Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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December 19, 2008

LOU DOBBS, COLD WEATHER, WARMING PLANET.... This stopped being funny several years ago. Every winter, most of the country gets cold, and lots of snow falls. And every winter, conservatives point to the winter weather as evidence that global warming isn't real. And every winter, people who know what they're talking about smack their heads in frustration.

Yesterday, CNN's Lou Dobbs helped demonstrate just how inane this tedious practice has become. (thanks to reader D.K. for the heads-up)

Dobbs told viewers that the weather has been "unbelievable," because there are "unusual storms and a deep freeze across much of the country tonight." Dobbs was particularly animated about snowfall in Las Vegas, Malibu, and Payson, Arizona. "So what are those folks talking about global warming?" Dobbs asked incredulously.

To "discuss" the subject, Dobbs invited CNN meteorologist Chad Myers and Heartland Institute science director Jay Lehr onto the show.

Not surprisingly, Lehr told Dobbs what he wanted to hear, starting with an anecdote about Lehr's sky diving hobby.

LEHR: I have jumped out of a plane in Ohio every month for 31 years, and I track the weather constantly to find out if I can make it out of a plane. And I can tell you, the weather the last ten years hasn't been significantly different than the ten years before that or the ten years before that. It has been -- it is always changes what the weather is about. And to say that it has to do with global warming is really more of a joke than anything else. Why people are so alarmed about it, I have no clue.

DOBBS: You know, that's fascinating.

Before ending the segment, Lehr added that the sun, "not man," warms the planet, and that "right now," we're "going in to cooling rather than warming."

Let's quickly highlight reality here. First, it's not the sun. Second, snowfall on one day in one part of the country does not reflect "climate." Third, an anecdote about sky-diving experimentation is not indicative of climate science. Fourth, though Dobbs apparently forgot to mention it, the Heartland Institute is a conservative think tank subsidized by ExxonMobil, not an independent scientific organization, and Jay Lehr's background is in "groundwater hydrology," not climate science.

Oh, and fifth, this is not "fascinating."

Why CNN airs this nonsense, in between commercials promoting its "Planet in Peril" series, is a mystery.

Update: I neglected to mention that the bizarre commentary from CNN's Chad Myers wasn't much better. He argued that it's "arrogant" to think that humans can affect the climate ("Mother nature is so big," he said) and that people who accept global warming are only looking at "a hundred years worth of data, not millions of years that the world has been around."

Why is this man a CNN meteorologist?

Steve Benen 9:20 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (77)

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Comments

On top of that, warmer air contains more moisture. More moisture in the air would produce more snow. Dobbs should talk to the firefighters out west who have seen the wildfire season gradually expanding on both ends.....

Posted by: Fire Ant on December 19, 2008 at 9:24 AM | PERMALINK

Anyone who took "General Science" as a high school freshman should know the difference between "weather" and "climate", and so they should be able tell that Dobbs and the rest of the Global Warming deniers are full of crap. The fact that most Americans don't recognize these things is a national disgrace.

I know the incoming president has more than a full plate of problems to deal with. But I hope he makes an effort to make science "cool" again, the way Kennedy did in the 60s. Our national and economic security depend on it.

Posted by: SteveT on December 19, 2008 at 9:33 AM | PERMALINK

Lou Dobbs is the master of insincere arguments. First he portrays himself as a charming populist and an intellectual. Then he selectively invites guests, vouches for their credibility or bias, and limits discussion to simplistic concepts. Then, he pushes the "common sense" theme that if you trust your instincts, you will realize you know everything you will ever need to know. Finally, he reinforces his audience's certainty with inane viewer polls that always suggest that 95% "get it". He makes Fox News look like amateurs.

Posted by: Danp on December 19, 2008 at 9:34 AM | PERMALINK

no year since 1998 has been as warm as 1998.

average global temps have not risen since 1998.

co2 and all other man-made "greenhouse gases" have steadily increased during this time.

therefore, they are not driving climate change, and especially not warming since there is none.

current warming is not significantly different than warming in other eras; in fact the geological record proves that earth has always had climate change - well before humans, before humans had a carbon footprint or emitted any "greenhouse gases".

AGW is the biggest hoax since marxism.

Posted by: dan on December 19, 2008 at 9:36 AM | PERMALINK

Saw Lawrence Lessig speak in San Francisco the other night and in his talk he noted that:

A survey of Nobel Scientists found absolutely total unanimity that global warming exists and is serious and getting worse rapidly

A survey of hundreds of articles in the media in recent years found 56% of them disputed global warming.

All were based on pseudo science generated by "think tanks" sponsored by or in partnership with financial interests bent on delaying any significant action on global warming for their own purposes.

Lessig's bottom line. Only public financing of elections will help eliminate the vast public perception that they can trust virtually nobody to tell them the truth because of the perception that money equals truth.

Posted by: dweb on December 19, 2008 at 9:38 AM | PERMALINK

Uh dan....forget the last ten years as a matter of argument and simply look at the bigger view:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Instrumental_Temperature_Record.svg

There does seem to be an eensy beensy trend there.

