Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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July 18, 2008
By: Kevin Drum

CLIMATE CHANGE FOR RUBES....Jonah Goldberg chortles a bit over at The Corner:

The same day that Al Gore does his man-to-the-moon spiel on global warming, the American Physical Society — the second largest professional association of physicists — rescinds its total support for the global warming.

I await the usual chorus to sing us a tune about how the APS is "anti-science."

I guess he missed the update:

Update 7/17/2008: After publication of this story, the APS responded with a statement that its Physics and Society Forum is merely one unit within the APS, and its views do not reflect those of the Society at large.

Lord Monckton, who triggered the original article in DailyTech, may be a lord, but he's also a longtime global warming skeptic. There's nothing new here, and, as you might expect, scientists continue to believe that climate change is largely driven by human activity. Nice try, though.

Kevin Drum 9:10 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (54)

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Comments

Yeah... I'm sure the Doughy Pantload will correct his story.

Crickets chirp...

Posted by: Teresa on July 18, 2008 at 9:17 AM | PERMALINK

Monckton's paper is laughable. He tries to impress by including dozens of equations, but the "correction" factors for the IPCC sensitivity estimate are pulled out of the air and then he triple counts them.

Posted by: Tim Lambert on July 18, 2008 at 9:40 AM | PERMALINK

Does anyone "support" global warming?

Posted by: Virginia on July 18, 2008 at 9:45 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin wrote: "Lord Monckton ... a longtime global warming skeptic."

Monckton is not a "skeptic." He is a crank, and a scientific incompetent with self-delusions of genius. Few others so well deserve the epithet "global warming denier", with the same ethical import as in the phrase "Holocaust denier".

And Johah Goldberg's "chortling" has about as much significance as Rush Limbaugh's farts.

Al Gore is a genuine visionary. Yesterday, in a fairly brief speech, he laid out the main points of the New Industrial Revolution that can, and must, totally transform the human energy economy -- and with it, human civilization itself -- into one based on harvesting free, limitless solar, wind and geothermal energy.

Probably the best thing that Obama could do if he becomes president is to appoint Al Gore to a cabinet position as "global warming czar", to lead the very effort that Gore described yesterday, coordinating all activities of the federal government -- EPA, DoE, tax policies, etc. -- aimed at phasing out fossil fuels and moving to a 100 percent clean renewable energy system within 10 years or so.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on July 18, 2008 at 9:56 AM | PERMALINK

SecAn,

I love you, man, and I agree with you completely, but please. No More Czars.


And yes, Virginia. We support global warming every time we start our cars.

Posted by: thersites on July 18, 2008 at 10:17 AM | PERMALINK

"The header of this newsletter carries the statement that "Opinions expressed are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the APS or of the Forum." This newsletter is not a journal of the APS and it is not peer reviewed."

What a display of incompetence by whomever reported this (I'm looking at you Goldberg). The article isn't even peer-reviewed, much less a renunciation by APS of man-made global warming.

Of course, lacking peer-review one can always fall back and simply assert that Lord Monckton's scientific credentials are such that this must be taken seriously. Does anyone want to guess just how stellar Monckton's credentials are?

Posted by: Rock on July 18, 2008 at 10:21 AM | PERMALINK

Our top story this morning, Jonah "The Pantload" Goldberg misstates the facts about about global warming. In other news, the sun came up in the east earlier today. And this just in, water is still wet.

Posted by: Jeff S. on July 18, 2008 at 10:25 AM | PERMALINK

In fairness to Goldberg, he did make the correction. It should teeach him a lesson to go off half-cocked, a complaint his wife no doubt shares.

Posted by: Randy Paul on July 18, 2008 at 10:27 AM | PERMALINK

BTW, great headline for this post, Kevin!

Posted by: thersites on July 18, 2008 at 10:38 AM | PERMALINK

Prediction: Despite the correction Goldberg posted he will learn no lesson. He will make a similar mistake next week, next month, and next year.

He grabs onto anything that supports his pre-existing beliefs.

