The 16 scientists who signed the Wall Street Journal editorial are a minority, but they're not outliers. They're not "flat earthers." They're not "scared of science." They are, quite simply, distinguished scientists with a dissenting opinion.
And their opinion deserves our respect.
Following are the scientists and engineers who signed the WSJ editorial.
Claude Allegre, former director of the Institute for the Study of the Earth, University of Paris
J. Scott Armstrong, co-founder of the Journal of Forecasting and the International Journal of Forecasting
Jan Breslow, head of the Laboratory of Biochemical Genetics and Metabolism, Rockefeller University
Roger Cohen, fellow, American Physical Society
Edward David, member, National Academy of Engineering and National Academy of Sciences
William Happer, professor of physics, Princeton University
Michael Kelly, professor of technology, University of Cambridge
William Kininmonth, former head of climate research at the Australian Bureau of Meterology
Richard Lindzen, professor of atmospheric sciences, MIT
James McGrath, professor of chemistry, Virginia Tech University
Rodney Nichols, former president and CEO of the New York Academy of Sciences
Burt Rutan, designer of Voyager and SpaceShipOne
Harrison H. Schmitt, Apollo 17 astronaut and former US Senator
Nir Shaviv, professor of astrophysics, Hebrew University, Jerusalem
Henk Tennekes, former director, Royal Dutch Meteorological Service
Antonio Zichichi, president of the World Federation of Scientists, Geneva
Great, thought provoking post, Chuck. I am no where near schooled or well-enough read to profess any kind of substanitive opinion on the reality (or not) of global warming. I am human enough to see that there are gigantic weather pattern changes and an alarming uptick in natural disasters--all enough to warrant an on-going and thorough examination of the connection between these events and the possibility of global warning.
I recently spoke with some experts on a story for a different topic and the point was made that industry is so focused on the impact of carbon to the exclusion of other, very real and compelling environmental concerns, including design for disassembly. Recyclability and waste, they argued, might be a bigger environmental factor than carbon.
The key thing to understand here is that even this group of scientists and engineers who signed the editorial are not denying that anthropogenic global warming is occurring, they are simply saying that those who are directing the debate are overstating its significance. They, in fact, are tacitly agreeing that it IS occurring, just not as rapidly as many claim. And the conclusion they draw from that is that we may not need to panic over it, even though it is real and will cause some changes in the world around us.
@Beth: That's a really good point. Environmental sustainability is a complex subject. Reducing it to carbon footprint can be extremely misleading. That kind of thinking allows you to justify all kinds of wasteful and inefficient practices provided that you plant some trees somewhere.
I think the evidence for global warming is compelling, and as evo1 points out, so do the scientists who signed the editorial. Their argument is that the extent of global warming is less than some models have predicted, and the consequences may not be as dire.
(Their argument is also that those who disagree with them are like Stalinists and that they are motivated by greed and selfishness, so clearly there's more than enough demonization on both sides).
But eliminating waste and increasing efficiency are things which I think everyone can agree about. These things make sense economically, not just environmentally. And conservation of natural resources for future generations is something which has wide support across the political spectrum. Angry rhetoric sometimes distracts us from just how much common ground there really is.
I really do like your level-headed approaches to this sometimes overly reactive debate. It doesn't sound like the debate is about whether there is global warming, so much as, the root causes, rates, and impact. Naturally all these models go out the window if we have one major volcano or large asteroid hit dumping mega-doses of warming CO2 and sulfur, follwed by mega-doses of shadowing/cooling dust globally throwing us into a period of perpetual winter.
Thinking in risk probablility terms it seems prudent and responsible for us to minimize our environmental impact. This puts CO2 generation, recycling, waste minimizing, raw material conservation, and energy conservation (among others) all under consideration. We should not take radical steps to minimize one, at the expense of ignoring resultant abuse of another cause for concern. Naturally, balance is much harder to promote than a radical single pronged campaign.
Concurrently, it never hurts to plant some grass and some trees (as long as we don't dry-up our western aquafers to do it). Green plants work well as God engineered them. These will generate CO2 and O2 in balance, scrub some pollutants, and moderate temperatures. They warm-up the winters and cool the heat in the summer. It's always interesting to experience this first-hand during a motorcycle ride in the country. (e.g. - On a hot day, it is almost always more comfortable, perhaps 5-15 degrees cooler, to ride under shady trees than around concrete buildings. During a cool, clear evening, it is 5-15 degrees warmer when you pass under the canopy of trees than on the open road.) Perhaps that is food for thought.
"I am no where near schooled or well-enough read to profess any kind of substanitive opinion on the reality (or not) of global warming."
This is precisely the problem with most of the posters here. And can we keep the bible quotes and the "beliefs" out of the discussion? There is no room for arguments about simple experiments that can "prove" or disprove climate change.
The overwhelming scientific evidence shows that the earth's mean temperature is increasing in lockstep with the increase in atmospheric CO2, and has done so historically for many hundreds of thousands of years.
Saying the earth has been hotter in the past is a canard; at one time it was so hot thatliquid water could not collect on its surface. Does that sound comfortable to you?
Saying that nature is so vast that man can't possibly have an effect on it is also ludicrous. Modern technology allows one person in an industrialized nation to conume more energy in one day (largely by burning non-renewable fossil fuels) than many humans consumed in a year during most of human history (mostly by burning renewable wood). And the population, historically rarely over 100 million or so before the industrial revolution is now over 7 billion and growing. And they all want iPads and washing machines and clothes driers and dishwashers and hot water heaters and cars. Admittedly, all 7 billion + don't have those things yet, and are unlikely to, but numbers of people having these things are big enough to drive massive environmental changes.
Yes, it will be expensive to convert to renewable energy, but the rest of the world is doing it, and we can either do the engineering that will make it possible (energy efficiency, solar, wind, tidal, wave, ocean thermal, etc.) or some engineers in India or China or Africa will do it and they'll be the next billionaires while we in the West will sit in the mud and curse the darkness.
The biggest problem with the whole climate change/global warming debate is that it is a debate - highly emotive and emotionally charged, with many on each side with an aggenda and vested interests, and with money/wealth and power playing no small part, although rarely acknowledged publicly!
You are right the planet's climate is changing - it is continually changing and has always been changing.
Can mankind affect the climate? - certainly!
Do we understand how we are affecting the climate and the consequences? - rarely!
Can anyone guarantee that if we make all the changes the advocates espouse that the climate will return to what it was some hundreds of years ago? - No!
Should we continue along the same mad ride we have been on? - No? We have a responsibility to our children to care for our planet ....
We cannot prove to what extent human activity has influenced worldwide climate, nor can we say difinatively if it is a problem or not.....
What can be seen by anyone who cares to look is that we are surrounded by ever increasing pollution and environmental damage, and that, we can do something about, and in some respects and aspects effective action is being taken, however the pollution worldwide continues to increase.
If we can all make a concerted effort to reduce all pollution
- solids - landfill,
- liquids - chemicals, toxic and otherwise,
and work on reducing and recycling all these by-products and waste materials of our civilisation we may be able to avoid drowning in our own pollution and actually restore some of the envirronment to a state similar to how it was before we raped it.
This is a more immediate challenge. The climate change debate is a distraction, it focusses much energy and emotion on something which cannot be defined or ultimately proven either way, and ...... it takes the global focus off the real problem -
which is our attitude to the environment every moment of every day - do we choose to live sustainably, eat packaged foods, discard the packaging, kill the soil with our wastes - the chemicals bound up in the packaging we discard - the environmental cost of manufacture of all the 'things' we surround ourselves with and regularly discard and replace instead of repairing .... I could go on but you get the picture....
You make many good points about the rape of the environment (I could have gone there but wanted to keep the post from rambling), but I have to disagree with you on climate change.
The peer-reviewed science is clear, and many of the "experts" who deny it are either educated in disciplines totally unrelated to climatology (or even physics!) or are paid by the fossil fuel industry to "support" the view that there is disagreement, or both. Are the climate models perfect? No. Can the predict exactly how hot it will get and when? No. Can they predict the trend and the rough order of magnitude of the changes? Yes.
Of course we have to improve our sustainability across our civilization, reduce our use of landfills, increase recycling, and all the other things you mention. But the biggest potential crises facing us today are the availability of fresh water and reliable production of food (both of which are heavily dependent on weather, and hence climate change).
Ultimately, the problem is population, not standard of living or even per-capita energy demand. But since 1980 or so, the right-wing christians have been pushing back against UN population control efforts (they oppose not only abortion but even birth control) and these efforts were mostly supported by US funding of the UN; the religious right in the US has successfully lobbied congress to cut back on this funding, even labeling such efforts "racist" because most of the developing world, which is the source of the population problem, happens to be non-white (the fact that the truly racist colonial conquest - rape - of most of the world was responsible for whites being the wealthy minority is conveniently ignored). As a result, birthrates have continued to increase putting ever more stress on the earth.
Perhaps you fear the important stuff is being swamped by the climate change argument; I prefer to say that these are all important pieces of the problem and that we must work toward solving all of them incrementally but as quickly as possible.
The third world does not need contraception and abortion, which is destructive to families and makes them dependent on pharmaceuticals. There are several methods of natural family planning which are safe and highly effective. Yes, effective, despite the lies told by the drug/abortion cartel. The money they save could be used for clean water and prenatal care.
I was not suggesting abortion as a solution to overpopulation. I was suggesting education and making contraceptive technologies available (there are many non-pharmeceutical methods available).There is no reliable "natural" birth control method unless you count sterility caused by infectious disease or accident. The "rhythm method" is statistically guaranteed to fail about once every 6 months (which is why they call people who use this method "parents") and abstenance is not realistic.
As to your assertion about destructiveness to families, what can be more destructive to a family than having more mouths than the parents (and environment) can possibly feed? Already there are refugee crises in many parts of the world because people cannot raise enough crops locally, so they move to where they think they can. The problem is that virtuall all the arable land in the world is already being cultivated (with the limiting factor often being water supply), so refugees strain the local food and water supply where they move, leading to wars. That sounds pretty destructive to me.
We can control population with contraception or we can let it control itself with starvation and war. The former seems by far the most intelligent and humane way (and least destructive to families) to me.
If you search for effectiveness of Sympto-thermal, Billings Ovulation or Creighton methods of natural family planning, you'll find large peer-reviewed studes that confirm effectiveness rates in the 98 to 99+ percentage range. Calendar rhythm was obsolete many years ago yet critics still quote its poor effectiveness as the only example of NFP. Concerning family destruction, the divorce rate among NFP users is a few percent, versus the high percentage of the general public (most of which is contracepting). The sexual frequency (per cycle) of NFP users was found to be the same as contraceptors. And there are many contraceptive side effects, like breast cancer, heart attack, right down to weight gain.
The choice is not between contraceptives and starvation, any more than your choices of computer operating system are only Windows and Mac. You can use something open source, safe, effective, and inexpensive, but nobody has heard of it. I like both NFP and Linux!
Again you are putting words in my mouth. My use of the term "contraception" implies all methods, including pharmaceutical, barrier, spermicidal, anti-implantation, etc. The overarching idea is that since population is driving the environmental destruction, the logical first line of action is population control. Also, any method to prevent pregnancy, including the methods you cite, is "contracepting" (to use your term), and I don't know about divorce rates as a function of methods used, but I suspect that is far more dependent on socio-economic issues than upon method used (e.g. the method used may depend stronbly on socio-economic status, thus tainting the statistics).
I don't much care about method so long as the method is effective, reliable and usable by a particular population. Education is also critical. The biggest threat to families is poverty (which, for example, forces husbands to work hundreds of miles from their families in parts of Africa), food and water shortages (which forces refugeeism), and wars, not divorce (which seems to be a largely Western concept). Children suffer far more if their developing brains and bodies are malnourished and developmental milestones are missed than if one of their parents is absent.
You folks are defeating yourself by questioning the obvious. The ice fields are melting back, and have been for around 200 years. The globe is warming. Much of the historic data is not particularly reliable, of course, and even the modern data suffers from a mixture of effects from local but protracted changes such as heat island effects, deforestation, and the like. But the CO2 greenhouse driving function is clearly there, like it or not. It is just physics. The rest of the question is what other effects, natural and manmade, are amelorating/enhancing this. In fact you may note that the effects of CO2 and airborn particulates may be a major balance in avoiding the much larger greenhouse originally predicted for the CO2 increase alone. And including all the effects of water vapor/clouds/rain/ocean and fresh water surfaces, absorption and sequestration of CO2, man that is a dificult whole world calculation. Tripply dificult when you attempt to get from local weather to global and back again. Water world anyone???
You are right, lets just use physics... or, actually thermodynamics.
The sun is the dominant heat source for the entire solar system. So much so that it can be deemed the only source.
The sun is turbulent, not a steady source of heat. It exhibits patterns of increased and decreased activity that does correspond to increased and decreased heat felt at the planets.
If the 'greenhouse effect' were occuring on a planet, the residents could expect to see nominal temperature extremes begin to converge. no longer would you see 20+ degree changes. Temperatures would moderate to an RMS value.
Even if the earth is warming 1° per century, it wouldn't cause extinctions for many centuries. Plants and animals endure far worse in season to season variations today. Besides - Ever hear of a little theory called evolution? You know, the method by which god designed his creation to endure.
I have heard a lot of eronious comments regarding the size of the impact due to global heating of a few degrees. This is generally failing to grasp the actual issues. A very small heating effect increases evaporation rates of the oceans a lot and forces a lot more storm activity. Effects are not uniform at all, and will result in a shift in weather patterns. Should they shift substantially, or just become less predictable, they will have a very large effect on our food production. The best we can hope for is a predictable average warming. It is unclear if the recent mid west heat wave is going to become the new norm, but it is already having a very serious effect. I would recommend caution in under-rating the risks here without a lot more expertese in the subject.
And I hate it when people try to justify poorly thought out ideas with the scientific sounding "thermodynamics". Thats one of my favorite physics subject because so many get it so wrong so often.
I'm glad that you are not "under rating" in your version of calamity, but that was not the subject of the post. Where am I wrong regarding thermodynamics or the extrapolation to a standard global temperature gradient?
You are still making a leap from increased evaporation to increased storm activity or even desertification as others espouse. I am still trying to find someone to explain why my ideas are poorly thought out; credibly.
1. The use of the term thermodynamics here seems to decorate the discussion not direct it. 2. The thermo + nuclear reactions + electro plasma dynamics and gravity of the sun has resulted in it being a surprisingly stable long lived star. The awesome violence and turbulence results in a very steady driver for our greenhouse effect. 3. The long term drift of solar insolation and other astronomical effects (as our pole drift), have been considered extensively as part of the greenhouse studies. Were this subject freshly brought up you might be right to point this out. But at this point you should study the existing science and either add to it or at least discuss it, and not just hold forth with partly formed opinions on it. This confuses people who know less than you do about it. 4. You are right that if the earth were a dry flat sphere, we could expect the day night temperature differences to decrease. In fact the original calculation, presumed all else constant except CO2 warming, predicted (as I recall) about 3 times the heating that we observe. Water, mountains and seas, dramatically change this behavior though. And then it gets interesting. 5. A gradual warming of a couple of degrees does not have much effect. This is also not how you will observe the weather that is driven by this global warming. The weather itself will be more violent and distributed differently than now. We are changing the driving function (global heat input) gradually, and the weather is responding. The predictability of that response is a very difficult problem. The recent continent wide heat wave has already had a huge impact on our food supply. If this is driven further, to become more common, by additional global warming, feeding our kids may become much harder than today. 6. BTB. Without the greenhouse effect the earth would be a frigid ball of ice. Had we a lot more atmosphere and oceans, a runaway greenhouse effect would drive us to a Venus. I am not thrilled that we do not now have a very good idea of just what factors give us "just the right amount" of global warming, but the impact of screwing that up even by a small percentage may bring to mind your citing evolution. That which can survive does, that which cannot, dies. We choose our survival strategy. If we choose wrong, we and a whole lot of other life, will get a chance to test the limits of evolution.
Sorry. I forgot. Why does increased evaporation from the oceans/etc, imply increased storm activity and increased storm strength. As you know, what goes up, must come down. Thus more rain, bigger, more often, more violent storms. I am a physicist, not a serious weather scientist. You could study up on the science and perhaps come back and make me look like a fool? Consider that encouragement to do just that. As a scientist at heart, I would as soon have you show me where I am wrong as accept that I know a little about the subject and let it go at that.
As an EE I think in simple Thermo terms - heat source, absorbtion, radiation, etc... I certainly am not a thermo expert; I just know enough to be able to mitigate heat when I need to.
I haven't taken the time to research much of this, mainly because I believe it to have a flawed premise. I was party to research in my college days and have seen data that put the whole AGW thing to bed for me. There was data showing a direct corralation between solar activity and planetary warming. Not big news for most of the planets, but the earth showed exactly the same trends, even with the atmosphere damping things. I wish I would have had the forsight to personally archive the report, but frankly, the global warming thing has lasted longer than I thought it would.
I am going to have to look into this super-weather thing some more. The mechanisms do not seem intuitive to me. Higher humidity and saturation of air in an ever warming system leads me to believe that we would have less severe weather and become more like Yoda's home world (pardon the analogy to a fictious planet).
Maybe I can come back and revive this old thread one more time another 6 months from now! This has probably been the most commented Design News article ever.