Posted by: dweb on December 19, 2008 at 9:45 AM | PERMALINK

Jay Lehr always was a free market guy, long before his conviction (Did Dobbs mention Lehr's run-in with the law, that led to his ousting from the National Water Well Association?). In 1977, he editorialized, "I honestly believe that there is less need today for federal regulation of our nation's water than at any time in our history." (Ground Water, July-August 1977).

Posted by: mark on December 19, 2008 at 9:46 AM | PERMALINK

Lou Dobbs is nothing more than a massive , repulsive, hemmoroid on the asshole of Lucifer himself ...

Posted by: stormskies on December 19, 2008 at 9:46 AM | PERMALINK

I always find people who use this logic to be puzzling. Using their logic, a person can not possibly have a cold and claim to be feel warm. One negates the other without considering any other facts or circumstances.

Posted by: ashton on December 19, 2008 at 9:48 AM | PERMALINK

Um, if anecdotal proves the point, then maybe Lou could explain why it's been in the 70s for a week here in Georgia, lows in the 60s, when typically we have lows in the 20s or 30s and highs in the 40s or 50s.

Just sayin'.

Posted by: tess on December 19, 2008 at 9:48 AM | PERMALINK

Why is this man a CNN meteorologist?

Because he looks good on teevee and can be depended on to deliver good sound bites on command.

FWIW, the American Meteorological Society has officially acknowledged that the Earth has been warming over the past 200 years at that human activity is contributing to it.

Posted by: David W. on December 19, 2008 at 9:52 AM | PERMALINK

The glaciers in Lou's mind have NOT retreated. Need he say more? No, he need not.

Posted by: Michael7843853 on December 19, 2008 at 9:54 AM | PERMALINK

I really got to laugh when I hear how could man effect the climate it's so huge and mankind is so small. Bwahahahahahahahaha. Let's start with an example that maybe the averge third grader could understand. Oh the hell with it these people believe what they want to believe and science be damned.

Posted by: Gandalf on December 19, 2008 at 9:56 AM | PERMALINK

no year since 1998 has been as warm as 1998.

This is true.

average global temps have not risen since 1998.

This is a lie.

co2 and all other man-made "greenhouse gases" have steadily increased during this time.

This is also true.

Your conclusion is based on one false premise, two correct ones, and the fact that you're a mouth-breathing retard. I think I'll trust actual scientists, thanks.

Posted by: Matt on December 19, 2008 at 9:59 AM | PERMALINK

won't you people ever give up on your thoroughly discredited theory?
don't you know how unbelievably idiotic you look telling people that record cold temperatures are the result of global warming?
you people deserve every bit of derision that is coming your way.

Posted by: yo on December 19, 2008 at 10:00 AM | PERMALINK

Lessig's bottom line. Only public financing of elections ...

In a world with public financing, I would advise a candidate 1) Become famous first. Can you sing or act? Are you the child or wife of someone famous? Far more people know Barbra Streisand's views than Lessig's. 2) Cozy up to the media. They're not publicly financed, and they will be far more important than 30 second ads. A Lou Dobbs or Keith Olbermann endorsement is far more effective than Paul Volker's, at least in the short run. and 3) Don't waste your time if you haven't done 1 or 2. Merely telling the truth is not enough.

Posted by: Danp on December 19, 2008 at 10:01 AM | PERMALINK

The best analogy I've heard for this was, to paraphrase, to suggest that cold weather today in a specific place contraindicates global climate change is literally as stupid as pointing to the number of obituaries in the paper as evidence that the global population is not expanding.

It is literally that stupid.


Posted by: Buffalonian on December 19, 2008 at 10:03 AM | PERMALINK


people who accept global warming are only looking at "a hundred years worth of data, not millions of years that the world has been around."

Wait a minute......I thought the earth was 10,000 years old? These bible thumping misinformers are beginning to confuse themselves.

Posted by: palinoscopy on December 19, 2008 at 10:08 AM | PERMALINK

He argued that it's "arrogant" to think that humans can affect the climate

This is what I'll never, ever understand about the modern American conservative movement -- they've climbed so far up their own asses that they no longer even understand the simplest concepts in the English language.

It isn't "arrogant" to think that your actions can have far-ranging unintended consequences. It's arrogant to believe that they can't.

Posted by: AJL on December 19, 2008 at 10:11 AM | PERMALINK

"...people who accept global warming are only looking at "a hundred years worth of data, not millions of years that the world has been around."

Um, scientists have paleoclimate date that gives a pretty good picture of climate going back millions of years. For example, I first read about paleoclimate inferences using foraminifera and changes in ocean oxygen isotopes when I was in graduate school working on my master's in physical anthropology, well before global warming was a common topic among politicians or the media. The data are pretty clear that climate change is *accelerating* beyond what is documented about the past by such methods.
Furthermore, talk to any landscaping nursery professionals and they'll tell you how they've had to change many of their growing techniques over time to accommodate changes in weather patterns. My brother in law is one such nurseryman and he's told us about increasing problems he saw toward the end of his long career in growing a variety of nursery plants.

Posted by: Varecia on December 19, 2008 at 10:15 AM | PERMALINK

Speaking as someone who lived in Vegas for a short time, the city is surrounded by mountains, and I know they had snow there at least as far back as 2000-2001, so that is hardly new--although it surprised me when I first visited after living in the northeast most of my life. You can go skiing in the mountains less than an hour outside the city.
It can also gets fairly cold there in the winter.