Posted by: Colin on July 18, 2008 at 10:43 AM | PERMALINK

DailyTech has an interesting track record on this subject. They have been cited by Rush. And then DailyTech's founder thanked him for doing so.

Posted by: jukeboxgrad on July 18, 2008 at 10:45 AM | PERMALINK

Meanwhile, the EPA puts out a 284-page report detailing how bad climate change will be for the US:

Limited to climate change impacts in the United States, the report found a likely increase in food and water-borne germs as the world warms and habitat ranges expand for some disease-causing organisms.
Also, the inequities now found in the U.S. health care system are likely to be exacerbated by global warming: "Many of the expected health effects are likely to fall disproportionately on the poor, the elderly, the disabled and the uninsured."
Global warming is expected to affect water supplies across the country, with reduced water flow in rivers, lower groundwater levels and more salt creeping into coastal rivers and groundwater, the report said.
People who live along the coasts will face the consequences of rising sea levels and severe weather events while city dwellers can expect higher energy demand to cool buildings -- though the demand for heat will probably decline.
The report covers much of the same substance as an EPA document released on Monday that found global warming endangers human health. This document was part of the agency's response to a 2007 Supreme Court ruling that found the EPA had the power to regulate climate-warming greenhouse gas emissions if it was found that they hurt human health.
However, the agency has indicated no action is likely before the Bush administration leaves office next January.

That last sentence hurts.

Oh, and Jonah? You've finally, without any doubt, jumped the shark.

Posted by: grape_crush on July 18, 2008 at 10:48 AM | PERMALINK

Anyone can go to the APS website for the truth:
"The American Physical Society reaffirms the following position on climate change, adopted by its governing body, the APS Council, on November 18, 2007:
"'Emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities are changing the atmosphere in ways that affect the Earth's climate.'"
The APS has NOT changed its position.

Posted by: Stimpson on July 18, 2008 at 10:53 AM | PERMALINK

As soon as the Exxon-Mobile's of the world figure out how to make a killing off of Global Warming, mouth pieces like Goldberg will get their marching orders and start tellings us how we must prepare for Global Warming...

Posted by: RobertSeattle on July 18, 2008 at 10:55 AM | PERMALINK

I doubt that Monckton is either a skeptic or a crank. He's a tool. As is Goldberg.

Posted by: Jeffrey Davis on July 18, 2008 at 10:57 AM | PERMALINK

More fun stuff found while using teh Google...

From the AP:

Bush aides 'buried' EPA report linking health problems to global warming
While the science pointed to a link between public health and climate change, the Bush administration has worked to discourage such a connection. To acknowledge one would compel the government to regulate greenhouse gases.
In December, the White House refused to open an e-mail from the EPA that included the finding that climate change endangered public welfare. The determination was based on an earlier, and similar version of the document released Monday. At the time, the White House insisted on removing all references to the science, according to Jason K. Burnett, a former adviser to [EPA chief Stephen] Johnson on climate issues.
Burnett, a Democrat, has charged that Vice President Dick Cheney's office deleted portions of congressional testimony last October prepared by the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that made similar assertions on the health effects of global warming. The White House contends the testimony was changed because of doubts about the science.

What could be the greatest threat in the history of human civilization, and the Bush administration is acting like Baghdad Bob.

Posted by: grape_crush on July 18, 2008 at 10:58 AM | PERMALINK

At times like this, I'm reminded that the Al Gores of this world will actually be remembered in history, whereas the Jonah Goldbergs of this world will be relegated to a footnote about the power of denial in human society. If that.

Posted by: Wally on July 18, 2008 at 10:58 AM | PERMALINK

Jonah has added a "Nevermind" to the post at the original link.

Posted by: dbomp on July 18, 2008 at 11:16 AM | PERMALINK

Al Gore is a phony baloney. Besides his personal energy gluttony, anyone who supports massive immigration and increasing the population also supports increasing CO2 emissions.

