Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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June 27, 2009

DENIERS.... National Review's Victor Davis Hanson explained his rationale yesterday for denying evidence of global warming.

I just spent a few days in the Sierra in May during freezing cold temperatures and snow; a week ago it was quite cool and raining in New York; each time I have passed through Phoenix this spring it seemed unseasonably cool; and just gave a talk on the Russian River and about froze. Meanwhile the grapes look about ten days behind due to unseasonably cool temperatures. Any empiricist would be worried, as Newsweek once was, about global cooling. Will the planet boil, if we slow down a bit, review the science and dissenting views, and consider the wisdom in a recession of allotting nearly a trillion dollars to changing our very way of life (while the Chinese absorb market share)?

It's items like these that help explain why our political discourse is so routinely stunted. If the left and right disagreed on how best to address policy challenges, that would at least open the door to constructive dialog. But we're still stuck in a political environment in which prominent conservative voices at high-profile conservative outlets a) don't recognize the difference between climate and weather; b) find meaningless anecdotes compelling evidence of global trends; and c) are entirely comfortable delaying necessary solutions while trying to continue an already-completed debate.

Also yesterday, the Wall Street Journal editorial page ran an item from Kimberly Strassel that offered even less persuasive evidence. (via Jon Chait)

The number of skeptics, far from shrinking, is swelling. Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe now counts more than 700 scientists who disagree with the U.N. -- 13 times the number who authored the U.N.'s 2007 climate summary for policymakers.

Ah, yes, the Inhofe list. Strassel sees "more than 700 scientists" who reject evidence of global warming, but a closer look reveals that the list includes economists, engineers, geographers, TV weathermen, and physicists -- none of whom has a background in climate science. Some of the "more than 700" actually accept global warming as fact, have asked that their names be removed from the list, only to find Inhofe ignore their requests.

In my favorite example, one of the 700 "scientists" is a weatherman at the FOX-affiliated station in Bowling Green, Ky. The "scientist' doesn't have a college degree, believes in creationism, and rejects evidence of global warming because he doesn't believe "God would allow humans to destroy the earth He created." He's also argued that his perspective on science has value, despite not having a background in science, because, "The way I see it, some people are too smart for their own good."

Steve Benen 9:15 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (73)

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"...some people are too smart for their own good."

A fate he was spared.

Posted by: theAmericanist on June 27, 2009 at 9:12 AM | PERMALINK

but it is really okay, because nothing is really real. no real dead iraqis -- no blood on our hands in that slaughter.

no real lost jobs or dying citizens without healthcare.

no, it's all just flowing electrons, keyboards, screens, and words words words. when we win the argument and you shut up -- there is no global warming.

now if you will excuse me, i think my bottle is warmed enough... and that's a tough enough reality since mama weaned me...

Posted by: neill on June 27, 2009 at 9:26 AM | PERMALINK

Hey, I can play that game. Florida saw record-breaking heat the past week, which proves global warming is real. Take that, Hanson!

Dumbasses.

Posted by: PattyP on June 27, 2009 at 9:27 AM | PERMALINK

Conservatives still deny evolution and natural selection 150 years after the publication of On the Origin of Species. They will be denying global warming 500 years from now when palm trees line the streets of Milwaukee.

When people have the stupid gene you can only do so much.

Posted by: pj in jesusland on June 27, 2009 at 9:30 AM | PERMALINK

The biggest trouble with the denier's arguments is that by the time we get to the absolute scientific proof of global warming that they are demanding, it will be 50 years after large chunks of heavily populated coastal areas are under water.

Using Victor Davis Hanson's logic, it would be completely acceptable for me to (hypothetically!) shoot him in the head. After all, there is no absolute proof that shooting him in the head would be harmful. And I can cite many anecdotal examples of people who suffered no harm at all after being shot in the head.

This debate will continue forever. Even if we move beyond the baby steps of the Cap and Trade bill and actually solve global warming, Republicans will always claim that it was a fraud. The problem is that most conservatives and most journalists, along with too many of the American people, don't understand that basics of scientific method and don't know the difference between weather and climate.


Posted by: SteveT on June 27, 2009 at 9:31 AM | PERMALINK

"There's no climate change; It's cold today."

"We're not at war; no tanks on my street."

"There's no hunger; I'm stuffed."

"There is no sun; it's dark outside."

Conservative solipsism at its finest.

Posted by: Charley on the MTA on June 27, 2009 at 9:32 AM | PERMALINK

Seattle just had a record setting period of no rain. So, did that affect Dave "Green River Killer" Reichert (R) to vote against his party? "Doc" Hastings from further east stood his ground. Must be all of that beach front property he owns in the Tri-Cities.

Posted by: berttheclock on June 27, 2009 at 9:35 AM | PERMALINK

Stop speaking right now, Conrad!