Does this mean global warming isn't real or that the average global temp hasn't gone up? Definitely not. Did anyone notice the polar ice caps are melting and polar bears are nearing extinction? Maybe the polar bears are in on the hoax--I always suspected they were marxists.

Posted by: Allan Snyder on December 19, 2008 at 10:20 AM | PERMALINK

The quote by CNN meteorologist Chad Myers should be saved for future refutation.

Articles in peer astronomer reviewed publications are biased by the certainty that the generally accepted THEORY is fact and not theory. The theory was formulated by historical observations and there is the natural reluctance to reconsider it because that could make published materials and university lecture plans obsolete. A new and minority theory of electrical activity in understanding the universe is gaining popularity because it predicts the new observations that contradict the established theory. The sun does influence our climate, BUT there is strong evidence that man and our environmental pollutions probably have the greater influence on the warming of earth’s climate.

Posted by: renaissanceguy on December 19, 2008 at 10:21 AM | PERMALINK

won't you people ever give up on your thoroughly discredited theory?

Find me a thoroughly discredited theory, and I'll be happy to give up on it. Your problem is that you don't understand what a theory is, how it might be discredited or, indeed, what you're even talking about.

Posted by: Matt on December 19, 2008 at 10:21 AM | PERMALINK

I caught a glimpse of that show yesterday and thought maybe I was hallucinating. I couldn't believe it. How can Lou Dobbs be allowed to have such a prime time mainstream show discussing such junk science?

Posted by: Jane on December 19, 2008 at 10:24 AM | PERMALINK

@ Dan 9:36 & yo 10:00

You seem pretty convinced of your beliefs. I used to believe in Santa. Then I grew-up and joined the world of adults.

Posted by: palinoscopy on December 19, 2008 at 10:28 AM | PERMALINK

To paraphrase a bit: god must love assholes, he made so many. But hey, this is what you get when you've had eight solid years of pro-stupid, anti-science whackos in charge.

Posted by: rbe1 on December 19, 2008 at 10:32 AM | PERMALINK

I caught a glimpse of that show yesterday and thought maybe I was hallucinating. I couldn't believe it. How can Lou Dobbs be allowed to have such a prime time mainstream show discussing such junk science?

That's infotainment!

Posted by: David W. on December 19, 2008 at 10:35 AM | PERMALINK

I'm no scientist, but isn't gravity a theory as well?

Posted by: Allan Snyder on December 19, 2008 at 10:40 AM | PERMALINK

"that people who accept global warming are only looking at "a hundred years worth of data, not millions of years that the world has been around."

OK. We have mother nature for millions of years(or 6000 if you are a religious sickie) changing the weather. This is a constant. So, what we are really asking is if a new variable,man, is now contributing to the weather?

Until the industrial revolution, did man really have any influence on the atmosphere and weather? The most he contributed to it was burning garbage . If you can think of more influences by man, please contribute them. The industrial revolution changed everything, especially when it came to polluting the environment. Mass producers of goods contributed mass amounts of pollutants that could finally have the volume of "non-natural" materials in the atmosphere to contribute to climate change.

My point is that until the industrial revolution, man didn't have the capabilities to influence the atmosphere that he currently has. So,IMHO, Chad is wayyy of base when he says we have to look back millions of years.Mother Nature dwadled around for millions of years without man's influence; it's only since 1800 that man has had the possibility of adding another variable(pollution) to the equation.

So, the real question is why has the weather changed so dramatically the last century? Was there any new variable that explain the change, or was everything the same throughout history? What changed is man's input into the environment, and what has come as a result is global warming.

Man is the cause of global warming. Realize it, and let's do something about it, for all our sakes!

Posted by: barkleyg on December 19, 2008 at 10:44 AM | PERMALINK

how cold does it have to get before you people stop believe in your religion, ie. global warming.

the fact that you changed terminology to climate change itself indicates a lack of conviction that the earth is warming. and soon it will get a lot colder based on sun activity.

the sun is the primary cause - human activity is a rounding error of a rounding error.

Posted by: skeptic on December 19, 2008 at 10:49 AM | PERMALINK

Between 1.5 trillion and 2 trillion tons of ice in Greenland, Antarctica and Alaska have melted at an accelerating rate since 2003, according to NASA scientists, in the latest signs of what they say is global warming. ... NASA's Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment, or GRACE, mission uses two orbiting satellites to measure the "mass balance" of a glacier, or the net annual difference between ice accumulation and ice loss.

But we had some sleet this morning, so they must be wrong.

Posted by: Allan Snyder on December 19, 2008 at 10:49 AM | PERMALINK

gravity is a law


Why do conservative assholes always feel compelled to create pseudo institutions that mimic real institutions?

Posted by: palinoscopy on December 19, 2008 at 10:50 AM | PERMALINK

Global warming may be like the housing bubble, with lots of self-interested deniers, followed by an epic disaster.

The climate is a complex system and we're conducting a freewheeling, unhedged experiment with it (picture: guys in white smocks messing with the control rods at the Chernobyl reactor).

Any kind of dramatic climate change---hotter, colder, wetter, drier---could be utterly ruinous for a species that can just barely feed itself to begin with.

