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goldminingXpert (29.45)

Global Warming: Are 31,000 Skeptical Scientists Wrong?

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March 24, 2009 – Comments (95) | RELATED TICKERS: ARE , YOU , HOTT

Check out my column in the Rocky Mountain Collegian today. My favorite quote is: "Like the Medieval Church, the scientific community can easily get tithes by scaring people senseless and then offering them a potion. Carbon dioxide is the new gremlin, and carbon taxes and alternative energy programs are the new holy water and magic amulets we can buy into to save ourselves from the frightening tales of doom the scientific community preaches." As per usual, check out the whole column on the website, they own the rights to my columns, not me.

95 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On March 24, 2009 at 2:06 PM, FleaBagger (29.02) wrote:

How are you compensated for giving up the rights to your work?

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#2) On March 24, 2009 at 2:10 PM, JTShideler (78.35) wrote:

Interestingly enough there was an article in the WSJ opinion section which tried to make the argument that Cap and trade would be beneficial for the economy.  They should just stick to trying to scare people since that was one of the most ridiculous arguments I've ever seen.

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#3) On March 24, 2009 at 2:13 PM, dudemonkey (38.38) wrote:

Let's look at this rationally:

Assume Global warming is happening and man-made:

If we act on it, we spend money and life goes on.

If we don't, we've doomed ourselves to a generation or two of strangling the human race followed by the potential extinction of our species, followed by the planet recovering.

Assume Global Warming is incorrect or not man-made:

If we act on it, we spent some money and life goes on.

If we don't, we didn't spend any money and life goes on.

 

So, if we act the worst that happens is that we spend some money.  Probably less than we spent on Iraq and definitely less than we'll spend ineffectually bailing out the financial system.  The best outcome here is that humanity survives.

If we fail to act, the best possible outcome is nothing.  The worst possible outcome is that we, as a species, die a horrible painful death.

I dunno.  I don't think you guys are at all rational.  This is pure selfishness that's as unfettered by logic as porn is by plot.

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#4) On March 24, 2009 at 2:17 PM, dudemonkey (38.38) wrote:

An analogy to ignoring climate change is Russian roulette.  Yes, there's a chance that nothing will happen and you will win by playing.  If you're wrong ...

Realistically, given the mountain of evidence that shows a strong correlation between global temperatures and CO2 emissions, you're actually probably better off playing Russian roulette.

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#5) On March 24, 2009 at 2:36 PM, jstegma (29.26) wrote:

dudemonkey,

Your analysis works exactly the same for the holy water and amulets.  If the church was right, you spent a little money and saved your soul from eternal damnation.  If they were full of it, you got suckered, and life goes on.  It really bolsters gmx's point.

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#6) On March 24, 2009 at 2:38 PM, 100ozRound (29.37) wrote:

dudemonkey

Sounds a bit like Pascal's Wager

Anyways, global warming is likely to be either proved or falsified before God is....

 

I myself will stay skeptical until there is further proof (of global warming that is)

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#7) On March 24, 2009 at 2:46 PM, MattH42004 (30.11) wrote:

jstegma

Agreed, you can't apply game theory to something like this. Personally, I'm undecided on the concept of man-made global warming; I could go either way. Also,"we spent some money and life goes on" is a gross oversimplification of the finnancial burden that would accompany the bad policy if we try to move too far too fast. It's simple allocation of resources, we only have so many finnancial/capital resources to allocate and we had better be damn sure of the potential consequences beforehand. Finally, the Russian roulette argument doesn't hold water because it relies on the assumption that there is a bullet in the gun. The people GMX quotes are disputing the bullet.

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#8) On March 24, 2009 at 2:59 PM, Melaschasm (56.85) wrote:

If man made global warming is a hoax, it is taking food out of the mouths of the poor, and leaving higher levels of other types of pollution to harm people and the environment, while we focus on fixing a non existant problem.

In 50 years people will be talking about the global warming hoax like we talk about Orson Welles "War of the Worlds" radio broadcast.

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#9) On March 24, 2009 at 2:59 PM, blake303 (29.25) wrote:

Are 31,000 Skeptical Scientists Wrong?

Probably

I looked around the website of the group that sponsored the petition and it is laughable. It is an organization with six staff members, most of which have degrees in sciences that have nothing to do with the atmosphere or climate. Less than two percent of the people that signed the petition claim to have a degree in climatology or similar atmospheric studies. Over one third of the scientists that signed the petition are "general engineers", which I can imagine is comprised of a decent number of people employed in the oil/gas industry, although I can't prove it. I'll stick with Gore on this one.

http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Oregon_Institute_of_Science_and_Medicine

http://www.petitionproject.org/qualifications_of_signers.php

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#10) On March 24, 2009 at 3:28 PM, DemonDoug (71.43) wrote:

"The most serious of these attacks was a petition organized by the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine, which more than 31,000 scientists have signed, including more than 9,000 with Ph.D.s."

Every single petition I have seen from these "skeptics" who claim to have PhD's are people who either have fake PhD's, or real PhD's in things like geology (who often work for oil companies) or religious studies - aka the religious right who are part of the Republican party who deny the existence of global warming, much in the same way similar right-wingers would deny the existence of the holocaust, or deny the reality of evolution.

I have yet to see one scientist of significant note come out against global warming.  The evidence is as strong if not stronger for global warming than it is for evolution, and if you want to be lumped in with idiotic bible thumping Big Brother put a camera in your house and tap everyone's phones all the time kind of people, well then jumping on the climatology denier bandwagon is the way to go.

There is another fallacy in the argument, that scientists have "made up" global warming for their own personal gain.  How would they benefit from that, exactly?   Same thing with evolution, or historians with the holocaust.  What would any of these people get from making up these things, or falsifying data?  Oil is the biggest money maker in the world, it would behoove most scientists to not recognize global warming and to work for the fossil fuel industry.  Also, in the end, good science gets credited while bad science gets thrown out.

These arguments reek of midieval thinking.  Funny you stated "Like the Medieval Church, the scientific community can easily get tithes by scaring people senseless and then offering them a potion."  Because your scare tactics in consevatism is exactly the kind of hindrances the Church brought upon scieince in midieval times.  It's why Copernicus never published his findings until he was dead.

Your op-ed uses no sound data, and uses nothing more than what amounts to a biased and falsified petition, meanwhile thousands of scientists who have no reason to be biased continue to find mountains of evidence that show that climate change is real and happening now.  Your opinion is flat out wrong, sir, and it is posts like this that make people lose all credibility in the eyes of those of us who see reality and the logic of the situation.

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#11) On March 24, 2009 at 3:28 PM, dudemonkey (38.38) wrote:

Your analysis works exactly the same for the holy water and amulets

Yes, but the science that backs up climate change is much more rigorous than this article.  Not sure why science is so reviled in the US these days.

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#12) On March 24, 2009 at 3:29 PM, rofgile (99.31) wrote:

If you want to know if global warming is good science, look at the actual research being published on it, where that research is published and how strongly reviewed it is.

99.9% of all research that supports the hypothesis that man made carbon dioxide is resulting in a greenhouse effect resulting in changes to our climate is published in good journals (like Nature or Science).

There is relatively little to no contradictory research that is peer review being published in good journals that would disagree with the hypothesis.

The community of scientists has put together a large volume of data now supporting global warming.  Go read the actual papers GMX, and come to your conclusions on the science that way.

www.sciencemag.com and Nature journals.  Get the papers.  Read them and find faults with how the science is done if you want.

A petition of people going against something is not science.  If 30000 plastics company employees signed a paper saying they thought benzene didn't cause cancer, would that convince you that your drinking water with 0.5% benzene contamination in it is safe?  Especially when all the science done in good journals says that it'll give you cancer?

 The only difference here is that CO2 production is tied to our way of life, will cost $$$ majorly to change (but that can lead to innovation and new jobs), is a political issue in that many countries are involved, has a slow change that is hard to see (my wasn't it a cold winter this year = no global warming!), etc.

 Anyways, read the science yourself, don't give credence to a bunch of questionable OPINIONS. 

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#13) On March 24, 2009 at 3:31 PM, rofgile (99.31) wrote:

"Further, are 31000 scientists wrong?" sounds a lot like colgates "9 out of 10 dentists recommend our brand of toothpaste".

Do you give that a lot of credence in buying toothpaste? 

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#14) On March 24, 2009 at 3:41 PM, Kmunk (94.22) wrote:

I would suggest anyone who believes in Global Warming to get out more. Take a cruise around the world and stare at the vastness of the sea for days on end. Take a plane trip around the world and stare out the window.

Global Warming plays on the human ego to think he is something larger then he really is. Add a dose of fear and it is an effective advertising campaign. We all get that sense we humans have some sort of real global impact in the everyday hectic world of the big city that is packed to its gills with mankind's "creations". But that reality is only a few small square miles, literally specks dotting the planet's landscape.

Besides that, the sheer lunacy that science can take the temperature of the whole world to a few degrees is beyond me. Then they plop down "data" that they can take it to a few degrees over centuries? LOL! Snake oil. 

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#15) On March 24, 2009 at 3:43 PM, whereaminow (20.75) wrote:

My skepticism of man-made global warming (and its impact) is the source itself. The IPCC is a governmental organization, created by the government (in this case, the UN) to identify climate change patterns that could be solved by the govenrment.

Now, I've spent a lot of time around governments and I know a couple of things about them.

1. They lie, a lot.

2. They employ people to lie for them, a lot.

3. The bigger they get (and the UN is about as big as it gets), the more lying they can get away with.

4. When in doubt, obfuscate.

Now, that's not to imply that private companies don't lie. Tobacco companies lie a lot too. Thankfully, they don't have a monopoly on the production of money, the power to legislate, and full standing armies. Governments do.

In this case, however, the 31,000 scientists voicing skepticism are doing so, for the most part, independently. They will receive no reward, no government grants, no bonuses for voicing their concern.

Yes, I need to read the science. I agree. I have done so before, the amounts that I can grasp, and I will do more research.

But my instinct tells me that one group has a clear agenda: expand the power of government, thus rewarding the scientists in their charge. The other group can only lose.

David in Qatar 

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#16) On March 24, 2009 at 3:53 PM, Piznit (93.90) wrote:

Kmunk, while I honestly havent done enough research to decide what I truly think on this subject, I can tell you that you dont give "man" enough credit in his capacity to damage the world.

 

Taking a cruise and looking at the vastness of Earth will definitely show you how big the world is and how small one person can be.  That doesn't mean we can't change it because we are so little.  I would think our ability to design nukes alone would be enough evidence that we can, in fact, make a mark on the planet.  I bet a few hundred well placed nuclear warheads of maximum firepower from nations around the globe would change your mind as to man's power to affect the planet.

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#17) On March 24, 2009 at 4:22 PM, goldminingXpert (29.45) wrote:

Interesting discussion. I'm not going to weigh in much except to say that there are a lot of scientists who do study climate science who disagree with global warming and are researching it. For instance, Dr. Gray, who I quoted, is America's leading hurricane forecaster. He has given up his head position as hurricane forecaster to devote his time to debunking global warming. If America's leading hurricane expert isn't a to quote you DemonDough, "scientist of significant note." then explain who is? Flunkies at a UN institution? Check out these quotes about the IPCC (all come from the same Senate report):

Warming fears are the “worst scientific scandal in the history…When people come to know what the truth is, they will feel deceived by science and scientists.” - UN IPCC Japanese Scientist Dr. Kiminori Itoh, an award-winning PhD environmental physical chemist.

“It is a blatant lie put forth in the media that makes it seem there is only a fringe of scientists who don’t buy into anthropogenic global warming.” - U.S Government Atmospheric Scientist Stanley B. Goldenberg of the Hurricane Research Division of NOAA.

You've been taken in by a "blatant lie" says another real scientists. Or mabe NOAA isn't a real scientific agency as well?

“Gore prompted me to start delving into the science again and I quickly found myself solidly in the skeptic camp…Climate models can at best be useful for explaining climate changes after the fact.” - Meteorologist Hajo Smit of Holland, who reversed his belief in man-made warming to become a skeptic, is a former member of the Dutch UN IPCC committee.