I notice that a lot of folk, specifically but not exclusivly those who are not climate scientests, hit on a specific issue, solar insolation as an example, and form a very lightly informed opinion. There is nothing wrong with that if you study and then grow beyond it, but it can really get in the way sometimes. The solar insolation is not a contravening piece of this puzzle. It is an important part of it and has been, since the first few years of this study, a major part of the study. I did read one of the NOAA reports "Temperature Trends in the Lower Atmosphere" from April 2006. This is like an introduction to a small part of this huge body of study. Pretty heavy going for a novice. The killer problem for us novices is that the actual weather prediction from global warming has so many butterfly effects (randomizing factors), that you are unable to, as example, link the specific exceptional heat wave in the US this summer to any specific changes that can be traced directly to global warming. I have not had time to see if I can find any current studies on all the other factors that affect the GW equation. Deforestation, large scale irrigation, the impacts of aerosols and disolved compounds in runoff, and our pressure on some/many critical life forms. Fun to study, if you have a mind to, but kind of scarry to see so many strong points of view that are so badly informed. If we could figure out an optimum course of action, we would not let ourselves take it for the sake of argument.
I think that the issue quickly becomes a political one because of some of the draconian solutions proposed. It seems that the 'environmental cause' is not just for the environment, but is also being used as cover for a range of socio-economic initiatives. That just complicates an already complicated issue.
I have always doubted "Global Warming" was a man made problem. Look at the amount of CO2 belched out by the Volcano in Iceland in recent years. It dwarfs man made carbon for decades easily. Also look at JPL's data on the outer planets temp changes over the last 10 years. Temps are up but why? I'd like to know how we could have possibly caused that when we haven't dropped anything on them. Perhaps the warming pundits should look at solar activity records and compare it to their temp charts a bit.
I so happily agree with your point on recycling.
We are covering the planet with trash and it needs to stop. More and more places are closing the landfills with nowhere to go. Cities are shipping trash to other states already !!! This massively increases the cost of an already expensive operation.
The city I work in is taking trash from 2 states away into it's landfill, while this nets them free garbage disposal here, the landfill is filling decades sooner than it would on just local material.
I personally put out 5 times as much recycling as trash. And I have a hard time keeping family putting things into the recycling VS the trash. I think I need a compactor for the recycling bin so it doesn't fill so quickly.
If you look at places like South Korea, they know how to recycle. A standard day at recycling there shows over 90% of the material is recycled. This is possibly driven by low incomes and lack of space for landfill, but it proves it can be done.
It is possible that man made items are causing global warming / climate change which is changing the world in which we live. It is also possible that it is not. As an ME, I am not really not in a learned enough position to know the answer. However, it is repulsive that one group of scientists would so agressively demonize a different group of scientists for offering a dissenting opinion. Hopefully, both sides can come to some sort of a middle ground, but I am not too optimistic.
I teach my students in Engineering Ethics that global warming should be thought of in terms of RISK. Codes of ethics for engineers direct engineers to keep risks to the public within acceptable limits. There are no certainties with global warming, but given the evidence that specialists in climate have amassed, it seems clear that the probability that our activities are heating the planet is quite high, certainly greater than 0.5. Further, given the evidence we have so far, the probability is high (again greater than 0.5) that an increase in the average global temperature of the lower atmosphere (and oceans and lakes) of even 2 or 3 degrees C compared to pre-industrial times will cause a great amount of harm overall. The risk (probability of harm multiplied by the magnitude of harm), then, posed by global warming is quite high even if nothing is certain. It is prudent and morally responsible to do something serious to reduce these risks. It is imprudent and morally irresonsible to do nothing.
If we do little or nothing to control the causes of global warming because it isn't certain that we are causing global warming or certain that it will cause a lot more harm than good, isn't it a little like a drunk who says it's OK for him to drive because it's not certain that he will get into an accident?
Instead of engaging in ad hominem arguments to demonize scientists who believe global warming is a serious problem ("global warming alarmists"?) or to demonize those who do not, we should focus on the evidence and the risks.
@eb1225: I like your approach to mapping out the engineering problem as a means of mitigating risk. I agree with your assessment of it being a moral and prudent responsibility to factor it into design just as you would any other requirement or criteria. To ignore completely, would be dangerous disregard.
I agree completely with what the Engineering Ethics teacher is saying. I'd like to dig deeper, however. I haven't examined the original paper of a single study yet. I've been involved in peer reviewing papers, though, and have seen a surprising amount of lackluster reviewing. I think that all the vituperation is meaningless until people on both sides sit down and look at the strengths and limitations of the actual studies. Arguing over conclusions without examining how those conclusions were reached is nonproductive.
I agree with you StuDent. However, that is already happening. Has always happened. It is called the scientific literature, conferences etc. The scientists have already 'sat down and look at the strengths and limitations of the actual studies. Arguing over conclusions without examining how those conclusions were reached is nonproductive.' This is ongoing and is the full time job of 100's of 1000' of people. They do it intensely and intensively.
Perhaps what you are alluding to is a secondary debate about the science being held outside scientific circles, such as here. So several questions. Why do we arm-chair scientists need to repeat what the full time ones have already done? Are we more competent than they are to carry on such a debate? Are we better informed on all the available data? Do we know what the traps and pitfalls are that any scientist, during the 10-20 years it takes to become really knowledgable, has already avoided with help from their tutors and so on. Are we certain that we aren't falling into the trap of not understanding the Dunning-Kruger Effect?
Good observation, Glenn. Apart from the mentioned effect, there is a couple of others (Overconfidence, Illusory Superiority Etc.) But there is a difference between the findings of those Psychologists, which were based on the execution of relatively simple tasks (reading comprehension, operating a motor vehicle, and playing chess or tennis..) and the extrapolation of their findings and its application to a group of professionals like trained and knowledgeable engineers.
Even when a real debate on a polemic subject like the so called "Global Warming" will provoque uncontrovertible polarization into two large opposing groups, we can expect that, at least, the debate among engineers will have much more serious and complete arguments that a similar debate between the general population, simply because engineers do usually have a better understanding of scientific matters.
More than that kind of phycological distortions, it will be the overheated, absolutist positions adopted by some individuals (engineers or not) what will cause wrong conclusions.
One thing is clear: Both sides have strong interests in imposing their viewpoint; "Green" business is no better/worse than the petroleum/energy industry... both sides will do whatever they deem necessary to impose their dictates. People tend to identify themselves with the "green" movement simply because it appears to be an intrinsically "good" position. But this has caused a good deal of counterproductive measures. Politicians that proclame themselves as "green", are frequently the worst decision makers, confirming the "Law of unintended consequences" more than anybody else. There are examples of fanatical postures adopted by that kind of politicians and governants. Like religious extremists, those kind of "leaders" end up causing more confusion and actual damage than anyone else.
As engineers, we certainly have abilities that can make us better informed and critical, so we need to keep studying and analyzing the various postures on this subject. But one thing is clear: Being too pasionate is not the proper way to tacke a scientific task, and let's beware of the hidden interests of BOTH sides!
BTW: The " Dunning-Kruger Effect " was nominated and awarded the 2000 satirical Ig Nobel Prize in Psychology for their paper, "Unskilled and Unaware of It: How Difficulties in Recognizing One's Own Incompetence Lead to Inflated Self-Assessments".
It is sad to say, that if the biggest collection of liars ever assembled in the history of man (our government) says there is global warming, then it must not be true.
The earth is huge! Our impact is generally confined to pollution and construction and deconstruction (war). We are not the gods we think we are. We have been given the responsibility to tend and care for the earth. Yes, we don't always do a good job. But we aren't destroying the earth!
There has been a lot of money made in this Al Gore scam by companies and governments. Lots of money. And lots of people hurt. And it will go on as long as the political correctness dominates science (a plank in the communist platform). We engineers need to make sure we are after truth and not funding...
What's sad is that you refuse to deal with the objective scientific evidence the links human activity to global warming in preference of your economic ideology. And, as we've discussed, the source of your denial is that AGW implies that our ideology is the problem and therefore we must change our behavior for the greater good. That, in a nutshell, is your complaint as you have no scientific evidence to refute AGW.
You either don't know about greenhouse gas, which doesn't make you look good as it's the central issue behind AGW, you are a right-wing ideologue, which proves my point that it isn't AGW that is the problem but the implications it carries, or you're a corporate shill.
For those readers who aren't knowledgable enough, don't get sidetracked by this denier nonsense. The proof is in the scientific literature showing an increase in atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations starting at the beginning of the Inductrial Revolution and the attendant rise in mean global temperature. You must understand that climate is the signal and weather is the noise. So, when humans add greenhouse gases the energy of the system increases, thus changing its dynamic parameters, which is why weather patterns have been changing and becoming more chaotic. It's simple physics.
The fact is that the scientific reasearch supporting AGW is readily available. It is up to deniers like warren to refute it. He can't.
Sorry, jeffbliss .... the "hockey stick" graph, has been proven to be erroneous and a fraud; a perfect example of data manipulation and selective application.
Your comments to warren also clearly illustrate the tactic of the typical leftist/environmentalist which is to demonize and name-call (eg. "right-wing ideologue", corporate shill") to bring discredit to your opponent. Your second paragraph begins by basically telling us to ".. pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.". There continues to be further evidence of a lack of warming over the last 10-15 years, but AGW has almost become a religion it seems. To deny or oppose it is worthy of nothing but scorn and condescending mockery.
The best thing for us "deniers" to do, is to just continue to examine and study the evidence (ALL THE EVIDENCE, not just the selectively reported information by the media), call attention to it, and ultimately learn from it. There is way more to learn about our earth's atmospheric and climate processes than is already claimed to be known with absolute certainty. I hope that we can ALL keep our collective minds OPEN to whatever the research uncovers; the science is NOT settled.
The fact is that the science provides data that supports AGW. If you don't think that it does, then by all means, link to it and discuss why that data doesn't support AGW.
Why don't you deniers ever post anything in the scientific literature that supports your position? Because you have nothing. This is due to a) you never reading any of the scientific papers and (b) you aren't competent to comprehend those papers if you did.
Pretending that the science isn't settled is not good enough. That works only for ideologues who are anti-science and have an ideology to protect and those that are not knowledgeable about the science behind AGW.
That's a nice thought, but I haven't seen any denier, who also claims to be an engineer, present anything to support their contention that AGW is not happening or is due to something other than human activity. So, I can't see why you allege that the anti-denier side stop calling deniers corporate shills when your point appears to be that everyone present rational arguments and data. They don't. Researchers do.
Well, this is NOT about "niceness" or "graciousness" of my thoughts... but about the irrational polarization towards one (or the other) of the two sides which produces a large dose of Myopia (shortness of sight). As to cite only one of the engineers (and one of the greatest present day engineers in the whole world), my greatest respect for Burt Rutan... and he is reported to have signed as a non-believer of the alleged Human-caused Global warming. And I only mention him because I'm well versed in his engineering triumphs.
As to so called "researchers", we have seen bad examples in both sides. What I was trying to comment, is that truly valuable discussions are those that refrain from the several examples of bad taste and manners tha unfortunately, have started to appear here.
My position is that we, as professionals of the engineering branchs, have the ethical obligation to use our knowledge and skills to adopt a responsible position, not a fanatical one. (I would much prefer to be called a late-understander, than a early contributor to a false scam, my viewpoint).
I will resume my position in respect to avoiding a too premature "taking sides": Trying to establish a definitive conclusion towards this matter is like trying to produce valid conclusions within a VERY NOISY environment or with an extremely narrow window, like trying to determine the seismical classification of a place, when the seismograph is registering every footfall because it is unproperly mounted in a shaky substructure, located next to a large factory with heavy machinery (like presses), and then capturing only a few minutes of readings... or like trying to "see" a long term trend in an electrical signal by using an oscilloscope and only capturing a 2 picoseconds sample...
My position is that we, as professionals of the engineering branchs, have the ethical obligation to use our knowledge and skills to adopt a responsible position...
You have failed your principles. Neither you nor your hero Mr. Rutan are climate scientists. You are both disqualified from having authority to challenge real climate scientists who have analyzed and dismissed all your weak challenges. You may have an opinion, but it is based in ignorance and probably other conflicts of interest as well, as you probably don't want anyone telling you what to do with your unearned privilege of having a fossil fuel-heavy lifestyle. Typical addict denial, probably heavily influenced by hatred and fear of "big government intrusions."
Sorry, but any polarization that you perceive is due to the deniers simply not accepting data. There aren't two sides with regards to global warming as the deniers who have nothing to back their denial up with don't count.
The only example of bad research is seen when a person either performs research that contradicts another's or writes to the publication to present his or her refutation to published research.
In the history of science, there have been some notable cases of absolutely wrong conclusions produced by what appeared to be "obvious patterns"... too many to cite here. But one characteristic defines "too-early-recognizers": they were right just by chance (50% probability), and they tend to deny anyone that dares to disagree. As I was saying, polarization does not help a bit. You seem to be too-shure about this matter. Let the rest of us take it with a grain of salt. I'm waiting for this matter to be resolved slowly but firmly, before losing my temper and objectivity. I invite my colleagues to be less fanatical and more objective, this matter relates to phenomena that probably take many years to be properly observed and studied. To rush to conclusions entails the risk of being proved wrong in the longer term, as has happened MANY times in the history of knowledge and science. Science is all about daring to disagree. Please don't tell me that Einstein was 100% right all the time... and don't say that present day particle physicists have said the last word either. Respectfully, Amclaussen.
Choosing to not cite any examples of wrong conclusions drawn from "obvious patterns" is poor science! Stick to the subject and post where global warming science is wrong, thus supporting your concern for poor discussion on the part of the anti-denier side.
So, your job is to peruse the published literature to show that there are indeed two sides to this debate. As far as I'm concerned, the only thing that the deniers don't like are the implications that anthropogenic global wamring poses, that our behavior can produce negative consequences that therefore refutes both religious theologies and economic ideologies that claim that a) the universe was crated expressly for our use and therefore cannot fail, per god's plan, (b) the market solves all problems, or (c) we are too insignificant to affect an entire planet.
Their problem is not with the science per se, but with the implications of that science.
Excellent summary of the issue that we all face with this AGW hoax (might as well clearly indicate where I personally stand, at the outset here).
That said, I find a problem with ANY party involved in an issue of scientific study, especially with the level of complexity and depth as the study of atmospheric processes and climate, that claims anything with absolute certainty (e.g..."the science is settled.."). Those of us that believe this is a hoax, do so based on a careful and very broad-based examination of ALL aspects (scientific, social AND political) and the players involved. The "hoax" is not that there is, or is not "global warming, or "climate change", but that human activity is virtually the sole cause.
One of the few "certainties" that have been established is that the earth's climate IS changing, but more importantly HAS done so since the beginning of time, and will continue to do so, regardless of what we do. Can we, with enough certainty, PREDICT the global temperature 50 or 100 years from now? We CANNOT even predict to the degree of precision presented, the local temperature 2 weeks from now.
There has been too much selective reporting, manipulation of results, and data mining (suppression and ignoring of contrary or conflicting data) that has been exposed (e.g. the University of East Anglia emails, the selective data mining of the tree ring studies, etc.) to NOT call into question the motivations and goals of those perpetrating the fraud. THAT is the truly unfortunate result; the corruption of scientific practice, and protocols. It calls everything into question, or at least it should! Can anyone explain the change from "global warming" to "climate change"?.....I submit that the latter term is cover for when we actually find that there is no actual "warming". In fact, we are seeing exactly that; some recent reports based on ACTUAL measured data over the last 10+ years show NO WARMING. So, why is it that we virtually NEVER hear of such results in the mainstream media?... I leave all to ponder that one.
It is heartening to at least see some recognition and acknowledgement of these contrary viewpoints in a well-respected forum such as this.
The earth is huge! ... But we aren't destroying the earth! There has been a lot of money made in this Al Gore scam by companies and governments. Lots of money. And lots of people hurt.
Wow, those are very scientific observations! How is this subject at all about Al Gore? Physics cares nothing about his opinion nor yours. For the record, I believe Al Gore was not hurting financially before he dedicated his message to trying to convince knuckleheads like you that physics is real, but since then he has donated all of his climate change work proceeds (where would that come from, exactly, and could it be a fraction of the compensation of fossil fuel executives?) to charity. Please explain how this hoax is supposed to work, because there are billions being made by the fossil fuel industries and there's an obvious incentive for them to invest heavily in massive PR schemes we are seeing, which they can easily afford, to keep the doubts and denialism thriving.
When you mention "people hurt," do you know how many people suffer from respiratory diseases and die every year from fossil fuel pollution? It's easy to google for statistics and they can be staggering.
Do you know how much the Koch brothers have made off fossil fuels or how much they have spent keeping you deniers fat, dumb, and happy? I'd bet they've SPENT more money on disinformation campaigns than Al Gore has RECEIVED from--where again does he "make" this money?-- solar energy sales as a side job?? Did you know that Koch funded a climate study by a famous science skeptic, Richard Muller, who was a darling of the denial industry, and this study turned the scientist's beliefs 180 degrees with a conclusion that global warming is absolutely real and almost certainly caused virtually 100% by human activities?
What evidence? Remember, the only raw data set that showed a link between CO2 and climate was destroyed before it could be peer reviewed. So everything we have is based on reports done from that data set, by a very small group of scientists. The same group that wrote an internal email saying, in effect, that the raw data didn't match their theory.
Look, without even having to become conversant with the technical issues and data, it's easy to get to the root of the matter. The global warming alarmists (see, both sides can use pejorative names to poison the well for the other!) act in the ways that liars act, ergo they must be liars.
For me, any investigation into the technical aspects has served only to confirm that suspicion.
It's embarrassing for this industry that a major science trade publisher is so biased toward the political right. What else is going on? A more direct connection to the fossil fuel industry and its vast disinformation propaganda network?
