JoNova

A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).



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AGW is a religion

Science based ideas are falsifiable, whereas religious ones are not (thanks Karl Popper). That means even our most favourite scientific theories can be dumped in a bin if new evidence shows they are wrong or ‘falsifies them’. (See here for what qualifies as evidence). Religious people get strength through knowing that no matter what happens, their faith will not be shaken. There is nothing that can prove to them that God (or climate change) does not exist. Religious faith has many benefits, but it doesn’t belong in a scientific debate, and it’s a lousy way to decide most public policy.

How to spot a religious AGW supporter:

Ask them: is there is any evidence that would convince you that carbon was not significant?

You’re looking for answers like: “twenty years of no warming”, “temperatures returning to 1970 levels”, or “no atmospheric warming 10km above the tropics”. Any answer that can be proved wrong is scientific in nature. It may be outlandish, “it’ll take an ice age”, but it’s at least a point to start discussing the likelyhood that carbon plays a major role in our climate today.

The usual AGW non-science:

  • “The debate is over”,
  • “The time to act is now, we can’t wait for proof”,
  • “Look around you, ice caps are melting, forests are dying”
  • “There is a consensus among mainstream scientists”

These are religious answers; even if spoken by a certified professor. When a well qualified person says one of the above it tells us nothing about the role of carbon in the atmosphere but everything about how poor our universities are. All scientists should be trained to spot-the-difference, “faith or fact?”. They rarely are.

If AGW supporters want to prove me wrong, send me your answer to the falsifiable question. Likewise, skeptics, please send me examples of religious responses, I’ll add them to the list.

 

——-

Disclaimer: 25-2-09. Even if all AGW supporters (or all skeptics) qualified as having a religious belief rather than a scientifically open mind, it would not prove anything about the climate (and I’m not suggest that it’s true either). Despite that, those who claim this is a ‘distraction’ miss the point. The idea of falsifiability is at the center of what IS science and what is not.

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523 comments to AGW is a religion

  • #
    Ben Ayers

    I sure hope you are not passing this stuff off to our kids who will be facing the consequence of excessive heat trapping CO2.

    [Ben, actually I'm hoping to do a print run of millions to help kids learn to use logic and reason... :-) JoNova]


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    OzzieAardvark

    Ben,

    I’m impressed with your insightful response. Care to elaborate?

    OA


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    Francis White

    Ben, as Joanne has stated, the earth HAS warmed. She is not denying that. Question is, are man made carbon emissions the reason??? Anyone remmeber the Global Cooling scare of the 1970s?


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    Thomas

    There are two pieces of evidence needed. First you should find some flaws in the calculations that show that CO2 ought to cause warming and then you need to find another reason why the climate has warmed.

    My own problem is to get “sceptics” to come up with any piece of evidence that would convince them AGW is true.

    Francis, there isn’t much of a Global Cooling scare to remember. There was no IPCC dealing with the consequences of global cooling, there were hardly any scientific articles written about the subject. There were some articles in the public press, but then you can find articles warning for a new ice age nowadays too.


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    Thomas, its pretty simple – there might be a chance of convincing me if temperatures were actually rising. In fact as I’m sure you know there has been no rise for the last 10 years.
    Now I have answered your question. Any chance of you answering Jo’s question?
    As for ‘global cooling’, I’ll guess that you (and francis) are too young to remember it. It was not called ‘global cooling’ for one thing – it was usually phrased in terms of the next ice age. There was a lot of media-hype, though inevitably less hysterical than the current global warming scare in those pre-internet days. Also in those days fewer scientific papers were published and there was no such thing as ‘climate science’ with today’s lavishly funded institutes.
    Ben has given Jo another nice example of the religious science-free argument – “think of the legacy we are passing on to our children and grandchildren”.


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    Thomas

    PaulM, I did answer Jo’s question. Now, if you look back through the temperature record of the 20th century you will find other decade long pauses in the warming. There is internal noise, for example in the form of El Nino so you need to average over more than a decade to get a good estimate of a trend.

    Have you seen “Soylent Green”, a classic environmental disaster movie from the period where supposedly everyone scared their children about the next ice age? This movie included overpopulation, exctinction, starvation and stuff that were seen as a threat then, but oddly enough it also included global warming. Must have been some very prescient script writers…

    If you look at the media hype, one of the prominent figures was a scientist named Kukla, and guess what, Kukla still believes in an imminent ice age. You can always find some scientist believing just about anything, and when news run dry for the newspaper they are good at finding them.


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  • #

    You didnt really answer Jo’s question. What observational evidence would convince you that carbon was not significant? It’s observations that matter. The rate of warming in the late 20th century was no more than in the earlier 20th century or even the late 19th C so there is no need for any ‘reason’ beyond natural fluctuations.
    No, I dont watch disaster movies!
    Another prominent figure in the ice age scare was Stephen Schneider, and guess what, he’s now a chief global warming scaremonger. Well, we can agree on the last point, the newspapers will pick up and exaggerate any scare story.


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    Thomas

    PaulM, You added that “observational” yourself. Science is about finding the best explanation to fit existing data, and while waiting several decades to get more data might be appealing to you I preferred to give an answer that could, in principle, be met tomorrow. An answer that also suggested what those who don’t believe in AGW ought to be doing: coming up with a better explanation for how the climate works, not just complaining.

    Schneider was coauthor of a paper suggesting that if sulfur emissions continued to increase fast enough their cooling effect might be larger than the warming effect from CO2. It was speculative and some of the numbers were a bit off, but the main issue is that we for entirely different reasons started to reduce sulfur emissions. In a similar vein he studied the cooling that would take place after a nuclear war, again something that we fortunately haven’t tested. You aren’t wrong if you predict that if we do A then B will happen, we don’t do A, and B doesn’t happen. If you can find a reference where Schneider says anything about us heading towards any near term natural ice age feel free to tell me.


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    Thomas,
    Skeptics don’t have to come up with any evidence or theory, we’re not asking the world to pay money and change behaviour based on our hypothesis. The Pro AGW people need to provide us with evidence – observational evidence. (What’s unobserved evidence?)

    If we had found the hot spot; if global temperatures were rising; if the ice cores showed carbon leads temperature… then I’d be a Pro AGW person again.

    Thomas: “Science is about finding the best explanation to fit existing data”

    Eeeeexactly. And the simplest explanation of the existing data is that extra carbon probably creates a small warming effect in today’s atmosphere – but it’s so small we’re struggling to detect it despite spending tens of billions of dollars looking for it.

    JoNova


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    Thomas

    Our actions should be based on the balance of evidence. It’s not that one side should have the burden of proof but that we need to weigh the support for the different positions. If we are absolutely sure CO2 causes dangerous warming we should obviously do more than if we just consider it likely or plausible, but even in the last case it is worth doing something as insurance.

    The ice cores are a red herring. Carbon leading would be extremely strange, what would have caused the changing CO2 levels in the first place? No one back then was burning fossil fuels. Unfortunately we are trying out an unprecedented experiment by emitting large amount of CO2 into the atmosphere so there is no really good historical analogy where we might see what such action led to. The best analogy might be the Paleocene-Eocene thermal maximum 55 million years ago, but our data from that far back is so sparse we can’t conclusively prove what caused what, even if it looks like a pulse of extra CO2 caused rising temperatures and a mass extinction.

    Global temperatures are rising if you don’t cherry pick your starting point but instead look at a slightly longer time frame. That hot spot might just as well be a measurement problem, you may dislike indirect measurements like using wind shear to estimate temperatures, I’m not quite so quick to dismiss them. The methods you seem to like have their own problems.

    Unfortunately our data of Earth is sadly lacking. Most of the data we have is from equipment made for weather forecasts that doesn’t need the same accuracy or long term stability as climate studies. People are doing heroic efforts to calibrate radiosondes and MSU data in retrospect, but the results are uncertain.

    I doubt your figure of tens of billions of dollars spent on looking for climate change. USA didn’t even bother to launch the Deep Space Climate Observatory despite having built it!

    You admit that we probably do see a CO2 signal, which implies that you think it is larger than the noise in the climate system. Now consider that CO2 levels keep rising rapidly and that due to thermal inertia there is a delay of several decades before we see the full effect of even todays levels. Thus you seem to believe that the world is likely to keep warming. Personally I’m glad that we have the debate now rather than when the effect is so obvious it will be too late to do anything about it.

    What do you think about that other carbon dioxide problem, ocean acidification, by the way?


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    Alex

    Hi
    I am a teenager and have been researching AGW for a year now… Unfortunately us youth are constantly being bombarded with this AGW hoax and when I do try to question the theories and “evidence” and talk about the issue, my friends would just dismiss it and say ‘oh well I don’t care what causes it, it doesn’t affect me’.
    The problem is that the policies created from these lies will affect people in the long run! I think that skeptics and people who have alternative theories seriously need to expose the youth to these things!
    I live in South Africa and one of my teachers told me about how in the 70s when he was young there WAS hype about the “ice age”, So although there were no major organisations calling for drastic measures, it was a major issue. We had really cool snowfalls in my province on 21 September… It was a record, just imagine it! Snow in the savannah!! First time most people here had seen snow.

    Great site and I will definately visit more often, these articles are awesome!, To the point and thought provoking! Keep it up! :D


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    “Our actions should be based on the balance of evidence. It’s not that one side should have the burden of proof but that we need to weigh the support for the different positions. If we are absolutely sure CO2 causes dangerous warming we should obviously do more than if we just consider it likely or plausible, but even in the last case it is worth doing something as insurance.”

    We have a solid theory, but no evidence that it matters.

    Given how weak the evidence is, an appropriate response is:

    1/ Do more climate research (but spread the money to look at other climactic factors as well as CO2.)

    2/ stop wasting oil and coal where possible.

    3/ Research alternative energy sources.

    That is not the same as changing energy sources worldwide and taxing everything that moves.

    “The ice cores are a red herring. ”

    I agree. So why did Al Gore use them?
    I said they were neutral – neither for nor against.

    “Unfortunately we are trying out an unprecedented experiment… ”

    Nope. CO2 levels were ten times higher hundreds of millions of years ago.

    “…by emitting large amount of CO2 into the atmosphere so there is no really good historical analogy where we might see what such action led to.”

    There’s a great historical analogy. Levels higher than 5000ppm of CO2 didn’t cook the planet then. Why is human made CO2 different?

    “Global temperatures are rising if you don’t cherry pick your starting point but instead look at a slightly longer time frame.”

    The cherry picking accusations are pointless. Either of us could pick a time-frame to prove any point we want. If I go back 500 million years CO2 was much higher, and the world dropped into an ice age. Is that a long enough time frame for you?

    “You admit that we probably do see a CO2 signal, which implies that you think it is larger than the noise in the climate system.”

    No. I said there is probably a slight warming effect due to extra CO2, but it appears to be so slight we can’t see it at all. ‘Slight’ here is any positive number larger than zero. ie. 0.0000001 would qualify. Noise can be bigger, and apparently is.

    “Now consider that CO2 levels keep rising rapidly and that due to thermal inertia there is a delay of several decades before we see the full effect of even todays levels.”

    Who said ‘rapidly’? It’s 3000 years til we hit record levels. ;-)

    you forget that a minor force can still be warming while a major force cools. There’s no reason Co2 couldn’t have a slight warming effect and yet the planet cools, indeed – given that temperatures have fallen while co2 has risen in the past, if CO2 has any warming effect, that must have happened. A trivial effect is … trivial.

    “Thus you seem to believe that the world is likely to keep warming. ”

    You’ve stacked about three implications on top of my initial statement to come up with something unlike anything I’ve said here. With all due respect, I don’t suppose this mirrors how you also judge the CO2 arguments?


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    Thomas

    “CO2 levels were ten times higher hundreds of millions of years ago.”

    Irrelevant for the current discussion. Lifeforms were entirely different, even the sun was significantly weaker. It does show that more CO2 is unlikely to “cook the planet” if by that you mean it going the same way as Venus, but that isn’t the issue, it’s whether climate change will be great enough to disrupt our civilization and be partial cause of a mass extinction. (we are doing plenty to cause a mass extinction even without climate change, unfortunately). And to answer this question fragmentary data from hundreds of millions of years ago is largely useless.


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    Thomas,
    Sure we won’t get a runaway greenhouse effect, but what stops that happening if there is positive feedback with temperature, CO2 and water? Don’t know? Neither do I and neither do the climate models.

    Climate models are statistical witchcraft if we don’t understand which factors are the major driving forces in the climate. But they are the only ‘evidence’ on offer.


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    Congratulations on a really informative blog. As you say the evidence for CO2 driving climate is non-existent. Alarmist scientists rely on computer models which have been caught out at the first tests – they predict continuing warming and (despite increases in CO2) we have had no warming for 8 years. Also they predicted most warming in the troposphere – this has not appeared. You would think that at this point any genuine scientist would admit that the models were not working. You would expect that there would be articles in the media expressing doubt and an outcry against politicians who are going to increase the cost of everything we buy with the carbon taxes – but nothing of the sort is happening. For more about this and to vote in an on line poll come and visit my blog at http://climatescience.blogspot.com


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    Thomas

    Positive feedbacks do not result in a runaway effect unless the feedback exceeds a critical value. If, for example, one degree of warming causes 1/2 degree extra warming through feedbacks, that warming causes an extra 1/4 degree and so on, the total warming will be 2 degrees. So I do know and so do the climate models (or rather the modellers).

    The calculations of the radiative balance of the Earth is not any “statistical witchcraft”. You seem to have far too much contempt for theoretical science and the verifications we have that those calculations are correct.


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    Thomas – you will have to explain why, if the climate models have taken account of all the factors involved, why the predicted warming over the last decade has not materialised, and why the troposphere does not show the hotspot that is predicted. I believe the climate is far more complex than the modelers are admitting. The models have been found wanting and that point needs to be made over and over again.


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    Alex

    Climate models are rubbish.
    They cannot predict climate because climate is a chaotic system.


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    Thomas,

    “Positive feedbacks do not result in a runaway effect unless the feedback exceeds a critical value.”

    True, and not coincidentally, the IPCC models are always set just below the point at which the positive feedback is enough to go into runaway warming. (ie loop gain just a little less than unity, as they say). So any extra warming force and…it’s all over, hello catastrophe.

    Looking for a tipping point anyone?

    But the earth’s climate has been stable for the last few billion years, despite super volcano’s, massive asteroids, ice ages, and average temperatures higher than todays for millions of years. So we know it is not so unstable that a small perturbation can push it into a runaway greenhouse.

    “You seem to have far too much contempt for theoretical science and the verifications we have that those calculations are correct”

    Umm… which verifications would that be?


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    Jon Steedley

    In all the ‘hype’ about so-called ‘global warming’ I think its especially important to remember where the theory got its start.
    That alone should be enough to convince many that the entire debate is a not a ‘scientific’ issue, but rather a political (and a ‘socio-religious’) one.

    Here is a link to a nationalpost.com story relating the discovery of the error in the way NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies correlated temperature measurements.
    Those “temperature records are a key component of the global-warming claim,” according to that article.

    Once it is seen that one of the initial data sets for the ‘global warming’ theory was “based on incomplete and inaccurate data,” it should be obvious that a faulty conclusion is the ONLY real consequence to a careful analysis of the available data.
    (Without providing an alternate data set,
    of course.)

    The old hands in the computer set will likely remember the old rule; GIGO—Garbage IN, GARBAGE OUT!

    With that clarification, I eagerly await the latest doom and gloom prophesies from the high priesthood of the ‘global warming’ religious zealots.

    Seriously, though, the ‘global warming’ religionists are a sign of a grave danger:
    the inability of vast numbers of people to either reason on the available evidence, or their seeming susceptibility and credulity to believe anything they hear without being at all skeptical or doubting it.

    Perhaps the greatest danger is that of society becoming so gullible that any obviously worthless intellectual conjecture can be used to control and misdirect millions or even billions of our fellow humans.


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    Thomas

    Jo, you contradict yourself. First you claim that it’s a mystery that models don’t show runaway effects, when that didn’t work you retreat to some conspiracy theory that models are “set” to a point just below runaway, rather than accepting that this is what you get if you put in reasonable numbers, (and what you get if you analyze historical data). Then the system isn’t exactly linear, even if you do get gain over one at some point, that gain will drop once you get too far away from the current state.

    Claiming that the Earth’s climate has been stable for billions of years makes me wonder what you’d consider unstable. We’ve gone from (near?) global glaciations to extreme hothouse conditions. Your talk about a total runaway is just a strawman, this is not what people worry about.

    The most basic verification of our climate models would be that they get the average temperature of the Earth right. The natural greenhouse effect is over 30 degrees, so models that were totally wrong would end up with tens of degrees error.

    Jon, the theory of global warming was discovered long before there were any temperature data from GISS. There are other data sets, such as the one from Hadley that shows the same trend. GISS made an error that affected data for a couple of months. No big deal. When RSS did an almost identical error in their analysis of satellite temperature data it was hardly a footnote.


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    Thomas – if CO2 drives the climate then why have we had no warming for almost a decade? In fact for the past 8 years we have had slight cooling. If you say it has been masked by other effects, then you are saying that CO2 does not actually drive our climate, but is subordinate to other effects. Secondly the climate models predict that we should see a hot spot about 10K up in the troposphere over the tropics. This has not appeared. If the models fall at the first prediction why should we trust them any further?


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    Thomas,

    May look contradictory, but I didn’t claim “that it’s a mystery that models don’t show runaway effects”. I claimed the models don’t know what factors stop the atmosphere going into a runaway greenhouse. Models give a lot of power to ‘positive feedbacks’ – without these positive feedbacks the warming predicted by the models shrinks by 60%. So the positive feedbacks matter a lot, yet we don’t understand the climate well enough to know what forces overwhelm the positive feedbacks (or even if the positive feedbacks are… um… positive).

    Both my comments can be true at the same time.

    Comment #14 – Modelers don’t know what stops the runaway greenhouse effect from happening.
    Comment #19 – So the models are set to avoid the runaway outcome artificially.

    “Claiming that the Earth’s climate has been stable for billions of years makes me wonder what you’d consider unstable.”

    Earths atmosphere has been amazingly stable. There’s only been a ten degree global average temperature variation over 500 million years of asteroid strikes, super volcanos, continental drift, mass extinctions, the evolution of forests and grasslands, changing sea levels and ice cover, orbital changes, and atmospheric gas changes. All that and 5000 ppm of Co2 hardly made any difference. Compri? Something is stabilizing our atmosphere, and we don’t know what it is.
    http://ff.org/centers/csspp/library/co2weekly/2005-08-18/dioxide.htm

    “The most basic verification of our climate models would be that they get the average temperature of the Earth right.”

    But they don’t! The ‘noise’ that stopped us warming over the last 7 years is real, and more important than CO2, and not included in the models.

    “…so models that were totally wrong would end up with tens of degrees error.”

    Oh. so a model thats only 5 degrees out is not ‘totally wrong’? :-) Aiming pretty low there.

    These giant complex models can be tweaked any which way to produce any number you choose. And they are not independently audited. There are lies, damn lies, and computer models.


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    Thomas

    Derek, CO2 isn’t the only factor, but while others tend to fluctuate on timescales of a decade or so CO2 keeps climbing. I wonder how many had even heard about that hot spot before contrarians recently decided that this was the one and only imporant prediction of AGW and its lack proved models wrong? I wonder how many will still talk about it a couple of years from now. These things tend to have a short lifetime.

    Jo, you are deep into conspiray theory here. You make a lot of claims of how modelers don’t understand stuff and just cheat instead. How about backing up your claims by some hard, empirical evidence?

    We are aware of quite a few feedback mechanism stabilizing the Earth’s climate. For example, even without life CO2 levels are stabilized by the feedback that higher CO2-levels give higher temperatures which gives more precipitation and precipitation increases erosion that consumes CO2. The extremely high CO2-levels early in the Earth’s history was compensated by the weaker sun at that time, an example of how feedbacks has worked.

    “The ‘noise’ that stopped us warming over the last 7 years is real, and more important than CO2, and not included in the models.”

    All models produce noise of this magnitude, it’s no mystery! You may complain that we can’t predict the exact internal dynamics to exactly reproduce it, but that’s where the chaotic part comes in.

    But since you have decided that the modellers cheat there isn’t anything I can say that will convince you. You could get the source code for one of these models and audit it yourself, but somehow I doubt that interest you.


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    Hey Thomas, what do you mean “I wonder how many had even heard about that hot spot”? I am talking about scientists, not Joe public. If a scientist makes a computer model to predict how the climate is going to behave, we can only test it by comparing its predictions with what actually happens. The models say there should be a hot spot, so if that hasn’t appeared it must be a concern. Unless the models predictions are accurate then why should the government use them as a basis for making policies which will have big cost implications for all of us? In addition to that the temperature increase shown by the satellite data are much smaller than that shown by the ground stations, and as I said before, temperatures have not increased for nearly a decade. Recently they have fallen. This was also not predicted by the models. There are people attempting to pervert science for political ends. That is the only explanation for what is happening here.


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    Grant

    One thing that no one has yet explained to my satisfaction is “What is the temperature of the earth?”

    This really bugs me. Temperature changes diurnally, seasonally, and spatially. The Northern Hemisphere is in winter, the souther in summer and there is a temperature gradient that is continually changing. The average temperature on any given day is not (maximum temp + minimum temp)/2 since the length of time those maxima and minima and all the temperatures in between were sustained. A maximum temperature could be an aberration of a few minutes on a a cool overcast day.

    Which brings me to another point. We have numerous temperature records dating back centuries. These records were made using mercury based thermometers. But how accurate were those thermometers? And how were they calibrated? And how well/consistently were those who read them trained? Then we have two temperature scales – Farenheit and Celcius? Have those temperature records which were maintained in farenheit been correctly converted to celcius? How much error is introduced because someone rounded up, while someone else rounded down?

    So once someone can say what the average temperature of the earth is then I am prepared to listen to assertions about variations and cause and effect.


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    Grant is dead right. No one can answer that fundamental question, so we are left with a fudge in which scientists make their best attempt to give an answer. The Earth is so vast and temperature so variable that to find an average is in fact meaningless, as are so many other statistics we get today. What did someone say – lies. damned lies and statistics! Yet we all read statistics and quote them. Advertisers love ‘em – this disinfectant kills 99% of all household germs! etc. etc.


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    Thomas

    Derek, models makes many predictions and some of them are bound to be wrong. (No one claims the models are perfect!) Nor are our measuremets perfect, as should be clear from some of the articles discussing this “hot spot”, and CO2 isn’t the only factor affecting climate so you wouldn’t expect it to be quite as clear as if that was the case.

    “In addition to that the temperature increase shown by the satellite data are much smaller than that shown by the ground stations”

    If you believe Spencer&Christy the satellite record shows slightly less warming than ground stations, RSS get about the same trend and Vinnikov and Grody a higher one. All from the same raw MSU-data! There is no contradiction between ground- and satellite data and the former is more reliable.

    “Unless the models predictions are accurate then why should the government use them as a basis for making policies which will have big cost implications for all of us?”

    Governments have to make a decision. To do nothing is as much a decision as trying to reduce emissions. To choose we need to use the best information available even if it isn’t perfect.

    Grant, to reduce the errors you talk about one uses temperature anomalies. You record how much the temperature changes at a place compared to the average at the same spot from some reference period and then you take a global average of this anomaly. While individual days can be way off by some weather anomaly, this average out if you look at monthly data.

    There is a significant amount of articles discussing how to reconstruct historical temperature data and correct for known errors. You also use proxies, temperature in deep boreholes, growing seasons of plants, at what time lakes froze etc and it all points to a warming Earth.


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    Thomas, let me show you an example of the sort of data manipulation tha goes on see this graph:- http://icecap.us/index.php/go/joes-blog/if_you_dont_like_history_change_it/ Rather than any more from me, why not view this excellent lecture by a world renowned expert on the subject, Professor John Christy, http://alfin2100.blogspot.com/2008/07/global-warming-lecture-video-john.html


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    Thomas,

    “Jo, you are deep into conspiray theory here. You make a lot of claims of how modelers don’t understand stuff and just cheat instead. How about backing up your claims by some hard, empirical evidence?”

    google this: Climate AND model AND “tipping point”. See 225,000 descriptions of how climate models produce results close to tipping points. Obviously the models are bumping just under that breakout line.

    Ah you say, but the climate IS close to a tipping point. OK, assume the models are right. How is it they can’t tell us the average temperatures over a five year rolling basis for the current five years, let alone the next 50? They predict a hot spot we can’t find (As I’ve said repeatedly…). Ergo, the models are inadequate, they’re not covering all the factors that matter.

    Why believe a model that can’t predict real world outcomes that are measurable by real world equipment?
    You obviously have faith in those models. Feeling religious?

    “The extremely high CO2-levels early in the Earth’s history was compensated by the weaker sun at that time, an example of how feedbacks has worked.”

    Wow. Hell of a ‘feedback loop’. I didn’t realize earthbound CO2 levels made the sun weaker.

    “since you have decided that the modellers cheat”

    The third time you’ve put words into my mouth. I’m asking questions, and getting no evidence. You claim there are verifications the models are correct then can’t provide any.

    “You could get the source code for one of these models and audit it yourself, but somehow I doubt that interest you.”

    So Thomas, audited one yourself, or do you just take them on faith?


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    Thomas

    Jo, you still don’t get it. The “tipping points” talked about isn’t any runaway effect to a new Venus, it’s changes similar in size to stuff that has happened many times in geological history. Younger Dryas was a tipping point, for example. Paleocene-Eocene thermal maximum a larger one.

    Furthermore, few climate show any of tipping points for expected CO2-emissions. These are usually talked about by people who like you suspect the models are wrong, but in their case it’s that they think models are too optimistic, that they fail to include some positive feedbacks.

    Do you ever go to a doctor? Do you believe what they tell you, take the medicine they want you to? You do know that medical science isn’t perfect, doctors make mistakes and medicine sometimes doesn’t work as expected. Still, even with all its flaws, medical science is still better than nothing. Same goes for climate science. How often have you ever made a decision based on perfect information about the consequences?

    “How is it they can’t tell us the average temperatures over a five year rolling basis for the current five years”

    As I’ve said repeatedly, there is too much noise in the climate system to make predictions like that. Even if you take the same model with slightly different starting conditions you soon get divergences. The long time trend is the same, but not individual years. do you dismiss statistics as well because you can’t predict the individual roll of a die?

    “Wow. Hell of a ‘feedback loop’. I didn’t realize earthbound CO2 levels made the sun weaker.”

    Duh! The feedback is, of course, that CO2 levels rose to a higher level to compensate for the weaker sun.

    “So Thomas, audited one yourself, or do you just take them on faith?”

    As a scientist I learned early on that you can’t be an expert in more than a small specialty, outside that you have to take other experts “on faith”. If I want to know the electron mass I look it up in a table, I don’t start reading the original literature to see if the people who have measured it may have made any mistake. It’s not perfect, but it’s the only way to get anything done.


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    Grant

    Thomas “Grant, to reduce the errors you talk about one uses temperature anomalies. You record how much the temperature changes at a place compared to the average at the same spot from some reference period and then you take a global average of this anomaly. While individual days can be way off by some weather anomaly, this average out if you look at monthly data.”

    What you have explained there is tautological. Firstly, you still have not explained how you can calculate an “average” or “mean” temperature for the globe, or even for a single weather point. One would need millions, maybe even billions, of readings in order to calculate the “mean” temperature of any given location.

    The term “anomaly” seems to be thrown around as if it has some special significance. Temperature variation is not anomalous. It is normal. To try to reconstruct historic temperatures is less accurate than driving down a road looking only in the rearview mirror – but the result is the same – you will make very poor decisions that will likely result in a crash and death.

    The whole thrust of Jo’s post is “Trends in temperature variation are not explainable by carbon dioxide alone.”


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    Grant

    Thomas “As a scientist I learned early on that you can’t be an expert in more than a small specialty, outside that you have to take other experts “on faith”. If I want to know the electron mass I look it up in a table, I don’t start reading the original literature to see if the people who have measured it may have made any mistake. It’s not perfect, but it’s the only way to get anything done.”

    But with “climate science” as many people have pointed out there is another agenda in play. Therefore it is only a fool who believes anything that a self-proclaimed climate scientist says without investigating further.


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    “JN: “Wow. Hell of a ‘feedback loop’. I didn’t realize earthbound CO2 levels made the sun weaker.”
    Thomas: Duh! The feedback is, of course, that CO2 levels rose to a higher level to compensate for the weaker sun.”

    Thomas, feedback loops have to Feed Back. Outputs must affect inputs. Hence, unless CO2 is also regulating the suns power, it’s not a feedback loop.

    The “tipping points” talked about isn’t any runaway effect to a new Venus, it’s changes similar in size to stuff that has happened many times in geological history.

    It doesn’t matter if the tipping points are big or small. We can’t even measure air temperatures without resorting to a dozen statistical studies to ‘find’ the right results (right, being those which match the models output). If we can’t measure something as simple as air temperatures accurately, how the heck are we supposed to measure, comprehend and manipulate twenty other factors that are more complicated and harder to quantify and then produce a model that works from that data? An inadequate model isn’t going to accurately predict big tipping points or small tipping points.
    Actually small tipping points are harder to pick. You need better resolution.

    Do you ever go to a doctor? Do you believe what they tell you, take the medicine they want you to?

    Actually when it’s important I research PubMed. It’s brilliant. (I’m a molecular biologist by training, so it’s weird I know, but I enjoy reading those abstracts.)

    But I agree with you – you do have to take some things on faith. My problem with the AGW debate is that very little of the sceptics viewpoint makes it out into the mainstream media. The funding and reporting is one sided. Scientists and journalists are acting religious. I can’t take something on faith when it’s being rammed down my throat.


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    I take things on trust when they are clearly accepted by all leading scientists in the field. I know of no dispute about the mass of an electron. But in climate science some of the world’s leading experts are telling us that they do not accept the theory. Not just one or two but dozens! If you were told you had a serious complaint you might seek a second opinion, though we usually accept that a doctor is working in our best interests, and has no hidden agenda. Climate scientists are reliant on the research grants from governments for their living, so it is even more surprising that so many leading scientists are willing to speak out if the CO2 theory was a good one.


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    Rod Taylor

    I really enjoyed reading through the comments on this site…amazing how I thought I was wandering alone in the wilderness of conventional thought, when in reality the world is full of skeptics with a similar bent.

    Just a note on the driving force behind the IPCC. The UN is seeking a route to an unprecedented transfer of wealth from the first world to the third world, and the bureaucrats in the UN are using the IPCC’s rubberstamp of AGW as the justification. If AGW is proven to be a smokescreen, the UN will be forced to look elsewhere to live out their Robin Hood fantasies.

    Note, however, that nothing short of another Maunder Minimum is going to convince the true believers that AGW is but a hoax.


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    Thomas

    “Thomas, feedback loops have to Feed Back. Outputs must affect inputs. Hence, unless CO2 is also regulating the suns power, it’s not a feedback loop.”

    Jo, are you making fun of me by pretending to be dense? This is what I wrote, and the feedback mechanism I explicitly described (there are others): “For example, even without life CO2 levels are stabilized by the feedback that higher CO2-levels give higher temperatures which gives more precipitation and precipitation increases erosion that consumes CO2.” This mechanism can explain how the temperature has been kept reasonably constant even as the sun has gotten brighter.

    You are right that we are probably are not going to be able to predict any tipping point. It doesn’t mean that they don’t exist, only that we won’t know until we hit one. The more we force the climate with our CO2 emissions, the more likely this is.

    “My problem with the AGW debate is that very little of the sceptics viewpoint makes it out into the mainstream media.”

    Very little of small minority views in science makes it into the media on most subjects, and for good reason. Do we need magazinges interviewing a creationist every time evolution is discussed? Do we need to contrast the Big Bang theory with the few remaining steady-state proponents every time? I think the sceptics get more space in the media than in the scientific press. I remember when Pat Michaels complained to CNN that the “sceptics” didn’t get enough space. They checked, and found that of all experts on climate they had given air time, Michaels had gotten twice as much as anyone else!

    You keep harping about AGW being a religion just as creationist love to describe evolution as a religion. Personally, I think most “sceptics” tend to act more like a religious sect, willing to believe just about anything as long as it go against AGW and convinced that the whole issue is some great conspiracy by UN or some other group to control the world.

    Grant, you seem ignorant of the fact that temperatures correlate both in time and space, you don’t need any millions or billions of points. I also explained the meaning of “anomaly” in the context I used. It is simply the deviation from the mean in a reference period, it has nothing to do with whether or not temperature variation is normal or not.


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    Jo, are you making fun of me by pretending to be dense?

    No, actually I admire your pluck for speaking up on a page full of people who disagree, I was trying not to be too harsh. You were the one who claimed the weaker sun was a feedback when it can’t possibly be. (Who’s being dense?)

    And as for your other feedback example (high CO2 leads to high temps which means higher rain, increasing erosion, consuming CO2). At least it’s a feed back, but probably not a positive one. Co2 has been rising, but humidity has fallen.

    We all know the high school rule higher temp = higher rate of evaporation, but those dang simple rules keep keeping confounded in the real world on a global scale.

    It’s a good example of how little we understand the climate and why models need another 30 years of research before they start to make projections so they don’t embarrass themselves.

    The more we force the climate with our CO2 emissions, the more likely this is.

    Got any evidence (apart from computer models) that CO2 between 300-6000ppm has ever pushed up temperatures?

    Very little of small minority views in science makes it into the media

    How do you know it is a minority view? Any mass surveys of scientists?
    When did we vote? Did I miss it?

    Do we need magazines interviewing a creationist every time evolution is discussed? … blah blah blah… about how much media space the skeptics get.

    Count the mass media articles about the missing hot spot, the 800 year lag, the poor state of ground based thermometers in the US, the poor results from climate models, the lack of warming, the rising levels of sea ice around Antarctica…

    The public don’t know the most basic things about our climate despite a multi million dollar ‘climate’ education campaign. Who are you kidding?

    You keep harping about AGW being a religion just as creationist love to describe evolution as a religion.

    It’s dull how I harp on about something you have no answer too isn’t it?
    Go on, lump us in with creationists… it’s like name-calling. Sophisticated.

    Personally, I think most “sceptics” tend to act more like a religious sect, willing to believe just about anything as long as it go against AGW and convinced that the whole issue is some great conspiracy by UN or some other group to control the world.

    See, you miss the whole point about being a skeptic. We don’t believe, we are not convinced. We don’t have faith.

    You have the harder job here, it’s easy for us to poke holes in a theory, rather than provide one of our own, but if you want us to fork out money and change our behaviour you have to provide some, any, even a bit, of real world evidence.

    Who’s being gullible? The person who believes a UN committee, or the person who asks for evidence?


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    Thomas

    Jo,
    1. I never claimed the sun was affected by the Earth, that’s just something you imagined in your malicious interpretation of what I wrote.
    2. Absolute humidity has risen with temperature. Your link shows a figure of relative humidity. For an even better view of how humidity rises with temperature see this figure:
    http://rabett.blogspot.com/2008/10/first-principle-is-that-you-must-not.html#links
    3. The paper by Miskolczi in your link is crackpot science.
    4. Lower absolute humidity for higher temperatures would actually increase the feedback I described. The amount of rainfall has to be equal to the amount of evaporation, and evaporation rises both at higher temperature and at lower humidity. The only way humidity could drop at higher temperature is if some unknown mechanism ensured it rained out extremely quickly.

    “Got any evidence (apart from computer models) that CO2 between 300-6000ppm has ever pushed up temperatures?”

    PETM!

    “Go on, lump us in with creationists… it’s like name-calling. Sophisticated.”

    If you don’t like it, perhaps you should refrain from using religious analogies yourself? Ah, well. This discussion won’t lead anywhere anyway.


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    Thomas:

    Comment: Jo, 1. I never claimed the sun was affected by the Earth,
    that’s just something you imagined in your malicious interpretation of what I wrote.

    No. Sigh. It was irony – not malice.
    In #24 You claimed: “The extremely high CO2-levels early in the Earth’s history was compensated by the weaker sun at that time, an example of how feedbacks has worked.” Read literally, it appeared you didn’t realize what a feedback loop was, and was suggesting a weak sun ‘could be a feedback’. But now I’m guessing it was just sloppy sentence structure right?

    3. The paper by Miskolczi in your link is crackpot science.

    I’m glad you understand what’s wrong with it. Care to explain?
    Guys with dozens of degrees are still discussing his theory (which inconveniently seems to match a lot of empirical observations).
    [For those who haven't come across him. Link here.]

    4. You’re making a big leap here again. A whole bunch of other events could complicate the picture. Air currents can change, clouds form in different places or at different heights, precipitation could fall in a new pattern. Rain on the ocean doesn’t cause erosion. You can only know if it’s warming or cooling ultimately by taking the temperature. In other words, we don’t know if theoretical feedbacks are positive or negative until we measure them, and most of them are almost impossible to measure individually.

    Feedbacks are a guesstimate with masses of uncertainty. See: here.

    “perhaps you should refrain from using religious analogies yourself?”

    Who’s using an analogy? Read the blog. AGW is a religion (for many) by Popper’s definition.


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    Shoshin

    Religion may be a harsh word; I prefer the term “eco-romantic”…All the self-righteousness of religion without the sacrifice and discipline.


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    Grant

    Shoshin “without the sacrifice and discipline”. That is an excellent observation.

    I have found amongst my circle the AGW believers are usually those who make no personal changes but call for “society” to address the issue. In fact, one of the most firm AGW believers I know has the choice of 2 V8s to drive and has a business in supplying parts to recreational vehicle owners. If ever there was a self-contradiction… and yet people of that ilk cannot see this.


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    Anne-Kit Littler

    Thomas: “I wonder how many had even heard about that hot spot before contrarians recently decided that this was the one and only imporant prediction of AGW and its lack proved models wrong? I wonder how many will still talk about it a couple of years from now. These things tend to have a short lifetime.”

    The Hot Spot theory is from the IPCC, the “world’s finest climate scientists”. (Source of graphs: IPCC 2007, p 675, based on Santer et al 2003. See also IPCC 2007, Appendix 9C.)

    Come on, Thomas, you can’t have it both ways ;-)


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    grumpy

    Thomas
    In order to convince me can you please tell me the average global temperature to 3 decimal places and the CO2 concentration to a similar degree of accuracy on Jan 1, some year that pre-dates human derived CO2 emissions (i.e before humans started burning wood) and the current state of both those figures at Jan 1 this year so I can determine how much warming we have caused due to our profligate excreting of that damn poisonous substance?


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    Jo, I’m a social studies teacher at Prior Lake High School in Minnesota (USA). We’re just completing a unit on world religions (and belief systems), concentrating on Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, Islam and Christianity. As a post-exam treat, I’ve decided to introduce the students to a sixth major religion: AGW.

    In years past, some of my fellow teachers have propagandized students by using Al Gore’s scary crockumentary, ridiculous cover stories about AGW (e.g. Time, Newsweek, National Geographic, even Sports Illustrated), and spinning heart-wrenching tales of cute, cuddly carnivores (drowning polar bears).

    I want to create an original lesson plan to help students discover (for themselves) the fact that they’ve been manipulated, and that AGW is a new world religion. Material on your site helps — thanks. I take it that you are a convert to AGW skeptism. Like Saul of Tarsus, converts can be passionate, powerful teachers.


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    Anne-Kit Littler

    Dear Larry,
    Thank God for teachers like you! I would there were more of you around the world. Here’s a link that might help you with your materials:

    http://www.ecalvinbeisner.com/freearticles/DeepEcol&GlobalWarming.pdf

    Respectfully,
    Anne-Kit Littler


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    bugs

    ““it’ll take an ice age””

    That is just nonsense. An ice age could occur, but that would not disprove the theory of AGW. The climate changes more many reasons. At present, the main cause of change is CO2 levels rising in the atmosphere.

    A cooling in the atmoshpere, no change for 20 years, does not falsify AGW.

    This is yet another example of your not understanding the case for AGW. I would advise you to talk to some experts, then you can at least start from a basis of knowledge of the science as it stands.


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    bugs

    “I’m glad you understand what’s wrong with it. Care to explain?
    Guys with dozens of degrees are still discussing his theory (which inconveniently seems to match a lot of empirical observations).”

    You defend Miskolzci? You are the sceptic, you are the one offering evidence, yet you have no idea if it is valid or not. The easiest way to spot a denier, as distinct to a sceptic, is when they will believe any crackpot idea as being valid, such as Miskolczi.

    It’s funny, you demand evidence from people who support AGW as valid science, you want them to explain why they believe it, but when you are challenged on junk such as Miskolczi, you want them to explain it to you. You explain why it is right, it is your evidence.

    There are no experts debating it, it’s like trying to debate why up is down. It makes no sense. It is not even self consistent. If you want respect, you should first of all learn how to spot garbage such as that.


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    bugs

    “In order to convince me can you please tell me the average global temperature to 3 decimal places and the CO2 concentration to a similar degree of accuracy on Jan 1, some year that pre-dates human derived CO2 emissions (i.e before humans started burning wood) and the current state of both those figures at Jan 1 this year so I can determine how much warming we have caused due to our profligate excreting of that damn poisonous substance?”

    That you would ask such a question means you have no understanding of the case presented for AGW. It makes no sense.


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    Bugs, please lift your standards. Endlessly, lazily telling people to ‘speak to an expert’ is argument by authority, and it’s the lowest form of it to boot.

    If we are so wrong, go on, explain it to us, but explain it in terms of concepts – not vague unsubstantiated statements. Posts like these are the lowest form of AGW belief – faithfully parroting the fashionable mantra’s without understanding the science.

    eg. Miskolczi.
    1/ Either explain why he’s wrong, or be silent. Your statement, “There are no experts debating it,” is again, utterly unproveable (You’ve surveyed all the experts?). Please stop making generic whitewash statements without evidence.

    BTW: I didn’t offer his theories up as evidence. I didn’t claim to understand him. (But I haven’t written him off either because unlike the IPCC, his theory fits the empirical evidence.) I don’t have to explain him or defend him because 1/ his theory is not essential to my assertion that there is no evidence that the enhanced greenhouse effect is significant. and 2/ I’m not asking you to pay taxes based on my theory. You are. So it’s your job to provide the observations and references. Convince us.

    “That is just nonsense. An ice age could occur, but that would not disprove the theory of AGW. The climate changes more many reasons. At present, the main cause of change is CO2 levels rising in the atmosphere.”

    So when the temperature goes down, it’s natural, and it doesn’t matter that the models don’t know what caused the cooling? So suppose that mystery factor stopped acting on the climate – Wouldn’t temperatures then rise because of it’s absence? So when you say CO2 is the main driver, it’s argument ad ignorantium. “We don’t know of any other factor that might cause it. Therefore, it’s CO2.

    The ‘GW’ in AGW is Global Warming. What kind of AGW exists if CO2 levels rise as we enter an ice age? Would that be AGI. Anthropogenic Global Irrelevancy?
    If nothing could ever prove to you that the AGW theory failed, you qualify as a ‘believer’, not a scientist. See my post on AGW is a religion… Oh… This is my post on AGW is a religion.

    If you want our respect, use better reasoning and logic.