Posted by: CFG in IL on December 19, 2008 at 10:52 AM | PERMALINK

Global warming v. Immigration.

Score: Dobbs 1, PC libs 1

CO2 output is largely a result of US illegals driving all their ninos around in minivans and SUV's. I think you'll find diversity, food, water, and oil becoming a problem in the US long before global warming.

Posted by: Luther on December 19, 2008 at 10:59 AM | PERMALINK

"how cold does it have to get before you people stop believe in your religion, ie. global warming.

the sun is the primary cause - human activity is a rounding error of a rounding error.
Posted by: skeptic on December 19, 2008 at 10:49 "

Actually dipshit is correct on one point. According to paleoclimate models we should be entering a period of substantial cooling compared to the past several thousand years. But unfortunately, man's, strike that, mechanized activities are able to easily trump that trend.

I hope all these bible thumpers enjoy heat, because God has prepared a "special place" for just for them.

Posted by: palinoscopy on December 19, 2008 at 11:00 AM | PERMALINK

Steve Benen wrote: "... the Heartland Institute is a conservative think tank subsidized by ExxonMobil ..."

More accurately, the Heartland Institute is a pseudo-ideological propaganda mill, masquerading as a "conservative" think tank, which cranks out fake, phony, pseudoscientific drivel funded by ExxonMobil.

Steve Benen wrote: "Why CNN airs this nonsense, in between commercials promoting its 'Planet in Peril' series, is a mystery."

You are easily mystified by the media, probably because you labor under the illusion that so-called "news" organizations like CNN are journalistic enterprises, when in reality they are corporate propaganda machines.

CNN airs this nonsense because CNN, like the rest of the corporate-owned, so-called "mainstream" mass media, is nothing but the wholly-owned propaganda arm of America's Ultra-Rich Ruling Class, Inc.

And the fossil fuel corporations, like ExxonMobil, are the ultra-richest of the ultra-rich, and they want to keep it that way. So the corporate propaganda shills at CNN are obliged to give ExxonMobil's bullshit propaganda at least equal time with scientific facts.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on December 19, 2008 at 11:05 AM | PERMALINK

For these guys it's all god's will. How pathetic.

Posted by: Cycledoc on December 19, 2008 at 11:06 AM | PERMALINK

"Over the last century, the average temperature near Columbus,
Ohio, has increased 0.3°F, and precipitation has increased by up
to 10% in this and other parts of the state, and declined by up to
10% in the southern part of the state. These past trends may or
may not continue into the future.
Over the next century, climate in Ohio may experience additional
changes. For example, based on projections made by the Intergovernmental
Panel on Climate Change and results from the
United Kingdom Hadley Centre’s climate model (HadCM2), a
model that accounts for both greenhouse gases and aerosols, by
2100 temperatures in Ohio could increase by 3°F in winter, spring,
and summer (with a range of 1-6°F) and 4°F in fall (with a range of
2-7°F)."

http://yosemite.epa.gov/OAR/globalwarming.nsf/UniqueKeyLookup/SHSU5BVJVM/$File/oh_impct.pdf

More fun in the same document:

"One study projects that heat-related deaths could nearly double
in both Cleveland and Columbus given a 4°F warming, from about
30 to 60 (although increased air conditioning use may not have
been fully accounted for). In Cincinnati, summer deaths are
estimated to nearly triple with a warming of 3°F, from 14 to 42. The
elderly, especially those living alone, are at greatest risk. This
study also projects little change in winter-related deaths in
Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati.
Climate change could increase concentrations of ground-level
ozone. For example, high temperatures, strong sunlight, and
stable air masses tend to increase urban ozone levels. A 2°F
warming in the Midwest, with no other change in weather or
emissions, could increase concentrations of ozone, a major
component of smog, by as much as 8%. Perhaps more important,
however, is that the area exceeding national health standards
for ozone could increase. Currently, Cincinnati is classified as a
“moderate” nonattainment area for ozone, and increased temperatures
could increase ozone concentrations further. Ground-level
ozone is associated with respiratory illnesses such as asthma,
reduced lung function, and respiratory inflammation. Air pollution
also is made worse by increases in natural hydrocarbon emissions
such as emissions of terpenes by trees and shrubs
during hot weather. If a warmed climate causes increased use
of air conditioners, air pollutant emissions from power plants
also will increase. Upper and lower respiratory allergies also are
influenced by humidity. A 2°F warming and wetter conditions
could increase respiratory allergies."

Posted by: Brian Schmidt on December 19, 2008 at 11:09 AM | PERMALINK

Liberalism is a mental disorder.

AGW is a complete hoax designed to scare people into submitting to the Liberal agenda - total control over people's lives.

Dissent cannot be tolerated by liberals because they have no principles to stand on.

Posted by: conservative on December 19, 2008 at 11:10 AM | PERMALINK

As usual, the weak-minded ignorant dumbass dittoheads are here to confidently propound their "Climate Science According To Rush Limbaugh".

There is no other topic, no other context, in which so-called "conservatives" make it more obvious that they are nothing more or less than stupid, ignorant mental slaves of fake, phony, pseudo-ideological corporate-sponsored propaganda.