Posted by: Sgt. Troy Barlow on June 27, 2009 at 9:35 AM | PERMALINK

"The way I see it, some people are too smart for their own good."

And others, like the weatherman responsible for that quote, fall far short of having enough sense to come in out of the rain.

Posted by: Blue Girl on June 27, 2009 at 9:44 AM | PERMALINK

I'm certainly glad God stepped in and stopped us from polluting our water with pharmaceuticals, or clogging the Pacific with plastic waste, or destroying coral reefs and fisheries or depleting aquifers or causing mass extinctions...

Yes sir, it would have been bad if God had let those things happen.

Posted by: Speed on June 27, 2009 at 9:48 AM | PERMALINK

Let's just say hypothetically that the Climate Change guys are wrong.

What does Hansen have against:
1) Using less SAUDI or Venezuelan (don't they hate Hugo Chavez?) oil
2) less carbon based pollution
3) better energy standards for equipment
4) realizing that we need the environment even more than it needs us
5) reducing material waste
6) Making the US at the forefront of a green technology revolution that gives people JOBS

I don't see anything wrong with it either way.

Just leads me to three conclusions about VD:
1) He's stupid
2) He's hopelessly out of his depth
3) He's an oil whore

Having read his work (unfortunately) I think it's all of the above.

Posted by: Former Dan on June 27, 2009 at 9:51 AM | PERMALINK

"If it doesn't affect me personally, then it can't be true or real." How can people with such a myopic view of life manage to become leaders in this country? The attitude and snobbish anti-intelligence seems like the craziest perspective to defend. Intelligence is bad, Science is bad, being closed minded is good.

The "dis-intelligence" is embarrassing.

Posted by: memoirgirl on June 27, 2009 at 9:54 AM | PERMALINK

How can a weatherman not have a college degree? I thought they were all meteorologists. Maybe his station just wants pretty faces that can read the NWS forecast on camera.

And Seattle folks can have their rain back: we New Englanders have had all we can stand, thanks so much.

Posted by: Lucia on June 27, 2009 at 9:57 AM | PERMALINK

The biggest trouble with the denier's arguments is that by the time we get to the absolute scientific proof of global warming that they are demanding, it will be 50 years after large chunks of heavily populated coastal areas are under water.

No, for then it will have been God's will that the cities were flooded as punishment for their sins.

There is no requirement that TV weathercasters have meteorology degrees; it's just that in most major markets they are necessary if the station is to be competitive. Bowling Green is a very small market; most people there watch the Nashville stations anyway, and nobody is paying attention to the creationist weatherman except for maybe a few old ladies who get from him what they want to hear.

Posted by: dr sardonicus on June 27, 2009 at 10:09 AM | PERMALINK

"Treat the earth well: it was not given to you by your parents, it was loaned to you by your children. We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children.“

Maybe Hanson and Strassel don't give a shit about the world their kids will have as adults, but I don't want my daughters to have to take my future grandchildren to the park wearing a protective mask and MOPP suit.

Posted by: 2Manchu on June 27, 2009 at 10:15 AM | PERMALINK

Jesus is coming before the Greenland ice-melt is more than knee-deep.

Ok. Thigh-deep. But no more. Trust me.

Posted by: Sen. James Inhofe on June 27, 2009 at 10:17 AM | PERMALINK

VDH was ever so much better doing weather during the Pelopenesian Wars. "Zeus will be very angry today, my friends".

To The Former Dan - In your comment supra, you mention VD. There is a difference, of course. VD in most cases can be cured. Apparently, the strain of VHD can not.

Posted by: berttheclock on June 27, 2009 at 10:23 AM | PERMALINK

"The way I see it, some people are too smart for their own good."

A new slogan for the GOP.

Posted by: Baldrick on June 27, 2009 at 10:24 AM | PERMALINK

We need more information from scientists to educate people on this. I am assuming that global warming would change weather patterns so some areas where it is cold would experience more cold and warmer areas more heat and everything inbetween. Also it isn't just weather, something that can be felt immediately, but a depletion of the ozone which will cause our skin to be irradiated to a crispy exterior. Boneheads like Boehner, whose tans belie their intelligences, will have grandchildren who will experience that awful future Their tone- deathness on those consequences is frightening not only for their heirs but mine too, As none of this relates to his reelection needs he will never let those coporations down. Too bad. His grandkids will be the last to have some semblence of clean air...

Posted by: stevio on June 27, 2009 at 10:29 AM | PERMALINK

Hansen is a well-payed troll

I know a few 80 year olds who have smoked 2 packs a day for over 50 years.

They don't have cancer.

Therefore smoking doesn't cause cancer.