 

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#18) On March 24, 2009 at 4:27 PM, arboretum (28.23) wrote:

It is healthy to have a debate on these issues. But when all the people who are really qualified to have a well reasoned opinion think the same way, one needs to think carefully before nailing one's colors to the other mast. Especially at your age...

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#19) On March 24, 2009 at 4:29 PM, blake303 (29.25) wrote:

dudemonkey (78.61) wrote: Not sure why science is so reviled in the US these days.

Because science often draws inconvenient (read expensive) conclusions and contradicts superstition and fairy tales.

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#20) On March 24, 2009 at 4:31 PM, dudemonkey (38.38) wrote:

Now, I've spent a lot of time around governments and I know a couple of things about them.

1. They lie, a lot.

2. They employ people to lie for them, a lot.

3. The bigger they get (and the UN is about as big as it gets), the more lying they can get away with.

I think this is the strongest statement FOR the man-made impact of global warming.  There were more statements supporting man-made global warming published during the Bush Administration than any other, despite the fact that Bush employed people to lie for them, a lot, and say that global warming was not man-made.  Yet despite this administrative resistance the scientific community all over the world came out with the overwhelming conclusion that the human contribution to climate change was significant.

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#21) On March 24, 2009 at 4:44 PM, QualityPicks (54.70) wrote:

"Being green" is so commercialized I tend to agree with you. At least, I'm very skeptical of "Global Warming". I see just as many "abuses" and conflicts of interest from oil companies pushing against it, like there are green companies pushing for it.

BUT, even if Global Warming is not caused by CO2 emissions, I'm all for clean air and efficient use of resources. Those two things alone are worth it for me :)

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#22) On March 24, 2009 at 4:51 PM, jmt587 (99.88) wrote:

I wish you could recommend blog comments.  # 10 and # 12 are great!

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#23) On March 24, 2009 at 4:56 PM, goldminingXpert (29.45) wrote:

BUT, even if Global Warming is not caused by CO2 emissions, I'm all for clean air and efficient use of resources. Those two things alone are worth it for me :)

I like clean air and efficient use of resorces. However, carbon sequestion (among other stupid CO2 fighting ideas) are dangerous because they, A) are extremely expensive, B) wastes resources (it takes a lot of energy to bury carbon underground), C) and distracts people from real but less sexy problems such as smog.

Also, DD, what's up with your lumping us with bible-thumpers?I'm a hardcore libertarian, I dislike the Republican police statemindset as much as you.

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#24) On March 24, 2009 at 5:50 PM, BradAllenton (31.39) wrote:

How about the fact that petro chemicals and coal off gases causes cancer? Even if global warming is a crock, we have other great reasons to get away from dirty fuels. The cost of doing nothing and being wrong is far too high. People rejected climate change for a long time now people are figuring out that there may be something to it. By the time people "get it" it will be far too late and that kinda makes me laugh because then they will be sick or dead. Karmas a bitch, kill the planet and the planet kills you.... who woulda thought.

Think about all the times in history where science was dismissed as bs. "world is flat", "geocentric universe", "smoking is ok, ever around babies"etc. Don't think for a second people are sooo smart now that they couldn't be dead wrong (again). This time though it could kill the planet. Even if it won't, why not move to the future and better ideas. Corporate profits? F**K THEM. New companies with better ideas will take their place. That's how it works. So keep standing up for the buggy whip if you would like. The only reward I get out of arguing with people about this is that I know if they are wrong it could kill them and that makes me smile in my own dark mind.

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#25) On March 24, 2009 at 6:09 PM, BradAllenton (31.39) wrote:

Are 31,000 Skeptical Scientists Wrong?  Answer: Depends on who pays them to be wrong.

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#26) On March 24, 2009 at 6:32 PM, AnomaLee (28.60) wrote:

So..... tell us how you really feel about climate change. [sarcasm]

The climate constantly changes, we should all do as much as we can to limit our impact on our environment, but in the long run we're all dead. That sums up my position.

Modern meteorology is roughly a century old and modern weather forecasting has barely been around for 50 years. We've really just began gathering and networking pieces of information over the past decade or so. Studying weather patterns for 50-100 years is similar to watching one second of a TV show and figuring out what is going on.  We've hardly had enough time on the planet to really understand and model the variables that affect our climate. So, we all have a poor education on how our planet works as a species.

Ideas like carbon sequestration are counter-productive in many ways. I follow the alternative energy industry very closely. The knowledge and technology really hasn't developed yet to handle these issues. Hopefully, they're wrong so the next generation can handle it. Wow, I sound like the Treasury Secretary.

"Flunkies at a UN institution?"

That's a bit harsh. Many of these "flunkies" go out into the field and compile the data while we just debate their findings from a chair.  

 

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#27) On March 24, 2009 at 6:58 PM, MedPeddler (< 20) wrote:

What does it benefit a researcher to lie about anything, much less global warming?  How about a job?  If an idea isn't widely accepted, the idea doesn't attract funding.  No funding, no job.  It's really that simple.

 It's time those who question the infallibility of the scientific community stop being attacked.  Scientists once thought cigarette smoking was healthy.  They also thought Thalidomide and Vioxx were safe.  As recently as 30 years ago climatologists thought the earth was cooling and that it would be a good idea to spread a layer of ash on the polar ice caps.  The latest data show that ocean temps are cooling and that global surface temps have gone nowhere in the last nine years. 

Finally, AnomaLee is right.  It is questionable, at best, to compare 100 years of recorded temeratures to 6 billion years of natural history and call them statistically significant.

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#28) On March 24, 2009 at 7:18 PM, MattH42004 (30.11) wrote:

"The climate constantly changes, we should all do as much as we can to limit our impact on our environment, but in the long run we're all dead. That sums up my position."

 Seconded...

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#29) On March 25, 2009 at 12:25 AM, TBVLurker (< 20) wrote:

The one thing that cracking the half century mark gives you is perpective.  I've been listening to the media and politician push one crisis after another, so I've learned to take every "crisis" with a heathy dose of scepticism.

In the global warming/cooling debate, no one in the media or government bothers to point out the obvious.  Earth's temperatures are controlled by that big light in the sky...known as the Sun by the locals.  If the sun is more active, we get colder.  Why?  Because the sun's solar wind pushes away cosmic rays that hit Earth's atmosphere.  These cosmic rays cause extra cloud formations which retain heat.  So when the Sun is in a "quiet" cycle as it is now, Earth gets warmer.  Following the 11 year cycle solar cycle, it will reverse itself soon enough. 

As the saying goes, this too shall pass.  Look at the sailing logs from the past 1000 years, and note that the Northwest Passage was passable by sailing ships at one point not that long ago.  Sound familiar?

Carbon sequestration will not work, because of the truly gigantic amounts needed, and when the solar cycle reverses, we're going to want that carbon free again in a hurry.

That said, why are we still dealing with fossil fuels?  I'm able to follow some of the science (at least the pretty pictures), but after a while I have to ask why we haven't already figured out better alternatives?  Wind power is nice, for an agrarian society, which the US hasn't been for a century.  Hydroelectric worked for early industrial.  Solar might work in space, but unless we get a 1000 fold improvement in efficiency, won't be that usable on the Earth's surface.  We need to invest in long term research with the clear goal of finding and making practical high energy systems, such as fusion, antimatter, fold space taps, zero point energy, whatever.  It won't be easy or cheap, but long term, that's where we need to be.

With that kind of energy available, you can eliminate fossil fuels, and the related mining that those fuels require.  But only people who can take the long view see this.  So I suspect it will have to be a private company or foundation that will pull this off, because governments think in 4 to 8 year timelines.

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#30) On March 25, 2009 at 12:41 AM, aquilesba (< 20) wrote:

No doubt that you are just a little bugger that thinks to know it all just because of your CAPS score, how pathetic.... 

Little kid, when you discuss a topic about science, how about reading what real scientists have to say?  If you had any clue, you would know that real scientists spek their mind in published peer-reviewed scienctific journals, and not through stupid polls, as you and other W followers with no brain get your education from...

So let me educate you a litle bit kid, the top scientific journal (along with Nature) published the following result:

"Of all the [scientific] papers [published in peer-reviewed scientifc journals between 1993-2003], ...[r]emarkably, none of the papers disagreed with the consensus position [that gloabal warming is human made]."

So next time you want to talk about science, you better learn something about it first...

http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/306/5702/1686

as far as i know, the only "scientist" with some credentials to challenge this view is a climatologist with MIT, who has not published his criticism in a scientific peer-reviewed journal, and who was paid [bribed?] by some governmental agency under Ws to make his cheap shots at what the honest scientists all agree on, which is that global warming is man made.

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#31) On March 25, 2009 at 12:42 AM, aquilesba (< 20) wrote:

No doubt that you are just a little bugger that thinks to know it all just because of your CAPS score, how pathetic.... 

Little kid, when you discuss a topic about science, how about reading what real scientists have to say?  If you had any clue, you would know that real scientists spek their mind in published peer-reviewed scienctific journals, and not through stupid polls, as you and other W followers with no brain get your education from...

So let me educate you a litle bit kid, the top scientific journal (along with Nature) published the following result:

"Of all the [scientific] papers [published in peer-reviewed scientifc journals between 1993-2003], ...[r]emarkably, none of the papers disagreed with the consensus position [that gloabal warming is human made]."

So next time you want to talk about science, you better learn something about it first...

http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/306/5702/1686

as far as i know, the only "scientist" with some credentials to challenge this view is a climatologist with MIT, who has not published his criticism in a scientific peer-reviewed journal, and who was paid [bribed?] by some governmental agency under Ws to make his cheap shots at what the honest scientists all agree on, which is that global warming is man made.

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#32) On March 25, 2009 at 11:45 AM, AbstractMotion (53.36) wrote:

I don't think the science behind the idea of greenhouse gases really needs to be debated.  One needs only to look to venus to see what a run away green house phenomenom looks like.  What I do question is the hype, solutions and incentives being discussed to combat this issue.  

 

A CO2 tax is probably the worst possible solution to this, as is the whole concept of "cap and trade" on a national scale.  This is just another way for the government to milk money out of the private sector.  If they wanted to they could easily just mandate upgrades and pass new air standards like they have in the past.  They could expand tax credits for alternate energy production and so forth.  I don't doubt the scientists or researchers, what I doubt it lobby pushing this agenda and some of the interests behind counter intuitive technologies like sequestration.  While the scientists themselves don't really seek to profit off this issue, other like oh I dunno say Al Gore do.  I'm all for investing in alternate energy as I do believe it's both the best path forward and inevitable due to dwindling oil reserves, but if people don't believe there's a pretty clear lobby behind the current green movement they're in just as much denial as those who believe global warming is just a theory.

 

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#33) On March 25, 2009 at 12:20 PM, OldEnglish (28.11) wrote:

It doesn't matter if global warming is real or not. Unless every government on Earth goes totalitarian and restricts childbirth, greenhouse gas emissions will continue to increase. Massively.  That's even if people in the developing world forgo a dim 50-watt bulb to light their shacks - as they are being asked to by American enviromentalists living in single family homes using computers. (With three kids.)

The Earth has been much hotter than it is now and life didn't go extinct. Potentially, there will be many species and potentially hundreds of millions of humans liquidated but it won't cause humans to go extinct. It's a self limiting problem. Enviroment worsens, humans die, less gases emitted.

The nations that continue to use the most efficient means, fossil fuels, will be dictating terms to the poor inefficient nations. Go ahead and try to enforce cap and trade on China. Western enviromentalists are a joke. "Chinese factory worker, you've already aborted your three infant daughters because you're only allowed one child but hey, we sort our trash, so make some sacrifises you SOB! Oh, and you're predatory lender too. Stop saving so much money and take out a HELOC loan."

It is cheaper for China to move every resident of Shanghai to avoid rising water levels than it is to obey cap and trade rules.  

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#34) On March 25, 2009 at 1:48 PM, dicartacash (89.11) wrote:

Let's put global warming in perspective.  Unless you are blindly pursuing some side agenda (e.g. government is evil, or big business is evil, scientists are a godless lot, etc.) the facts tell us the following with pretty darn good certainty:

1)Global warming is happening 2) Global warming IS changing our climate and sea levels, 3) some geographical areas will suffer greatly, but others will benefit.