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    bugs

    Why Miskolczi is wrong.

    http://www.realclimate.org/wiki/index.php?title=Ferenc_Miskolczi

    Please – do us the courtesy of actually writing a brief paragraph explaining why Miskolczi is wrong (or even cut and paste one from the site you link too). Unless you do, I’ll assume you can’t explain it yourself, and you are merely hoping that realclimate has a point, and that I’ll have time to debunk every page you put up. One liners with a link to pages 10,000 words long is lazy.-JoNova


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    bugs

    “The ‘GW’ in AGW is Global Warming. What kind of AGW exists if CO2 levels rise as we enter an ice age? Would that be AGI. Anthropogenic Global Irrelevancy?”

    That would be a case of one forcing being stronger than another. There are several forcings at work on the climate, that may nor may not be significant at various times for various reasons.

    It just so happens that analysing the forcings at work on the climate at present puts CO2 at the top of the list. I have no doubt that, over time, that will change. For one thing, the CO2 response is logarithmic, but by then the damage will be done.

    I would refer to the IPCC reports, as they represent the collective research by the peak climatologists in the world, including our own CSIRO. Our own CSIRO stands by the findings of the IPCC.


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    bugs

    Jo

    If you are serious about climate from first principles, I suggest you read the free, online, climate handbook.

    http://geosci.uchicago.edu/~rtp1/ClimateBook/ClimateVol1.pdf

    I have to admit, I can’t understand a lot of it. Maybe you can point out his errors. You will note it’s a few pages longer than Miskolczi.

    [While I'm busy, here's one for you, Nature, Not Human Activity,
    Rules the Climate
    . It's a good 50 page summary. It's worth it just for the graphs. Up to date. Though sometimes heavy. - JoNova]


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    James McCrudden

    This blog started with a question
    “Is there is any evidence that would convince you that carbon was not significant?”
    Then it wandered off into diversions by Thomas and Bug.
    When Bug said that an ice age would not disprove the AGW theory that’s as close as any believer got to answering the question. If this line ever gets restarted, please, admin, make them stick to the subject.

    [emphasis added by me - JN]


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    Good point James.
    Sticking to the ice age point by Bugs.

    That would be a case of one forcing being stronger than another. There are several forcings at work on the climate, that may nor may not be significant at various times for various reasons.

    This is a useful point – it cuts to core of where the debate ought to be. Most skeptics will admit that there is probably a small real warming effect due to CO2, but if this effect is so small we can’t measure it, the appropriate thing to do is to watch it, double check the results, and make sure it really isn’t a problem. It’s not appropriate to deny people cheaper energy: It makes it harder to cook or travel to school, harder to store vaccines, and makes fertilizer less available when people are starving. These are hardships – especially in developing countries. People will die due to the decision to cut CO2 emissions.

    It’s not reasonable to act based on evidence that has been superceded. The question of whether AGW is measurable IS THE question.

    It just so happens that analysing the forcings at work on the climate at present puts CO2 at the top of the list.

    THE LIST represents all the forcings the IPCC is willing to consider. They don’t include (for example) the leading alternate theory about solar magnetic effect and cosmic rays. And there may be another reason yet again that no one has thought of. Saying that “CO2 did it because we rules out everything else we could think of” is also false reasoning. Argument by ignorance.

    I have no doubt that, over time, that will change. For one thing, the CO2 response is logarithmic, but by then the damage will be done.

    In this case the logarithmic effect works in our favour. The largest effect of CO2 has already happened. Whatever we add now makes less and less difference, like painting another coat of paint on the wall…

    Do you agree then that we need to see some measurable climactic difference in the past or present due to carbon in order to give the AGW theory any credit?


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    James McCrudden

    The cheese-mites asked how the cheese got there,
    And warmly debated the matter;
    The Orthodox said that it came from the air,
    And the Heretics said from the platter.
    They argued it long and they argued it strong,
    And I hear they are arguing now;
    But of all the choice spirits who lived in the cheese,
    Not one of them thought of a cow.

    (probably Conan Doyle)


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    James McCrudden

    The validity of a theory can be tested by its capacity to make predictions.(Theory – one plus one = two. Prediction – the next time I put one dollar with another I will have two dollars.)
    Various supporters of the AGW theory (or should that be hypothesis) have made predictions. It would be vastly helpful if someone could point to a prediction which has been verified.

    Obviously this does not mean predictions about what will happen if the earth warms or cools, it means predictions that validate the theory that man-made carbon dioxide is a principal forcer of global warming.

    If any reader knows of such predictions made by a qualified scientist, it could be posted here. This would assist in bringing the topic back to the question – Is there is any evidence that would convince you that carbon was not significant?


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    bugs

    THE LIST represents all the forcings the IPCC is willing to consider. They don’t include (for example) the leading alternate theory about solar magnetic effect and cosmic rays.

    Define leading?


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    Define leading?

    Scraping the barrel here a bit bugs ;-)

    Leading (according to JoNova): The scientific theory that has evidence to support it. eg, like graphs with meaningful correlations.

    Leading (popular mis-definition): The scientific theory with the biggest fan-club.


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    JamesB

    Joanne,

    I have been a chemist (polymers) for over 30 years and there is something about this whole GW debate that I just don’t get. That is, what the heck are these ‘forcings’ that seem to be so important? The way I see it the sun heats the earth by means of photons hitting the earth and warming whatever they run into to the tune of X W/m squared. But somehow we end up with X+Z w/m squared. What is Z and where does it come from? It can’t come from the energy reflected back to the atmosphere and then re-sent back to warm the earth more because that is heat that already heated us in the first place and it left and then came back. If I have three guests for the weekend and one leaves and then comes back I still have three guests raiding my fridge, not four. Help.


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    mikiwud

    JamesB, each body or gas that warms emits energy at a different wave length to the one it absorbes but energy can only be transfered to a cooler body. That is what the “fingerprint” in the tropical troposphere is supposed to be. The CO2 absorbs IR from the Earth at one wave length and emits it at another in all directions, some of it back to Earth (This is the greenhouse effect).All “greenhouse gases ” do the same, but at diferent wave lengths (and probably different altitudes,I’m not sure).
    The CO2 fingerprint should be seen in the mid to upper tropical troposphere as a “hotspot”, but it ain’t there!


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    James: Good question.
    “Forcings” means any factor that has an effect on the climate.eg: Water vapor, albedo (surface reflectivity), CO2, solar irradiance,… eg: More CO2 ‘forces’ the climate to warm (albeit, not very much).

    And you are right, atmospheric gases are not ‘heating the planet’. They are just slowing the heat from radiating out into space. It works a bit like a blanket – the blanket doesn’t create heat, it just stops you losing it. The Earth is continually heated by the sun and from our hot core. At the same time we are losing that heat 24/7 out to space.


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    Great post, enjoying the debate. Especially impressed with Joanne’s wading into the fray to discuss this issue. Few bloggers will do that.


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    Richard P

    I am an engineer, and data trumps theory any day. If a computer model (theory) cannot predict what happens in the future what good is it? To that end when AGW models are able to show consistent antegrade predictability then I will say that it is confirmed. However, if they don’t meet this requirement then it is falsified and must be replaced. You cannot have it both ways. Data is more important than published papers and opinions.

    So let’s get back to the question, what data would convince the supporters of AGW theory that it is false?


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    Richard P: If it’s a religion, the answer is none. If there’s a cry of “something must be done now!” (which I hear a lot), the answer is also none. The typical person doesn’t have the patience for the glacial pace of climate science.


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    Personally, I still see some good coming out of this debacle. If countries become less dependent on foreign oil they will be less inclined to muck about in other parts of the world (I’m looking at you Bush Administration). So research into fuel cell/solar/wind tech? Great. Reducing use of coal and gas fired power plants? Also great.

    Spending billions on a theory that isn’t really airtight from the get-go? Not so great. We are talking about illions with a B. That’s a lot of money that could go other places. I’m not sure who’s right or wrong but I do want it to be solid before B’s are committed to it.


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    Richard P

    JCollum,

    My intent was to focus on what I know they do not want to admit. I am willing to look at the data, and provide a reasonable assessment of the theory. This as you rightly pointed out has become an industry in and of itself. With billions being spent such that everyone who can conceivably have a hand out is getting money. This cannot last forever, and eventually reality will creep in and it will be like the last scare in the 70′s that the world was freezing over.

    I just hope that it isn’t going to get too much colder. Cold conditions kill more people than warm. When I took meteorology in the 70′s it was called the Medieval Optimum because it was warmer with plentiful food, and economic conditions were good enough most of the great cathedrals could be built. It is amazing how history can be revised to serve a purpose isn’t it?


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    Tom G(ologist)

    Whew! Jo, you have more patience than I do. This thread reminds me of so many other bits of nonsense I have come across over the years. The one that really springs to my mind is the absolute insistence on the part of people who did not grow up on/work at a dairy farm that cow tipping is possible. There is a ‘religion’ of cow tipping in whihc those who have heard of it are unshakable in their insistence that it is DONE. I grew up on a dairy farm and I have repeatedly taken up the challenge and offered to go out with anyone and have them show me. This, of course, is not possibhle because COWS SLEEP LYING DOWN.

    So, here we are with non-earth-scientists arguing esoterica about the absolutes of AGW. I am not going to waste a lot of my time on the tired positions held onto so dearly by the AGW advocates herein but wrote this post to make a couple simple points. 1). Please take me out to the field and demonstrate to me that you can tip a cow (i.e., please produce the evidence that CO2 has caused the warming of the 20th century)- nevermind what anyone else says, thinks, shouts, does, rules, reasons or models. Put Up…. 2). In re: the meaningless statement – “The debate is over” Apart from the fact that there has really been NO open debate, the salient fact is that this is supposed to be SCIENCE. THERE IS NO DEBATE IN SCIENCE. There are only DATA. (Now the feedback loop). GOTO 1


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    Brad Jensen

    I used to practice cow tipping. When out driving in the countryside, if I saw a cow next to a fnece, I would stop and give it some hay to thank it for providing milk and cheese.

    Is there some other kind of cow tipping?


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    Brad Jensen

    Since the mechanisim for AGW is ‘so well known’, I thought I would add a reference to a questioning of that mechanism.

    CO2 Absorption Spectrum

    There is no Valid Mechanism for CO2 Creating Global Warming

    http://nov55.com/ntyg.html


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    Tom G(ologist)

    Brad – the CO2 absorption spectrum is so fundamental a thing I am always surprised and then appalled that so many scientists who claim they are savvy about AGW know nothing about it. I have a terrific graph in my power point presentation I use when I lecture about (against) AGW which sums up the CO2 spectrum issue so nicely and pictorially. I think a lot of people can benefit from knowing this little tid-bit.

    Tom
    CO2 absorption spectrum

    You can see the carbon absorption bands in the third row in yellow. (It’s also the graph I use in the Skeptics Handbook).
    In other words, all the frequencies of light that are not marked as ‘yellow’ in the CO2 row are not absorbed by CO2, no matter how much CO2 there is. Notice many of the wavelengths CO2 ‘likes’ also overlap with water vapor -(the light blue colour above the CO2 row.) If the sun doesn’t put out more light, there is only so much absorbing that CO2 can do.


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    Brad, the “at 10m” portion of your explanation made no sense to me. I just don’t understand what that has to do with a mass of CO2 absorbing some photons. Please point to an explanation.


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    MattB

    Personally I think the question is deliberately mischevious. I’d say that 99% of the population could not answer either that question or “what evidence would convince you that carbon is significant?”.

    Therefore I think it is a perfectly valid rely to say that “I would be convinced if significant sections of the climate science community said so.”

    Sure Matt, but that faithful 99% of the population should not include the people who call themselves climate scientists or science communicators. Nor should they be responsible for implementing and designing massive transfers of wealth that are supposedly based around the scientific concept.

    You talk about the pope, but the reality is that the general population put faith in science, and intelligent folks’ minds, to figure things out. So yes indeed many many warmists would believe so predominantly on faith.

    Agreed. Most of the population should be able to rely on scientists, science journalists, and government bodies to come up with evidence based policy. Having ‘faith’ is fine if you are on the sidelines. But it’s not fine for scientists in their own specialty. (And if someone has taken the ‘faith’ shortcut, why should they speak out on the science?)

    Just as I have faith that if your (hare-brained and mumbo jumbo*) ideas have any real basis in science then before too long the political consensus will flip and someone will probably get a Nobel prize and we will all celebrate in the streets that carbon, although important, was offset by some other climate forcing that balances things out.

    I mean the strongest climate sceptic that I (and you) know is a sceptic because God told her in a private 1-1 chit chat… how much more faith-based can you get!

    Finally, after much reading I think you guys are wrong on this hotspot thing… and much greater minds and qualifications than mine agree. As you say yourself Jo you used to “believe” until the hotspot issue, and I simply do not think your case is strong enough. I am however 100% certain, as I said, that if you are right then in time the science “consensus” will flip (yeah yeah I know consensus is not science blah blah).

    But the answer is playing the scientists in the science realm of journals and even politics… printing millions of booklets for kids, well as a parent it sickens me actually, and it seems to me more a tactic of the religious right to prey on kids through “education” programs.

    You are not a climate researcher, you do not open yourself up to peer review through the scientific literature, and are not prepared to make the “scientists” you do refer to do the hard yards in the field to get their message to the mainstream scientific opinion.

    I open myself up to review here and hopefully soon in the mainstream media, is that not peer review? And don’t make the mistake of thinking that all cutting edge scientists ought to be able to explain their ideas to every man and his dog. It’s unrealistic. I’ve spent years learning the best ways to reach other people with new concepts. It’s a specialty that research scientists shouldn’t have to devote a lot of time too. Scientists in the field have to speak in a shorthand lingo that taxes most brains. Science communicators are the bridge between scientists and the public. They translate the important concepts to the voters and children. My profession has let us down on AGW.

    Yes yes Galileo and all that… but he didn’t get his way by handing out leaflets to school kids – he took it where it counts, and of course he won.

    Who said I was aiming the Skeptics Handbook at kids? My comment in #1 was part tongue in cheek. My primary focus is adults, decision-makers.


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    MattB

    I would pose another question:

    Mainstream science believes that “carbon” is a serious problem, would you like thte government to:

    1) Act blindly to tackle carbon, ignoring any possible science developments.
    2) Act to tackle carbon, while tracking the science.
    3) Do nothint to tackle carbon, preferring to believe a fringe branch of climate science which is generally rubbished by mainstream scientists.

    I know that my order of preference would be 2, then 1, then 3.

    Sketpics like to create the strawman that science and governments are doing 1… but 15 years of “do nothing” when it comes to tackling carbon is the clear evidence that I need to show that 3 has in fact been the preferred course of action for 15 years.


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    Tom G(ologist)

    Matt:
    Many, if not most, of the scientists on the so-called ‘fringe branch’ are not on the fringe of science. They practice main stream science. And if ANY scientist ‘believes’ that carbon is a serious problem, then they are making conclusions outside the realm of science. The ‘fringe branch’ as you call us, is evaluating the data and we see no hard evidence of such a connection.

    I have a 4th option for your very restrictive list of options. Take the carbon issue seriously enough to continue evaluating it via the methods of science but not commit to unrealistic and ineffective targets which have no technical basis in fact, have no hope of being achieved or making the slightest difference, are unnecessary, and which will spend more money than we can afford.

    And, by the way, Agricola, Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, Newton, Darwin, Einstein, Wegener, Hawking. . . , were all also on their respective fringe branches – but they certainly were not on the fringe of science – they were at the heart of it, following the data WHEREVER it led them. The fact that many so-called mainstream scientists don’t like where the data are taking us is irrelevant – the only thing that matters is data, data, data.

    I do a lot of computer modeling to simulate earth systems. Models are usefule tools to extrapolate between measured data points and to make verifiable predictions – the predictions then form the basis of the next experimental plan and if the model predictions are correct, it is confirmed and it can be considered a reliable predictor of a system under the conditions modeled.

    Conversely, if the model is used to make predictions of systems for which there are insufficient control points, or if the model predictions are not confirmed by subsequent data collection, then the model is considered unreliable, the predictions it made are discarded, and it must be modified. In climate modeling, things are just wrong – the model is developed in a system with many unknown variables (limited control points) and when the model predictions are not consistent with observed conditions or the next experiment fails to confirm the predictions, the model output is kept as true and the modelers continue looking for confirmation of a failed model. My models are used in expert testimony all the time in groundwater and surface water systems, rock mechanics, rock engineering and even in the atmospheric dispersal of pollutant, and if I were as sloppy and careless and dishonest with my model results as most climate models I have reviewed I would be discredited in court, would lose my clients, lose my professional license to practice and of course be out of business pretty soon.

    As Isaac Asimov said, “The universal belief, held for thousands of years, that the Earth was flat, never reduced its sphericity one jot.” (paraphrased)

    Tom G(ologist)


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    MattB

    But Tom… we’ve only just come round to the fact that AGW is real… “warmists” as folks like to term them ARE Galileo et al… not the other way round. Denialists are the flat earthers…

    Sceptics fall in between – heck I’m a sceptic about a lot of science – aren’t we all and for good reason?

    If you are in the science, and are evaluating the data and seeing no link, then good luck on your Nobel prize… just don;t forget to publish something.


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    MattB

    I also think Tom you are totally misrepresenting the rigour of climate model construction, although they are indeed complicated things. but if you think they are not built by people striving for accuracy and true science… well I guess you are entitled to your opinion but I disagree.

    Is it not just as valid when model does not match data to check the data as well as the model??

    Matt – where do you draw the line? There are so many parameters in climate models the uncertainties are huge. The error bars don’t cancel out – they multiply. Its realistic to use models for simpler situations where you are drawing conclusions about a point in between other known points. But here, we’re taking a few decades of data and leaping forward 100 years (that’s extrapolation).
    We could assemble the top ten brains in the western hemisphere and an unlimited budget, and the climate models they produce would still not be ‘evidence’. If the models predict the real world they might be useful guides. They don’t. There is almost no overlap between the radiosondes and satellites versus the models. The predictions and the temperatures just don’t match. Figure 9a (Sorry it’s a 50 page pdf, but it’s interesting and a rare resource.). Look on page 18/50.
    (Notice the nice greenland ice core graphs figure 5a also. Look at how much warmer greenland was 1000 years ago – Ponder that Al Gore was happy to expand the vostok core up but not this one… )


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    Brad Jensen

    Right now the major justification of AGW as a scientific theory has been the reliance on a computer model that has never correctly predicted temperature changes.

    A scientific theory of global warming has to conform to what we already know about chemistry and physics. AGW doesn’t.

    One part in ten thousand of the atmosphere is just not enough to affect the overall atmosphere in the significant way that AGW says it must. CO2 would have to be magic fairy dust to have the effect they want it to have.

    The correlation of CO2 levels with annual global temperature is weak. Even if it were much stronger, correlation is not causation.

    Basically what we are being asked to do is to bet the world’s future on a simulation with the technical sophistication of Donkey Kong. It would be laughable if it weren’t so tragic. Already political and economic decisions are being made on the basis of this superstitious fad, that reduce the economic prospects for the world’s poor.

    Historians of the future will perhaps consider this period one of mass hysteria, where people driven to distraction by the apparently intractable collision of Islamic terrorism with liberal dogma, reacted by creating a fantasy threat that seems measureable and controllable.

    AGW is real only in the sense that those who promote this piffle into government policies are causing real harm to the world’s poor, increasing the likelihood of more hunger, more disease, more isolation, and less education for those who suffer from these wants the most. The “benefits” of CO2 reduction schemes are hypothetical and entirely unproven, but the harm from them is foreseeable and as certain as tomorrow’s sunrise.

    We might as well collect pine cones as trade carbon credits, for all the difference it will make to the world’s climate. And it would be better to starve a few squirrels than the poor children of the world, which is what CO2 restrictions will tend to do.

    Man made global warming doesn’t need to be disproven, because it has never been proven. It has only been asserted.

    “Deniers” indeed. It is the “Asserters” who need to prove their case.

    The bullies behind the AGW movement need to be called on their tactics and their crummy science.

    Or at least they need to have enough respect for the rest of us, or enough shame, to stop pretending that AGW is science. So far all I have seen is a faith-based political movement, a Children’s Crusade with a bevy of simpering sycophants in politics and the press.

    The only degrees that count in global warming theory are Fahrenheit and Celsius. Show me a mechanism for man-made global warming that conforms to scientific principles, and calculations that explain at least the present set of observations, and I will modify my opinion of this theory. Right now, AGW seems to be a lot of hot air stirred up by 60 scientists, most of them lab partners, who hijacked the IPCC process and are now hijacking the political process.

    AGW is the Technorati Tulip Frenzy. What a sad, sad footnote this will be in the history of science.

    What scientists should be giving us is cheaper energy, cleaner water, better education, improved crops, and everything that will help lead to longer, healthier, more satisfying lives. Instead what we get is billions of dollars spent on a digitally-derived Armageddon fantasy and the prospect of laws that will tie our hands in taming the problems of the future.

    It’s time to bring the AGW bandwagon to a screeching halt.

    Brad Jensen


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    MattB

    Oh yeah one last thing… on BraveNewClimate I asked how long the current “flat” temp would need to continue before it was statistically significant, and I can;t remember the answer I got and can;t find it on the blog, but it was a straightforward answer as in “X years” so it seems to me that when an honest question is asked of climate scientists an honest answer cometh.

    Also (I can’t find a better place to ask this) but how come ALL of the links form your website are to out and out sceptical websites and groups, including those who were in denial even when in your opinion was that AGW was true based on the science.

    I mean surely there must be one or two warmist websites that you think take an even scientific approach to things, at least more so than say Climate Sense Coalition…

    My links page contains several neutral links as well as one to ‘real climate’. Links and sources My latest post on comments by santer, sherwood and schmidt also has links to their papers.
    Just because things were posted 10 years ago, doesn’t mean I read it ten years ago. I was reading New Scientist back then and I thought I was well informed (as a curious bystander). I didn’t realize what I wasn’t being told. And no, I haven’t really come across a ‘warmist site’ that was even handed. The problem is one of the process of science itself. Evidence trumps theory and opinion, and since there really appears to be no evidence supporting AGW (nothing more than a lab test) by definition, the warmists sites appear to be un-scientific. Even the best ones that discuss peer reviewed papers end up rehashing statistics in computer models.


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    “Oh yeah one last thing… on BraveNewClimate I asked how long the current “flat” temp would need to continue before it was statistically significant, and I can;t remember the answer I got and can;t find it on the blog, but it was a straightforward answer as in “X years” so it seems to me that when an honest question is asked of climate scientists an honest answer cometh.”

    Why, when CO2 levels are going higher and higher, is the temperature back down to where it was in 1980 (based on the only accurate global measurement, by satellite)?

    “El Nino”! El Nino doesn’t last ten years of course, and in any case the notion is nonsense.

    If you take ice out of your refrigerator and put it in a glass on your kitchen table, you have not changed the total thermal energy of your house one erg (except for the heat energy developed in your muscles from moving them to perform the action).

    El Nino causes more cloud cover in some places, and less in others. It’s been operating for thousands, perhaps millions, of years. Why is it suddenly the climate “decider” now?

    No, no, wait. I meant it’s the Tooth Fairy. The Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny are conspiring to mask the otherwise overwhelming effects of man-made CO2 increases. They will probably get tired soon, and then watch out Venice and New Orleans!

    The question is not why the global warming “deniers” persist in their delusions, but why anyone takes the “asserters” of man made global warming theory seriously. Their theory does not withstand basic scientific scrutiny, and their predictions do not match the data.

    I once took a car of mine to the same mechanic over and over again to fix a series of small problems. He was sincere, energetic, intelligent, engaging, and enthusiastic. He would explain what was wrong and tell me how he was going to fix it. Each time I got the car back, the problem would be worse. Reluctantly, I finally had to stop going to that mechanic when my car woldn’t run any more. I needed to be able to get to work, you see.

    In this time of global economic uncertanty, we need to get the whole world back to work.

    There was talk some time past of sanctioning global wamring “deniers”.

    When even the thermometer becomes a global warming “denier” it is time to take a look at our critical thinking process with respect to climate change.


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    James McCrudden

    One of the most respected statisticians, known for rigor, was George E.P. Box.
    Cut to Brad; “Therefore I think it is a perfectly valid reply to say that, ‘I would be convinced if significant sections of the climate science community said so.’”
    As far as I know, significant sections of those in the science of data processing data quote George Box with approval when he said,
    “All Models Are Wrong But Some Are Useful”
    Call it the Warmist Paradox
    I am convinced AGW occurs because models indicate it. (consensus)
    I am also convinced all models are wrong.(consensus)


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    MattB

    Brad and James, I could go to any number of dubious blogs if I wanted to engage in pub level discussion of the issues. I’ve put some thoughts down and am interested in what Jo, a local WA contemporary and relatively significant figure in the global sceptical community, has to say. So thanks for your replies and excuse my shunning your posts, but I can get that at the fun agmates blog.


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    —Cut to Brad; “Therefore I think it is a perfectly valid reply to say that, ‘I would be convinced if significant sections of the climate science community said so.’”—

    I certainly would not say that at all, it is exactly the opposite of what I think.

    I think the number one verification of a scientific theory is when it accurately predicts novel observations.

    See Galileo on the timing of the appearance of the moons of Jupiter, Haley’s prediction of the return of ‘his’ comet, Einstein’s eclipse, etc.


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    MattB

    I think he meant me.


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    MattB

    Also Brad can you explain why you didn’t think AGW was real before the hotspot issue was identified ( I assume that is your blog to the Oz in 2006 re: Tim Blair waffle)? The blog author was a true believer (apparently) until then…


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    Tom G(ologist)

    Matt:

    “we’ve only just come round to the fact that AGW is real… “warmists” as folks like to term them ARE Galileo et al… not the other way round. Denialists are the flat earthers…”

    1) agw is anything BUT a fact. If it IS a fact, please produce the data;

    2). Please provide instances where any of the list of historic scientists I put in my post looked at data which was contrary to an idea/hypothesis/theory, and decided that the idea was correct and the data were wrong or so inconsequential that they could be ignored.

    3). No real earth and atmospheric scientist denies that climate changes and that we were in a warming phase from approx 1977 – 1998 (+/- a few years). We do not deny that CO2 absorbed a fraction of the infrared radiation which is re-radiated from the earth. We disagree with the interpretations that CO2 is the principle climate driver, that adding more will result in runaway temperatures, that cutting CO2 emmissions will somehow cool the atmosphere. We also accept the confirmed data which point irrefutably to the FACTS that the earth has no ‘normal’ climate condition – there is NO 98.6 for the Earth; that prior to civilsation, Earth’s climate has varied dramatically; that the CO2 indicators pushed by such people as Al Gore ahve been shown to be incorrect; that the cycles of warm and cool in the last several thousand years can be directly correlated with insolent radiation cylces and that there is only an indirect correlation (at the most generous I can be) between temp and CO2 and that the data support conclusions that T varies first followed by releases of CO2 (Go open a cold bottle of seltzer and then open a hot bottle of seltzer and make the comparison yourself); AND that, depsite all of the broohaha, the Earth has gotten cooler in the past decade when ther computer models predicted it would warm. You’ll pardon me, I am certain, if I decide to follow the data rather than cling to a theroy which has so far failed to explain the actual climate (that’s what a scientific theory IS – an overarching explanation which incorporates and accounts for ALL of the available observations and data) AGW has left a LOT out and, in consequence, can not really be considered a scientific theory. It is no more than a hypothesis whcih has not been confirmed by ANY data – if it has, please produce it so we can award you YOUR Nobel prize.


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    Forgive me – I’m so far behind, I’ve dropped inline answers into #74, #78, #80. Please email me offline if I’ve missed a comment that needs attention. But you seem to manage just fine without me. Cheers!


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    “Brad and James, I could go to any number of dubious blogs if I wanted to engage in pub level discussion of the issues. ”

    My favorite response of this pattern was when a correspondent called me ‘an obnoxious, know-it-all jerk.’ He ended up agreeing with me, and perhaps someday you will also. It may not have occurred to you that it reflects badly on you to respond to a discourse on ideas with a putdown, but scientists have discovered that even dogs have fairness detectors. Your readers probably do, also.

    I regret that my colorful language may have stimulated you to abandon reasoned discourse and embarrass both of us by insinuating that others should do likewise.

    I tend to ignore twit responses, but since so much of the AGW cult seems to think that counting coup is of equal value to reasoned argument, I thought I would give this one acknowledgement to the attempt.

    (I don’t mean to call you a twit, I am referring to a response that is designed to deflect the discussion from the underlying ideas, or summarily discredit the other correspondent.) (Other people are free to call you whatever they want of course, but I don’t think this forum is the appropriate place to do such things.)

    This is great fun, but it is not what I am here for.

    I don’t mind being insignificant, although it might be fun to be in WA (I assume you mean Western Australia) where you can hop outback by the billabong and throw some shielas on the barbie.

    Brad Jensen

    (Those unexposed to Oz might not get the joke.)


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    I’ve never been to Australia (but if this American economy keeps tanking…) but I’m pretty sure that “throw some shielas on the barbie” isn’t what you meant. Or it would be painful for the sheila’s in question. http://www.koalanet.com.au/australian-slang.html#S


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    Greg Brown

    Thomas,

    So, there wasn’t much of a cooling scare in the 1970′s, eh? Funny, I seem to remember reading all sorts of articles about it. Perhaps you’re a young sprite in your 30′s? In any case, I’ve seen two Op-Ed pieces in my local paper in the past year mentioning a new(?) opinion among researchers that we may be facing another cooling period, not a warming.

    In a commentary published Dec. 28th, 2008, Geologist Dr. Don J. Easterbrook (Western Washington University) is quoted as saying of an impending cool period that “Recent solar changes suggest that it could be fairly severe, perhaps more like the 1880 to 1915 cool cycle than the more moderate 1945 to 1977 cool cycle. A more drastic cooling, similar to that during the Dalton and Maunder minimums, could plunge the Earth into another Little Ice Age, but only time will tell if that is likely”. And in the same article, another geologist, Dr. David Gee (member of the 2008 International Geological Congress, Uppsala University, Sweden) is quoted as asking “For how many years must the planet cool before we begin to understand that the planet is not warming? For how many years must cooling go on?”

    It appears that not all scientists buy into the warming catastrophe scenario. In fact, I am being rather facetious here, because there are at least 650 scientists (as mentioned in the recent US Senate Minority Report) who do not agree with the ‘popular’ view of anthropogenic catastrophic warming. Probably due to the fact that it is likely not anthropogenic, and not catastrophic.


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    “Also Brad can you explain why you didn’t think AGW was real before the hotspot issue was identified (I assume that is your blog to the Oz in 2006 re: Tim Blair waffle)? The blog author was a true believer (apparently) until then…”

    The reference is to http://www.news.com.au/dailytelegraph/comments/0,22058,20854377-5001031,00.html

    I am layman, not any sort of credentialed researcher or academic.

    I’ve been writing software since 1969. I’ve written statistics programs (long ago) and used mutliple regression for modelling situations. That’s not a backdoor claim of expertise, but an indication that I have at least been exposed to the ideas involved in statistical modeling.

    My undergraduate areas of concentration were psychology, philosophy, computer science, and economics. I received a 797 out of 800 on the College Board Biology Achievement Test. I’ve been reading both science and history for 40+ years. For those who are familiar with and care about such things, it may indicate that even if I may be an idiot, I am not a moron. Or vice versa as the terms apply.

    We can’t all be experts, but we all can reason.

    All discovery begins with doubt.

    When I first read about what is now called AGW, I began by considering it with a properly scientific attitude, which is skepticism. I would have been happy to have been convinced by scientific argument that AGW is a true description of nature’s forces.

    However, what I read in the press were arguments from authority and continual references to researchers tinkering with computer programs to try to get them to produce predictions that corresponded to actual observations.

    When it got to the point that the number one argument for AGW was ‘consensus’ the notion was pretty much discredited as a scientific theory for me. For one thing, I had already read enough actual scientific discussion on the internet to realize that the notion of ‘consensus’ was itself a fabrication. But more importantly, no one gets to vote on scientific truth. Or rather, there is only one vote – Nature’s.

    Among the many facts that I read, the one that stood out for me was the one you have seen me refer to here in several posts. Man’s total contribution of extra CO2 to the atmosphere through the burning of carbon-based fuels amounts to one particle in ten thousand.

    That is one percent, of one percent of the atmosphere. One penny out of a hundred dollars. Unless the laws of physics have been temporarily suspended, you would have to heat that one particle to thousands or even millions of degrees – and keep it hot – to transfer enough momentum to the other 9,999 particles to cause measurable heating of the atmosphere.

    And as far as I have been able to determine, we don’t really know that the additional CO2 in the atmosphere is actually the result of burning fossil fuels. Most of that CO2 may be rapidly absorbed by more plant growth, for example. Since the oceans hold 400 times as much CO2 as the atmosphere, the CO2 rise might be from the oceans, not from man. If the temperature of the earth (including the oceans) is rising for some other reason than hypothetical CO2 greenhouse effects, more CO2 may be leaving the oceans for the atmosphere.

    You would think that the isotopic signature of fossil fuel carbon would be significantly different from the prexisiting stock of atmospheric carbon, but I haven’t read of anyone measuring this. It may not be possible to measure this with enough accuracy to affect the argument, and in any case someone might argue that even if the fossil fuel carbon is not in the atmosphere, it has displaced other carbon in the carbon bound up in plant matter.

    There are arguments about what the actual percentage of CO2 in the atmosphere is.

    We are assuming that the rising CO2 in the atmosphere is from the burning of carbon-based fuels. We then assume that since the level of CO2 is rising and the atmospheric temperature is rising, that a link of causation exists between the two observations. Out of a deficit of humility, we assume that man must be causing the temperature rise by the burning of carbon based fuels. However, the geologic record says that in the past when such a correlation has existed, it was temperature increases that raised the amount of CO2 in the air, not the other way around.

    In any case, what we have here is a chain of assumptions, not facts and scientific reasoning from facts.

    There is another fundamental problem, which is one of measurement. The reasonable way to measure average global temperature is from space. We have been doing that since around 1978. Previous to that we have mostly ground-based measurements.

    Scientists have tried to average a bunch of ground based measurements together to come up with an accurate measurement of global temperature. They assume that errors in measurement cancel out when you average all the measurements together. I suppose there is a scientific term for the application and justification of this assumption, but the only one I know is “wishful thinking.”

    Understand that the previous measurements of global temperature are all reconstructions. Great efforts are made to continually improve the accuracy of those reconstructions and check the results of different methods against each other, but they are not direct measurements of temperature. And if you read the documents available on the web, you will find that they don’t agree.

    When the ground-based measurements disagreed with the satellite measurements, the satellite measurements were ‘recalibrated.’ Again as a layman lacking the proper scientific terminology, the word that comes to mind to describe this practice is ‘hokey’. Back in high school chemistry class, if I had known that respected scientific researchers not only developed fudge factors but published them in peer-reviewed journals, I would have been a lot more confident in my own process of investigation.

    And imagine taking a chaotic mess of measurements from inside the environment being studied, and using them to calibrate the much simpler and arguably more objective measurement from outside that same environment, in order to justify the conclusions reached from the operation of a digital model of that same environment, while that model is known to be both highly inaccurate and incomplete!

    There’s only one word for this, no matter what color coat you wear: chutzpah.

    It’s beginning to seem like the major crisis facing AGW is how to continue increasing funding and institutionalizing this fairytale as law before the global temperature falls any farther. Call it the decelerating bandwagon effect. Unfortunately the bandwagon doubles as a lunch wagon for many of the participants in the discussion.

    The final peer review is by Nature herself, and AGW is failing this review now, as it has from the start.

    As a layman, the promotion of AGW seems like scientific malpractice persisted in almost to the point of fraud. I am not an expert to determine this, but certainly some of you must be.

    If I have missed something in this, or there is an error in my understanding of the process of legitimate scientific inquiry, I would appreciate correction.

    If anyone just wants to call me names or try to marginalize my arguments, have your fun. Real people with real minds can maintain their focus on what is important, and that is who I am writing for. Both of you.

    (That was a joke. I know I am a gullible chump just like everyone else in the world, it is wired in our genes. I just want to be my own gullible chump.)

    I could be wrong. The magic penny of man-made CO2 might be controlling global temperatures despite the other nine thousand, nine hundred, and ninety nine cents of the other particles in the atmosphere. If so, I can’t wait to learn the new scientific principle that underlies this amazing phenomenon.

    But meanwhile, I am not holding my breath.

    By the way, I can think of one causal relationship where man might be helping to increase the average global temperature, but I have no idea of the magnitude of the effect or if the results are even measurable.

    It has nothing to do with CO2. At least, not with the level of the gas in the atmosphere.

    (I am sure some of you know exactly what I am referring to, from this hint.)

    If this man-made source of global warming exists and is significant, I suggest nuclear powered snow machines on the edges (or even the interior) of Antarctica to offset the problem. It would be far simpler and less disruptive than the solutions being suggested now. Come to think of it, a fairly standard nuclear electric power plant would be a snow machine in Antarctica.

    I am not a shill for the oil companies and I don’t get any money from foundations or government entities.

    However if any or all of you want to deposit funds in my paypal account, it is brad@elstore.com . I will try to use as much of it as possible to buy gas for my SUV. Make a reprintable comment with your donation and I will post it on my blog. If I suddenly buy a houseboat like Al Gore’s and start apologizing for my mistaken notions about AGW, rest assured that the donations reached six figures and I still really believe what I am saying now.

    Maybe I could make and sell ‘I was a chump for AGW’ bumper stickers and t-shirts.

    I understand some will use my humor as an excuse not to take my arguments seriously, but you have to admit the promotion of AGW as a ‘scientific theory’ is pretty funny if you forget about the ongoing attempt to use it to wreck the world’s economy and destroy the reputations and careers of legitimate scientists.


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    “Collum:
    January 8th, 2009 at 4:15 am
    I’ve never been to Australia (but if this American economy keeps tanking…) but I’m pretty sure that “throw some shielas on the barbie” isn’t what you meant. Or it would be painful for the sheila’s in question. http://www.koalanet.com.au/australian-slang.html#S

    Yes, that was the joke, the misuse of Australian slang. You throw shrimp on the barbie, then give it to a shiela and hope she looks like Barbie.

    The problem with explaining humor is it just gets lamer and lamer. Do you know why cows wear bells? Their horns don’t work!

    Speaking of lame humor, what do you call a cow with no legs? Ground beef.

    If only had two legs, it would be lean meat.

    Hey Brad – we Australian’s got the joke. Cheers! :-o


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    Tom G(ologist)

    Greg:

    I trust that your resposne to ‘Thomas’ was not to me, although I would like to be a young sprat in my 30s who doesn’t remember the 70s climate scares (actually, as I say to people, growing old sucks, but I would not give up having lived through the 70s (14 – 24 yrs old) for ANYTHING). I have been lecturing on the actual data and real trends for years and I find most of my college students are relieved to learn that they are not as stupid and blind to reason as they had been led to believe. They mostly have some misgivings about the AGW party line which is shoved down our school children’s throats, but they don’t have the means or knowledge to get the actual data on their own. The respons to my one 90 minute lecture per semester on this one is overwhelming. I don’t come at with prjudice. I provide a geologist’s perspective on climate change and simply show them what Earth’s climate has been like, what the reasons for changes are and some dispassionate graphs whichi depict correlations of natural and man-made factors.

    I have corresponded with Don Easterbrook (I haven’t met him personally although we have presented papers at the same GSA meetings) and we have shared some geologists’ thoughts on the (absence of) AGW data. You can follow what’s new with Don at http://www.ac.wwu.edu/~dbunny/research/global/index.htm
    His latest paper was a good one.

    Brad – 650 scientists? You haven’t seen this then? http://www.oism.org/pproject/

    Tom G(ologist)


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    “> Brad – 650 scientists? You haven’t seen this then?
    > http://www.oism.org/pproject/

    You are misinterpreting someone else’s post as mine. I am well aware of the 30,000 ‘scientists’ who have signed a petition stating they don’t believe in the claims of AGW. To me that has a scientific inquiry contribution value of about .5 on a scale of one to ten.

    Einstein’s scientific contempories thought he was nuts. Einstein thought the quantum physicists were nuts.

    About the only physicist I can think of who was strongly admired by his contempories was Newton, and he took credit for the discoveries of others.

    Consensus don’t mean squat.

    If I start counting noses of scientists and try to offer that as justification of a scientific theory, I would be just as misguided and confused as the AGW asserters.

    (And if someone can find where I have done that in the past, I apologize now and agree it is chumpful behavior.)


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    James McCrudden

    I think the skeptics are quoting the dissenting scientists not to establish the failure of the AGW argument but to establish the failure of the corollary statements “all scientists agree” and “the debate is over” and so on.
    And just as “global warming” has been junked in favor of “climate change” so too the mantra about “consensus” is rather slowly being replaced with “all right so there is no consensus but must we wait till everybody has been roasted? we must act now.”


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    MattB

    Guys Brad is not the only one who is allowed to take a slightly jovial approach to blogging. No great offence intended by my “pub level discussion” comment – but seriously I already lose enough time in my week to blogs and comments on AGW.

    I am ALWAYS sceptical of science that takes a media-profile angle to try and debunk established science rather than go the time-honoured path of journals and peer review and just balls-out scientific debate. I have faith in science and the scientific method, which is why I am comfortable with AGW, and am totally open to the possibility that one day it will be shown to be incorrect and accepted as such by scientists.

    “consensus” relates to policy… they have to make decisions and the FACT is that the VAST majority of Scientists who actually do research are with the “consensus” on this one – that may change who knows but politics and policy HAVE to choose and at present it would be totally incorrect to choose to go witht he sceptics other than to say “Guys you have some interesting thoughts, get some research published and see how you go.”

    As said above lists mean nothing – 650, 3000 whatever… I could get my nam,e on such a list just as deserving as say David Evans has done, but I know that it would not be worth the paper it is written on.

    Of course Al Gore’s activity in the field makes me cringe… I’ve not seen the movie and don;t go to hollywood for my Science.


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    MattB

    Thanks for those comments Jo… I was just looking at the links in the bar on the RHS of the website: Carbon Sense Coalition, Carbon Science Coalition, David Archibald, Mahorasy, and Lavoiser. Honestly you may say you’ve not come across an even handed warmist blog… but Real Climate, BraveNewClimate, DeSmogBlog would at least demonstrate that you want you readers to get the full picture, and are AT LEAST as scientific as any of your quick links that are just to out and out denialist non-scientific websites (that just happen to agree with you but deep down you must know thay don’t give a rats clacker about the science).

    If warmist sites used logic and reasoning, they would be skeptics.

    At Best the “non greenhouse theorist” science shows the potential for AGW science to be misplaced… I admit that Svensmark’s sunposts are interesting (but need a lot more work) and the post 1998 flatlining is of growing personal interest, but I’m VERY sceptical that those blips should mean we throw the baby out with the bathwater.

    AGW is not a baby. Once it was cute and had potential. Now, it’s more like cancer.

    Being open I’m also attracted to this website as quite clearly the sceptics are on to a winner with you – media darling, well spoken, well credentialled… it is a shame you’ve been seduced by the dark side and don’t use your considerable powers for good;) Certainly a rabble that includes Monkton and Archibald needed a much better media strategy;)

    Lets face it you are a science communication guru… you could sell snake oil should you choose to do so. Warmists ignore your website at their peril. You say that your profession has served AGW poorly… well look how far they have gotten just being bumbling research scientists with elbow patches and a failed US politician. I think they underestimate just how a well coordinated attack by a savvy science communicator would floor them. It does make me wonder why David was send out in August and now though… unless he is like the elbow testing the water, or the cannon fodder;)

    I’m waffling now sorry:) But lastly, no that is NOT peer review, since you are such a stickler for science.