Corporate America, e.g. ExxonMobil, made a good investment when they decided to build up the so-called "conservative" propaganda machine (talk radio, Fox News, etc) and use it to brainwash gullible fools into embracing and disseminating their bullshit, pseudoscientific global warming denial propaganda.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on December 19, 2008 at 11:11 AM | PERMALINK

"I'm no scientist, but isn't gravity a theory as well?"
After a consistent set of perhaps a million or more experiments have been conducted to test a hypothesis, the hypothesis tends to be regarded as a law, though certainly not in any legal sense. The problem with non-scientists' objections to the idea that global warming is real, is that the scientific evidence is overwhelming that the AVERAGE temperature of the earth is at least 2-4 degrees centigrade higher than it was around 100 years ago. That may not sound like much, but the earth is a very large object and the amount of heat required to raise its temperature by this much has been astronomical. The conclusion of the overwhelming majority of the community of climatologists is that human industrial activity over this period has correlated very strongly with the rate of increase in the earth's average temperature over the same period. For me it is both amusing and sad to see people deny what is happening as we watch the polar icecap melt.

Posted by: rbe1 on December 19, 2008 at 11:15 AM | PERMALINK

Allan Snyder: "I'm no scientist, but isn't gravity a theory as well?"

Yes, there is a "theory of gravity", just as there is a "theory" of anthropogenic global warming.

According to the mental slaves of Rush Limbaugh who are here today to share with us Rush's wisdom and insight into climate science, the fact that there is a "theory" of gravity, proves that there is no such thing as gravity. It is only a theory.

Also, because there is a "theory" of electromagnetism, there is no such thing as electricity. Indeed, electrical engineers, and even ordinary electricians, who use the theory of electromagnetism in their work, are really engaged in Liberal Plot to gain total control over people's lives by perpetrating the complete hoax of electricity.

Also, because there is a "theory" of music, there is no such thing as music. All that stuff you hear on the radio, or download into your iPod? You thought it was "music", right? Well, you've been duped by the Liberal Media. It's all a Liberal Hoax to gain total control over people's lives.

This is why Rush Limbaugh is right, and thousands of climate scientists who have studied the issue of anthropogenic global warming diligently and in depth for decades, are wrong.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on December 19, 2008 at 11:20 AM | PERMALINK

The conclusion of the overwhelming majority of the community of climatologists is that human industrial activity over this period has correlated very strongly with the rate of increase in the earth's average temperature over the same period. For me it is both amusing and sad to see people deny what is happening as we watch the polar icecap melt.

I don't doubt the science on this issue--the correlation is clear, as well as what we can see right before our eyes--the rapid melting of the ice caps.
I'm just amazed at the number of drooling Limbots who show up here, and who believe a drug-addicted talk show host and oil-funded pseudo science over the real experts. Is NASA part of the liberal conspiracy as well?

Posted by: Allan Snyder on December 19, 2008 at 11:22 AM | PERMALINK

"conservative" wrote: "Liberalism is a mental disorder."

Perhaps so. That's still better than "conservatism", which is pure bullshit.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on December 19, 2008 at 11:22 AM | PERMALINK

After a consistent observation of millions of liberals, this is not a theory:

LIBERALISM IS A MENTAL DISORDER

Posted by: conservative on December 19, 2008 at 11:25 AM | PERMALINK

Damn scientists and their partisan agenda. I'll listen to some drooling wingnut Limbots instead, since they've provided such sound evidence to the contrary.

Posted by: Allan Snyder on December 19, 2008 at 11:30 AM | PERMALINK

"Liberalism is a mental disorder.

AGW is a complete hoax designed to scare people"

There is nothing more interesting than an internet shrink, who goes on to display paranoia.

Posted by: ashton on December 19, 2008 at 11:36 AM | PERMALINK

After reading a few posts, this is a law:

CONSERVATIVE IS A DOUCHEBAG.

Posted by: Shine on December 19, 2008 at 11:36 AM | PERMALINK

Please listen to the scientists - 31,072 reject the liberal religion: global warming.

http://www.petitionproject.org/

Soon the consensus will be against AGW, and the liberals have always told us how science is governed by consensus.

Posted by: AGW_DENIER on December 19, 2008 at 11:40 AM | PERMALINK

There's the science and then there's the politics. The science has shown some warm years in 1998 and 2005 but also some cooling trends. Bad math made a lot of the really shocking graphs that were shown in Al Gore's movie suspect. If the science does show warming it'll be hard to come up with a consensus on how rapid it is or how harmful - the planet was much hotter in the Midieval times when Vikings grew crops on Greenland, and I don't think there were too many SUVs back then. There is no accurate model yet that can take as input a specific level of CO2 emission and output a rising sea level.

Then there's the politics. Cap and trade is nothing more than a energy tax and a wealth transfer from industrialized countries to poor countries. If you work in US or foreign government or an affiliated NGO its a massive windfall and power grab. If you're an American consumer its a massive tax and your kids will be wearing sweaters at home and in school in the winter time so they don't freeze. If you're a foreign citizen in an underdeveloped country, you'll see your government get wealthier and more corrupt and possibly more oppressive, militaristic, and expansionist.