I beg to differ with OldEnglish, "unless every government on Earth goes totalitarian and restricts childbirth, greenhouse gas emissions will continue to increase"...Actually, it isn't the population that is increasing CO2, it is the fact that biology on this planet accumulated CO2 over 100's of millions of years, storing it as fossil fuels, and we are releasing it all back into the environment over a VERY intense, couple of hundred year timeframe.  That's a BIG shock to the global environment, but given our pace of fossil fuel consumption it will run its course over the next 100 years or so.  Of course, population growth is creating a much broader set of problems, but we digress.

One matter that scientists are also pretty good at knowing is what we *don't* know.  But they typically don't get paid well for telling you that.  Essentially, we really don't know how our global warming trend is going to play out, but I will be watching, with popcorn in hand, as the developed nations grapple with the expanding industrialization of Asia, massively consuming the world's resources in a massively scaled-up emulation of the prior century's expansionist policies of western europe and then the US.

I do recommend a couple of reads: "The Future of Life" by E.O. Wilson -- only read if you are ready for some facts to back up your opinions -- and "Tradgedy of the Commons" an article by Garrett Hardin, who expands quite well on OldEnglish's point regarding the overall population issue.

If you'd rather stick to a more selfishly oriented economic agenda, I recommend that you buy land with your hard-earned winning stock trades over the next year.  Something in northern latitudes, with lots of trees aside a protected forest, and a river near by. Like Canada.

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#35) On March 25, 2009 at 7:56 PM, afreakout (91.76) wrote:

Nice try.  As a wise man has said.."stay within your circle of competence."  Appealing to hordes of skeptical scientists as a counter-argument sounds pretty medieval to me.  Show the facts, show the science, or move on to something you actually know about.  It would be a service to yourself and others. 

 

5,000 CAPS All-Stars can't be wrong!  Right?

 

Please.  

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#36) On March 25, 2009 at 11:10 PM, Jhana9 (21.85) wrote:

You're a youngster, so I'll be kind.

First of all, the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine requires a bit more leg work if you're going to pawn yourself off as a journalist. You get out there and research some of their antics, and then report back. I happen to know something about them, and if they're your esteemed scientific organization, then we really can't even have a discussion on this. 

The concept that there is a global warming myth because that is the only way scientists can get funding, has one very large problem: there is a TON of money available from vested interests to provide plenty of research to counter the argument. Industry for one. Which do you think has more money to throw at peddling some particular message: global industry (think oil, coal, natural gas, automotive, etc), or research foundations/academia/conservation organizations, etc. Likewise, conservative organizations/think tanks/non-profits have both the money and the ax to grind on this issue. Plus, having been through the whole Ph.D. thing myself, I can tell you that the money is there for good research, regardless of the expected outcome. Projects mostly get funded based on the evaluation of the scientific merit, and whether they further an understanding of a body of science.

On a related note, you are waaaay too damn infatuated with anyone who has Ph.D. behind their name. A Ph.D. DOES NOT an expert make. Even if someone has a Ph.D. and is doing research, it does not make them an expert, or even knowledgeable. And there are plenty of wacky Ph.D.s out there.

Is everything you write for that rag, conservative political stuff? There are lots bloggers out there that take a conservative investment/political tone who manage not to come off as so utterly biased that they have no credibility. Why not model your journalism after them, rather than Rush Limblah. I can read Mish, Denninger, Ritholtz, etc., and find them both conservative and educational. If you must dabble in journalism, at least put together something more factual and informative. I'll be right back here complimenting you on your thought provoking discussion when you do. 

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#37) On March 26, 2009 at 1:28 AM, Option1307 (29.68) wrote:

The fundamental basis of the field of science is to essentially "question everything". Science (whatever that means to you) is based on this simple principle. "Facts" are meant to be continuouly tested and revised...

Thus, my problem with the current "crisis" is that we have lost touch with the original rule of science. This is such a emotionally heated debate, that there has been very little actual debate. (see above comments for verification).

We as fellow citicens need to have an honest debate about the data out there currently. There are some very valid points and arguments to both sides of this situation. And please don't claim you "know" the truth/answer, because you are mistaken, there is not one. All that science will ever bring us to, is a best guess.

If we as humans are causing an unnatural increase in global temperatures, then we need to think long and hard about how to effectively fix this problem. If this is as serious a threat as some people think, these decisions cannot be made lightly and rushed trough based on emotion. And yes, we will need worldwide cooperation in order for any solution to be effective.

If we are in fact not causing and unnatural rise in temperatures, we still need to think long and hard about this occurance and try and better understand other effects we may be ahving on the earth we inhabit.

Does anybody remember the 1970's/80's when there was a "global cooling" scare? People proposed all sorts of absurd "solutions" to battle the cooling temperatures that luckily were never tried. I'm not comparing this situation to then, but just pointing out that sometimes we jump to conclusions.

All I ask is that everybody put their emotions aside, and have a real discussion about the data that is avilable. And remember, there is no right answer, only guesses...

 

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#38) On March 26, 2009 at 6:47 PM, vriguy (71.56) wrote:

I am a physician (M.D.) with a Ph.D. in Biology.  I'm not a climatologist but I do know how to look at published data and make up my own mind.  I've read the papers in Science and Nature over the last 20 years and, by and large, they make a coherent and convincing case that average global temperatures have risen and the increase in temperatures correlates well with the atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases, mainly carbon dioxide.  Personal observation of glaciers in the Rockies and Himalayas also suggests the warming is real.  Satellite photos of the poles tell the same story.  Face it, global warming is real, and human activity is a major causative factor thereof. 

I have no hesitation recommending to most of my patients with heart disease that they exercise, stop smoking, and take medications to reduce their cholesterol levels and blood pressure, if they wish to maximize their life span.  Those recommendations are based on science and common sense.  Similarly, one of the things the human race needs to do is control their carbon dioxide emissions, if we are to maximize our existence.  Science and common sense again.  Green energy may be a boondoggle of sorts but we can do a lot without it.  Why aren't we demanding automobile fuel efficiencies in the European or Japanese range. Why not turn off lights when no one is present.  It is not the end of oil, merely the end of profligacy that we need.

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#39) On March 26, 2009 at 11:07 PM, brianc410 (< 20) wrote:

This article provides the counter arguement to the global warming theories.. oh wait, I can't call it that anymore, I mean "climate change".

 http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/other/nature_not_human_activity_rules_the_climate.html

The man made climate change theory is starting to unravel.  In most recent years, the average temperature has declined as CO2 emissions have increased.   This is contrary to this theory. 

Also, signifigant data from the IPCC reports have been outright falsified or neglected from reports.  Most notably was the infamous "hockey stick" graph showing global temperatures from 1000AD-2000AD which depicted a marked rise in global temperature in the mid 1900's.  One problem is that this graph failed to include data from previous periods of global warming and cooling, prior to the industrial era.  This graph formed a strong case for man made climate change and has been completely discredited and redacted.

 Jim Hansen is one of the fathers of the man made climate change theory.  His research in the 1980's formed a basis for this theory.  He is more of an advocate now than a researcher.  If you look at his weather reports for 2008 and 2007, he notes the cool temperatures of 2008 as anomoly and as possible sun activity.  His 2007 report notes that his original research has flawed temperatures and now accepts that 1934, 1998, and 2005 were the warmest years of record for the US (hmm.. I don't recall 1934 had the same CO2 emissions as today).  However he still claims that 2005 was the warmest worldwide.  The reason why he had to admit the flaws from his original research is that more accurate temperature data was available in the US than what was originally used in his temperature model (his model was too aggressive).   He has corrected his US temperatures but not has adjusted his model to reflect the worldwide temperatures.  Convenient for him there's no thermometer records across the worlds oceans otherwse he may had to do some more revising to do).

 From Jim Hansens former supervisor at NASA:

 “I appreciate the opportunity to add my name to those who disagree that global warming is man made, …I was, in effect, Hansen’s supervisor because I had to justify his funding, allocate his resources, and evaluate his results”

“Hansen was never muzzled even though he violated NASA’s official agency position on climate forecasting (i.e., we did not know enough to forecast climate change or mankind’s effect on it). Hansen thus embarrassed NASA by coming out with his claims of global warming in 1988 in his testimony before Congress,”

Retired senior NASA atmospheric scientist, Dr. John S. Theon

 Don't get me wrong, I'm all about clean air.  But this stuff is out of control.. it's like argueing about religion except Al Gore is your god.

We're one good volcano eruption away from extinction anyway, so why bother.

p.s:  I'm an Atmospheric Chemist so don't lecture me on what other scientists think.  

 

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#40) On March 26, 2009 at 11:09 PM, brianc410 (< 20) wrote:

One more thing.. the earth is BILLIONS of years old.  It a dynamic place.  We have less than 100 years of good data..  Any good scientist knows that's not a representative sample.

 

 

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#41) On March 26, 2009 at 11:33 PM, MasterMind1234 (25.32) wrote:

WOW DO YOU REALLY THINK GLOBAL WARMING IS JUST MADE UP?!

TAKE AN ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE CLASS AT ANY UNIVERSITY!

NUFF SAID

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#42) On March 27, 2009 at 12:06 AM, rocksnot (28.98) wrote:

In a 2008 survey of 489 earth and atmospheric scientists by Harris Interactive, 97 percent said that global temperatures have increased during the past 100 years, and 74 percent agreed that "currently available scientific evidence substantiates the occurrence of human-induced greenhouse warming."  The percentage of scientists believing this has risen consistently over the last few decades.

Now, all of you that have spent most of your lives studying the global climate, including 8 or 10 years getting your earth or atmospheric scientific degree, raise your hands.  OK, among likely Fools reading this, I see, um, probably few to zero hands.

Any of you thinking that you are knowledgeable enough to even intelligently disagree with the climate scientists are fooling yourselves.  While you MIGHT be correct in thinking that global warming is a big hoax, it won't be because you are more knowledgeable about climate realities than the real folks.  Rather, if you are proven right, it will be because you have that rare combination of egotism, ignorance, and luck.  You fool yourself to think otherwise.

Sure, as in any field of science, there are corporate interests at play.  No doubt, the largest, richest, and most powerful companies in the world (like Exxon) can surely bribe some scientists with research grants to create confusion in what would otherwise be considered broad scientific consensus.  It happened with the cigarette companies, and it's happening now with global warming.  The scientists will eventually win out, but not before the Exxons have delayed real government  climate action worldwide by several decades longer than it should have taken.

GMX, while your partisan agenda is obvious, you may have more luck convincing people of your way of seeing things if you will avoid the science, especially on a forum where all of us can write back.  Go for the low hanging fruit like Rush does.  Make simple, sound-bite friendly statements, call people names, and leave the science to people that actually check their sources....

And oh my goodness, did you pick a joke of a source.  The Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine has 6 folks with degrees, none of them climatologists, and got into trouble last time (1998) when they claimed to have a petition of 17,000 scientists claiming that "carbon dioxide emissions do not pose a threat to the global climate."  Trouble is, it was later discovered that only 1 percent of the supposed signers of that petition claiming to have Ph.D.'s even really had a Ph.D.  That's 99% fraudulent in case you can't do the math.  Do you honestly believe that this current petition is any different?  Do you understand how silly you look citing them?  You may as well cite my neighbor's stupid cat.  If you are serious about wanting to write columns, at a bare minimum, you need to verify your sources.

GMX, I won't call you an idiot, because you are young.  I'll just call you naive, and encourage you to learn more about the world you live in, especially the areas of life where money is made by spreading particular political and/or monetary ideologies.  None of us are above being fooled, especially when someone says something that for political or religous reasons, we really want to believe anyway.  Don't be the mouthpiece for those interests.  You let your heart get in the way of your head on this one.

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#43) On March 27, 2009 at 12:22 AM, rocksnot (28.98) wrote:

@brianc410:  I assume you are smart enough to know that they are going on a whole lot more than just 100 years of directly recorded data.