    I will just add that I have NO DOUBT that current moves towards an ETS only exist because some people can make a whole pile of money out of it… I’m not naive. That is life. I have no Doubt that if the skeptical “science” was on top it would only be because someone could make a quid out of it. The quid will be made and the science politicised regardless of the outcome.

    Planes fly; not because someone could make a quid out of it, but because they got the physics right. If it were just a question of money, Napoleon would have used F111′s.

    Science trumps money in the sense that no amount of money will change a natural law. In the long run, the winner of the climate debate will be the one who got the science right.


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    MattB

    Another point… it shoul dbe noted that the comment “Science based ideas are falsifiable (thanks Karl Popper).” is one that is hotly contested. A simple google will reveal this.

    http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/print/16478

    In particular I like this reference to some 1925 research that “falsified” Einstein’s theory…
    “It was the ideologues ­- those with antiscientific axes to grind , who were insisting that a theory should be tossed out because of a falsification.”


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    Lazlo

    MattB: ‘..the FACT is that the VAST majority of Scientists who actually do research are with the “consensus” on this one..’

    Can you please point us to the evidence for this fact?


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    Tom G(ologist)

    Brad – 100% correct. consensus IS BS as far as science is concerned. I point it out for the simple reason that the so-called debate is NOT over, and the “there can be no more doubt” statements are meaningless. As Einstein was also wont to say, “Never stop questioning.” Anyone who says the debate is over is not acting the role of a scientist. When we stop questioning then it is time to hand it over to politicians to tell us how we may and may not use whatever knowledge it is. But what does James Hanson want us to do? Stop questioning! And my post was intended to point out that there an awful lot of people, a preponderance of them with some credentials in science, who are still doing the scientific thing – questioning.


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    MattB

    Sure Lazlo, just the sheer wieght of peer reviewed literature, dare I say it the IPCC… yeah sure the name is mud in the denialosphere but whether you agree with them or not the world’s leading climate scientists endorse those findings. Is it corrupt, is it a mates club – who knows… but we are talking research scientists in the key fields of climate change – to which I refer you to BraveNewClimate’s thread on “just who does climate science” (or similar). I’m not saying every geologist, physicist, biologist heck even climate scientist… but you would be hard pressed to find more than a handful of genuine fundamental dissenting peer reviewed scientific articles…

    And note I’m talking about from a policy making perspective… in every other single field of science policy is made according to a scientific viewpoint around which there is almost certainly considerable resistance to from some people in the field of study. What is the answer – nobody ever make ANY policy because there is not 100% agreement amongst scientists? Of course not – and in any case as pointed out even 100% agreement would not mean the science is etched in stone for eternity…. things happen, we all learn and science progresses.

    I’m afraid that is just the postmodern science trust/distrust world we live in.

    So we get back to the FACT (sorry Lazlo) that the truth of the matter is that there is nothing dishonest in telling the general population that an ETS and carbon reduction scheme or whatever is based on sound science.

    Then what are we left with… you can either be pro-science and try and win through the scientific method… or you can be anti science and insist that all the science is wrong for 100 different reasons that all contradict eachother?

    THe hotspot is interesting, cosmic rays are interesting – science will sort it out… are you with us or against us?


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    MattB

    And Lazlo – I could add the weight of every single national academy of science, including China, Russia and India if it helps.


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    MattB

    FYI Guys about 5 months ago after David Evans started doing the rounds I did a survey of pretty much anyone on my email database about where they felt the science was at on AGW. I can tell you that about 95% thought on a scape of 0 – 5 (5 being the science is IN) were at least a 4…. but my 4 best mates were all 1s or 2s, so I use that as evidence that I am not in the game of demonising or alienating sceptics and am in fact very comfortable with the robust nature of scientific debate.

    But lets face it if there were really really credible mountains of scientists who had decent science against AGW, well Ms Nova would surely be linking to their websites under the “links” section on the right hand side of this web page? no?

    It only takes one fact to prove it wrong. So no, I don’t need to link to a thousand scientists.

    And crickey, ohmigott, are you trying to use my short blogroll to prove something? The only thing it proves is that I thought no one paid much attention to long lists of links with no commentary. – JoNova


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    Lazlo

    MattB: I was merely asking for evidence of your asserted fact about the views of a vast majority of scientists. You haven’t supplied any, but never mind (I’m sure you are not suggesting that your ring-around of your mates can be extrapolated to a ‘vast majority of scientists’).

    Oh, and here is a pointer to a small sample of published research that dissents from the IPCC line – more than a handful wouldn’t you say? http://www.globalwarmingheartland.org/article.cfm?artId=23697


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    MattB

    Well given that there is no way you could possibly read my post #104 and come to the conclusion that I was putting that aside up as a ‘vast majority of scientists’ then yeah Lazlo I guess you are right – not sure why you felt the need to type it though.

    Pull the other one if you think that pro warming science does not dominate the peer reviewed world of science mate… I mean fair dinkum.


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    MattB

    Are you saying that the endorsement of every National Academy of Science does not represent the endorsement of the mainstream scientific community?

    Invariably lists as you have posted are full of quality science written in good faith that only a denialist could twist in to dissenting from the IPCC line, rather than simply contributing to the wonderful world of science learning.


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    “Another point… it should be noted that the comment “Science based ideas are falsifiable (thanks Karl Popper).” is one that is hotly contested. A simple google will reveal this.

    http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/print/16478

    I hope there are more logical and coherent examples than this one. Crouse says nothing that advances his thesis to me.

    The argument that one anomalous result constitutes the falsification of a theory is just as unscientific as the response of the APS, who if they respected Miller’s credentials, should have attempted to reproduce his results for a topic as important as relativity.

    The other assertion of Crouse, that great scientists ignore contradictory empirical evidence, just sounds bizarre.


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    Lazlo

    MattB: ‘Are you saying that the endorsement of every National Academy of Science does not represent the endorsement of the mainstream scientific community?’

    I am not aware that ‘every’ national academy has ‘endorsed’ some common position. I am aware that some executives of academies have made statements, but I don’t believe any have polled their members to find out what they think (I am open to correction on this).

    Ahh ‘denialist’ is now entering the narrative – that term of personal abuse that is meant to equate anyone who disagrees with a holocaust denier…


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    MattB

    If I was talking about a holocaust denier I’d say holocaust denier? That in particular has to be one of the strangest complaints from your side of the debate – to suggest that the term denial has got any implied reference whatoever to the holocaust. But then you would do that when you ahve nothing else to stand on.

    From Wiki: And sorry it is G8 + 5 academies. Also I think you will find that the members of these academies would be pretty shirty if they year after year made the same statement if no one agreed with them.

    Joint science academies’ statement 2008
    In preparation for the 34th G8 summit, the national science academies of the G8+5 nations issued a declaration reiterating the position of the 2005 joint science academies’ statement, and reaffirming “that climate change is happening and that anthropogenic warming is influencing many physical and biological systems.” Among other actions, the declaration urges all nations to “(t)ake appropriate economic and policy measures to accelerate transition to a low carbon society and to encourage and effect changes in individual and national behaviour.”[10]

    The thirteen signatories were the national science academies of Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, India, Japan, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States.


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    MattB

    In fact you should check the whol wiki article:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_opinion_on_climate_change#Joint_science_academies.27_statement_2008

    For a religion it is ONE HECK of a broad church that is for sure.


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    –”And just as “global warming” has been junked in favor of “climate change” so too the mantra about “consensus” is rather slowly being replaced with “all right so there is no consensus but must we wait till everybody has been roasted? we must act now.”–

    If that’s the basis for our chosing a course of action, we had better put armed guards around the cookie aisles in our supermarkets, to keep the Keebler Elves from getting loose.

    The idea that man’s activities are contributing in some significant way to global warming is a hypothesis that is completely unproven. The further notions that the cause of this is an increase in CO2, and that increase is a result of man’s activities, are suppostitions.

    “What else could it be?” well, it could be the sme natural change in global temperature that we have evidence for the last couple of million years. There is no basis for assuming that the rate of natural change in climate remains constant, and that the changes since the 1850s are unusual.

    The feedback loops shown in the computer models exist because they are programmed into the model. They can’t get into the software any other way! Whether that insertion is intentional or as a result of oversight or even a bug in the compiler, doesn’t make any difference.

    Since the restrictions on carbon use championed by the AGW cult are certain to raise the price of fuels, more poor people will freeze to death if we enact these superstitions into law.

    Do you know why the US declared the polar bear an endangered species? Not because of any reduction in their numbers today – their numbers are increasing. The explicit reason given was the predictions of the computer models of climate change.

    This is naked, mad hysteria. It isn’t science.


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    MattB

    Jo – sorry if this is not the correct thread… but I just remembered David’s bet at backseat driving: http://backseatdriving.blogspot.com/2007/04/climate-skeptics-guest-post-why-david.html

    And I was just wondering if you knew if he still felt that it is 20% probable that CO2 is the culprit of warming… given that the hotspot (or rather lack of) shows that it is not the culprit? I mean there is no hotspot, so it is not CO2, so why 20%?

    I’m not trying to sound like a smart ass btw:) genuine interest.


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    When I read that the scientific academies of many nations have all endorsed AGW, it makes me wonder what the cabdrivers, the movie ushers, and the veterinarians think about it.

    Are the principles of AGW so subtle and esoteric, that we need a scientific priesthood to stand in the place of our own reasoned consideration of its arguments?

    AGW is a cult that worships the future temperature predictions of flawed software in preference to present, actual physical observations. When confronted with the wide discrepencies between the predictions and the observed data, the adherents come up with ever more fanciful rationalizations. In a normal world, with rational persons, this is considered delusional. That’s why I consider this hysteria. It is certainly anti-science.

    To propose that we enact worldwide economic policies to conform to software bugs is howling madness.


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    MattB

    well if you look at the opinion polls the cabbies, vets and movie ushers are certainly mostly in the non-sceptic camp I’m afraid Brad.


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    > Sure Lazlo, just the sheer wieght of peer reviewed literature, dare I
    > say it the IPCC…

    Actually the section of the IPCC used to justify AGW was written by a group of about 60 scientists, most of whom had coauthored papers with each other. They basically hijacked the process.

    > yeah sure the name is mud in the denialosphere but
    > whether you agree with them or not the world’s leading climate
    > scientists endorse those findings.

    Who gets to decide who is a leading scientist? Does scientific truth outweigh scientists’ opinions?

    In response to the criticism of AGW as a rush to judgment by a paradigmatically inbred group of researchers, we are offered more buggy software-generated predictions of crisis. The assertion that we have the power to change the climate by accident, but we will not have the power to change it on purpose, is logically inconsistent.

    > What is the
    > answer – nobody ever make ANY policy because there is not 100%
    > agreement amongst scientists? Of course not – and in any case as
    > pointed out even 100% agreement would not mean the science is etched in
    > stone for eternity…. things happen, we all learn and science
    > progresses.

    But the point is these are policy decisions that will have extreme effects on virtually every person in the world. And what we are being asked to do is to harm ourselves economically and politically because of a fiction. Can’t we wait until we have real world evidence of the accuracy of AGW? The answer we are given is no, the totally inaccurate software model we have suggests that we should act before we have any proof.

    “Trust me, my Facebook buddies all say I am probably right.”

    This, of course, is bonkers.

    And it is far easier to pass a bad law than to get rid of it once it passes.

    > I’m afraid that is just the postmodern science trust/distrust world we
    > live in.
    >
    > So we get back to the FACT (sorry Lazlo) that the truth of the matter
    > is that there is nothing dishonest in telling the general population
    > that an ETS and carbon reduction scheme or whatever is based on sound
    > science.

    The consensus of scientists is not sound science, it is politics. The assertion that the opinion of scientists, particularly masses of people who have not personally studied the subject they are contributing opinions on, has equal or greater validity than the actual process of scientific inquiry, may not be dishonest but it sure is foolish.

    > Then what are we left with… you can either be pro-science and try and
    > win through the scientific method…

    I’d sure like to see some scientific method. Correlation offered as causation, and the output of computer simulations preferred to actual physical measurements, and threats of dire and unavoidable consequences if the theory is tested for accuracy, aren’t what I consider the scientific method to be.

    > or you can be anti science and
    > insist that all the science is wrong for 100 different reasons that all
    > contradict each other?

    You have it entirely backwards. It is the AGW cabal who have abandoned the scientific method – or ignored it from the start.

    > THe hotspot is interesting, cosmic rays are interesting – science will
    > sort it out… are you with us or against us?

    Us? You have a mouse in your pocket and its name is Scientific Truth?

    A nice, explicit theory with testable predictions that reasonably match agreed upon, objective measurements and does not contradict what we already know of chemistry and physics.

    That would be science, and ‘us and them’ has absolutely nothing to do with it.

    Science is about results, not promises. What we seem to be getting with AGW is a throwback to a pre-scientific approach, with peer-reviewed Druids and a cybernetic Stonehenge. Without the experts and the computer model, is there anything to AGW at all?

    -Brad Jensen


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    MattB

    Well Brad fortunately for me I not only have science on my side, but politics too:) Of course pretty weak half assed targets as sadly politics is not a scientific beast.

    And talk about “Alarmist”: “will have extreme effects on virtually every person in the world. And what we are being asked to do is to harm ourselves economically and politically “… puhleeze spare me.

    And if you could read, you’d see I said my best facebook buddies (although it was an email survey not facebook), who are in fact my real life best buddies, all in fact think I’m BONKERS too! That was the point of the aside… by far I am pretty certain that many of them who thought it is fair dinkum would not have the foggiest of the science.

    I guess I still kinda like the precautionary principle… lets face it if Jo is right I’d give it 5 years max before hansen (and me) are paraded through the streets nude and laughed at – so all your super expense would just have kick started a few clean energy projects which have to be a good thing anyway in light of peak oil and basic energy efficiency. If Hansen et al are right then we avoid global catastrophe (hopefully). What is the big hassle there.

    The even better thing for me is that I’ll ALWAYS be right on the matter, because I follow the science


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    Lazlo

    MattB: ‘If I was talking about a holocaust denier I’d say holocaust denier?’ Disingenuous nonsense and you know it.

    ‘The even better thing for me is that I’ll ALWAYS be right on the matter..’ To quote one of your tax-payer funded AGW mates: woohooo!


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    MattB

    disingenuous – ploise explain?


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    MattB

    And how long has Damian Albarn been a tax-payer finder AGW mate of mine?


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    Lazlo

    MattB: ‘disingenuous – ploise explain?’ Look it up in your Funk and Wagnalls – why should I do your research for you?


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    MattB

    True – you probably would not find it on sceptics R us website, which seems to be just about the extent of your research ability.


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    Lazlo

    It’s called a dictionary. There are several versions. Would you like further information on this?


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    Lazlo

    Oh, and while you are about it, look up ‘pompous’, ‘patronising’, and ‘smug’….


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    MattB

    found them… next to ‘skeptic’


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    MattB

    but seriously yeah we could both cut down down on the patronisation. truce.


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    I just remembered David’s bet at backseat driving: http://backseatdriving.blogspot.com/2007/04/climate-skeptics-guest-post-why-david.html

    “I was just wondering if you knew if he still felt that it is 20% probable that CO2 is the culprit of warming… given that the hotspot (or rather lack of) shows that it is not the culprit? I mean there is no hotspot, so it is not CO2, so why 20%?

    Fair question. David hadn’t read about the missing hotspot when he made his bet in April 07. When he found the paper about it on SPPI in August 07, he got animated and said something along the lines of “This is it! Proof the warming wasn’t caused by CO2…”

    So no. I’d guess he’s in the >1% chance of CO2 being a significant driver of global warming now.

    PS: Added comments to #98 and #104. Hope you don’t mind, but it’s quicker and more space efficient.


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    –Brad, the “at 10m” portion of your explanation made no sense to me. I just don’t understand what that has to do with a mass of CO2 absorbing some photons. Please point to an explanation.—

    I don’t know what you are referring to here, sorry.


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    JCollum

    From the link you provided: “This means there is no radiation left at those frequencies after 10 meters”. This is cryptic and not well explained in the page (http://nov55.com/ntyg.html).

    I think what they meant might be 10 μm which makes a lot more sense. If so, that’s a huge error.


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    JCollum

    µ = Alt + 230 (on numpad) in case anyone is wondering :)


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    JCollum

    This bet post is great: http://backseatdriving.blogspot.com/2007/04/climate-skeptics-guest-post-why-david.html. You’ve got someone who worked in the field of carbon trading saying “now hold on, is this right?”. I think he’s right, in 40 years we’ll all agree on what the cause is.

    The issue that I have with the current AGW camp is the whole “Oh no, that debate is over. Not listening, nah nah nah”. From the post: As Lord Keynes famously said, “When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?”

    The ice core data is the non-smoking-gun for me. Someone needs to explain that 800 yr lag, or explain why the 800 yr lag doesn’t exist. To say that yeah sure, there was an 800 year lag, but now things are different because people are involved, well that’s suspect. Are there things in the world that release large amounts of C02 into the environment and do those things must show up in the ice core record? It looks like a pet theory that people are trying to promote, which results in crap science. Analyze, posit mechanism, collect more data, re-evaluate mechanism. Wash rinse repeat until you’ve got it nailed down. The time frame for that will be very large because the climate is absurdly complex.


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    JCollum

    Someone on pharyngula (a blog by a marine biologist and (maybe rabid) atheist) griped about a climate realist blog getting on the “Best Weblogs” list, which led me to wattsupwiththat.com (sorry Jo) and this very good post that includes info about natural CO2 emissions: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/01/03/shocker-huffington-post-carries-climate-realist-essay/ which appeared on Huffpost of all things.


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    Tom G(ologist)

    At 133 posts, with a large proportion being by one person who, regardless of a lot of evidence that there are some significant concerns about the validity of AGW, which concerns are founded on well-tested data and scientific principles, and which can not simply be brushed aside with the quip that “the debate is over” and “I’ve got science and politics on my side”, I believe that the title of this blog thread has been pretty well proven as correct. Only someone who has a religious devotion to an idea can be confronted with contrary data and say they don’t care about the data – they know they are right.

    I was onvolved behind the scenes in the Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District trial a few years ago and this thread is eerily familar to me. “Evolution doesn’t happen – God did it”; “Oh? Here’s proof evolution happens”; “I don’t care about your proof – God did it.” That’s what religion is about.

    So here we are: “Computer models say the earth should have warmed with the increase in CO2 over the past decade, but it has cooled.” ; “I don’t care – AGW is real.”

    The predicted signature of AGW as predicted by all modlers and researches has been shown to be absent.”; “I don’t care – I have scienc and politics on my side”

    The idea that increased CO2 will lead to even more warming has been shown to be incorrect – it can not happen because CO2 is already absorbing all the heat that is available so adding more can not result in runaway heating.”; “I don’t care – it’s happening.”

    The polar ice on both poles is on the increase and the antarctic sea ice is at record levels and artic ice has posted the largest gains in recent times in 2008″; “I don’t care, the polar caps are melting because Al Gore said so”

    The census at Churchill, Manitoba recorded the largest population of polar bears EVER this past year.”; “I don’t care – they are in trouble because of melting sea ice because of AGW.”

    “We are now at gloabally averaged temperatures approximately equal to those of the 1910s – the entire 0.6degree C warming of the 20th century is GONE.”; “I dopn’t care, the planet is getting warmer because of AGW.”

    Compare:

    God said it – I believe it – end of story
    with
    Gore said it – I believe it – end of story.


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    > God said it – I believe it – end of story

    Not all religions work that way.

    Mental laziness is not a good practice in any discipline.

    The difference between Al Gore and God is that Gore’s houseboat is bigger.

    http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/gore-hits-the-waves-with-a-massive-new-houseboat/

    Brad Jensen


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    MattB

    Hey thanks for those added replies Jo – despite my love of a good one liner I do appreciate the time you’ve afforded me, and that timeline clears up the 20% thing.

    Tom – I don;t think I said “the debate is over” anywhere… I’m here debating am I not?

    As for the “god said it” line… well the only person I’ve ever come across who said that to me is a sceptic…. knows AGW is not true because god told her, therefore the “science” that says it is not so must be true.

    If you could not tell the “science and politics on my side” was a tad tongue in cheek – despite being 100% true as evidenced by both the science and the politics of the day – but I understand fully how fleeting that may be in both camps, and how redundant the sentence is in a debate about AGW. Read it again as the last line in a more serious post and maybe put a Costello style smirk in there to boot.

    I only know I’m right because I’ll follow the science and will indeed change when the evidence is pressing. Some people jump on every piece of “evidence” and when proved wrong can;t wait for the next possible “evidence” to jump on the anti agw-bandwagon…. and this is common of many many sceptic camps who will lap it up as long as it says AGW is true. Similarly I’m 100% certain that there will be scientists who cling to the AGW theory 50 years after it is done and dusted… that is the reality of science, it is done by people and people are fallible, stubborn and stupid. I don’t think there is much chance of that ever changing I’m afraid.

    That last point has some indication of why I’m sceptical about Jo and David’s hotspot… because the sites she links to, and people she associates with in the AGW field,** are of the kind who desperately want AGW to be false, and will lap up anything and have jumped on any number of sceptical opinions over the past 10-20 years… not just since mid 2007 and the hotspot.

    Is being sceptical not allowed?

    [** Wow. Spot the coincidence, I've come round to the idea that AGW is crock, and oo- I hang out with other people (link wise) who have come around to the same conclusion. Ha! If I was a masochist I would try and befriend Tim Lambert - while I debunk him. The links that matter BTW in the hotspot article can hardly be called links to friends. Look for links to Santer, Sherwood, IPCC, CSSP, Hadley - I'm using THEIR data to debunk them. - JoNova]


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    I’m the person that bet against David Evans over whether AGW is real – my $9,000 against his $6,000. The actual bet is here:

    http://backseatdriving.blogspot.com/2007/04/new-global-warming-bet-for-7-10.html

    The bet has six component sub-bets. If I lost all six bets, I would say the AGW theory would be in real trouble.

    I have a number of other bet offers here:

    http://backseatdriving.blogspot.com/2005_05_01_backseatdriving_archive.html#111700433898143899

    Losing any of them wouldn’t guarantee that AGW is wrong, but it would be significant evidence against it. I can’t accurately guess the number of “skeptics” who have said AGW is wrong but have refused to put their money where their mouths are. Just a tiny list of them is here:

    http://backseatdriving.blogspot.com/2005/09/bet-offers-to-bloggers-denying-global.html

    Not all skeptics are like this – David Evans stands out of course, and I am in slow negotiation with one right now, but they’re exceptional.

    JoNova, care to be exceptional?


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    1. The stratosphere warms when CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere increase

    2. The pH of the oceans does not decrease as CO2 concentrations increase

    3. Greenhouse gas is shown not to emit and absorb infrared light


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    JCollum

    Holy crap, I had no idea how ridiculous this whole thing is. Apologies if this stuff that I’m posting is rehashing, but I was of the opinion that this hockey stick graph was pretty accurate and *only* came from ice core data. No, it comes from a variety of sources. A wide variety.

    From Tom Nelson’s post about the hockey stick graph (will this come through as an image? you might have to click through):

    http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_0oNRupXJ4-A/RysAhMktcjI/AAAAAAAAAEQ/NUnRo4cn8YA/s1600-h/Picture+10.png

    So the drastic upward trend there at the end (last 100 years)? Not at all there. Jeez. People see a graph, assume it was made by an infallible scientist and next thing you know the sky is falling. :rolleyes:


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    MattB

    JCollum are you talking about the “Missing Hotspot” graphic when you say “people see a graph, assume it was made by an infallible scientist, and next thing you know…”


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    JCollum

    No, that hockey stick graph (the one that shows a massive spike in global average temps in the last 100 yrs). The blue line in the pic I linked. Keep in mind that the two lines are from different sources.


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    MattB

    I think you will find that even Mann thinks the 1998 version of his stick is obsolete….

    You may be interested in this link http://www.desmogblog.com/hockey-stick-rises-again but I doubt it;)


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    MattB

    THis link is also interesting… sure it is real climate and thus not trusted by sceptics, but I find it gives a great insight to the temperature reconstructions.

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/05/the-weirdest-millennium/langswitch_lang/po#more-450


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    Mike Davis

    Sorry Folks: The Hockey-stick is not only broken but shattered.In the congressional hearing they were advised not to use strip bark bristle cone pines. So what do you think Mann and co.did for 2008? Your right! They dug them out of the garbage mixed some more garbage that the original authors said in their paper that they were only useful for older information as the last 2000 thousand years were corrupted due to LULC. SO Mann and Team threw together a nother rotting hockey stick and it made it past the brotherly pat on the back excuse for a per review. But guess who has sent a letter to the editors?
    If you still belive the false profits of your CULT you deserve the outcome. What happened to the followers of the profit Jim Jones?
    If you do not remember or are to young there is always Google.


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    MattB

    Well my reading is that they offered results based on including and not including the pine cones.

    As for cults… well I’m sure they are on both sides, but I’d wager you are a member of your side’s cult Mike.


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    Mike Davis

    Actually No! I am on Natures side in this as I belive we are witnessing natural forces at work. There are more than two sides in this debate. Maybe you should go to CA and read all that has been writted about the rebirth of the Hockey stick for 2008. It might shed some light on the issue. All I would is that people admit that they do not know and let the whole die. The sooner the fewer additional people will be hurt. If this issue continues to be pushed more people will be hurt and the blame should be placed on the promoters of this travisity AGW/ACC.
    BTW It was BRISTLE CONE PINES not pine cones and the results are GARBAGE!


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    MattB

    Lol I genuinely had always imagined scientists digging our fossilised pine cones:) Well you learn something new every day.

    yes I’m well aware of Hockey stick arguments… it is funny as your motivation is obviously the same as mine, we jsut read the science different. it is indeed a conundrum.


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    Mike Davis

    MattB:It might just be age and experiebce. I have been interested in narural sciences since I can remember. I am currently 61 and Geology was a favorite so I have watched the advancements. I walked through a cyclotron when I was ten with my uncle who was a scientest. He gave me pieces of a project he had worked on called ECHO. The material was mylar before it was used commercialy.
    Good luck with finding your answers. I am comfortable with mine.


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    MattB

    You could be right Mike… I’m 35 and at the peak of my cycle, wheras your age kinda puts you in the old dog category;)

    That was obviosuly a joke… but I’m not letting you have being 61 as somehow implying you have a better grip on the science…


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    Mike Davis

    PS: I found a site that shows pictures of those bristlecone pines. Their is a link to it at CA in the post about Finnland tree project.
    My connection is to slow for me to get links. Sorry. If you get to the finnland site you willsee how they found 7000 year old trees. I found it interesting.


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    Mike Davis

    MattB:
    At 21 I was arguing science with people my current age. And I have not been able to get over the desire to argue all facits of life with people older and younger.


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    MattB

    Yes Mike we should be celebrating the AGW debate as the first truly globalised people powered debate. Never before have so many people been able to access information and discuss it in real time with other people who have access to the same information and are also interested. And never have so many people also been able to access misinformation, deceptions and pseudo science to muddy the waters. (I’m not suggesting which is which).


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    Mike Davis

    MattB:
    When I read a group that first tells me that their models predict such and such. Next they state that that was not what they really meant. Their is evidence that they are attemptong to rewrite history. The situation changes and the group answer is that we cannot predict we forcast via models. Once again History has to be massaged to fit their attempts at back casting as the data did not match there fore it was necessary to “correctt Data”. I think the latest “concensus” is that models only produce what if scenerios depending on initial forcings and input feedbacks (much like a science fiction or fantasy story). Now I enjoy reading science fiction and fantasy stories but do not belong to fan clubs of that genre either.
    I failed to mention that this group denies having made prior statements even if they are written. They claim to have been missinterpreded or were using the words to mean something else.


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    Brian Schmidt writes in #137

    I have a number of other bet offers here:
    http://backseatdriving.blogspot.com/2005_05_01_backseatdriving_archive.html#111700433898143899

    Not all skeptics are like this – David Evans stands out of course, and I am in slow negotiation with one right now, but they’re exceptional.

    JoNova, care to be exceptional?

    Ha! Thanks Brian. By your definition, I already am. ;-)
    I met David Evans years ago and thought he was so exceptional, I married him. So, by default, I’m part of that bet David made. I remember it took quite some time to hammer out.

    For any skeptics out there who are looking for bets. I’d highly recommend Brian. He’s a rare AGW supporter who is amicable, polite and rational, and I know David enjoyed arranging the bet. (My only hesitation is that since he’s such a decent guy, I don’t really want him to lose even more money…:-)

    Cheers Brian!


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    Thank you Joanne – yup, you’ve taken the plunge by marriage.

    I will admit to getting angry at people on your side of the fence, but dealing with someone as decent as David helped temper that quite a bit.


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    Tom G(ologist)

    Matt:

    Thanks for the nice response. There is really only one thigh you say htat disturbs me:

    “I only know I’m right because…”

    I don’t KNOW that I am right. There is no such thing as “Proof” in science. So there can really be no right and wrong. All we have are explanations (theories if they are comprehensive enough) which are consistent with the known/available data/observations.

    And in terms of “follow the science and will indeed change when the evidence is pressing,” Well …. that is our position as well. The AGW data are NOT pressing – if AGW advocates would only present some data – just a little – one confirmed measurment would be a start – then maybe we would begin to listen a little more attentively.

    But, here’s the catch in this whole thing, it is incumbent on AGW advocates to provide the data. You are the ones asking us to put up the $$$$$$$$$$$$ (meaning lots of it) against the as-yet wholly unspported and unconfirmed hypothesis that humans are causing runaway warming.

    Somehow, things have become reversed. AGW supporters have railroaded through an unverified hypothesis as “undeniable fact” and has somehow hornswoggled the lay-world into thinkg that people who question this speculation are ‘skeptics’ and ‘deniers’ on equal footing with latter day holocuast deniers.

    We are not deniers – we are people who ask to inspect the car we are being asked to purchase before we sign on the dotted line. Does that deserve a negative label.

    IS AGW religion? Let’s see…. If you question someone’s politics, they might argue with you, but it is considered perfectly acceptable social behaviour to have a healthy give and take and difference of opinion.

    If you question real science with science – it is perfectly acceptable (if you have never presented a research paper at a symposium, you don’t know what REAL healthy questioning can be).

    If you question someone’s religious ideas, you are a blasphmer – an infidel – an insensitive bigot, or – worst of – an ATHEIST (oooooh).

    What about AGW. Hmmmm. James Hansen thinks that any scientist who disagrees with his interpretation should be indicted as a criminal agains humanity. (let me put that one in the context of your final question to me: “Is being sceptical not allowed?”

    Express an opinion that AGW is not proven fact in any social setting and people will shout you down as if you told a Baptist that there was no Jesus and if there was he was probably gay because he hung around with 12 guys.

    AGW advocates display all the behavioural patterns of a religious group and certainly do not act as scientists.

    By the way, as one last tid bit of information, hot off the presses: http://www.dailytech.com/Article.aspx?newsid=13834

    We are not asking for much, all of the hyperbole in such fun fora as this notwithstanding. You want to spend a lot of our money to tackle a perceived threat. All we ask is to be shown that the threat is real or at least a strong possibility. Wehave been shown neither.


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    Tom G(ologist)

    Joanne – it is not often that life pitches you such a great straight line – “I met David Evans years ago and thought he was so exceptional, I married him.”

    Makes your whole day when all the little ducks line up just perfectly so you can have a good whack at them.


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    Mike Davis

    I reread the history of Peoples Temple. I found similarities between that and AGW. We di need to look to history to see trends for the future.


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    MattB

    Tom… in saying “I only know I’m right because I follow the science” I am well aware that I’m also saying “I know that I’m wrong because…”vvof course i threw it in to raise the odd heart-rate;)


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    MattB

    That link from dailytech would have Jo Nova, science communicator, aghast! they should know that antarctic sea ice is predicted to increase in coming years/decades… and that 2008 was 2nd least ice ever, and the largest “melt” ever (as there was more ice to start with than in 2007).

    Where do these science journos get their education???


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    MattB

    in arctic (that last bit about largest melt)


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    Mike Davis

    MattB
    30 years is not a trend as it is only part of a cycle. If you have proof that the AO goes full cycle in 30 years. Please point it out. I have read there is evidence that the artic ocean has been ice free at least 8 times in the last 10k years. now that is not exceeded current minimum but ice free. We do not currently have sufficent evidence to prove what the actual pattern for the artic ocean is. It may quite possably be random events such as weather.


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    What is really funny is that in all that fear of ice melt in the arctic gets a lot of press.They fail to show the CO2 to ice melt connection.

    There have been a few published science papers providing explanations.That has nothing to do with CO2 awesome melting powers.Such as “unusual” winds and warmer waters coming in from the warm north Atlantic.

    Now there is a possibility that the Arctic ice mass will start rebuilding as the north Atlantic waters are heading toward a new cooler phase in just a several years time.A double whammy of a cooling PDO and NAO at the same time.


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    MattB

    Actually I don’t think that is their place to show that connection… I quite like a straight up “here is what is happening with the ice” data set, with some honest ponderings about why it may be.


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    –From the link you provided: “This means there is no radiation left at those frequencies after 10 meters”. This is cryptic and not well explained in the page (http://nov55.com/ntyg.html).

    I think what they meant might be 10 μm which makes a lot more sense. If so, that’s a huge error.__

    It sounds like you are thnking of frequenceies. As I read the post, what the author is saying is that all of the re-radiated energy from the Earth’s surface will be absorbed by molecules within the first ten meters of the Earth’s surface.

    After that, there is no more energy to be absorbed, at least not by the atmosphere.


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    –MattB:
    January 12th, 2009 at 10:05 pm

    Actually I don’t think that is their place to show that connection… I quite like a straight up “here is what is happening with the ice” data set, with some honest ponderings about why it may be.—

    The problem is that the ‘honest ponderings’ are presented by the journalist as scientific explanations. Certainly most readers will consider them as such.

    And shouldn’t the definition of an ‘honest pondering’, when given by a scientist being asked his or her professional opinion, include scientific facts as a basis, and am explicit warning when the opinion is being offered asn an unproven hypothesis?

    Have you ever seen a single news article that mentions that if all the ice at the North Pole melts, the level of the ocean will remain the same? Floating ice takes up the same amount of space as the water it displaces.

    Is it honest not to mention at the same time that the total amount of ice in the world continues to increase because the increase in ice in Antarctica is far greater than the amount of ice that melts in the Arctic?


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    JCollum

    Well, that link is suspect to me because of this statement: “Something as hot as the sun cannot give off low frequency radiation, called infrared.” Uh huh. NASA disagrees: http://science.hq.nasa.gov/kids/imagers/ems/infrared.html also NCAR: http://www.windows.ucar.edu/sun/spectrum/solar_em_spectrum_smoothed_graph.gif. So I’m tempted to dismiss the whole page because that, to me, is a glaring error. So his whole argument is hosed because the sun does indeed emit IR photons. Which could be absorbed in any part of the atmosphere. Following his logic, if the sun did emit IR photons the atmosphere would absorb all of them in the first 1/2 mile or so (allowing for lower gas density up there). Sure CO2 is the heaviest, but there must be some CO2 up there, no? Well I’m not sure about that part. Certainly it goes up pretty far, at least to the top of the tree line on the nearest mountain, so 3km or so. So following his logic all CO2 would be absorbed about 2800km above sea level. Sounds like bull.


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    JCollum

    Sorry, the link I’m talking about is: http://nov55.com/ntyg.html, which was mentioned elsewhere.


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    JCollum

    Wow, sent an email to the owner of the site pointing out the, ahem, disparity. The first sentence contained this: “The graph you sent is a fraud when viewed by idiots such as you” blah blah logarithmic on and on. “If you were just that dumb, perhaps you could be educated” (I got an A in Electromagnetics, but he doesn’t know that). “But NASA created that graph knowing full well that it would be misinterpreted by idiots, which is fraud on their part.” What a jerk. He’s right, I didn’t see the logarithmic scale. But there’s a big difference between “almost none” and “none” and “cannot.”

    This guys a crank who probably thinks NASA cooked up the moon landing.


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    JCollum

    Just realized that “So following his logic all CO2″ from my earlier comment should be “all IR”.


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    JCollum

    Oh wow, this Gary Novak, Independent Scientist, guy is out there: http://www.nov55.com/. Relativity is wrong. He explains why the expansion of spacetime can’t happen. This is where I’m gonna stop reading: “The significance of Einstein’s relativity is in the perverse standard that it sets for society. There is little direct scientific significance to relativity, as it has no practical applications. But it is forced down peoples’ throats, in science and out, as a standard based on a set of values and related attitudes. ” And ATP theory is wrong too: “Biophysicists developed a theory for energizing ATP which contradicts principles of physics by claiming kinetic energy is converted to chemical energy”. It keeps going, more common theories that are simply wrong. Ugh.

    One funny typo tho: “big band theory”. LOL.


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    Mike Davis

    YEAH JCollum. Didn’t you know the universe was created during the Big Band Era!
    Matt: I will repeat: When they know what a full cycle of Artic ice mass is. You know the highest and lowest extents of ice during a AO + PDO + NAO and any other ocillations that affect the ice. It might be they will have an idea. Until then there are only SWAGS and WAGS being passed out as science. But if you look you will find Paloe data about the area that might hold some clues!


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    MattB

    Sorry Mike but it didn’t seem like a question last time… but feel free to repeat yourself in about 10 posts time;)


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    Paul Penrose

    Josh, is that all you have man, crappy straw men? Go back to your rabbit hole.


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    MattB

    Jo – I hope you don’t mind my referencing you on the RealClimate “Science Communication” thread that went up recently. I’ve tried not to phrase it in such a way that bags you as a sceptic, merely point out that the divide between camps is not just a matter of communication expertise.’

    Regards

    Matt


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    There is another word for a skeptic – it is called ‘scientist’.

    All this attention on people and motivations and software predictions instead of physical observation suggests that whatever AGW is, there is very little real science in it.

    What do you call people who want to arrest scientists for publishing their conclusions? Who ignore physical observations that conflict with their orthodoxies? Who call people heretics and deniers for disagreeing with them?

    In the 16th century it was called the Inquisition, now they call it NASA.

    AGW is mass hysteria fueled by people who should know better. The ever more desperate climate predictions of the hubristic modelers are torches and pitchforks in the hands of the ignorati. This is causing great harm not only to our economic and political world, but to the cause of science itself.

    I’m being asked to believe an expert with a professional reputation and a computer program, instead of a thermometer. Maybe my problem is that I know too much about computer programs. It isn’t just garbage in, garbage out. It’s garbage in, landfill out.

    Who is going to believe a scientist after this? If fads and feuds within scientific disciplines are going to steer our public policy from now on, what kind of future are we going to have?

    Let’s speak truth to power here, and call a halt to this deception and delusion.

    Brad Jensen


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    James McCrudden

    Jo or Brad Jensen or Collum
    I would like your take on President-elect Obama’s choice for Energy Tsar, Dr Chu who shared the Nobel “for development of methods to cool and trap atoms with laser light” He is on the record that the dominance of a coal-fired electricity is an ‘obstacle’ to progress and in a lecture at Cornell University in April advocated the introduction of international regulations to curb carbon emissions.
    Yet when I saw him at the Senate appoinment hearings, he gave a huge approval to nuclear power and wanted to build them ASAP, then on coal pointed out that USA had huge reserves of coal which should be used and no doubt there would be some way of fixing that problem. The Republican senators questioning him seemed bemused. His endorsing replies on coal alone made them blink.
    I guess you already know all this – I am just repeating it to focus on what appears to me to be an elegant face-about.
    His appointment has been welcomed by agw advocates, the nuclear power industry, greens, China (which is doing its best to cool the earth with brown-cloud technology.


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    MattB

    SO Brad… I guess you miss the irony of complaining about being called a heretic and a denier in a thread that says that siding with the warming theory equates to a religious belief! Only yesterday Barnaby Joyce said he was not going to goose-step with me, and my ilk get labelled eco-fundamentalists, eco-nazis, warmists, eco-socialists, and whatever.

    I think you miss that EVERYTHING about the models is based on physical observations… but if we don;t try and see what that means for the future then what is the point of observation? If you don;t like models, than can you please suggest any other scientific way to see if we are impacting on the climate?

    I argued this on Marohasy yesterday… but your hubristic comments are better targeted at those who think we can do what we want to the ecosystem and will have the brains and the tech to sort things out. A la King Canute drawing a line in the sand to command the tides.

    Maybe your problem is that you don;t know enough about computer programs?

    You already don;t believe the scientists Brad, and you follow the fad and the feud.


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    Jcollum

    “than can you please suggest any other scientific way to see if we are impacting on the climate?”

    It’s almost like you don’t see the obvious answer to this question or meant to ask something else. We see if we are impacting the climate by *measuring*. Computer models make guesses at our future impact on the climate. They tell you nothing about the past. And I think there’s no question that we are impacting the climate (re: the coal ash disaster in the US). Now what we on the dissent side are asking is: how much do we impact the climate? Does increasing CO2 output change temperature? If so, how much?

    Those questions aren’t sufficiently answered to me. I’ve seen some graphs of C02 ppm over time and it’s pretty linear (increasing). But I’ve seen temperature graphs of the last 3-5 years that are linear as well, just in the wrong direction (decreasing). The explanations that I’ve heard of this have been really weak to my mind. One the one hand there’s the hypothesis of a simple linear relationship between temp and CO2. When the data doesn’t bear that out I don’t see anyone saying, oh we were wrong. I hear a more complex explanation of said linear relationship. Around here we call that back-pedaling. A more complex hypothesis requires more evidence than a simple hypothesis.

    Accepting a hypothesis as truth when the evidence does not bear it out is the definition of belief (religion) to me.


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    MattB

    JC – I don’t recall anyone ever saying that 2008 will be 0.14 decC warmer than 2007, and 2009 to 2008, and then 2010 to 2009, then 2011 to 2010 and so on and so on on a year to year basis. it is an average.

    Yes I can see clearly that you guys tend to call the scientific method “back-pedalling”… certainly there is not a lot of faith in science on this side of the debate, and I gues science has to address that someday soon.

    It is up to you if you thing the explanations for the past 5 years are weak.

    Accepting hypothesis as false when the evidence in fact bears it out is the definition of denial to me.


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    Jcollum

    Well, I’ll spend 5 minutes searching for values on this stuff, and that’s it:

    Assumption: the hypothesis in question is that there is a direct, short term (under 1 year) causal effect between a rise in CO2 levels and a rise in temperature

    CO2 data from NOAA, nice almost linear increase (it’s slightly curved):
    http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/trends/co2_data_mlo.html
    (source: http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/trends/co2_data_mlo.html)

    Temperature data, not at all linear, some up, some down, some basically flat
    http://www.worldclimatereport.com/wp-images/step_change2.JPG
    (source: http://www.worldclimatereport.com/index.php/2004/08/09/non-linear-climate-change/)

    My conclusion: The data does not fit the hypothesis. One of them is wrong, and I’m betting that it’s the hypothesis.


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    MattB

    But where did you get that hypothesis/assumption from?