If the world is getting warmer due to carbon emissions and there is damage, then the developed countries of the world should invest $100B in "green" funds in a number of successful venture capital companies and provide another $100B in R&D tax credits related to green energy production and overall efficiency. But that's a free market solution using American industry and ingenuity so the left will never go for it - they'd rather have a corrupt international agency in place that publishes 300 page reports on how our way of live is unsustainable and we should all live like Cubans in a socialist utopia.

Posted by: therealist on December 19, 2008 at 11:51 AM | PERMALINK

"Soon the consensus will be against AGW, and the liberals have always told us how science is governed by consensus."

Oh dear, now we are reduced to making psychic predictions. For a cherry on top, we then justify our prediction as being noteworthy based on what liberals have always told us, despite the fact that it hasn't happened.

There's quite a bit of crazy in that single sentence.

Posted by: ashton on December 19, 2008 at 11:52 AM | PERMALINK


Why CNN airs this nonsense, in between commercials promoting its "Planet in Peril" series, is a mystery.

Sponsors. Universities and scientific societies don't buy much ad time on CNN. Fossil fuel, power, auto, shipping related industries? Lots.

So they feed both sides, keep both the sponsors and the majority of the viewers happy.

Posted by: winner on December 19, 2008 at 11:59 AM | PERMALINK

If we lived in a normal country and broadcast news was a normal profession, someone in the limelight like Lou Dobbs, expressing such ignorance in such a public forum, would simply be dismissed. Honestly, what an embarrassment.

Posted by: Chris on December 19, 2008 at 12:01 PM | PERMALINK

If the world is getting warmer due to carbon emissions and there is damage, then the developed countries of the world should invest $100B in "green" funds in a number of successful venture capital companies and provide another $100B in R&D tax credits related to green energy production and overall efficiency. But that's a free market solution using American industry and ingenuity so the left will never go for it -

A $100 billion investment by the government is a free market solution? Lol. Will a single intelligent conservative be posting here? Oh right, "intelligent conservative" is an oxymoron.
Just a bunch of adhoms and strawmen--

they'd rather have a corrupt international agency in place that publishes 300 page reports on how our way of live is unsustainable and we should all live like Cubans in a socialist utopia.

thanks for proving my point.

Posted by: Allan Snyder on December 19, 2008 at 12:03 PM | PERMALINK

Luther: I think you'll find diversity, food, water, and oil becoming a problem in the US long before global warming.

Couple of things, Luther. First, diversity is a problem? I thought that any time a system became more diverse it became stronger. Like a stock portfolio or jazz band. What you meant to say is that brown people are a bigger problem than global warming. But the reality is, the primary diverse culture that threatens the strength of America is the racist one.

Also, if your car has bad brakes, a hole in the radiator, and a frayed belt, which do you fix? Of course, the correct answer is all three. So, why would we worry about food, oil, and water and ignore global warming and the environment. Fact is, they're all connected.

Finally, if Global Warming is a "liberal conspiracy," what's its purpose? What's the agenda? It's easy to see how big oil would benefit by discrediting Global Warming. But, what is the benefit for liberals if the fact of Global Warming is accepted and acted upon? Cleaner air? Less dependency on foreign oil? Economic stability?

Seriously, explain it to me.

Posted by: chrenson on December 19, 2008 at 12:16 PM | PERMALINK

Further proof that CNN stands for Cretins' News Network - on both sides of the news desk.

Posted by: TCinLA on December 19, 2008 at 12:32 PM | PERMALINK

Hey, "conservative," thanks for your tireless work in demonstrating that "homo sap," the biped who lacks frontal lobes and opposable thumbs, can use computers just like the real people.

Maybe you should consider becoming a "good conservative" like Paul Weyrich did.

Posted by: TCinLA on December 19, 2008 at 12:41 PM | PERMALINK

I often wish those who would deny science in the name of capitalism or Jesus (is there a difference these days?) would also deny themselves the science that has given us computers and the internet.

That way they'd stop clogging the tubes with their stupid.

Posted by: doubtful on December 19, 2008 at 1:01 PM | PERMALINK

AGW is the biggest hoax since marxism.

Before or after the Federal Government had to pump upwards near a trillion dollars into failing Free Market enterprises?

Posted by: Mick on December 19, 2008 at 1:37 PM | PERMALINK

Liberalism is a mental disorder.

AGW is a complete hoax designed to scare people into submitting to the Liberal agenda - total control over people's lives.

Dissent cannot be tolerated by liberals because they have no principles to stand on.

Posted by: conservative on December 19, 2008 at 11:10 AM

Fixed:

Conservativism is a mental disorder.

Current Foreign/Domestic policy is a complete hoax designed to scare people into submitting to the Conservative agenda - total control over people's lives.

Dissent cannot be tolerated by conservatives because they have no principles to stand on.

Posted by: Mick on December 19, 2008 at 2:06 PM | PERMALINK
He argued that it's "arrogant" to think that humans can affect the climate ("Mother nature is so big," he said) and that people who accept global warming are only looking at "a hundred years worth of data, not millions of years that the world has been around."

It is worth noting that the last claim is false in several important respects.