Posted by: koreyel on June 27, 2009 at 10:32 AM | PERMALINK

James Inhofe is certifiably insane. And the idiots in OK who elect him again and again are just as stupid as he is. Unbelievable.

Posted by: paddy_boy on June 27, 2009 at 10:33 AM | PERMALINK

I think Former Dan has it right. There are a lot of excellent reasons to go with cap and trade, but the idea that it will do much of anything to affect the climate is not one of them. It is only the hubris and shoddy science of people like Gore who think it will and given the costs involved the GOP has a good whipping boy even if it is extraordinarily clumsy in using it. Do not misunderstand, the earth has warmed and greenhouse gases could play a role, but there are much bigger forces at work, it is by no means clear what the results of this warming period will be and to suggest that we can reverse what is going on by reducing the amount of greenhouse gases the US is putting in the atmosphere is absurd.

Posted by: terry on June 27, 2009 at 10:33 AM | PERMALINK

Hanson is the last nail in the coffin of the idea, upon which the administration of the British Empire was founded for a century and a half, that competence in the study of the classics is a good general surrogate for competence in general, and that a degree in Greats sets you up to govern Burma, or run the Coal Board.

Denis Healey, alas, is not a sufficient counterweight.

Posted by: Davis X. Machina on June 27, 2009 at 10:38 AM | PERMALINK

Additional anecdotal evidence: 104 in Houston; 106 in Central Texas for the past three days, in the 100s for the week and a half before that; in the high 90s the two weeks before that; drought; and locusts.

Posted by: doran on June 27, 2009 at 10:43 AM | PERMALINK

Terry would you care to explain what much bigger forces your talking about? Or are you just 100% full of shit?

Posted by: Gandalf on June 27, 2009 at 10:45 AM | PERMALINK

"There are a lot of excellent reasons to go with cap and trade, but the idea that it will do much of anything to affect the climate is not one of them. It is only the hubris and shoddy science of people like Gore who think it will ..."

Hey terry, would you mind to give us your scientific credentials and/or the source for your statement, cause Al Gore has the 'shoddy scientists' of the IPCC behind his position. What scientific support do you have for yours?

Posted by: SRW1 on June 27, 2009 at 10:59 AM | PERMALINK

it is by no means clear what the results of this warming period will be and to suggest that we can reverse what is going on by reducing the amount of greenhouse gases the US is putting in the atmosphere is absurd.

Shorter: "Inconceivable!"

Methinks you don't quite know what the consensus of climate scientists know.

Posted by: gwangung on June 27, 2009 at 11:01 AM | PERMALINK

From Last Year:

Early Grape Harvest in Sonoma


SONOMA, Calif. (KCBS) -- The wine grape harvest is starting earlier this year in the Sonoma Valley.
Some vineyard managers in the Sonoma Valley are surprised that grapes have ripened so fast. The president of the Sonoma County Winegrape Commission, Nick Frey said that just months ago there was frost on the grapes, followed by very hot weather.


Posted by: Dave on June 27, 2009 at 11:39 AM | PERMALINK

I live in the Sierras so I've spend more time here than Hanson. There's variation year to year, but I can only tell you from both anecdotal and scientific sources that compared to decades ago, it's warmer here than it's ever been. One result: we're getting a lot more rain and a lot less snow.

Posted by: Fred on June 27, 2009 at 11:59 AM | PERMALINK

In other news, VDH does not feel the least bit tired and is therefore not going to bed, his hunger can only be satisfied with a large serving of candy, and since he knows there is money in his piggy bank he must therefore be able to buy a Wii today.

Posted by: latts on June 27, 2009 at 12:08 PM | PERMALINK

Will the planet boil, if we slow down a bit, review the science and dissenting views, and consider the wisdom in a recession of allotting nearly a trillion dollars to changing our very way of life (while the Chinese absorb market share)?

I support Waxman-Markey, but there is a non-negligible chance that it will drive jobs and production to China, and a near certainty that it will slow economic growth here in the US for at least a few years. It will also have less effect on global CO2 accumulation than development, mostly commercially financed, of the American cellulosic ethanol industry.

VDH isn't the best source, but the problems he highlighted are real.

Posted by: MatthewRMarler on June 27, 2009 at 12:57 PM | PERMALINK

The IPCC report should be the uniform standard in which debate of AGW should be argued. It is very difficult to have a sensible debate and to borrow a bit from Victor Davis Hansen "non empirical" information. By the way, Victor Davis Hansen wasn't using empirical data, he was using anecdotal knowledge...

Another report that should be seriously looked at for any future legislation is the Stern Report, which talks about how economic consequences of AGW.

The whole aspect of whether AGW exist or not is long, long over. It exist and already it is impacting the climate. What most AGW legislation is trying to do is slow down CO2 emissions.