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#44) On March 27, 2009 at 12:28 AM, thisislabor (< 20) wrote:

"you're a youngster, so I'll be kind." - glendorian.

wow. as 23 year old kid myself, that comment hurt. I felt that over here.

but I got give it to you GMX you go and knock on the community of PhD's and researchers like that and your gonna earn it. those old guys are smarter then they look..... you got to remember these people have a concept of time you can't relate too. well the intelligent ones do at least. (but I digress from that)

...

can I ask simple question to everyone:

do you really think that when you go outside and look at that BIG *SS ball of fire in the sky do you really believe that carbon emissions are CAUSAL to global warming? anyone? really? come on now. correlated maybe, sure I'll go that far with the data. but causal? come on now. ill need more evidence to prove that one.

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#45) On March 27, 2009 at 12:44 AM, kabrink (< 20) wrote:

I'm offering no opinion on whether climate change is man made or not.  I'm just going to ask a question.  It seems very legitimate to question the results of studies funded by Exxon or other organizations that stand to gain something by the results.  So, why shouldn't this same standard be applied to Al Gore?  He has a ton of "green power" investments and stands to gain big time every time he comes out to talk about the climate change "catastrophe" or whatever he might want to call it that day.  I'm not sure why he doesn't get investigated for stock pumping.

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#46) On March 27, 2009 at 12:50 AM, rocksnot (28.98) wrote:

@thisislabor: what level of evidence do you want?  and again, glad you are smarter than most climate scientists, and have a more qualified opinion than they do.  really?  come on now.  i'm glad you came along with your paragraph there explaining everything for us.  come on now.  whew, thank goodness we can all see clearly now with an argument like that.

Well of course it has something to with that big ball of fire.  THAT'S WHY THEY'RE CALLED GREENHOUSE GASES, AND WHY IT'S CALLED THE GREENHOUSE EFFECT.  If there were no sun, then no, we would not be having global warming and massive extinctions.  Given a rather steady amount of heat radiating onto the earth, and a rather steady amount of heat reflecting back out into space, the variable controlling earth temperature is greenhouse effect.

Geez I can see I'm gonna be wasting a lot of my time shooting people down in this thread.  What a waste of my time. 

Next, my posts on 1) why scientists had difficulty explaining that the earth was round to people who didn't want to believe it, 2) why scientists then had difficulty explaining that the earth is not the center of the solar system to people who didn't want to believe it, 3) why scientists then had difficulty explaining that the earth is not the center of the universe to people who didn't want to believe it, 4) why scientists have a hard time convincing people that humans actually did walk on the moon, 5) why OJ is probably guilty....

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#47) On March 27, 2009 at 12:56 AM, MasterMind1234 (25.32) wrote:

SO-

I AM STILL SO SHOCKED SOME OF YOU DON"T BELIEVE IN GLOBAL WARMING.

I am 21 years old just finished my Environmental Science.  So I can argue this all day..  HERE THIS IS FROM THE EPA...

Gases that trap heat in the atmosphere are often called greenhouse gases. This section of the EPA Climate Change Site provides information and data on emissions of greenhouse gases to Earth’s atmosphere, and also the removal of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. For more information on the science of climate change, please visit EPA's climate change science home page.

Some greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide occur naturally and are emitted to the atmosphere through natural processes and human activities. Other greenhouse gases (e.g., fluorinated gases) are created and emitted solely through human activities. The principal greenhouse gases that enter the atmosphere because of human activities are:

Carbon Dioxide (CO2): Carbon dioxide enters the atmosphere through the burning of fossil fuels (oil, natural gas, and coal), solid waste, trees and wood products, and also as a result of other chemical reactions (e.g., manufacture of cement). Carbon dioxide is also removed from the atmosphere (or “sequestered”) when it is absorbed by plants as part of the biological carbon cycle. Methane (CH4): Methane is emitted during the production and transport of coal, natural gas, and oil. Methane emissions also result from livestock and other agricultural practices and by the decay of organic waste in municipal solid waste landfills. Nitrous Oxide (N2O): Nitrous oxide is emitted during agricultural and industrial activities, as well as during combustion of fossil fuels and solid waste. Fluorinated Gases: Hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, and sulfur hexafluoride are synthetic, powerful greenhouse gases that are emitted from a variety of industrial processes. Fluorinated gases are sometimes used as substitutes for ozone-depleting substances (i.e., CFCs, HCFCs, and halons). These gases are typically emitted in smaller quantities, but because they are potent greenhouse gases, they are sometimes referred to as High Global Warming Potential gases (“High GWP gases”).

Gases that trap heat in the atmosphere are often called greenhouse gases. This section of the EPA Climate Change Site provides information and data on emissions of greenhouse gases to Earth’s atmosphere, and also the removal of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. For more information on the science of climate change, please visit EPA's climate change science home page.

Some greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide occur naturally and are emitted to the atmosphere through natural processes and human activities. Other greenhouse gases (e.g., fluorinated gases) are created and emitted solely through human activities. The principal greenhouse gases that enter the atmosphere because of human activities are:

Carbon Dioxide (CO2): Carbon dioxide enters the atmosphere through the burning of fossil fuels (oil, natural gas, and coal), solid waste, trees and wood products, and also as a result of other chemical reactions (e.g., manufacture of cement). Carbon dioxide is also removed from the atmosphere (or “sequestered”) when it is absorbed by plants as part of the biological carbon cycle. Methane (CH4): Methane is emitted during the production and transport of coal, natural gas, and oil. Methane emissions also result from livestock and other agricultural practices and by the decay of organic waste in municipal solid waste landfills. Nitrous Oxide (N2O): Nitrous oxide is emitted during agricultural and industrial activities, as well as during combustion of fossil fuels and solid waste. Fluorinated Gases: Hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, and sulfur hexafluoride are synthetic, powerful greenhouse gases that are emitted from a variety of industrial processes. Fluorinated gases are sometimes used as substitutes for ozone-depleting substances (i.e., CFCs, HCFCs, and halons). These gases are typically emitted in smaller quantities, but because they are potent greenhouse gases, they are sometimes referred to as High Global Warming Potential gases (“High GWP gases”).

SO UHHH WHERE DO THE GASES GO GEORGE WHERE DO THEY GO?!?! INTO THE ATMOSPHERE DUHHHH!

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#48) On March 27, 2009 at 12:57 AM, rocksnot (28.98) wrote:

@kabrink: That is a great point.  In fact, Mr. Gore does have a lot to gain, and his feet should be held to fire.  He really can't be trusted any more than Exxon can.  I haven't seen Gore's movie, and don't really care what it says.  What I care about is the growing consensus of the climate experts.  And like I said above, while there is some chance that they are wrong, I am not qualified to know, nor are most here.  The best that I can do is to support those most likely to know.  I will say that whatever money Gore has to influence scientists is insignificant compared to the industries that benefit from global warming.

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#49) On March 27, 2009 at 1:08 AM, thisislabor (< 20) wrote:

It's convenient that you listed all the gases produced by human activities. Now please continue to list all the gases produced by natural processes. Please compare tons of the gases produced by humans and by natural processes. ... I will agree that clorinated and florinated gases are a definate threat if their production is left unchecked, however.

rocksnot, where do you get that the amount of heat released by the sun, and the amount of heat that lands on the earth is steady?

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#50) On March 27, 2009 at 1:24 AM, MasterMind1234 (25.32) wrote:

Thisislabor-

I think this i what you are looking for...  IT IS PART OF GLOBAL WARMING BUT STILL STUDY MY ABOVE TEXT PLEASE...

The polarity over a period of time of an ice age is reversed meaning the hot spots do change in points of the earth  thus telling us it is man made AND natural..  The earth goes through a polar shift, it warms up and flows in another way...  When the ice caps melt, the tide is changed...  This happens every 100,000 years (which is to be determined) but everytime we go through an ice age...  We go through global warming...  But we can make it worse as I have said and spped it up but yes naturally everytime we go through an ice age we must first have global warming its a cycle like your rotation with the sun..  Proven science..  But these CFCs and greenhouse gases do measure up, my friends..

Vegas Freddy

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#51) On March 27, 2009 at 1:27 AM, MasterMind1234 (25.32) wrote:

P.S. I AM NO TREE HUGGER HAHA I HATE HIPPIES

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#52) On March 27, 2009 at 1:30 AM, rocksnot (28.98) wrote:

Ah!  Here is an even more recent survey from January 19, 2009 of 3,146 earth scientists from around the world:  90 percent of them agree that "in the past 200-plus years, mean global temperatures have been rising" and 82 percent of them agree that "human activity is a significant contributing factor in changing mean global temperatures." 

Again, glad all you Limbaughites are smarter about climate change than the vast majority of earth scientists that have constructed their lives around figuring out answers to questions like this.

http://esciencenews.com/articles/2009/01/19/survey.scientists.agree.human.induced.global.warming.real

Every year, the picture is getting clearer, and when we're all old, you deniers will be shoved to the fringe.  But more likely, you'll just pretend that yes, you knew all along that global warming was real, and hope that people that knew you forgot the things you used to say.

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#53) On March 27, 2009 at 1:47 AM, MasterMind1234 (25.32) wrote:

You guys ever heard of the wolly mammoth of whom they found daiseys in it's stomach?

The mammoth was found in the arctic or the north pole i believe. only problem is that there are no spring daisies in the arctic. There was a pole shift in a matter of hours. im not sure how much you know about the ancient maya or the egyptians, but they were much smarter than we are now despite the lack of technological objects except the pyramids they built. these pyramids have the records of humans, and the earth and what happened in the past and will what happen in the future. Do a little research. My roomate found a hieroglyph of a sperm cell with a penis hyroglyph, i know thats funny, but how the hell did they have a microscope? they did! they had batteries and light bulbls too. theres even hyroglyphs of helicopters and tanks. do some searches... interesting s****. Watch the below video...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1aPNcUJuiLY&feature=player_embedded

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#54) On March 27, 2009 at 1:48 AM, rocksnot (28.98) wrote:

@thisislabor:  Yes, I said "rather steady."  Where do you get that it isn't?  I'm pretty sure that the 25% increase in CO2 over the last 100 years and all the other crap in the air has a lot larger effect on earth temperature than the fantastically small decade-to-decade variances of solar radiation.  If you'ld like to prove that wrong, please feel free to dig up the numbers.

I'm not a climatologist, and although you may ask me to defend global warming like I am one, I'll just again defer their consensus.  Your argument sounds like, "Dude, I can plainly see that the Earth is flat.  What is all this silliness about you and scientists saying it's round?"  I confess, I haven't been all the way around the world, so perhaps, like global warming, it's just a hoax.  But the vast consensus of the people most likely to know say that the Earth is round, so that is my opinion too.

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#55) On March 27, 2009 at 3:30 AM, thisislabor (< 20) wrote:

rocksnot, if you live on the ocean you can plainly see that the earth isn't flat. but i digress with that point because ancient sailors have known this for centuries... anyways. before you go and make a broad statement on solar cycles please see if it is "rather steady".

solar cycles are rather short 7-10years and the elliptical orbit of the earth works on a 40k, 100k and 250k cycle.

mastermind, let me ask you question out of curiosity, i am going to side the global warming arguement completely for a second. Actually I want to nit-pick the actual process that is suppose to happen with it. 

do you know the theory that warming temperatures will actually cause an ice age - via the changing in the saline content from the run off of the glaciers in the north atlantic oceans. the temperature and saline gradients are suppose to cause a change in the ocean current patterns along the coasts of the Americas and Europe.

do you know the theory im speaking of? what do you think of it? do you think there is any basis in it? 

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#56) On March 27, 2009 at 10:12 AM, brianc410 (< 20) wrote:

@rocksnot:

 

Sure they're using more than 100 years of temperature data.  The data presented prior to 1900 was based off of mainly tree rings.  Can we assume they can predict temperature changes down to 0.1C from a tree ring within a reasonable amount of accuracy?  Are there other variables present that may affect how a tree grows?

 Global warming alarmists overlook the "Medieval Warming Period" that occurred from the 900's - 1300's when presenting their case.  However they include the data from the "Little Ice Age (~1400-1700) to make today's climate changes look more dramatic.