UBM's credibility on every other topic can only be called into question. Can it be relied upon to report anything accurately if it can't get the most easily settled science right?
ChalresM - So you claim, now support it with evidence. That is the problem with the whole Global Warming business. The support is that a "consensus" of scientists support the claim, but science demands that evidence supports the claim. And it would appear that the global warming crowd is using every tool at hand to prevent evidence from being presented. Why is that?
And it would appear that the global warming crowd is using every tool at hand to prevent evidence from being presented. Why is that?
They, whoever "the global warming crowd" are, are not doing that. Your question is a non sequitur. It's the denial crowd that has no scientific legs to stand on. Where is their science? Whatever it is has been debunked so thoroughly as to make your side a laughingstock, were the damage it's getting away with not so catastrophic.
And it would appear that the global warming crowd is using every tool at hand to prevent evidence from being presented. Why is that?
They, whoever "the global warming crowd" are, are not doing that. Your question is a non sequitur. It's the denial crowd that has no scientific legs to stand on. Where is their science? Whatever it is has been debunked so thoroughly as to make your side a laughingstock, were the damage it's getting away with not so catastrophic.
I'd say you're part of the "global warming crowd", doing your best to shout down and mock anyone who dares to express a dissenting opinion. Regardless of their excellent qualifications to do so. Regardless of the criminal fraud (yes criminal) committed by members of the "global warming crowd" to back up their opinion.
You Earthlings look like a buch of rightfull guys at the Titanic discussing if the water is coming in from the left or the right side and considering if it finally will sink the boat, while a few guys make money sell deck chairs and declare that the boat is not sinking.
From the narrow human perspective, it will be too late when the boat is underwater.
During the last 300 years mankind has been burning millions upon millions of tons of fossile fuels as there was no tomorrow, blindly deniying that "IT HAS MUST HAVE SOME TYPE OF CONSEQUENCES".
Has anyone considered the thickness of the thin breathable layer of gasses that sustain life in earth, if the earth was an apple; the breathable atmosphere will be thinner than the apple skin, but a few stupid still thinking thak they can alter the atmosphere forever without CONSEQUENCES.
Well.. we will see who WAS RIGHT; when the boat sinks... in a cloud of smoke. just matter of time, irreversible.
Another non sequitur. It has never warmed this quickly and it's never happened with 7 billion exposed to the effects and such warming (or cooling) has never before been caused by human activity. Hmmm, why would you ask such a meaningless question?
"Another non sequitur. It has never warmed this quickly and it's never happened with 7 billion exposed to the effects and such warming (or cooling) has never before been caused by human activity. Hmmm, why would you ask such a meaningless question?"
Never? I'd suggest that you neither have proof nor even good data to point to such a supposition. If you do, I'd be happy to review it.
As to why? It has all the meaning in the world. If you claim that we are causing the earth to do something that it otherwise wouldn't, shouldn't we be able to quantify the difference?
Do you not accept that the Earth's weather and climate would change even if humans (or some other intelligent species) weren't here? Based on the available science, there's good reason to believe that it did so before humanity arrived on the stage. There is also good reason to believe that the change has been both gradual and relatively sudden. Humans have only been on this planet for a comparitive "blink of an eye". We have only been "industrialized" for a comparitive blink of a blink. To ignore all all history before humans were present is rather short-sighted, don't you think?
So I am asking for you to quantify what is "unnatural"?
--What temperature is the earth supposed to be at?
--P.S. Is your grammar always as bad as your scientific observations?
Charles, I see you've chosen to attack my grammar. I suppose that you're refering to above quote as an example. While English is my first language, I'm not an English teacher. So please enlighten me as to what my error is. I'd be glad to learn.
I attacked your grammar after I attacked your idiotic question (which is not the same thing as calling you an idiot--I am not doing that, so please don't get confused). All of your grade school teachers should have attacked any such misuse. The word "at" is redundant. Would you say "Where are my keys at"? Not a federal offense, of course, but it sounds funny and doesn't help your case to argue bad science and then write like a fourth-grader.
I attacked your grammar after I attacked your idiotic question (which is not the same thing as calling you an idiot--I am not doing that, so please don't get confused). All of your grade school teachers should have attacked any such misuse. The word "at" is redundant. Would you say "Where are my keys at"? Not a federal offense, of course, but it sounds funny and doesn't help your case to argue bad science and then write like a fourth-grader.
I believe there is a saying about arguing with people like you, so I will just end this with "good luck with all that".
eb1225, your focus on risk reduction is typical of progressives. Aside from the question of how accurate and useful are the climatologists projections, we must question how cost effective the risk reduction measures may be. Risk reduction is fine until it runs into unintended consequences and the law of diminishing returns. The low hanging fruit of risk reduction tends to be effective. As the risk becomes incrementally smaller, the cost of risk reduction rises. As the risk approaches zero, the cost approaches infinity. Unfortunately the cost/benefit ratio is seldom discussed. In the case of global warming the arguments have been largely emotional with little believable quantification of benefits or costs.
Tim's point about demonization is one reason I've always been, quite frankly, scared to engage on global warming and to some extent on the biz regulation issues vis-a-vis our U.S. manufacturing debate earlier this week. These are highly charged subjects where political beliefs tend to make data-driven, objective discussions difficult. I am actually heartened by the mostly sober comments here and on the manufacturing thread (here). Maybe this means engineers, being engineers, can have more mature debates and discussions than some other groups.
I share your feeling about this, Tim. I was educated as an ME, too, and don't feel I'm in a position to know the answers to the mysteries of global warming. If I were forced to bet on it in Las Vegas, I'd probably go with the majority, which means I would bet that global warming is a problem. But by no means do I feel this is a closed discussion. And I'm offended by the demonization of those who don't agree with the majority. Those of us who haven't cemented a belief on one side or the other shouldn't be lumped in labeled categories such as "deniers" or "flat earthers." I dare say that many of the engineers who are still forming opinions on this subject have more scientific background than the people who are applying these labels. As I mentioned in the blog, I believe in the laws and principles of science that were taught to all engineers in school. AGW doesn't fall in that category.
Your article is really quite surprising, Chuck. For years we've listened to the claim that 95 percent of scientists agree global warming is real and that it is man-made. This certainly changes the perception that the science is done on this subject.
For all I know, Rob, that 95% figure may be correct. But I guess that's the point. No One knows for sure. And I suspect that the number of scientists who don't believe is bigger than we are led to believe.
This is interesting, Chuck. For years I assumed the skeptics were shills for the extractive industries who didn't want to see public opinion go against their goods (oil, gas, coal). You article points out there are legitimate scientists who have a different point of view.
Well, you have to dig a little deeper into the editorial and its authors to really see what's going on. First, while they all have superficially impressive credentials, most of them also have fairly close associations with the petroleum industry. And 3/4 of them have little or no expertise in climatology or any closely related field. Not all scientists are really qualified to speak on climate change, so while they may be leading scientists and engineers, that doesn't automatically mean that they know anything substantive about the topic at hand. That's not to say that we should discount everything they say. Certainly we should question whether all the claims about predicted climate change are accurate, especially if they don't match up with known data.
But at the same time, some of their statements are pretty stupid. To claim that CO2 is automatically not a pollutant simply because it is a naturally occurring, and even important part of the atmosphere is not only grossly over simplistic, but incorrect. Just because iron is a necessary nutrient for forming hemoglobin doesn't mean that it can't also be a poison. Like CO2, it is necessary in extremely small trace amounts, but at higher levels it is in fact extremely toxic and does lead to several deaths every year, particularly in children. Excess CO2 is a pollutant, and can be damaging to the environment in a number of ways, of which elevated temperatures due to increased greenhouse effect is just one.
So when looking at the "95%" figure on scientists who support the claims that global warming is a significant problem, the question isn't so much whether the number is correct as it is "who are the remaining X%, and why don't they agree?"
Good point Evo1. From a completely non-science observation, weather is certainly odd in recent years, with each of the last three decades getting warmer. Just in the last two years, we experienced record-breaking drought, fires, cold temps, hot, temps, floods, and tornados. Time after time, we see some extreme in terms of "hottest in 150 years," or "coldest on record," or "widest tornado ever recorded."
Citing Evo1: "but at higher levels (CO2)it is in fact extremely toxic and does lead to several deaths every year, particularly in children..." with due respect, that kind of affirmation is plainly wrong. CO2 is NOT toxic per se, it is the displacement of O2 by excess CO2 that can produce Hipoxia in a closed, overcrowded room. but CO2 is NOT a poison as CO (Carbon Monoxide) that is the one that is poisonous because it causes hemoglobin to become unable to carry Oxygen.
Your assumption that "CO2 does lead to several deaths every year, particularly in children..." is completely false as there is absolutely no evidence of children deaths caused specifically by CO2 inhalation in ventilated spaces.
You would be extremely surprised to know that CO2 has even been purposefully used in the manufacture of Carbogen, a mixture of Oxygen AND CO2, because the CO2 causes the body to try to battle suffocation and stimulates the recovery when the individual has suffered poisoning by Carbon Monoxide. It is interesting that Carbogen mixtures for asphyxia treatment include a full 5% of CO" and 95% Oxygen, when the normal atmospheric content of CO2 is well under 400 parts per million, volume... go figure! Only in densely packed, closed, underventilated spaces, it can become suffocating, but not poisonous. (ten times the normal atmospheric concentration is commonly reached).
Those are the kind of false claims that cloud polemic subject discussion and prevent a clear understanding of the true phenomena (if it happens).
First and formost, my main concern is who really support the idea of global warming and how the plan to deal with it. First, many of the most vocal supporters of "climate change" are the green and pink hair, body pierced "OWS" crowd (The "lady gaga" types). The individuals that were critical of the editorial probably never seen, much less solved a differential equation (ok, I havn't solved one since the 80's, but at least I once could). Most of the supporters of "climate change" have an agenda. Heck, it has recently come to light that Al Gore's net worth matches Mitt Rommneys. Folow the money and power and you will see some other their motivations for the Green Economy. The oil companies may be "greedy", but the other side is just as every bit dishonest and greedy. My concern is how they want to "solve" the problem. By transfering all economic control to the government, who with its infinite wisdom, will then dole out resources to each of us "according to our needs" (and our party affiliation).
Hi Tim. GW does not have two sides. There is fact, as poorly as we may understand it, and all else is false. I do observe that many of the Pro side (in the political argument that is) overstate the effects, the rates of onset, and the likely consequences of our inaction, and our action, and way understate the ability we have to amelorate the effects. On the other side, however, is a lot of absurd shouting and downright silly positions. There is no question at all that we are warming, slowly so far, and that human action is impacting that substantially. It is very unclear how much simply reducing a bit the rate of increase in combustion of fossile fuels could even slow down the rate of change over the next 20 years or so. And there are 3-4 major tripping points that could make abrupt changes with very challenging impacts to everyone, whether they believe in GW or not. Right now, all I can hope for is that the US wide (except the west coast) drought and super hot summer is not becoming the new norm. Wringing our hands and saying "It's not my fault." won't cool us off one little bit. Nor improve the skiing. Practice eating less and change to water sports I guess.
Having little or no expertise in weather or climate studies, most of us cannot speak from a vantage point of hard scientific knowledge. However, this article does touch the surface of why so many of us have the raised eyebrows of skepticism when it comes to this subject.
While I wouldn't be so brash as to completely discount the notion of global warming or more specifically man-made global warming, I remain solidly in the skeptic camp for several reasons.
First, it does seem curious that the believers and non-believers are often split so conveniently along other ideological lines. For example, why does a belief in global warming seem to be generally associated with the politically left while most of the skeptics are on the politically right. Further, why are all the so-called solutions to global warming so conveniently politically left solutions and so conveniently similar to the solutions which might have been proposed back in the '70's when gobal cooling was a discussed.
The second extraneous reason for skepticism has to do with research funding. If the idea of global warming were to suddently disappear, it might be safe to assume that a number of those involved in scientific research of the issue would lose funding.
The third reason for skepticism is a simple look at the historical climate record. Since historical records give clear indications of past climate change, it seem presumptuous to think that present day climate should be rock-steady from here on out.
Finally, there is skepticism because of the number of factors involved. Anyone who has performed design of experiments on complex processes knows that it is often difficult to correctly identify all the factors and interactions which affect the result being measured. Unlike a scientific experiment which we might duplicate in the lab, climate can really only be observed and we cannot readily play with the knobs to adjust the factors while observing the results minutes later. Regardless of the supercomputers working on this problem, it seems a stretch to say that we've largely pinned down the cause for climate change in this entire complex process to one factor -CO2 from the evil fossil fuel and it's carbon emissions.
Good points, Droid. I had the opportunity to speak to Professor Happer of Princeton at length, and he went out of his way to mention that this group includes scientists on both sides of the political aisle. Several of the 16 are registered democrats; one is a socialist. I can only imagine that his reasons for mentioning this is to reduce the number of politically-based attacks. My impression is that Professor Happer is sincere in his scientific belief.
It is entirely possible that there are many people in fields outside Climatology who are quite sincere in their views but are inadequately informed about the subject. And even a Professor of Physics can fall prey to this.
But there is another dimension to this and how people react which is the Psychology of Denial. When confronted with extremely difficult news, such as our impending death, one reaction some people have is denial of it. And since this denial is a deep, and needed, psychological reaction, most of it is unconscious. At the conscious level they may not be aware of it. But the deep drive means that this cannot be admitted. And then evidence to the contrary will be rejected since it threatens the defences that denial constitutes.
How does this relate to Climate Change? In several ways. Firstly Climate Change puts forward a quite frightening future and one that s individuals we can do little about. Grounds for a denial reaction. Secondly the actions needed at a society to deal with it involve substantial upheavals to our societies and economies, upheavals that can appear very frightening with uncertainty about whether there is light on the other side. Thirdly the nature of the threat and the changes required to address it can be interpretted by some people as a repudiation and denigration of their lifes work, building the society, economy and system we currently have. All 3 reasons can trigger a denial reaction.
Then consider how different personality types react to being told their rights/entitlements may be curtailed, and that we may have caused harm. Some react by accepting this and seeing a personal duty to act on it. Other personalities react by not wanting to confront the consequences of actions, getting defensive & angry and attacking the messenger.
Lots of fertile ground for folks to reject Climate Change for reasons other than the science then if necesary rationalise this bias post-hoc.
If you Google Happer for example you will find a paper he has written attacking AGW. Yuo will also find some serious rebuttals of what he has written, tearing him apart.
One thing I always find informative when reading the writings of high-profile skeptics is whether their language tends to contain political views or emotive description of proponents of AGW as 'Alarmists'. This word in particular is rather telling. If the predictions of AGW come true, then a word such as 'alarming' is quite appropriate. 'Alarmist' however has a conotation of unjustified alarm. And a presumption that, 'of course it is unjustified'. Rather than a 'on the balance of the evidence it is unjustified'.
How many people who use the word 'Alarmist' have efectively rejected AGW as 'preposterous' based on an unwillingness to countenance it - 'of course the Unsinkable Titanic couldn't sink. That's Preposterous!', rather than as a result of a disassionate enquiry into the matter.
Such a person may seem totally sincere on the subject and will give you chapter & verse on why. But if you challenge their reasons their later reactions can be quite informative.
It is easy to think from comments such as those made by these 16 in the WSJ that there is serious uncertainties about Global Warming. Of this list only Kinninmonth, Lindzen and Tennekes have backgrounds in Climatology/Meteorology. Burt Rutan for instance is an Aerovautical Engineer.
I am a Mechanical Engineer by training but I have spent the last 5-6 years self-educating myself about Climate Change. Abd Debating/Arguing with skeptics. In the process I have come to realise how few of the dissenting scientific opinions are actually from people that I would call 'honest brokers'. Routinely they will make statements that simply are not true, but that can't be clearly seen to be false by a lay audience. Seldom if ever do these 'skeptics' publish in the scientific literature and of the few papers that have been published, they are usually filled with flaws that lead one to suspect the purpose of the paper was simply to claim that publication has occurred with out regard to the quality of the science done. Because then they can use the claim of publication in their on-going PR campaign in the general media.
For example, in an interview here Kininmonth makes the following statement - a regular claim from skeptics.
WILLIAM KININMONTH: That is certainly one of the points in the letter that over the last decade there has been no significant change in temperature of the globe.
Technically true if we are only looking at surface temperatures although once we allow for the effects of the El Nino/La Nina cycles, warming on the surface has continued. What he fails to mention, knowing most people won't spot the omission is that warming, as in accumulation of heat, doesn't just hhappen to the atmosphere. In fact that is only a small part of the heating in the last 1/2 century. 90% of the warming has gone into the oceans with the atmosphere accounting for only 3%(The land and the Cryosphere accounts for the rest). So by only looking at what atmospheric temperatures are doing, without showing what has happened in the main heat sink, he paints an incomplete picture.
Some skeptics will then claim that the oceans haven't warmed either in the last 10 years. However they don't cover the decades before and the figures they cite are actually for the top 700 metres of the ocean, not the whole ocean. But they don't say that.
So here is Ocean heating for the top 700m and the top 2000m since 1950:
As you can see the oceans have continued warming all along. It is just that the last decade has seen a change in some of the ocean's circulation patterns, drawing more heat down to deeper layers. This has kept the upper ocean cooler and thus held air temperatures down. However warming has not stopped.
There is more of this including alternative analysis of sea level rise due to heating here.
If you look at the vertical scale above, the total warming is over 2*10^23 Joules. That is the equivalent of over 2 1/2 Hiroshima bombs every second since 1970. And since warming of the oceans is such a large component of the total heast accumulation, this cannot have come from heat transfers from the other heat sinks - Air, Land, Cryosphere. Heat generated from within the Earth is nowhere large enough to account for this either.