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    Jcollum

    That’s what I hear all over the media. If my hypothesis is *not* what the AGW camp says, I’d like to hear it stated somewhere. And if my inclusion of 1 year is bothering you then what should it be? 5 years? 10? Where would the CO2 go in the meantime? We’re talking about cars and coal-fired power plants here, the CO2 gets put into the atmosphere immediately. I don’t know what the methane breakdown time is, but I suspect it’s pretty short. So cow farts produce CO2 pretty quickly too.

    I think the AGW hypothesis is that an increase in CO2 results in an immediate increase in the atmosphere’s ability to soak up heat from the sun. Is that incorrect? We’ve got to nail down what we’re actually debating here…


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    MattB

    Well to my knowledge no climate scientist would ever make such a claim that the “ability to soak up” results in an immediate temperature change. if it were that simple there would be no debate it really would be right before our eyes, and there would be no model other than Temp = CO2 concentration*CO2 forcing + base temperature. Not passing the buck but take a deep breath and head over to Realclimate.com…. heck even Climateudit.com as although they debate hockeystick and whatever they are still actual climate folks at a stretch I guess, or Bravenewclimate for an aussie take on it.

    BNC expecially has a lot of basic science blog entries (even if you disagree with the final conclusion).

    I could cobble together an answer, but it would not be as good as you would get a realclimate


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    Jcollum

    So if the relationship isn’t linear what the heck is it? It doesn’t look like it’s linear with a delay. The only hypothesis is that I’ve heard is 1) Temperature is increasing 2) CO2 levels are increasing and humans are the cause 3) therefore, humans are causing global warming and that’s bad. The temperature and CO2 data just doesn’t fit that. Wasn’t that the conclusion of the IPCC, that increasing CO2 levels will cause an increase in temperature and CO2 increase needs to be curbed?

    If the CO2 is going somewhere, hanging out for a few years/decades then coming back to impact the climate then the relationship would still be linear, but with a delay.

    The AGW camp is positing a relationship between a non-linear and nearly-linear set of data. I just don’t see how that can happen – unless there’s something else in there. But I’ve never heard of it from the AGW camp. And if there is something else in there then they should totally stop these calls for carbon trading and reduction in CO2 outputs and so on until we understand this better.

    Honestly the hockey stick doesn’t impress me. 1000 years is a miniscule timeframe geologically. If we humans were really the bugaboo that everyone thinks we are this decade would be the warmest decade in a million years – which is still a mere .02% of the earth’s lifespan. And crap I hope I did the math right on that one.


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    MattB

    NOw of course you’ll get debate about the latter steps there, esp the 3degrees for doubling CO2… there are people who “claim” that this is vastly overstated and only applicable to a simple lab experiement (which the earth clearly is not a simple lab experiment). SO they woprk feedback in to the models to interpret how the earth reacts to C02… again much debate about these I guess. plus accusations of understating solar forcings etc.

    But, and I’m opening myself up to being shot down here, but I think you could be quite safe in accepting those 6 steps as the basics of climate change, while still giving yourself as much wriggle room to be a sceptic based upon your preferred interpretation of the magnitudes of the various forcings.

    The models are JUST models though – that is true… so you make a judgement call in today’s debate as to which side (prominent sceptics or prominent warmists) are morally bankrupt… I’d wager there are a fair few on both sides;)

    THe longer this cooler period continues, the more people will hop back the other way… regardless of whether it is strictly scientificly relevent or not. Who can blame that kind of logic – it is simply human nature to be sceptical. Heck I”M SCEPTICAL about everything, and regularly hear of science that I think is absurd… just not this time:) Mind you when I started following the science I was the ridiculed and abused hippy minority… it really is quite strange to have the tables turned… I’ve never really found much of mainstream science convincing to be honest:)

    At the end of the day some people will trust warmists, evolutionists, people who think that smokeing causes cancer, food addidtive cause cancer.

    And some people will think it is mumbo jumbo and a conspiracy (and you could be on different sides of the fence on different issues sometimes I guess).

    Take the blog Host Ms Nova… see that link at the top to “Food Science”… well really that is non-proven non-science mumbo jumbo to big business lobby groups, a lot like AGW. Now of course I have 2 kids and own the additives book and my wife gets the emails as I strongly believe that additives are bad for my kids health and behavious (and mine too I guess).

    NOw one day that food additives will go mainstream, the politics will flip, and all these additives may be banned as the science is accepted… and I BET A MILLION DOLLARS that big business will deny, and will prduce lists of scientists who say that additives are ok for health, and removing them will increase costs to the consumer… then Andrew Bolt will question why we are going to starve African children by not allowing certain preservatives in their food… and the Hearland institute will fund Additive Skeptic conferences and the like:)

    Like I’m a skeptic, and for one on AGW THE SKEPTICS HAVE BLOODY WON… but sadly some got on board too late and are automatically skeptical of the orthodoxy because they missed out on the 25 years where they would have believed in AGW and been on the radical fringe where they feel most comfortable.

    :)


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    MattB

    The problem being that internet blogs have only really been prominent SINCE AGW mainstreamed:)


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    JCollum

    If you ask me, humans haven’t been skeptical enough here. I don’t care if AGW or the NGW camps win, I just care about what the data says. And right now the data’s saying that there is global warming but it’s highly variable. What causes it is anyone’s guess at this point.

    The environment is really complex. The odds of this boiling down to a single factor (or even the set of greenhouse gases) seems extraordinarily small.


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    MattB,

    Be careful of your reasoning. Comparing GW to any other debate will not prove anything. Likewise looking for ‘motivations’ – or finding the most dishonest group, will also not prove anything. The planetary atmosphere is what it is.

    And read carefully. On the food issue, I said “It’s not proven”. “The tests haven’t been done”. Am I not allowed to comment on issues that appear to make a big difference to my life but don’t have full double blind crossover studies?

    (It’s called anecdotal evidence BTW – and sure, it’s low on the scale of ‘evidence’, but it’s better than a speculative computer model that doesn’t match real world observations).

    And as for the food additives being like AGW – Nope. There are not big bucks and masses of jobs dependent on it. Eg, swap tartrazine for tumeric, and the cost is incidental. It’s slightly more expensive, but the company can advertise it as “free of artifical colours”. In the UK, parents got active enough so that big chains announced they would voluntarily withdraw all the nasties from their home brands by the end of 2009. Smarties in Australia have just announced they’re going ‘natural’ (and slightly paler) – they recognize a market niche. I can’t imagine Heartland protesting that lollies will cost third world kids 2% more.

    There’s not much incentive in food additives to keep using them (once consumers bail), except for some preservatives which extend shelf life, and a few things like flavour enhancers which undoubtedly increase sales as long as consumers are willing to buy them.

    It’s not worth doing the long term studies to consider things like tartrazine. The cost of swapping to a safer compound with thousands of years of natural use is much cheaper than the long term behavioural (and asthma-related) research.


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    MattB

    Jo – do you seriously think that food companies do not lobby to allow certain additives to be used in Australia when they are banned overseas, just to save a few bucks? In fact take my childhood favourite (in the UK) drink Vimto… in the UK that has been artificial colour and preservative free forever… so I still get to buy it as it gets past the additives list… but THEN I discover that here in Australia the product made under licence is only preservative free and has one of the real super nasties in it. SO I now have to smuggle it in to the house… What reason other than $$$ would there be to change the recepie to include said colouring?

    As I said I totally agree with you on the food additives issue.

    You don’t like my linking different issues… but from a behavioural point of view I think it is healthy for us all to realise that we hold personal opinions that run counter to science and on many issues behave in a totally contradictory manner to our stances on AGW.


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    Matt,

    my personal opinions don’t run ‘counter to science’ for food additives either. I don’t believe human committees (eg TGA, FSA,or IPCC) and want to see the studies. Since there aren’t any, I’ll go with the anecdotal experience I have which amounts to over 20,000 hours of direct contact with my five year old son and more than 3000 separate meals. How is that unscientific?

    It’s unscientific to believe committees when personal observations differ.

    I’m going to evidence and observations, once again, you’re looking for motivations. I agree with you that money drives things (and I’ll post on that soon). It’s human to look at motivations, sometimes it’s useful, but it doesn’t trump real world observations.


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    MattB

    Oh ok – well maybe you have evolved to the uber-human non-biased observer scientist role oh elightened one. I’ll just lurk in the cheap seats with my fellow mere mortals who cannot help but be tainted by our flawed humanity. ;)


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    MattB

    I guess to me it is unscientific to look at all the data and come up with whatever opinion suits yourself and then just claim it is in the data. But the counter point is that is exactly what each of us does every time we look at data/science. Hopefully most people get it right, because in a democracy we do what most people think is right.


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    Ah c’mon Matt, I’m not an unbiased observer. That’s why I’m grateful someone else has done good research in most areas (cos, dang but I don’t have the time to research all those other topics).

    Don’t believe me when I say “It’s A B or C”. Look at the graphs yourself. (Doesn’t it look like the temperature is flat? Like the hot spot is missing? Remember, these graphs are put out by AGW supporters for the most part.)

    Ultimately I have to trust someone, somewhere along the line, but I chose not to trust those who insult me because I asked a good question, or patronize me with unscientific answers like: There’s a consensus; this has been debunked a thousand times (yeah yeah, so give me an example). etc etc. I’m more inclined to believe people who understand why ‘ad homs’, ‘authority’, ‘circular reasoning’ etc et al are bogus; Someone who knows that evidence and facts are not the same.

    “But the counter point is that is exactly what each of us does every time we look at data/science. Hopefully most people get it right,”

    That’s why its so important that people (voters) get all the information that’s relevant. That’s why science communicators have let us down. Instead of being independent, we’ve mostly copied the committee line.

    If I am enlightened (ha) it’s only because I can spot a smart guy and copy him.


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    Mike Davis

    MattB:
    The arguments used by the believers remind me so much of arguments between Orthodox and progresive religions of the same faith or differing faiths. The speaches made by true believers are the same with simple wording changes that they are interchangable With speaches made by ministers or preachers of a religious faaith when speak about other points of view. A movie Elmer Gantry comes to mind as do several dealing with evangilists. Therefore I liked the outspoken proponets of AGW/ACC/CAGW to evangilists and the followers as those souls who believe what is shouted to them.
    As this thred is about AGW=religious belief I thought I would add that statement.

    Now about looking at data and reaching a different opinion. Well we have to look at how the data reached the point of distribution. Was it archived as raw then evaluated using statistical meathods? Or was it archuved as rwa massaged to match theory then distributed? Was there quality control preformed regularly on the measuring devices to insure correct siting and quality of measurements? Is there any evidence of lack of quality control? I will answer this: YES. How was global temperature found before satillites? Could it be that they randomley took a bucket of water out of the sea and measured it? Could it be that they measured the temperature at engine intake? These procedures were preformed where ships sailed and that was concidered THE temperature for 70% of the globes surface. Has anyone been in sea water that thinks temperature at surface and temperature at 1 to 3 meters are the same. Wait I am in error. The larger the ship the deeper the intake. Having read articles on the procedures used and adjustments made. I wondered why they showed a change to intake while there is evidence of using buckets at a later date.

    My opinion is that our current surface records suffer to many issues to be reliable. But on the other hand these records have been used to tune models. Then supprising as it might seem those models were used to verify the temperatures. Is that logical or what! I know that there are issues with satillite measurements and the records only go back 30 years. These people are actively working to correct inaccuarcies.

    Listen to AL or James or MET NOAA any of the promoters. Then if you have a tape or film even a tv evangilist will do for comparison to see the similarities for those that doubt the connection.

    JoNova:
    Sorry if these things have been stated before some are not getting the message.


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    > I guess to me it is unscientific to look at all the data and come up
    > with whatever opinion suits yourself and then just claim it is in the
    > data.

    And that is exactly my criticism of the climate modelers. In their case, the “opinion that suits” themselves is the output of their computer climate model. They prefer it to the actual physical data.

    Even when they model has been shown to be horribly inaccurate, they insist on continuing, promise unverifiable accuracy for the longer term, and threatening ever more dire consequences if their ‘predictions’ are ignored.

    This is scientific only if your definition of ‘scientific’ is ‘something said by a scientist’.

    To be fair, perhaps it is not the climate modelers themselves who create all the hoorah, but it would benefit their scientific credibility if they would at least distance themselves from those who interpret and represent their results in this unsupportable way.

    - Brad Jensen


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    Mike Davis

    Brad:
    Sorry to say it but you can see for your self how the modelers feel at Realclimate as it is hosted by modelers. They support the results and tweek until the results match opinion. So no science involved. Just playing with computers at goverment expense, (actually your and my expence)


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    MattB

    See Jo if you don;t like ad-hominem attacks it is just another reason I can’t fathom how you ended up on that side of the fence.

    And Mike… yes I agreew with the religious comparisons… but you forget to note that if radical AGWers are like an evangelical preacher, then Deniers are like the Catholic Church. you did say arguments “between Orthodox and progresive religions”.

    I’d love to know a field of science that has developed in the past 50 years where when predictions don;t match observations exactly they don’t take these learnings and try and figure out what went wrong. In every other field this is scientific accountability and endeavour, but in this debate it gets labelled as back filling or tinkering.

    I mean look at Mike’s comment here: “I know that there are issues with satillite measurements and the records only go back 30 years. These people are actively working to correct inaccuarcies.”

    … of course if they are corrected by NASA and Hansen you will claim they are manipulated to suit a preconceived opinion… but if they are corrected by that UAH mob and they show cooling then of course you’d applaud it as good honest science!!! can you see the lack of consistency here?

    JO:

    “Doesn’t it look like the temperature is flat?” “Look like” and what is actually happening are differnt things, the latter is science the former is “looks like”. The statistical temperature trends… so the OBSERVATIONS… show a warming trend consistent with the models… what more do you want?

    “Doesn’t it look like the hot spot is missing?” I see graphs that look like it is missing, and graphs that look like it is not missing… I see scientists say it matters, scientists who say it does not… I’m going to have to bow to the rigours of science on this one – but at the moment it would not change my policy outcomes other than to track the science.

    FUndamentally though I have grave grave grave doubts about the integrity of many of the core practitioners on the skeptical side… they have science and I’m very sceptical about it… is that not how it should be.

    Since Christmas I’ve been reading God Delusion and it keeps giving me amusing insignts to this debate, and trying to figure out where I sit on things… am I a religious believer akin to the spanish inquisition, wheras I’d always consider myself an atheist… or there i some other term that Dawkins uses to describe me… the problem I see though is that at the moment the public debate does only have room for Fundamentalists on both sides… reporting about two moderate scientists discussing data does not sell many papers sadly. “You’re either with us or against us” as they say.

    Like the hot spot is missing?


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    MattB

    dunno where that last line came from – lazy cut and pasting maybe not sure? but the post is not meant to finish with a floater:)


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    Tom G(ologist)

    Matt:

    In re: “I’d love to know a field of science that has developed in the past 50 years where when predictions don;t match observations exactly they don’t take these learnings and try and figure out what went wrong. In every other field this is scientific accountability and endeavour, but in this debate it gets labelled as back filling or tinkering.”

    The problem we have is that it IS a science in its very infancy, and yet the populace is told “The debate is over – the science is conclusive. There can be no doubt.

    As I mentioned elsewhere in this thread, the science is immature, it is NOT conclusive and in science there is NO SUCH THING AS DEBATE. There are only data.

    And the reason this science is different when practitioners go about trying to reconcile their errors/wrong turns, whatever, is that, despite the errors, worng turns, right turns, triumphs, failures – the public is told the SAME THING. The Earth is warming alarmingly fast and we are the cause of it. How can correct and incorrect results all point to the same answer? Why, depsite the fact that there are setbacks, and wrong steps, and all the foibles of a human endeavour are we told that the science is correct, it is beyond question and the debate is over? I guess it is somehow related to the fact that regardless of whether the earth cools or warms, it is the result og AGW. Whether there are more storms or less, it is the reult of AGW. Whether there are droughts or floods, it is the result of AGW.

    Can you blame us for taking your data manipulations with some degree of skepticim?

    What other branch of science ignores data in preference to theory?

    And, may I remind you, does the grand poobah of climate change, James Hanson, testify to congress, as if were one of Josef Stalin’s underlings, that any scientist who questions HIS ideas of climate change should be indicted for crimes against humanity? What other science has a person like that at its prow?

    You are correct that in all other fields trying to figure out what went wrong is the responsibility of a scientist. But when something DOES go wrong in other sciences, one of the possiblities which could be the reason, and which is always considered when looking to correct something, is that the theory behind it might be incorrect, in which case the scientist looks for a different answer. IN AGW climate change, the answer stays the same and the tinkering and infilling is done to make the question fit the answer. That is why.

    I have NEVER once, in all the many years I have been following this science very closely EVER read an AGW advocate scientist list as one of the possible outcomes of some reasearch that the Earth might not be warming as a result of CO2 and that we should look at other reasons too.

    As Einstein said “Never stop questioning.” Well we are not stopping, although we are told the science is conclusive and the debate is over. And for continuing to do what scientists do, we receive the labels, “Skeptic” “denier” and worse.

    No Science has ever taken a stance that there is no more room for questioing, except sciences taken over by political motivation. As a scientist, any time I hear that something is conclusive in a science my hackles go right up. There is no such thing as proof in science. Except in AGW science as practiced by IPCC adn James Hansen.

    Stop double dealing would you and recognize that the science is FAR from concluive, it IS an immature science in which there are MANY inconsistencies, and that there will be many revisions to the theory. Stop trying to make everyone buy the first, guilt-trip laden, bogey-man-rife speculation that came along. This is not like evolutionary science or some other similar science in which there is overwhelming evidence that it occurs, has occurred, and in which every prediction turns out to be correct and strengthens the theory. CLimate science is one with very little confirmatory evidence adn models which have a track record near nil in making correct predictions. Ironically, AGW climate change is now taught our students as gospel and evolution is challenged and downplayed.

    No wonder American science education is in the toilet.

    I agree that the back-stabbing is not productive. But a paranoid science is not productive either.


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    Tom G(ologist)

    And as a follow up, not only do I have kids who have gone through/are going through the American Science ‘education’ system, I also spend part of my time (outside my consuting practice) as professor of Earth Sciences (location withheld to prevent spamming but it is a school consistently ranked VERY high in the ranks of requisite qualifications to get in – we accept one out of 8 applicants and they have an average 3.78 GPA and min 1250 SAT) and I can attest to the mostly abyssmal quality of science education in our secondary school systems.

    We are increasingly feeding them unproven, even untested stuff like AGW and skipping over REAL meteorology, climatology, historical geology… The result is that our children are growing up having no concept of the Earth and its systems and therefore no perspective against which to judge for themselves the pronouncements of the IPCCs and Hansens of the world.

    They certainly learn biology and chemistry. Great. But apart from health care there is no larger cost looming on our collective horizon than the price tag being shoved at us to combat AGW. And yet we are doing NOTHING to prepare the next generation to even have the slightest “dram of a scruple” of an idea how to comprehend even the concepts behind the so-called science behind it all.

    I hear Obama talk about how global warming will be high on his agenda and that he will reduce CO2 in the atmosphere, but I see NOTHING, 0, Sero, Zip, Nada, in any proposal that there will be an initiative or funding for basic education in Earth and atmospheric sciences.

    Well – I’ll get down off my soap box now. Have a nice weekend everyone.

    Tom


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    OldJoe

    Thomas:
    November 12th, 2008 at 2:09 am

    “…As I’ve said repeatedly, there is too much noise in the climate system to make predictions like that. The long time trend is the same,but not individual years.
    “do you dismiss statistics as well because you can’t predict the
    individual roll of a die?”…”

    This is almost a perfect definition of a ‘random variable’, i.e. “an event for which we have
    knowledge of the probability of such an event occuring, but we cannot predict the exact instance of an occurrence.” I believe the “statistics” of this example have been known for a couple of centuries. Craps, anyone?

    “Even if you take the same model with slightly different starting conditions you soon get divergences.”
    What is the point of “starting with slightly different starting conditions”?
    Aren’t you just altering one or more parameters of the ‘curve’ and producing just one more member of the ‘family of curves’? How is that connected to predicting the future climate? One could generate an infinity of sibling curves and average them to (what?). The beginning curve which gave us the starting point for the family? What have we gained if that one doesn’t ‘predict’ the climate with all of its variations? What is the ‘statistics’ of that?

    …”As a scientist I learned early on that you can’t be an expert in more than a small specialty, outside that you have to take other experts “on faith”.
    If I want to know the electron mass I look it up in a table, I don’t
    start reading the original literature to see if the people who have
    measured it may have made any mistake. It’s not perfect, but it’s the
    only way to get anything done.” (EOF)
    Agreed. BUT, critical subsets of stuff from other specialties has to agree with
    critical subsets of stuff that my specialty ‘believes’ it knows. Absent that, the
    whole edifice falls, and I have “no faith”.


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    Tom G(ologist)

    Response to 203:

    …”As a scientist I learned early on that you can’t be an expert in more than a small specialty, outside that you have to take other experts “on faith”.
    If I want to know the electron mass I look it up in a table, I don’t
    start reading the original literature to see if the people who have
    measured it may have made any mistake. It’s not perfect, but it’s the
    only way to get anything done.” (EOF)
    Agreed. BUT, critical subsets of stuff from other specialties has to agree with
    critical subsets of stuff that my specialty ‘believes’ it knows. Absent that, the
    whole edifice falls, and I have “no faith”.

    We do not really take anything “on faith” in science. We do not simply listen to one scientist because they are in a field (think cold fusion). Each discipline of science has its own referees and wa ACCEPT the findigs of researchers outside our own field if the universe of referees has accepted the findings. There ain’t no faith involved.

    As far as belief – there’s no such thing there either. I do not believe my findings, your findings, anyone’s findings, or any theory, model, whatever. I accept results if they have been tested and confirmed by independent researchers. I accept theories if they are consistent with the findings – ALL findings. I don’t believe ANYTHING about ANYTHING told to me by ANYBODY. I might believe you when you tell me you are 53 years old. But I don’t and won’t believe you if you tell me that the arctic is has melted more this year than any other unless you show me the CONFIRMED data (key word, confirmed). If it isn’t corraborated, it is just so much internet gossip.

    So faith and belief are not part of science (this comes from my involvement in the evolution wars, in which I ahve been pretty deeply entrenched on many levels for years. Science is NOT a blielf system. It is emirical. If there is no PEERing into real data and it has not bee PEER reviewed, it just ain’t emPEERical adn it does not earn a place in scientific knowledge until those criteria are met.

    Tom


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    Mike Davis

    Matt:
    Sorry internet down again. Bad modem for satellite. By UAH searching for problems. I was refering thier comparing their results to ballon data. Surface data has been massaged so much as to be unreliable. Just look at US rural data unadjusted history verses Giss,NOAA,or HADCRU US data. Big difference. I am not saying that rural unajusted data is perfect just maybe better If you realize the degree of error. Even GISS or the others is ok if you realize the error and don’t try to prove trends less than 2c as that is the lower error bars. People tell me about the law of large numbers and how that negates minor errors. I think that it would increase the errors to the max that the sites could be in error or 5c.
    I would probably relate deniers to agnostics or sceptics to conservatives in Judaism. The undecided and old verses the fire and brimstone crowd of the new religion. To Judaism the catholics would the new userpers. You agree that this is a young science and most of its most vocal supporters don’t even have a degree in climateology.


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    MattB

    well more than its most vocal critics (notably geologists:)


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    Mike Davis

    WOW MattB:
    I think There is something here I find out of balance.
    Let me see if I have this right You feel that climatoligists are more aware of climate than Geologists? Pardon me I have to see my doctor to be checked out. I was laughing so hard at the idea of not even weathermen knowing more about climate than geologists. I think that the deffinition of climate is. The observation of weather patterns over long periods of TIME! Excuse me! That is what GEOLOGISTS are trained to do and probably spend most of thier time doing just that. Physics,astronomers, and such are trained in narrow fields then think they know climate. The local weatherman knows more about climate than most of your HEROES.
    Sorry Tom G: could not help myself.


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    JCollum

    This is worth posting (from a Rasmussen poll):
    —————
    Forty-four percent (44%) of U.S. voters now say long-term planetary trends are the cause of global warming, compared to 41% who blame it on human activity.

    Seven percent (7%) attribute global warming to some other reason, and nine percent (9%) are unsure in a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey.

    Fifty-nine percent (59%) of Democrats blame global warming on human activity, compared to 21% percent of Republicans. Two-thirds of GOP voters (67%) see long-term planetary trends as the cause versus 23% of Democrats. Voters not affiliated with either party by eight points put the blame on planetary trends.
    —————-

    Scientists aren’t in agreement and neither is the public. Which to me seems right; there’s still a lot more science to be done before we call it the end of days etc.


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    Tom G(ologist)

    Mike – feel free

    Matt: What geologists KNOW is the history of climate. So let’s see what AGW advocates say. “Our civilzation has never experienced any environmental shift remotely similar to this.Today’s climate pattern has existed through the entire history of human civilization.” Al Gore, 2006

    As a geologist, I can showe that that statement is false.

    Then there are other goodies such as “never before in the history of the earth has climate changesd as rapidly as in the last century.”

    NEVER? In the history of the earth? Hmmm. who has the perspective here? A climatologist?

    Matt, there is one and only one constant in Earth’s climate hisotry…. CHANGE!!!!!

    There is no “normal”: temperature for Earth. You can’t stick a thermometer in the air and say, “Yep, 98.6, that’s what it should be.

    Since climatologists are acting like the current time represents “normal” and what the
    Earth’s Temp should be, it falls on those of us who know Eaarth’s histpory to point out that quotes in Gore’s idiot movie (it was not a documentary unless it is to document either his ignorance or arrogance) are just plain wrong and intended to whip up a fever among people who don’t know any better.

    A little fact. We are currently living in one of the coldest periods of Earth’s history – bar almost none. For the past 600 my the T has been mostly warmer than now. Oh, but how arrogant of ME. Climatologists know that the transient temperature of the here and now is the priviledged condition and we HAVE to preserve it or else the Earth will boil away – just like it did during the Cambrian, the Ordovician, Silurian, the Devonian, the Carboniferrous, the Permian (really hot there), the Triassic and on and on.


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    Mike Davis

    Tom:
    I am probabley only really interested in the recent history. You know when the isthmas of panama was created closing the equitorial exchange between the atlantic and pacific. I realize that this event was current history but it does seem to have had an effect on weather patterns and climate cycles. If memory serves me correctly that was when the glacial and interglacial periods shifted to their current configuration of approx 100ky. I think That is about right I may be off a few years. That is the climate cycles we need to understand and the variations of weather during those cycles. This 30 year stuff makes no sense to me unless I want to know the possible weather in a region then I would preffer a longer history of weather.


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    JCollum

    Saw this on a wired blog post, though Tom G could shed some light on this IGC. Is it really that big of a deal among geologists? Interesting support for AGW skeptics. Of course they’re not in the climatology priesthood so they’re suspect. Look, a linear relationship between two variables has nothing to do with climatology, it’s all math. The math doesn’t bear the hypothesis out. Simple.
    —————–
    At the December 2008 U.N. Global Warming conference in Poznan, Poland, 650 of the world’s top climatologists stood up and said man-made global warming is a media generated myth without basis. Said climatologist Dr. David Gee, Chairman of the International Geological Congress, “For how many years must the planet cool before we begin to understand that the planet is not warming?”


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    Mike Davis

    JCollum:
    “The answer my friend is blowing in the wind” From a folk song written some years ago.


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    Tom G(ologist)

    Mike:

    Like all changes in land distribution, the formation of the isthmus had a large influence on cliamte. It occurred about 3 m.a. and there are numerous hypotheses about the specific influences which might have accrued. One is the nearly coincident onset of polar ice formation around 2.5 m.a. None of those hypotheses have been tested extensively nor accepted universally among geologists. That the termination of an equatorial current had far-reaching climatic implications goes without saying. However, there are more factors in the onset of Pliocene-Pleistocene continental glaciation than the single tectonic factor.

    There are many really good articles on climate cycles in the geologic record. Much of the ‘skepticism’ among geologists results from the clyclicity of climate patterns in the past and our current temporal position within those overlapping cycles.

    The 100,000 year periodicity is related to the Milankovich cycle which has quite an impressive correlation over the past several million years. So the isthmus of panama had a definite effect on oceanic and climatic circulation, but it is only one factor.

    Ironically, Milankovich was scorned for many years by climate scientists and glaciologists who wouldn’t accept that the ice ages could have been regulated by something like orbital eccentricities, axial tilt and precession. Now, of course, the data and correlations are too compelling in favor of Milankovich.


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    Tom G(ologist)

    jcollum

    “Is it really that big of a deal among geologists?”

    Among some, yes. Some don’t care – the ones who research mantle plumes and other esoterica. Geologists who research coastal processes and stream systems, sedimentation rates and other geomorphological characteristics of the current landscape have vested interests in that they have received substantial increases in NSF grants by the simple expedient of adding a few words to their research grant proposals; e.g., A grant proposal which read, “… to investigation the sediment accumulation rates in tidal inlets which could affect navigation…” received some funding. But a proposal which reads “… to investigation the acceleration of sediment accumulation rates in tidal inlets as a result of climate change…” gets LOTS of funding. Those geologists have no axe to grind with the AGW bandwagon.

    And then there are the third kind, who are not lost in the mantle or in deep time, and who do not have a vested interest, and yes, it is a big deal to them (self included). We have made it our life’s work to understand the Earth and all its systems because all of the systems affect each other. You don’t get geomorphology, erosion, sedimentation, sedimentary rocks, fossils… in the absence of an atmosphere which evolved over time, and which is possessed of variable climates which have also evolved over time. We understand the formation of all those things in the context of the changing climate over time. That is what we do.

    It is our responsibility as Earth scientists to at least try to make sure that our part of the collective knowledge of the scientific community of the world is not misrepresented. You can scare the lay public into thinking that the recent changes in global climate are unprecedented and dangerous only if that public is wholly unaware of the climate history of the Earth.

    In a nearly 5 b.y. history, very little is unprecedented. We are the custodians of that knowledge and it is up to us to make sure it is put to use and not ignored – especially when costly decisions are being made in its absence.

    Just because we come to different conclusions doesn’t mean that we don’t care. No-one cares about the Earth more than geologists. Hell, we have dedicated our professional lives to understanding it. You can’t devote your entire mental output to something and not give a damn about it. Other people think about the Earth when it’s trendy. We carry it around in our heads 24-7. It never l;eaves us – it’s even in our dreams.

    Yes – it is a really BIG deal to geologists that our work should not be ignored when people are making decisions about the Earth. I’d like to put the questrion the other way. What qualifies a climatologist to make pronouncements about the implications of climate change when they have not studied historic climate changes? What does a climatologist know about the potential catastrophic effects of warming or cooling when they have not studied the record of past changes on other Earth systems?


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    JCollum

    Good answer, thorough too. But I was wondering if the IGC is that big of a deal :)

    I wonder how hot the earth would have to get for it to be “unprecedented”. I mean, how hot and still have an atmosphere. I’ve spent a few minutes googlin it and didn’t find what I’m looking for. Looks like there was a heckuva spike 125ky ago.


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    Mike Davis

    TomG:
    Thanks I am glad to read your input on this issue. I had a year of college and spent part of that in a geology class. Of course that was in 1966. I have worked in and because of the weather for a long time. Being retired my life now revolves around the weather. I have a problem with people who think of weather events as climate indicators.
    Again: Thank You!


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    Tom G(ologist)

    IGC is moderately important, I think. Most geologists have a hard time keeping up with their research, publishing,m getting grants, and following what other geologists are doing/saying within their own little research spheres. So IGC is not something as big as GSA in the lives of most geologists. But it is important. It really involves those geologists who are working int he more global arena on big issues – bringing clean water to the third world populations and that kind of thing.

    I have always wanted to work on those things, but apart from teaching and researching, I also run a consulting practice, so …

    Tom


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    David Walker

    Tom G(ologist):

    Thanks for reminding us that Earth’s history is not human-centric.

    During my college days in the late 1980s, my roommate was a professional geologist and an environmental engineer. Scary were the stories he told about the smoke and mirrors in the green movement, even back then. The context was already about money and power. It’s disappointing, but not really surprising, to see a substantial portion of the masses reluctant to rely upon their skepticism and man’s societal histories to grasp what’s really happening, what’s really at stake.


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    Tom G(ologist)

    Dave – your wlecome. There’s nothing like a dose of perspective.


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    barry

    It’s interesting that the heading of this section is GW is a religion and then from my quick review of the responses not one relates to that heading. Responses go on about GW is/is not proven/unproven, is /is not science, we must act just in case, etc, but no one answers the proposition that GW is a religion. Its a proposition I agree with. In this age of unbelief ‘environmentalism’ which GW is just one more maifestation of is the new religion. I paraphrase Chesterton, “When people stop believing in God, they don’t believe in nothing, but will believe anything.”
    People whose passion for the truth has died, become very passionate about all sorts of peripheal things. We all love to feel moral and and working ourselves up into a lather about the new god, “the environment” and “saving the planet” is just the latest manifestation of a world desperate to “feel” good.


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    MattB

    Tom @ 209…

    “What Geologists KNOW is the history of climate”… sorry I took a while to reply in fact I’m still laughing:) Seriously though, some Geologists do indeed know a lot about this, and that is why all such knowledge is thoroughly considered in climate science. I’m not really sure which world leading climate scientists would disagree that there has been a lot of change, and it has been plenty hotter.

    Sadly because some geologists are experts in that field, your average beer swilling pick axe wielding neanderthal reckons that some chart showing it has been hotter before is even remotely relevent to the present scientific discussion.

    In fact I see present climate science as trying (who knows maybe pointlessly) to ensure that we do what we can to preserve this miniscule blip on the history of the planet that has enabled life such as ours to be maintained. I fail to see how the fact that the earth has been much much hotter or much colder is either a cause for comfort, or relevant to short term human induced global warming.

    It is like saying you don’t mind being shot in the head because after all you’ve been a whole lot deader in the past and will be a whole lot deader in the future.

    You have a basic misunderstanding of climate science and how it looks at the geological record, either that or you just can’t help yourself in your preference for cheap populist smokes and mirrors statements. I like to think that it is the latter as heck we are all allowed to have some fun on the interwebs… but since it seems you get your cliamte science from Hollywood I could be wrong. I can’t comment on Gore directly as I’ve not seen the movie…


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    MattB

    And Tom… just to address your questions in 214:

    “What qualifies a climatologist to make pronouncements about the implications of climate change when they have not studied historic climate changes?”
    None – but of course it is a strawman as climatologists working on AGW would have as extensive understanding of historic climate changes as any other science field (although they may not be actively involved in research in the area).

    “What does a climatologist know about the potential catastrophic effects of warming or cooling when they have not studied the record of past changes on other Earth systems?”
    Again – a climatologists who has not studied said record would know nothing about that. But of course yet again you fabricate a strawman by again assuming that climate scientists have not done such study).

    Anyway – you may be interested in this thread at Brave New CLimate that discusses just who does climate change… http://bravenewclimate.com/2008/08/31/so-just-who-does-climate-science/

    so again you seem to be creating the strawman that climate scientists think they know it all themselves…


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    You are a very smart person!


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    jim

    for anybody interested in agw as a religion click on this community radio site.http://www.shoalhavenfm.org.au/ontheprowl/ then go to “CLICK HERE for everything you wanted to know about CARBON CREDITS but were too afraid to ask.”
    Humorous but accurate and actually addresses the issue.


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    Anne-Kit Littler

    Matt @ #178 (in response to Brad): “… but your hubristic comments are better targeted at those who think we can do what we want to the ecosystem and will have the brains and the tech to sort things out. A la King Canute drawing a line in the sand to command the tides”

    Most people get the message of this story wrong:

    It is attributed to King Canute the Great (995-1035), king of England, Denmark and Norway. The more powerful he became, the more he found himself surrounded by sycophants who did nothing but sing his praises.

    Sick of the constant flattery, he decided to teach them a lesson. Legend has it that he had his throne carried to the seashore when the tide was coming in (there’s nothing in the story about drawing a line in the sand – that was Jesus [John 8:6]). He asked his adoring subjects, “Do you think the tide will stop if I command it to?” Of course, they enthusiastically said “yes.” And so King Canute gave the order. Needless to say, the waves kept on coming. That’s when he said these famous lines:

    “Let all men know how empty and worthless is the power of kings. For there is none worthy of the name but God, whom heaven, earth, and sea obey.”

    Far from being a story of hubris, it is a tale of humility!


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    Barry

    We here in Australia are just experiencing the terrible consequences of our politicians and so called scientists genuflecting at the altar of environmentalism and its green high priests. Ten years of dry weather and government inaction has resulted in the worst bush fires in the nation’s history. Intimidated by the greens, governments have done little or no cold burning for decades, resulting in a huge buildup of explosively dry understory in our forrests. Despite warnings of the dangers governments have placated the greens for their votes. No wonder some cynics describe Parliament as “Cowards Castle”. Now the inevitable has happened. Fires of incredible intensity have ripped through millions of hectares of bush destroying dozens of towns right down to the edges of Melbourne. The cost in property and infrastructure is in billions, and worst of all the death toll is 200 and rising. The so called fragile ecosystem, irreplaceable flora and fawna, unique wildlife; all part of the propaganda of lies and distortions used by the greens to intimidate the community, has now vanished. All that is left is a blackened landscape, smoking ruins and devestated communities, ruined families and businesses, a horrendous insurance bill and a massive cost to the taxpayer to rebuild it all. Already the greens are scrambling to exonerate themselves with platitudes in complete contradiction to policies on their websites. Authorities say the death toll will be 300 or more and are preparing to launch a full inquiey into the disaster. I’ll lay odds now that the worst the neopagan greens will get will be a slap on the wrist.


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    MattB

    The greens getting blasted would just about make the disaster worth it for you yeah Barry? Of course the ALP, Libs and Nats (ie the parties that have actually had 95% of members of parliament in the past 50 odd years) were powerless against the onslaught of those neopagan greens. Shut your trap and wnd worry about the people who have had their lives destroyed rather than your crazed anti-green posturing.


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    Barry

    So good to get such an intelligent analytical well reasoned reply from Matt.
    Read what I had to say again. Its the wimps in the major parties who have allowed a green fringe to intimidate them into impotence; but the root cause behind this tragedy are the dogmas of extreme environmentalism.


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    MattB

    Lol I read your 1st line and thought “wow finally a post made an impact”… ahh well for a fleeting moment I thought it may be true;)

    Surely by your logic the root cause is the wimps in the major parties… if they are stupid enough to be bent over the barrel by a handful of reps why the heck do you vote for them?

    Anyway ask the firies…http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2009/02/12/2489847.htm


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    Jim

    Barry et al,
    Don’t respond to MattB, it’s a waste of time. He is the typical diversionist blogger. Misrepresents arguments, is superior and smug eg “Since Christmas I’ve been reading God Delusion and it keeps giving me amusing insights to this debate”, affects to be amused by the arguments, likes to use “lol”, dominates entries in the blog, claims friends among sceptics so claims totally impartiality, simplifies others comments, argues by analogy, loves to claim to pick holes in arguments using techniques like alleged lack of logic, uses ‘strawman’ accusations….
    Just forget him. He has nothing to contribute.


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    MattB

    Oh Jim you’ve both amused me and made me want to type lol! Thanks:)

    Based on your description of me it is quite staggering that I don;t go the whole hog and become a sceptic/denialist!


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    MattB

    Climate models do not make short term year-to-year temperature predictions Jo. This was from the UK Met office in 2004: “Despite global warming there could be further colder-than-average winters in the years ahead as the climate cools naturally, the Met Office believes. Mr Britton said that the last 10-year assessment – carried out in 2004 – suggested a decade where global warming would be held back by a natural cooling trend. But beyond 2014 the climate will resume its warming trend, he said.””

    Anyway – this is what you said: “the accidental reasons the crowd is suddenly watching the game are not as important as the score.” = You say you are happy to manipulate public perceptions of the science (GET THEM WATCHING)…

    [Jo Nova says: No. These sentences are not the same. The accidental reasons include 'a cold snap'. Where did I suggest we exaggerate the importance of the cold snap - can you find that quote? When it comes to figuring out reality I keep focussing on the essential questions of theory, falsifiability, evidence etc. If the crowd was ignoring the game and a stray lightning bolt draws their attention to the field, how am I responsible for that? Having got their attention, if my team wins the game because they are better at it - playing by the rules (of evidence), and the poor tactics and lack of skill by the other team is exposed, that has nothing to do with manipulation of perceptions. It's merely taking the opportunity to state our case and convince people the old fashioned way, with logic and reason. ]

    … to achieve what you think is a good science outcome (THE SCORE)” and I asked how is that any different than polar bears drowning and 100 foot sea level changes…

    [ JoNova says: you misinterpret again. When did I say it was a good 'science' outcome? Find that quote. I think it's a good out come for humanity AND the planet if people have better information, and the world is less cluttered with flawed reasoning... ie. I appreciate any opportunity I get to explain the straight science, backed by empirical evidence. I don't need to exaggerate Matt, I've got evidence on my side. READ the Skeptics Handbook, and quote more carefully. Sloppy reasoning - which includes sloppy sentence structure, sloppy quotes, poor comprehension, - it's a tax we don't have to pay.]


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    MattB

    Anyways… Jo you state the fatal flaw (my words sorry) is the hotspot. But then say none of the models predict the lack of temp increases since say 2001 – therefore “proves the climate models are a joke. NONE of them predicted the non-warming.”

    Does this mean that even if the hotspot was there (taking your word that it isn’t and that it matters), would you disregard the lack of predictive accuracy post 2001, or would you instead look for a different fatal flaw? Surely even if there was warming post 2001 and the models had predicted it… or say the models had instead predicted the lack of warming… well would you still consider them a joke because of the hotspot thing.

    Or lets say the hotspot showed up, and the models predicted the lack of warming, you;d no longer think they were a joke? Or would they still be a joke?


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    Matt, If the hot spot was there (even partly) I would be much less sure that CO2 was trivial. It would depend on how strongly the hot spot was signalled. The hot spot is not just central to proving the models are working, it underlies the whole theory of AGW. If it’s not warming faster than the surface, the theory is either wrong, or insignificant (not measurable). If the hot spot had matched predictions, I would be worried about our carbon output.

    Remember I thought CO2 was important once, I shifted camps… to paraphrase Keynes: when I see better graphs I change my mind. What do you do?

    If the models had predicted the flat trend (as in -’in advance’ – rather than post hoc) they would not be a joke. I’d still be suspicious of them. If they had supporting empirical evidence as well I’d suggest we should act to reduce carbon emissions.


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    Rod Smith

    MattB #233: Why is it that your argument ignores copious documentation of the hot spot? Take a look at this paper at climatescience.gov.

    I hope that link posts properly so that all your “what ifs” can be seen as akin to the question of how many angels could dance on the head of a pin. You really need read no further than the Executive Summary, but feel free to digest the whole thing.

    And I feel sure you would agree ALL climate models need to be examined closely for “fatal flaws,” as well as other maladies. It is sometimes surprising what rigorous testing of software can expose. I would even go so far as to say that all IPCC software should be made to undergo formal verification and validation. Otherwise, I could probably rapidly whip up a model to give you whatever results you wanted, time after time, and regardless of the input.

    I was under the impression that most reputable scientists compare their conclusions to reality for verification. Are models exempt from such requirements? Should they be?

    Now how did “we” stray from the religious aspect of this thread? For that I apologize.