 I am not arguing that climate change occurs.  I'm only stating that our estimates of mans contribution to it may be overestimated. 

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#57) On March 27, 2009 at 12:27 PM, tquill (29.14) wrote:

Whether man made global warming is true or not, I'm quite certain we don't want legislation towards it. 

If you want to voluntarily support "green" companies then go right ahead, but don't go forcefully stealing money from my paycheck to pay for your agenda.

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#58) On March 27, 2009 at 12:41 PM, pondee619 (97.10) wrote:

Global warming or not, an excess of carbon and other gases in our air can not be a good thing.  Auto exhausts are toxic, the smoke from wood burning stoves should not be breathed, emissions from various plants are not healthy, etc.  All should be reduced just for our own good health.  How many people here remember smog alerts and temperature inversions?  The air should be cleaned.  We breath it.

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#59) On March 27, 2009 at 1:24 PM, rocksnot (28.98) wrote:

@brianc410: and ice cores too, indirectly?  But I see your point.  I know that other things can affect tree rings, like moisture, but as you know, being an atmospheric guy, that scientists use various methods to try to tease that noise out of their data.

I'll again keep making the argument that I'm not a climatologist, and when pressed, I'll fail to successfully defend the technical arguments that most climatologists could.  I simply trust the vast majority of those folks who make it their living to know, the earth scientists and especially the climatologists.  I am not qualified to argue against the talking points put out by the well-funded oil and coal interest groups, although I may try.

What REALLY strikes me is that in the above survey I referenced (see the link), is NOT that 97 percent of climatologists believe global warming is human caused, but that also 47 percent of petroleum geologists do too.  If there is any group of scientists that is politically and monetarily motivated to deny the existence of human caused global warming, it is petroleum geologists.  Yet nearly half force themselves to admit that that is the way it looks.  Every other group of scientists in the world, including groups that are much more qualified to have an opinion on the matter, does believe even much more strongly in human caused global warming.

@thisislabor:  The earth is flat, I tell you!  The Koran and the Bible's book of Revelations say so.  See this Iraqi debate among 2 scientists: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wppjYDj9JU or this web site proving the earth is flat: http://www.alaska.net/~clund/e_djublonskopf/Flatearthsociety.htm

Seriously though, none of your numbers states anything about the relative global warming strength of solar radiation vs the warming strength of greenhouse gases.  It's fine and all that those cycles exist, but it proves nothing in itself.  I believe those cycles to be mostly insignificant when compared with greenhouse effect.  I'll stand by my "rather steady" comment until I see some numbers that actually mean something.

My rationale is this:  the moon is extremely cold, because it has no atmosphere.  Most solar radiation simply bounces off, and what amount is absorbed radiates directly back into space.  There is no atmosphere, no greenhouse, no temperature (well, very low).

I might be wrong, and will be happy for you to find a study showing the relative contributions to earth surface temperature variation of solar radiation vs greenhouse effect.  The only study I've found so far this morning was a NASA one that showed a small increase of solar radiation in recent decades, but not enough to (yet) change climate.

And yet again, I'll keep saying that I'm no climatologist, but I'll trust those climatologists over the small majority of petroleum geologists saying otherwise, and I'll certainly trust them over the deep-pocketed political and corporate forces that have trillions of dollars to gain by keeping the public confused about global warming.

I'm going to end this post with a little story.  My uncle, who like me, thought of himself as being smarter than average, found a way to prove that Einstein was wrong about the idea that ordinary objects could not go faster than the speed of light.  His argument was that all you had to do was put a guy in a car, accelerate the car to almost the speed of light (say 1 mph slower), and then throw a baseball out the window at about 50 mph.  You'ld then have a baseball traveling about 49 mph faster than the speed of light!

Well, this sounded very convincing to me, as a boy of 10 years old.  I then told all my teachers and friends this, and they all agreed that it was very clever, and what do scientists know anyway.  Later, in high school, I mentioned it to a math teacher.  That teacher told me, yes, that sounds plausible, but no, it doesn't work that way, and that I would have to learn things like calculus and Special Relativity to know why.

In college I did learn these things.  I found out that what happens is that as you try to throw the baseball forward, the energy required to push it beyond the speed of light becomes infinite.  Essentially, the ball (and your arm) begin to feel so massive that you cannot bring your arm forward.

It took a heck of a lot of science and math education to get me to that point in life.  My "common sense" way of looking at that situation was incorrect.  And now, as an adult, I feel guilty for misleading a lot of people with my over-simplified misunderstanding of what is going on with the speed of light.  My uncle's argument was a good one, and worked on a vast majority of people who don't understand physics well enough to know why it doesn't work.  And that is the saddest part of it.  The vast majority of people, not understanding Special Relativity, have no mental framework to work with to know why the baseball trick won't work.  They either have to believe in my greater understanding of the situation (like a climatologist!), or simply not believe me, and continue to think that they could throw the ball faster.  Their intuition is wrong, and yet I can make no quick argument that I'm right, other than to say spend some years becoming more educated in the area.

So I'm saying that we average folks can sit here and debate technical merits of global warming all day, but mostly we will just be passing the sound-bites of opposing interest groups back and forth, fooling ourselves into thinking we are clever, and making each other angry. 

I suppose it comes down to which group of experts you trust.  If you trust scientists, then there is really not much of a global warming controversy.  It's here now, and it's happening.  If you trust the coal and gas industry lobbying groups, and you think scientists are just a bunch of left-wing radicals seeking to destroy all capitalism as we know it, then for you, global warming is all fake.  Either way, both those groups will know more about the real situation than us laymen playing CAPS.  

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#60) On March 27, 2009 at 1:33 PM, rocksnot (28.98) wrote:

@tquill:  I wish it were that simple.  That we had 2 planets, and we could put everyone on one that believed your way, and put everyone else on the other.  But we have to live on the same planet.

Another way of looking at it is that what gives you the right to spend your money in such a way as to dirty-up the air I breathe?  Maybe give me lung cancer or asthma and increase my medical costs?  Maybe cause drought or heatwaves or monsoons in my area?  Maybe financially impact my ability to make a living by farming?  You are stealing money from MY paycheck by doing those things.

The only real solution is to vote on it and accept that some people are not gonna like it.  We're in the same boat, with no other option.

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#61) On March 27, 2009 at 6:02 PM, thisislabor (< 20) wrote:

rocksnot, 

you mean because the mass of an object grows to infinity as the speed of that object approaches the speed of light, and it is impossible to accelerate and infinitely heavy object - unless ofcourse the growth rate of the force applied is greater than the growth rate of the mass's growth? 

.... yeah I guess the heavy arm theory makes sense too.

Now, rocksnot, friend, foe, whatever,

so let me get this strait, what your saying is: you REALLY believe that the earth is round? For real? Come now. Be serious for a second. You don't really believe all that earth is round stuff do you? You can just walk outside and look at the dirt. It's flat! As far as the eye can see! Come on now. Cause, I mean if the earth is shaped like an orange and not like a pancake next thing your going to tell me is that we're not the center of the universe right? I mean for real. You can obviously see that that BIG BALL OF FIRE orbits around US. Not the other way around. Just walk outside and look at it!

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#62) On March 27, 2009 at 6:40 PM, rocksnot (28.98) wrote:

@thisislabor,

About the baseball, yes, that is a nice way of saying it.  Try telling that to my uncle.  We're talking about a baseball here.  In fact, try telling that to anyone who would have a preconceived reason, whether religious or political or otherwise, for not wanting to believe that the mass of an object grows to infinity as it approaches light speed.  If I simply said, "well, I don't believe that, it doesn't make common sense," how could you respond?  It's not easy, and you'ld likely waste a bunch of time failing to convince me.  And most frustratingly for you, I might still feel snug and superior in my "common sense" knowing that you are just some silly college kid who thinks he knows something.  I mean, how could a baseball weigh a zillion pounds?  That doesn't make any sense!  Have you ever tried it?  Do you even know someone who has tried it?  Then how do you know?!?!

And as for the Earth's shape, it is well known that it is turtles all the way down.  For REAL.  No really this time.  Seriously.  Really?  Come on now!  :)

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

 

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#63) On March 27, 2009 at 9:07 PM, thisislabor (< 20) wrote:

It's obviously turtles all the way down. Duh, what else would it be! 

*A pound of effort for my penny of serious thought...*

We only have a 100 years worth of data to support global warming, and I do think that it could be causal to humans.

But, statistically speaking, we don't as of yet have enough data to actually state that it is humans that cause global warming (or that the globe is even warming). And until we do, it is just a theory. Of course, so is relativity and locality. *shrugs* Only really good way to find out is to test our theory and keep pumping out green house gases and find out.

...

you know if you go back and read my original post I was being sarchastic from the get go. I just didn't think anyone would read it as me being serious. another failed online text attempt at humor? *shrugs* oh well. XD

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#64) On March 27, 2009 at 9:19 PM, MasterMind1234 (25.32) wrote:

it's both natural and human i promise

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#65) On March 28, 2009 at 2:49 PM, abitare (34.29) wrote:

 Global warming is scam, IMO

ARE , YOU , HOTT = LOL!

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#66) On March 28, 2009 at 3:31 PM, Xandamere (< 20) wrote:

Interesting article. I disagree with your conclusion, I don't think there's enough evidence to say it's a hoax, but I do think people need to keep more of an open mind, and when it comes to global warming most people don't. Remember that while people are anxious to claim an "overwhelming scientific consensus" for their point of view, history is filled with examples of such "overwhelming consensus" being wrong and the minority research being done to prove that falsity being attacked and disregarded.

 Scientists who challenge the global warming hypothesis are insulted and often threatened with cut funding. They have been compared to Holocaust deniers. It's automatically assumed that they must be right-wing hacks in the pocket of the oil companies. But guess what? The same claim could be made for scientists who believe global warming exists, because they're "in the pocket" of environmental interests who pay for their research facilities. If you're going to accuse people of research bias in favor of the cause that pays for the research (which is a VERY real phenomenon, mind you), you have to recognize that it goes both ways.

 There is a lot of evidence that the global warming theories we hear in the media and as presented by Al Gore are false. There's also evidence that they're true. I don't claim to know what the answer is.

 I do think that the current environment of automatically dismissing anybody who doesn't believe in global warming as an uneducated idiot, a right-wing nutjob, or an oil-company shill flies in the face of the scientific method of research. 

Examine the evidence. Keep your mind as open as you can, read up on evidence that contradicts the position you believe in, and see how it adds up. Be willing to give the benefit of the doubt. Always question the consensus.

I'd also recommend reading Michael Crichton's "State of Fear." Yes, it's a fiction novel, but like all of Crichton's work he incorporates a vast amount of scientific research, all cited in the appendix and available for you to read yourself if you don't believe it.

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#67) On March 28, 2009 at 4:12 PM, Xandamere (< 20) wrote:

One other comment to the people saying "well, we should at least try, and if we're wrong, it's just a bit of money."

 The last time global climate was a big issue, it was cooling that they were worried about, back in the 70's (if memory serves, can get the ref. if requested, but didn't want to be bothered looking it up right now). Here's the scary part: this same argument came up, people said "well we should at least try"....and one of the suggestions was using high explosives to break off pieces of glaciers to get them to melt and prevent ice-age style buildup. 

 How would the world look now if that happened? We need to take extreme care handling this issue, not just start trying to fix it by throwing a bunch of stuff on the wall and seeing what sticks. We're liable to do more harm than good that way.

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#68) On March 28, 2009 at 9:24 PM, rocksnot (28.98) wrote:

Xandamere, I think your points are good ones.  I'll say that science is 30 or 40 years more advanced than it was in the 70's.

I'll also say that "global cooling" in the 70's NEVER represented anything more than the opinions of a few scientists.  Certainly nothing near the consensus that exists today around global warming.  It's disingenuous for people to say things like "scientists thought the globe was cooling in the 70's," implying a consensus, when only a (very) small number did.  I'd call it an outright lie, but in your case it isn't, because you are only repeating a right-wing talking point you heard or read, and probably believed it to be true.  Same thing happens with left-wing talking points.  I believe in your good intention to say such a thing, though it is wrong.  It's like saying that just because you can find 2 scientists in America that believe Elvis still lives, that "scientists believe Elvis still lives."

