brazil, Indonesia, Pakistan, the entire 3rd world, Russia, etc. will ever agree to mandatory
limits set by some EU pinheads.

Posted by: rdw on February 17, 2006 at 8:24 PM | PERMALINK

rdw: China, India and Brazil told the Ktoyo folk to cram it and they are doing NOTHING to curb pollution.

You are a totally ignorant dumbass, and/or a pathetically bad liar, and if your previous comments didn't prove it (which of course they did) this one does.

Sure, China is burning oil -- and worse, coal -- but China is doing MUCH more than the USA to develop clean energy and curb pollution -- they have to, because the pollution is already endangering their economic growth and they know it, and they are doing something about it. Stop listening to Rush Limbaugh and read what conservative economic globalization advocate Tom Friedman has been writing about "green China". China has already implemented fuel efficiency requirements for automobiles that are far, far beyond anything the USA is willing to consider. China is going to be one of the world's leading exporters of photovoltaic panels in the not too distant future. The USA will be importing photovoltaic panels and advanced wind turbines from China. Talk about transferring industrial production!

And Brazil is probably the world's leader in using agriculturally produced ethanol to replace gasoline.

The USA is going to be importing advanced renewable energy technology from China. Thanks to Cheney and Bush-bootlicking morons like you, other countries are going to be reaping huge economic benefits from the advanced clean energy technologies that are being deployed right now all over the world, while the USA will be an economic backwater languishing in the death grip of the fossil fuel industry.

You are a clueless ignorant moron, regurgitating Rush Limbaugh's vomit. Everything you write about global warming and Kyoto is crap, pure bullshit propaganda that you swallow whole and spit up. You don't have the slightest idea what you are talking about.

All you really care about or know about is worshipping your fake, phony little god-king, George W. Bush, the abject failure in everthing he's ever tried to do, the career rip-off artist and corporate criminal rescued from one failure after another and finally put into the White House by his daddy's rich friends so he can be their bought-and-paid-for shill and screw the American people to make his owners richer than they already are. You are like some idiotic soccer hooligan who doesn't care about anything but chanting "Red Team Wins! Red Team Wins!" over and over again.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on February 17, 2006 at 8:27 PM | PERMALINK

Urinated,

The power connection issue is trivial - microwave transmission, which at ground level results in an energy density of 1/2 that of sunlight, though 24/day at uniform intensity.

energy balance on the CO2 emitted to get the f***ing thing up there

There's actually quite a bit of research on this. The reason you need rudimentary orbital industry is precisely to avoid the issue of building the damn thing on Earth and boosting components into orbit where they are assembled. Rather, you build manufacturing assets in orbit, then source the materials from space, and fabricate in space. The energy balance is very beneficial to Earth's ecosystem.

The huge downside to this proposal is that the market will never bring it to fruitition. This absolutely needs gov't funding and administrtion, therefore conservatives will hate it. Liberals will hate it because it perpetuates a standard of living that is heavily reliant on ever-increasing levels of power use. For pragmatic reasons SPS makes the most sense - 1970s technology is sufficient, clean, low environmental impact, scalable, etc. It never gets discussed because it doesn't appeal to the dominant ideologies.

Like, umm, Shrub, for instance?

Certainly. My eyes glaze over every time he talks about hydrogen - it only helps his oil industry interests.

And there'll be none until there's a price put on CO2 emissions.

Agree. A worldwide carbon tax with uniform pricing is an absolute must. Trading of credits is fine as long as compliance is insured. The proceeds of the tax wholly dedicated to a rational energy solution, rather than an ideologically pleasing one, like hydrogen.

I'm presuming you meant energy storage system.

Yes, that's what I meant. The liquid is the storage medium and the energy is infused into the liquid from the electrical power grid. You can dump the liquid at a service station, load up with new liquid, pay the piper, and drive off. The old liquid is reprocessed, charged up, and ready for a new customer. We can piggy back on a lot of existing fuel infrastructure.

Use it in hybrids which have batteries that are mostly powered from the grid.

My problem with batteries is their low energy storage density and the environmental damage, upstream and downstream.