I just have a problem with disingenuous people like Hansen throw out idiocies that AGW doesn't exist. The IPCC report comes from of the most comprehensive scientific gatherings ever by mankind, and one of the reason they received the Nobel Peace Prize.

Posted by: Ted on June 27, 2009 at 1:08 PM | PERMALINK

Amazing how a wealthy individual can spend his money and time flitting about like a butterfly, landing only in cool, comfortable climates to sip a bit of wine and reassure himself there's just nothing to worry about.

Posted by: Capt Kirk on June 27, 2009 at 1:20 PM | PERMALINK

Just btw, I live in Bowling Green KY and Chris Allen is with ABC, not Fox. Very popular, well known guy around here.

Posted by: silky on June 27, 2009 at 1:33 PM | PERMALINK

for the fun of it, here is the

global sea ice coverage.

After a few months of above average ice cover (for the season), we now have average ice cover (for the season). There was a steady decline from early 2003 to late 2007, with wide swings since then. It was discovered recently that there was much below average volcanic activity in the Northern Hemisphere for about a decade, which caused to unusual warming and ice melt in the Northern Hemisphere.

After 30 years of the most intense anthropogenic CO2 emissions ever, there is no good reason why the global sea ice cover should have returned to its average, unless the fluctuations in temperature are independent of anthropogenic CO2 emissions. Fluctuations, yes, but returns to baseline after 30 years of CO2 accumulation should be extremely rare.

It's not the only relevant time series, but this bears watching in the future.

Since I have mentioned the sea, let me also mention that the other reason to curtail CO2 production is to reduce the acidification of the oceans and large bodies of fresh water.

Posted by: MatthewRMarler on June 27, 2009 at 1:40 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks Steve. Laugh riot !

Posted by: rbe1 on June 27, 2009 at 1:42 PM | PERMALINK

"The 'scientist' doesn't have a college degree, believes in creationism, and rejects evidence of global warming because he doesn't believe 'God would allow humans to destroy the earth He created.' He's also argued that his perspective on science has value, despite not having a background in science, because, 'The way I see it, some people are too smart for their own good'."

The same crowd that imprisoned Galileo. The same crowd that has been in the same unenlightened rut for the almost four subsequent centuries.

Posted by: Joe Friday on June 27, 2009 at 1:57 PM | PERMALINK

By the way, I'm a physicist and geophysicist. I can confidently say that one doesn't need to know meteorology to understand the difference between weather and climate. One only has to be able to read.
As an aside, it isn't so much the amount of heat we're generating. It's the fact that the release of large volumes of carbon (in the form of carbon dioxide and methane, plus some other gases) into the atmosphere makes it difficult for the atmosphere to radiate away the energy (greenhouse effect), and the real heat source causing global warming is the sun, whose energy output radiated to the earth dwarfs our own production. So the combination of solar radiation and trapped gases drives most of the global warming. We can't control the quantity of energy arriving from the sun, but we can most certainly control the amount of greenhouse gases we're releasing into the atmosphere.
Venus is believed to have a runaway greenhouse effect, and the temperatures at the surface exceed 900 degrees centigrade. Of course, the solar energy reaching Venus is about twice what it is here, but most of the high temperatures are caused by trapped carbon and other greenhouse gases as well.
Oh, but I forget, right-wing republicans don't believe in science, so never mind !

Posted by: rbe1 on June 27, 2009 at 2:22 PM | PERMALINK

MatthewRMarler wrote: "After 30 years of the most intense anthropogenic CO2 emissions ever, there is no good reason why the global sea ice cover should have returned to its average, unless the fluctuations in temperature are independent of anthropogenic CO2 emissions."

You really don't know what you are talking about.

If you have the slightest interest in actually learning, rather than in slavishly regurgitating ExxonMobil-scripted talking points, then go to RealClimate.org and read up on sea ice and learn just how ignorant your statement really is.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on June 27, 2009 at 2:24 PM | PERMALINK

Some commenters above appreciated this insight into the conservative "mind": their absorption with self-interest and lack of empathy for others correlates with a solipsistic approach to knowledge. They don't like to hear from a consensus of experts, that's like "socialism" for thought and knowledge. So they look around, trust their own intuitions instead of established principles of reasoning and finding evidence.