Posted by: Luther on July 18, 2008 at 11:26 AM | PERMALINK

Al Gore is a phony baloney. Besides his personal energy gluttony, anyone who supports massive immigration and increasing the population also supports increasing CO2 emissions.

For this reason, we must ignore years of peer-reviewed science and do nothing.


Posted by: on July 18, 2008 at 11:34 AM | PERMALINK

Those who are skeptical that global warming is occuring because of man-made green house gas emissions ought to keep their autos running, close their garage doors and remain in their vehicles until they understand that the earth is a closed ecosystem.

Posted by: Brojo on July 18, 2008 at 11:45 AM | PERMALINK

Why can't I find a job that pays me for being an idiot?

Posted by: on July 18, 2008 at 12:10 PM | PERMALINK

As someone involved in the sciences, I believe that it's always useful to examine one's base assumptions about any hypothesis. That's how discovery is made.

Having said that, there are few, if any, scientists in my acquaintence with specific, up to date domain knowledge, who doubt the existence of some form of human-caused climate change (Please don't say "Global Warming" -- the phenomena are much more complicated that simple warming). If anything, they believe that the changes coming about are underestimated (for instance, because of so-called "global dimming", caused by "black carbon" particulates in the atmosphere -- and there's indisputible hard data to prove it).

If you read the Editor's Comments at APS Forum on Physics and Society, you'll realize that they are not endorsing climate change skepticism, per se, but are encouraging legitimate and healthy scientific debate.

I say, let's get the skeptics work into peer reviewed journals where they can be examined by the entire scientific community. If they hold up, then so be it. If they don't, then so be it, too.

By the way, the full Monckton article, for the scientifically inclined is here, along with a rebutting "A Tutorial on the Basic Physics of Climate Change".

Posted by: Steve on July 18, 2008 at 12:16 PM | PERMALINK

". . . scientists continue to believe that climate change is largely driven by human activity."

I doubt that "largely driven" is the proper phrasing here. As far as a consensus among "scientists," wouldn't it be more like "a significant factor"?

Posted by: on July 18, 2008 at 12:22 PM | PERMALINK

Please excuse the negativity, but based on behavior like this (Goldberg's venal shilling and its large scale acceptance in the US) indicates the US as the stupidest, most ignorant industrialized country in the world. Again, sorry. Where's my prozac?

Posted by: Conrad's Ghost on July 18, 2008 at 12:40 PM | PERMALINK

Anonymous commenter wrote: "I doubt that 'largely driven' is the proper phrasing here. As far as a consensus among 'scientists,' wouldn't it be more like 'a significant factor'?"

No. According to the IPCC's Climate Change 2007: Synthesis Report Summary for Policymakers, which represents the consensus of the world scientific community regarding anthropogenic climate change:

There is very high confidence that the net effect of human activities since 1750 has been one of warming.

Most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic GHG concentrations. It is likely that there has been significant anthropogenic warming over the past 50 years averaged over each continent.

During the past 50 years, the sum of solar and volcanic forcings would likely have produced cooling. Observed patterns of warming and their changes are simulated only by models that include anthropogenic forcings.

There is no more time to waste in argument with cranks and frauds who reject the overwhelming scientific consensus that anthropogenic global warming is real, is happening now, and poses a grave threat to the well-being of all life on Earth if it continues unabated.

The time has come to phase out ALL fossil fuel use as quickly as possible. Al Gore's proposal for the USA to generate 100 percent of its electricity from free, abundant, clean solar, wind and geothermal energy within ten years is the way to go.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on July 18, 2008 at 12:58 PM | PERMALINK

No matter. Glenn Beck and the geniuses at Fox will be all over this all friday night, and the weekend will feature wire releases talking about the flip-flop of the APS, thanks to PC.
Bets?

Posted by: Steve Paradis on July 18, 2008 at 1:14 PM | PERMALINK

anyone who supports massive immigration and increasing the population also supports increasing CO2 emissions.

Because if those immigrants stayed in their own countries, they wouldn't emit any CO2....

Note: Al Gore does not support "massive" immigration, and certainly not "increasing the population." This is merely an unsupported lie.