Methanol - good too, so long as we have a robust power grid but there are some big problems to deal with, issues like a low energy density which reduces the range a vehicle can travel and when the temperature is below 45 degrees Fahrenheit there is difficulty in starting ignition because of methanol's lower vapor pressure.

Posted by: TangoMan on February 17, 2006 at 8:33 PM | PERMALINK

rdw, you slander and defame conservatives every time you call yourself a "conservative". You are NOT a conservative and you have no right to call yourself one. You are a mental slave, a bootlicking worshipper of power, a neo-brownshirt goon. And the joke is on you, because to the people like George W. Bush whose ass you dream of kissing, you are a piece of human garbage and a worm. Dick Cheney would just as soon fill your face with shotgun pellets as look at you -- he'd probably find it slightly more fun than slaughtering captive helpless birds.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on February 17, 2006 at 8:33 PM | PERMALINK

It means solar photovoltaic (mostly distributed, e.g. rooftop) and wind turbine (mostly centralized, e.g. windfarms [...] snip [...]

That's what it means.

right on. the demand is there. i see many a prius around these days. people are ready and willing to pay extra for new technologies in return for fuel efficiency. imagine what they'd do if they got a huge tax credit for buying a hybrid or a clean diesel engine that gets more than 50 mpg.

we have a long way to go before we match the dedication of the EU or Japan to renewable technologies and fuel conservation.

for all those fretting about the staggering rate of growth of automobile ownership in china and india: the technologies available to us will also be available to them. there's no reason to assume that the millions of cars they will purchase over the next ten years will not be electric hybrids. the cost of petrofuel is only going to rise over these coming years. they are also subject to those economic pressures.

Posted by: spacebaby on February 17, 2006 at 8:39 PM | PERMALINK

TangoMan: My problem with batteries is their low energy storage density and the environmental damage, upstream and downstream.

The latest generation of lithium-ion batteries is dramatically improved in both respects. Check 'em out. A lot of work has been done on improving battery technologies for use in Prius-type hybrid gasoline-electric vehicles, with the result that battery technology has improved so much, that pure electric lithium-ion battery powered cars with the performance and range that American drivers are accustomed to are becoming commercially viable.

Having said that, most American cars are driven less than 25 miles per day, so for most of the driving that most people do, pure electric cars even with limited range (60-100 miles per charge) can more than do the job.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on February 17, 2006 at 8:43 PM | PERMALINK

It means ubiquitous affordable public transit. It means redesigning community land use to eliminate our absolute dependence on the automobile.

Abolutely no chance. The burbs are the American dream. Farmers grow McMansions these days and there are Housing developments ALL over the place. People want big houses and yards. The average new house has a 3 car garage.

Most of the things you mentioned are still pie in the sky but we can do with continual incremental improvements driven by market pressures. In 05 and 06 GDP will grow at a 7.5% clip and we'll probably cut energy consumption by 3.5%. That's a stunning 11% improvement in energy efficiency and that's before many new the energy saving ideas are implemented.

There will be more solar, more wind, more nuclear (actually much more) more natural gas, more ethanol and more conservation in the way of design and material improvements. The Auto industry is aggressively rolling out hybrids and designing lower weight, higher efficieincy designs. 5 years from now the steel used in body construction will be 1/2 as thick and as heavy yet provide the same crash protection. They'll probably be at a point where cumulative weight savings will allow each model to reduce engine size by a full cylinder or more and by itself improve mileage by 25%. That will improve the mileage for hybrids as well.

Eventually there will be breakthrus in solar and/or wind and/or fuel cell and/or batteries but until then it'll be 1,000 little things driving incremental improvements that will add up.

It's very likely with the things already available and on the drawing board US energy consumption will be lower in 2020 than it is now. That is comsumption provided by fossil fuels.

Posted by: rdw on February 17, 2006 at 8:45 PM | PERMALINK

SecularAnimist,

The latest generation of lithium-ion batteries is dramatically improved in both respects. Check 'em out.