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    Rod Smith

    The question on the table is, “Is AGW a Religion?”

    I’ll take a stab and offer my opinion with the caveat that this is probably beyond my technical level and/or pay grade.

    Nevertheless, I believe that Joanne has pretty well “nailed it” based on her symptomatic analysis of the typical non-scientific, knee jerk responses to doubters. As a famous American baseball player/coach (Yogi Berra) once explained: “You can observe a lot just by watching.”

    However I would qualify my agreement as follows:

    1. I believe many of the ‘warmers’ are soft in the specialized knowledge of how things work, especially such as circulation, weather, weather reporting, climate, observations, measuring equipment operation, WMO standards, etc. For example I would expect responses to be along the lines of, “Weather is not climate.”, “Oh yeah, what are your degrees in?”, and “If you’re so smart explain to me ….”. In short, personal attacks for expressing an opinion – and questions instead of answers.

    Few, if any, will carefully try to convince us of their position by explaining how the IPCC has ‘proved’ that humans are responsible for the supposed coming catastrophe, or just why anyone should accept the output of their models, or why the modeled hot spot is missing, how A Gore ‘got it right’, etc.

    2. I am not at all sure however that some AGW supporters don’t spill over into a “cult,” nor am I sure where that line can be drawn, despite the high probability that some key people are surely drawn by money, maybe fame and celebrity, and often personal advancement.

    So there is my opinion, worth every cent the reader spent for it.

    Am I the only one to have responded to the question?


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    Jim

    No, the question of religion was posted as a link above. But here, with permission of the radio station is the script.
    ANNOUNCER:As a community radio we have an obligation to keep current with developing politics and science and issues and thingies that are really complicated.
    There’s the carbon credits thingy for example. Now since it involves carbon and carbon is shot through the garden and trees we thought we would get our resident gardener Arthur Spades Pumblechook to call in to explain it all. And here he is now!!!.
    FX ENGLISH COUNTRY GARDEN, CLAPPING WHISTLING CHEERING.
    ‘Allo everyone.
    Hello yourself Spades we appreciate you taking the time we know how busy you are
    aaaarrrhh. ’tis a busy toime what with all the nurdlin and grubbin and splittin throgbastard cobbles and putting butter on the dingo’s boils and St Ratchet’s day coming up and….

    JUMP IN QUICK Yes yes. Now about Carbon credits – this is something in your line isnt it?

    Aaar, but its not what you think it has very little to do with gardenin or the weather. It’s got everything to do with religion. If i knows religion ,and i thinks Oi does, carbon credits is all about religious practice and religion itself.
    How is that, Spades?
    Well you sees religions depend on certain basic things have to be taken on faith, on faith, that’s the very natur’ of religion.
    And?
    And here we have a relatively unsophisticated recent religion which has only a few articles of faith thank God. Not loike the Anglicans with 39 Articles of faith.
    And these articles of faith?
    The first article is it’s getting hotter all the toime and wont stop.
    Second article we are all doomed – doomed -if we does nothing about it
    Third article it’s all because of that there carbon dioxide.
    Fourth article Hope. There is hope that we won’t all die if we cut down on carbon dioxide.
    Now you sees none of these four things can be proved. They have to be taken on faith
    But it is getting hotter?
    Aaarrr is that so?
    Yes
    You believe that?
    Well yes
    Can you prove it?
    Well no, buts it’s in all the papers and Al Gore got the Nobel Prize for saying so.
    Aye and he got an Oscar for the same thing and he said that the polar icecaps would be gone back there in 07
    Well perhaps there are a few details wrong.
    Aye but its not so much the details. It’s he has broke the laws of prophecy. Either you makes a prophesy or you gives a date. you don’t do both. that way you can get caught out. you dont foind them in the boible making prophecies that will come about on a date. But anyways, as you have shown us all, you have faith. You can’t prove it but you believes it. Thats religion. that’s its mark.
    Well i wouldn’t call it a religious faith.
    No matter Now what are the marks of the true church? If I knows my theology and I thinks I does. back there in Constantinople in 381 they laid down the marks of a true church for religion.
    Which are?
    Oill get to that. Have you a spittoon? No well out the window then
    crash fx
    SORRY ABOUT that i thought it were open. well as i was saying the marks of a religion and church is that it is one holy catholic and apostolic.
    I dont get it
    It’s easy. One means that there must be no divisions among the faithful. Either you holds the faith of you don’t if you don’t you’re out and you gets none of the benefits of the church.
    What are those benefits?
    Aaar plenty of favorable media coverage, complete acceptance of anything you say, the respect and adulation and worship of reporters, the respect of politicians promotion in your job government grants for research. free lunches, science magazines drop their bulldust screens. If not, you’re excommunicated and out of a job. That doenst mean you can have soide issues loike save the whales, save the baby seals, save the rainforest, but these are side issues to saving the planet.
    Holy means that it is descended from someone who is a god. In this case Al Gore. Now notice the ABC which is full of fundamentalists. The whole lot of them they believe every last word of an inconvenient truth and worship Gore.
    Catholic now doesn’t mean roman catholic it just means universal . Loike it doesn’t matter if you are man or woman rich or pore strong or weak just as long as you have the faith you will be accepted. Everyone is equal in the church.
    Apostolic means that they don’t leave it all to Al Gore – they go out and teach everyone else. the same story. so means that if you don’t you are called a sceptic – that’s a technical word which essentially means a leper.
    Now oi’ve told you what a religion is and oive shown you what the marks of a true church are.
    Oi knows oive been a bit long here but oim comein to it.
    The only practical way we can stop the world catching foire is to stop burning coal and oil. y’see, six billion humans push out carbon dioxide every day, every toime they breath, so do twenty billion sheep not to mention rabbits and cows and birds in the trillions and we couldn’t possibly kill all those to save the planet so we cuts down on the carbon dioxide that comes from burning coal and oil. and we cuts down by taxing the arse off anyone who is doing it. but we promises not to tax them if they do something like planting trees or building useless hydroelectric power stations in them there developing countries. Now planting those trees or building them dams gives you carbon credits to allow you to keep using oil and coal. Thats carbon credits.
    Who is doing it?
    Just the countries like Australia and America and New Zealand and England and half of Europe. The west.
    And the other half?
    Well they are not believers. Neither is china or russia or india. so they’ll keep using coal and oil.
    which means they will get well ahead of us?
    Not if we dont sell them any of our coal.
    But that is cutting our own throats!
    aye. but y’see, oim running out of patience with you. This is martyrdom. The west become martyrs in the cause of the religion. They give up their way of loife and goes back to the 17th century. no religion can survive without martyrs.
    Well thanks spades. I must say i never knew you were up in theology and religions and all that.
    Oh it’s not that It’s a poor gardener who doesn’t know horseshit when he sees it.
    Fools gold, wooden pennies, carbon credits, eh, Spades?
    aaarrrh.

    Song#4 Old time religion.


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    MattB

    Rod @ 236… it is not a question posed in the headline… it is a statement.


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    MattB

    BTW Jo I’m trying to move out of my “CO2 bloggin” phase and thinking maybe I need to start like doing what I’m paid for, and some family time etc… tsk tsk neglectful father! A great financial depression is not a great time to get sacked:)

    So anyway while occasionally there is a bit of friction, thanks to you and all for the very interesting discussions to date… Only this week on Deltoid I’ve been accused of defending you too much meaning I am some sort of skeptic plant;) And, of course, not that it matters nearly so much to me, no one will quite cough up that “evidence” that you (and that Graeme Bird character) long for… (is he you after some Jeckyl and Hyde potion??). If it was so easy to debunk I just don;t know why they don’t at least just cite one study. It is all about postmodernism I’m afraid… the world is no longer governed by one way of viewing anything – science included… hopefully all the competing philosophies lead us generally to the cream rising to the top rather than just following one dogma.

    If I cross your path in this small town I’ll be sure to say g’day – if it is far enough in the future for this to be all done and dusted then one of us owes the other a drink;)

    I’ve certainly improved my understanding of AGW in the past 4 or so months, and being a natural skeptic I’ll keep my eye on developments but 4 months ago I was DEFINITELY a religious AGW believer.

    Try not to get too dragged in to the nutter denialist world… you hear some pretty wacky stories! Enjoy the Heartland love-in.

    MattB


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    Steve Meikle

    It is a pity that characterizing AGW’s as religious shows an underlying contempt for religious belief: and this contempt stems from an entirely false dichotomy of setting science and faith against each other. I am no catholic but tell Thomas Aquinas this kind of dichotomy and, were he alive today, you would see him die laughing.

    Now “cult religion” or “false religion” is another thing, but those who think that mankind is rational enough to embrace reason properly (look at history abd see how this has miserably failed) make no such distinction


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    JWC

    Re: Steve

    The point that your missing is that religion and science are diametrically opposed on one point: evidence.

    “false religion”? Versus what? One that has more believers? What’s the number of believers needed to put a cult over the edge into a religion? Christianity certainly looked like a cult in the early days. To me all religions are a cult. Some have more people in the cult than others.

    “who think that mankind is rational enough to embrace reason ” : yes, but that’s no reason to abandon reason entirely. I can point to plenty of historical reasons that we should abandon religion.


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    Hi Steve, I’m sorry if you take this as contempt for good religious pursuits. It is intended as a comment on the use of religious behaviour in science, not on religion per se.

    Inasmuch as science doesn’t offer a lot of solace to the lonely or unlucky, religion doesn’t keep planes in the air, or invent vaccines. (And no, I’m not suggesting scientist can’t be religious, only that both endeavours are suited to different struggles.)

    I am where you are, with the false dichotomy. Science doesn’t belong in the spiritual world, and religion doesn’t belong in science. But both can coexist in one life. As it happens, I’m not blessed with a one-on-one relationship with the Big Man myself – I’m a sympathetic agnostic – strictly a skeptic, who can only say “I’ve got no proof either way”. Dawkins’ ‘knowledge’ that there Is No God is a ridiculous claim. I mean really – he’s searched every corner, every dimension and every universe? As if.

    On a good day, religion helps people to live above and beyond, to reach a higher plane of discipline, behaviour, and charity. Religion helps ordinary people do extraordinary things, to pour hard work and effort into outcomes, and to feel good about the sacrifice. It is highly undervalued today.

    Having said that, it doesn’t change the weather. :-)


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    Dear Matt, We will miss you!
    “I’ll keep my eye on developments but 4 months ago I was DEFINITELY a religious AGW believer.”
    Shucks. That’s one of the nicest things anyone has said… crickey, do I infer that you set out to spring us, and came away not so sure?

    Graham Bird? Nah. Since I can write this, why would I write that?

    BTW – Bird may sound rabid (and I wouldn’t let him post those profanities here), but he’s asking the right question. And you’ve noticed it haven’t you? None of them, not Deltoid, Not DeSmog, Not Sceptoad, and not any-of-the-commenters, none of all those wannabee-experts have provided any evidence. Curious eh?


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    MattB

    You’ve met my mate Flats… he did the ground work. He was arguing this and that and it occurred to me I’d not actually kept up with the science… so maybe rather than “religious” I was just outdated… then strictly speaking it was David’s Oz peice that made me get on the interwebs – so the rocket scientist gets the credit I’m afraid…

    anyway I didn;t come to your blog to “spring” you – but because you probably most clearly state the sceptical case in scientific terms (rather than the traditional pseudo-science that has been around for 25 years) what am I doing here? bye.


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    Barry

    Type ‘The price of dissent on global warming Bellamy’ into google and read how world renowned botanist David Bellamy was sent to coventry by the G Warmists because he expressed reservations about GW. He learnt the hard way that dissent is not tolerated by the priestly caste of the GW cult. Read also the many other sites reporting rejection of GW by 32,000 qualified scientists. Read how Freeman Dyson, world renowned physicist, prof’ of Phsics at Cornell, Fellow of Royal Society etc tips a very big bucket on the GW fantasists. GW is a fairy tale for aethiests and agnostics desperately seeking justification for their irrational beliefs. Like Chestertonsaid, ‘When you stop believing in God, you don’t believe in nothing, but will believe anything.’


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    JWC

    “Like Chestertonsaid, ‘When you stop believing in God, you don’t believe in nothing, but will believe anything.’”
    There’s only one response to this: show me the evidence.


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    Barry

    I just did – Global Warming! A few decades ago it was Global Cooling. Also why not try – World Overpopulation, a sure fire fantasy of our neo pagan elites.
    Nature abhors a vacum. People just don’t stop believing. They have to have a reason to live, to justify themselves and without a belief in God and the afterlife chase all sorts of utopian fantasies to reshape the world in their image; Marxism being the most recent virulent form of utopianism.


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    Matt said: “maybe rather than “religious” I was just outdated… ”
    Yes. I thought you were a bit harsh on yourself using the word ‘religious’. Good on you for reading both sides of the story.

    “anyway I didn’t come to your blog to “spring” you…” I didn’t mean ‘spring’ as a negative. If one of the other sites you read had provided any evidence you would have sprung us… (and we would have deserved it).

    Seriously, I really like open minded debate. I don’t like the religious-’skeptics’ either (as in scientifically-religious rather than spiritually-religious, – ie they would accept no proof ever that AGW was a problem, if that proof ever did arise…). A true scientific skeptic is always willing to throw out their favourite theory if new evidence arises.


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    Interesting question… which side of this debate follows the science and which side clings to their beliefs like a religion.

    The first thing I noticed on this list is a lot of old arguments that have been debunked many times… what I call AGW denier whack-a-mole.

    The second thing I noticed is there are not a lot of climate scientists hanging out here. But there are a lot of angry bloggers.

    Finally, you have to conclude that deniers are mostly conservative Republicans who always seem to align themselves with the faithful. I don’t see a lot a progressive voices here denying AGW. So… I believe the accusation that AGW is a religion is a bunch of projecting by AGW deniers.


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    Barry

    GW is a lot of hot air, the religion you are having when you are not into religion. In actual fact global temp’s have declined by 0.6C since 2002. I advise the G Warmists to take an aspro, a cup of tea have a good lie down. When they wake up it will all ahve changed and they can join the next scare campaign. My advoice is get over it, there are far more serious issues to take our attention than cyclical weather events that we have no influence over.


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    JWC

    See that’s the part I just don’t get. Temps have been flat or dropped since 2001. By that argument CO2 actually cools the atmosphere, since you could certainly say that CO2 production (by way of the world economy) was higher in that time frame than it was in say 1980. So what would people say have been happening since then? CO2′s been absorbed somehow? Hiding out in the oceans? Every explanation of these things adds another layer of complexity to the hypothesis. The more complex the hypothesis, the more proof required. I’ve read an explanation or two of this and to my mind it’s always to the effect of “well it’s real complex”. Yeah no freakin kidding. Except in the lead up to 2001 no one was saying it’s real complex, they were saying “we must get this CO2 under control or Bad Things will happen”. That’s why we shouldn’t be dumping billions into things that are real complex until we’re positive.

    GW is a corollary of the “I feel bad because people in the third world have hard lives while I have food and shelter and medical care” religion. Carbon trading is atonement. That’s the conclusion I’ve come to.

    The facts of the world are that sometimes your life sucks because you were born at the wrong time or the wrong place or with the wrong genes. You want to help people in the third world, please do. I get a lump in my throat every time I hear about doctors volunteering in South America. Those people are great. But making it harder for the economy of the first world to function because you feel bad? No. We’ve got enough problems right now.


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    Barry

    You make a lot of sense JWC. GW and environmentalism in general is the outcome of uneasy conscience. Instead of adressing our own selfish, dare I call it sinful, behaviour we focus attention away from that and adopt positions of moral superiority on ‘careing for the world, saving the whales, saving the rainforests, reversing global warming’, anything so long as we don’t have to look into our own souls and apply the blowtorch of self criticism on our own behaviour; anything to make ourselves feel good, on a higher moral plane than all those other ‘sinners’. It generally goes under the heading of hypocrisy; something we are all subject to.


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    Ray

    So does anyone on here believe in climate science when it is related to Sulphur dioxide?

    Does anyone agree that trading of permits has had a positive effect on the environment?

    Are there any climate scientists here?

    Joanne? No, thought not.


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    Yes I believe that SO2 needed to be removed from waste gases. SO2 is a serious pollutant which causes respiratory problems and damage to the environment. “Trading of permits”, I presume, refers to CO2 which is not a pollutant and causes no harm to anyone at the levels present in the atmosphere ( or even at 10 times that level!), so is an unnecessary cost to everyone.


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    JWC

    Ray:

    “So does anyone on here believe in climate science when it is related to Sulphur dioxide?”

    I take issue with your use of the word “believe”. This post is about AGW = religion and tossing words like believe around only makes it look like you’re in on the religious side of things. Which might not be true. Belief and science have nothing to do with each other. Actually after reading your question a second time it makes no sense.

    “climate scientists”: as in authority figures? Don’t bring authority to the debate.

    SO2, well all I really know is that it comes from coal-fired power plants it causes acid rain. Bad and bad. So would a CO2 trading system allow companies to put SO2 into the atmosphere as long as they’re offsetting it buy buying some CO2 sinks? That would be horrible if true. There should be harsh limits put on things that are real pollutants (mercury, arsenic, SO2). If a carbon trading system allows companies to get around that then wow bad news.

    I just want to see a computer model that can take in the CO2 levels from 1900 to present and spit out global temperatures that match existing data within 0.1C. I’ve not heard of such a thing. And if the models can’t do that then they are worthless. After all it’s the models that all this policy is being based on, no?


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    Ray

    JWC and Derek

    Thanks for the time you spent on your reply.

    I was just interested to ask whether or not people were aware of the sulphur dioxide permit trading scheme that has been very successful in reducing the emissions of said substance in the US.

    Its worth a look to compare to what might be achievable with climate change (if, of course you believe in it, which you may not, which i guess is your call).

    I was asking about climate scientists because perhaps it is not a matter of authority, it is a matter of learning. I liken it to doubting the science of car mechanics, surely someone trained in that area must know something about it? i ask myself what other science do we doubt so vehemently? What are the reasons to religiously believe that climate scientists are lying to us? Where is the evidence of their lies exactly?

    I know just a little about the modelling, and the reason it is done is not so much to come up with exact numbers every time, it is to come up with broad scenarios.

    Again, heaps of modelling is done in very complicated fields – why do we not doubt that also? Which sciences do we choose to automatically dispute? I would give aerospace a first try – it is complicated, but relatively ‘proven’. I mean we know that aeroplanes fly. Maybe this is too glib of an argument – feel free to go to town on it.

    All interesting questions, but again, perhaps just in my view.

    Anyhoo, check out the Clean Air Act – the sulphur stuff. Its interesting.

    Actually while you are on it, check out the Montreal protocol (I recall that being the name) – the response to ozone depleting gases, another interesting and quickly managed crisis. The really inttersting thing there was that the response was so quick because an American company pretty much had a solution all lined up!

    Cheers,


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    Barry

    type Ikes so famous second warning dwight schultz into google. Very interesting on just who has a vested interest in peddling GW nonsense.


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    Anne-Kit Littler

    Ray writes: “I know just a little about the modelling, and the reason it is done is not so much to come up with exact numbers every time, it is to come up with broad scenarios.”

    Funny, your mention of “broad scenarios” reminded me of this (in)famous quote from a 1989 Discover Magazine interview with climate alarmist extraordinaire Stephen Schneider, which also happens to address your question about scientists potentially lying to us:

    “On the one hand, as scientists we are ethically bound to the scientific method, in effect promising to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but — which means that we must include all the doubts, the caveats, the ifs, ands, and buts. On the other hand, we are not just scientists but human beings as well. And like most people we’d like to see the world a better place, which in this context translates into our working to reduce the risk of potentially disastrous climatic change. To do that we need to get some broadbased support, to capture the public’s imagination. That, of course, entails getting loads of media coverage. So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have. This ‘double ethical bind’ we frequently find ourselves in cannot be solved by any formula. Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest. I hope that means being both.”

    We can all live in hope …


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    Jim

    I know that this is the religion page but there has been a great deal of talk on how un/wonderful modelling can be. The following is from Bloomberg.com a site primarily concerned with commerce and finance and the things that impact on commerce.
    In a nutshell, 30 years of data skewed, and now being corrected by actual observation. Now read on;
    Arctic Sea Ice Underestimated for Weeks Due to Faulty Sensor
    By Alex Morales
    Feb. 20 (Bloomberg) — A glitch in satellite sensors caused scientists to underestimate the extent of Arctic sea ice by 500,000 square kilometers (193,000 square miles), a California- size area, the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center said.

    The error, due to a problem called “sensor drift,” began in early January and caused a slowly growing underestimation of sea ice extent until mid-February. That’s when “puzzled readers” alerted the NSIDC about data showing ice-covered areas as stretches of open ocean, the Boulder, Colorado-based group said on its Web site.

    “Sensor drift, although infrequent, does occasionally occur and it is one of the things that we account for during quality- control measures prior to archiving the data,” the center said. “Although we believe that data prior to early January are reliable, we will conduct a full quality check.’’

    The extent of Arctic sea ice is seen as a key measure of how rising temperatures are affecting the Earth. The cap retreated in 2007 to its lowest extent ever and last year posted its second- lowest annual minimum at the end of the yearly melt season. The recent error doesn’t change findings that Arctic ice is retreating, the NSIDC said.

    The center said real-time data on sea ice is always less reliable than archived numbers because full checks haven’t yet been carried out. Historical data is checked across other sources, it said.

    The NSIDC uses Department of Defense satellites to obtain its Arctic sea ice data rather than more accurate National Aeronautics and Space Administration equipment. That’s because the defense satellites have a longer period of historical data, enabling scientists to draw conclusions about long-term ice melt, the center said.

    “There is a balance between being as accurate as possible at any given moment and being as consistent as possible through long time-periods,” NSIDC said. “Our main scientific focus is on the long-term changes in Arctic sea ice.”

    To contact the reporter on this story: Alex Morales in London at amorales2@bloomberg.net.


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    Ray

    Thats interesting Jim, but it doesn’t go the to the facts or otherwise of modelling as such, it was about observation after all.

    You mention that 30 years of data was skewed, but to be fair the article talks of a 6 week period of data drift. fair enough, its a mistake, but is it isolated? I think yes. It was picked up after 6 weeks, hardly a conspiracy, but I get the point of it – nothing is perfect.

    I agree with a lot what Anne-Kit has said to a point,and i think that is always this double edged sword, that battle between effective communications and outright publicity, and i wonder how much of this goes on both ways, although I note you mention that the guy is an alarmist, perhaps an extreme example in any case.

    I am reminded though that the science, as it stands, is made to a large degree by consensus. Before people start attacking ‘consensus science’ – yes, consensus is no way for science to work per se, but the consensus is not about how the science is performed, the consensus comes about when the IPCC agrees to disregard peer reviewed science until a higher degree of certainty is reached.

    The point of this is that the effect becomes one of culling – less certain aspects are not agreed upon, even if there is a reasonable suspicion of their veracity.

    That means that the climate change predictions, if anything, and if you accept the concept, are more conservative than they otherwise could be.

    Again, we all live in hope…


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    Mandate

    The IPCC’s Mandate is relevant here. http://www.ipcc.ch/about/index.htm

    “The IPCC was established to provide the decision-makers and others interested in climate change with an objective source of information about climate change. The IPCC does not conduct any research nor does it monitor climate related data or parameters. Its role is to assess on a comprehensive, objective, open and transparent basis the latest scientific, technical and socio-economic literature produced worldwide relevant to the understanding of the risk of human-induced climate change, its observed and projected impacts and options for adaptation and mitigation. IPCC reports should be neutral with respect to policy, although they need to deal objectively with policy relevant scientific, technical and socio economic factors. They should be of high scientific and technical standards, and aim to reflect a range of views, expertise and wide geographical coverage.”

    The real problem is that the IPCC’s existence depends on finding some effects of CO2 (aka human induced climate change), rather than finding out what drives the climate. They are fullfilling their mandate with determination, the problem is the mandate. Science doesn’t work if there is a predetermined outcome. Their funding shouldn’t be dependent on finding any particular result but it is. The worse the carbon crisis, the more funding they receive. That in itself doesn’t prove anything about climate per se, (motivations never do) but it should make anyone suspicious of the IPCC pronouncements. There is an inherent conflict of interest in their mission.

    What’s the evidence?


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    Ray

    Evidence?

    I guess like everyone you have to go and read the reports, which I am certain that you do not believe to be true. To be fair, I am certain that 99% of the population doesn’t really understand much of what is written or said about climate change. I would like to read something that explains where they have gone wrong. The arguments of many just dont stack up. But keep it up, thats what good science is all about.

    I am not going to argue the science, because we will get nowhere, you know it and I know it, but I suspect that is your aim, and it brings me to my point: motivation is far more interesting. Could it be that there is actually something to investigate?

    What I am interested in is: where is the point where a believer in meteorology and every other ‘normal’, but equally complicated science becomes and a disbeliever in climate science? All of it.

    What science do you decide not to believe in, given that I percieve that there are probably relatively few people whom understand climate, or any other form of science? There has to be more than one kind of science that is a lie like this one?

    The truth is that believing or not in climate change comes down to some kind of faith: one side has some faith that scientists may just be able to do their jobs, the other has faith that they are lying and can not, unlike all the other sciences.

    Dont confuse faith with religion though, that is just inflammatory, a bit of a sideline, and I think you know it.

    Name for me another brand of science that you have so little faith in. Maybe then everyone can debate that one. I have a feeling the arguments will be similar.


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    Anne-Kit Littler

    Oh boy … Ray, I read between the lines of your comments/questions that you are pretty new to the debate about AGW. I gather you don’t know who Stephen Schneider is? If that is so, you have a lot of homework to do before you can be an effective contributor. Find out for yourself who the main protagonists are on both sides of the fence, at least, and what they are saying.

    May I suggest you start by reading Joanne’s “Skeptics Handbook”? It’s available elswhere on this website.

    Have fun researching!


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    Who says we disbelieve “all of it”? I look at each scientific statement on its merits. Can you name another science that has been so completely politicised? Science is always liable to a challenge by other scientists, and it is only when this comes to the attention of the public that we realise that it is happening.

    What is happening over the theory of CO2 supposedly causing “catstrophic global warming”, is that leading scientists are in disagreement with other leading scientists. We have people like Michael Mann and James Hansen opposed by others like John Christy and Bob Carter to name but two. This is not a few ignorant peasants making noises, but senior professionals giving their considered opinion based on scientific study.


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    Ray

    Thats not correct, and although it was a not so subtle put down attempt, your comment doesn’t really hold water.

    I am not interested in what the main protagonists are saying or thinking, or really even who they are. I have enough ‘main protagonists’ of my own, although I represent only myself on here. They can post their own opinions. Anyway – what happened to: “Don’t bring Authority here?”

    I have an education and experience all of my own to fall back on, so please don’t put words in my mouth, or ‘read between the lines’. Are you doubting the fact that a person on a internet chat thread could have enough knowledge or experience to argue a point? That would be irony.

    Also ironically, these are both complaints put by Joanne earlier in this thread. Either answer the questions I posed, or do not, but more importantly, don’t break your own rules.


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    Ray

    Hi Derek,

    Thats interesting. I really did think that you do disbelieve all of it. But I realise, when I say “all of it”, I think I actually mean “the basic premise” behind climate change.

    The problem I have with disbelief about the basic premise is that it (climate change) is what could be seen as a logical extension of the greenhouse effect – the basic science behind why the earth is able to retain atmospheric heat at all.

    On a basic level, the atmosphere is a smallish bit of the planet, low in density in comparison to the oceans and the land, and relatively responsive to slight changes in composition.

    I dont understand why that doesn’t seem reasonable. Should we debate the greenhouse effect?


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    The greenhouse effect is perfectly clear and accepted by me. It is not the simple greenhouse effect that is the alleged cause of “catastrophic global warming”. I think it is accepted by scientists on both sides that the actual warming effect of the additional CO2 added to the atmosphere by man is actuslly very small – we have had 0.6C over the past century and a further 0.4C is all that CO2 would give us (hardly catastrophic). The current theory, as I am sure you are aware, relies on feedback mechanisms mainly through water vapour and clouds. It is this which is highly contentious and there are other mechanisms proposed which say that it is possible for clouds to act as agents to cool the planet. Then there is the role of ocean currents, not properly considered by the computer models of climate. Given all this it is quite rational for people to dispute the theory, particularly in the light of the current failure of the climate to warm in line with the forecasts.


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    Ray

    Yes, I agree with a lot of what you have written, and of course a lot of it is widely accepted to be true.

    Do you think that you have a belief system of your own when you say: “(hardly catastrophic)” though?

    On the clouds, I guess I don’t understand what you are exactly saying here, but i am aware of the increased albedo effect of clouds, and those sulphur aerosol feedbacks prior. On the oceans, I recall that it may be acknowledged that the oceans are less understood, but what I do understand is that a small increase in ocean temperature means an incredibly large amount of energy storage What I also seem to remember was that the fear (rational or not) was that the effects of ocean heating may not be seen for a very long period of time. When people discuss water vapur I must admit I get a little frustrated because the amount of airborne water vapour should remain relatively constant. Why would it change? Can anyone think of a reason?

    I dont feel qualified to comment though mainly. But I stand by my belief system question above.


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    Ray

    Hey and its not just CO2 either – there are a few chemicals around that possess 20 and 40 thousand times more direct forcing effect than CO2.

    You should check out the crap they use to make LCD telly screens and electronics! They missed it out back in the early days. Now that is some forcing.


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    “The truth is that believing or not in climate change comes down to some kind of faith: one side has some faith that scientists may just be able to do their jobs, the other has faith that they are lying and can not, unlike all the other sciences.”- Ray

    There is an element of faith, but it’s not where you think it is. The only ‘faith’ I have is that if someone publishes data collected from satellites or stations or ice cores, that they are being honest. I have that faith because I know that in the end someone else will study other ice cores or put up another satellite and dishonest numbers will be caught. But I don’t automatically assume that honesty either, sometimes I’m suspicious of some results because they don’t fit a particular pattern, or there is a sudden break or change in the data, or they are very different from other studies. These results warrant a deeper look. For example, The Michael Mann Hockey Stick graph was one I should have been more sceptical of – and if I had been taught more medieval history, maybe I would have been. It took a few years, but when the data was finally made public, Steve McIntyre showed how the analysis was wrong. This is not a question of me having faith in ‘Steve’ vs ‘Michael’. McIntyre convinced us with impeccable reasoning. In the end, Steve’s opinion is irrelevant, because his logic and calculations stand on their own. There is no opinion in 2+2=4. It just IS.)

    You’re right that ultimately we have to have faith in something, but notice I draw the line at data and the scientific method – I don’t have to have faith in someones opinion. A true skeptic gets into the data, the graphs, and the reasoning.

    “Dont confuse faith with religion though, that is just inflammatory, a bit of a sideline, and I think you know it.”- Ray

    Ah. nnnnot even close. The falsification test underlies the difference between Science and Not-Science. Rather than being a sideline, it is THE most central, fundamental point there is.

    “Name for me another brand of science that you have so little faith in. Maybe then everyone can debate that one. I have a feeling the arguments will be similar.”- Ray

    …and I have a feeling you’ll be disappointed. There are other areas of science that I’m suspicious of (and only one ‘brand’ that I’m aware of), but it’s a case by case thing. (Shock. There are no shortcuts. We actually have to think for ourselves.) And the problem with debating a different topic is that it will only tell us about… a different topic. Why get distracted?


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    >The point of this is that the effect becomes one of culling –
    >less certain aspects are not agreed upon, even if there
    >is a reasonable suspicion of their veracity.

    >That means that the climate change predictions,
    >if anything, and if you accept the concept, are
    >more conservative than they otherwise could be.

    Actually if that is true, it just means that the climate change predictions based on skewed data are inaccurate.

    In response to the demonstrated inaccuracy of the climate models, the modelers issue scarier predictions.

    This is hysterical, in more than one meaning of the word.

    Human contributed CO2 – if that is what it is – is one particle in ten thousand of the atmosphere. That is one penny out of one hundred dollars. Any heating effect of that one particle is going to be lost among the interactions of the other 9,999.

    Real science is about measurement, theory, and prediction. In AGW, the measurements suck, the theory is a weak romantic notion, and the predictions are incredibly inaccurate.

    I agree that it is difficult or impossible to discuss the science behind AGW, since there doesn’t seem to be any.

    The global temperature is going up – and down – and we don’t have enough information about the processes behind the change to know why. That is a scientifically defensible statement about our understanding of climate change.


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    >The truth is that believing or not in climate change
    >comes down to some kind of faith: one side has some
    >faith that scientists may just be able to do their jobs,
    >the other has faith that they are lying and can not,
    >unlike all the other sciences.

    Only if we have become the Eloi.


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    Ray

    Nice reply, Joanne, even if I disagree. I do agree that there is value in debating results and hypothesis, but I do not agree with your own analysis. Thats what makes you so useful to your ‘side’. You sound reasonable.

    The problem becomes apparent though in the comments of the like which came after yours, which draw some pretty long conclusions at the least. Leaving obscure references to “Eloi”, which I can’t even be bothered to Google can’t help anyones knowledge of anything. “Eloi”, is a religious argument i think you will agree.

    So Joanne, there is something that I really want to ask, but you may not like it. Its motivation, and its money related.

    And to be fair, and to kick things off, I will admit that my wage comes 100% from the renewable energy industry from various sectors – so I could be construed to have a vested interest.


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    >It’s motivation, and it’s money related.

    This is the absolute corruption of the scientific method, to talk about ‘motivation’ and ‘consensus’ as if they were the basis of scientific truth.

    Hogwash. Balderdash. B.S. (Bad Science).

    In any case, it is the AGW side that gets the vast majority of the money, and has most of the power and influence.

    There is more than one kind of greed in this world, and the greed for power and influence is far more corrupting – and malicious – than the greed for money.


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    Ray

    Brad, please re-read my posts until you understand what it is that I wrote. Abuse is pointless to any argument, but it exposes the intellect or training of the perpetrator as well.


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    Ray

    Actually Brad I am interested in the notion that the climate change people have most of the power and influence.

    If this was the case wouldn’t we (the climate change people)have made some real progress so far?

    If the current situation is an example of power and influence, you can have it. So far the side of denial is winning hands down. Nothing or little is being done about anthropogenic climate change so far, and its first mention was in 1956, and first taken seriously by science in the late 80′s early 90′s.

    Again, I urge you to check out the speed at which the Montreal protocol was enacted and when it started producing results.

    Are there any ‘hole in the ozone layer deniers here’? That might be one of your sciences you could list? now that one, left alone, that could have been a disaster.

    Ironically, similar science.

    Anyone who feels powerless can always make a tangible contribution to the debate.


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    I have no intention of abusing anyone, but I also have no patience with those who have been abusing the trust of the public and in the process have been bringing science into disrepute.

    NASA wanted to arrest scientists who disagree with their theories. I guess they are going to have to arrest all the thermometers next.

    Maybe they can put out a warrant for Mother Nature.


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    Ray

    Maybe, but your last comment is a little emotive, almost religious in tone.

    I would suggest that whether or not have patience or not, you will need it, along with a pretty tight argument, and fewer outlandish statements.

    Can you qualify everything that you have just put down?

    I am curious: what are the things that you think the scientific community will make you do that you wont want to do?

    Who loses, and why?


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    Trading carbon credits while babies starve in the Third World has to be the most evil, ignorant act of supposedly intelligent people in the last 50 years.

    There is no physical evidence for carbon-dioxide mediated climate warming. The AGW-based climate models are proven false by their inability to remotely predict the actual temperatures we have seen.

    There is nothing left but pride and stubbornness and a pitiful self-conceit that is causing and will continue to cause real trauma to the poorest and weakest citizens of our world.

    It’s reprehensible and shameful, and there is no excuse for anyone beyond the age of 12 to support this fantasy. You will not be able to tell your children, “But no one told us! We didn’t know!”

    Even the behavior of the “Chicken Little” crowd should be a clue. “We only have a couple of decades to do something.” “Oh – it is advancing even faster than we thought, we only have 4 years!” “Would you believe three years, two months, and four days?”

    How much farther into hysteria do your ‘heroes’ have to descend, before you reaalize that they have lost their way?

    If you promote and support AGW-based policies, you aren’t saving the world, you are stealing a better future from the poor. You are on the side of ignorance, and greed, and self-indulgence. You don’t care enough to find out if it is really true, you just want that great emotional rush of being ‘with it.’

    For many this is just the latest trendy cause, but in reality this is something that matters.

    You can be on the side of reason, and scientific truth, and hope, and growth, and a champion of the poor and disenfranchised of the world, or you can be an AGW nutter.

    I know where I stand, and I make no apologies for pointing out the choice to those of you who have not investigated the absence of science behind CO2-mediated global warming theory.

    If that seems like abuse, tell it to the hungry children of the world. I am sure your sincerity will earn their sympathy.


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    Ray

    It’s interesting that you say that the ‘climate deniers’ are now saving starving children (coming to a store near you!). Feel free to back that one up with some evidence, or explain to me why you have used it as a point which can only serve to contrast the beliefs and activities of ‘deniers’* with climate change advocates.

    (*sorry, i don’t like ‘deniers’ either, it is somewhat judgemental in tone, but it serves a purpose for clarity)

    Maybe this is why many on your side can’t debate climate change advocates effectively and then resort to spurious rubbish, innuendo and namecalling: your arguments can be tedious and without qualification.

    You cannot help but break your own rules can you?

    You make no apologies? Unfortunately my friend, you make no sense.

    I suspect that you gave it away in the third last paragraph. I realise that the ‘disenfranchised of the world’ aren’t other people – you are talking about you!

    All the best Brad.

    I am looking forward to serious debate about any of the unanswered questions I have put, because either way, I care about this thing.

    I would especially enjoy debate about Derek’s ackowledgment that there has been warming of the earth’s atmosphere, but where he further stated that it can not have any effect on the biosphere.

    And maybe my refuting of Brad’s assertion that climate deniers are the underdog?


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    MattB

    But Ray – they were just about to give a shit about the third world… really they were honest! ;)


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    Pro-AGW-inspired policies all lead to higher fuel prices and lower economic growth. That is going to have the greatest negative effect in the developing world.

    The fact that there is absolutely no scientific reason for placing this greater burden on the backs of the poor – or the rest of us -makes it particularly nefarious and evil.

    Science should be used to help to make energy cheaper, not in chasing this will-of-the-wisp.

    The notion that the majority of government funding is going to researchers who are anti-AGW is an interesting one. I haven’t heard of this and don’t consider it to be likely.

    The idea that governments are proposing rational policies with respect to climate change hysteria, such as economic penalties for any countries or companies that participate in economy-destroying cap-and-trade ponzi schemes, is also news to me.

    There are two sides to the AGW question. One side calls people who don’t agree with them names, suggests they should be arrested, publishes false data, offers theories that conflict with basic physics and thermodynamics, uses models that produce wildly inaccurate predictions, goes back and ‘adjusts’ previous data to agree with their assertions, ignores obvious and well-known historical observations, and produces ever more hysterical forecasts designed to co-opt public policy and silence their critics.

    I can’t think what else to call them but ‘nutters’. The Three Stooges and the Keystone Cops come to mind. They may be sane and rational, but their observable behavior is sure crazy.

    I would think that at least some pro-AGW supporters have started to notice this.

    When the bandwagon starts making screeching sounds and weaving from side to side, it’s probably time to get off.

    Look, when I first heard years ago that rising CO2 levels were causing global warming, I thought ‘well that makes sense’ just like many other people did.

    But there are numerous problems with this assertion. The one that sticks out the most for me is this:

    The TOTAL CO2 in the atmosphere is less than one particle in TWO thousand. The ‘man-made’ CO2 in the atmosphere is about one part in TEN thousand.

    CO2 would have to be magic fairy dust to have any appreciable effect on the overall temperature of the atmosphere.

    Get a hundred dollars in pennies. Heat up one of the ten thousand pennies and try to heat all the other ten thousand pennies with that one hot penny. That is exactly what you are claiming happens when the increased CO2 warms the atmosphere. It has to physically be able to happen. Computer models and assertions of ‘forcing’ and ‘amplification’ don’t do any good.

    I’ve been programming computers since before Neil Armstrong flubbed his famous line. ‘Computer models’ don’t impress me, particularly ones that repeatedly produce spurious results. I don’t think of them as science, but as engineering.

    The pro-AGW ‘climate scientists’ are like engineers who build a new bridge every year as the old one is falling down around their ears. It can be fun to watch from a safe distance, but for some time they have been arguing that the entire population of the world should cross their bridges.

    And hurry up, the boogeyman is coming.

    You may not mind being an AGW crash test dummy, but I do.

    The absolute insanity in this is that the politicians and the media are listening to these repeatedly incompetent predictors and hushing the people who are pointing out this is bad science and is leading to poor policy decisions.

    In the long run, AGW will be just a blip on the historical radar of science, the Tulip Frenzy of the Technorati. It is so unsupportable and so obviously wrong that there is no question that real science will expose the fallacy.

    Actually it works the other way in science: the CO2-mediated AGW hypothesis has never been demonstrated to be a true and accurate theory. At this point, it is just a set of unsupported assertions that seem less and less supportable day by day. The hope that the basic laws of physics will change so that AGW can be demonstrated as a true theory is probably a forlorn one.

    Some may think it will do no harm to enact laws based on AGW while we wait for ‘real proof’. But laws once enacted are hard things to get rid of. Think of alcohol prohibition in the 1920s and 30s, or the current fatuitous and self-destructive ‘drug war’.

    The more pro-AGW fanaticism is allowed to affect public policy, the more harm it will do.

    I have to think that there are well-meaning supporters of AGWism who are going to feel really bad about their enthusiasm when they find out that this has all been a charade cooked up by a small peer-review-circle-of-jerks desperate to improve their computer models before someone calls them on their silliness or pulls their funding. I doubt they meant for this to get so far out of hand.

    Who is in denial here? The people who have a healthy skepticism about unsubstantiated scientific assertions and think the normal procedures of scientific inquiry should be adhered to, or the people who have ignored conflicting observations, fudged statistical results, resisted sharing their methods and data, cooked the data, attempted to intimidate disagreeing colleagues, and still have predicted temperature changes that went in the wrong direction?

    Denial is the modus operandi of the pro-AGW camp. That they project this denial onto others is no great surprise.

    The real AGW ‘deniers’ are the supporters with their hands in the sand.

    -Brad Jensen


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    Jim

    Brad: “It is so unsupportable and so obviously wrong that there is no question that real science will expose the fallacy.” here is a straw showing how the wind is just starting to blow among secular Millenarianists.
    Former Vice President Al Gore is removing a dramatic slide in his global warming presentation. The New York Times reports Gore used a graph from a disaster research center in Brussels to illustrate that human-driven climate change is, “creating weather-related disasters that are completely unprecedented.”

    But the Center for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters, which came up with the raw data, says no such direct correlation can be proven: “Justifying the upward trend in hydro-meteorological disaster occurrence and impacts essentially through climate change would be misleading. Climate change is probably an actor in this increase but not the major one…
    We need to be cautious when interpreting disaster data… and remain objective scientific observers.”


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    I have always excused Al Gore’s foolishness on the basis of Post Traumatic Election Disorder.

    I can’t think of any reason to talk about anything he says in a serious discussion about the missing science behind man made global warming.

    Mr. Gore is a professional entertainer.

    He is more to be pitied than be censured.