Posted by: Stefan on July 18, 2008 at 1:14 PM | PERMALINK

Is a "viscount" who's failed to make it into the House of Lords still supposed to be called a lord? If not maybe all the erroneous enlordening should get him another title. Maybe fakeass. Anyway his whole wikipedia page (no longer for stopping AIDS by quarantine!) is a thing of beauty.

Posted by: sniflheim on July 18, 2008 at 1:17 PM | PERMALINK

Jonah is a fucking retard. If he's "chortling," it's probably because he just pulled out a booger that looks like his mom.
.

Posted by: Grand Moff Texan on July 18, 2008 at 1:28 PM | PERMALINK

its Physics and Society Forum is merely one unit within the APS, and its views do not reflect those of the Society at large.

Even so, for a group of scientists to go and do that, I think it's more likely that the leader of their group was threatened by the Repubs with revelation of the fact that he's a gimp, or it's just a few scientists who are raving hick-Fundamentalists, or the responsible scientist is a bought-and-paid-for / evil-nerd / Jonah Goldberg type.

God knows, there's no reason to be overly idealistic about people, including scientists. Sometimes liberals want scientists to be like perfectly benign and wise creatures- the liberal version of an angel- but of course we know that scientists are human beings, are not all picked from some pool of children or college students with raional and balanced personalities, and there is plenty of stuff one learns about in science that a person might take as encouraging sort of a ruthless or realpolitik world-view.

In any event, I don't see any reason why if some scientist was threatened with something by some Republican thug that he or she would more likely tell him to fuck off than any other person would.

Posted by: Swan on July 18, 2008 at 1:38 PM | PERMALINK

Here's the full text from the front page of the APS website:

    APS Climate Change Statement

    APS Position Remains Unchanged

    The American Physical Society reaffirms the following position on climate change, adopted by its governing body, the APS Council, on November 18, 2007:

    "Emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities are changing the atmosphere in ways that affect the Earth's climate."

    An article at odds with this statement recently appeared in an online newsletter of the APS Forum on Physics and Society, one of 39 units of APS.  The header of this newsletter carries the statement that "Opinions expressed are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the APS or of the Forum."  This newsletter is not a journal of the APS and it is not peer reviewed.

    Read: APS Climate Change Statement

Posted by: Oregonian on July 18, 2008 at 1:44 PM | PERMALINK

Sometimes liberals want scientists to be like perfectly benign and wise creatures

I don't. I want them to genetically-engineer a disease that kills people who think that a magical sky fairy is worried about what they do with their genitals.

Strengthen the herd and all that.
.

Posted by: Grand Moff Texan on July 18, 2008 at 1:45 PM | PERMALINK

Freakin' Jonah... where's a whale when you need one?

Posted by: mroberts on July 18, 2008 at 1:50 PM | PERMALINK

Why are you guys on the left so insecure about actually debating this topic?

Posted by: MIkey on July 18, 2008 at 1:56 PM | PERMALINK

"Emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities are changing the atmosphere in ways that affect the Earth's climate."

Precisely, and nobody disputes this.

What has happened is the the APS are no longer asserting that anthropogenic factors are the *primary* cause of temperature changes.

Also, the APS's Jeffrey Marque asserts that "There is a considerable presence within the scientific community of people who do not agree with the IPCC conclusion that anthropogenic CO2 emissions are very probably likely to be primarily responsible for global warming that has occurred since the Industrial Revolution."

That is not a statement of "opinion", which Kevin somehow appears to think is important. It is a statement of fact. It can be verified. Is it true or is it not?

What we hear from Kevin and his followers is the sound of tiny minds slamming shut. You can keep trying, but after a few years that attitude will be unsustainable.

Posted by: a on July 18, 2008 at 2:13 PM | PERMALINK

Mikey wrote: "Why are you guys on the left so insecure about actually debating this topic?"

There is no legitimate debate about either the reality of, or the serious danger from, anthropogenic global warming. It is a matter of well-established scientific fact.