As for your comment that global warming disbelievers are sometimes insulted and have their funding cut, I'm sure that the opposite goes on within the deep-pocketed oil and coal industries too.  We live in a government by the Lobbyists and for the Lobbyists, and thus mostly by the Corporations and for the Corporations, who fund the vast majority of the Lobbyists.  For such a consensus to exist among scientists despite that is amazing to me.  Especially when, again, 47 percent of the petroleum geologists, surely the most biased against human caused global warming, have to admit that even they think that it is true.  Among the remaining 53 percent, I wonder how many would truthfully say, "we cannot yet know."  Probably a lot of them.  If even 10 percent believe that we cannot yet know, then that would mean that even among the petroleum geologists, a plurality believe in human caused global warming.  Of course that's a complete guess on my part.

I completely agree that it is difficult to know the truth when so much money is at stake, and interest groups are spending such incredible amounts of money to influence politics and voters.  I'll simply go with what the scientists say on what is essentially a scientific question, and which only they are really qualified to answer.  The Al Gores and the Exxons would like to manipulate us average folks into a far right or far left corner on the matter, when the truth is that very few of us are actually knowledgeable enough to have an expert's opinion.  Among those experts, there is compelling consensus.

I think, in only another decade or 2, that this issue will be put to rest, just like happened with tobacco.  But I could be wrong, I guess.

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#69) On March 28, 2009 at 10:46 PM, Xandamere (< 20) wrote:

Science is certainly more advanced now than it was in the 70's, and it will certainly be more advanced in another 10 years....saying "we're more advanced now than we used to be" as an argument for saying that our current research must be correct isn't sound thinking, in my opinion. Knowledge always advances, and as it does, it has a remarkable tendency to prove things that we're so sure we "know" right now to be incorrect.

 You're absolutely right about the global cooling bit. It wasn't just a "couple" of scientists, and I think it's awfully smarmy of you to say it must just be some "right-wing talking point" I heard and believed without any evidence. I would think that after my previous posts you would, hopefully, have taken me for the kind of person who questions things, keeps an open mind, and doesn't automatically believe anything without evidence, no matter which political wing tells it to me. Carl Sagan, a pretty noted scientist, wrote a pretty highly-regarded paper on the subject in....1979 or 80, if memory serves.

It wasn't an enormous consensus, but it was certainly something people were talking about, and I just brought it up to highlight that we don't know as much as we think we do, and we should be extremely careful when playing with our Earth to ensure that we have correct information.

 Why don't we take a moment to go over what we DO know:

-The earth has been getting warmer, since about 1850. The only constant of climate IS change.

-Computer models that try to predict the effect of man's influence vary in their estimates by hundreds of percent. You know what I call a "model" that varies by such a phenomenal degree? A blind guess. It's like me telling you "I think it's going to be 50 degrees tomorrow, but it might be 0 degrees, or it might be 200."

-Humanity has utterly failed in its current efforts to "preserve" wilderness. Witness Yellowstone and the animal/plant population issues there since we started trying to "maintain" the place. Clearly, just "trying" and hoping we get it right isn't a good idea, we need to be sure lest we screw something up, badly. See Playing God in Yellowstone: the Destruction of American's First National Park.

Now then, you also state that "among those experts, there is compelling consensus." Upon what do you base that statement? Here are some references to show that it might not be entirely correct:

-"Urban bias in temperature time series - a case study for the city of Vienna, Austria", published in Climactic Change 38 (1998):113-28. Also on this topic, "Characteristics of the heat island effect in Shanghai and its possible mechanism." Advances in Atmospheric Sciences 20 (2003):991-1001. Essentially, these talk about urban heat effect, which basically says that cities are hotter than the surrounding countryside. Many weather stations were located in areas that in 1900-1940ish were rural, but are now urban, and are thus giving somewhat biased data about warming. Global warming scientists are quite aware of this, and try to adjust for it in their calculations, by using one of those "give or take a few hundred percent" computer models mentioned earlier.

-Critical Political Ecology: the Politics of Environmental Science, which is written by a lecturer on environment and development at the London School of Economics, not an oil-industry hack. Speaks in great depth about the dangers of using computer models to predict climate change when the scientists are forced to just make up the inputs. Garbage in, garbage out, basically.

-The Skeptical Environmentalist, researched and written by a Danish statistician and Greenpeace activist, who set out to attack critics of global warming....and he found out that many of their views actually stood up, so he wrote this. Predictably, after publishing, he was viciously attacked in Scientific American and other publications.

-Hot Talk, Cold science: Global Warming's Unfinished Debate, written by a retired environmental science professor who was also director of the weather satellite service and the center for atmospheric and space sciences. Probably knows a thing or two about climate.

That's probably enough to bombard you with for now. :) And please keep in mind that I'm not trying to convince you that global warming is a giant fraud, just that there's not nearly the consensus that the mainstream media tries to shove down our throats, and that we need to continue to research and study the issue and be willing to consider all points of view, instead of making ad hominem attacks against people who dissent from the currently accepted theory. 

 

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#70) On March 29, 2009 at 1:31 PM, tquill (29.14) wrote:

Rocksnot:

Let's assume global warming is manmade.  How can anyone possibly believe the government could prevent it?  A recent yahoo article I read claimed 45 trillion dollars would be needed to combat global warming.  HA!  Good luck getting that!  Also, when was the last thing the government "fixed" anything.

As many have mentioned, claiming that this global warming is unnatural by looking at 100 years of data is similar to looking at the stock market for 10 minutes and determining where it's headed over the next 20 years.

I should also note that you're special relatively baseball explanation is beyond retarted.  The reason why you can't accelerate a baseball past the speed of light in your example has absolutely nothing to do with the ball being too heavy for your arm to pick up.  Rather, the answer is because velocities at relativistic speeds are not additive.  This means that someone traveling at 90% the speed of light could throw a baseball 90% relative to their own movement, but an outside observer would not measure the baseball's speed at 1.8 times the speed of light, but rather a speed still below the speed of light.  I'm an aerospace engineer BTW, so I have a slight understanding of it. 

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#71) On March 29, 2009 at 2:46 PM, JohnnyJackson (< 20) wrote:

Just to take a different approach, climatologists have barely established global warming yet they are trying 1) attribute it to a single cause when there are many contenders 2) to predict future temperatures when they are not forecasters and 3) to predict the results of political actions on temperature. The UN report suggested that "As much as 30% of manmade global warming could be attributed to C02" (Yeah, I read it.) What about the other 70%?

For a forecaster's perspective, see J. Scott Armstrong's bet with Al Gore: Armstrong bet that temperatures would not rise and Gore wouldn't take the bet. By the way, the polar bear population has never been so big.http://www.forecastingprinciples.com/Public_Policy/global_warming_audit.html

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#72) On March 29, 2009 at 3:42 PM, rocksnot (28.98) wrote:

Xandamere, when I say that yes, it seems to me that today's science is better than that of 40 years ago, I believe it.  I'm sure that today's science is wrong in some ways, but it's the best we have.  To assume that because today's science might be wrong, well, I'm glad you can know this better than those who have made it their lives to study it.  I see studies from food industry folks now saying that being fat is actually healthy, and that corn syrup isn't really bad for us.  I just really don't know how to respond to that kind of stuff.  Above all, it just seems to me that some folks that are psychologically or monetarily invested in a view point will grasp at any straws, all the way to the end.

Sorry I seemed smarmy.  I hear what you say about that point and will keep it in mind.  I'll TRY to tone it down from here out.  :)

You say, "and we should be extremely careful when playing with our Earth to ensure that we have correct information."  I agree, and your point seems to support the view that we should quit playing around with our atmosphere by dumping tons of crap in it.  But you seem to be saying that dumping all this stuff into the air is the normal thing to do, and that trying to slow doing that is "playing around with our earth."  Does that NOT seem like double-speak to you?

Your point about Yellowstone seems to say that we shouldn't try to fix  anything until a thousand years from now, when the science is extremely well understood.  And of course, at that point, there will still be dissenters, saying the science isn't yet good enough, and what if by fixing most things, we break some others.  Well, who is it that you trust to say when?  There will always be dissenters who have an economic incentive to dissent.  I think this is an important point.  Since we can't all be experts on everything, who is it that YOU trust enough to say when we should take action about problems?  We could have avoided forming a national park there, and left it unregulated.  Mining interests and housing developments could have overrun one of the (still, to this day) most magical places on earth, and then that guy couldn't have written his book telling us how Yellowstone has already been destroyed by environmentalists. 

We're going to have to define "consensus" before we go any further.  It's fine that you and your referenced handful of dissenters disagree with the vast majority of scientists.  Are you saying that to define consensus that we have to eliminate all dissenters?  Of course that is ridiculous, and I don't think that you are really saying that.  Just because you mention a few dissenters doesn't mean there isn't consensus.  By my count, if only 82 percent of earth scientists agree that global warming exists and is human caused, then you'll probably be able to dig up hundreds or thousands of dissenters.  List them all if you want.  They will still be a small minority.  There will still be roughly 5x more studies and papers saying the opposite.  I'm not going to try to argue against the technical merits of the dissenters' views you listed, because I am not a climate expert and am unqualified.  I'm sure they make good, logical points.  But, I can, if you like, list a ton of papers saying the opposite, and let you try to dismantle their arguments.  Perhaps you really are qualified, and are not an average Joe like me.  But I think you can see where I'm going with this.  Two laymen (I'm assuming you are not a climatologist) debating by flinging technical papers and political articles at each other is kinda pointless.  However, I'll do it if that's what you want.  My experience arguing this in the past is that that's when the discussion gets impossibly mired in minutia and everyone gives up in disgust.

Unlike you, I do not believe that I am smarter, or maybe just more knowledgeable, than those 82 percent of earth scientists, or the 97 percent of climatologists, or even the 47 percent of petroleum geologists that believe in human caused global warming.  This is what I call compelling consensus.  Tell me what YOUR numbers would be to define compelling consensus. 

Perhaps you can help me, and I mean this seriously.  Tell me what I can do to become more knowledgeable about climate change than those scientists I listed above.  Tell me how I can understand that the small group of dissenters you listed are the ones telling me the truth, and that the vast majority of scientists, of all kinds, are the ones who are lying.  Tell me how I can know that they are the ones deceiving themselves or the public.  This is the ability that you believe that you have, and I ask you with all honesty to share it with me.  Tell me how I can know, like you do, that the small minority of dissenters have the REAL truth, and how I can, as a layman, know that truth as well.  I am truly open to being converted if you can show me the way.

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#73) On March 29, 2009 at 4:35 PM, rocksnot (28.98) wrote:

@tquil: You may be right, and the governments of the world can no longer prevent it.  Your 45 trillion figure shows just how far in the hole we already are.

And gosh, here we go with the 100 years of data thing again.  I responded to that earlier, but I understand your point. 

Regarding special relativity, when I used the word "feel" that was a poor choice.  I said nothing about the ball getting too heavy to pick up, don't know why you made that up.  Still, if you are going 1 mph less than the speed of light, and now you are gonna accelerate your arm forward at whatever energy it takes to throw the ball 50 mph faster than you are traveling, it will take an infinite amount of energy, and your arm will never make it.  Glad to hear that my understanding makes me "retarted."

@JohnnyJackson:

1) good point.  2) Um, ok.... Which specialty of science to you want to call the official forecasters of the climate, if not climatologists?  While meteorologists don't fit the bill either since they focus on hour-to-hour and week-to-week, 64 percent of even that group believes global warming is human caused.  3) You can't be serious right?  CO2 is not the only greenhouse gas, and it's not even the worst.  But it is the hardest one to do something about.

And the info about Al Gore and the polar bears is great and all, thanks.  Like I said earlier, and I know that we are getting to that point where people are jumping into this thread without reading all the huge amount that has already been typed, I don't care what Gore says, and I haven't seen his movie.  So please, keep bringing him up all you want.  I'm not defending him, and I'm not talking about polar bears.  I'm simply defending scientists against a public, and a political party, and a lot of corporations, and China, and India, and Russia, and Brazil, and the Middle East.  And while global warming may be hard to predict, the actions of these parties is quite predictable.