I have. Here are my issues with Lithium-Ion batteries, or batteries of any sort. The Prius literature indicates that the battery has a life-cycle of about 6-8 years during which time the boost range will fall about 50%. Secondly, without the more expensive high-speed charging equipment, a fully depleted battery takes 9 hours to recharge. Thirdly, the chemical fire that results from severe impact and the sheer bulk of the batteries being thrust about, is cause for concern. Lastly, if I recall the literature correctly, it costs about $12,000 to convert to a new battery after the first one expires.

All these things add up to a total cost of ownership that I think is uncompetitive, but it's still a move in the right direction.

Posted by: TangoMan on February 17, 2006 at 9:00 PM | PERMALINK

tangoMan,

Scientific american put out a special issue Sept/05 titled 'crossroads for planet earth'.

The article on energy, More Profit with Less Carbon, by Amory B. Lovins was, I felt, wildly optimistic. Did you see it? If so, do you agree.

I am fascinated by science but do not have a background. Many years ago in the late 70's I tried to follow developments in energy and conservation at one point subcribing to Solar Age and a few general science magazines. We always seemed to be 10 years or one breakthrough away from competitive solar or wind or fuel cell or clean coal, ethanol, safe nuclear, etc. We are now 25 years from that time and still seem 10 years away.

Lovins promises that with intelligent and diligent design we can apply off the shelf technologies to deliver dramatic savings. I found the article so optimistic as to be very suspect. I will admit he predited a competition between steel producers and composite manufactures for next generation car bodies. Some weeks later one of the steel companies announced construction of a new steel plant in Mississippi to produce rolled steel for autos at 1/2 the thickness and weight. He called that one.

I'd appreciate your insight and your own opinion as to progress over the next decade or two.

Posted by: rdw on February 17, 2006 at 9:34 PM | PERMALINK

China is doing MUCH more than the USA to develop clean energy and curb pollution -- they have to, because the pollution is already endangering their economic growth and they know it, and they are doing something about it

China is doing next to nothing. They are getting worried only because they have several major cities with significantly rising health issues because the air is so filthy you can see it.

My sister-in-law visited 4 cities last year with the idea of opening up an exchange student program. There is a big foreign studies market for China. She came back recommending they find other cities with lower pollution. If they used thee cities they would have to get the students to sign a waiver for the health risks. China like all totalarian states is out of control economically. They decided not to expand in China.

They're growing so fast they'll take energy whereever they can get it. Eventually the solution will be nuclear as it will be in India

Posted by: rdw on February 17, 2006 at 9:43 PM | PERMALINK

And there'll be none until there's a price put on CO2 emissions.

Agree. A worldwide carbon tax with uniform pricing is an absolute must.

It's never going to happen. Kyoto was so poorly designed and executed no one will agree to this. Americans will never agree to a global tax of any sort. 3rd world nations would refuse to pay one.

No one will intentionally pollute if they have a viable option. We have to develop cost- effective alternatives.

Posted by: rdw on February 17, 2006 at 9:48 PM | PERMALINK

rdw,

When you get down to the nitty gritty of many of Lovins' positions you get into a whole heap of issues. I'm not to keen on hydrogen gas pipelines crisscrossing the country, for instance.

The way I see it, both libs and cons need to bend on the issue of energy. Conservatives first - increased taxes on energy use or carbon tax and direct the money to either market developed alternatives or industrial strategy alternative. There will be a cost to economic growth, job creation, investment returns, etc. Also, they need to realize that there are already huge subsidies going to the oil infrastructure and the military tax on every barrel of oil.

For the liberals, come to terms with nuclear, strip mining, balancing economic issues with energy issues and be prepared for some of your constituencies to pay a disproportionate share of pain from the cost of the energy taxes.

For conseravtives again, be prepared for property devaluation in exurbs and McMansions as urbanization increases as a response to higher transportation costs. If a high energy consuming lifestyle is important then be prepared to support the creation of new energy sources.

For liberals, if environmental issues take precedence over economic issues then be prepared to give way to technologies like SPS which will allow ever higher levels of per capita energy consumption without debasing the Earth's environment. Choose the environment over imposing a lifestyle choice on people who don't want to moderate their energy consumption.

As with most things in life I think this will have to be a compromise, rather than a clear victory for either side.