So this heat can only have come from an energy imbalance between the energy reaching the Earth from the Sun & the energy being radiated by the Earth to Space. Since we know that the Sun's output has if anything declined slightly over the last 1/2 century, something effecting the heat loss to space is the only remaining viable answer. So GH Gases, Clouds or Aerosols. Aerosols have a cooling effect and may if anything have moderated the warming. Clouds might do it but it would require a significant change in the mix of cloud types since some are cooling and others warming. And a cloud based explanation would produce a specific signature to the heating pattern - more heating during the day and summer. Incontrast GH gases would produce just as much warming at night and in winter. Also they would cause cooling in the stratospherewhere as a cloud explanation would not.
And observations show the warming pattern matches GH gases.
So a fairly conclusive case that GH gases are causing a net heat imbalance for the whole planet.
Someone like Kininmonth (or Lindzen) has the professional background to know that it is this sort of whole-of-system data that needs to be examined to draw a conclusion. Yet they are out there presenting to the lay public (and even Congress) ideas that seem plausible because they are cherry-picking what data to present.
Draw your own conclusions about them but to me, they are embodiments of an old idea. How to Lie Artistically. Tell The Truth, But Not All Of It!
I am an engineer working in the oil industry, and I also care deeply about our environment. I strive to be objective in my opinions, however reading most articles and blogs it seems that most people are very one sided, looking at one side of the argument only. One of the things that confuses the argument is some people talk about global warming and others talk about man-made global warming. They are two distinctly different arguments.
I think there is a strong argument that we are currently going through a global warming period. Most data shows the earth is very warm, certainly on the warmer side of recent history. The uncertainty is about the cause of this warming.
From what I have read, it is not clear that there is a strong case to demonstrate this is due to man-made activities. This even includes the recent IPCC reports I have read. It is a complex problem, and all potential causes and potential feedback loops need to be discussed.
Who knows of a good objective article that gives an objective view with credible facts? One that doesn't choose only the facts that support their conclusion, but chooses both pros and cons of their conclusion?
Whilst a Mechanical Engineer by training, I also took a post-graduate degree in Environmental Science back in the early 1980s. Even as far back as that, anthropogenic climate change was taught as factual and non-controversial. Since then there has been even more independent lines of evidence to support the science. Only at this stage did the subject become political when the fossil fuel industry launched a concerted and coordinated campaign starting from the mid 1990s to undermine climate change science and the scientists who work in this field. Their purpose was to create doubt in the public's mind about the reality of global warming, and delay regulations which might limit greenhouse gas emissions to the environment. Even the oil industries own scientific and technical experts were advising that the science backing the role of greenhouse gases in global warming could not be refuted although this was later cut from the records.
So only as the evidence of greenhouse gas warming became undeniable did the fossil fuel businesses realise they might have confront the growing pressure to reduce global warming. As a consequence, they employed a host of public relations experts, some who had successfully delayed regulations against the tobacco industry, to weave a web of misinformation using a variety of unscrupulous media and various 'junk science' websites. Their methods were not based on physical science but psychology, targeting both uneducated and low income groups using tried and tested methods of persuasion. These included: peer pressure, misrepresentation, over-simplistic arguments, reiteration of falsehoods, attacks on individuals and groups, and claimed threats on personal liberty and wealth.
The main object was not to win, but provide the impression of an informed 'debate' and to cast 'sufficient doubt' on climate science by spreading confusion and uncertainty. This would allow these businesses to fight a delaying action to avoid regulation, and thereby impose an enormous cost to future society. Anyone who wishes to understand more about this I can highly recommend the book Merchants of Doubt by Erik M. Conway and Naomi Oreskes.
Whilst more than 97% of scientists who are active publishers in the field of climate change accept the reality of AGW (anthropogenic or human induced global warming), a very small number of climate scientists and non-specialists lured by money from the fossil fuel lobby were recruited into the Climate Denial camp. Their names often appear in petitions, mixed with fake identities and even the decreased, to make it appear as if there is a substantial proportion of scientists which oppose the AGW consensus. This figure was confirmed by a more recent study which included an extensive dataset of 1,372 climate researchers and their publication and citation data to show that (a) 97–98% of the climate researchers most actively publishing in the ﬁeld support the tenets of ACC outlined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and (b) the relative climate expertise and scientiﬁc prominence of the researchers unconvinced of ACC are substantially below that of the convinced researchers.
Cassiopeia; After reading some posts earlier and later than yours, you seem to have the most complete and reasoned content. What I especially liked about your post was looking at who was funding the opinion. I have read articles 'disproving' human-caused global warming. I always look to see who the authors have been sponsored by. The skeptics always seem to be funded by the fossil fuels industry. While I can't prove that the 97% opinion is not sponsored by an 'interest group', I can be skeptical that the 3% opinion aligns with their sponsors' best interests.
Science depends on good data. When the CRU files were leaked I went through one of the scientists log files who was responsible for compiling one of the climate datasets, and the comments were disturbing.
OH %$^ THIS. It's Sunday evening, I've worked all weekend, and just when I thought it was done I'mhitting yet another problem that's based on the hopeless state of our databases. There is no uniform data integrity, it's just a catalogue of issues that continues to grow as they're found.
I am seriously close to giving up, again. The history of this is so complex that I can't get far enough into it before by head hurts and I have to stop. Each parameter has a tortuous history of manual and semi-automated interventions that I simply cannot just go back to early versions and run the update prog. I could be throwing away all kinds of corrections - to lat/lons, to WMOs (yes!), and more.
Now, this is a clear indication that the standard deviation limits are not being applied. Which is extremely bad news. So I had a drains-up on anomauto.for.. and.. yup, my awfulprogramming strikes again. Because I copied the anomdtb.f90 process, I failed to notice an extra section where the limit was applied to the whole station - I was only applying it to the normals period (1961-90)!
Probably the worst story is temperature, particularly for MCDW. Over 1000 new stations! Highly unlikely. I am tempted to blame the different lat/lon scale, but for now it will have to rest.
If I fix that, I get:...14 stations LESS than the previous exercise. That'll do, surely? It's not going to be easy to find 14 missing stations, is it? Since the anomalies aren't exactly the same. Should I be worried about 14 lost series? Less than 2%. Actually, I noticed something interesting.. look at the anomalies. The anomdtb ones aren't *rounded* to 1dp, they're *truncated*! So, er - wrong!
The problem is that the synthetics are incorporated at 2.5-degrees, NO IDEA why, so saying they affect particular 0.5-degree cells is harder than it should be. So we'll just gloss over that entirely;0)
So, under/cru/cruts/version_3_0/fixing_tmp_and_pre/custom_anom_comparisons, we have a 'manual' directory and an 'automatic' directory, each with twelve 1990 anomaly files. And how do they compare? NOT AT ALL!!!!!!!!!
This shows me the quality of data climate science works with can be poor. There needs to be rigorous peer reviewed climate data collection standards (which won't improve the historical data.. like for example, which stations had concrete jungles grow around them, how were they calibrated (including traceability) etc) The raw data must be publically released (then it can't be fiddled with later)
Your response is typical of what I see, vague accusations, meaningless statistics, no data, and not believable. Do you have any real facts that are objective? I read a paper by a MIT professor, don't recall his name, it seemed objective. It actually had facts and theories.
jhachenIf you click on the links you will find is is all fully referenced. Have you bothered?
It seems strange that you should be critisising my post which fully justifies each point by linking to the sources.
Why not start by pressing on that link describing your own industries scientists views? The Global Climate Coalition disbanded after that since they knew the game was up. Directly confronting the science would simply discredit them. However, the same companies continued funding various astroturf groups which made it difficult to link back to them.
I saw you referenced many opinions including surveys of scientists. Those don't mean much to me.
I'm looking for scientific studies which help people understand the pros and cons, what are the arguments for and against. Everyone at one time thought the world was flat, just because 97% of people think so doesn't make it true.
I'm not arguing for or against. I'm just trying to make up my own mind. You need to get into the details to do that. I haven't found many objective articles. Your comments didn't seem objective to me, mostly slinging mud around.
What are your thoughts of Richard Lindzen, here is one of his presentations. His thoughts don't seem to be slanted, but I don't know if they are or aren't.
Its probably best that I don't give you my opinion of Richard Lindzen. He is one of the high profile denier scientists and most frequently comments in various formats and media outside the published scientific literature.
I could try to list all the things wrong with his article but that would fill this blog. And Lindzen has already moved on to post thre same sort of stuff somewhere else.
Yuo should read the post I put up earlier about ocean warming. Apply your engineering background, basic Conservation of Energy, to what I have written and the conclusion I have drawn and see if you agree with my reasoning. Then ask yourself where was such data and reasoning from Lindzen?
For those such as yourself who aren't deeply immersed in the AGW wars and the science it can be difficult to know where to start and who to rely on. And my personal view (although this is shared by many other people) is that the likes of Lindzen are continually playing on that fact to mislead people and to create the illusion that there is still serious debate within academic circles about AGW when actually there isn't.
But my simply saying that obviously will not convince you.
So, instead of a single article describing the pro's & con's, which is too big a field, rather try this site: www.skepticalscience.com(SkS)
This site was originally established to be skeptical of the climate skeptics - hence its name. So it began by writing rebuttals to skeptic claims. The strength of it is that all the rebuttals are grounded in links to the published science. So starting point for you might be to read through the rebuttals to the skeptic arguments - these are often in Basic, Intermediate & Advanced form. Some of the arguments do at least at face value need to be taken seriously, with a serious explanation of why they are wrong. Others are simply nonsensical. But SkS still takes seriously writing a rebuttal to them. Then start skimming back through the archive of posts. Read things like the 'OA not OK' series on ocean acidification. And there is also a section on the denialists and the identified faults and logical inconsistencies in their positions.For example, this thread began with the 16 in the WSJ talking about how warming has stopped. As I pointed out below, it hasn't. And several of that group are Climatologists/Meteorologists. They should know that ocean heat is the main game. But they feign ignorance in the media.
Let me lay my cards on the table. I am one of the circle of authors who work producing content at SkS. Like you I was looking around for answers. I thought I understood that AGW was real but in on-line forums skeptics would put up some arguments that were hard to answer with the level of knowledge I had. Reading and then commenting at SkS led me to a much deeper understanding of the science and eventually I was asked to join the authors group.
Some of the posts will seem combative, rebutting other skeptic sites such as WUWT. This is because over time one comes to realise how false and mendacious much of the organised skepticism is and thus one becomes less tolerant of the same repeated misleading claims. But many of the others are intentionally informative. The level of mosts of the posts is somewhat technical but if you bring your engineering background in areas such as Thermodynamics, Physics, Chemistry to understanding them you should be OK.
And posts almost universally link back to published scientific papers. So not just a commentary about the science. Direct links to allow you to read the scientific papers for yourelf. Compare that with somewhere like WUWT where the majority of the articles are commentary without links to the science, claims by a few 'experts' such as Willis Eschenbach that they can show some of the science or opinion is wrong with their 'analysis'. WUWT and its ilk try to tell you what to think, SkS offers you arguments, data and analysis but lets you make up your own mind
And the standard of moderation leaves the likes of WUWT looking positively barbaric.
But don't take my word for it. Go read for yourself & make up your own mind
Thanks for those thoughts. I'll follow your recommendation and learn more from many sources.
Over the years (I graduated in '74) of working, I've found in my industry that just because industry experts agree and follow a similar course of analysis, that doesn't make it correct. With computers, very smart people can analyze very complex situations, but if the model isn't tested against reality, it is only gibberish. The devil is in the detail. If you don't go back to the original data and science, and make sure it is tied to the real world, then you may be in fantasy land. Once it is accepted as fact, the lemmings continue...
I'll look into the ocean temperature issue. I work in the offshore energy industry, have a lot of sources that should have acess to good data.
jhachen: Yes, it can be better to investigate the science directly rather than rely on authority, but authority was the main thrust of the original article, so that is why I linked to the most up to date scientific opinions on this issue. However, I also linked to multiple independent evidence of AGW, which covered the technical basis as well.
But also, I will read your links to see if they help me understand it. The CO2 argument doesn't seem too conclusive to me. Many feedbacks are ignored, including water vapor. Also, if you use the math, the actual warming is a quarter what is predicted, so what else is missing?
The other thing is the time frame doesn't make sense to me. Data in 50 years is too short in geological time.
Lots of lengthy, well written, thoughtful posts --- from both sides of the argument. But an important point for either position to embrace as "bedrock" is that the scientific process --- discovery, theorization, and group acceptance --- is a living process that often undergoes continuous growth and evolution as we deepen our understanding of a subject.What looks like hard cold facts today will quite likely find exception tomorrow.Remember, "Spontaneous Generation" was an accepted scientific theory by Aristotle for over two millennia until disproven in the 1800's. Further discovery leads to greater clarity.
It is true that scientific ideas have changed substantially since Aristotle's day, but this was well before the scientific method was formulated. More typically nowadays scientific theories aren't completely overturned but modified. For example Newtonian physics > Relativity > Quantum Mechanics. Strictly speaking the former is incorrect, except for special cases, however for mechanical Engineers it is usually a good enough approximation for most practical purposes.
To call Anthropogenic global warming (AGW) a theory is of course rather ingenuous since its basis forms the operation of many of our scientific instruments. Indeed even Sceptics use instrumentation using the same principles responsible for AGW to estimate atmospheric temperatures! AGW can therefore be considered, at least in its most basic form, a scientific fact. That is why you will not find any serious climate scientist, even the few Sceptics who will deny this.
However, it is also possible that subsequent research may change views on the sensitivity of the climate, and the subsequent temperature rise. This will be probably due to the feedback effects from clouds and ice which are difficult to model. Indeed, the IPCC already provide a range of estimates to reflect this uncertainty. However, this is where sceptics and in particular certain policymakers and politicians draw the wrong conclusions. This very uncertainty is the best reason for taking action, in fact we would have to be very certain of a low sensitivity of the climate to greenhouse gases not to take action.
Any time a so-called scientist cites a theory as 'fact', I need to take issue.
I remember a lot of the pseudo-scientific alarmist climate theories... from the no-atmosphere in the model 'nuclear winter', to global warming to global cooling and back again. In order to bring the alarmists together, who couldn't get their scary theories straight, 'climate change' was invented! What ever happened to the earth-killing ozone hole over the Antartic? Weren't we all supposed to be dead by now because of the 'incontrovertible' danger of this cataclysmic event?
Unfortunately, my experience has been that there are few real 'scientists' left... Science is based upon criticism and skepticism. I left my pursuit of Physics (with a special intersest in astrophysics/cosmology), not from a loss of interest, but because of the narrow-minded political focus of academia... and little better can be said of so-called 'private' research facilities, too. Everyone needs to make a buck, feed their families, pay off their student loans, and, unfortunately, we sell our skills for a price unless we're independently wealthy. Academics sells their skills usually for government or private grants, publications, and occasional media interest in the form of books, movies/video, consulting, etc. There is a major bias going on, and don't let anyone fool you into thinking there's not. The true scientific method really doesn't accept 'laws', it accepts theories that haven't been disproven yet. The 'climate change' that I am most concerned about is the 'climate' of the scientific community... namely the notion that the theory is 'fact', that this issue is not open to discussion and reasonable debate... they feel the matter's been settled and any dissenters are foolish, misguided, and not to be trusted. Hardly a climate suitable for scientific progress.
A great deal of money has been funnelled into the so-called 'green' industries... many of the industries focus upon renewable energy, such as solar, hydro, wind, etc. Many of the heavy metals used for photovoltaic cells are plentiful from Chinese mines, but not so much in the West. Just track the money, and I'm sure that 'sound, scientific' opinion will soon follow... but don't worry, there are those will will jump on the bandwagon just to 'fit-in' and be accepted by their peers.
Many of us accept that there may be global warming... but many of us aren't convinced that it's anthropogenic. Notable scientists from CERN noted a few months ago that the verdict was still out... that they felt that the huge fusion reactor only 93m miles from us, called our sun, was a major factor in 'climate change'... the sun goes through cycles of cooling off and heating... the solar spots recently leading to CME (coronal mass ejections/emissions) have had some minor inconveniences for satellites and communications, but these were from CMEs on the far side of the sun. Several cycles of solar activity will soon coincide, or super-impose, which prove to be very interesting... some are predicting a solar storm that hasn't been seen in 50+ years. Additionally, there's the question of geogenic contributions to global warming... what about greenhouse gases emitted from the Earth itself? I've read claims that humanity puts out X times the amount Y greenhouse gas than all of nature combined... really? Where's the data? How much greenhouse gas was emitted by active volcanoes? I've looked at USGS data, and I can only find sampling stations... yet this is a qualitative analysis, not a quantitative... yes, estimates could be made on fluid flow using CFD, but GIGO... if there's estimates, that's all they are... estimates, and my guess, SWAGs. Additionally, let's discuss other potential sources of emissions from the planet... geothermal vents, caves, springs, fissures from geologic shifting... and we're just talking about the those on the landmasses... think about marine sources as well. Let's also think about the biomass of the planet.... from oceanic algae to forestation... while in several third world countries we are cutting down trees for lumber, biofuel, etc. in the U.S. forestation has drastically increased since we not struggle to stop forest fires whether they are natural or man-made in origin. Additionally, let's consider the gravity merry-go-round our planet is riding at any given moment... Sometimes I think it is a miracle that our little planet has managed not to be flung into space or spiral into the sun by a passing massive body or be destroyed by an earth-killer, much like the one thought to be responsible for the moon. Variations in our orbital path could cause significant changes, as well as changes in both our magnetic poles and axis of rotation, which are also slowly changing.