What "you guys on the right" like to call "debate" is nothing but the rote regurgitation of long-ago-debunked, pseudoscientific garbage and outright lies peddled by the cranks and frauds who inhabit Exxon-Mobil-funded, right-wing extremist, so-called "think tanks", and such great scientific authorities as Rush Limbaugh.

That kind of fake, phony "debate" is a pure waste of time.

There is certainly room for legitimate debate about what to do about anthropogenic global warming, a debate which encompasses many technical, economic and political issues, including various proposals that can be appropriately characterized as "liberal/left" or "conservative/right".

But "conservatives" who want to propose solutions to global warming based on "conservative" values and ideology must first recognize the reality of the problem, if they want their proposals to be taken seriously.

If you deny the reality or the seriousness of anthropogenic global warming, then by definition you cannot be taken seriously, and you don't deserve to participate in the actual debate about solutions.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on July 18, 2008 at 2:15 PM | PERMALINK

Why are you guys on the left so insecure about actually debating this topic?

Because people on the right keep bringing up "debate" topics that have been debunked over and over again. Once your evidence has been proven incorrect, you shouldn't keep using it as a point of debate as though it were true, and yet you guys persist in doing so.

Posted by: Mnemosyne on July 18, 2008 at 2:19 PM | PERMALINK

Too Late, the right has their thoughts for the day, it is done.

It will NEVER cease to amaze me how liberals think that debunking something like this actually does any good accept to inform people who pay CLOSE attention and want the truth - all people who are NOT remotely the target of this.
The fact is, this was another extremely successful effort to further cloud the issue going forward and mock the "losers" who believe in science.

You think Jonah will retract his statement? My Lord, look at how they still tell people China is drilling in Cuba. Sure a couple people were shamed into saying they were wrong about that but by then it was TOO LATE!! The echo chamber is fed. Rush has his show for the day. The minds are molded and they will never see reality because their controllers won?t let them. In short, this was a SUCCESSFUL effort to further condition the cult of conservatism?s minds.

They win. A couple blog posts or a spot on Olberman is NOT push back nor does it do any good. Look at how many still think Obama is a Muslim. Lot of good "push back" did there. CNN can do a show on how this Global Warming report was twisted and you know what conservatives will think? "That is CNN, they are liberal, I believe Jonah."

That is how it works. Conservatives think what they are told to think and they ONLY go to approved sources for info. They are controlled group.

Huge win for the reality free cult of conservatism, period.

Posted by: Packitin on July 18, 2008 at 2:20 PM | PERMALINK

a wrote: "That is not a statement of 'opinion', which Kevin somehow appears to think is important. It is a statement of fact. It can be verified. Is it true or is it not?"

The statement that you quote attributed to Jeffrey Marque of the APS is a statement of fact about people's opinions.

The statement asserts that it is a fact that certain people hold a certain opinion -- that "within the scientific community" there are "people who do not agree with the IPCC conclusion".

And yes, in fact, there are a tiny number of such people who hold that opinion. Most of them are not climate scientists. Many of them, like Monckton, are self-deluded cranks, and some of them, like Fred Singer, are deliberate frauds in the pay of the fossil fuel industry.

Marque is, in fact, entirely wrong when he asserts that these people constitute a "considerable presence" in the scientific community. In reality, they constitute a very, very small "presence", a miniscule fringe element, and they deserve no consideration.

And the ideologically-driven climate change denialism of people like yourself is already "unsustainable" and has been for years. Only fools and liars still engage in it. The rest of us have moved on to dealing with real problems like real adults.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on July 18, 2008 at 2:26 PM | PERMALINK

There are surely many scientists who believe the manmade global warming hypothesis.

Others do not. See, e.g. Freeman Dyson. http://www.nybooks.com/articles/21494; http://www.umich.edu/news/index.html?DysonWinCom05. SA, is it your view that Freeman Dyson is self-deluded crank or a fraud in the pay of Big Oil?