Posted by: TangoMan on February 17, 2006 at 10:16 PM | PERMALINK
I am perfectly willing to admit mistakes if someone can prove I am wrong. However, I don't take assertions as proof. However, you may have had some other thread in mind?

Yancey, why don't you run along to the Feb. 15 'Stalking the Fed' thread. The topic was supply-side economics, more or less.

Your interlocutors were cmdicely, myself and (I believe) Stephen Kris and Abraham Lincoln.

Posted by: obscure on February 17, 2006 at 10:23 PM | PERMALINK
This thread doesn't answer my questions -- the fact is, most of you still haven't thought about 'em.

And you know what people here have thought about, how?

So -- I asked the right questions, I think.

If an ideologically driven clash between superpowers is analogous to a global ecological catastrophe then maybe you would have asked the right questions.

But... I see a bit of a problem for you there.

'Course, that could be just cuz I'm such a pompous windbag, huh?

To reiterate: I never tied your pomposity to anything but itself.

It just IS.

Have a nice night.

Posted by: obscure on February 17, 2006 at 10:52 PM | PERMALINK

TangoMan,

Thanks for the response.

I totally disagree from a political/economic perspective that we're going to see a compromise in terms of lifestyle.

There is no chance I'm moving back to or near the city. I love my house, yard, school district, township. I will however when my 22 mpg Van dies trade up for a smaller 44 mgp+ vehicle. I am hoping in 3 years when I expect to do this I can get close to 50 mpg.

I will gladly pay a premium for a hybrid and/or an ethanol mix. I may be able to cut my consumption by 50% and gasoline demand by even more.

My own expectation is the USA can continue to grow at 3.5% and cut energy demand by 1.5% annually. That kind of healthy growth will enable increased investment in energy technology while that kind of incremental improvement in energy efficiency will take great pressure off the supply side.

To the extent the USA is lowering demand chances are global demand will be lower or flat. Assuming we get continued incremental improvements in the range of alternatives we'll also see the substitution of solar, wind, nuclear and other clean technologies for fossil fuels.

I've seen conflicting stories on the value of ethanol as a substitute for gasoline. Assuming the good case is true. That it can be produced profitably at $1.50 AND it is environmentally superior we should be able to reduce gasoline demand dramatically with the combination of increased mpg and the partial subtitution of gasoline with ethanol.

It would seem the market can find the most effective solution such that if crude remains near $60 we can expect significant investment and consistent improvements in energy efficiency.

Even if the optimism is only partially true reductions of total demand of 1.5% to 2% seems sustainable for at least a decade. That's somewhere near 250K barrels a day. Substitution with alternatives of 0.75% could save another 110K per day. 360K per day over 3 year get us to 1.08M or enough to eliminate Saudi Imports.

I'd like to think with 1.5% - 2% annual improvements we are sitting in 2015
with total demand down by 15% and will also see solid improvements in solar, wind, nuclear, true clean burning coal, batteries and/or whatever. I'd like that car to get 75+ equivalent mpg but rather plug it in at night maybe getting off-peak nuclear rates and thus use zero fossil fuels. It would be equally nice to replace part of my roof with photovoltaic strips to supply some of my electrical demand from the sun.

Forget the taxes. Let the market work.


The less govt interference the better. Let market pricing signals work.

Lovins was pointing to dramatic improvments in auto technology focused on lower weight leading to lower power requirements allowing he replacement of a gas engine using electic or fuel cell technology instead.

Posted by: rdw on February 17, 2006 at 11:23 PM | PERMALINK

rdw said:
I am fascinated by science but do not have a background.

Thanks for clearing that up. I'm sure there were 1 or 2 that were still unsure. For the rest, it was obvious with your first post.

Posted by: Simp on February 18, 2006 at 1:45 AM | PERMALINK

"If an ideologically driven clash between superpowers is analogous to a global ecological catastrophe then maybe you would have asked the right questions."

"It just IS."

There are lots of folks who first didn't believe the world is getting warmer, now doubt that it is because of humans, argue that we can't stop it, and object to treaties which are intended to do just that.