Principally, climate scientists refer to a number of different sources of evidence of past climate history, including geological sources which are useful for time scales anywhere from single-digit millions of years up to single-digit billions of years (the latter, not the former, being the age of the Earth from all available evidence), a variety of other methods of reconstructing temperature that are good on scales ranging from several hundred to millions of years, and of course direct temperature records for which we have decent records for about a century and a half.

So, in fact, climate scientists are not merely looking at 100 years of data out of the "millions" of years that Earth has been around, they are looking at data covering the billions of years that Earth has been around.

Now, for various reasons (resolution, relevance to impacts on human society, relevance to impacts of human society) the most recent data is by far the most important. But its not the only thing climate scientists consider.

Posted by: cmdicely on December 19, 2008 at 2:10 PM | PERMALINK

it's not the sun

Huh? If it isn't the sun, then where does the energy for the "greenhouse effect" come from. You must mean something different.

The point about recent cold isn't that it's as cold as usual in the winter, but that it is so much colder than usual. The year 2008 has seen the breaking of many cold records of 25 - 150 years' of age. Not a single global model made the correct forecast for the temperatures of 2008, all being too high by more than the margin of error.

The solar cooling folks correctly predicted the cooling of 2008, but the anthropogenic-GHG-induced global warming folks did not.

The anthropogenic-GHG-induced global warming folks were also wrong when they predicted much greater activity for the 2007 and 2008 hurrican/typhoon seasons, when ended below average.

There are competing forecasts for the next 5 - 15 years. The solar cooling folks predict continued cooling, and the anthropogenic-GHG-induced global warming folks predict continued warming. So tote up the evidence and see who is right.

From 30 years out, both sets of folks predict warming, but the solar cooling folks predict warming **up to** the average of the last 30 years, whereas the anthropogenic-GHG-induced global warming folks predict global warming **much higher than** the mean of the last 30 years.

It's too soon to tell, but if the trend of the last two years persists, the next two years will be even colder. In the meantime, tote up all the evidence. And of course, buy CO2 offsets, because most of those are good investments no matter what the long-term temperature trend is.

Posted by: MatthewRMarler on December 19, 2008 at 2:21 PM | PERMALINK

conservative: AGW is a complete hoax designed to scare people into submitting to the Liberal agenda - total control over people's lives.

And that would be why conservatives are such vocal advocates for basic freedoms like: the right for gays to marry; keeping abortion safe and legal; and open borders.

Oh...wait...

Posted by: chrenson on December 19, 2008 at 2:51 PM | PERMALINK

You know, someone as crafty as Dobbs could make a pretty good profit off of this hoax...

I strongly suggest he start buying up all of the low-lying coastal land he can afford. Then, when the radio talk show hosts are proven right, and the world's climatologists are proven wrong, Dobbs will be a gazillionaire.

Posted by: Giant Kid on December 19, 2008 at 2:57 PM | PERMALINK

"There's the science and then there's the politics. The science has shown some warm years in 1998 and 2005 but also some cooling trends ..."

The science has been plotting average temperatures for 100 years or more. Temperatures in individual years do not indicate climatic warming or cooling trends. One has to pay attention to the running average, which is clearly up from the beginning of the industrial era. One must also look with some care at CO2 levels, as they are definitely determinative for greenhouse warming, and to the rate at which the polar ice is melting and the impact this has on the average albedo of the earth's surface. One must also pay attention to the manner in which energy is being transported via the earth's atmosphere and oceans, including, but not limited to, hurricane frequencies and magnitudes. In short, one must pay attention to the science and see where it is leading. Climate changes are governed at their roots by non-linear dynamical processes. Non-linear processes in the atmosphere and oceans can produce some very big changes in behavior from seemingly small variations in temperature and CO2 concentrations. It is these non-linear processes which are intrinsically difficult to model accurately which have the climate scientists concerned, because for this type of dynamics, tipping points once reached can produce irreversible changes (ie, on the order of hundreds to thousands of years) in climate.

Posted by: rbe1 on December 19, 2008 at 3:07 PM | PERMALINK

"the sun is the primary cause - human activity is a rounding error of a rounding error ..."

Are you saying that the sun's output is changing ? If so, I think there might be a few thousand astronomers who would like to disagree with you.

Posted by: rbe1 on December 19, 2008 at 3:11 PM | PERMALINK

I�ll bet non of you eco freaks posting here don't know that the theory of ESCALATING global warming from the �theory� concerning life giving CO2, is one year short of being A QUARTER OF A CENTURY OLD!!!!!!!!!!!!! So for all you glowbull whiners out there that think a few years is not long enough, ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,GET REAL.

Posted by: mememine69 on December 19, 2008 at 3:46 PM | PERMALINK

LIBERALISM IS A MENTAL DISORDER-Conservative

Isn't that a bumper sticker? So you don't even have an original thought when it comes to a comment...

Weather extremes of all kinds are evidence of global warming. Here in TX we are having the second driest year in history. Record snowfalls, floods, hurricanes and forest fires. All perfectly normal, move along, nothing to see here.


Posted by: Always Hopeful on December 19, 2008 at 3:47 PM | PERMALINK

To all the global warming deniers out there I've got a simple question:

Wouldn't it be better to do something to combat global warming and ultimately be wrong about its existence than do nothing about it at all and then have it turn out to be real?