I suspect that much of the AGW argument is based on a fear of humanity's 'power' to change the world... but geologic history has shown that the Earth has had cycles of ice ages and warm spells without human intervention. While I think humanty has a great ability to harm and destroy our own ecosystem on this rock, I suspect that our efforts to significantly terraform our own planet, apart from nuclear warfare, may be greatly exaggerated. I think blamining humanity may be a lazy cop-out... it may be true, and I'm open to it, but I'm not convinced yet, especially given the frenzied response to discredit, silence, and persecute dissenting opinion. Statistical cherry-picking and massaging of data has been seen, so, if the data is so incontrovertible, let's make it publically available for EVERYONE to look at... if it's so damning of us, can we see the data and statistical methods used, the research conducted, who's funding the research, and what's their stakes in it? I'd rather not take the word of some government-grant lackey spouting off in a journal next week just because he or she determines that oxygen and pure water are now categorized as 'pollutants' and we need to tax them to death, and the whole community agrees... I've read enough scientific journals to know that scientists typically guard their data like it was their immortal soul (not that they believe that have one), afraid that someone else may 'steal' their information and reach different conclusions, or, *gasp*, refute their claims... 'peer' review, if honestly done, may be sufficient for those who trust in it, but if we are truly talking a danger to all humanity, let's see more than their 'findings' and see the information be available for all to see, including the skeptics and nay-sayers. It may be available... if so, please let us know where we can find the the 'incontrovertible', 'irrefutable', 'undeniable' all-encompassing collected mass of evidence demonstrating that that AGW, not natural forces, are significantly and primarily responsible for life-endangering changes in climate... if we can see it, let us see the truth (and any nay-saying evidence as well) and let us become believers too...
When I was listening to my favorite Science radio, Science 360, it was noted that 97% of climate scientists believe that this is ocurring (does anyone have actual statistics to back/refute that statement). So that the Wall St. Journal can find 16 scientists that still believe this is not ocurring is not surprising. I remember watching a Science Channel show that featured a scientist who doesn't believe in evolution, though the show name and scientist name escapes me.
The point the Science 360 host was making is that the overwhelming scientific consensus, backed even by our own National institutes is that it is happening. There will almost always be dissent; dissent is healthy.
However, the quesiton I always pose is this...are you willing to bet your childrens future and their childrens future on being right about it not happening and/or not being caused by human activity. What's the cost if you 3% are incorrect?
The reason Wall St. Journal and other oppose the science is actually not rooted in science, but in the politics of our so called "free market" and the cost they believe they are incuring because of the 97% of scientiss. As a voting Libertarian, I cringe every time these Republican free market frauds get up and deride science because of the cost that their backers will pay; i.e. those industries that would be regulated to reduce CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions. If you look at their positions on other "free market" issues you'll see that they are frauds; for instance, NASA as "good" for the country when most Americans could give a hoot about what it does and USDA subsidies (ooh don't get me started with that bit LOL).
The point is...this is not about science it is about regulation and the desire to not be government regulated. There are different ways to regulate and it is amazing that most American's are oblivious to the fact that much of regulation is industry self-imposed, not government imposed. One can see this by just going through the mountains of standards created by ANSI, much of which, is self-policing.
According to http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204301404577171531838421366.html#articleTabs%3Dcomments: "Happer's statement that "there has been no warming since 2000" is simply false, (and he receives the 2010 climate BS (Bad Science) award for making that statement) and his statement that "the IPCC models are exaggerating the global warming trend" is statistically insignificant. He might as well have stated "the IPCC models are underestimating the global warming trend" and that also would have been statistically insignificant.
Every student with at least one course in statistics understands that Happer is "cherry-picking" in the noise, and that the timeframe (a decade) is simply too short for any significance claims,. Thus, either Happer is knowingly misleading his audience, or he is seriously statistically incompetent. Either way he just blew his scientific credibility."
So you are willing to follow with blind faith what your fav TV show says instead of finding out what the basis for these claims are just because there are only 16 of them? Doesn't really make you any different or more right than they are.
Can you say Milankovitch? Milan Milankovitch calculated the 70,000 year occultation period of the earth's orbit, and discussed the implications for climate shifts as the north and south poles are progressively more exposed to solar flux. This was done a hundred years ago, and seems never to enter our current discussions.
I have yet to see a computer model which shows a clear Milankovitch related baseline, and then posts the modelling for AGW above that.
I have no doubt that there are climate shifts in process...warming some places and cooling others. Look at Europe this year! But that may be an indicator of a weakening gulf stream/labrador current, which is itself an indication of shifts in the thermohaline circulation in the north atlantic, and a symptom of increased solar flux on the north polar regions.
There is no doubt....NO DOUBT... that we need to look after our use of energy, minimize our production of waste, and secure clean potable water. But we must separate responsible environmental conservation from the heated political debate about AGW.
From an engineering perspective, by the way, it's a lot easier to measure the BTU or KWH input to a system than it is the trace gas effluent. If AGW is real, we're focussing on the wrong variable to monitor....not to mention that CH3 is 30 times worse, as a greenhouse gas than CO2...and bovine flatulence is a major component of atmospheric methane.
We live in the Holocene interglacial epoch. In this period the earth has been warming and virtually all recorded human history from about 11,550 years ago took place in it. There is every reason to believe we will return to mile-thick glaciers sometime in the future.
Whether or not human civilization is mostly responsible for the increase in global warming has been the popular argument. (Not all temperatures records agree even on this basic issue!). Humans are certainly partly responsible for this Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW). But there are some issues that should be considered, and there are many reasons for taking a less rabid view:
1)Science is not a matter of getting everyone to agree. Really it isn't. Honest!
2)In the words of Dr. David Deutsch, it is too late to prevent a global-warming disaster if there is to be one. In fact, it was too late to stop the global-warming disaster even in the 1970's when the best scientific theory said that atmospheric pollution was going to cause a new ice age that would kill millions. We can fix the current problem somewhat, but we can't prevent it.
3)When the pilgrims landed in 1620, one could walk across New York harbor on the ice. The Earth is now, not as much warmer than average, as it then was colder than average. Hmmmm..
4)Have you seen the Sun recently? It is now quieter than any time in the last century. No sunspots mean a cooler Sun. Many AGW people are in a panic over this. Google "Maunder Minimum" to see why.
6)Having a baby is the super-humongous-GIANT carbon footprint. Little has been said about this. A US baby generates a lifetime 1,000,000 kg of CO2. Until environmentalists look at population growth, they're just whistling past the graveyard. But even so, population rate of increase has been declining for a century. Best estimates are 9.2-9.5 Billion people in 2050 and that's about the maximum. It looks like a slow reduction after that. Don't panic. Read:
Let's take a step back and think about this. We really need to carefully analyze this before we sell our souls to the devil. It is true people use public paranoia for personal gain. This could very well be the case. I am not saying change your beliefs. All i ask is keep an open mind. It is true plants love CO2 so it is not a far-fetched idea that as we increase CO2 content in the atmosphere our forests grow at an accelerated rate to compensate. This is just an opinion in my part. I have still not chosen which side i should take.
Geologists tell us we had a huge ice sheet over a mile deep covering most of what is today the US. It seems it also extended over much of Europe too.And this was not the first ice age by any means.It took a period of global warming to melt these.Calculate the BTUs to melt an ice block 1/3 the surface area of the globe and a mile thick!Something caused this.Any theory that includes Fortean, pre-humans (or even alien) technology might have a few skeptics.
Global climate change appears to be a rather poorly crafted political ploy to lower the standard of living of everyone on the planet.As I include myself and rather large family in this grouping, I am involved.One does not need to be a "climate scientist" to have reasons to be involved.Reducing out carbon footprint is another scam to take our collective livelihood away.
Next assume these people are absolutely correct in every prediction and humidity and CO2 increases.Perhaps we will lose low laying areas from floods. But we might also get bumper crops of food as our growing areas move northward.Does growing bananas in Quebec sound like a face worse than death?
The "science" covers 50 years of fair sea and land temperatures and historical temps go back about 100 years.I'm not an ME, but I do know that heat and temperature are very different quantities.Think heat content and latent heat.It's much like using a voltmeter to measure watts or joules.(Yes, I am one of those electric guys.)The subject is far more complex than we can even imagine.As far as the scientific method, think BioDome near Tucson.It did not work as the science predicted and the attempts to support humans for a year failed after a few months.It seems pretty clear to me that all we have hear at this time is expert opinion while real science is being ignored.
Study the subject; yes. Make it a political tool; hell NO!
It seems that the majority of US engineers are clueless about global warming. The people who wrote the letter appear to be the usual mix of emeritus professors and people from other scientific endeavors - using their name to give themseolves some credibility.
80% of engineers in the UK say that global warming is real and only 10% do not. Thye don't have a continuous drumbeat from the ignorant press and Republicans.
Engineers in the US don't keep up to date with what is going on on the rest of the planet.
It appears by your assertion that UK engineers suffer from "group think". It is not that surprising that US engineers are independant and don't bow to "royalty" be it political or 'scientific'.
I am just as capable (probably more) than the "climate scientists" on either side. So the 'scientists' should just show their data and methodolgies and let us decide who is lying on our own. Pretty simple solution huh?
The sceptics have no science to present. They certainly don't put it into scientific or engineering magazines. This article proves that. Just another Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly appeal to the ignorant masses with high sounding titles to their name.
Rutan is good at designing radical oneoff aircraft - provided you don't want to go into production. His word against hundreds of people taking real measurements - no. And then there are all those other emeritus professors (who regularly pop up with all sorts of crazy theories)
Group think in the US appears to be based on a theory of American exceptionalism and that ideas from elsewhere are "socialism". American news doesn't show half of what goes on around the planet - you have to watch AL Jazeera and the other foreign news programs for that.
Fiddling while Rome burns -- as yet another train load of carbon rolls down the track to be combined with more than it's own weight in oxygen we'd like to breath to muck up the atmosphere.
Do you seriously believe that you can keep on chucking those billions of tons of carbon in to the environment with no effect?
Unfortunately, the global Warming industry frequently has no science to present either, and it is made up on the spot. People talk about vested interests in the sceptics' lobby, but what about vested interests in pro GW academia, who gain the sponsorship of control freak governments as long as they skew everthing in favour of GW ?
If the GW lobby did not act as if they had something to hide, if they did not continuously maniulate date to their own ends, thinking people could think better of them.
If we didn't hear the repeated lie that "all scientists agree...."; unfortunately, this particular lie seems to be based on the premise that you have to believe in GW to be a scientist, and believing in GW makes you one. Their Nazi-like zeal works against them, and there are some pretty rubbish scientists put forward to make their case.
I am making no comment as to whether GW, man-made or otherwise- is happening. Subjectively, winters seem warmer nowadays, but memories can befuddle us. The data is far less definitive than many would have us believe.
Why does the GW lobby feel the need to act in the way it does ? Why does it so frequently hide evidence and present skewed and incomplete evidence ?
"Hello kettle, this is the pot. By the way, did you know you're black ?".
What global warming industry? Is this like the evolution industry, or the inflation industries?
There is no global warming "industry", only scientists doing their jobs as scientists. Manipulated data? You've got to be kidding. When scientists published papers based on manipulated data, it is eventually uncovered by other scientists. Vested GW interests in acedamia? And what are these? If there is a "vested" interest and the science is good, then there isn't a problem. However, if that interest is wrong, then it will eventually be exposed as fraud, by other scientists.
I'm afraid that rather than science, you are paying all your attention to mass media for your information. But here's what I'd like you to do, post EVIDENCE to support your allegations!
Is this all the skeptics got? Allegations of skewed and incomplete evidence with nothing to back those allegations up! This IS the problem with America and it's alive and well in the engineering community. Anti-intellectualism is the last refuge of true believers.
My word. Can you see the rest of us from that high horse of yours? Self-righteous indignation is always a sign of groups that have lots to hide or no case to make, so thanks. LOL.
By global warming industry, I meen the loose agglomeration of people who, now the politicians have largely bought in on the grounds that it gives them extra control and excuses to raise taxes, can make a comfy living. Starting from the international climate change committee, working down to lots of QUANGOs (UK), University departments, people developing electric and hydrogen car technology when there is not the corresponding thrust to generate green electricity to power them and make them relevant. All those wonderful conferences. The list is long, and it's loose, but far more coherent than the old "military-industrial complex" we used to hear about.
To the examples- the blatant lie in the ICCC report exaggerating the erosion of glaciers. The chain of hacked e-mails from the English "University" demonstrating the suppression, selctuive publication and manipulation of evidence-read them, they're on the net. As an aside, in line with my obligations as a professional engineer, I have removed my name from reports for less. Finally, one I'm trying to make further headyway on understanding, the accusation that a positive trend was deliberately added into sea level data to give it a trend where there was none otherwise.
Reading your reponse makes the sceptics' case easier, and as I said, I'm not making a claim either way; when I support a cause, as I support the green actions we need to take here, I am always upset by dishonesty on the side of the cause.
So are you referring to the typo over declines in the glaciers of the West Himalaya - 2350 vs 2035? Or are you referring to the World Glacier Monitoring Service reporting declines in 80% of the worlds glaciers?
So, the global warming industry is comprised of those who accept the strong scientifically derived evidence that human behavior has a negative affect and so develop and implement policies to mitigate that effect?
As for the "lie", see the discussion at The IPCC is not infallible (shock!). You really should do a little research on your own before you perpetuate right-wing talking points. Is this how you "engineer", not researching anything?
As for the emails, there's nothing there as nothing in the science that they performed has been refuted nor has any manipulation been shown.
Is this all you have? Where're the published refutations? Where's the evidence of wrong-doing? All I see are unsubstantiated allegations, which is easy to do and the modus operandi of the denier community.
My concern is that there is way too much money to be gained or lost based on the "truth" about this subject. People who believe manMade global warming is real are "alarmists" and those who do not believe are "deniers". To state an opinion brings horrific ridicule from people whose background includes reading 9 blog entries. For me, I see people with far more context-knowledge falling on both sides of this argument. Unless one truly combs through all of the data, all of the dis-proven data, and questions every piece of "evidence" ... it is horrifically narcissistic to believe that all folks on one side or the other of this argument are "in it for the money" and that all the folks on the other side are people of integrity searching for truth. There is too much money, too much passion, and too much politics involved. Science has lost this battle ... if a finding that made one argument or the other "incontrovertibly true" (unlikely to happen) occurred, the louder folks on the other side would attack it and ignore it (attacking can be healthy if done scientifically ... but we're way beyond that). It is a huge impact on science, but it will be a political/opinion-based impact, and not a scientific one.
Mt. Pinatubo has been putting out greenhouse gasses over the last 20 years which total more than the total of all human emmission in recorded history. The recent eruptions in Iceland have emmitted enough CO2 to negate all "human" CO2 reductions over the last 4 years. The climate on this planet is changing and humans are extremely arrogant to think that their puny input into the system is driving the entire system. The planet climate changed before we were here, and it will keep changing after we are gone. The "climate change" program is nothing more than a way for left leaning politicals to get control of money and power.
I am not advocating a return to no pollution controls, but we need to use common sense.
HEC wrote "Mt. Pinatubo has been putting out greenhouse gasses over the last 20 years which total more than the total of all human emmission in recorded history. The recent eruptions in Iceland have emmitted enough CO2 to negate all "human" CO2 reductions over the last 4 years."
Totally untrue. If you look at the CO2 levels recorded on the top of Mauna Kea there is NO visible rise in levels at the time of Pinatubo or Iceland. For your statement re Pinatubo to have been true the atmospheric CO2 levels SHOULD HAVE DOUBLED in that time.
No significant change, apart from the normal man made year by year increase.
You are quoting from a scam email written by, and circulated widely and forwarded without question by deniers - and without thinking. Bringing into focus recent reports that they may have difficulty in that area.
Further, irrespective of what nature emits, mankinds CO2 emmisions are on top of that, and are new.
The skeptics are wrong. We don't know everything, but sure as hell there are limits to growth. When CO2 levels acidify the seas such that fish & coral die, is that ok? Do we do it just till we need to carry respirators? Then it will be just us and the cockroaches.
Stuart21 - What is your Mauna Kea data that shows an increase in CO2 from "the normal man made" sources recording?...the increased CO2 from Hilo, HI?
The point being is that all that is measured is the CO2 level, not where the CO2 originated from.A single local measurement tells nothing but a local level at a particular time.Perhaps you take a more sophisticated approach to the complex fluid dynamics problem that is our atmosphere.Don't feel bad if it is overwhelming, no one has accurately modeled it yet.
BTW - I was in Subic Bay the day Pinatubo blew all those years ago.The initial eruption 30miles distant looked like a nuclear explosion.A Typhoon blew the debris over us the next day.It was pitch black at noon, except when lightening lit up the sky.It was raining rock (pumice), earthquakes, looked like hell on earth.Our ship manned fire hoses topside 24hrs during the event to prevent capsizing from the added weight.Witnessing such an event puts into perspective just how little and insignificant we humans are.But as a young sailor I found the whole Volphoonaquake a pretty awesome experience - especially because the local bars, the couple that were still standing or able to move outside, used dry ice to cool the beer (electrical grid was toast).Nothing makes a San Miguel or Red Horse more palatable than slamming it ice cold!