Posted by: Neil B ♪ ♫ on June 27, 2009 at 2:25 PM | PERMALINK

One note from realclimate.org

Postscript
Some comment is warranted on whether our results have bearing on the various model projections of future climate change. As we discuss in the paper, fully-coupled ocean-atmosphere models don't tend to agree with one another very well in the Antarctic. They all show an overall warming trend, but they differ significantly in the spatial structure. As nicely summarized in a paper by Connolley and Bracegirdle in GRL, the models also vary greatly in their sea ice distributions, and this is clearly related to the temperature distributions. These differences aren't necessarily because there is anything wrong with the model physics (though schemes for handling sea ice do vary quite a bit model to model, and certainly are better in some models than in others), but rather because small differences in the wind fields between models results in quite large differences in the sea ice and air temperature patterns. That means that a sensible projection of future Antarctic temperature change — at anything smaller than the continental scale — can only be based on looking at the mean and variation of ensemble runs, and/or the averages of many models. As it happens, the average of the 19 models in AR4 is similar to our results — showing significant warming in West Antarctica over the last several decades (see Connolley and Bracegirdle's Figure 1).

they also noted that other parts of Antarctica were cooling. If it's really true that (a) anthropogenic CO2 is causing global warming and (b) the earth is warming (accumulating more heat over time than it is shedding), then there has to be net warming over time, not warming balanced by cooling, and not returns to the mean.

The sea ice trend from early 2003 to late 2007 was considered extremely important by global warming enthusiasts, until it was reversed. The reversal, but not the trend preceding it, was considered a random fluctuation. The two recent large reductions in global sea ice cover were also considered much more important than the refreezes that followed them, both of which refreezes came as surprises to the global warming enthusiasts. If the earth is really accumulating heat, then eventually the sea ice cover has to fall below its mean over the previous 30 years and stay below that mean; as long as sea ice cover returns to its seasonal mean fairly regularly, the case for consistent accumulation of heat isn't settled. And if we get returns to the seasonal average during periods of increasing CO2 accumulation, then CO2 can't be "forcing".

There is evidence for CO2 forcing and warming, which is why I am a "sceptic" rather than a "denier".

stay tuned for more. Based on evidence collected to date, and increases in research, I expect to decide within the next 10 years. Could be longer, I suppose.

Posted by: MatthewRMarler on June 27, 2009 at 3:13 PM | PERMALINK

I would have much less of a problem with people taking the Bible word for word if they could also show me in the Bible why they believe in electricity, gravity, quantum mechanics. modern medicine (and yes this includes evolution!), TV, the Internet, internal combustion, plasma lighting and TVs, nuclear energy and weapons, but not all the facts on global warming.

Seems pretty selective and NOT related to one's faith at all.

Posted by: Glen on June 27, 2009 at 3:28 PM | PERMALINK

MatthewRMarler:

they also noted that other parts of Antarctica were cooling. If it's really true that (a) anthropogenic CO2 is causing global warming and (b) the earth is warming (accumulating more heat over time than it is shedding), then there has to be net warming over time, not warming balanced by cooling, and not returns to the mean.

Nice cherry-picking. You are aware that climate is more complex than turning up the temperature in your oven, right? If the requirement to overcome your "skepticism" is to see "net warming" clearly greater than the noise in the system in all parts of the globe, and you're only looking for reasons to be "skeptical" about evidence for global warming, then what you're engaging in is not skepticism, it's confirmation bias.

In the real world, sometimes it's necessary to take action before we have perfect knowledge, because even if there are costs, we estimate that the risk of the costs of inaction is much greater. Again, if you claim to be concerned about "non-negligible" economic effects (which, weirdly, you seem to assume you can predict, even though economic models are far less rigorous than climate models), if you make no attempt to compare them against the economic costs of the status quo, then you are at best engaging in confirmation bias, and at worst, a denier, whether you admit it to yourself or not.

Posted by: Redshift on June 27, 2009 at 3:36 PM | PERMALINK

"It's items like these that help explain why our political discourse is so routinely stunted."

When I first read this sentence, Steve, I misread "...so routinely stunted" as "...so routinely stupid."

I like my description as being more accurate! (No offense intended)

Posted by: Analytical Liberal on June 27, 2009 at 4:34 PM | PERMALINK

MatthewRMarler: "The sea ice trend from early 2003 to late 2007 was considered extremely important by global warming enthusiasts, until it was reversed."

The sea ice trend has not reversed.

MatthewRMarler: "I am a 'sceptic' rather than a 'denier'."

What you are is an incorrigible liar.

Your so-called "skepticism" is phony.

Your political party and your political ideology -- both of which are nothing but tools of the fossil fuel industry in this matter -- are determined to obstruct and delay any action to reduce CO2 emissions, since such action will lead to diminished use of their products and a transfer of wealth to other sectors of the economy.

As an obedient "Republican" and "conservative" you regurgitate whatever propaganda they feed you, whether it's outright lies or dishonest arguments.

That's the content of your so-called "skepticism".

Posted by: SecularAnimist on June 27, 2009 at 5:08 PM | PERMALINK

Only Deniers deny that:

* The North Pole is still below freezing, the lowest measurement this late in the year since records began 50 years ago.

* The grape crop in upstate NY has been ruined by frost. Shumer and Gillibrand have called for a state of emergency.