There were lots of folks who didn't believe the Soviet Union was an evil empire, then doubted there was anything much to be done about it, argued that the arms race was the most dangerous threat to world peace, and objected to policies aimed at Soviet collapse.

I guess only a pompous windbag sees an analogy there, huh Obscure?

Posted by: theAmericanist on February 18, 2006 at 5:03 AM | PERMALINK

>And Brazil is probably the world's leader in using agriculturally produced ethanol to replace gasoline.

Which would be groovy. Particularly if they weren't also burning and clearing vast tracts of rainforest to grow soybeans for China.

Aside from GHG, there's also the enormous issue of particulate pollution. It's hard to follow discussions which stress GHG and leave out all the other factors.

Posted by: CFShep on February 18, 2006 at 7:16 AM | PERMALINK

we are talking of the worst storm settings, the biggest storm surges...you are upping the probability major storms will take place

When it happens, they'll say its God punishing us because we wanted to let homos marry...

Posted by: E. Nonee Moose on February 18, 2006 at 7:18 AM | PERMALINK

Thanks for clearing that up. I'm sure there were 1 or 2 that were still unsure. For the rest, it was obvious with your first post.

I'm glad I could help.

Actually, I am certain I have helped. It seems many here are under the illusion we're going to have global taxes and/or organizations such as the UN involved in global control of enviromental issues. That's absurd to the extreme. We are the US of A. The greatest nation on Gods Green Earth. NO OTHER organization will EVER assume governing control of the USA.

Many people here are also still under the illusion Kyoto has been effective and will serve as a model going forward. For those in the liberal bubble this is accepted fact. They now know they're only half right. It will serve as the model for what not to do.

I've even provided reference for Tony Blairs speech on the subject made before the Montreal meetings warning that limits cannot be included after 2012 or Kyoto ends. Obviously this kind of negative news would never be reported in the MSM and I do realize few here are really so curious as to peak outside their bubble but they do have the ability to spend 2 minutes on google to find it.

The bottom line is I am serious about reducing pollution and will do what I can. The Kyoto freakshow has to understand they are just doing more damage. Kyoto will expire in a ignoble death in 2012 and this crowd will never again be trusted to run such affairs. It's sad that Canada will be the example of a true train wreck but it's too big and too much of a disaster to ignore.

Canada will have competition but in all probability they will miss their targets by more than anyone else. How is it this large nation of the kindest, most decent, liberal people performed so poorly? They not like Americans. What went so wrong? And the Danes? Spaniards?

I am wondering how this plays inside Canada. I'd love to hear from any Canadians. This obviously the single most important topic in the world and growing more tragic every day. What happens when we find out the Canadians are the planets WORST abusers of the global eco-system? Will they be held in scorn? We can agree this will be the dominant story of the next decade. We know of our fondness for top ten lists. At #1, the very top of the worst polluters will sit Canada.

They will have missed their Kyoto targets by more than anyone else and much more than the US.

We know this will happen because the Kyoto crowd is financially dependent on this scam and needs PR. They'll need to keep the scam running. We also know the GOP will spend huge bucks making sure the world sees ALL of the worst abusers of Kyoto were the signee's. The USA will have increased emissions by less than half the amount of the Canadians (while growing GDP MUCH faster) and by less than many in the EU (while growing MUCH, MUCH faster).

This is a train wreck that hasn't happened yet. I'm here to warn you. You need to develop plan B.

I know it's hard to imagine public confidence in the UN and the EU could possibly sink any lower but in fact 20% favorability isn't bottom. 0% is bottom. Get outside the bubble and see what is really happening. Get off the train and start working on plan B.

Right now plan B is the Asian-Pacific partnership. GWB has crafted an alignment of the US, China, India, Japan, South Korea and Australia. The ENTIRE KYOTO crowd is sitting outside. GWB has somewhere near 50% of the worlds population and GDP signed-up and they're intentionally keeping the group small for now.

NO NATION outside Europe will even consider mandatory limits set by the Kyoto crowd. You've lost Canada. The UK and Germany of course have never accepted limits and Blair has already annouced, 'forgetaboutit!'

Develop your own plan B or sit on the curb.

Posted by: rdw on February 18, 2006 at 9:11 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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