Posted by: DBL on July 18, 2008 at 3:13 PM | PERMALINK

DBL, Freeman Dyson is (1) not a climate scientist; (2) is not well-informed about climate science, as reflected by the numerous erroneous statements in the two articles you posted; and (3) nonetheless he does not deny the reality of anthropogenic global warming and consequent climate change.

Indeed, in his article in the New York Review of Books, Dyson not only explicitly acknowledges the reality of anthropogenic global warming from the burning of fossil fuels, but proposes approaches to dealing with it (genetically engineered trees that will absorb and sequester large amounts of CO2 from the atmosphere).

You climate change denialists on the "right" are really clueless, aren't you?

Posted by: SecularAnimist on July 18, 2008 at 3:29 PM | PERMALINK

I thought "doughy pantload" meant Gore. It's certainly more accurate than "visionary," which has to be some kind of monumental joke. I was going to comment on Testicular Anusmist's normal "blah, blah," but I can't muster the interest.

Posted by: BillyBobSchranzburg on July 18, 2008 at 3:33 PM | PERMALINK

Give Goldberg some credit.

This is the bottom of his post.

"Correction: Nevermind. I've led you astray. See here. From the APS website:

The American Physical Society reaffirms the following position on climate change, adopted by its governing body, the APS Council, on November 18, 2007:

"Emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities are changing the atmosphere in ways that affect the Earth's climate."

An article at odds with this statement recently appeared in an online newsletter of the APS Forum on Physics and Society, one of 39 units of APS. The header of this newsletter carries the statement that "Opinions expressed are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the APS or of the Forum." This newsletter is not a journal of the APS and it is not peer reviewed."

#########
Goldberg was wrong and openly admitted he was wrong.

I wish more people could admit there mistakes.

Posted by: neil wilson on July 18, 2008 at 3:39 PM | PERMALINK

No matter. Glenn Beck and the geniuses at Fox will be all over this all friday night, and the weekend will feature wire releases talking about the flip-flop of the APS, thanks to PC.
Bets?

Well... not exactly. The "talk" has been mostly about the "global warming" warnings as published in 1922 (see cite below). Issue appears to be the "dire" warnings over 80 years ago of melting icecaps, etc.

http://wattsupwiththat.wordpress.com/2008/03/16/you-ask-i-provide-november-2nd-1922-arctic-ocean-getting-warm-seals-vanish-and-icebergs-melt/

Posted by: pencarrow on July 18, 2008 at 4:30 PM | PERMALINK

BillyBobSchranzburg: "I was going to comment on Testicular Anusmist's normal 'blah, blah,' but I can't muster the interest."

Well, thanks anyway for mustering the effort to grunt incoherently.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on July 18, 2008 at 4:39 PM | PERMALINK

>is it your view that Freeman Dyson is self-deluded crank...?

The dude is proposing GMO trees that drop carbon as diamonds. One the ideas he's most famous for is his proposal to build a shell entirely enclosing the sun, using jupiter for construction material. Let's face it, Dyson has always been a bit cranky, he's a very entertaining phd who thinks out on the wild hairy edge of plausibility.

Posted by: Bruce the Canuck on July 18, 2008 at 4:44 PM | PERMALINK

Incoherent? I think not. I believe you understood me perfectly.

Posted by: BillyBobSchranzburg on July 18, 2008 at 4:47 PM | PERMALINK

SA,

Isn't it possible to have a discussion without name calling?

I think if you re-read both Dyson pieces, you'll see that he is, indeed, a skeptic (one who accepts what he labels the environmental religion), but one who is respectful of the views of other scientists and who goes out of his way in the NY Review article not to press his skepticism. What he is saying there is that if manmade global warming is a problem, it will be solved by technologies that today we can only imagine - he suggests some form of advanced genetic engineering.

As for Dyson's qualifications, well, he is a physicist just like the other 50,000 members of the APS, but unlike most of them, he is an extraordinary intellect, up there with Feynmann and Hawking. I suspect if you polled the APS members for their views on Dyson, you would find a great deal of respect, even among the most energetic advocates of the global warming hypothesis. But I suppose I should be glad that you don't think he's a crank or a fraud.