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    Ray

    I have never heard anyone describe a correlation between lower energy costs in developed countries with reduced poverty in poorly developed nations, but please provide some qualification.

    Placing the cost on the backs of the poor? I would surmise that we do already in any case. Please show me any precedent for developing countries being significantly aided by almost any technological advancement in a developed country. Name one, and quantify the benefit, and why the developed country provided the benefit.

    I suspect that I can see why you show little trust in computer models as well, but I will leave the obvious punch line to you (20: GO TO 10).

    Just qualify anything that you say. Until then it is just typed, unsubstantiated words. Or say them in a forum where you do have to qualify them, and argue well thereafter.

    Whatever you might think of Al Gore, at least he takes his argument public and stands by the premise.

    Has anyone heard of the Argo float programme? Interesting – thousands of deep sea temperature sensors working around the world. Now that is a bucket load of data.


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    > I have never heard anyone describe a correlation between lower energy
    > costs in developed countries with reduced poverty in poorly developed
    > nations, but please provide some qualification.

    Uh, higher energy prices are worldwide, not just in developed nations. Do higher energy prices lead to lower growth? I think that is pretty well established. Do poor people spend a higher proportion of their income on energy? I think that is fairly well established also. From these two facts the notion that higher energy prices disproportionately affect the poorest seems pretty intuitive.

    > Placing the cost on the backs of the poor? I would surmise that we do
    > already in any case. Please show me any precedent for developing
    > countries being significantly aided by almost any technological
    > advancement in a developed country. Name one, and quantify the
    > benefit, and why the developed country provided the benefit.

    I don’t understand why this isn’t obvious, or what it has to do with discussing global warming, but in any case there are a lot of web sites and books where you can read up on this, or get yourself an online high school education.

    > I suspect that I can see why you show little trust in computer models
    > as well, but I will leave the obvious punch line to you (20: GO TO 10).

    I think you mean (10: GO TO 10) This is a simple example of an infinite loop in BASIC, for you non-programmers.

    > Just qualify anything that you say. Until then it is just typed,
    > unsubstantiated words. Or say them in a forum where you do have to
    > qualify them, and argue well thereafter.

    You just stated the anti-AGW thesis in a nutshell. ‘Consensus’ is not a scientific principle, and ‘Computer model’ is not a set of scientific facts.

    Meanwhile I will consider your entire list of commands and give them the priority appropriate to their source.

    > Whatever you might think of Al Gore, at least he takes his argument
    > public and stands by the premise.

    I don’t know if Al Gore thinks the factual problems with his presentation are significant in proportion to his goal of being successful and perhaps helping the world in the process, or not.

    But we might as well be talking about Brittany Spears and global warming, or Alice Cooper and global warming.

    Or Bozo the Clown and global warming.

    As to ‘standing by his premise’, look at his house and his houseboat. He either doesn’t take his own premises seriously, doesn’t care about the rest of us, or thinks he deserves to ignore the sacrifices he is suggesting for others. In the real world this is called hypocrisy.

    You might say the premises he speaks from don’t affect the premises he lives in.

    He takes argument public, but he doesn’t agree with the argument in his personal behavior.

    But Al Gore is not a part of scientific inquiry into the factual basis of global warming. He is sort of an in-person mockumentary. ‘Bowling for Climate Change’.

    > Has anyone heard of the Argo float programme? Interesting – thousands
    > of deep sea temperature sensors working around the world. Now that is
    > a bucket load of data.

    Yeah, that’s the one where the researcher announced he was massaging the data to remove anomalous readings that don’t match the previous and incredibly reliable method of scooping jam jars of seawater from the backs of Boston Whalers, isn’t it?

    Sort of like other researchers going back and ‘calibrating’ satellite readings to get them to match those ground based readings from the shoulders of the Santa Monica Freeway and the Wal-mart parking lot in Poughkeepsie. (That latter town is pronounced Pa-kip-see, at least it was when I was a sprout in upstate NY). Don’t worry, this has been done in ‘serious peer reviewed journals’.

    Like I said, Keystone Kops. Why other scientists don’t find this incredibly embarrassing I don’t know. Maybe some do.

    All of these guys are incredibly intelligent, academically trained, scientifically disciplined, and when asked why their projections are so off the mark, point to various fudge factors like El Nino, the PDO, and cow farts.

    Okay, so man made CO2 isn’t the most important factor in climate change since we started noticing it and talking about it, but it WILL BE IN THE FUTURE!

    What is making the global temperature wobble all over the place in the last couple of decades? Unspecified Natural Forces.

    You might call this the WDK theory – ‘We Don’t Know’.

    Hey make me famous and call it the Jensen WDK theory of climate change!

    -Brad Jensen


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    Milo

    A lie repeated a hundred times becomes the truth.

    – Chairman Mao

    In true spirit of this leftist dogma, “Chairman” Al Gore and his fellow neo-leftist charlatans are succesfully brainwashing the global population.
    I wonder why. Probably one is to exercise political power without being elected to do so. Secondly to create business opportunities from nothing for cohorts of buddies.
    It is interesting that the strongest argument for their global warming teories, namely the “hockey stick” graph, has two parts with the one from long distant past conveniently excluded from the hysteria. That one shows mirror immage to current graphic which would immediately demolish all their statements. Bit of inconvenient truth I suppose.


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    JWC

    @Milo: “It is interesting that the strongest argument for their global warming teories, namely the “hockey stick” graph, has two parts with the one from long distant past conveniently excluded from the hysteria”

    Err? Link that please.

    Also I’m still looking for the “state of the union” from the AGW camp that explains the 800 yr lag in that hockey stick graph. I recall reading an explanation of it somewhere but it was so bad that I assumed there must be a better explanation somewhere. Or at least a better attempt.


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    Ray

    This does get tedious Brad, so good luck with it.

    I will leave the ten or so of you in your denier hidey-hole doing Joanne’s work.

    At least she gets paid to do it. You are just going to become increasingly bitter, and , dare I say it, less coherent.

    Cheers, Ray.


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    So long, and thanks for all the fish.

    Brad


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    HaHAHA. I’m paid! Thanks Ray, let me know when the cheque is coming.

    I would estimate I’m up to a couple of grand in child-care costs, and some amount that I haven’t added up for the website hosting and maintenance, not to mention my opportunity costs for all the work I could’ve done.

    I’ve just added a donations box though… :-)

    Seriously, I’ve been paid for one carbon related article so far (or I will be soon). I did the Skeptics Handbook – all the artwork – all the research, writing and design out of my own time and resources, likewise this site. ‘Earnings’ for those = $10 (I’ve had a donation already, thanks Andre!).

    I couldn’t bear to watch the steady failure of science communicators in the mainstream press. It’s pathetic: censorship, bias, poor reasoning, and muddy thinking. This is one of the bleakest moments in modern science, and definitely the lowest point in the short history of my profession.

    Bring on the dark ages part II. Science meets bureacracy and big banks and surprise, it gets crushed.


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    Ray

    Back to Scitech?

    Good to hear that the handbook is almost paid for.

    You must be paid, surely. There is the IPA, speaking of… ahh, you didn’t mention corporations…

    Would it be reasonable to suspect that a corporate interest looms behind you and your website? Exxon And Lindzberg (sp?) style? Nah, too dramatic.

    On a side note – he even argues for tobacco interests! Nice work if you can stand the warm fuzzy feeling, but it does make me want to question his motivation whatever he is saying.

    Science communication looks alright to me. Which bits, and who dontcha like? Is the steady stream of failure the reason for your defection to the ‘dark side’? It’s one way to carve out a niche.

    What was the catalyst, on that dark day in 2007?


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    > Would it be reasonable to suspect that a corporate interest looms
    > behind you and your website? Exxon And Lindzberg (sp?) style? Nah, too
    > dramatic.

    The ‘big bad’ oil corporations are in business to sell you what you want to buy. That’s why they have started funding and lining up behind AGW, even though they have to know it is nonsense. AGW-based policies RAISE the price of oil, they don’t lower it.

    > Science communication looks alright to me. Which bits, and who dontcha
    > like? Is the steady stream of failure the reason for your defection to
    > the ‘dark side’? It’s one way to carve out a niche.

    I’ve always considered willful ignorance and superstition as the ‘dark side’. Since there is no science behind AGW and yet the proponents attempt to shout down and intimidate critics and stampede the public into foolish and self-destructive choices, it seems it qualifies for the ‘dark’ moniker.

    When you try to look closely at the AGW hypothesis it boils down to belief that the AGW-based climate model may someday be able to predict global temperature. It certainly does not now. Until it does with any sort of accuracy, it is unproven.

    If you are looking for an way to feel smarter than other people and belittle them for being dupes, AGW is a fun excuse. But there is instant karma in it, since the people you are putting down know you are scientifically illiterate and that your putdowns just demonstrate your ignorance. We don’t need ‘experts’ to tell us that the laws of nature can’t be bent to satisfy the theoretical needs of manmade global warming. We already know this, and that the ‘scientists’ who have abandoned the practice of science for a few short years of fame, funding, or influence have lost far more than they have gained.

    Being a toadie for AGW gains you no honor, and trying to bring you to your senses gives us no shame.

    People who think that we who do not accept the claims of AGW without proof are ‘deniers’ and ‘skeptics’ don’t understand science. We are not hoping to be proven true at some future point. We know that AGW is a set of unproven assertions, not a real scientific theory, and that the attempts to prove those assertions have failed miserably.

    AGW isn’t true, in a scientific sense. The predictions made on the basis of the assertions have not lead to an accurate match with further observations.

    There is nothing to ‘deny’ since there is nothing proven. At this point in time, being called an ‘AGW denier’ is like being called a ‘tooth fairy denier’. People who use such terms are either irrational, dishonest, or ill-informed.

    When we are asked to believe in AGW because of the reputation of the researchers who propound and promote it, we have to say that this would be an insult to those researchers, as if we don’t believe that they can actually practice science.

    I do believe in one thing about this. I believe that there are enough honest men and women, trained in science, who will step forward and call this fiasco what it is, an unfortunate and misguided detour from the legitimate path of scientific inquiry. Science has always had its heroes, and it certainly needs them today.

    -Brad Jensen


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    Ray

    Wow, I believe you, good effort. Now, are you Joanne?


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    Ray

    Brad, I think you prove your misunderstanding of science and the scientific process, time and time again. There is no ‘central collating office’ at the IPCC where data from ‘climate scientists’ is received and the information turned into ‘climate Science’.

    Its just data and literature from all sorts of scientists in all sorts of fields which make their own conclusions about whatever it is that they are studying. Sure, the synthesis reports by the IPCC consider all of the data and literature available, but to say that scientists in great numbers around the world are faking this stuff beggars belief.

    Because of this, you ask deniers to disbelieve all science, not just so-called climate science, because essentially, climate science is just a part of the whole picture.

    And with respect to the ‘dark side’ – better that we question your intelligence rather than your motives, because I believe that Joanne’s are very dark indeed.

    Now tell me again what other parts of science you disbelieve. Microbiology? Can you tell me why you think 1 degree C of warming will not have a catastrophic effect on the biosphere.

    Can you honestly say that mankind has had no negative effect on the biosphere? Its one thing being a toady, its another being completely ignorant.


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    James McCrudden

    Don’t answer Ray. Sneering accusations, pretended amusement at your naivete, entire argument based on authority – even on reputation. He is a pompous git who sees conspiracies everywhere. Likes to pick holes in the periphery. Asks others to prove some tiddly comment or other, though this whole site is asking AGW’s to show proof. Socrates understood himself to be a gadfly on the rump of society – Ray has poor dreams too. Leave him be. He has nothing to contribute here.


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    > Don’t answer Ray. Sneering accusations, pretended amusement at your
    > naivete, entire argument based on authority – even on reputation. He is
    > a pompous git who sees conspiracies everywhere. Likes to pick holes in
    > the periphery. Asks others to prove some tiddly comment or other,
    > though this whole site is asking AGW’s to show proof. Socrates
    > understood himself to be a gadfly on the rump of society – Ray has poor
    > dreams too. Leave him be. He has nothing to contribute here.

    Thank you for your concern.

    If we restrict our dialogue to people of goodwill who are intellectually honest and have at least a basic understanding of science and the scientific method AND believe in the AGW hypothesis, who will we find to talk to?

    If someone like that shows up here, I will be glad to talk to them too.

    Meanwhile I will do my best to discuss things while presenting the truth as I see it, with anyone who doesn’t seem to me to be out-and-out irrational. I don’t care what their motivations are because I know what mine is. I really don’t mind whether they debate fairly or not. I’ve been participating in these sort of discussions since FIDONET days, and I am too serious to be offended by immaturity, categorization, avoidance, name-calling, condescension, or even illogical arguments.

    I’ve learned that the same message can be considered brilliant repartee by some and as proof that I am an ignorant pompous windbag by others. So I write for my own purposes and I work to consider all feedback as information. I say “the stimulus is always neutral.”

    People waste their time trying to get my goat. It isn’t tied where they can get to it.


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    JWC

    I re-read the explanation of the 800 year lag today on realclimate, just to see if it made more sense the second time around. My understanding of it is that a) something happens to release CO2 into the atmosphere then b) CO2 causes a temperature increase, which causes more CO2 to come out of oceans or rocks. OK, it still makes no sense when looking at the data. I just don’t see how they can say this and say that the earth is still habitable. Some process kicked in to arrest the rise in CO2 — and stop the planet from turning into Venus, if they’re correct. I’ve not read any explanation of such. Occam’s Razor tells me the hypothesis is wrong.

    This ice core data feels like the whole underpinning of the AGW theory. Am I wrong? I agree that CO2 is a greenhouse gas (meaning it absorbs IR light and not visible light?). I just don’t think the data supports CO2 causing runaway unarrested global warming. If the ice core data did line up nicely and CO2 went up prior to temperature going up, clearly there’s *something* stopping it at many points over the history of the earth. What could that be? I’m assuming it’s plants/algae, i.e. biomass.

    If the pro-AGW people reading this have links to a better explanation I’d like to read it. Just being thorough here.

    Comments on the realclimate article were turned off. JoNova here deserves credit for keeping this thread open and uncensored.


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    > Brad, I think you prove your misunderstanding of science and the
    > scientific process, time and time again. There is no ‘central collating
    > office’ at the IPCC where data from ‘climate scientists’ is received
    > and the information turned into ‘climate Science’.

    The IPCC is a political organization with a charter to discuss the response to AGW. It assumes AGW is true, it is not an objective body for evaluating the scientific truth of AGW theory.

    Scientific truth is not something that can be voted on in a committee, no matter how large or well-credentialed.

    > Its just data and literature from all sorts of scientists in all sorts
    > of fields which make their own conclusions about whatever it is that
    > they are studying.

    > Sure, the synthesis reports by the IPCC consider all
    > of the data and literature available,

    That’s quite an assertion. The unstated assertion that they not only do so, but do so completely objectively and come to the correct scientific conclusion is an even greater assertion.

    > but to say that scientists in
    > great numbers around the world are faking this stuff beggars belief.

    I don’t know what you consider ‘great numbers’ to be, so I can’t comment on that. I am not sure what ‘this stuff’ refers to either, so I don’t have a reply to that either.

    What would be really helpful would be actual evidence that increased CO2 results in higher global average temperatures. Not computer models, not grandiose statements, not threats of catastrophe and cataclysm.

    You know, real science.

    > Because of this, you ask deniers to disbelieve all science, not just
    > so-called climate science, because essentially, climate science is just
    > a part of the whole picture.

    As I have said, people who believe in ‘deniers’ believe that ‘dark’ is something other than the absence of light.

    Assuming that people who hold certain opinions are ‘climate science’ and that others who do not agree with them are not ‘climate science’ is a part of the confusion here. Science is not people, it is a set of principles for inquiry and the way they are used.

    > And with respect to the ‘dark side’ – better that we question your
    > intelligence rather than your motives, because I believe that Joanne’s
    > are very dark indeed.

    I can’t follow the logic of that sentence, which is probably just as well since it seems to lead into paranoia.

    > Now tell me again what other parts of science you disbelieve.

    The point of science is not to have to ‘believe’ anything, because the subjects of science are provable entities.

    > Microbiology?

    Off topic.

    > Can you tell me why you think 1 degree C of warming will
    > not have a catastrophic effect on the biosphere.

    Because I am not a dunce. It has already been much warmer than it is today, and the biosphere is still here.

    > Can you honestly say that mankind has had no negative effect on the
    > biosphere?

    The air was far more polluted in the USA when I was young, than it is today. My son teaches English in China now, and he reports the pollution there is horrendous. Diverting resources to control CO2 levels will make it harder for developing nations to reduce the actual harmful pollution that comes with industrialization.

    A vote for the AGW fantasy is a vote against reducing pollution worldwide. Everything we choose to do has an alternative cost.

    > Its one thing being a toady, its another being completely
    > ignorant.

    Anyone can become more rational and intelligent. It is especially easy for an AGW fanatic. Just stop believing things that are unproven.

    -Brad Jensen


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    MattB

    No JWC…. what happened in the past is that something happened to warm the earth… such as solar variation or whatever… that warming releases CO2 in to the atmosphere, that CO2 then adds to the warming as it is a known ghg.

    the flaw in the “but CO2 lags temp by 800 years” is that NOW in the CURRENT situation, There is no 800 year lag… so this time the “something” that is causing the initial warming is us and CO2, and this warming may well then cause more CO2 to naturally emit leading to increased warming still (and other feedbacks).

    So it is not, as you put it, something releases CO2 which raised temps… it is something raises temps, which releases CO2, which raises temps. Historically that initial “something” could be one of many things, including the kind of things that skecptics blame for current warming (such as cosmic rays, solar strength, whatever).


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    > the flaw in the “but CO2 lags temp by 800 years” is that NOW in the
    > CURRENT situation, There is no 800 year lag… so this time the
    > “something” that is causing the initial warming is us and CO2,

    There are some problems with this assertion.

    The basic problems with AGW as a hypothesis is first, there is no mechanism for the small amount of CO2 increase in the atmosphere to produce the temperature rise attributed to it, and second, the theorists’ assumption that the ‘natural rise’ in global temperature was a constant value per decade., and that they know what the value is.

    The problem with the first assertion is that the total amount of CO2 increase is 1 percent of 1 percent of the atmosphere. There isn’t enough increased CO2 to add significant amounts of heat to the atmosphere.

    The flat – and possibly now falling – global temperatures of the last ten years show that the second assertion is false. Since no one knows what is causing the ‘natural’ rise in the average global temperature, no one is in a position to say if that change is constant, accelerating, variable, or both positive and negative at different times.

    The original assumption of the AGW promoters was that the ‘natural rise’ was a constant amount. I haven’t seen a anything that explains – in the sense of scientifically justifying – why this assumption was made in the first place. They then assumed that the apparent increase in the rate was due to an outside factor, and since CO2 is known to be increasing, that became the explanation for the apparent increase in the rate.

    The problem is that the correlation of CO2 increase to global temperature are lousy. The theorists have tried all sorts of apologies for this, including making ‘trend lines’ of CO2 levels to hide the bad correlation. The problem with ‘trends’ is that it assumes that there is some constant factor you know that is causing the serial observations to be related. In other words, you are assuming your results, not proving them.

    > and this
    > warming may well then cause more CO2 to naturally emit leading to
    > increased warming still (and other feedbacks).

    This assumes that more CO2 will trap more radiation, but if there is no more radiation to trap, CO2 levels of hundreds of times what we are seeing would make no difference. CO2 does not create heat, it traps heat reradiated from the surface of the Earth, but only at certain wavelengths. There is some argument that even at current levels, CO2 traps almost no radiation, because there is so much more water in the atmosphere, and it has already trapped what re-radiated energy there is.

    > So it is not, as you put it, something releases CO2 which raised
    > temps… it is something raises temps, which releases CO2, which raises
    > temps. Historically that initial “something” could be one of many
    > things, including the kind of things that skecptics blame for current
    > warming (such as cosmic rays, solar strength, whatever).

    Actually I wonder if he might be right about something ‘releasing CO2′. We know that some moons of outer planets are covered in seas of hydrocarbons and that the atmospheres of the giant planets contain a lot of methane.

    A recent observation shows that Mars is releasing methane.

    It may be that since at least 1850, the Earth has been releasing increasing amounts of methane. I would expect that methane to be oxidized, mostly thru consumption by microbes. The result would be an increase in atmospheric CO2, and of water. This would also explain a change in the isotope ratios of atmospheric CO2.

    I’m not suggesting that the Earth started releasing methane in 1850, but that the rate of release increased.

    This is a side issue, of course. However over longer periods it might tie into ice ages and such. I think it was an extremely large methane release triggered by a comet or asteroid impact, that doomed the dinosaurs by rapidly depleting the atmosphere of a large percentage of the oxygen – from 40 or 50% before the impact, to where it is today. If the atmosphere was thicker and warmer, the only place for the mammals to have evolved (since they are apparently a cold-weather adaptation) would have been at high altitudes – in mountainous regions – where the air was thinner. So they would have, by and large, survived the decrease in oxygen and air pressure. The dinosaurs (and their cousins in the sea and air) had lungs and a metabolism that gave them an overall advantage, but only in thicker, higher oxygen air. The thing that got me thinking about this was that birds with teeth died, and birds without teeth lived and became the ancestors of our modern birds. Why would birds give up teeth? So they could fly higher – and they would have to adapt to thinner air.

    When air is thicker, the air pressure falls off faster with altitude. (Thanks, Hal Clement!) Birds without teeth and mammals, both adapted to thin air, survived while all the dinosaurs died. Dinosaurs were dinosaurs not because of their bone structure, but because of their metabolism.

    I published the original of this on usenet in 1998, with updates on my blog. Watch for my book, coming soon, called ‘Into Thin Air’.

    Or not.

    Back to man-made global warming (AGW) theory. It is a set of plausible-sounding assumptions that don’t stand up to scientific scrutiny. When those assumptions are challenged, either by other scientists or as at current, by Mother Nature, the response of the proponents is to add on ever more tenuous assumptions, rather than to revise the theory. Now they hope to write the theory into political law, since they can’t justify it as natural law.

    Despite what some proponents claim, this is not normal scientific procedure.

    I do not doubt that many AGW proponents are people of good heart and great intentions, and even of considerable intelligence in many cases. I suspect that many of them have not personally examined the science, having been bamboozled by the flurry of PR and BS (Bad Science) by the ‘climate scientists’ proposing AGW. “Everybody believes this” because “everybody believes this”. Ask an AGW proponent to go farther than this, and they get mad. Or they point to climate models – that don’t successfully model the climate – made by the believers as if that were scientific proof.

    I can write you computer programs that generate values for future global temperatures with large random errors – can I have billions of dollars too? Then you can believe me!

    I don’t want people to believe me, of course. I want them to stop believing everything about climate change, and start knowing the science of it.

    Stop being chumps.

    It’s a lot to ask, but I am asking.

    -Brad Jensen


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    MattB

    I was just explaining the AGW explanation of the 800 year lag in basic terms – I wasn’t actually defending it. JWC did not understand it – at this stage he can agree or disagree all he likes, but he may as well understand what he is agreeing/disagreeing with.

    Now Brad I’m afraid that as far as I am concerned “The basic problems with AGW as a hypothesis is first, there is no mechanism for the small amount of CO2 increase in the atmosphere to produce the temperature rise attributed to it, and second, the theorists’ assumption that the ‘natural rise’ in global temperature was a constant value per decade., and that they know what the value is.” is made up.

    the basic relationship between CO2 conc and temp is solid… but it is not sufficient to cause the warming predicted in the models, which rely on feedback, but the basic however many degrees per doubling CO2 is sound in my books.

    Your comments about CO2 being a small amount are meaningless I’m afraid. Many things in life generally have massive impact despite small size. AS an example you can be faithful to your wife for 10 years, so 3650 odd days, but when she comes home and you are banging the cheersquad on the kitchen table then the 1/3650th of infedelity is serious;) SImilarly small concs of things that can kill people… it is just not solid to say that small concentrations do nothing… that certainly is non-science smoke and mirrors stuff.

    I wasnt aware of a constant predicted increase per decade.. the increase depends on CO2 levels and the models just look at that. Over short periods you could average it as a certain amount per decade or year, but no one expects that each year will be that amount warmer than the year before. no one.

    The AGW theory stacks up, it predicts well, more is being learned about climate and this is refining things, it is not falisfied but of course in 10 years we will know more and what we know today may well seem naive or even incorrect.

    You don;t need some methane mechanism to explain CO2 increases… we know what we’ve burned and put in the atmosphere and are learning where it went (oceans etc)… but for sure future civilisations may for years think we were knocked off by methane induced warming as this 100 years will just be a blip on the gelological record dominated by the next however many thousand years of methan dominated warming we bring on;) you never know.

    But go on Brad – why don;t you do some research, ask Heartland for some big dollars, and show us all the truth and get a Nobel while you are at it. Science does not have a track record of backing a loser for any extended period of time… get publishing and show us what you;ve got;)


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    Matt B: “the basic relationship between CO2 conc and temp is solid… but it is not sufficient to cause the warming predicted in the models, which rely on feedback, but the basic however many degrees per doubling CO2 is sound in my books”.

    Which books are you referring to? What is the predicted temperature rise for a doubling of atmospheric CO2? I have read scientific articlews which state that the amount of temperature rise from CO2 becomes less and less as the concentration increase. Most of the increase is from the first 20ppm. It is a logarithmic relationship. Do you dispute that? As you say, any further hypothetical increase, according to AGW Theory, has to come from feedback due mainly to water vapour.


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    JWC

    The lag is still an issue for me. Here’s why. Temperature goes up. Many hundreds of years later CO2 conc goes up. That’s what the ice core data shows. Now we have more CO2 in the atmosphere and it’s going to trap more IR light etc. OK that’s all fine, we have ice core and lab data that supports all that — the emission/absorption spectra for CO2 is pretty easy data to get to.

    The problem is that if temp increase causes more CO2 to release 500-1000 years later (from the lithosphere I’m guessing, just based on the time frame) and CO2 causes the temp to increase (immediately, you can’t say that CO2 in the atmosphere takes a while to trap heat), you’re quickly in a positive feedback loop with a lag between the temp increase and the beginning of the loop. Which the ice core data *does not support*. The planet is Venus within a million years and we wouldn’t be here having this conversation. What really happened was: temps went up, CO2 went up, then temps went down and CO2 went down. So the question is: why would temp go back down regardless of what the CO2 is doing? The most likely explanation to me is that CO2 has very little to do with global temperature increases.

    If CO2 was really the bugaboo it’s made out to be then you’d see a temp increase caused by something external, then CO2 increase a few hundred years later, then a nice linear march (forced by the now increasing CO2) up to some maximum where all the CO2 has been removed from the lithosphere and the earth is as hot as it will get. That’s where a positive feedback loop would take you.

    If there where *any* positive feedbacks with no corresponding negatives in our atmosphere I suspect we wouldn’t be here to talk about this.

    Also, the conc of CO2 in our atmosphere about 383 ppm right now, according to wikipedia. Methane is about 1.7 ppm.


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    > The planet is Venus within a million years and we wouldn’t be here
    > having this conversation.

    While it is tempting to compare the Earth to Venus because of their similar sizes, the situation is very different. I would think the number one determinant of the high atmospheric temperature of Venus is not the amount of CO2, but the extremely high density, and pressure, of the Venusian atmosphere.

    > Also, the concentration of CO2 in our atmosphere about 383 ppm right
    > now, according to wikipedia. Methane is about 1.7 ppm.

    My point in talking about methane is that there might be another source for some of the atmospheric CO2 increase that doesn’t involve man’s burning of ‘fossil’ fuels. If there is periodic or continual outgassing of methane and it is converted into CO2 and water, it might be a significant source of the CO2 increase.

    If bacteria ‘eat’ the methane, then I would expect the concentration of methane to remain low.

    Why hasn’t the CO2 increase rapidly disappeared into a larger biomass? I wonder if the CO2 additions to the atmosphere are far higher than the amount added by ‘fossil’ fuel burning, and a large amount of this is masked by biomass increase.

    If that is the case then all the human attempts to reduce CO2 emissions would be a drop in the bucket compared to natural sources.

    But in any case, since CO2 has not been proven to be a significant factor in determining atmospheric temperature, these are side issues.

    One might say that man is the animal who leaps to conclusions. Science is designed to help us curb this behavior so that we can get to the truth of a thing. In AGW theory, the process has failed – or rather, it has not been applied.

    -Brad Jensen


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    > Your comments about CO2 being a small amount are meaningless I’m
    > afraid. Many things in life generally have massive impact despite
    > small size. AS an example you can be faithful to your wife for 10
    > years, so 3650 odd days, but when she comes home and you are banging
    > the cheersquad on the kitchen table then the 1/3650th of infidelity is
    > serious;) SImilarly small concs of things that can kill people… it
    > is just not solid to say that small concentrations do nothing… that
    > certainly is non-science smoke and mirrors stuff.

    Well, to continue the discussion at the level you have chosen, with the whole football team after her, why would a cheerleader go home with the waterboy?

    H2O absorbs radiation across a wide spectrum, and there is a lot of it in the air. CO2 absorbs radiation over a very narrow spectrum, and there
    is a teeny tiny amount of it in the air.

    Water is the football team, and CO2 is the waterboy in this analogy.

    If heat worked the way you describe, we could run the entire planet’s transportation grid on the hot air coming out of the pro-AGW camp.

    > I wasn’t aware of a constant predicted increase per decade.. the
    > increase depends on CO2 levels and the models just look at that.

    I think you will find that the AGW modelers attribute a certain amount of the decadal temperature increase to natural or unknown factors, and a lesser amount to CO2. Their argument is that with the continuing increase in CO2, the CO2-induced warming will swamp the ‘natural’ warming. What we are actually observing now refutes that hypothesis.

    There is nothing that I know of to justify the percentage of increase attributed to CO2. The assumptions seem to be that the ‘natural’ factor is constant – which is pretty amazing if you don’t know what is causing it – and that all of the remaining variation (assuming the first assumption is correct) comes from an increase in CO2. This again is pretty outrageous.

    Expecting this simplistic explanation to be a true statement of the changes in global temperature is beyond wishful thinking. You might call this ‘the audacity of dopes.’ Or maybe that description is better left for behavior in the political realm.

    > Over
    > short periods you could average it as a certain amount per decade or
    > year, but no one expects that each year will be that amount warmer than
    > the year before. no one.

    It would help this discussion if you at least knew your own side of the argument.

    > The AGW theory stacks up,

    Well it certainly piles higher and deeper.

    > it predicts well

    Everyone has seen the predictions, and they suck.

    > more is being learned about
    > climate and this is refining things, it is not falisfied but of course
    > in 10 years we will know more and what we know today may well seem
    > naive or even incorrect.

    It already seems that way to people looking at it scientifically.

    AGW doesn’t have to be ‘falsified’, since it has never proven to be true.

    > You don’t need some methane mechanism to explain CO2 increases

    I don’t ‘need’ anything. I am trying to get at the truth of the matter, and in doing so it makes sense to explore all the possibilities rather than picking one that matches my conceits and sticking to it in the face of all contrary evidence.

    I keep thinking about ‘Cold Fusion’. There is far more physical evidence for ‘Cold Fusion’ which is pretty much discredited, than there is for AGW, which is the joy of the day.

    I wonder what genes we share with lemmings?

    >… we
    > know what we’ve burned and put in the atmosphere and are learning
    > where it went (oceans etc)… but for sure future civilisations may for
    > years think we were knocked off by methane induced warming as this 100
    > years will just be a blip on the gelological record dominated by the
    > next however many thousand years of methan dominated warming we bring
    > on;) you never know.

    Again, I am not suggesting that methane is generating global warming. I don’t have any reason to believe that the unknown factors behind the warming are influencing the climate at a linear rate, so I don’t need some outside ‘superfactor’ to explain a part of the increase that is not linear.

    My suggestion is that it is possible that there is a increased methane release and that is being rapidly concerted to CO2 and water.

    This is not an essential argument, I am just suggesting that the increased CO2 might have other causes than just ‘fossil’ fuel burning. The point of this is not to ‘explain away’ man’s influence on CO2 levels, but to suggest that instead of leaping to one conclusion after another, we could act like scientists in this matter and look for physical evidence of things.

    > But go on Brad – why don;t you do some research, ask Heartland

    I don’t know what Heartland is, to me it is a chain of grocery markets.

    > for some
    > big dollars,

    I am not a professional climate researcher. As I have said here from the start, I am just a layman responding to what I have seen at various places reported in the press and in scientific materials available on the web, for the most part.

    I am not in this to make money. I’m one of those ‘we can chaaaaaaaange the the world…’ idealists who came of age in the late 60s. I think it is absolutely reprehensible to be pulling the rug of economic opportunity out from under the poor of the world, all in the name of a failed theory held by 60 scientists and their opportunistic lackies and sycophants in journalism, politics, and the world at large.

    AGW is the 21st century version of ‘let them eat cake.’

    > and show us all the truth and get a Nobel while you are at
    > it.

    They have sort of wrecked themselves lately. A Nobel is certainly not what it used to be.

    > Science does not have a track record of backing a loser for any
    > extended period of time…

    That is really not so. There is a famous saying that science advances one funeral at a time. Old ideas die hard, even in science.

    > get publishing and show us what you’ve got

    The world wide web was invented, in part, to end the stranglehold of peer-reviewed journals on the information flow in science, and for good reason.

    -Brad Jensen


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    MattB

    yes the lack of prior runaway greenhouse effect in the past is the position to defend when the lag position is surrendered. The AGW answer is that no one doubts that the climate has changed massively in the past, and indeed the place has cooled when CO2 is high… but they are external forcings like the Sun, like shifts in orbit… and are generally well documented and understood. Milankovich (sp?) cycles and the like.

    Co2 is a warming forcing, but sometimes larger forcings force things the other way. I urge geologists and the like who look at the historical record and pooh-pooh AGW scientists for not understanding that the planet has been through it all before… well I urge them to really think what it would mean to our species to be dragged through some of the climatic extremes of the past, and then to realise that actually climate scientists are aware that humanity is merely a speck on the timeline of the planet, and we should really do all we can to encourage the planet to stay in this amazingly hospitable phase it is in at the moment.

    really though it comes down to this “I think it is absolutely reprehensible to be pulling the rug of economic opportunity out from under the poor of the world, all in the name of a failed theory held by 60 scientists and their opportunistic lackies and sycophants in journalism, politics, and the world at large.”… I find that flawed reasoning in itself, as as the poor of the world have never been released from the shackles of poverty by our system, and are unlikely to be in the future. And I certainly don;t associate the sceptical camp as having any particularly strong track record in trying to set that straight.


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    Tel

    “The lag is still an issue for me. Here’s why. Temperature goes up. Many hundreds of years later CO2 conc goes up. That’s what the ice core data shows.”

    No it does not, look more closely. The warming part of the cycle shows CO2 and temp almost exactly in-phase (limited to the low time-resolution of the bubble data, which is a function of how many suitable bubbles were available to measure). The warming part of the cycle also happens in a relatively short space of time.

    The cooling part of the cycle is a completely different shape to the warming part, in fact the cooling happens in two (mostly) distinct phases: first it cools, then the CO2 reduces. During the cooling phase there is significant lag.

    You can’t reduce the lag measurement to a simple number, it is a shape, not a number.

    “The problem is that if temp increase causes more CO2 to release 500-1000 years later (from the lithosphere I’m guessing, just based on the time frame) and CO2 causes the temp to increase (immediately, you can’t say that CO2 in the atmosphere takes a while to trap heat), you’re quickly in a positive feedback loop with a lag between the temp increase and the beginning of the loop. Which the ice core data *does not support*.”

    Actually, the ice-core does support positive feedback, but ONLY on the warming part of the cycle. Also, as is obvious, if it were just a matter of unlimited positive feedback then long ago our ancestors would have boiled away to dust. However, physics is reliably nonlinear and it makes sense that a “diminishing return” should logically apply to CO2 greenhouse effect. After all, CO2 only blocks some bands of infra-red. Once those bands are blocked, you can’t collect any more heat in those bands because all the available infra-red is already being absorbed. Higher CO2 beyond that, will bring the infra-red collection zone closer to the earth’s surface, but convection and moving water will redistribute the collected heat.

    Note carefully that the warming process at the beginning of an interglacial happens relatively quickly compared with the rest of the cycle. This is a hint at positive feedback (not proof, just a suggestion). The nonlinear “diminishing returns” puts an upper bound on the amount of additional system gain that is available from positive feedback and when the natural solar forcing returns back to less input energy the CO2 hangs around for a while making the cooling more gradual.

    I think that with a bit of work we can come up with a fairly simple system, driven by quasi-cyclic solar variation, that gives a reasonable approximation of the ice-core data.


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    Tel

    “…the poor of the world have never been released from the shackles of poverty by our system, and are unlikely to be in the future.”

    I dunno, China is a lot wealthier now (with a bit of Capitalism happening) than it was 20 years ago (under extreme Socialism). The people of China have more freedom now than they did back then as well as more material luxury (and better basics, like food on the table). Admittedly, China did not use exactly “our system”, they used their own system with a bit of contribution from us where it suited them. But it worked.

    India has done OK too, and it never went Socialist. Admittedly, India was a flourishing (but somewhat stagnant) culture before the British visited them. Progress is a bit like that, goes in hops and starts. All the world’s gold seems to be moving to India (and Russia) so presumably they aren’t doing too badly (well, OK there are some very poor starving Indians too, but they aren’t the ones buying gold, and no system will ever be perfectly equitable).

    Bangladesh was the poorest nation on earth not too long ago, now they are only in mid-range poverty. That’s a big leap when you think about it, and I think it’s fair to say that Capitalism helped them along (and keeping separate from Pakistan helped them a lot too, after the blood was finished spilling).


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    Tel

    “Whatever you might think of Al Gore, at least he takes his argument public and stands by the premise.”

    Whatever you think of Robert Mugabe, at least he took his argument to the streets and continues to stand by the premise.

    Sadly, a premise that is wrong, causes suffering for his own people and gradually the country is falling apart around him. But Robert still believes. Is it better to respect stubbornness or disrespect stupidity? Hmmm….


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    Ray

    Misquote Tel: Technological improvement, not capitalism.

    “Please show me any precedent for developing countries being significantly aided by almost any technological advancement in a developed country. Name one, and quantify the benefit, and why the developed country provided the benefit. I wasn’t talking about capitalism”.

    Keep up your analysis.


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    Mike Wright

    Greetings from Blighty, where I’m sitting in front of the fire in a week when Government ministers are telling us we need to lower the temperature of our homes to combat climate change. This is just the kind of thing that makes their attempts to convert me to their bizarre religion all the more offensive. I request that they take their foot out of my door and go peddle their garbage somewhere else.

    Funny thing, though: if they were right, do they honestly think I’d lower my standard of living? See, I like my life just as it is, so I’m not changing it.

    Oh well, I guess this is just a drive-by comment to let you know that I appreciate what you’re doing. Been reading since the new year and I like what I see.


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    Mike Wright

    Oh, and I just bought you some chocolate! Enjoy.

    What chance have the warmists got against those of us with too much money to care? ;)


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    > really though it comes down to this “I think it is absolutely
    > reprehensible to be pulling the rug of economic opportunity out from
    > under the poor of the world, all in the name of a failed theory held by
    > 60 scientists and their opportunistic lackeys and sycophants in
    > journalism, politics, and the world at large.”… I find that flawed
    > reasoning in itself, as as the poor of the world have never been
    > released from the shackles of poverty by our system, and are unlikely
    > to be in the future. And I certainly don’t associate the skeptical
    > camp as having any particularly strong track record in trying to set
    > that straight.

    I’m glad to restate this as many times as you happen to misunderstand what I say.

    AGW-based policies raise the price of energy without justification by scientific truth.

    Raising the price of energy has a larger effect on the poor of the world for three reasons.

    The first reason is that the poor spend a higher percentage of their income on energy than people who are not poor.

    The second reason is that raising the price of energy decreases economic growth, reducing future opportunities for everyone, particularly the poor.

    The third reason is that price of energy goes into everything that is manufactured, shipped, or served, and raising the price of energy eventually raises prices across the board, which affects the poor more than the rich.

    AGW promoters want to institute policies that will do real harm to the world.

    So I will say again, I think it is absolutely
    reprehensible to be pulling the rug of economic opportunity out from
    under the poor of the world, all in the name of a failed theory held by
    60 scientists and their opportunistic lackeys and sycophants in
    journalism, politics, and the world at large.

    If you want to reply to that by accusations of my indifference, all I can say is that I am not the one trying to screw over the poor (and everyone else) to advance a pet theory that has no evidence behind it.

    AGW jumped the shark when the demented doofuses started crying that we only have four years to ‘start changing’ or it would be too late to save the world from man-made climate change.

    Brad Jensen


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    MattB

    So brad – are you seriously suggesting that before Hansen said the 4 years thing you thought the AGW crowd were kosha??? like that was 4 months ago???

    FYI – ignoring the science… Hansen’s comments relate to OBAMA having 4 years… ie if he does not do it in his 1st term, well chances are that he will not do it in his second term, given that political issues prevented it in the 1st 4 terms… so he really is spot on, you just have to understand it as a comment relating to Obama’s ability to do something. Obama most likely has 4 years to save the world (cue flash gordon music).


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    MattB

    Andof course Brad you are correct and I am correct on the developing world… depending on the science.

    Of course those who back your science have screwed the 3rd world over for decades….


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    Barry

    You can all stop hyperventalating about AGW because the pollies are going to drop it as quietly as they can. It has always been a fantasy of the well off in the developed world, a substitute feel good religion, when you don’t have a religion. This financial crisis is going to refocus pollie’s attention away from feel good fantasies for quite some time. Poor old attention deprived Al Gore and his cohorts will have to reinvent themselves as new age financial saviours because AGW is destined to go the way of nuclear winter, global cooling, (remember that?) or wahtever ‘crisis’ next excites their imagination.


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    MattB

    I love that you mock global cooling, when many of the ardent critics of AGW are spreading fear about global cooling…


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    > So Brad – are you seriously suggesting that before Hansen said the 4
    > years thing you thought the AGW crowd were kosha??? like that was 4
    > months ago???

    Wikipedia has a wonderful article on ‘jump the shark’. I don’t know what ‘kosha’ means. If it means ‘desperately self-deluded and aggressively ignorant’, sure.

    > FYI – ignoring the science…

    That goes without saying on the AGW side of the argument.

    >> Hansen’s comments relate to OBAMA having
    > 4 years… ie if he does not do it in his 1st term, well chances are
    > that he will not do it in his second term, given that political issues
    > prevented it in the 1st 4 terms… so he really is spot on, you just
    > have to understand it as a comment relating to Obama’s ability to do
    > something. Obama most likely has 4 years to save the world (cue flash
    > gordon music).

    Let’s see, in six weeks he has managed to wreck the economy and destroy the future prospects of the Democrat party. I wonder what he can accomplish in four years. Talk about jumping the shark.


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    JWC

    Brad: “Let’s see, in six weeks he has managed to wreck the economy”

    Go ahead, tell us that the fundamentals of our economy were strong when Obama showed up. I need a good laugh today.

    Our banking system (in the US) is in trouble with a capital T. And that T doesn’t have anything to do with pool, it stands for CDOs. Or maybe it stands for toxic assets. The only thing he’s screwed up is not nationalizing the US banking system to clean it up and re-sell it. It’s in serious trouble people.