Insulting Jon Titus is the kind of ad hominem attack I referred to in other posts that zeros-out credibility very quickly. The model evaluations conducted during Mt. Pinatubo make statements like "temperature change is consistent with the temperature anomalies observed". This is "modeling speak" for "my model gets the ups and downs mostly right". There were no claims of quantitative calibration. Heck, right out of college, I wrote a RADAR model whose detection ranges were better than "consistent with observed" but it was still crude and nowhere near calibrated to the point where the Navy could use it to choose between two competing systems under all circumstances.
Yet calibration and consistency under all circumstances are exactly what is necessary to base the kinds of decisions pushed by the AGW agenda. At the present time, the magnitude of the errors in climate predictions and inability to attain anything remotely called "calibration" makes using the words "incontrovertible" and "human-caused" in the same sentence quite pretentious. Books like the "Long Thaw" written by very smart people making catastrophic predictions based on qualitative information and educated conjecture do nothing to further the knowledge necessary to make public policy decisions on. The Professor did make a good living on the book sales and has the prestige of being "published", but I would say that a positive contribution to the dialog was not one of its attributes.
I live on the East Coast of Florida and every year I get to see the Hurricane Path Predictions based on not one model but usually on nearly a dozen of the best models that the smartest meteorologists could produce. The best we can get is human interpretation of the different results provided. Accuracy is measured in hundreds of miles and consistency is often missing. To make matters worse, at times the actual movement is "mis-reported" or "not-reported" if it does not support the evacuation decisions already made by civil authorities. So the best weather and atmospheric science is hard pressed to make predictions to the accuracy needed by climate models to determine public policies. Yet the Climate models ore not as precise and do not consider all factors known to affect the results (clouds etc.) and we are supposed to trust them more than Hurricane movement predcitions.
Calling out Jon for not doing due diligence before posting is not insulting him. He made a series of unsupported allegations. Where're his citations? If there's a problem with climate science, it appears to be in the "skeptic" community.
If there's a "follow the money" lesson, it's that the corporate interests have far more of than the academic community, as there was with regards to the connection between smoking and cance, for example from the fossil fuel industry. If there is any agenda pushing global warming, it is from Wall Street, not the scientists. Their research is open for all to see and verify.
Heck, he can get involved directly in the science. You too can help the discussion by posting valid scientific research that supports your "skepticism".
I don't usually call out trolls, but what the heck -
Your many posts (this must be your day job), with a multitude of links (propaganda at the ready), use of derogatory terms for those you disagree with, and your 'new' status to the site shows that you are most likely a professional activist who happened to find this blog via web search. You attack the subject of the article based on who picked the article up and the only evidence to refute his claims comes from your links to AGW propaganda sites.
Really - follow the money.Traditional energy companies have no need to hype the debate. They will make money just as they have always done.The AGW crowd is the insurgent group seeking to destroy their industry without a shred of evidence that there is an issue that can be addressed.
AGW supporters come in two varieties: Global socialists (commies) that want power and crony capitalists that would sell their mother to make a buck.As an old "cold warrior" I am well aware of the environmental movement's founding in the 60's after pro communist movements were forced underground.Not coincidentally, the goals of the two movements are basically the same: Destroy (over-regulate) the industries of developed nations to gain economic control over them, effectively eliminating their ability to resist external forces.As they used to say: GREEN is the new RED.
Sorry to the other regular posters on Design News for this rant. I just couldn't sit by while some of the respected, regular contributors were maligned.
Post proof that the climatologists are corrupted by money.
I have to thank you for illustrating what the real issue is with regards to what drives the "skeptics", and that's the implication of accepting that global warming is real, which refutes free market ideology. This is indicated by your referring to those who accept that human activity is driving global warming, whether actually causing it or exacerbating a natural cycle, as "red".
There are two separate issues here: a) global warming and (b) policies to ameliorate its consequences. The "skeptics" attack global warming science more from the econimc implications than the science itself.
Published in 1938 by the Engineer G.S. Callendar. If he had the insight based on the scanty evidence and equipment available then, what must he have thought of all this squabbling now? He must be turning in his grave!
Abstract: "By fuel combustion man has added about 150,000 million tons of carbon dioxide to the air during the past half century. The author estimates from the best available data that approximately three quarters of this has remained in the atmosphere. The radiation absorption coefficients of carbon dioxide and water vapour are used to show the effect of carbon dioxide on "sky radiation." From this the increase in mean temperature, due to the artificial production of carbon dioxide, is estimated to be at the rate of 0.003°C. per year at the present time. The temperature observations at 200 meteorological stations are used to show that world temperatures have actually increased at an average rate of 0.005°C. per year during the past half century."
Citation:G. S. Callendar, Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, Volume 64, Issue 275, pages 223–240, April 1938, DOI: 10.1002/qj.49706427503.
your criteria for believability is unbelievable. Since research takes time and equipment which require money, lab space (or at least computers and desk space) demanding counter research that is published in journals is disingenuous at best. Further, the mechanism in science publishing is 'peer-review', and the political pressure to adhere to the consensus view means that there are no peers who will give non-consensus research a fair shake (either for fear of losing their jobs or funding, or because they are busy bullying their own 'peers' to adheer to the consensus). The model is pretty much identical to AIDS research, where you couldn't even get an application for funding or a job if you didn't start by saying (as the US made Law under one or another of the Bushes) that "HIV is the virus that Causes AIDS.
The IPCC's seminal document on climate change claims the agreement of 600 scientists as its authority. And yet, from the time that the last scientific paper was finished to the time that the document was ready to publish, lots of 'rewriting' was done by the political section bosses. Look up the timetable. Why would they need that long?
I'm finishing up my third associates degree at the local technical community college. The reason for three is immaterial, but it does mean that I've been there for a lot of years. And I've been constantly shocked at the activism on global warming which is attended with slogans like "The science is done, it's time for ACTION!!" and "Don't discuss, Act!!" Would that my little college were alone in this zealous and blind jihad. Science is never done, they teach us in our lab-science classes: theories can always be overturned by more or better information. Then the Jihad fires up and there's no allowance for non-consensus opinion, questions or consideration.
It's far easier to document the things that are wrong about the current politically-driven, consensus AGW jihad than to produce suppressed research. The requirement on the part of the True Believers that anyone who doesn't agree is a 'denier' to start with. Since when has science been operated on the basis of elementary-school-yard bully politics? (Since about 1970, apparently.) All it takes to see it is to read (actually read, not skim or read what someone else wrote about) various internet 'sources' of truth and justice: Realscience.com, Wikipedia, etc. In the RealScience.com discussion fora, you find people who claim to be knowledgeable treating people who ask questions as if the askers are criminals bent only on causing mischief. Wikipedia has closed a long list of subjects from further editing based on "community consensus." (I've edited on Wikipedia for about a decade. No one asked my opinion to form this 'consensus', which leaves the question of who, exactly, the community in question might be?)
I'm not young. I graduated in 1972 from highschool. I was a radical activist back then, and reading and paying attention. I saw the reports that were absolutely positive that we were on our way into an ice age, and the lists of actions we had to take to avoid it... which were just the actions we're told we must take to avoid global warming. Oddly, the absolute surety hasn't changed. Only the artificial crisis.
Here's a question: we have all been forced to cut down on use of chlorofluorocarbons. We're stuck with lead-free solders (which don't work as well as tin-lead did, require heavy metals to stabilize and give properties 'like' tin-lead, some of which are a lot nastier than lead was) organic flux removers that don't remove flux (but make your hands smell good!) and cleaning fluids that, at best, push things around without actually cleaning very well. And yet, I've never seen a mechanism that explained how those really heavy Chlorofluorocarbon molecules make their way into the upper atmosphere to kill Ozone. Have you? Has anyone? I doubt it. In the mean time, in the name of saving the world, we've taken a major step backwards in reliability, quality and usability.
My suspicion is that the hard sciences have been invaded by the practitioners of the soft sciences. Psychologists insist that it is not reality, but perception of reality whcih is important, while physicists used to say it was the other way around. Add to that a cadre of politicians who think they have the right to pontificate about science without actually ever having more than a glancing aquaintance with it, and you have a recipe for where we are: science by name calling. I can prove my science if I can convince enough other people that you are a 'denier' or 'alarmist', or conspiracy theorist. It makes no difference if the people in question have experience with science as long as they've watched something like it on TV.
I don't see anything in your post that refutes the AGW theory or that you've read anything in the scientific literature, as your "ice age" comment indicates. All I see is a person who doesn't like the implications that AGW poses, that humans must act responsibly to reduce their negative effects on the earth's systems because a) the earth wasn't designed to accommodate whatever we do, (b) ethical egoism is no way to run a planet, (c) we aren't insignificant and what we do has effects far greater and more negative than we thought possible.
I suggest that you take hard science course so that you can find some of those answers for those rhetorical questions you ask, because the answers are readily available. Get to know a researcher or become one yourself!
Instead of going to blogs for your information, try the scientific journals or sites such as www.sciencedaily.com, that provide good overviews and links to the source articles and the researchers' sites, if they have one. Science is a democratic endeavor that you can participate in, so participate.
Also, don't use economics for information about AGW as economics is competent to discuss how we behave and interact to meet our needs and satisfy our desires. It isn't competent to discuss AGW per se.
My point is all of these theories had scienctist behind them and at the time were thought of as major issues that must be dealt with if you disagreed you were claimed to be back by industry and a hack. Yet not 1 of the 5 although their have been more like 10 in the last 50 years happened. Why should I only belive those who say it is happening and ignore the others. This has been a theory now for 20 years yet their is no hard facts that exist.
sea levels are the same again not 1" of rise in 20 years yet just wait in the next 20 it will be a foot. I call "bull****"
Non of the storms or droughts or floods are historic other than their are more people to be affected. Read history of the US and you will find periods of major storms even in yes the northeast.
As an engineer i deal in facts. the fact do not support this and as I have show when that happens it has a tendancy to end up on the list.
You oversimplify all of your points or don't understand anything about your stated issues. For example, overpopulation predictions have been coming true as scientists have never predicted absolute collapse. They have consistently predicted a steady degradation of the environment, the decimation of wildlife as humans encroach on habitat and perform outright slaughter, conflicts over resources, etc. These are happening and are getting worse as indicated by the increasing loss of habitat to develoment globally and the slaughter of elephants and rhinos in Africa.
Then there's the outright lie or ignorance. For example you claim that sea levels have not risen when they have as discussed in Melting Glaciers Raise Sea Level.
Your claims that the predicted negative consequences just aren't true are wrong. You don't deal in facts because you don't read about the subjects before you post! If you did you wouldn't write what you do.
Jeffbiss, I suppose an ad hominem attack on me is to be expected. It does fail the purpose for which it is intended. It is actually not a fact that everyone who disagrees with you is stupid.
I never set out to disprove AGW as you claim, proving that you read into my reply what you wanted to see. Since I've completed two ASs in hard science and am completing a third in Computer Science Technology (which places me in my third year minus a couple of non-science humanities requirements which can be completed just by continuing to take music lessons privately and giving a concert or two) I don't feel any need to defend myself against your inference that I haven't had any hard science courses.
Since I can read English and also write it, I'm unaffected by your claim (based on nothing, since you don't know me from adam) that I haven't read what I said I have read.
Oh yes, ScienceDaily.com is definitely the place to go to get both sides of the AGW debate. After all, it is popular! And it has earned the respect of loyalty of students, researchers, healthcare professionals, government agencies, educators and the general public around the world! After all, it tells us on it's "About ScienceDaily" page. Kind of reminiscent of Sir Joseph Porter, KCB, or realscience.com "Real science by Real Scientists!" I'm so impressed. Why, the editor has served as the senior Science editor for Grollier's Book of Knowledge!!!! Wow!
Science is a Democratic endeavor, indeed. Note to self: Ignore all of Einstein's theories because the democratic vote in his own time was against him. Sorry, wrong again. There may have been a time when Science was democratic. The fact that we don't still adhere to theories like phlogiston and the aether proves pretty conclusively that Science is uninterested in your vote, just what Nature presents and, for the moment, what theories do a good job of modelling. When the model proves to be inaccurate, it gets updated or cast out...except recently.
You say to read. Have you read all (yes, all) of the reviewed literature on the Hockeystick graph? Talk about cherry-picking. Have you read both the papers and leaked info from the scientists exposed by the Argyle leaks? Or just the media reports? It's one thing to try to win an argument by suggesting that your (obviously intellectually deficient) opponent is un-lettered and ignorant. It's quite another to take your own prescription.
Maybe, instead of relying on "good overviews" and bragging about links to sources, you should read sources and forget the overviews. And, in fact, maybe you ought to forget letting ScienceDaily filter the links you access. It could just be setting you up to appear biased by insufficient exposure. Along the way, you can answer the major question that you avoided by the adhominem response:
If the publishers of the papers are either in the 'consensus group' or are being pressured by the consensus group to toe the line, how will _anyone_ read a paper about the non-consensus view, ever? Yes, politics has a valid place in this discussion, and the politics of the situation stinks.
One last thing: 'economics' isn't 'competent to discuss anything, yes. Economics does not discuss. Economists are arguably not competent to discuss economics. However, when the hand that holds the money bags is in a position to determine who gets funded and bases that on their own preconceived notions, it's necessary to discuss it. If you believe it is not, quit your job, and build your lab in your den. If you can't afford to do that, or your first thought is, I can't do what I'm doing now without support from my company, then you have just admitted that ecoomics has a part in the discussion.
Come on, it's democratic in that anyone can get involved, from performing the actual research to reviewing and commenting on the research, which is kinda like voting. So it is a group thing. Also, there are teams of researchers working together, like at CERN.
Still nothing refuting AGW I see. Long post though. Instead of rambling, please succinctly provde evidence that AGW theory is wrong. Nothing more. There's a lot of research out there, so start reading.
Since when do I dance to your whip? Y'see, this is why you run off on monologs. I didn't say a thing about AGW: I said plenty about IPCC and the business of publishing scientific papers, and how unscientific science has become. And how you aren't doing anyone any good standing on your own self-carved ivory tower and insisting that no one can say anything unless they produce the papers that haven't been published. Which is, to be blunt, pretty bully-ish.
If you want me to refute AGW, you're going to have to ask politely. I'm not too likely to bother, though. Once you throw away the hockey stick, the bad math that produced it, the bad math that was synthesized to show that the first set of bad math was good math, and the whole of RealScience.com and Argyle and their arrogant associates, it's hard to prove global warming is happening just like you claim, and a lot harder to claim that it's caused by mankind alone. But hey, that's _my_ opinion. I'm not forcing that on you: you're happy with your beliefs, and apparently they empower you.
I am, however, quite willing to challenge your implicit claim that you can dictate to others how they can go about making their points. It's just another way to try to rob someone of their right to free speech without actually admitting that you have no basis for a rebuttal.
If you're saving the real basis for your rebuttal, by all means, play the card. We're all waiting, with bated breath. But put the ad hominem attacks and the school-yard bully aside, and man up.
Another rambling post. If you're not trying to refute AGW, then what's your point? Why waste our time and thread space? So, I order you to try writing a coherent and succinct post refuting AGW. I double dare you to even try.
Remember that science is NOT about beliefs, it's about providing evidence to back up your claims. You haven't posted anything relevant to the AGW discussion.
"I order you to try writing a coherent and succinct post refuting AGW. I double dare you to even try."
Reason and Ignorance, the opposites of each other, influence the great bulk of mankind. If either of these can be rendered sufficiently extensive in a country, the machinery of Government goes easily on. Reason obeys itself; and Ignorance submits to whatever is dictated to it. -Thomas Paine, "The Rights of Man" 1791.
Nice try, Jeffbiss. (And you even spelled my name right!) But as I said, if you want it, you have to ask, politely. Last time I checked, by the way, politely requires a bit more than just using "please" while denegrating everything you can think of about the person you are requesting from.
I would say that the list of names at the end of the article does in fact refute the idea of anthropogenic global climate change. The fact that the climate changes around the planet is not, in fact in argument, it's called weather. But that the statement of carbon dioxide, that is the reference C02, and it is in fact the part of the atmosphere which has been blamed for damage. Before that it has been trinitro toluene, ozone, chlorfloro hydrocarbons, JuJu, Karma and many other superstitions which, thanks to AlGore, have become the new religion of the weak minded.
Insult? I only wish I could insult those that have been beating that drum in person.
Get a grip. Climate is the signal and weather the noise. Adding CO2, a greenhouse gas, adds energy to the system and thus disturbs the equilibrium, which then forces the system to "seek" a new equlibrium. One would expect the signal to increase and the noise to become more chaotic, which it apparently does.
AGW is supported by the research and i see that you have nothing to refute it, except your attitude.
"AGW is supported by the research" is only true so far as you have only seen research that supports it.
It always makes me a little nervous to talk to someone who is absolutely sure that something is so because they've never personally seen anything else. It doesn't tell me that it is so, just that they haven't very wide horizons.
But that's a point I was making while you were sitting and waiting for me to refute AGW for you, so you could defeat me, wasn't it?
The article on the dissenting scientists misses a couple of important points. First, scientific truth is determined by evidence and logic, not by nose counts. But even considering numbers, the American Physical Society (of which I am a Life Member) has 50,000 members. Membership is not subject to any qualifying exam, nor (unlike religions or political parties) are dissenting members subject ot expulsion. I believe the other named societies are similar in this regard. Thus it's to be expected that there will be a few contrarians. incompetents, and members with conflicting affiliations within such organizations.
Second, the case for anthropogenic climate change is not based solely, nor even mainly, on weather records. It is predictable from well established physics and chemistry. We know the optical properties of CO2 and how it contributes to a "greenhouse effect." We also can plot the trend in CO2 concentration over a long historical period. This is from direct measurements in the last 50-100 years, and from ice core samples before that. (The two agree closely over the period where both are available.) The amount of extra CO2 corresponds to our consumption of fossil fuels since the industrial revolution began (correcting for that absorbed in known sinks). And isotopic analysis shows that the added CO2 is of fossil fuel origin.