And by the way, Bruce, Dyson never got a Ph.D. Read his graduation speech at Michigan, I gave the cite up above.

Posted by: DBL on July 18, 2008 at 5:06 PM | PERMALINK

>And by the way, Bruce, Dyson never got a Ph.D...

Didn't know that, huh. Anyways I appreciate Dyson, he's a brilliant visionary and valuable to the culture. But his take on climate change is wrong for several reasons.

First, he mistakes the climate models as the end-all and be-all, when in fact the sensitivity of climate to a doubling of CO2 has been a robust result all the way from back-of-envelope calculations, to real world measurements, to the models he doubts. Second, short of biotech he doesn't even seem that interested or to appreciate nature's value in raw form; he's a died-in-the-wool hard-technology utopian. Dyson is sort of a non-strangelove version of Edward Teller in that way. I don't think he gets how much disruption the uneven climate shifts he dismisses could cause.

Third, he has a crush on biotech and so leans on it to save us from our mistakes at the last minute. That's a big bet to be making, given he admits himself how mixed his track record is at predicting future trends.

In the long term, I agree with him - if we survive this century we could have near-unlimited health and lifespans, stop the current extinction pulse, industrialize near-space, and go to the stars. In the short term, well, where are our "2001" space stations and manned jupiter missions with AI autopilots? Didn't quite work out, did it? Doesn't seem like it's smart to bet the farm on stuff that doesn't even work in the lab yet, to save us.

Posted by: Bruce the Canuck on July 18, 2008 at 5:28 PM | PERMALINK

DBL wrote: "... if manmade global warming is a problem, it will be solved by technologies that today we can only imagine ..."

To the extent that Dyson questions the reality of anthropogenic global warming, that reveals his ignorance of climate science. Certainly his writings about the science of climate change are full of errors and misunderstandings.

To the extent that Dyson thinks that anthropogenic global warming will be solved by "technologies that today we can only imagine", that reveals his ignorance of zero-carbon energy technologies that already exist and can readily be applied now to solve the problem. We certainly don't need to wait for the genetically engineered carbon-eating diamond trees that Dyson imagines to be the solution.

It is certainly possible for someone to be extremely intelligent, and also grossly ignorant. Unfortunately, people like Dyson are sometimes so impressed by their own intelligence that it blinds them to their ignorance. They seem to think that because they are so smart, they don't actually need to know the facts. Dyson clearly does not know the facts about anthropogenic global warming.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on July 18, 2008 at 7:32 PM | PERMALINK

I doubt that "largely driven" is the proper phrasing here. As far as a consensus among "scientists," wouldn't it be more like "a significant factor"?

Nice catch, however, in the scientific community this argument is so "yesterday" (seriously).

This semantical difference was the essence of a lot of conversations until relatively recently.

The general consensus I sense from being close to the climate change scientific community is as follows:
"the dramatic rate of change that we are observing is being largely driven by human activity"

Warming and global climate change have been happening for quite a while. Its the dramatic increase in rate of change that is so startling. There is significant published research that points to human activity as the primary driving factor in that rate of change.

Sorry for being so verbose in explaining this, but the scientific community must be explicit, whereas the skeptics and cherry pick and lay out any old 10 words and not be held accountable for the crap they spew.

Posted by: Simp on July 18, 2008 at 10:04 PM | PERMALINK

"Limited to climate change impacts in the United States, the report found a likely increase in food and water-borne germs as the world warms and habitat ranges expand for some disease-causing organisms."

I'm betting that in ten years the Wingnuts will be excoriating Al Gore and "An Inconvenient Truth" for being "overly optimistic"...

Posted by: Shouting at the Rain on July 19, 2008 at 12:35 AM | PERMALINK

Why are you guys on the left so insecure about actually debating this topic?

If, by "insecure," you mean "laughing and spitting in the faces of superstitious morons," I think you've got a real mystery, there.
.

Posted by: Grand Moff Texan on July 19, 2008 at 10:54 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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