    Also, this is totally off topic. I apologize.


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    Tel

    “Please show me any precedent for developing countries being significantly aided by almost any technological advancement in a developed country. Name one, and quantify the benefit, and why the developed country provided the benefit. I wasn’t talking about capitalism”.

    Well, there’s a handy short-cut answer to point out that capitalism (toghther with banking, stock markets, and all the trimmings) is in fact a technological advancement, admittedly it is a social technology rather than the more traditional technology linked to the physical sciences, but still equally valid.

    But I suspect that this answer will not satisfy you so I have plenty of examples based on traditional engineering and the work of physical scientists. Let us start with steam.

    The pioneering work on steam was all European, and a good fraction of that was British (at the hight of the British Empire). The development of railway in India was entirely driven by British technology, and by the interests of the British East India Company. The supervising engineers were also British and many of the engine parts were made in England and Scotland. Hopefully this qualifies as “any technological advancement in a developed country”.

    To quantify the advantage to India is difficult but it can at least be noted that when India became independent the railways continued to operate and India has continued to foster growth of railways, including adopting the technology and continuing to improve beyond steam to diesel (and here I further note that the pioneering work on diesel was also European and moved to India as a later phase of technology transfer). The Indian railways certainly get used, the trains are packed to the limit and although the system continues to grow, it has not shown any sign of outgrowing demand.

    You want to know exactly “why the developed country provided the benefit” but I don’t see that is makes Jack difference to the outcome. The fact is that technological developments coming out of Europe have been the foundation of the Indian railways and many people continue to benefit from this transport system. We could posit many reasons why the East India Company considered that transport is of benefit to both trade and regional defense… at the time it was either railway, walking or horse and cart.

    Let’s try another example, after WWII, Japan was essentially destroyed and starting the process of rebuilding. Meanwhile in the USA a multi-year research project exploring semiconductor electronics was coming to fruition, delivering the transistor to the world. This was completely an American invention, paid for by Bell Labs, intended to revolutionize the telephone industry (which it did).

    The Japanese engineers imported the American invention and started Sony Corporation making cheap, portable transistor radios. Since the USA was fostering commercial and industrial development in Japan, they encouraged such trade and the Japanese transistor radio became an icon over the whole Western world, it also went a long way towards rebuilding and modernizing Japan’s industry. Today, Japan is the world leader in entertainment electronics, there can be no doubting the benefits that transistor technology have brought to Japan.

    Although this post is getting oversized, I’d like to mention that satellite communications (and smaller terrestrial wireless LAN) is rapidly becoming a boon to semi-rural areas that can’t face the cost of rolling out a cabled communications infrastructure. You might want to look at the IPStar satellite system which was primarily American technology, launched by Arian-5 (European rocket) and owned and operated by Thailand. The developed nations “provided the
    benefit” in this case because they were paid (you know, international trade works like that), and the technological know-how and training has gradually transferred into Thailand in the process.

    IPStar has coverage for customers in:­ Thailand, China, India, Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Myanmar, Cambodia, Malaysia and Indonesia.


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    Tel

    “Go ahead, tell us that the fundamentals of our economy were strong when Obama showed up. I need a good laugh today.”

    I’m astounded by how many people suddenly can’t remember that the whole subprime crash and banking bailout happened on W’s watch. After running up the largest deficit in US history the out-of-government Republican party are suddenly advocating the ultra-tight fiscal policy that they never even considered while they had power (and many Americans are so incredibly stupid that they fall for this ploy).

    The US education system is obviously badly broken. What they have to learn is that for any smart, well-educated person it is also an astoundingly good idea to educate the ignorant guy next to you, for no other reason than ensuring there is one less ignorant guy next to you.


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    Tel

    Anyone can become more rational and intelligent. It is especially easy for an AGW fanatic. Just stop believing things that are unproven.

    To be fair, there is NOTHING in science that is proven. Indeed, many very useful parts of science (such as Newtonian mechanics) has actually been disproved by real experimental evidence (but it still remains useful in suitable context).

    Any part of science may be disproved by future experiments, so all we can say is that greater or lesser evidence supports some claim. Also, the ability to make predictions is very important (and the quality of those prediction). Exactly where you draw the line and call it “belief” is largely up to you.


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    Ray

    Brad did you just seriously suggest that the new president just wrecked the economy?

    In 6 weeks?


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    Dallas Beaufort

    Who is producing all these new carbon atoms? I thought the number were finite and recycled naturally by our life sustaining vegetation.


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    > Author: Dallas Beaufort
    > Comment:
    > Who is producing all these new carbon atoms? I thought the number were
    > finite and recycled naturally by our life sustaining vegetation.

    The argument is that the amount of CO2 is rising because man has been burning coal and oil and natural gas, which all contain carbon. Burning carbon combines it with oxygen, creating CO2 molecules. Some of that CO2 does indeed get turned into plant tissue.

    The reason I say ‘argument’ is because I am coming to wonder how much methane (and other forms of hydrocarbons) are escaping from inside the Earth, and ending up as CO2, without being burned by man. What makes me wonder is the fact that most of the planets of the solar system are surrounded by CO2, methane, or hydrocarbons. I had always thought of these as artifacts of planetary formation, but there is a recent article about the fact that Mars is currently releasing methane, and once I think about that, the notion of the atmospheres remaining steady state for billions of years is rather ludicrous.

    They shouldn’t be looking for life in the soil of Mars, they should be looking in the atmosphere. Bacteria exist that are converting the methane into CO2. (That’s a hypothesis). I expect future measurements to prove (or disprove) that hypothesis, and I won’t rely on hokey computer models (particularly ones that predict the methane will be converted to Febreeze and cause an Air Freshener Crisis requiring massive government intervention and the outlawing of SUVs).

    -Brad Jensen


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    Dallas Beaufort

    Be that the finite level of carbon is suspended in the atmosphere or vegetation or other bodies on earth, producing more carbon out of thin air seems mythical.


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    MattB

    Dallas… no one is producing carbon out of thin air. No offence, and you are welcome to be a sceptic, but please understand that you appear woefully out of your depth on even the most basic issues relating to climate science. you’d better keep that pitiful one-liner to the local pub maybe to impress other ignorant people.

    I mean Brad is a sceptic… and even he can see yu have no clue… being a fellow sceptic he has however tried to be a bit more polite but you obviously missed the subtle nature of his dismissing your absurd views of basic science.

    And Brad… indeed, the release of Methane from the frozen tundra of Russia is a genuine concern.


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    Dallas Beaufort

    But, Brad, that still does not answer my question about all this extra carbon that the new messiahs add to their unquestionable scientific empirical data.


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    JWC

    I don’t think you’ll find anyone that disputes that burning coal or oil produces CO2, in addition to a lot of other things, some of which are nasty for the atmosphere. It comes from the lithosphere. Meaning rocks. Meaning coal or oil or other hydrocarbons. Meaning dead plants and animals that have been compressed down to nice portable things that we can put on the back of trucks or in oil tankers.

    I think there’s also some rocks that get built up in the ocean that trap CO2 when the ocean is colder. Then when it warms up the CO2 comes back out as the rocks dissolve. But I’m going off memory there.


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    Dallas Beaufort

    So, where are all these extra carbon atoms coming from if earths numbers are finite? If recycling carbon is a problem and storage is your concern then where are you going to get more carbon from to live with.Or are you saying use carbon to build only what you want! Or are you saying don’t build using carbon.


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    Brad Jensen

    > I mean Brad is a sceptic… and even he can see yu have no clue…
    > being a fellow sceptic he has however tried to be a bit more polite but
    > you obviously missed the subtle nature of his dismissing your absurd
    > views of basic science.

    Unlike the AGW fanatics, who all have noticed the subtle nature of my dismissing their absurd views of basic science.

    > And Brad… indeed, the release of Methane from the frozen tundra of
    > Russia is a genuine concern.

    I must be being way too subtle here. I am not talking about organically-generated methane, I’m talking about methane from (I believe) beneath the crust of the Earth. I am at least 80% convinced that fossil fuels (oil and natural gas) are minerals, not stored organic residues from ancient times.

    Brad Jensen


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    MattB

    hmmm inorganic organic compounds… interesting concept.. have you been reading Bird/Hissink again?


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    Lionell Griffith

    “hmmm inorganic organic compounds… interesting concept..”

    There are oceans, dunes, “snow”, and rain of hydrocarbons (methane et.al) on the moons about Saturn and Jupiter. The outer planets (beyond Mars) have huge quantities of hydrocarbons. Even comets have large quantities of hydrocarbons. Are these hydrocarbons produced by living things or natural inorganic reactions between hydrogen and carbon? Consider also the huge clouds of hydrocarbons in the universe beyond the solar system out to the visible edge of everything. Are they too created only by living creatures? No, they were produced by natural inorganic processes. This not only an “interesting concept” its a concept based upon evidence and demonstration. The only stretch, a very minor one at that, is the earth bound hydrocarbons have significant origin in natural inorganic reactions. Perhaps also from extraterrestrial generated sources.

    No, the theory that organic can come only from living processes has long been proven false. Its a false remnant from the superstitions nonsense that some supernatural anthropomorphic deity created everything and then took mud and created man.

    There is no actual physical distinction between inorganic and organic materials or processes except for composition and complexity. Any distinction is at best a fabrication of verbal convenience and at worst nothing but religious dogma.


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    JWC

    This whole direction of debate about hydrocarbons is absurd. The AGW hyphothesis is that 1) the burning of hydrocarbons releases CO2 and 2) increases in CO2 have a large impact on global warming. If you can find a chemist/climatologist/anyone-who-knows-a-damn-thing-about-science that debates point 1, please provide a link. Please also make sure that they don’t dispute the theory of relativity and whether Detroit is keeping down the 100 MPG water car. **We’re here to debate point 2**.

    Dallas: “So, where are all these extra carbon atoms coming from if earths numbers are finite?” Yes, the supply of C on our planet is finite. Also incredibly large in comparison to the atmosphere. It’s not coming from somewhere, it’s being converted from what it was into CO2 (and other things).

    Lionell, I think you got bitten by a Poe, sorry.


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    > This whole direction of debate about hydrocarbons is absurd.

    The question whether the entire increase in CO2 is coming from burning hydrocarbons is certainly of secondary importance. I don’t see how that makes it absurd.

    > The AGW
    > hyphothesis is that 1) the burning of hydrocarbons releases CO2

    It certainly does. Is all of the CO2 increase in the atmosphere from the burning of hydrocarbons? Could some of it be from release from the oceans, which contain hundreds of times the amount of CO2? Could some of it be from organic conversion of other methane releases?

    > and 2)
    > increases in CO2 have a large impact on global warming.

    This is certainly the weakest part of the AGW ‘hypothesis’.

    > If you can find
    > a chemist/climatologist/anyone-who-knows-a-damn-thing-about-science
    > that debates point 1, please provide a link.

    I already agree that burning hydrocarbons releases CO2 – and water.

    The further assumption that -ALL- of the CO2 increase in the atmosphere comes from man’s burning of fossil fuels seems like a rather important assumption. Important assumptions bear thinking about and testing. Asserting that because it hasn’t been done in the past, it should not be done now, is the basic reason it took over 2 thousand years to get from Aristotle to Einstein.

    > Please also make sure that
    > they don’t dispute the theory of relativity and whether Detroit is
    > keeping down the 100 MPG water car. **We’re here to debate point 2**.

    Maybe you are. Since I haven’t yet seen a physical mechanism described that supports one ten thousandth of the atmosphere heating the other 9,999 parts, I don’t see any basis for scientific debate on point 2, which is an ‘absurd’ assertion to use your term.

    I don’t understand how to debate the scientific basis for man-made global warming when I haven’t been given one.

    So far I have been offered

    a) the output of a computer model that has been demonstrated as less effective than a table of random numbers at explaining PAST changes, much less future ones

    and

    b) counts of the number of people who believe in the computer ‘model’ even though it does not model anything

    The only way that a) and b) count as scientific facts is if the topic of study is ‘political fads and postmodern delusions’.

    Brad Jensen


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    JWC

    I don’t think that there are any climate scientists that will say that all the CO2 in the atmosphere comes from the burning of fossil fuels. I can’t imagine anyone thinking that’s accurate. Am I wrong? Do AGW types really think that? What do they think happens to all the leaves that fall on the ground every fall?

    Seriously though, now that I think about it. Natural processes release CO2 (decaying leaves, ruminants etc). CO2 goes into atmosphere. If it didn’t get absorbed back into solid state C somehow, our planet wouldn’t have any oxygen. Therefore, since we do have oxygen, it does get turned back to solid somehow. So the AGW camp must be of the opinion that the natural processes that turn CO2 into C have been swamped somehow and are incapable of dealing with more CO2 in the atmosphere. That seems absurd, but I’m willing to entertain that it’s *possible* however unlikely. Just need to see some proof of it now :)

    I was reacting to this whole point that Dallas Beafort was trying to raise (carbon appearing from nowhere). I suspect a Poe: http://rationalwiki.com/wiki/Poe%27s_Law

    This whole AGW thing just keeps getting more absurd. The people who are worried about CO2 release from industrial sources need to go plant some trees and shut up.


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    > I don’t think that there are any climate scientists that will say that
    > all the CO2 in the atmosphere comes from the burning of fossil fuels.

    Sorry if I was unclear that the discussion is about ‘additional’ CO2in the atmosphere.

    > I
    > can’t imagine anyone thinking that’s accurate. Am I wrong? Do AGW types
    > really think that? What do they think happens to all the leaves that
    > fall on the ground every fall?

    Keebler elves use them to line their nests.

    > Seriously though, now that I think about it.

    I’m not sure anyone is being serious here. After all, we are discussing AGW as if it were a real scientific theory.

    > Natural processes release
    > CO2 (decaying leaves, ruminants etc). CO2 goes into atmosphere. If it
    > didn’t get absorbed back into solid state C somehow, our planet
    > wouldn’t have any oxygen.

    Assuming you mean free oxygen in the atmosphere, I think you are incorrect. If you burned up all the carbon currently in all living creatures and plants all at once, there would still be plenty of free oxygen in the air.

    However, if the percentage of oxygen in the air was once a lot higher, say about 66 million years ago, and methane is a mineral from deep within the Earth, and a big comet or asteroid hit the Earth hard enough to crack the crust and release a huge amount of it at once, and that amount burned up using up a lot of that extra oxygen while reducing the air pressure considerably and raising the seas by 400 feet, it might doom an entire class of creatures who were specially adapted to the higher oxygen percentage. It would also advance the evolutionary potential of a group of animals who evolved at high altitude (in the thinner air) in that thicker atmosphere, the only place it would be cold enough to encourage live birth, suckling the young, warm-bloodedness, and hair. (This is my Last Gasp Theory – believe it and you know how the dinosaurs died).

    > So the AGW camp must be of the
    > opinion that the natural processes that turn CO2 into C have been
    > swamped somehow and are incapable of dealing with more CO2 in the
    > atmosphere. That seems absurd, but I’m willing to entertain that it’s
    > *possible* however unlikely. Just need to see some proof of it now :)

    Proof? We don’t need no steeenkeeeng proof!

    Oops, channeling Al Gore there for a second.

    > I was reacting to this whole point that Dallas Beafort was trying to
    > raise (carbon appearing from nowhere). I suspect a Poe:
    > http://rationalwiki.com/wiki/Poe%27s_Law

    Yes, AGW does seem like a parody of science. “Then I saw our fates. Now I’m a believer. Not a trace of doubt in my mind….” Don’t let AGW make a Monkee out of you.

    > This whole AGW thing just keeps getting more absurd. The people who are
    > worried about CO2 release from industrial sources need to go plant some
    > trees and shut up.

    Yes, it has been pointed out by a number of people that if you add iron oxide (or iron sulfate) to the oceans, you will stimulate algae growth that will absorb a lot of carbon. Of course then someone actually tried it, and then discounted it because ‘fish ate the algae!’. Apparently they think fish are made out of silicon or something.

    Keystone Kops.

    - Brad Jensen


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    MattB

    Brad I don;t even thiny you’d find cliate scientists of note who think that all the additional CO2 is a result of burning fossil fuels. THere is a carbon cycle going on all the time, and we are just accellerating one of the inputs to the atmosphere.

    As for organic/inorganic… Lionel I’m sure someone as knowledgable in the field can correct Brad in his belef that our oil and gas reserves are generally not the result of ancient vegetative processes and the like.

    Brad you forgot about burning all the other solid carbon too not just plants and animals living today.

    And JWC… the geologic record is clear proof that those natural CO2 moderating forces allow for one heck of a lot of wriggle room in terms of CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere… no?


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    Lionell Griffith

    MattB: “Lionel I’m sure someone as knowledgable [sic] in the field can correct Brad in his belef [sic] that our oil and gas reserves are generally not the result of ancient vegetative processes and the like.”

    It can be demonstrated that coal came from ancient plant sources based upon its internal fossil content. Oil or methane? Geologists think that ancient plants and animals are one source and they can suggest a mechanism of formation. I don’t think there is any clear evidence that ancient plants or animals were/are their ONLY source.

    However, there is MASSIVE spectral evidence that hydrocarbons (methane and higher carbon molecules as well as other carbon containing complex molecules) can and actually do exist almost ubiquitously in the universe. It is found in extremely hostile environments: vacuum of space, intense radiation, both very high and very low temperatures, near stars, and between galaxies. Unless you say that life exists in all these environments, it had to be produced by inorganic (non-living) processes. Why not similarly on Earth? Its an extremely plausible hypothesis.


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    MattB

    Lionell – you should update the wiki page then:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abiogenic_petroleum_origin

    “the abiogenic hypothesis now has little support amongst contemporary petroleum geologists, who argue that abiogenic petroleum does not exist in significant amounts, and that there is no indication that an application of the hypothesis is or has ever been of commercial value.[1]”

    p.s. it is not cool to expose typos… it just makes you look like a wanker:)


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    Tel

    I believe that from the measurements taken at Hawaii, there is a considerably larger peak-to-peak yearly cycle in CO2 levels than the year-to-year variation that we regard as an overall increase in CO2. Thus, the seasonal organic cycle of life and death shunts much more carbon in and out of the atmosphere than human activity does.

    That said, humans (since industrialization) have steadily put CO2 in and taken almost none back out, while the natural cycle is fairly balanced. It is possible that our small contribution could accumulate and tip the balance.

    “hmmm inorganic organic compounds… interesting concept.”

    There’s a fairly well established carbon cycle involving Calcium Carbonate (limestone), water, carbon dioxide, carbonic acid and both carbonate and bicarbonate ions. All the reactions are reversible, and you can test them yourself. Precipitated calcium carbonate tends to accumulate at the bottom of oceans (especially with the additional help of sea creatures collecting calcium carbonate in their shells) but this is offset by the weathering of limestone on the surface. Humans have also accelerated the consumption of limestone by making concrete, releasing CO2 in the process. Most of the steps in this cycle involve what is generally regarded as inorganic chemistry.

    We also have good evidence that the very early Earth was inhospitable to any form of life that we know of today (or anything we can plausibly imagine), and it seems unlikely that a large mass of organic carbon turned up later to form the basis of the biosphere. The conclusion must be that somehow early life forms managed to grab available carbon atoms from their environment and that this available carbon was non-organic in origin.

    A lot of water has gone under the bridge since those days but it is not impossible that some of the original supply of carbon remains in a form that has not yet been gobbled by the biosphere (maybe methane that is deep underground or maybe locked up in carbonates). It seems hard to accept that such a supply would cause a recent and sudden increase in atmospheric CO2 (why now? why not last 1000 years, or some other time?) but it could represent a slow increase in the total circulating carbon over the lifetime of the Earth.


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    Tel

    “Yes, it has been pointed out by a number of people that if you add iron oxide (or iron sulfate) to the oceans, you will stimulate algae growth that will absorb a lot of carbon. Of course then someone actually tried it, and then discounted it because ‘fish ate the algae!’. Apparently they think fish are made out of silicon or something.”

    I seem to remember that experiment and remember that the production of fish was hailed (by the people involved) as a great success and a boon to food production. At any rate, the success/failure of this concept depends greatly on who you talk to. There’s an interesting wikipedia article here:

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

    …it does at least give some references and cover the major points, it also comes up with an inane comment like, “the programmer has left the building” but maybe that was intended as a joke, anyhow I’m glad to still have the freedom to make jokes, hope we can all respect that.


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    CyberForester

    Ask them: is there is any evidence that would convince you that carbon was not significant?

    I’ve thought a lot about this question and have come to the conclusion that the only evidence that would convince the average believer is if some expert like say, Bono or Sting, was to come out and say that Anthropogenic Climate Change was not occurring.


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    CyberForester

    MattB
    “the abiogenic hypothesis now has little support amongst contemporary petroleum geologists, who argue that abiogenic petroleum does not exist in significant amounts, and that there is no indication that an application of the hypothesis is or has ever been of commercial value.[1]”

    Just pause for a minute to think about that assertion. Are there vested interests who would want to discredit the abiogenic hypothesis? (I can only think of a couple of hundred thousand of the top of my head.

    1. Every Government that has rights to minerals within their territory who gain revenue from exploration licenses and excise taxes.
    2. Every oil company and its thousands of share holders.
    3. Oil and gas traders.
    all benefit from the scarcity of oil and gas. If it is being produced contemporaneously, then Peak Oil is a myth and crude oil pricing collapses.

    Now, is the argument that it has little support among contemporary geologist merely an argument by appeal authority?


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    Dallas Beaufort

    Tel, Is it, not at all possible, that the earth balances the take up co2 etc which industrialized man produces.


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    MattB

    No cyber forester it is not an appeal to authority. It is a quote about what contemporary geologists think. Could you PLEASE just read your points 1 and 2 and apply to the AGW debate – you may find some interesting similarities, just not ones that strengthen your position;)


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    MattB

    Dallas – no it is not at all possible as CO2 levels are very much rising (ie it is not all being balanced).


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    Dallas Beaufort

    Why not, when no one, at this moment in time, understands the balance and the other elemental effects such as the ocean and other earth and space influences which are not being measured at this stage to confirm accuracy. It is all subjective invective.


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    MattB

    Because CO2 levels are increasing. Could’ve, would’ve, should’ve, maybe…. but CO2 is going up… therefore… the natural balance is not balancing.


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    Dallas Beaufort

    MattB: Probably not in you life or my lifetime.


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    Jim

    Brad Jensen, I wonder if you could refer me to studies as to what proportion of CO2 in the atmosphere is anthropogenic. Are there any?


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    Tel

    Dallas:
    The Vostok ice-core indicates that CO2 has been rising for the last 18000 years, however given that recent CO2 measurements are higher than anything in the Vostok ice core (i.e. higher than any CO2 level for the last half a million years), the evidence does suggest that something changed in recent times. The obvious finger points at industrialisation and burning of fossil fuel but I agree that this isn’t exactly proof, merely a very plausible conjecture.

    I agree that on a geological timescale, the recent measurements are a very quick blip and most likely the natural cycle will pull it into equilibrium eventually. My guess is that easily available oil, gas and coal will have been consumed long before this happens. I very much doubt that anyone will achieve the worldwide Stalinist state necessary to bring human CO2 emissions under control.


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    MattB

    DO you mean like the matural mechanisms that have let the global temperatures roam in a huge range and sea levels rise and fall hundreds of m. Oh great glad we can depend on those to get us out of trouble;)

    Dallas… the point being that whether they are external forcings, or some sort of equilibrium, the historical record is evidence that they don;t operate over timescales that are particularly relevent to human habitation on the planet.


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    Dallas Beaufort

    selective measurements like memory


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    Brad Jensen

    > Author: Jim
    > Comment:
    > Brad Jensen, I wonder if you could refer me to studies as to what
    > proportion of CO2 in the atmosphere is anthropogenic. Are there any?

    The rough numbers are 300+ parts per million ‘natural’, and something over 100 parts per million (one part in ten thousand!) assumed to be anthropogenic (man-made, from burning coal and hydrocarbons).

    How accurate are those numbers – or any numbers used in AGW? I can’t tell. The first accurate world wide temperature measurements by satellite start in 1978. However there have been attempts to ‘recalibrate’ those to match ground-based readings, which is yet another sign of how wacky and desperate the AGW crowd has become.


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    Tel

    “DO you mean like the matural mechanisms that have let the global temperatures roam in a huge range and sea levels rise and fall hundreds of m. Oh great glad we can depend on those to get us out of trouble”

    Yes, that’s exactly what I mean. Are you telling me there is a plan to make a better system than that? Do you intend to re-engineer the earth’s orbit or bolt a governor onto the sun? There’s been a bit of volcanic activity lately, I guess you better get scrubbing to clean up that dust.

    Who said we were in trouble anyhow? Life got this far in a constantly variable environment. Why the sudden need for regulation?


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    MattB

    no tel there is no plan to improve on that… the AGW position is to let the planet do what it does, rather than force it ourselves in to a state is that is not so great for humans:) YOu may want to check how many of the times of such fluctuation and extremes that we all know have existed before had humas living there…


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    gofer

    Somewhere back up around November, I read a comment that posed the question, “How do you start out with 1 degree and end up with 2 degrees”? CO2 could only possibly reflect back 35% of the original energy since it is radiated in all directions. There seems to be a violation of laws of physics in there somewhere. Can you take a 1500W heater and heat up a wall to 1500W which would in turn radiate outwards and now we have a total of 3000W. Wow, we have invented a perpetual motion machine! More energy cannot be radiated than original reflected. The cycle supposed to be CO2 aborbs IR which causes rise in temp., which causes more water to be evaporated, which absorbs more heat, more heat causes more CO2….which gets back to doe, a deer, a female deer….

    There is NO empirical scientific evidence to demonstrate such a physical process even exists. Until somebody can come up with the ideal earth temp., nothing else matters. OH, that would have to be the ideal temp. for thousands of locations, because obviously it’s different from Alaska to Florida to Bahamas to Russia and different from N. Ca. to S. Ca. It’s quite absurd to even discuss this and why an AVERAGE temp. means anymore than an AVERAGE world income per capita or AVERAGE world education per capita. Means nothing in reality.

    Consensus can be WAY wrong. Remember the two scientists who were ridiculed for years about the cause of ulcers? Turned out they were right!


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    Tel

    MattB: “the AGW position is to let the planet do what it does, rather than force it ourselves in to a state is that is not so great for humans”

    As you yourself pointed out earlier, letting the planet do what it does implies reasonably large variability in climate and sea level (if the historical values are to be believed). That’s just one of the things about this planet. The old rule is “adapt or die”, and the new rule is “adapt or die”.

    If we were to rapidly head into the same type of ice-age that existed when the wooly mammoth roamed Europe then probably the human population would drop to maybe 1/10 or 1/100 what it is today. This is not a likely scenario, because ice ages tend to come on gradually, but it is a possible scenario within the realm of historical trends. As a general rule of thumb “good for us humans” is warmer, not cooler, compared to long term averages.


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    MrPete

    Joanne, I agree 100% with your premise.

    I like what you’re doing here. Yours is a much-needed voice. People like me can help with citizen science projects. (I’m the Almagre Bristlecones Update guy.) Yet we need brilliant communicators to get the message out. It was the same back in the days of Y2K. I did analysis digging for the truth, but as with AGW, too few were willing to communicate the reality. [No rants about non-existence of Y2K issues please. The problems were quite real, just not as bad as alarmists hyped.]


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    MrPete

    Let’s stick to observations of reality. As a tree-ring researcher once told me, when the analysis doesn’t make sense… go back to the data. The tree never lies.


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    Ray

    They weren’t as bad because people fixed the problem for the most part.


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    Tel

    “Weather patterns are changing and the human footprint is a major contributor,” Bishop Browning said.

    “I am therefore grateful and proud that the Australian Government has made a significant contribution to reduce the Australian contribution to the adverse effects of the human footprint.

    “We dare not contemplate a future without learning the lessons this experience has taught us.”

    http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,25273474-11949,00.html

    I guess he knows this because God has need talking to him, or maybe he just has an instinct of knowing when it a good time to jump onto a popular bandwagon.


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    Jim

    Actually, he is demonstrating that AGW is a religion. More than most he knows the indicia of religion, and follows.


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    Matt A

    A logical problem

    In comment 10 Thomas asks

    What do you think about that other carbon dioxide problem, ocean acidification, by the way?

    If CO2 causes warming then the oceans would warm? Solubility of CO2 is inversely proportional to temperature of water.

    So if you were correct then Global warming would solve the problem of ocean acidification due to outgassing of CO2.

    Or do we attribute Ocean acidification to global warming because its trendy or appeared ion a peer reveiwed paper (it contradicts the basic rules of solubility) and because we can get funding by repeating the mantra CO2 did it.


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    Tom Bakewell

    What a wonderful website to find. Very well moderated, mostly well reasoned debate and exchange of viewpoints and information. Nice to find some sanity.

    Thanks for the great effort.

    Tom Bakewell


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    Jim

    It looks like this post may come to an end. Professor Ian Plimer has written an enormous book on – essentially – how scientific theories can morph into religious dogma. A pretty blunt man – people might remember how he smashed the nonsense about Noah’s Ark and ended with a defamation suit, which if I remember right, he lost.
    He writes that much of what we have read about climate change is rubbish, especially computer modelling on which most opinion is based, which he describes as “primitive”.
    No point in going further. He is probably Australia’s top geologist which by itself isn’t on this blog which carries so many warnings of appeals to authority. But he precisely has the same argument – don’t rely on authority, look at the facts. Basically he is saying don’t rely on me either, this is science not religion.
    I’m not saying his opinion on AGW has more or less credibility than any other reputable scientist but his book Heaven And Earth is an evidence-based attack on orthodoxy, ie religion, and for that it is worth reading. He may be called the sceptic’s sceptic


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    Hi Jo,

    While I agree with a lot that you say on your site, and awesome work by the way :) I must say that you use the word religion incorrectly.
    Dogmatic Institution = Institution that (ab)uses religious ideologies by creating dogma to further an agenda, positive or negative, generally the latter.
    Religion = A spiritual path/method that is expressed authentically either personally through an individual/culture. It is an expression of spirituality.
    Spirituality = The study of spiritual truths generally, but not limited to, such that are not directly accessible or understandable only through the 5 senses.

    To elaborate correctly, I’d suggest watching this short video http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=9wX_W1BB_0M

    Let me know what you think :)

    Regards,

    M Bhullar


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    Hi Vizzerd,

    Thanks, but no. This thread is not about the differences between any religion or faith. It doesn’t matter if it’s Buddhism, Catholic Orthodoxy or a Pagan Potato Cult, they’re not scientific – they can’t be falsified, and differences between non-scientific world views are not what this blog is about. Non scientific understandings of the world can be of enormous help to the human race, but not in determining national climate policy.

    This is about Popper’s argument that science is that which can be falsified by testing and observation. Religion loosely covers everything else.


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    [...] This post was Twitted by leifsmith – Real-url.org [...]


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    Grant

    I have just figured it out. All AGW believers can contribute personally and immediately to reducing CO2 emissions. They should be encouraged to take the concept of Earth Hour one step further. They should stop taking in oxygen and converting it to CO2 for an hour. Their personal contribution they make to the planet would be gratefully received by those who are skeptics and we promise to accord them a decent burial so that in their subsequent decomposition they do not give off any methane into the atmosphere as well. (Because tofu tends to decompose real fast).


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    Doug

    I’d even take this a step further. That is, once we’ve constituted that this is a religion, it’s worth probing what exactly they worship. Everyone has a religion. Religion is the answer to the question, “what is your ultimate concern?” For Christians and Jews the answer to that question is God. God is truly an ultimate concern as opposed to a mundane concern. You can make something your ultimate concern that is of this world, but when that happens on a large scale you usually end up in a shooting war (the Germans, for instance, made their country the ultimate concern in WWII).


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    Jeremy C

    I’m sorry I’ve only come to this just now but have some questions.

    The statement at the top of this blog:

    “Religious people get strength through knowing that no matter what happens, their faith will not be shaken. “,

    doesn’t make any sense, it just seems circular. I’m a christian, my faith gets shaken at times, by various things, you expect that. Why would I get some sort of ‘strength’ from knowing my ‘faith’ isn’t going to be shaken? Is this a definition you have read somewhere or is it your own conclusion? It seems a bit naive.

    “There is nothing that can prove to them that God (or climate change) does not exist.” Just concentrating on the god bit in that comment….. who says that people can’t be convinced otherwise. Plenty of people have stopped believing in God. Where’d you get that from?

    I’m sure these have been answered above so just give me the post numbers and I’ll look them up.


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    Rod B

    A belated observation of mine, going back to the original post. While more of a peripheral than a core characteristic of a religious bent, I’ve noticed that many/most AGWers absolutely can not directly admit to anything that might taint the theory, even if that thing is virtually meaningless or inconsequential. They will respond with its meaningless or insignificance or how the observation is not relevant — much of which might be true. But they CAN NOT bring themselves to cleanly admit to the thing however obvious and self evident it may be. Their refusal also gets quite heated and animated. That heated adamancy over such things is a characteristic of religion.

    Though being picky myself, I say AWGers act religiously, but AGW is not a bona fide religion.


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    GeeMac

    I’ve been enjoying this blog immensely for a couple of weeks now and have found the various contributors both informative and entertaining (even the obvious nutcases!). The current discussion between co2 and robin in the School President Censors Science thread is especially fascinating.

    Now, I’ll admit I am blessed with a decidedly average intellect and a lifetime of lethargically pursuing mediocrity in the service of the public has hardly improved that. So I can’t claim to be able to critically evaluate the various arguments with anything approaching clarity. But I knows what I think! Even if I am wrong, I guess.

    Up front I’ll declare myself a sceptic, although not through any intrinsic opposition to the proposition. Rather, I am someone who is typically very wary of concensus opinion, and so it is with AGW.

    Since then I’ve visited a lot of websites and read plenty of for and against arguments. So far, I still come down on the side of the sceptics. The case for AGW doesn’t ‘feel’ proven to me, and I have to say I don’t care one whit what that statement may do for anyone else.

    But I do have a question.

    The ‘believers’ on here share a common trait beyond believing the science as they see it. And that seems to be a resounding confidence in the publishing/peer review process. I suppose my question then is – is it really? Can we really be so confident that peer review and publication is the best if not only way to establish scientific ideas beyond doubt? I generally understand how it works, and the apparent authority of the process is backed up by the calls to demonstrate anti-AGW statements by referring to published and reviewed papers, as though without this there can be no substance to an argument. But what if there is an inherent bias that actively works against the fair hearing of an opposing point of view?

    For example, it seems to me that it is actually very hard to have a paper even accepted for review if it is at odds with the conventional wisdom. A not uncommon theme (in books and history I have read) is that someone who is now recognised as having made a substantial contribution to science, who perhaps even has changed the course of scientific knowledge, struggled for a long time to have their papers published. I can recall cases where scientists were actively discriminated against for holding ‘controversial’ views, ragardless of how insightful those views were later shown to be.

    Quite recently I read of such an example – Irene Pepperberg. Her studies in respect to animal cognition, particularly with Alex the parrot, did not endear her to mainstream science in that field. I read that she struggled to secure funding and to have papers even taken seriously such was the strength of opposition. She was actively derided by any number of luminaries in the field (often male) and I can but assume that her experiments and data were disregarded given that the field of experimental evidence suggested a different conclusion to hers. But that mainstream conclusion was informed by a strongly subjective belief that animals are little more than fleshed automata, a belief that had held sway for many years.

    It is only now after probably 30-40 years of dogged perstistence that she and others like her have made any great inroads and we see a slow change coming over this area of research. But it is a profound change and in time may lead to quite a different understanding of what consciousness and intelligence really is.

    My point is that it doesn’t seem to me that a peer reviewed process is in any way independent of the world view of those doing the reviewing, and the world view will more than likely represent the underlying unity of that group. Or put another way, people like to go with the crowd. I’d be interested to hear from any psychologists or philosophers in regard to this aspect of the scientific method.

    I am of the opinion that the human mind is a poor tool for objective resoning or independent decision making. It’s the only one we have of course, and it doesn’t do too badly, but it sure aint the sharpest tool around. Even the smartest of people can make errors of judgement when their subjective natures lead them astray. And that’s without the influence of a strongly unified peer community. Or considering the source of research funding.

    So… just because a lot of people – the scientific community – think something is so is not to me any incontrovertible indicator of truth. It’s an excellent guide, and it works a lot of the time. But in this instance, I am not convinced. But that’s just a gut feeling really.

    Is the peer review process really that omniscient? Can we really derive so much certainty from it? Or is it possible that, regardless of all the papers and the interpretations of data, the conclusion being drawn says more about a certain world view than it does about the real world itself?

    I do wonder.


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    A very fair question to ask GeeMac. The peer review system stops some ‘junk’ from being published, but is fairly shallow.

    Reviewers remain anonymous and are unpaid, so you can imagine how much effort they go to when a paper appears to support them or is non-contradictory. For papers that disagree and threaten their own status, they naturally pour in effort to find any flaw, and sometimes they make illogical comments, and that’s enough, the paper get rejected.

    Many peer reviewed papers are subsequently found to be either flawed, or irreproducible.

    That said, we do need a way to weed out the list of scientific theories and ideas and questions to make it more manageable. It’s hard to sort through the infinite array of possible answers. Plus once something is published we can all comment on one fixed document rather than just refer to mobile targets like “Sinbad’s idea of a few years ago”, but we do need to analyze the peer review process. The incentives are not working that well.

    And ‘consensus’, which you refer too towards the end, is only proof that we should think twice before chucking out an idea. If the evidence disagrees with the ‘consensus’ then we should check it again. But evidence trumps opinion. Consensus is subject to finance, fashion, politics and prey to vagaries of the human brain.


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    Rod B

    As a sceptic without much inside knowledge of the peer review/publishing process, I have observed that a few of the professional climatologists will, when pressed, admit with little qualification that peer review is simply one of many tools of assessment and is a good but imperfect process. Most others, and most of them highly credentialed scientists (of varied disciplines), are religiously dogmatic that the peer review process is one of a few absolute proofs, and (in keeping with the theme of this thread) will preach evangelistically that it is beyond question. If you are not a credentialed climatologist and have not published you have no seat at the table; nay not even allowed in the room — similar traits of religiosity.


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    Mark D

    After 379 comments here, it is a stretch that I’ll be able to offer any more hard data, but try I must. Just to send up the proper color team flag, I am an unwavering skeptic. The reasons for my position are not to do with earth sciences and physics as much as 40 years of observing human behavior. While the argument amongst the die-hard religious, peer reviewed, double blind studiers, nibbles at the edges of real and made up data, I like to keep a different score which I’ll attempt to outline:

    1. History.
    a. Mankind is always prone to gang (or herd) behavior. We mostly force that tendency to conform with “acceptable” “civilized” practices by joining clubs, churches, armies, political parties, professional associations etc. Within these gangs people will seek and establish a hierarchy. At the top of each of these “gangs” will often reside an individual with a tendency towards egocentricity and domination. The resulting groups eventually collectively desire and derive political power locally, and regionally to as large a territory as geographically possible.

    b. Within Mankind also, there exists several persistent and predictable (probably negative) character traits; Greed ranks as very predictable, and parallel to it is a “preservation of income” “preservation of status” “preservation of hierarchal position in a group” response.

    c. Mankind has a primitive character trait that quickly forces even the respectable to shift to name calling when their opinions fair poorly during a discussion. If left to fester long enough wars will develop out of name calling.

    2. Science.
    a. Observation of even simple scientific studies over the years shows clearly that error correction and abandoning theories is common and to be expected if you are dealing with real scientists.

    b. Peer groups within any scientific specialty predictably form similar groups as described in the History above. These groups protect their turf (theories) with some of the same reactions as their badly behaved inner city gangs might. They perhaps don’t carry their reactions to extremes but the instinct is still there.

    c. With all science the proof of a theory is in the observed result. Theories always fall or are re-worked) when the observed data differs from the predicted data.

    3. Summary of human nature as it pertains to AGW.

    a. If you believe that all scientists are immune to their gang (herd) tendencies, you are naive and wrong.

    b. If you believe that individual or groups of scientists are immune from greed, or the effects of large sums of money, you are wrong.

    c. If you believe that anyone in science is immune to the effects of prestige, rank, or any other human tendencies towards raising their status amongst their peers, you are naive and wrong.

    d. If you believe that politicians make reasonable scientists, you are naive and wrong.

    e. If you believe scientists make reasonable politicians you are probably wrong.

    f. If you believe that politically powerful people trying to manipulate others are doing it only out of concern for your (or worse the worlds) wellbeing, you have not learned from or studied history, are very naive and wrong.

    g. If you believe that huge sums of money do not affect political individuals or groups through greed, you are exceedingly naive and very wrong.

    h. If you believe that there are no conspiracies (big or small) within groups of politicians, you have not learned from or studied history, are naive and probably wrong.

    i. A “vast” conspiracy does not require a large number of instigators. A few good propagandists can do it alone.

    j. If you believe that there are no individuals or entities in the world that would like to redistribute the wealth of the industrial nations, you are exceedingly naive and wrong.

    k. If you believe that the average non-scientist is not capable of recognizing any of the above, you are elitist, arrogant, naive and wrong.

    4. My comments about the Human caused AGW “science”.
    a. The undeniable truth is the globe has a history of profound temperature change which humans had zero impact on.

    b. The undeniable truth is that carbon is an essential element in the global life system. A carbon “cycle” is reasonably part of Earth’s nature (with or without human influence). Almost all of the man-caused carbon emissions are by re-introducing carbon that was once bound in living plant and animal bodies.

    c. Since this carbon was once on the surface of the globe, it is reasonable to believe that the global “systems” are fully capable of dealing with the re-introduction of the carbon.

    d. If you sought a single element to demonize in order to control, tax, or manipulate people on Earth, Carbon is with little doubt the best. Is this a coincidence?

    e. It is arrogant and unwise to suggest that we have nearly enough scientific understanding of the global temperature “systems” to make any sweeping, expensive policy changes.

    f. Study the various techniques that propagandists use and you’ll find that the AGW proponents use almost all of them. If the science was so strong why would anyone need propaganda?

    g. When nearly every outcome of a Life or Earth Science Process is reported to be “life changing, life ending, catastrophic, deadly etc. It is probably not science but is almost certainly propaganda.

    h. The undeniable truth is that politics and political manipulation not science is the driving force behind the current GW debate.

    i. There is little place for “consensus” in a science debate. Either there is enough data to support a theory or there isn’t. Consensus is what politicians and policy makers strive for, not science.

    j. The undeniable truth is there is not “consensus” amongst scientists. The word consensus as it is applied to GW is propaganda.


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    Rod B

    Mark D, Glad to read your post. It is one of the best short thesis on this subject that I have read. Your care with the nuances and comparatives show distinct insight.

    That said, a couple of comments. I think most if not all of the Human caused AGW Science are properly and accurately debatable. I solidly agree 100% with some, recognize other sides (even though I may agree) with some, and disagree with one — admittedly probably the least significant; This is the idea that truth by itself will always sell. This idea is only held by people who have never successfully sold much. Also, if I may, you really shouldn’t be an unwavering skeptic. That’s an oxymoron. :-)

    The other aspect that you imply and weave throughout is one of the characteristics of religiosity. That is the absolute and complete rejection, shunning and demonizing of anything or anybody that even taints of anything contrary. A simple example: Christianity used to execute or torture people who were not seen as believers. The current AGW movement is driving toward punishing and jailing skeptics and anti’s. [I'm not speaking of the fringe. Jim Hansen has testified to Congress that oil execs ought to be prosecuted; Paul Krugman just said the Representatives who voted against the Cap and Trade bill should be prosecuted.]