* Cold temperatures in Canada's breadbasket have pushed the planting season back close to two weeks, truncating the growing season with lower yields feared.

* Birds migrating to mating grounds in Northern Canada have been unable to reproduce because of cold temperatures.

* Apple groves have been damaged by the severe cold this past winter, possibly reducing yields by 10% or more.

* Sunspot activity is the quietest its been for nearly a century.

* The Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) and Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation (AMO) have both shifted to their cooling phase over the past two years. They are not expected to shift back to warm phase for 20 to 30 years.

* Global sea ice extent has been and is growing.

* Winter came early with record snowfalls to ski areas in NZ and Australia.


Posted by: Matt on June 27, 2009 at 5:23 PM | PERMALINK

Those apple groves are in Iowa, by the way.

Posted by: Matt on June 27, 2009 at 5:27 PM | PERMALINK

above should be amended to 'as of a couple of days ago' North Pole temperatures were at or below freezing, lowest recorded this late in the year in 50 years of keeping records.

Posted by: Matt on June 27, 2009 at 5:45 PM | PERMALINK

Hanson is an idiot and in my experience has always been an idiot. Recalling, in a way, the story of the blind men and the elephant, if he held the tail of an elephant, he'd think it was tiny.

It keeps being like this on subject after subject. They think their personal and limited anecdotes about the weather are definitive and if they yell "Socialism!!!" about health care, they're done.

And godammit, it's hotter than hell here.

Posted by: Lucky Ducky on June 27, 2009 at 6:08 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe the climate scientists can create something akin to Project Steve, in which professional life scientists were asked to endorse a statement supporting the validity and significance of the theory of evolution; but only if their names were some variant of Steve. It's kind of a case of fighting with one hand tied behind one's back in order to show how weak the other guy is.

Posted by: Daniel Kim on June 27, 2009 at 6:58 PM | PERMALINK

Matt, you do realize that you're just proving Steve's point, right? "... a) don't recognize the difference between climate and weather; b) find meaningless anecdotes compelling evidence of global trends ..."

Absolutely classic.

Posted by: PaulB on June 27, 2009 at 6:58 PM | PERMALINK

PaulB,

What is 'climate' but perceived trends in the weather?

The weather trend over the past couple of years has been distinctly inconvenient for AGW theory, especially when it gets to the extreme point now of disrupting seasonal food production and animal reproduction rates.

Is the earth cooling? Ya got me. But when you combine all the recent empirical weather evidence with empirical solar and oceanic trends, we have what arguably COULD be a change in climate (which is nothing but a pattern of weather)toward cooling. One that I find much more compelling than a theory that has been "proven" only by computer models, and gets shakier as daily empirical evidence arrives.

Yes, it's over a relatively short time period to establish trend, yet it has affected wide areas in both hemispheres. The upper ocean has not been warming for getting on towards a decade now, nor have global temperatures.

Why was this not anticipated by those computer models that are so dependable?

And why should we take the giant risk of restructuring our entire national (and global) economy, in the middle of a severe recession which could turn into a depression if not handled correctly, based on a theory anchored only by these same computer models, all the while ignoring the empirical evidence?

P.S. By the way, didn't the onset of this economic mess have something to do with overconfidence in computer models which turned out to have made faulty risk predictions?

Posted by: Matt on June 27, 2009 at 8:14 PM | PERMALINK

Matt: "The upper ocean has not been warming for getting on towards a decade now, nor have global temperatures. "

To take the ball and run with it, you're a liar.

"What is 'climate' but perceived trends in the weather?"

To repeat: you're a liar. Perceived trends in weather are....perceived trends in weather. Perceived trends in climate are perceived trends in climate. Climate is an average, taken over the long term, across geographical boundaries. Weather is local, geographically limited, temporally bound and ontologically distinct. The only question is this: are you a paid liar, or just a tool?

Posted by: Conrads Ghost on June 27, 2009 at 9:00 PM | PERMALINK

P.S. By the way, didn't the onset of this economic mess have something to do with overconfidence in computer models which turned out to have made faulty risk predictions?
Posted by: Matt

Maybe overconfidence of conservatives in bullshit econ theory barely more sophisticated than the fucking supply-demand curve in 101 ... kinda like the bullshit half-ass "science" embraced by the deniers.

The plural of "anecdote" isn't "data" ... jackass.

Oh ... and deregulation.

Posted by: Gonads on June 27, 2009 at 9:07 PM | PERMALINK

C'mon, I know you can do better than that, or at least I hope so.

Posted by: Matt on June 27, 2009 at 9:44 PM | PERMALINK

Someone like Thomas Frank should write a book about understanding the political right. We sometimes get caught up in the idiotic things they say but there are larger themes we ought to try to understand.