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#74) On March 29, 2009 at 5:09 PM, Xandamere (< 20) wrote:

Rocksnot,

 What I meant by science being better now than it was in the past is simply that knowledge is an upward slope. We don't, as a society, "forget" knowledge that we had before. It's always on the rise, and thus at any point (well, past the Dark Ages), we can always say "we currently know more than now than at any other point in human history" and have it be true. The trick is, that leads us to believe that we have right answers to situations when there is still much more to be discovered, simply because we know more about those situations now than we did 20 years ago.

To address your point about trying to slow down dumping pollutants into the atmosphere: we haven't spoken of that yet, and I do fully agree that we should try to reduce emissions and pollutants wherever possible. This becomes a cost-benefit analysis, I think. There are measures we can take to control emissions, move towards alternative energy sources, and generally be better custodians of our planet that are reasonable and pose little to no risk of future harm if we turn out to be wrong about this whole thing. There are also measures we could take that could cause dramatic harm to the human race if we're wrong about global warming, and it's those measures that I say we need to slow down on until we can learn more.

Let me state once again since this point seems to keep getting lost amidst everything else: I'm not a global warming disbeliever. I don't think it's a hoax. I'm a skeptic, I want to keep an open mind (towards BOTH sides) as we continue to gather more data. My argument isn't with scientists who think global warming is real. I think many of them are doing good work for a good cause. My argument is with scientists and (primarily) media and laypersons who are 100% convinced it's real, there's no room for any disgagreement or counterargument, and who make vicious personal attacks against anybody who brings up another point of view. I hope that clarifies where I stand somewhat.

Regarding scientific consensus, looking for truth via consensus has always been a tricky thing. From geocentricity to gravity to Newtonian physics, there has always been a "consensus" about the way things are, and if we listen to that consensus and automatically ignore the dissenter with his research, we'd still be in the Dark Ages. Everybody agrees something is one way until somebody proves it's not. That's my point. I'm not trying to prove global warming "wrong," what I'm trying to do is encourage people to keep an open mind.

Truth is reached when the DATA agree, not when the scientists agree. Scientists are human just like the rest of us, prone to the same misjudgments and (often unconsious) biases as anyone. Look up research bias if you're curious for more on this, there's a remarkable tendency for scientists to publish "findings" that align with the interests of the groups who pay for the research. Amazing, that.

Some people will call global warming skeptics oil-industry hacks, right-wing stooges, and the like. People can be (and should be) skeptical of Exxon-Mobil geologists who say they don't believe in global warming. But, by the same token, most climatologists are people who got into the field because they believed in the great threat presented by global warming and wanted to study it to try and help. A noble goal, to be sure, but you could also make an argument that they have biases, too.

Listen to the data, ignore the people. When the data agree, that's when you've found truth. I don't think I'm smarter than any particular scientist, though I think it's somewhat funny that you assume I do and point it out, perhaps as a method to try and discredit what I'm saying. I'm just more skeptical.  

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#75) On March 29, 2009 at 5:34 PM, brdmartin (< 20) wrote:

What a great discussion. I am in strong agreement with dudemonkey: if we look at the consequences of acting on the wrong assumption about global warming, then the only logical action is to act as if global warming is real. 

Hypothetically, lets say for example that astronomers had recently identified an enormous asteroid floating in space, and if it were to hit the earth, would vaporize all living things. If it were to hit the earth, it would do so in 1 year's time. But the scientists disagree on the chances of it hitting, with some saying that the chances of it hitting is at zero, while others put it at 80 percent. In addition, there is some argument about whether our current technology would be able to even effect an asteroid of this size. What action would you choose?

If we change the scenario a little bit, to make it less politically charged, the course of action becomes more clear. I would hope that most people would support trying to fix the asteroid problem. We may be vaporized anyhow, but at least we would not have to regret not doing anything.

Do I know that global warming is real? no, I am not qualified to even come close to determining that. And I highly doubt that anyone in this conversation is qualified to do that either. So here is what I have chosen to do:

1) I will acknowledge and act on potential problems that seem reasonable. There are lots of conspiracy theories out there, and I have no interest in preparing for a zombie attack that is predicted to occur in 2012 by some nutcase.  The theory that we are causing global warming, on the other hand, is logical based on our current scientific knowledge. Please ask yourself if you would be willing to wager the lives of your family, your children, or your grandchildren on being right on this issue. I certainly wouldn't. 

2) I will take action, even if I am unsure if my actions will be successful. If the earth was going to be vaporized by an asteroid, I would at least want to know that we did everything under our power to try to prevent it. Likewise, if the climate goes crazy, and we are either brought back to prehistoric times, or we become extinct completely, I want to know that we at least tried to fix our mistake. Some people argue that even if we were to make all these changes, the decrease in CO2 emissions would be very small. That may very well be true, but a little change is better than none, and I am not at all interested in sitting around helplessly, and giving up.

I hope that we as a people, a species, can stop with the second guessing and the excuse making, and get to work.  I don't know what the future will hold, but I do want it to be as good as it can be, and this will require all of us to focus less on being right, and more on doing right. 

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#76) On March 29, 2009 at 6:18 PM, rocksnot (28.98) wrote:

@Xandamere, I hear what you are saying, and it seems reasonable.  You continue to raise good points.

I do think climate science is quite complicated.  If it were simple, we wouldn't be having an argument.  In light of that, citizens like me have to have proxies that we can trust.  In fact, so does everyone.  A man can't be an expert on everything, even if he is Bush or Obama (and those cases really prove the point well).  For some folks that is their political party, for some their employer, for some their church, for some their peer group, for some their drinking buddies, etc.  Any time something becomes too big and complicated to spend your life revolving around it.  For me, that proxy is the scientists.  I'm sure they will occasionally let me down, but who else should I trust?  I could read lots of literature on one side, and become quite convinced of my rightness.  I could read the other's, and the same would happen.  As it is, I am generally familiar with this complicated subject, and defer to the scientists.  I think I would be fooling myself into thinking I know more than I do if I did otherwise.  And I also think this of most of the folks arguing here, and I mean no offense by that comment.  That's just the way I see it.

Also, while you are keenly aware of folks like me using terms like "right-wing hacks," I'm sure that you are also aware that it goes the other way too.  Like when GMX started this article with a reference by an incredibly biased and provenly unreputable source that "Are 31,000 Skeptical Scientists Wrong."  Well, did he do that out of malice, or out of ignorance?  Is he a right-wing hack, or just a politically enthusiastic kid that doesn't yet know the importance of checking his sources when writing an article for a paper?  I don't know, perhaps he would like to address the point.  To be so vocal in the past about other issues, he has surely been quiet in this, perhaps his most controversial thread.

Am I a crazy, tree-hugging hippy?  Or maybe I'm just "retarted," as one of my points was called earlier.  All I mean to do is to be is right.  That is my goal.  Maybe I'm wrong, and if so, I would appreciate anyone who can bring me into your group of the chosen few who see things clearly.

I'd like to point out that while you say that the data should make itself obvious, yes, it eventually will.  How long should we wait for that, then? The world is full of data that means one thing to scientists and another to everyone else.  When the scientists start lining up on one side of the isle, it means something.  I want to start talking about something like the earth being 6,000 years old now, but gosh, I really don't feel like arguing that one right now.  I'll just say that data showing that the earth is older quite clearly means something different to most scientists than it does to the public.  My point in that case being that the public really doesn't seem to be able to interpret the data, or if they do, just don't want to believe it for other reasons.  And there are a lot of well-funded interest groups that wish it to stay that way.

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#77) On March 29, 2009 at 6:30 PM, rocksnot (28.98) wrote:

@brdmartin: to make it more analogous, if 18 percent of the scientists thought there was zero chance of the asteroid hitting, and 82 percent believed that it would hit, including the obviously biased astrophysicists, then heck yes, we should shoot the thing down if we can.  Even if that 82 percent only believed that there was a 1 percent chance, we should still do everything we could to stop it.

To be fair, the analogy should actually be a smaller asteroid: one big enough to cause a heck of a lot of death and damage, but small enough that life would still go on, just in a much unhappier way.  I think that is what most scientists think about global warming.

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#78) On March 29, 2009 at 6:48 PM, MasterMind1234 (25.32) wrote:

Rocksnot

I agree with you.. Maybe everyone else in here should take ANY Environmental Science Class at ANY UNIVERSITY. Refer to my previous comment directly from the EPA.  Links were included..

 

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#79) On March 29, 2009 at 6:52 PM, ralphmachio (25.36) wrote:

I know I sound like a broken record, but seeing the left or the right, your missin the chicken.  There is no left or right, just people and politicians/media/corporations.  Every argument I see is based on this false assumption.  

 That being said, Every ten thousand years or so we have an Ice age. We are actually a little late for the one coming, as core samples of antarctic ice have proven.  It is a cyclical event, preceded by a warming period that doesn't last long.  Scientists know a lot.  The ones with grants can only study mainstream ideas, and if they PROVE something that goes against common 'theory', they lose all funding and are ridiculed.  The ones without grants are infrequently heard from, as they work for private interests who have nothing to gain by educating the public, and in most cases, a lot to lose.

 I'm neither left or right, as I've stated, mostly because they only address a small segment of the spectrum of possible argument, and insinuate that their little 30 degree slice of the reality pie is the only spectrum of acceptable argument. The other 330 degrees is left unexplored because there really are no choices, just the illusion of choice. 

The ease with which the public are corralled is more than a little disconcerting, considering the point of history which we now reside.  The sooner we can see the system for what it really is, the sooner we can make some real change.  Otherwise, positive change will be temporary.   

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#80) On March 29, 2009 at 6:53 PM, FishSRQ (27.26) wrote:

You simple child... to dare imply that the global warming inquisitors could be wrong is as heretical as saying the earth is neither flat nor the center of the universe. They have judged your thinking to be "foolish and absurd in philosophy".  Perhaps if you repent and confess immediately Pope Gore will allow your life to be spared, but of course only after you've been properly cleansed by racking and flogging.


Please don't let the assinine pseudo intellectuals strip you of your open mind.  Some people believe the global warming theory for the same reason they speak only english.  They were never taught or exposed to anything else.

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#81) On March 29, 2009 at 7:25 PM, rocksnot (28.98) wrote:

@FishSRQ: don't really get your point.  Are you saying most scientists are asinine pseudointellectuals, that can only be challenged by the real intellectuals, whom I'm guessing you to mean the people who agree with your own point of view?  Or maybe all those global-warming-crowd scientists only understand English, while the doubters understand more languages?  Or maybe you mean that the human-caused-global-warming crowd, who were once small in number, and thus, "foolish and absurd in philosophy," are now, since they have grown in number so much, the ones saying that to the doubters?  Are you saying that only those people who kneel at the altar of No-Human-Caused-Global-Warming are the only ones with open minds?  You seem to be.  How open-minded of you.  I think you're trying to be dramatic or sarcastic but it isn't really clear. 

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#82) On March 29, 2009 at 7:30 PM, MasterMind1234 (25.32) wrote:

Hmmm I think I'll go with my college professor and the EPA over some some nut job on this one. Thanks for the input but I don't join Pope Gore Cults or whatever you follow.  ANYWAY if college is going to continue to judge my thinking, then we are all going to hell.  Good luck with your "racking and flogging" there buddy I'm not into that.

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#83) On March 29, 2009 at 7:40 PM, AAOI (99.54) wrote:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/29/magazine/29Dyson-t.html?_r=1&ref=magazine

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#84) On March 29, 2009 at 8:17 PM, farmnut1985 (33.53) wrote:

Climate studies in the last 100 years have proved the earth is warming and has warmed a couple of degrees on average for the century from matierial I have seen (don't have a specific source because it has been a couple of years since I have seen the material). However the issue is still up for discussion as to what is causing the warming, CO2 or it could be just part of the planets weather cycle.  My personal opinion is that it is some of both and that we are already making big steps especially in the auto and machinery industry to reduce emissions as the Tier 4 diesels have reduced emissions by over 99% since they started the emission changes. 