And why does it always seem that the people who deny the existence of global warming, which can be seen, experienced, measured and explained, are the same people who are so adamant about the existence of a magical deity who speaks to some humans in vague symbols, hates the same people they do, and insists on a lifetime of devotion despite offering zero proof of his or her presence?

Posted by: chrenson on December 19, 2008 at 4:35 PM | PERMALINK

There is a major disconnect in the argument for or against global warming - it's not just about weather patterns. Just because 1998 was hot and 2008 was not as hot changes nothing. Because it snowed in Nevada proves nothing.

It's about drastically changing the delicate balance of life - The planet has been around for roughly 4.5 - 5 billion years and during that time life was only able to develop in a window of about 500 million years. Before life, the Earth has been a raging firestorm of Volcanic activity -and at one point completely covered with ice from end to end due to orbit around the sun. Things change. Some species, are hardy and exist in many different climates - while others go extinct with the smallest change in their niche habitat. Life has always been about survival of the fittest.

However, the world popluation has been growing exponentially, since we excel at surviving:

**Current: 6.7 billion
**10 years ago: 6 billion
**20 years ago: 5.2 billion
**100 years ago: 1.6 Billion
**1000 years ago: 310,000
**2000 years ago: 200,000
**4000 years ago: 35,000

These numbers should be a wake-up call, but apparently they are not. Every new person introduced to the 'terrarium' will use, manipulate and pollute the habitat/resources in some way. It's what we do. The science we are working with now may no longer be valid within the next 5 years as another billion people will drastically change the outcome of scientific data of today. We simply do not know right now, and prediction isn't our forte.

Regardless, the planet will be fine. It's a ball of rock circling a G class star. What isn't fine is our management of resources, bio-diversity, or understanding the scope of our future. We can walk blindly with nothing but faith that everything will work out - which is undoubtedly the easiest and most probable route we will take. The alternative would be to start taking action to keep the balance of life in check.

But let's be certain, Global Warming is not about snow in the desert or a tsunami in the Pacific Rim. It's about a change in the chemical / thermal dynamic balance of the eco system in which we thrive. We are, after all, just a very complex chemical reaction in this physical world - so we may as well try to understand those implications.

Posted by: Mick on December 19, 2008 at 5:12 PM | PERMALINK

Another reason we should call it what it is: Global Climate Change, and not Global Warming. Calling it global warming only enables stupidity in others.

Posted by: JWK on December 19, 2008 at 5:27 PM | PERMALINK

Wouldn't it be better to do something to combat global warming and ultimately be wrong about its existence than do nothing about it at all and then have it turn out to be real?

The problem with being proactive against global warming is that it requires certain sacrifices that no one wants to make. Even if it was proven to be detrimental to all life in 100 years, it would take 90 years to root out skeptics. That will leave 10 years to correct the problem. Our scope is just to narrow to think past 50 years, let alone 100. Our lifespan is too short, so our mistakes and bad patterns tend to repeat themselves through every generation. We're great at stop-gap measures, terrible at long term planning.

Posted by: Mick on December 19, 2008 at 5:37 PM | PERMALINK

Mick wrote: "The problem with being proactive against global warming is that it requires certain sacrifices that no one wants to make."

Particularly the sacrifice of trillions of dollars in profits that the fossil fuel industry does not want to make -- which is of course why they have spent millions of dollars funding the fake, phony "conservative" climate change denial bullshit artists, such as "Heartland Institute science director Jay Lehr" who appeared on CNN in the Lou Dobbs program that Steve Benen wrote about.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on December 19, 2008 at 6:52 PM | PERMALINK

I have the perfect solution. Since there is general disagreement on this topic; the people that believe global warming exists can pay the cost to solve the problem. After about 50 years we can examine the data to see if the "believers" had any effect on the climate. They won't have any money left but the climate will be saved! Hooray! Then the deniers that didn't believe in global warming can say you were right and we were wrong.

Posted by: Bada Bing on December 21, 2008 at 11:35 AM | PERMALINK

Bada Bing: Every time my tax dollars go toward paying for roads and bridges, bailing out airlines and SUV manufacturers, fighting a war in Iraq, or paying the salary of a Republican legislator, I'm paying for the folly of Global Warming denial. In fact, my family has been paying for it for nearly 40 years.

If money is all you're worried about, and it typically is for foolish right-wing nutjobs, then all your tax dollars are going toward the problem as well. The only difference is that you refuse to deal with reality. So, who's money is better spent?

Posted by: chrenson on December 22, 2008 at 5:16 AM | PERMALINK

My granddaughter will look back one day thirty years from now and wonder what all the hype was about. (I should buy a copy of the doomsday video of Al Gore's so she can have a laugh when she sees how easily fooled we could be). I often tell her of the global cooling craze of the 70's it turned out to be one big joke as well.

Posted by: Roly on December 22, 2008 at 9:52 AM | PERMALINK

Chrenson: Hostility is a sign of sexual frustration. Why don't you go and get laid since you like talking about nut-jobs. The name calling is very unbecoming, especially since left wingers espouse tolerance of all views. Quite laughable; from what I see left wingers are some of the most intolerant people of anything that doesn't agree with their views. Pathetic.

Posted by: Bada Bing on December 22, 2008 at 10:50 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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