As for the "natural" climate changes (Milankovich cycles) these take place over millenia, not decades, and according to the Milankovich theory we should be in a cooling phase now.
Permit a little analogy. If a kid is batting baseballs at the side of a house, one can predict from the scatter of trajectories and the kinetic energy of the ball that sooner or later he will break a window, even if he has not yet done so.
The legitimate debate in the scientific community is in the details of exactly how the effects of increased atmospheric heating will be manifested. (Which window will break and where will the pieces fall?)
We can think of the atmosphere as a heat engine (or an ensemble of engines), using temperature differences to perform work (wind, the water cycle, and other weather). Adding more heat the the "boiler" will make the engine work harder. This is likely to show up as intensified weather phenomena as well as a general temperature rise. If we wait until the catastrophe has already manifested itself to the satisfaction of the most die-hard deniers, it will be much to late to take any effective action.
CO2 is increasing, but it is not as simple as you indicate. CO2 is already at a concentration that achieves over 90% absorption at it's relatively narrow band of wavelengths. Doubling the CO2 concentration only increases the greenhouse effect by a few percentage points.
Advocates of the "hair on fire" scenario have to resort to the argument that small increases in warming, due to CO2, cause an increase in water vapor, which in turn really does cause more infrared absorption, hence more increases hence "hair of fire". This completely ignores the opposite feedback, where water vapor causes more clouds to form, which reflect incoming infrared and cause cooling.
Whether the positive feedback or the negative feedback win out is a complex issue that cannot be addressed so naively as "CO2 is a greenhouse gas and causes warming". It is quite likely that the negative feedback works like a thermostat and keeps the temperature relatively stable.
Note that NONE of the computer models so often quoted has a mechanism for cloud formation, not one. This in itself is an astonishing fact, given the absolute certainty with which their proponents declare our future climate.
You raise the seminal arguement that the AGW proponents refuse to address. That is the issue of model fidelity, model accuracy and model calibration. If the model cannot predict last year's activity from the data before it, the model has significant factors unaccounted for. Over the decade of 2000 to 2010, CO2 rose at an accelerated rate while observed global temperatures were not accelerating and by some accounts were nearly flat over significant periods.
A tenet in modeling and analysis is that correlation does not necessarily indicate causality. As you point out, there are significant factors and feedback mechanisms not presently considered in the models. If the statements that the model temperature rise predictions exceed the actual observed values by a factor of four, the model is far from ready for prime time directing the future decisions for all mankind.
There are huge, uncontrolled sources of CO2 at work in the form of recent volcanic activity. The magnitude of their contribution is, at best, only estimates. Some sources estimate it to be "years worth" of man-generated CO2. Even if it is much smaller but the real number is in the same order of magnitude as man-generated presents a conundrum that the very best efforts to reduce carbon foorprint can be erased by a single "natural" event, and one that has become more common.
So until there are answers to these modeling issues as well as quantification of the potentially swamping impact of natural sources, does a politically induced attempt to force a pre-industrial economy make sense? The so-called solutions seem to take the form of "wealth redistribution" rather than true mitigation. As such, they are suspect. It is truly a question of whether AGW proponents have a scientific outcome or a political outcome as their objective. If you "follow the money, as evo1 and cassiopeia implore us, you find both sides have dirty hands. AGW research is as much a business as the fossile fuel developers are. Should the ultimate ground truth in climate be found, one or both will of these "industries" will likely collapse.
As one post stated, the worst part is the change in "climate of scientific discourse". The scientific method has been hijacked by a community of hooligans and thugs who resort to ad hominem attacks rather than debate. When the truth is ever found, it may never see the light of day, depending on who finds it and who supresses it. If the side that finds it does not like it, it will die; if the side that finds it cannot stand the personal cost, it will die.
Where is your proof, or theirs, of thuggery? I don't see it and haven't seen anyone show any. As far as I can tell, the deniers engage in the discussion outside the scientific community, such as in religious or business publications. So, there is no thuggery.
What seems to be happening is that deniers make a decision to avoid the scientific process, such as performing one's own research or responding in peer reviewed journals, and using the ignorance of the majority of Americans to further their agenda. Otherwise, why write an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal or First Things?
You have a lot of interesting points and examples, however none really explain which of OUR actions affected the Sun. Why nobody is pointing to the fact that the Sun is more active with severely increase number and size of flairs.
I would like to know which fossil fuel did that.
In my opinion various groups only point to items that help their cause. The science is too politisized.
The science isn't politicized. People with agendas have politicized it. The climate research stands or falls on the data collected and the research performed and published in peer reviewed journals. Deniers, on the other hand, plead their case to the ignorant public to further their agenda.
Earth climate will not respond overnight to increased or decreased sun activity. The fact that from 2008-2010 the sun spot activity was very slow states just that. The sun was uniform more or less and provided consistant energy levels, which resulted in a more constant Earth heating.
It is projected that the increased sun spots and flairs will create spikes in the weather patterns. Possibly heating, possibly some cooling.
The main point is what is the relative influence of Sun to the man made.
The believers will claim that we are killing the Earth. Skeptics will point out to some more possibilities. Sun is one of them.
I'm sure that you would agree that Sun does contibute to our weather, unless we live in an imaginary world of physics 101 ( no friction, not losses, ect....).
For a discussion of how solar activity plays in climate, see www.realclimate.org. Search that site for a number of stories/threads. Also, see Stanford's Solar Center site. They state that "Their bottom line: though the Sun may play some small role, "it is nevertheless much smaller than the estimated radiative forcing due to anthropogenic changes." That is, human activities are the primary factor in global climate change.
What is a scientist doing writing an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal rather than in the pages of the scientific journals publishing the papers discussing global warming? As Happer states in his op-ed, this is not the way science is supposed to work.
If you search for Happer in Google Scholar, you'll see that he has not published any research supporting his contentions that global warming is controvertible or that CO2 is not a greenhouse gas or that increasing greenhouse gas concentrations do not increase the energy of the earth's climate system thus forcing changes to achieve a new equilibrium. In fact his scant discussion of CO2 leaves completely undiscussed that last issue and its consequences, such as increased extreme weather. The question must be asked why?
I think that his closing paragraph sums up his real concern, and it is about corruption of the policy process, such as that which pushed for cap and trade as a free market answer, not that global warming is not occuring. For one, free market theory is a failed theory, as proven by the existence of bubbles and financial crises, and using it to serve to ameliorate human activity would more than likely result in a few gaming the system to their benefit without reducing greenhouse gas emissions and slowing global warming. But that is a question separate from whether human activity is causing global warming.
I suggest that Happer et al enter the debate through valid research. As it stands now it seems that he is actually concerned with the economic implications of global warming rather than its effects on life as we know it. He may be honestly concerned with the consequences of human activity and how to best minimize the harm we cause, but he hurts his cause by writing an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal or First Things:
"First Things is published by The Institute on Religion and Public Life, an interreligious, nonpartisan research and education institute whose purpose is to advance a religiously informed public philosophy for the ordering of society."
I think that Happer et al have their own agenda, they should be honest enough to disclose it.
The entire CO2 debate (NOTE: There has never been an honest debate, under oath - only a 50 billion propaganda campaign sponsored by some "not so honest people"!
Just apply a little common sense, such as the WSJ article, and do your own "thorough" investigation - not difficult to do!
First, what are the two most important events for creating "all life on earth"?
The SUN & the wonderful trace gas CO2.
I have asked >50 people about "how much of the astmosphere is represented by CO2" & the answers ranged from a low of 3 % to 60 %? The actual is that all CO2 in the atmosphere is 0.04 % (their term is 390 parts/million) or 1 part in every 2500 parts! Also, remember that "water vapor" is 25 times more (1.0 %) abundant & creates the heat trapping clouds
A interesting science experiment would be to heat all the earth's Co2 & spread evenly back into the atmosphere - and there would "probably" be "NO TEMPERATURE CHANGE"!
Much more common sense (the internet has volumes of honest data - concentrate on some of the older info generated when science was factual); but we really need an honestd debate, under oath, to resolve this controversy!
Wouldn't science, scientists, and all the rest of us be better served if these sixteen and all the others in the scientific community would focus on designing better experiments to test the different global warming theories?
Certainly there is a political dimension to the issue, and an economic one, and scientists are entitled to have an opinion on these issues. But they seem to be an aside to the scientific problems -- which is where these men's expertise lies.
What saddens me is the first paragraph. The responses to what these men believe. We have come so far in science, yet these blogs show us as the human race to be just like those who condemned Galileo for believing the earth moved around a fixed sun, or condemned people as foolish for believing the world is round when it is obvious that it is flat. ChrisP, I wonder how many of the 80% of UK engineers secretly disagree with Global Warming, but for fear of job or promotion claim to agree. How can scientist have a true honest discussion if the unpopular side is punished for their believes?
Don't forget the 'global warming tax' requested by the UN (seems the 'oil for food' cash cow was killed a few years ago) and they need some way to bilk billions of dollars or euros or yuan or rubles any way they can. The make algore a billionaire by selling carbon credit boondoggle went down in flames. Let's spend the money intelligently and with purpose by using it on education and getting people off welfare.
I'm firmly a global-warming sketpic. Back in the 1950's and 1960's, scientists told us the contrails from jet aircraft criss-crossing the US would cause ice crystals to form in the upper atmosphere and greatly reduce sunlight in the midwest. That in turn would cause crop yields to go down significantly and some parts of the midwest would become a wasteland. Didn't happen.
Not long ago we had a scare about depletion of the ozone over Antarctica due to photo-chemical reactions that involved halogenated chemicals released into the atmosphere. Three scientists received the Nobel prize in chemistry (1995) for demonstration the sequence of reactions that depleted ozone. I don't know if any high-altitude sampling proved the same reactions occur in the atmosphere, but apparently measurements of ozone depletion for the 2011 season in Antarctica might show the largest measured "hole," even though halogenated compound use has decreased steadily for yours. Hmmm.
I can only say about global warming that many measurements are either statistically irrelevant or influenced by sources other than "global warming." Sensors that used to measure temperatures in open areas now have parking lots and other structured built nearby, sensor inaccuracies, lack of long-term data, etc. And as one of the comments pointed out, if a model cannot accurately predict the next few point on a graph based on past data, the model has a flaw. As far as I know, many models do not account for long-term (geological time spans) effects and normal fluctuations in temperatures. Based on real science we're actually due for a new glacial age and widespread cooling. So, yes, based on past experiences with "panic science," I remain a skeptic. --Jon Titus, Ph.D. (chemistry)
You allege that science has gotten it wrong, so prove it. I doubt that science got it wrong with regards to contrails as there might have been conclusions drawn that warned of a "threat" but was debated and the conclusions evolved. For example, in World War II Bombing Raids Offer New Insight Into the Effects of Aviation On Climate, the study's authors note that "...but quantifiable data on the impact of AIC remains rare."
As for ozone depleting chemicals, in Significant Ozone Hole Remains Over Antarctica it is noted that "Levels of most ozone-depleting chemicals are slowly declining due to international action, but many have long lifetimes, remaining in the atmosphere for decades." You claim to have a Ph.D in chemistry, so you should have known that.
As for the irrelevant stats and "heat island" situated sensors, Richard Muller states in The Case Against Global-Warming Skepticism: There were good reasons for doubt, until now.that "Remarkably, the poorly ranked stations showed no greater temperature increases than the better ones. The mostly likely explanation is that while low-quality stations may give incorrect absolute temperatures, they still accurately track temperature changes." So, there is no bias in sensors positioned in urban areas (heat islands.
So, where're your citations? Your post is totally devoid of citations and illustrates the problem with science today. If you're really a PhD, then I'm surprised. I'm interested to see how you run your blog.
jeffbiss: Jon Titus is indeed a Ph.D. Please note that Jon's original Mark-8 computer is on display at the Smithsonian Institution. See his background below:
Jon Titus holds three college degrees, a BS from Worcester Polytechnic Institute, an MS from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and PhD from Virginia Polytechnic Institute. He is credited by many people as being the inventor of the first personal computer kit, the Mark-8, which was featured as a construction project on the cover of Radio Electronics magazine in July, 1974. The computer used an Intel 8008 microprocessor chip -- the first 8-bit microprocessor -- and the kit was meant for use by serious electronics hobbyists and experimenters. Jon's original Mark-8 is now in the collection at the Smithsonian Institution. In 2002, Jon received a George R. Stibitz Computer & Communications Pioneer Award from the American Computer Museum in Bozeman, MT, for his development of the Mark-8 hobbyist computer kit.
Thanks for that bio. My problem is still that he alleged without citing support. If there's a big problem with the discussion of global warming, it's making unsubstantiated statements. In my opinion, "skeptics" simply muddy the discussion when they provide no backup, and that adds to the rampant ignorance in America. In fact that ignorance is celebrated in certain segments of our population, and that's a big problem. We can do far better.
Good question. The actual quote is""the folks who deny scientific facts deserve to be laughed at and scorned." So it's about laughing at and scorning those that deny scientific facts. The answer's in the details. To not agree with an interpretation of data is valid and part of the process. Also, to see fault with gathering data is part of the process. So, it's how the denial is presented, which is what happens all the time in scientific journals.
The problem is that most "skeptics" aren't part of that debate and appear more concerned about protecting their favored ideology with regards to the implications on the economy than acknowledging that global warming is indeed occurring and is driven by human activity.
So, if deniers, or "skeptics", are not going to participate in the scientific process then they should be scorned. Otherwise, we must consider creationism as valid as evolution. The scientific process must have standards.
When I served on the Fire and Rescue Squad, we occasionally got a false alarm. Still, when the alarm rang, we responded. most alarms are real and we could not afford to ignore one.
In the case of stratospheric ozone, we did respond and cut back on Freons along with other ozone-eating chemicals. Of course there is still a "hole" since it takes nature a long time to repair the initial damage.
Rational peopls look at each alleged problem on the basis of its evicence, not on gut feelings or anger because of some possibly erroneous alert in the past.
Also consider cases where an alarm causes a response that averts the disaster. does that mean the alarm was false?
Ok, I'm an Engineer, and this shouldn't be rocket science. Since atmospheric CO2 is supposed to be the bad guy -- show me a documented state diagram for atmospheric CO2 flow. Include a diagram that lists all CO2 sources by percentage, as well as all of the CO2 consumers by percentage, along with yearly overall flow rate between the two processes. This would be worth more than a thousand words...
There are very elaborate mechanisms described for Ozone depletion, none which have been confirmed in the laboratory to my knowledge, but they were used to strike fear in the hearts of many and caused the cancellation of the development of the SST (although Britian and France were undetered). Now we are told that "the sun is not much of a factor". So an obvious corellary question to ask if the Sun is such a small contributor, why were the Ozone holes of such import (other than reduction to the ultraviolet protection). But in the science of ozone depletion, the methane of bovine flatus is not a bad player. When Methane breaks down in the atmosphere, it forms CO2, Water Vapor and Ozone. So the CO2 is bad because it is a "greenhouse" gas, but the Ozone is good because it replenishes what the CCF have supposedly destroyed. And now we are told that Water Vapor is "bad" because it, too, is a "greenhouse" gas. So the AGW folks have another one to hit us with and what will Nebraska do with the carcasses of all the cows killed to prevent global warming. Indeed, the Nitrogen compounds released from the rotting flesh may actually deplete the rest of the Ozone. There has been some recent South American studies of the Antarctic Ozone hole that cast doubts on true depletion by CCFs.
But there is another model inadequacy issue to consider. Since the last Ice Age, how much ice melted? The ice is supposed to have been a mile thick. If indeed so much ice has been melting, what effect on Global temperature does the ever reducing ice have? The latent heat of fusion is 80 calories, if memory serves me right and so every molecule of ice melted keeps 80 molecules of water from increasing their temperature by one degree. This certainly has had an affect on global temperature up to some point in history, and when did that affect actually end (if it did).
The melting of the total ice on the earth reminds me of the mortgage amortization curve. You make payments for many, many years seeing only slight decreases in the principle, then you get out to the last couple of years and bang! you suddenly pay it off fast. If the melting of polar ice has had a slowing affect on the global temperature rise, the effect will be dimenishing as the total amount of ice is reduced through melting. So we may have more than CO2 to worry about.
Again, its the models and what they consider and their fidelity to the natural phenomenon. Present models exclude cloud effects. They are CO2 centric because CO2 is the pre-ordained enemy. The models are not validated and calibrated, therefore they are speculation. I've done modeling and I'm underwhelmed with their trustworthiness.
Google "carbon cycle" for the requested "diagram that lists all CO2 sources by percentage, as well as all of the CO2 consumers by percentage, along with yearly overall flow rate between the two processes". There are, however, many more than two processes involved.
What interests me here amid the robust discussion is, what makes a scientific discussion become overwhelmed by politics. Or, more specficially, which kinds of scientific issues are likely to become politicized. So, for example, irradiation of food became politicized briefly, but then that died off. (Likely because the area itself didn't have "legs.") I'm trying to think of other examples, but can't. Probably the closest is the population explosion debate circa 1970, although as I recall, that one was more poltical than scientific. This one (global warming) has both lots of science and lots of non-scientists. (The two groups seem to be having separate debates.) Anyway, there's a very interesting social dynamic in that, at this point, it's somewhat pointless to engage because no discussion changes anyone's viewpoint. (That's why the psychological dynamic is of such interest to me.)