This is also one of those subjects that data is hard to come up with.  I would like to know where they have temp data and CO2 level data for anything more than possibly 100 years ago?  This will be a debated and fought over subject for decades to come.

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#85) On March 29, 2009 at 10:52 PM, rocksnot (28.98) wrote:

@ACMIP: that is a wonderful (and wonderfully long) article showing how a brilliant scientist may come to a different conclusion than the consensus.  I am not a brilliant scientist, and will wait for him to change the consensus.  But I do look forward to finishing that article tonight.

@farmnut1985: there are numerous sources of data older than 100 years, but obviously they are not directly recorded with scientific instruments.  Instead, they are indirect, things like ice cores that trapped atmospheric CO2, or how far north trees were able to live.  For example, there have been numerous guesses at the temperature record for the last 1000 years, and here's a Wikipedia article on that:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Temperature_record_of_the_past_1000_years

That article involves 10 different major published studies using various methodologies.  While their methods differ, they all show temperature rising much faster recently.  One of those is temperatures measured directly since about 1850.  Of course, there is some disagreement.  At what point in the future will there not be?

Here is another Wikipedia trying to guess temperatures back for many thousands of years:

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

Temperatures have fluctuated naturally over the eons.  Sometimes it was gradual and sometimes it was something drastic like volcanoes or asteroids.  The current change seems to be happening very, very fast.  It only makes sense with the massive changes humans have brought to the planet.

The CO2 record is pretty easy, and there is not much controversy around it, at least for the 420,000 year record of ice cores.  One can pretty easily and directly look at the CO2 levels, and other greenhouse gases, trapped in those cores.   It's rising much, much faster than temperatures.  It is already about a third higher than at any point anywhere in the cores.  Here's a graph from recent (industrial revolution) years put out by the gov't (NOAA).  I wish stocks moved as consistently!

http://nomads.gfdl.noaa.gov/CM2.X/faq/images/co2timeseries.png

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#86) On March 31, 2009 at 3:26 AM, OldEnglish (28.11) wrote:

Per dicartacash:

[I beg to differ with OldEnglish, "unless every government on Earth goes totalitarian and restricts childbirth, greenhouse gas emissions will continue to increase"...Actually, it isn't the population that is increasing CO2...]

Wrong.

Nearly thirty percent of all greenhouse gases are from food production, transport and preparation. Unless people find a way to stop eating, only population control can stop global warming. That won't happen.

Nearly 18% of all greenhouse gases come from livestock alone. Yes, yes... we're all going to become vegetarians - and Luddites. Even if we do that and force the people in the developing world to live like animals, it still won't stop the growth in gases. East Asia has an area the size of Texas committed to rice production - it may as well be a giant methane farm.

Global warming: Get used to it. 

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#87) On March 31, 2009 at 7:13 PM, tonylogan1 (28.12) wrote:

"Doing something" is very different from "doing the right thing", or even “doing a good thing”

People with a global warming agenda (GWA), meaning those that actively benefit from the theory, not those who just believe it to be true, have the solutions pre-planned.

Meanwhile, there are hundreds of things we could do that may either mitigate the effects of warming or eliminate them, but since they do not fit the GWA, they are not discussed.

If you believe Al Gore is at the center of the GWA, you are naive. A much larger agenda is at play, much more powerful than Exxon (Gasp!) that desires to have extreme control over all those that live on this planet. This explains why these companies that appear to stand to gain so much from fighting against the GWA do not. In fact, they jump right on board with carbon tax schemes, because they are a part of more than just a GWA.

By the way, it makes me sad when I hear people say things like "we should have less carbon in the air, it must be bad" I hate to tell you, but there are pros and cons to more CO2 in the air. Plants use it to grow, and they grow more effectively (less water, etc) in a higher CO2 environment.

People with GWA never admit to there being benefits to Global Warming, because it does not help advancing their agenda.

They will be quick to tell you that people will die from being too hot, but not tell you about the people that do not die because it is a little warmer (and that those people will not need to burn as many fossil fuels since it is now warmer already...)

They will tell you about the poor people that have to move because the water level is higher, but they say nothing about the people who can now farm their land because the earth is more fertile.

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#88) On March 31, 2009 at 8:35 PM, Letitallhangout (< 20) wrote:

Tonylogan1, Very well put. You are one of the few that thinks of both sides of the issue.

Where ever there is an action, there is also an opposite and equal reaction. This goes for life also.

Change isn't always BAD. Who can say what a few degrees would actualy do in the long run. One volcano puts out more gases and pollutants in its eruption then Mankind has put out in decades. And look at the landscape around Mt. Saint Helens, Washington. It has came back to life and is repopulating with plants and animals as though nothing happened. (and there are many volcanoes each year)

So Lets give the scientists their due, and let the doomsayers have their fun. In the mean time we can pick up our trash, try to make less polluting items, and keep the earth as clean as we do our homes. (well, most of our homes) Lets just do it because it makes the earth look and smell nice. Cant hurt.

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#89) On March 31, 2009 at 8:48 PM, Toronian (90.58) wrote:

Counter argument:

 Are hundreds of thousands of skeptical scientists wrong?

 

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#90) On April 02, 2009 at 4:27 AM, SuperPicks (29.00) wrote:

US Treasuries are riskless assets

House prices will always go up

We need to protect ourselves from acid rain

We will likely see significant electronic malfunction when the year 2000 hits

Our gov't effectively dismantles monopolies & price fixing oligopolies & keeps their influences out of gov't

The central banking system that monopolizes the issuance of currency is the most beneficial & efficient employment of capital for the benefit of society

Japan never denies its history & effects on its neighbors from their wars

Main Western media offers accurate & reliable information free of biases to educate the masses

Public sentiment cannot be easily manipulated

US fights necessary wars in the name of good, and in the name of democracy.

UN affiliated Scientists are the most independent & well-credentialed scientistsin the world

Global Warming is a significant problem & is caused by man

 

Thank you GMX for inciting yet another AMAZING discussion here on CAPs and on your paper's site.  

Followed.

 

 

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#91) On April 03, 2009 at 6:14 PM, goldminingXpert (29.45) wrote:

Thanks Superpicks. I'm glad to get the opposing viewpoint out there anyway. It's been quite a lively debate here--as an OPINION columnist, it is my job to foster debate, so thanks everyone for participating. I know I've learned a good deal from the comments here.

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#92) On April 22, 2009 at 3:23 PM, melars (< 20) wrote:

Has anyoneone considered whether its is wise to spend vast amounts of $$$ on CO2 reduction programs that have almost no chance of having an effect when that same $$$ could be used for preparing for any climate changes as they happen or for moving certain populations out of the way of harm IF needed?

 Maybe it's time to do some serious cost benifit ananlysis instead of getting all wraped up in the hype.

 

 

 

 

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#93) On April 22, 2009 at 4:05 PM, JeanDavid (79.33) wrote:

"It has been well said that the chief use of the multiplication of cheap journals and increased facilities given to every one to 'have his say,' has been the increased facility they offer for the discovery of fools"

Peter Henry Emerson, 1899

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#94) On April 22, 2009 at 8:12 PM, warrl (< 20) wrote:

1) The large majority of people (excluding politicians) on both sides of the argument are honest. They may be unintentionally overlooking evidence that happens to tilt against their own interests - but they aren't deliberately doing so. They may be mistaken, misguided, deluded, brainwashed... - but they are honest. Unfortunately, there are a few exceptions (mostly politicians) on both sides. Even more unfortunately, some of those exceptions are so loud and annoying and dishonest as to create bias against their side of the argument.

I do not claim to be immune to any of this - although I am not aware of any personal interests that would tilt me in either direction. I'm disgusted with the politicians on both sides. 

2) Atmospheric CO2 apparently has been abnormally low, and declining, for the past 30+ million years. There is no credible chance of reaching even the lows of 400 million years ago, let alone the 500-million-year average. ( http://www.pnas.org/content/99/7/4167.full.pdf+html?maxtoshow=&HITS=10&hits=10&RESULTFORMAT=&fulltext=carbon+dioxide&searchid=1&FIRSTINDEX=0&resourcetype=HWCIT see graph on 4th page) So can we stop the nonsense about wiping out all life or even destroying the planet? That simply isn't going to happen. Higher CO2 may cause problems, but life will go on, almost certainly including the life of the most adaptable megafauna species in the planet's history: humans.

3) CO2 is plant food (to a point, of course - like anything else, overdose is harmful). Companies commercially raising plants in greenhouses spend money to raise CO2 levels in their greenhouses. One interesting effect of a higher CO2 level is that for most human-food-plant species it takes less water to produce the same amount of food. The water supply is an existing or upcoming issue in large areas of the world, so a higher CO2 level would help feed people and animals (assuming other important factors remain constant).

4) It's true that the CO2 level has gone up in the last half century. It's also true that global temperature has gone up in the last two centuries - mostly in the first 3/4 of that period, before humans started emitting massive quantities of CO2. Attributing the temperature increase 1800-1940 to CO2 emissions 1940-2009 is problematic.

5) A lot of pretty, conspicuous glaciers are melting. So's Greenland, a bit, and one quarter of Antarctica. The glaciers melting are local problems (which doesn't mean SMALL problems) - less tourism, and eventually less water in summer. But not global problems.

The other 3/4 of Antarctica, the snowpack is growing. Arctic sea ice is fluctuating - unusually (but not unprecedentedly) little of it one recent year, in the middle of a 30-year or longer trend of increase. Overall, ice is increasing, which is possibly why sea level has risen less than was expected from thermal expansion alone.

And some of the melting glaciers have been studied and found to be melting no faster than they were; the problem is that they get less winter precipitation than they used to.

The "unprecedented" nature of said melting glaciers is in some cases demonstrated by newly exposed evidence of ancient mining.

6) Yes, the people promoting the global-warming theories want to do some things that are good ideas for unrelated reasons. Let's be honest about those reasons AND about relative importance and cost as compared to other hazards and opportunities. We're allowed to do a good thing for multiple reasons - we don't have to have only one reason. We're also allowed to decide that a good idea isn't the best available use of limited resources.

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#95) On October 03, 2009 at 11:57 AM, didIpickthat (< 20) wrote:

As a "fairly educated" person here's how I perceive global warming. I live in PA and this past year our summer has been the coolest one in quite a while and the past couple of winters have actually been colder and longer than usual.Now if global warming was actually a fact I would think that just the opposite would occur; that our summer's would actually be hotter and our winter's would also be a little less intense. But that's not the case, just the opposite has occurred! But it isn't just this year. We have been in a cooling cycle for several years. 

Now the scientists have rediscovered this phenomenon called the "sun-spot cycle" which also affects our climatic changes and wasn't taken into consideration when the "global warming experts" made their dire predictions of mankind's doom. This has posed quite a dilemma for the "doomsday boys" because they now realize what an important part of the puzzle they didn't take into consideration.

I also haven't seen the ocean levels rise to the extent that cities like New York City are being inundated, due to the rising waters of the melting polar caps. Which I might add, was also a dire prediction by the "doomsday boys".

As a avid hurricane watcher, there has been dire predictions by the "doomsday boys" about the increasing number and severity of hurricanes, that will impact the USA , and all as a result of "global warming". Well, in the past 3 to 4 years the USA hasn't seen those predictions come true. Why not? Could something be amiss?

So as a "mere commoner" I am hearing the "doomsday boys" say the end is near unless we change our ways, but the actual climatic changes I see are not what the "doomsday boys" have predicted. In fact, they are quite the opposite. So, I am using the weather that surrounds me on a daily basis in deciding that global warming is nothing but a myth, rather than the outdated, misinterpreted, data that the "doomsday boys" are using to predict the end of the world,

By the way,  what ever happened to the ozone crisis? That end-of-the world crisis kind of faded into oblivion. How come? I'm thinking that since that myth was debunked, that the "doomsday boys" found the "global warming" crisis as the new and upcoming, cataclysmic event to run with.

Oh well, I am hoping the royal palm trees I planted in my back-yard will survive the cold winter. I figured with global warming, palm trees would do well in my back yard. Time will tell!

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