    But I’m digressing into the trees. Your forest is super.


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    Mark D

    Thanks Rod, to clarify: I am unwavering in that I always on the Team Skeptic. (I don’t switch sides) Of course there could be more than one team……

    The truth is I am skeptical of lots of things, but especially politicians (if you had not guessed that).

    Christianity is certainly not alone in history, of putting to death non-believers. You are correct in recognizing the gang mentality in religious groups as well as groups behaving with religious fervor. I had meant to wrap up my post with that reflection.

    As for the comments by Jim Hanson and Paul Krugman, they are mighty close to comments you might have heard from a typical zealot during a witch-hunt.


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    I have a business in the US that has me doing farming, so unlike a lot of activists set on saving the planet I’m forced to deal with rational data. I’m also a major science buff and watching the Discovery channel I had by 2008 become convinced we had 10 years to turn things around and our dependence on oil would probably end up throwing the planet over a tipping point into an unprecedented ecological and economic disaster. Then spring 2008 happened.

    In the NW US it was the coldest spring since 1911. Farmers were losing most or all of their crops to frost. I had to make sense of it. I locked myself in my office for two weeks reading both sides. the first week was very confusing, the second disturbing and by week three I felt like I did when someone had robbed my house… violated. What became clear was that the pro AGW arguments were intentionally filled with absurd minutia, but having a genius level IQ and a basic understanding of physics I could sort out most of it. As the saying goes, if you can’t dazzle them with brilliance baffle them with bull****. Something was smelling foul. Worst of all it seemed that as one excruciating detail after another was debunked the AGW crowd modified their explanations and plodded on.

    It has been mentioned here the small absorption spectrum of CO2, lack of proof, etc… I’ve read a great deal of arguments refuting the details, but I have always admired Abraham Lincoln and his approach. He was hired to defend the fledgling railroads against the Mississippi riverboat injunction over building a bridge. His several minute closing statement applauded the oratory skills of his opponent and asked the jury to decide if one should have more right to go up and down the river than to cross it. Afterward when asked he said he would give up six points to get the seventh if the seventh was the most important. This is interesting…

    The greenhouse effect was posited in 1824 by Fourier, a mathematician. It reminds me of how mathematicians described the Ptolemaic planetary model because a geocentric universe seemed obvious but the math was ugly. It took centuries for Keplar’s model to replace it. The greenhouse effect relies on a theoretical boundary layer, temperatures rising at higher altitudes and, regardless of the sophistry used in the explanation, heat moving downward. In terms of observation and theoretical physics it is pathetic, yet AGW hangs on it. A German scientist has described what he refers to as the atmospheric effect here. http://www.geocities.com/atmosco2/atmos.htm This was published in a German scientific magazine. Most remarkable it enables precise calculations of temperature for Venus and Mars that agree with measurements. It’s vastly more satisfactory than the complete inability of scientists to offer more than “runaway greenhouse” for Venus and adding “greenhouse gasses” to terraform Mars.

    The worst part of religion of AGW that is not mentioned here is that heresy is ignored. This is all about CO2, which is scientifically a big yawn unless you are talking about feeding plants or that we are classified as carbon based life forms… who get oxygen from plants that get carbon from photosynthesis. Let’s recognize that real science has stopped when we have allowed vast fortunes to be poured into buying computers to make models that have never gotten the next year right and pay salaries of UN fat cats who are employed to find a problem with CO2. For those driving the AGW scare admitting it is less than a disaster is tantamount to going out of business… and about as likely as Al Gore giving up his private jet, SUV and humongous electric bill. Follow the money. Science is a smoke screen for those less susceptible to religious conversion.


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    Hi miss Joanne Nova.

    I think You’re hot!… hotter then the current climate we’re experiencing now.LOL


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    Anyone who looks up the word skepticism will find that it is the doctrine that questions the notion of an absolute truth, so skeptics are never religious or in denial–they are the true scientists. By labeling skeptics “denialists” tips the hand of the alarmists. To label anyone who disagrees a denialist, they must believe that AGW is an absolute truth. If that was not the case, they would be a little skeptical themselves.


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    “My own problem is to get “sceptics” to come up with any piece of evidence that would convince them AGW is true.”

    If you can show with empirical evidence that CO2 absorbs and scatters 10 microns of IR radiation, you will convince me that CO2 is capable of a significant greenhouse effect on this planet. According to the science I have read, CO2 absorbs and scatters IR at around 4 microns and 14 microns. The bottom line is the Earth would have to be much hotter or colder to have a significant greenhouse effect caused by CO2.


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    Damien McCormick (Daemon)

    William, the effect of additonal CO2 (on its own) it not huge, but it’s not in equilibrium with the global temperature so it increases the temperature and the atmosphere responds by adding more water which boosts the warming effect of the original CO2 forcing – at least, so the theory goes.

    The water vapour increase would shows up in specific humidity rather than relative humidity. So as an example, air at 25′C and 60% humidity will have more water in it than air at 20′c and 60% humidity. And that difference is in the specific humidity.

    The effect is twofold. Positive feedback (amplified warming) and heavier rain fall under the same weather conditions (more flooding) and in the opposit extreme, dry areas become even drier in the same weather conditions. The former due to more water being condensed by cooling air masses, and the later due to greater absolute evaporation levels (water evaporated for the same change in relative humidity).


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    Damien McCormick (Daemon)

    JWC – I don’t think that there are any climate scientists that will say that all the CO2 in the atmosphere comes from the burning of fossil fuels. I can’t imagine anyone thinking that’s accurate. Am I wrong? Do AGW types really think that?

    I think the release of Eon’s old CO2 into the atmosphere is not the equivalent of releasing CO2 into the atmosphere from biological metabolism, where the origin of the carbon is from the recent absorption of CO2 from the atmosphere.

    Also, it is easy to work out how much CO2 in the atmosphere we’re responsible fore since there is virtually no C14 in Eon’s old carbon as it has radioactively decayed since it was absorbed by plants and deposited as hydrocarbons. As a result the dilution of C14 in the atmosphere over time tells us how much Eon’s old carbon has been put into the atmosphere by the burning of coal, oil, and other hydrocarbon resources – plus volcanic sources. Volcanism is well studied and all active volcanoes on the planet are to one extent or another monitored. One of hte principle measurements taken is how much CO2 they are emitting. Subtracting this from the rise observed in atmospheric CO2 levels and from the rise as seen in the dilution of the C14 levels, what remains is the amount of CO2 added to the atmosphere by man. This closely mirrors the emissions by man known from the economic data of oil and coal and methane sales, with small additions made for the burning of forests, etc.


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    Damien McCormick (Daemon)

    gofer: CO2 could only possibly reflect back 35% of the original energy since it is radiated in all directions.

    Not in all directions because each of the more or less horizontal directions have a vertical component, half will be up and half will be down. And those IR photons that travel close to horizontal will be re-absorbed by the nearly planar atmosphere and then get re-emitted, 50% of the time with an upward component, and 50% of the time with a downward component. So, near the earth’s surface, IR photons will see the atmosphere as an infinite horizontal plane and there will be zero net horizontal propagation.


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    Rod B

    Damien, maybe you can shed some light on what I’ve always had questions about (re feedback) but what is taken as simple common wisdom by climate scientists and as expressed in your 387. Some questions are given as statements that maybe you can explain where I’m wrong… or correct.

    As the atmosphere gets warmer (through the assumed CO2 GH effect) more water is evaporated by the surface water. This evaporation decreases the temp of the water (latent heat) without further increasing the temp of the air (until later on from molecular collision or condensation and rain). Won’t the cooler water temp mitigate the evaporation?

    Why would the added water vapor in the air have a greater tendency to condense and rain? Relative, not specific, humidity determines the condensation point; the R.H. stays the same in our theoretical situation. Where does that “cold air mass” you mention that causes the condensation come from? The air mass on the average has been heating up.

    Where does the water vapor in the “greater absolute evaporation levels” come from? Certainly not from the dry (land) surface…??

    Sorry for going OT from this religion thread.


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    Damien McCormick,

    You have failed to prove with empirical evidence that CO2 can absorb and scatter 10 micron wavelengths of IR radiation. What you call a “theory” is really a hypothesis. A theory is a tentative conclusion reached when experiments are performed to confirm or falsify the hypothesis.

    The lack of a hot spot in the tropics falsifies the null hypothesis. An alternative theory confirmed by empirical tests on CO2 shows that CO2 does not absorb and scatter 10 micron wavelengths of IR radiation (what the Earth’s surface typically emits), so it is no surprise that a hot spot can’t be found using radiosonde thermometers or satellites.

    The Sherwood study claims to have found the hot spot with wind data, and claims that the radiosonde data is unreliable. Caveat: If the thermometer data is unreliable, then the entire temperature record is unreliable, and thus the null hypothesis is falsified yet again. The hypothesis of AGW is based on those unreliable thermometers.


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    “Can you honestly say that mankind has had no negative effect on the biosphere? Its one thing being a toady, its another being completely ignorant.”

    I am certain the bug in your rug has an impact on the biosphere, albeit a relatively insignificant one. You probably have more impact, but your impact would be less than civilization, and civilizations impact would be less than natural causes. To believe we are bigger and more powerful than natural causes is quite a stretch.

    What is sorely missing in the AGW camp are definitive numbers. Members of the cult always avoid being specific about how much IR radiation a CO2 molecule can absorb and scatter, and at what wavelengths. I also note that the IPCC relies on several climate models. If AGW is really down to a science and there truly is a consensus, then there should be only ONE climate model. If scientists can’t agree as to the science, and more than one model results, then clearly they don’t have a consensus.


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    “The way I see it the sun heats the earth by means of photons hitting the earth and warming whatever they run into to the tune of X W/m squared. But somehow we end up with X+Z w/m squared. What is Z and where does it come from?”

    Another way to look at it is the planet receives X+Z and loses Z, leaving you with X. Then if you allegedly put up some CO2, you lose less of Z. It is an interesting hypothesis that has yet to be proven, and on many occasions has been falsified.


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    A principle that helps you to cut to the chase.

    The first form:

    POSIWID: The purpose of a system is what it does.

    Don’t look at the pretty words and pictures, the fancy meetings, and the endless award ceremonies. Simply look at what it acutally accomplishes. There, standing it all of its naked glory, is the purpose of all the fire, smoke, and endless random motion.

    The second form:

    IT IS ABSURD: If you see something that is absurd, don’t question the absurdity. Look at what it accomplishes. THAT will be its purpose.

    Again, don’t look at the pretty words and pictures, the fancy meetings, and the endless award ceremonies. Simply look at what it acutally accomplishes. There, standing it all of its naked glory, is the purpose of all the fire, smoke, and endless random motion.

    What does AWG accomplish in fact? Answer that and you have its purpose.

    Even the plethora of minutia, publications, formulations, programs, and practices has a purpose. To keep you too busy to the see the real purpose until its too late.

    QED!


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    Damien McCormick (Daemon)

    Rod – As the atmosphere gets warmer (through the assumed CO2 GH effect) more water is evaporated by the surface water.

    I think a better way of putting it is that water vapour is in dynamic equilibrium with the atmosphere at it’s current temperature. So water content is dependent upon temperature.

    Rod – This evaporation decreases the temp of the water (latent heat) without further increasing the temp of the air (until later on from molecular collision or condensation and rain). Won’t the cooler water temp mitigate the evaporation?

    No. The energy used to evaporate water can come from the thermal energy stored in the water, in which case, yes, the water will cool. But it can also come from radiation input. Or a combination.

    Rod – Why would the added water vapor in the air have a greater tendency to condense and rain?

    I don’t believe it necessarly does. But a wamer atmosphere is able to hold more water, which in turn means there is more water vapour to condense when it rains, which in turn means it can re-absorb more water – to maintain the current equilibrium.

    Rod – Relative, not specific, humidity determines the condensation point; the R.H. stays the same in our theoretical situation. Where does that “cold air mass” you mention that causes the condensation come from? The air mass on the average has been heating up.

    It’s an average not a constant. You still have “cold air mass”.

    Rod- Where does the water vapor in the “greater absolute evaporation levels” come from? Certainly not from the dry (land) surface…??

    Why not? Land has moisture in it, but more of it will be evaporated out.


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    Tel

    I think a better way of putting it is that water vapour is in dynamic equilibrium with the atmosphere at it’s current temperature. So water content is dependent upon temperature.

    Water vapour forming at the surface of the water tends to move upwards so this “dynamic equilibrium” must include convection as well.

    But a wamer atmosphere is able to hold more water, which in turn means there is more water vapour to condense when it rains, which in turn means it can re-absorb more water – to maintain the current equilibrium.

    Implying that greater energy input will translate to faster movement of water and thus more efficient dumping of heat energy into the high atmosphere. A similar design is used for the heat pipes that cool CPUs. All sounds a bit like negative feedback really.


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    Damien McCormick (Daemon)

    Tel – I think it is correct to say convective transfer do alter the amount of surface warming. But to figure out the changes resulting from, say, increasing CO2, wouldn’t you agree you need to be able to quantify the various effects (radiative, convective, etc)?
    And really, that is where you have to start doing some sort of modeling. And models do include the latent heat and the sensible heat (thermal energy) that is transferred by convection. If they didn’t, then they would not be able to closely reproduce the vertical temperature structure of the atmosphere (which they can do). And when you change the IR radiation terms (absorption/emission rates) to model the effects of increasing CO2, the models still show surface warming, even though convection is still happening in the model. In fact, the models show different amounts of surface warming at different latitudes, in part because the latent heat transfer is strongly dependent on latitude (warmer tropics = higher humidities). So, not only do the models include the latent heat effects, but they show spatially dependent CO2 warming effects because of the the latent heat effects. All very interesting, and by the way, I’m running a model on my computer at the moment, more so for a bit of fun.


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    Rod B

    For the record, the Earth radiates between 4 and 100 micrometers with a peak radiative power at about 15 um, coincidently the main CO2 absorbing wavelength.


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    Rod B.,

    You need to check your math! 4 micrometers would correspond to a temperature hotter than your oven! 100 micrometers would correspond to -245 C or 29 K, which is way colder than Antarctica! I think you may be thinking of Mars and Venus, not Earth.

    Here is Wien’s formula:

    Wavelenth (meters) = 2.8977685E-3/Temperature (Kelvin).

    Here is a handy online calculator if math is not your forte:

    http://www.ajdesigner.com/phpwien/wien_equation.php


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    Tel

    But to figure out the changes resulting from, say, increasing CO2, wouldn’t you agree you need to be able to quantify the various effects (radiative, convective, etc)?

    That would be nice but the system is nonlinear, and both latent heat and convection are known to be highly nonlinear so you have a transfer function with various inputs. Trying to break it down into individual additive components will only work for small changes about an equilibrium point… and we don’t even believe there IS an equilibrium point for this system. The equilibrium seems to be a chaotic attractor spanning a reasonable range of the nonlinearity.

    And really, that is where you have to start doing some sort of modeling.

    Both measuring and modeling, and a fair bit of meta-modeling too. For example, sensitivity of the model to initial conditions, identification of time constants, identification of background attractor size and shape. All of the stuff from Chaos Theory that puts bounds on the ability of that model to make predictions.

    I’m all for computer modelling, providing we accept the limit of what a model can provide. A model says, “here are my assumptions about how the world fits together, based on this, what is the outcome?”

    If the outcome turns out to be ridiculous, then the assumptions must be broken. If the outcome turns out to be plausible, then the assumptions MAY be correct, but it may just be a fluke that applies only to this individual run. The only way to be really confident of your model is when it makes useful predictions about future events… which none of the climate models have achieved to any degree of accuracy (yet).


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    “William, the effect of additonal CO2 (on its own) it not huge, but it’s not in equilibrium with the global temperature so it increases the temperature and the atmosphere responds by adding more water which boosts the warming effect of the original CO2 forcing – at least, so the theory goes.”

    There is a big hole in that theory: water vapor, being lighter than air rises to the upper atmosphere where it is always cooler due to less air pressure. There it forms clouds which have approximately 70% albedo. They prevent the high frequency radiation (visible light) from reaching the Earth. A net cooling effect results.


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    >Also, it is easy to work out how much CO2 in the atmosphere
    >we’re responsible fore since there is virtually no C14
    >in Eon’s old carbon as it has radioactively decayed
    >since it was absorbed by plants and deposited as hydrocarbons.

    This is a side issue, but there are a number of assumptions here that should be noticed. First is that the hydrocarbons we are getting out of the ground are from ancient biolgical sources. They (except for coal) almost certainly are not, and in any case it has never been scientifically proven that they are bilogical in origin (again, except for coal).

    Second is the assumption that the only non-biosphere sources of carbon are fossil fuels and volcanoes. This is also false. There is a large natural seepage of hydrocarbons – that’s how we first discovered them – and no one really knows what the rate is. Some of what we are calling manmade CO2 is certainly not, and we do not know what percentage this is.

    That being said, the central issue is still that the amount of ‘manmade’ CO2 in the atmosphere is one particle in ten thousand, and there is not enough of it to significantly increase atmospheric heat unless that CO2 is at thousands of degrees.

    AGW is not just a fraud, it is a farce. When you find a politician trying to use AGW as an excuse for power over you, know that he or she is either an ignoramus, or a liar and a thief. Either they are scientifically illiterate, or they don’t care enough to find out the truth, or they know the truth and don’t care. In any of these cases, they certainly have proven by this stance that they don’t deserve your trust and your vote, so throw them out of office.

    Throw the bums out. Before they steal your money with their ‘carbon trading’, before they drive your employer out of business and you out of work, before they send the world economy into a spiral dive, fire them. Let them know that you intend to do so now, don’t wait for the next election to tell them. Then some may mend their ways.

    Inatead of spending money reducing CO2, we might as well put it into wildlife preserves for unicorns, for all the effect it will have on the climate.

    Can the real scientists please stand up now, before the ‘climate scientists’ totally discredit scientific input into public policy?

    Who is ever going to believe a scientific prediction again, after this humiliating fiasco?


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    Damien McCormick (Daemon)

    Tel – The only way to be really confident of your model is when it makes useful predictions about future events… which none of the climate models have achieved to any degree of accuracy (yet).

    (Apr. 6, 2008) Climate Models Look Good When Predicting Climate Change
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080402100001.htm
    “Coupled models are becoming increasingly reliable tools for understanding climate and climate change, and the best models are now capable of simulating present-day climate with accuracy approaching conventional atmospheric observations,” said Reichler. “We can now place a much higher level of confidence in model-based projections of climate change than in the past.”


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    Damien McCormick (Daemon)

    Jensen – This is a side issue, but there are a number of assumptions here that should be noticed. First is that the hydrocarbons we are getting out of the ground are from ancient biolgical sources.

    So where else do you think they are from Jensen? Angels, Aliens, Pixie dust? Oh by the way, we also know there was no net CO2 increase in the atmosphere during human history prior to industrialisation. And we know that through the analysis of trapped air bubbles, in ice, amber, rock inclusions, bottles, etc. etc. etc.

    Jensen – AGW is not just a fraud, it is a farce. When you find a politician trying to use AGW as an excuse for power over you, know that he or she is either an ignoramus, or a liar and a thief.

    I’m sorry Jensen. The fact is, CO2 is by the very definition, a pollutant. Some are confused by the idea that CO2 is also a source of carbon for plants. But as all thinking people know, it is also a metabolic waste product, much like bowel movements are a metabolic waste product that plants also enjoy. Sufficiently high concentrations of either – be they E-Coli in coastal waters – or peanut butter – or CO2 in the air, can be harmful. Now, I know it is not your desire to have your Taxes increase as a measure for curbing CO2 pollution, but unfortunatley, there is often an incompatibility between individual desires and the greater social good. And that’s why laws and regulations are created.


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    Damien @ 402: The fact is, CO2 is by the very definition, a pollutant.

    Here we have an example where Damien holds that definitions create realities. It does not matter one whit, who or what defines CO2 to be a pollutant. The only thing that matters is what CO2 actually is.

    CO2 is the result of the chemical combination of Carbon and Oxygen. Among the ways that CO2 is produced is as by product of aerobic metabolism of animals and the burning of Carbon containing substance (mostly of plant origin) in the presence of Oxygen (eg. in the air on earth).

    Plants, except a few parasitical plants, use CO2, H2O, and sunlight to produce energy for their metabolism by a process known as photosynthesis. Photosynthesis has a by product of O2. Which, interestingly enough, is used by the aerobic metabolism of animals to produce energy for their metabolism. In a very profound sense, both O2 and CO2 are food for animals and plants respectively. It is interesting to note that both animals and plants share the same environment and each benefit from the byproducts of metabolism of the other. This is known as The Carbon Cycle.

    On the matter of pollutants: Any substance in sufficient excess can be deleterious to living things. Conversely, a sufficient deficiency of substances used as source material for living things will also be deletrerious to living things. Thus the same substance can be both supportive of life and deleterious to life depending upon its concentration in the environment. A pollutant is any substance present in the environment to a sufficient extent to be deleterious to the life form of interest. Otherwise its simply either a food or a functionally inert substance. Calling CO2 a pollutant does not make it a pollutant. Only the context and concentration can make it so.

    On taxation: Your desire to increase taxes (a definite un-good for the individuals taxed) for your fantasy of greater social good and the individual’s desire to OWN his life and its products (a definite good for the individual) is not a matter of difference of opinion. You are simply advocating the taking of the product of the lives of individuals by the thugs in government for YOUR desire. You claim to be doing it for the ubiquitous and, for you the unquestionable and sacred, OTHER. You believe this makes acting like a thug OK. It is NOT. A thug is a thug when he takes by force, by whatever agency, what is not his NO MATTER what he pretends to do with the stolen wealth. If you don’t think taxation is a taking by force, try not paying your taxes.

    The public good be damned. There is no such thing as the public good apart from the good for the individuals who make up the total fiction you call the public. Only individuals exist. Only individual humans posses rights. The right to violate rights is a contradiction in terms. A group of individuals have no rights beyond the individual member’s rights. The government may have the power to violate rights (take wealth a point of gun aka taxation) but that does not make the taking right.


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    Damien @ 401: “Coupled models are becoming increasingly reliable tools for understanding climate and climate change, ….”

    If the models cannot predict actual climate, how can they be “reliable tools for understanding climate and climate change”? Perhaps you mean they used to be 0.0001% reliable and now they are 0.0002% reliable. That kind of “increase” is nothing but noise. You need to show the baseline reliability, the degree of increase for the reliability, and the method for computing the reliability to give any credibility to your quote. However, for a counter quotation found on the internet ….

    See: http://climaterealists.com/index.php?id=3802&linkbox=true

    “Nearly ten years into the 21 century it is clear that the UN IPCC computer models have gone badly astray. The IPCC models have predicted a one degree increase in global temperature by 2011 with further large temperature rises to 2100. Yet there has been no warming since 1998 with a one degree cooling this year being the largest global temperature change ever recorded. Nasa satellite imagery from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California has confirmed that the Pacific Ocean has switched from the warm mode it has been in since 1977 to its cool mode, similar to that of the 1945-1977 global cooling period.”

    Looks to me the models are highly unreliable for predicting both climate and climate change and cannot, therefor, be used to better understand either climate or climate change. They are nothing but fake bullshit piled higher and deeper and are not even useful for fertilizer as is the real thing.


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    Damien McCormick (Daemon)

    Lionel – Here we have an example where Damien holds that definitions create realities. It does not matter one whit, who or what defines CO2 to be a pollutant. The only thing that matters is what CO2 actually is.

    Let’s see what the Science says about it.

    http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1892368,00.html

    Concluding a *scientific review* initially ordered by a two-year-old Supreme Court case, the EPA issued its long-awaited “endangerment finding,” formally declaring that carbon dioxide and five other greenhouse gases are pollutants that threaten public health and welfare.

    Lionel (the Libertarian?) – The public good be damned. There is no such thing as the public good apart from the good for the individuals who make up the total fiction you call the public. Only individuals exist. Only individual humans posses rights. The right to violate rights is a contradiction in terms. A group of individuals have no rights beyond the individual member’s rights. The government may have the power to violate rights (take wealth a point of gun aka taxation) but that does not make the taking right.

    Sorry Lionel, man has domesticated himself forming clans, then bands then towns, then cities and then societies because man has come to
    recognise that the establishment of a social order is more valuable than the individual rights he claims he loses by doing so.


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    > Jensen – This is a side issue, but there are a number of
    > assumptions here that should be noticed. First is that the
    > hydrocarbons we are getting out of the ground are from
    > ancient biolgical sources.

    > So where else do you think they are from Jensen? Angels, Aliens,
    > Pixie dust?

    The notion that hydrocarbons were from ancient biolgical sources was advanced by comparison with coal, back in the 1700s, when hydrocarbons were thought to be rare. There are numerous problems with this — the lack of other biolgical traces in the oil, the common isotopic signature of the hydrocarbons across the Middle East in sandstone that was laid many millions of years apart, the ubiquity of oil deposits, and the fact that the ‘degeneration’ of biologically derived oil to hydrocarbons violates thermodynamics. Hydrocarbons are most likely minerals, not ‘fossil fuels’. We know how to synthesisze them using CO or CO2 and water, plus heat. One theory is that they are synethesized near the edges of techtonic plates, and that would fit with Oklahoma, which is on the edge of a failed techtonic separation, also with Saudi Atrabia and the Middle East (a plate edge runs uop the middle of the Red Sea). By the way, if this latter theory is correct, theere may be dozens more oil deposits the size of Saudi Arabia, under the middles of our oceans, where we haven’t looked yet…

    If the idea that oil deposits were fossil fuels were advanced today as a scientific theory from ‘scratch’, it would be unprovable.

    > Oh by the way, we also know there was no net CO2 increase
    > in the atmosphere during human history prior to industrialisation.
    > And we know that through the analysis of trapped air bubbles, in
    > ice, amber, rock inclusions, bottles, etc. etc. etc.

    CO2 levels have gone up and down for hundreds of millions of years, and have been hundreds of times higher than they are today, in eras that were much colder.

    But the point is, that the amount of CO2 that has been added, one part in ten thousand of the atmosphere, is not enough to significantly heat the atmosphere, no matter where it comes from. It’a like trying to heat your cold bathtub with a single burning toothpick.

    >Jensen – AGW is not just a fraud, it is a farce. When you
    >find a politician trying to use AGW as an excuse for power
    >over you, know that he or she is either an ignoramus,
    >or a liar and a thief.

    > I’m sorry Jensen. The fact is, CO2 is by the very
    > definition, a pollutant.

    By your definition of a CO2 as a pollutant, so is water. It is a end product of the same combustion of hydrocarbons that create CO2, and as mater of fact, you get aleast twice as much of it.

    > Some are confused by the idea that CO2 is also a source of carbon for plants.
    > But as all thinking people know, it is also a metabolic waste product, much
    > like bowel movements are a metabolic waste product that plants also enjoy.

    Again, so is water.

    > Sufficiently high concentrations of either – be they E-Coli
    > in coastal waters – or peanut butter – or CO2 in the air, can be harmful.

    And by the way, without CO2 in the air, you stop breathing, since it is the CO2 level in the blood that triggers respiration – the reason that carbon monoxide is poisonous.

    > Now, I know it is not your desire to have your Taxes increase as
    > a measure for curbing CO2 pollution, but unfortunatley, there
    > is often an incompatibility between individual desires and the
    > greater social good. And that’s why laws and regulations are created.

    The amount of CO2 added by man has one major effect that we know of – it increases the growth of plants and the productuion of food. In other words, it is beneficial as fertilizer. That tree you are looking at was built mostly from CO2 and water, and so are the fruits, grains, and vegetables you eat.

    If we were really applying true science to the benefit of the world, we would be figuring out how to increase the CO2 in the air, not decrease it.

    There is no social good in decreasing CO2, beyond perhaps stroking the egos of the ignorant and insecure.

    Any person who has passed high school Chemistry should be able to figure out within a few minutes, that it is impossible for the amount of CO2 added to the air to increase the heat of the atmosphere in any significant way. You don’t need a PhD for this, you don’t have to ask anyone their opinion, you don’t have to puzzle out ‘trends’ in graphs or look at tree rings or ice cores or try to figure out how to measure temperature without a thermometer.

    The whole point of science is that truth is the authority, not a guy or gal ina white lab coat. Certainly not a UN committee.

    It doesn’t matter how strongly CO2 increases correlate with temperature increases. They could correspond to 99.99 percent, and the CO2 increase still cannnot heat the atmosphere. It can’t physically do it. Period. End of story.

    CO2 – mediated AGW (amn made globale warming) is magical thinking, it is not science, no matter who says it. Politicians, comittees, ‘learned’ societies, ‘climate scientists’, computer modelers – it doesn’t matter who spouts scientific gibberish, it is still pure unadulterated nonsense.

    Okay, it might be considered adulterated nonsense.

    CO2-caused AGW is a fairy story, it is a Children’s Crusade, it is embarrassingly obvious bunkum. There can be no scientific debate about it, since it is not science in the first place.


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    Here’s a version without so many typos – sorry, I never learned to touch type.

    > Jensen – This is a side issue, but there are a number of
    > assumptions here that should be noticed. First is that the
    > hydrocarbons we are getting out of the ground are from
    > ancient biological sources.

    > So where else do you think they are from Jensen? Angels, Aliens,
    > Pixie dust?

    The notion that hydrocarbons were from ancient biological sources was advanced by comparison with coal, back in the 1700s, when hydrocarbons were thought to be rare. There are numerous problems with this — the lack of other biological traces in the oil, the common isotopic signature of the hydrocarbons across the Middle East in sandstone that was laid many millions of years apart, the ubiquity of oil deposits, and the fact that the ‘degeneration’ of biologically derived oil to hydrocarbons violates thermodynamics. Hydrocarbons are most likely minerals, not ‘fossil fuels’. We know how to synthesize them using CO or CO2 and water, plus heat. One theory is that they are synthesized near the edges of tectonic plates, and that would fit with Oklahoma, which is on the edge of a failed tectonic separation, also with Saudi Arabia and the Middle East (a plate edge runs uop the middle of the Red Sea). By the way, if this latter theory is correct, there may be dozens more oil deposits the size of Saudi Arabia, under the middles of our oceans, where we haven’t looked yet…

    If the idea that oil deposits were fossil fuels were advanced today as a scientific theory from ’scratch’, it would be unprovable.

    > Oh by the way, we also know there was no net CO2 increase
    > in the atmosphere during human history prior to industrialization.
    > And we know that through the analysis of trapped air bubbles, in
    > ice, amber, rock inclusions, bottles, etc. etc. etc.

    CO2 levels have gone up and down for hundreds of millions of years, and have been hundreds of times higher than they are today, in eras that were much colder.

    But the point is, that the amount of CO2 that has been added, one part in ten thousand of the atmosphere, is not enough to significantly heat the atmosphere, no matter where it comes from. It’s like trying to heat your cold bathtub with a single burning toothpick.

    >Jensen – AGW is not just a fraud, it is a farce. When you
    >find a politician trying to use AGW as an excuse for power
    >over you, know that he or she is either an ignoramus,
    >or a liar and a thief.

    > I’m sorry Jensen. The fact is, CO2 is by the very
    > definition, a pollutant.

    By your definition of a CO2 as a pollutant, so is water. It is a end product of the same combustion of hydrocarbons that create CO2, and as mater of fact, you get aleast twice as much of it.

    > Some are confused by the idea that CO2 is also a source of carbon for plants.
    > But as all thinking people know, it is also a metabolic waste product, much
    > like bowel movements are a metabolic waste product that plants also enjoy.

    Again, so is water.

    > Sufficiently high concentrations of either – be they E-Coli
    > in coastal waters – or peanut butter – or CO2 in the air, can be harmful.

    And by the way, without CO2 in the air, you stop breathing, since it is the CO2 level in the blood that triggers respiration – the reason that carbon monoxide is poisonous.

    > Now, I know it is not your desire to have your Taxes increase as
    > a measure for curbing CO2 pollution, but unfortunately, there
    > is often an incompatibility between individual desires and the
    > greater social good. And that’s why laws and regulations are created.

    The amount of CO2 added by man has one major effect that we know of – it increases the growth of plants and the production of food. In other words, it is beneficial as fertilizer. That tree you are looking at was built mostly from CO2 and water, and so are the fruits, grains, and vegetables you eat.

    If we were really applying true science to the benefit of the world, we would be figuring out how to increase the CO2 in the air, not decrease it.

    There is no social good in decreasing CO2, beyond perhaps stroking the egos of the ignorant and insecure.

    Any person who has passed high school Chemistry should be able to figure out within a few minutes, that it is impossible for the amount of CO2 added to the air to increase the heat of the atmosphere in any significant way. You don’t need a PhD for this, you don’t have to ask anyone their opinion, you don’t have to puzzle out ‘trends’ in graphs or look at tree rings or ice cores or try to figure out how to measure temperature without a thermometer.

    The whole point of science is that truth is the authority, not a guy or gal ina white lab coat. Certainly not a UN committee.

    It doesn’t matter how strongly CO2 increases correlate with temperature increases. They could correspond to 99.99 percent, and the CO2 increase still cannot heat the atmosphere. It can’t physically do it. Period. End of story.

    CO2 – mediated AGW (man made global warming) is magical thinking, it is not science, no matter who says it. Politicians, committees, ‘learned’ societies, ‘climate scientists’, computer modelers – it doesn’t matter who spouts scientific gibberish, it is still pure unadulterated nonsense.

    Okay, it might be considered adulterated nonsense.

    CO2-caused AGW is a fairy story, it is a Children’s Crusade, it is embarrassingly obvious bunkum. There can be no scientific debate about it, since it is not science in the first place.


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    Ray Hibbard

    Damien McCormick (Daemon): post 405

    “Sorry Lionel, man has domesticated himself forming clans, then bands then towns, then cities and then societies because man has come to
    recognise that the establishment of a social order is more valuable than the individual rights he claims he loses by doing so.”

    Now I understand you Damien for possibly the first time since you showed up here. You’re a statist. You believe that the ‘rights’ of some social construct you call ‘society’ trump those of an individual. This explains a great deal. You haven’t seen a lot of life have you Damien? I’m talking about the soft slimy underbelly part. You haven’t read historical first hand accounts of the limits of what men can do to other men for ‘the good of society’ now have you?

    Lionel is exactly right. There is no difference between muggings on a street corner and getting mugged by the IRS, there is factually no difference, they just wear suits and have better guns. Generally speaking that which makes individuals successful makes the groups they belong to successful. The problem you have is once you trump individual rights with the power of the state, the state will grab more and more power until there are no individual rights. Individual rights will become something that is only whispered about by the old and wondered about by the young. A right is only a right if no one has the power to take it from me, otherwise it will be short-lived.

    James Madison explained the paradox very well in Federalist 51. “But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself.”

    There is a concept you may want to acquaint yourself with Damien that concept is liberty. It means your life is yours you can do anything with it you wish. The only restriction is that you may not impede another’s. You use the verb domesticated and apply it to men, as if a man that is free to live his own life as he sees fit is somehow some out of control wild ass force that needs to be subdued and staked down. I have to say that’s the first time I have ever seen that verb applied to humans and I have been around for a while.

    But hey your free to go be domesticated Damien, along with all the other sheep, goats and cows or whatever favorite barnyard animal you happen to prefer. I’ll stay outside the barnyard and be my wild and crazy self. The domesticated should probably steer clear of me, there’s just no telling what I might do, I don’t even know.


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    Damien @ 405: Let’s see what the Science says about it. http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1892368,00.html

    1. Time is not a scientific journal
    2. I don’t give a fig for what Time says even if it were
    3. I don’t even give the seeds from a fig for what the EPA says

    What CO2 acutally is, is the only thing that matters in this context. All the rest is the pronouncements of government thugs who have no moral standing in the matter or the reporting of the pronouncements of government thugs by media thugs who really should know better but don’t.

    Damien @ 405: Lionel (the Libertarian?)

    Now you have insulted me personally. I am not nor ever have been a Libertarian. The Libertarian Party is much too statist for me to accept that label. My political philosophy is a very small distance from being anarchist. There is a function for Government to perform but its even less than that prescribed by The Constitution of the United States. Government’s ONLY function is to preserve and defend the INDIVIDUAL rights of its citizens and not one whit more. The realm of Liberty is vast and unrestricted except by reality and the rights of others. The realm of Government is small and very constrained by those self same concepts: reality and individual rights.

    I understood from the first post I read of yours that you don’t have the slightest notion of what rights are or nearly any other actual concept about reality. Reality, for you, is a social construct and you exist only to reflect the verbal noise from others who they themselves exist only to reflect the verbal noise from others who ….. As a consequence, the content of my posts is not intended for you. You don’t exist as an independent thinking individual and haven’t had an independent thought since birth. Changing your mind is not possible because you have yet to form a functioning mind to change. Your lights are on, your radio is playing, but no one is home.


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    Tel

    the best models are now capable of simulating present-day climate with accuracy approaching conventional atmospheric observations

    That’s an excellent place to start. If they were inaccurate in simulating the present-day climate then there would be problems right there. However, the next step is to try to get accurate predictions going a decade or two into the future. In a chaotic system, parallel paths diverge from one another, so longer term predictions tend to be less accurate — unless you can find a timescale where the time constants in the system average out (and the ice core data shows 100k year oscillations and 10k year oscillations, believed to be orbital wobbles, plus the sun itself goes through 11 year oscillations, 22 year oscillations and approx 30 year oscillations).

    Even the basic concept of measuring climate is a difficult problem to tackle — how big a piece of time series do you need to decide what the climate actually is?


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    Tel

    There is a function for Government to perform but its even less than that prescribed by The Constitution of the United States.

    You must surely admit that if the USA did stick to the Constitution that they have, things would be a whole lot better than they are. The main problem being how to get Americans to read their Constitution.


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    Mark D.

    Gentlemen you now have a third in agreement!

    Please elaborate on the tie between the framers of the US constitution and their view of religion. Perhaps it will shed some light on the apparent “religious zeal” of AGW promoters. It has been my recent observation that organized Churches and their “captive” audience has been the place where AWG (and other “environmental” issues) are advanced. It seems to me that they are being manipulated.

    I think it should be easy to show why the attempts of AWG supporters to erase liberty are so dangerous. To me it is the heart and soul of the counter force to AWG. The willingness of reasonably intelligent people en-mass to fall for the weak science is alarming to me.

    Unfortunately, I am not sure how many of the world’s population have ANY knowledge of the concept of liberty (US constitution version).


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    Barry

    There’s religion and there’s religion, the sort of religion you have when you don’t really believe in such a thing as dogma and reason. Like Chesterton said when people stop believing in God, they don’t believe in nothing but will believe anything. They are more likely to succumb to all sorts of irrational fears. GW is just one more manifestation of this. Even if the world is warming man’s contribution would be minimal. The world goes thro’ natural cycles all the time, but with our timeframe of threescore and ten we panic and jump at shadows.


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    Barry @414

    I am hard pressed to see how believing in a disembodied, ubiquitous, omniscient, anthropomorphic entity who supposedly created everything before any thing existed on a whim and who is supposed to be able to change anything to anything else on a similar whim can contribute to the holding on to liberty. It makes no difference if this entity is the collective, the state, the public good, the eternal sacred other, our leader, or God. It offers no way to distinguish between truth and falsity, existence and nonexistence, or actuality and fantasy. There is no way to deny the assertions of any fraud who pretends to be a spokesman for it. In all cases, Liberty ultimately loses. Only by holding onto reason, reality, and logic does Liberty have a chance.


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    Barry

    Methinks thou protest too much. Believing this all came from nothing without a first cause is far more irrational than believing in what?


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    Mark D.

    Lionell @ 415 “I am hard pressed to see how believing in a disembodied, ubiquitous, omniscient, anthropomorphic entity who supposedly created everything before any thing existed on a whim and who is supposed to be able to change anything to anything else on a similar whim can contribute to the holding on to liberty.”

    Lionell, I don’t want to draw the subject too far off course but these words quoted from the US Declaration of Independence should help explain my question:
    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
    There shouldn’t be much doubt that the US founders were aware of Faith, took part in religious services and particularly valued Faith as a part of the “glue” of civilization. I don’t think that Faith or lack of Faith is particularly a cause of attacks on Liberty. (notice I used the word Faith here instead of Religion.) I think one can argue that Faith was profoundly important in the support of U.S. (constitutional) liberty.

    Regardless, I am disturbed by “new religions” with Mother Earth as the principal deity, or where behavior mimics religious fervor. AGW seems to be their Golden Calf. This, to me, is part of the dangerous trend that puts Liberty in great danger. My question was to solicit comments tying religion to Liberty as the Founders did. Perhaps then we can dissect the “Mother Earth religions reversal” of this basic concept of Liberty.


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    Mark D. at 417: There shouldn’t be much doubt that the US founders were aware of Faith…

    Yes, but what does that have to do with the defense of Liberty? Apparently, not much because we have lost most of our Liberty today due to an “alternate” faith in “the sacredness of environment untouched by the human mind”.

    The proponents of faith in defense of Liberty, the conservatives, are in essential agreement with the other side of the political spectrum. They too hold Man has a moral obligation to be unselfish and to care for those less fortunate. They too require that one sacrifice ones higher values for little to no value achieved. After all, “its for the children” and the like are the ultimate arguments used to support any degree of theft of wealth and violation of individual rights by both sides.

    Its not because of the lack of faith (belief without the necessity of proof or demonstration of existence or, as often is the case, in spite of proof and demonstration to the contrary) because we have more faith and faiths than ever before. It is exactly because there is no requirement of proof and demonstration for the continuation of the so called faith that there is no way for faith to distinguish between its various versions. One is just as good (or bad) as the other. Its the ultimate expression of multiculturalism and it reduces any discussion to argumentation between arbitrary dogmas and ultimately to the use of force to impress one dogma upon another. There is no ultimate arbiter for faith beyond the use of that force exactly because reason, reality, and logic are totally irrelevant to faith.

    I suggest the only reason that the presumed faith of our founding fathers was as successful as it was, was that they held reason as the primary means of acquiring knowledge. Their religion was one of a God apart from man. That God was largely disinterested in the day to day details of life on earth. Their religious ceremonies were becoming little more than social rituals. Religion was implicitly excluded from the realm of government and was to be left as a matter personal choice only. That it was implicitly rather than explicitly excluded allowed religion of all types to creep back into the realm of government. Pandora’s Box was thereby left unlocked and easily opened. Today, the box is wide open and its demons free to inflict their ills upon the world.


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    > I am hard pressed to see how believing in a disembodied, ubiquitous,
    > omniscient, anthropomorphic entity who supposedly created everything
    > before any thing existed on a whim and who is supposed to be able to
    > change anything to anything else on a similar whim can contribute to
    > the holding on to liberty.

    That’s not God, that’s Santa Claus.


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    Bery @416,

    How do you know there was a first cause and that God, who ever or what ever he/it was/is, was that first cause? Who or what caused that God? If your God is eternal why is it that reality is not eternal without beginning or end and, as your God, without the necessity of a so called Creator. After all, using the religion argument, you are a mere mortal and cannot know the mind of God or the ultimate nature of an eternal realit