My thinking runs like this. The right wing is funded by right wing corporations and other monied interests that want to return to the guilded age. They want to do what they want with no interference from the middle class.

The monied interests fund the right wing politicians and support them with white papers and speakers from think tanks and promote their views on TV, radio, newspapers and in books. The right wing politicians agitate their base and deliver votes so they can do the bidding of their backers.

Their technique is to deny science and rational thought because this gives them the freedom to twist the political agenda however their backers tell them to. In this light guys like Inhofe would continuously say goofy things (by our rational standards) because they are reinforcing the world view of their base.

So it is not necessarily true that Inhofe is crazy or stupid. He's just doing his job. The sad ones are the people that buy into the crap that those guys put out. By this model it is understandable that logic can't easily be used to refute their nonsense. When you are on the side of the angels anything the devil has to say in a debate is, a priori, wrong and has to be ignored. There has to be another way to wake these people up.

Posted by: JohnK on June 28, 2009 at 3:14 AM | PERMALINK

It's almost impossible to explain science to people who have never had an education even in general science, especially if they were looking up girls' skirts during class (sorry, ladies, just a figure of speech). Climate science is especially difficult, as it deals with changes which span multiple human lifetimes, so I think many of the arguments here will fall on deaf ears.
The arguments over global warming usually miss the important point that a rise in the average temperature of the earth (this is documented to have happened, it's not controversial in the scientific community) will usually result in more extremes in weather, so that global warming can actually cause some areas to get hotter and others to get colder. It just isn't true that everything gets warmer. People who advance this view are wrong.
What bothers me about the view of the leaders in the republican party is that their opinions on scientific subjects are driven by economic considerations, something which I believe would have pissed off the founding fathers, who were very strong believers in science and technology as important underpinnings for a modern republic.

Posted by: rbe1 on June 28, 2009 at 6:45 AM | PERMALINK

The EPA opens up its Endangerment Finding for only one week of internal comment (kind of like dumping 300+ pages of the climate bill into the record at 3:09 am on the day of the vote). This report, citing among other things dependence on outdated IPCC science and ignoring major new developments, was in turn suppressed by the newly-transparent EPA.

First, an editorial about it:

http://www.ibdeditorials.com/IBDArticles.aspx?id=330911757213432

Then, the actual report:

http://cei.org/cei_files/fm/active/0/DOC062509-004.pdf

First sentence of the preface by EPA analyst Alan Carlin:

"We have increasingly become concerned that the EPA and many other agencies and countries have paid too llittle attention to the science of global warming."

Posted by: Matt on June 28, 2009 at 9:44 AM | PERMALINK

And for being such strong adherents of "science", there is a notable lack of direct comment on your part to any of the scientific concepts and empirical data I've raised. Like effect on temps of PDO/AMO, the quiet Sun, etc, etc.

It couldn't be that a discussion of actual "science" is actually a drag on the political prospects of your crusade, could it?

Posted by: Matt on June 28, 2009 at 10:23 AM | PERMALINK

Matt wrote: "It couldn't be that a discussion of actual 'science' is actually a drag on the political prospects of your crusade, could it?"

You have posted nothing but lies and irrelevancies.

That's what Ditto-Heads do.

There is no use talking to Matt about the scientific facts. He isn't interested in learning.

Matt is interested in slavishly reciting scripted, fossil fuel industry-sponsored talking points and lies, the crackpot theories of discredited cranks, and the phony pseudoscience cranked out by ExxonMobil-funded propaganda mills disguised as "conservative" think-tanks.

He neither knows nor cares whether anything he posts here is true or not.

As a Ditto-Head, he has been systematically brainwashed to experience a sense of pleasure when he says whatever the corporate-owned, phony "conservative" media tells him to say.

That's why he posts comments here: for the sense of satisfaction that he has been conditioned to experience when he says what Rush Limbaugh told him to say.

And that's why telling him the truth about anthropogenic global warming is useless. He's already been told by the "conservative" media that the scientific reality of global warming is "liberal" and anyone who "believes in it" is also "liberal" and therefore the enemy, and that's that.

He's not interested in knowing the truth. He's interested in the emotional rewards of being an obedient mental slave of corporate-programmed phony "conservative" propaganda.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on June 28, 2009 at 11:55 AM | PERMALINK

For a little more science, how about the paper in the peer-reviewed March/09 issue of Geophysical Research Letters disputing the IPCC contention that Total Solar Irradiance (TSI) only accounts for 10% of global temperature increase, instead pegging it at........69%.

How's that for "natural" temperature variability?

Posted by: Matt on June 28, 2009 at 12:02 PM | PERMALINK

Authored by Scafetta and Wilson.

Posted by: Matt on June 28, 2009 at 12:04 PM | PERMALINK

Gosh, if that is indeed the case, then that might highlight a link between our extremely quiet Sun and all these unseasonal extreme cold weather events around the globe.....

NAAAHHHHH!!!!

Posted by: Matt on June 28, 2009 at 12:15 PM | PERMALINK

See also Scafetta and West, Geophysical Research Letters, 2008.

Posted by: Matt on June 28, 2009 at 12:55 PM | PERMALINK

Nebraska is a farming state, and the farmers have Seem seasonal changes for years. But, now they are seeing a refursal that they have not seen before. Animals acting daffy, Birds who don't migrate properly from the state for the winter and etc. Ya, just have to listen to the old timers and what is expected in our climate changes, to know something is wrong. To heck with scienctist.

Posted by: Alberta Treadway on June 28, 2009 at 3:07 PM | PERMALINK

If anyone is still on this thread......

Someone called me a liar earlier for claiming that there was no heating of the upper 700m of ocean (according to the Argo array of 3000 measurement buoys worldwide)since 2003, and in fact a slight cooling. Here's a little back and forth on the relevance of that finding from 2 respected scientific authorities in that field, but no disagreement as to the basic data:

http://climatesci.org/2008/04/01/comment-on-weblog-by-josh-willis-titled-josh-willis-on-climate-change-global-warming-is-real/

How anyone can claim with a straight face that the globe has been cooling since 1998?

http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2009/04/march-2009-sst-anomaly-update.html

Me no liar.

Posted by: Matt on June 28, 2009 at 7:39 PM | PERMALINK

oops, I meant

How anyone can claim with a straight face that the globe has been warming since 1998?

Posted by: Matt on June 28, 2009 at 7:41 PM | PERMALINK

Scafetta and West:

"Thus the average global temperature
record presents secular patterns of 22-
and 11-year cycles and a short timescale
fluctuation signature (with apparent
inverse power-law statistics), both
of which appear to be induced by solar
dynamics. The same patterns are poorly
reproduced by present-day GCMs and
are dismissively interpreted as internal
variability (noise) of climate. The nonequilibrium
thermodynamic models
we used suggest that the Sun is influencing
climate significantly more than
the IPCC report claims. If climate is as
sensitive to solar changes as the above
phenomenological findings suggest,
the current anthropogenic contribution
to global warming is significantly overestimated.

We estimate that the Sun
could account for as much as 69% of the
increase in Earth’s average temperature,
depending on the TSI reconstruction
used.5 Furthermore, if the Sun does
cool off, as some solar forecasts predict
will happen over the next few decades,
that cooling could stabilize Earth’s climate
and avoid the catastrophic consequences
predicted in the IPCC report."

http://www.fel.duke.edu/~scafetta/pdf/opinion0308.pdf


69% solar input into global temperatures, as opposed to virtually nothing according to the IPCC.

Posted by: Matt on June 28, 2009 at 9:16 PM | PERMALINK

Spain, Japan and others stopped their global warming policies, as they lost too many jobs. One business started making windmills, the public was told they would create good, long time work for them...they got laid off a few weeks ago, and shipped the jobs to China.

The UK right now, is slashing the budget for their global warming scam research.

The EPA told their own researcher to "shut up" on his research concerning CO2, because it wasn't in line with the "sky is falling plan".

RESEARCH is the key: http://wattsupwiththat.com/

Posted by: bobc on June 28, 2009 at 11:20 PM | PERMALINK

I suspect this thread is dead, but a couple people took me to task for suggesting that there were bigger forces at work than greenhouse gases and the shoddy science of Al Gore. Several subsequent commentators have made excellent points--scientifically backed up points I might add to suggest that man made greenhouse gases have much less influence than some of the other commentators want to believe. My point is that in the 5 0r 6 billion years that this planet has been around it has warmed and cooled dramatically without man made greenhouse gases. While the model explaining global warming in recent years due to greenhouse gases makes sense on a certain level, it is the height of hubris to suggest that we can control the greater forces--sun spots, volcanoes, ocean currents, rain and more importantly snow fall, normal changes in the earth's orbit around the sun etc which are generally belived to have combined in some fashion in past episodes of climate change--by building wind mills. As an example while greenhouse gases act to reflect heat back toward earth if higher temperatures permit more precipitation to fall in the form of snow in northern and southern polar regions, there may actually be more sunlight reflected away from the earth. Do I know that? Ofcourse not, but neither do the scientists. The best they can do is come up with models and even the most ardant proponents of curbing greenhouse gases will admit that they do not know if their models are right. Only Al Gore knows that. As noted in the original post, I think there are a lot of good reasons to curb the use of fossil fuels apart from global warming and there is nothing wrong with the idea of hedging our bets on global warming, but to accept as fact the idea that we are saving the planet is as bad as GOP.

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