This has been a very intersting discussion. I have been involved in debating controversial issues over the years and it always ends up the same. If you do not agree with the "consensus" then there is something wrong with either your science, or you as a person. The subject does not matter.
For the global warming issue, both sides agree that we are currently in a warming trend, one does not need to have a degree in any particular discipline to see that. The question is why. The bigger questions is, why is it NOT okay to ask why. Conscensus is not achieved because 80+ percent of scientists and engineeers arrive at a particular conclusion by studing the data, it is arrived at because a few scientist or engineers told the rest of them this is how it is. Someone way back in the beginning of this thread made a comment about a theory being called a fact. When that happens, it simply means that we have stopped doing science and engineering, and started to believe the preacher with blind faith. There is nothing wrong with faith, as long as it is no blind.
Cassiopeia, what you must remember is that there are really two types of science.On can be proven via repeatable experiments.This would include fields like solid state physics, particle physics, and chemistryThe other cannot.This includes fields like cosmology, anthropology, paleontology, and climatology.
If you are interested in the history of science, there is a celebrated case where the major scientific minds of the age thought they had it all figured out.The has a consensus.Then, one theorist came up with a new approach that changed everything.The case of course was Einstein's theories of the black body radiation and special relativity.This turned even the "hard" science on its head.Einstein's theories were accepted, though, because detailed experiments could be done (and redone).Yet, we are always questioning even the those theories, at least on the margin.You see, in physics you have a principle called the correspondence principle.A new theory should agree with an existing theory in a regime where the existing theory (if it is successful) works.Thus, quantum mechanics "corresponds" with classical physics at the scales where the later worked well.
The field of climatology is not one of those.As a lay person, if that is what you are, you should always question what you know and are being told.Physics professors love to tell freshmen that we could find out this is all bull**** tomorrow.They don't expect that to happen, but it could.So to ascribe any "doubts" about a scientific pronouncement to some sort of cabal of contrarian scientists and conservative think tanks or private corporations is to ignore history.
I was only taught one type of science, the Popperian refutable variety. AGW science doesn't only depend on well-established physical principles but it can also predict approximate outcomes (and can therefore be refuted).
I guess most people believe global warming was 'discovered' in the 70s or 80s, some people even think it is something to do with Al Gore!!Of course nothing could be more ludicrous.
As far back as 1827 Jean-Baptiste Fourier first suggested that greenhouse gases kept the earth warmer, which was confirmed by John Tyndall and Svante Arrhenius later on that century. In 1938 an Engineer, Guy Stewart Callendar predicted that doubling the concentration of carbon dioxide from fossil fuel burning would lead to a global increase of 2°C, with the poles warming more. This was a remarkable prophesy, since it is on course to what we observe today! Calendar's predictions were later confirmed by several more detailed studies in the 1970s, including an elite group of ex-military physicist's dubbed the 'Jason's'. This was well before modern climate science, supercomputers and the IPCC. (PS at this point I would recommend you don't push 'ice age prediction' myths).
Now it's true climate science doesn't predict outcomes to the umpteenth decimal point as in highly controlled experiments.It is more analogous to predicting the temperature of the following summer 6 months earlier.Hence we can be reasonably sure it will be warmer in summer not only because of experience, but because of well- understood physical phenomena. What else would you expect if the solar insolation is so much higher. However, because of the complex motion of the atmosphere and oceans it is still quite a challenge to predict with accuracy how much.Hence, no-one would ever seriously contend that summer would be no warmer than winter (across the US for example) yet that is precisely what the so called 'sceptics' try and convince us! To them a 'warmer summer' is just a theory!
"what makes a scientific discussion become overwhelmed by politics."
I would say, when some people have a high investment in the issue, mainly money. The best parallel must be tobacco versus lung disease. It seems clear that the tobacco companies put a lot of money into politicising that one.
Removing lead from gasoline was much esier, no-ones livlihood was threatened, just a minor additive and some engine re-design. Electric cars are more likely to be politicised.
I have posed this question quite a few times in various venues, and have not even had much of a response. First, cansider that the majority of the heat experienced in our climate here on earth comes from the sun. Take that as a "given". Next, consider that this is a quite large quantity of heat energy arriving constantly. I believe that we can agree that there is indeed a lot of it arriving. Now for the question: Is anybody able to measure and determine if possibly the quantity of energy given off by the sun has increased by perhaps 0.01%? I pose this question because the most recent sunspot cycle is delayed a fair amount more than the most recent prior cycles, which says that something is a bit different this time. To make this situation even more interesting, I think that research has shown that the sun's output drops a bit during a cycle, and increases during the minimum number of sunspots intervals.
From my experience in industry I know that measuring any quantity to a resolution of 0.01% is quite an accomplishment, even more of an accomplishment if the measurement must be made indirectly. Then consider an interesting editorial comment that I think I saw in Design News a while back: "Global Warming Causes CO2".
Is it possible that the data is right but the conclusions are incorrect? That has happened before, and confusing a result with a cause has happened quite a few times. I would really be interested in reading comments from anybody who is familiar with the measuring of our solar energy input, and determining jus how much is arriving every day.
At first I figured a response to people who wanted references would simply stoke the fire, but this afternoon I reconsidered. I recommend three well-written books:
1. Meltdown: The Predictable Distortion of Global Warming by Scientists, Politicians, and the Media, by Patrick J. Michaels.
2. Unstoppable Global Warming: Every 1500 Years, by S. Fred Singer and Dennis T. Avery.
3. Hot Talk Cold Science: Global Warming's Unfinished Debate, revised 2nd ed., by S. Fred Singer.
Each book includes many references to refereed professional journals. I have read these three books and some of the references, which make scientific sense. I remain skeptical about mankind's effects on any global temperature increases and attribute them to natural and cyclic causes. Of course, other papers and books take different sides in this argument. As far as science goes, the conclusion remains unproven.
Patrick J. Michaels is funded by fossil fuel interests as indicated in this email. Also, sourcewatch.com states that Patrick J. Michaels "is a largely oil-funded global warming skeptic". And exxonsecrets.org indicate that he has been a member of a long list of right-wing organizations and that 40% of his funding comes from the fossil fuel industry.
sourcewatch.com indicates that S. Fred Singer was funded by the Unification Church, chemical, energy companies, asbestos industry, etc. exxonsecrets.org indicate that he has been a member of a long list of right-wing organizations.
Come on "skeptics", are corporate funded and right-wing group members all you have? Where are the true climate researchers? It really seems that it's the implications of the science that is the problem and not the science simply because I don't see any scientists from the research front in your "proof" for skepticism.
This article was posted last Friday. Judging by the comments posted on Friday and over the weekend, it looked like we just might be able to have an intelligent and civil discussion about this -- just like we did about another controversial topic last week.
Alex Wolfe even made a comment suggesting that maybe because engineers are rational, data-driven people, we are more capable of having civil discussions than other people.
After seeing the comments posted today, I am starting to seriously doubt this. Sorry, Alex!
I find the assertion that "the sun only plays a minor effect on the earths weather" to be an amazing statement. Plus the assertion that "a change of a few tenths of a percent would have little effect". Once again I am asking "where else does our heat come from?"
Besides that, I don't think that either Bush or Al Gore had anything to do with the aberrations in this most recent sun-spot cycle.
I see basically four options created by the cross referencing of two variables.
(GCCS =Global Climate Change Skeptics)
(GCCB =Global Climate Change Believers)
Variable 1) Action or Inaction
Choice A) The World enters into serious action to address global warming
Choice B) The world has no or little serious action to address global warming
Choice C) The GCCS crowd is correct and GCC is either a minor thing (or possibly even a somewhat "good thing" as many in the GCCS claim)
Choice D) The GCCB crowd is correct and the most dire predictions of the GCCB community are true and climate change will result (quite possibly in our lifetimes) in a much more hostile and un-inhabitable planet
So you have this grid
A (Action) or B (Inaction)
C (GCCS = True) AC =? BC = ?
D (GCCB = True) AD =? BD = ?
Let's examine each choice for it's cost benefit analysis
AC= Serious action taken but he skeptics are right
The cost is great expense taken for many projects that are needless and wasteful. The result is a needless economic burden now and a slowing economy for all. In essence the world suffers an economic depression and pointless resourse re-allocation for no other reason than the intellectual vanity of some nosy tree hugger scientists that have it all wrong)
Nevertheless, at least it turns out that we will leave a bunch of of our infinitely plentiful hydrocarbon resources safely in the ground where we can get back to using them later on once we all finally get past this GCC silliness.
BC= No or little action is taken and the skeptics are right we should not have taken any action
The cost is zero and thus the world gets to keep right on buzzing along growing and consuming and polluting like there is no tomorrow. The people that deny GCC the most are the ones that benefit the most becasue they reap great rewards of both financial and material benefit. The world has another economic boom Wooo! Hooo!
The down side to the boom is that we end up draining the last remaining easy oil and natural gas resources
AD = Well it turns out the worst GCC predictions were as bad or nearly as bad as we feared but the world has responded in time to the great crisis with great action equal to the task. Carbon emissions are slowed to a trickle, and alternative technologies are implemented the world suffers great economic strain and hardship but at least a sizable portion of society will survive in a new harsher somewhat less habitable planet. The world changes but at least our children and grand children will have a fair chance of undoing the damage that has been done.
Since we stopped emitting CO2 for fuel we have instead learned to find other better non fuel applications for our planets last remaining sources of cheap hydrocarbons and now we know that it is important to recycle those resource and instead of burning them we make a better world where plastic is plentiful and relatively cheap.
BD = Well it turns out the worst GCC predictions were as bad or nearly as bad as we feared but the GCCS crowd was just too powerful it was able to control the message long enough and delay any practical action so long that we will all be left to suffer the worst of the ravages that GCC will throw at us such as rising oceans constant severe storms in come place constant droughts fires and unbearable heat in other places. Some places rivers and lakes completly dry up and in others flooding is so severe it erases whole landscapes. Overall the severe heat and excessive humidity lower crop yields in one place and the floods and high winds destroy them in other places. Great Diaspora come about.
But to make things even worse, we don't have much hydrocarbons left even nfor emergency applications or for medicines to or plastics and all the other thinhgs we will need to deal with our harsh new world.
Now if you are a betting sort where inaction can either result in either a nightmare world we don't want to live in or another few years of boom town celebration (and remember you are betting not just your life but that of the whole of the planet.
Which of these choices seem the smarter?
I would rather risk having a needless depression than I am willing to play a game that has a 25% chance of ending the world as we know it.
This is not a Zero Sum Game.
Here in the real world actions (and inactions) have real world consequences.
One of the first reasons that I was skeptical of the cause of the alleged warming is that the same folks who were screaming the loudest were the ones previously complaining about how much better our standard of living was than so much of the rest of the world. So when these same people all at once come up with some new assertion about how bad I am because my actions are going to destroy the world, I found it all rather suspect.
And once again I ask, so how much would the "few tenths of a percent" solar output increase change our ambient temperature? I would guess by several degrees.
So you don't appreciate having your lifestyle questioned? As I've said, the global warming argument has nothing to do with global warming but with our perceived place in the universe.
It is obvious that the deniers, or "skeptics", argument is a backlash against those that would question the free market by claiming that our activity causes harm. This flows from the fact that we are fundamentally a Calvinist nation, in which the free market is the only valid paradigm because it allows god's will to operate, and no man has the authority to refute god's will. Of course, for those who aren't religious there exists Ayn Rand.
So, like I said, this is about not accepting certain truths accepted by the right and nothing to do with the science. At least you admit that. This also indicates that science is trumped by belief overall, whether religious or secular because it's about "me".
Consider an analogy. Some Civil Engineers assess an old bridge and conclude that it has weakened and may be unsafe. We should reduce the loads we put onto and work towards building a new bridge. Then a group of not very bright people in your town start predicting how the bridge could collapse at any moment, the town will be isolated and we will all starve! From this should you conclude that the bridge is perfectly OK just because the town panic-merchants are in a flap? Or should you go ask the engineers?
If you want to form an opinion about AGW, surely the correct approach is to look into the science. Surely this sort of approach is what we do all through life isn't it? Judge the Message, not the Messenger?
Next, who is saying you are bad. Aren't you being just a little over-sensitive. Or reading something into this that isn't there. What is being said is simple. The bridge is weak, we need to take the load off it and then build a new one. No judgements of anyone there, just a description of a necessary couurse of action.
As to a few tenths of a percent change in Solar output. Solar intensity at the edge of the Earths atmosphere is around 1364 Watts/M^2. Allow for the fact that the Earth is a sphere but the frontal area it presents to the Sun is a circle and we have to divide by 4. So average solar intensity over the Entire Earth is 341 W/M^2. 1 tenth of one percent of this is 0.341 W/M^2. In contrast, each doubling of CO2 in the atmosphere produces a radiative imbalance of 3.7 W/M^2, for the effects of CO2 alone. Over the course of a Sunspot cycle, the sun's output varies by 1 or 2 tenths of a percent So your 'few' tenths (depending on how you define few) will have less impact than the amount of CO2 we have added already
Taking the macro thermal model approach, I agree that solar effects are probably the principle source of earth's temperature fluxuations. Like you, I would like to have your question answered.
I am an EE and thermal is not my thing. It sounds like you have put some thought into this so I would like to run this by you - Considering the "greenhouse" effect: In a closed system where heat is input but not radiated away, wouldn't one expect that average day and night temperatures would begin to converge as the insulating material became more effective?It seems to me that if CO2 is as effective a GHG as many assert, as the level rises, the earth's average temperature would rise but also begin to normalize to a standard temp.
You really need to read the scientific literature. Climatologists take solar radiation into account as it's the reason that the earth is warm enough for life as we know it, with a little internal warmth, like that around deep sea vents, for good measure.
What climatologists discuss with regards to the sun is solar variance correlated with temperature. What is seen when one looks at solar activity is that there is essentially no correlation between the rise seen in earth's termperature and solar activity. In other words, the increase we've seen cannot be explained by the sun.
Again, read what the climatologists have written rather than what the mass media, including right-wing outlets, presents.
I did about 10 years ago and the temp data correlated nicely with the measured solar activity. This was, of course, from an astronomy perspective with objective data and data collectors at a limited number of sites.
My primary complaint with the whole "consesus" crowd is that they present NO DATA, just their analysis. I don't take any analysis at face value without the raw data available to back it up.
I also beleieve that their analysis is based on flawed or skewed understanding of basic physics principles. There is always room for discussion over the applicability of one principle over another, but the AGW crowd demands that we all bow at their alter instead of addressing valid complaints with their methods.
You did "this"? Your compalint is that they present no data? You believe?
Have you ever tried to look anything up? Have you ever went to your local library and delved into the scientific journals kept there? Have you ever contacted a researcher for their source data? If you're dissatisfied with their data, have you ever tried to perform your own research?
I have to thank you for presenting a great example of the average denier. I don't know where you get your information but science is all about participating, and it is obvious that you have no such inclination. If you did, you would have done something more than listening to right-wing talking heads and reading right-wing blogs.
Stop being lazy and do some work. You claim to be an engineer yet have chosen to be spoon-fed denier talking points and have chosen to not do your own work, including understanding how climatologists have looked at the implications of solar activity on climate. So, how can you engage in a meanful discussion?
http://www.realclimate.org is also a fairly technical but interesting blog run by some of thew major climate scientists. Read back through the articles and comments. Also lots of links to published scientific papers.
Try also http://www.skepticalscience.com which is better for a middle of the road technical level discussion of the science, again linking to the published papers.
Personal declaration. I am an occassional contributing author to http://www.skepticalscience.com and a part of it's author community.
I will go look at those sites, albeit with my "skeptical" eye. I found your declaration at the end very honorable, and I respect you for it.
My problem, and I think many others on my side, is that we don't respect climatologists. Academic resumes are not nearly as impressive to working engineers as they are to other academics and policy makers. Many of us saw a great deal of worthless and misguided research during our time in school and realize that just because a PhD or two have been part of it doesn't make it right. Especially in a field where the application of 'hard' science is not necessarily strait forward.
From a skeptic point of view it is sort of a 'perfect storm' in which the credibility of the source is questionable, the methodologies are suspect, the claims are over sensationalized, and all findings must be accepted without question or you will be branded a heretic. It is not that all of those climate researchers are incompetent or even wrong in their findings. But one cannot even question their methods, findings, or conclusions. The climate "scientific" process is the only one I know of that is not just closed, but openly hostile to outsiders.
Like I stated in a previous post, I have seen raw data pointing to planetary heating and cooling cycles, solar-system wide (Earth, Mars, and, I think, Venus), correlating to solar activity.I found the collection methods credible and pretty much made up my mind there then went on about my business.The data available from "climatologists" back then did not come from actual measurements, but extrapolations and/or 'modeled' data, which is simply ludicrous, scientifically.When respect is lost, it is very hard to earn back.
What worthless and misguided research did you see? Where's the evidence? Why do you insist on making claims without any supporting evidence?
Have you ever contacted any othe climatologists with your "concerns"? Where can we read these, in what journal? Where is your work that refutes what they've shown? for example, you're claiming that their hard science isn't straight forward, so where have you found them wrong? Post your work that explains why you lost respect for climatologists.
Where have you seen that the process is "hostile" to outsiders? Where's the evidence?
Where is this data that supports your claim that there is raw data indicating that solar activity is heating all planets? I suggest that you read Global warming on Mars?.
What I am saying, is that the sun is the primary heat source for our solar system and planet. There is evidence from other planets in our solar system that the earth's warming/cooling trends are not unique. The arbitrary decision to not consider the sun to a greater degree appears to be a suspect choice of "climatologists".
Indeed all the forcings are taken into account and the solar component, which is insignificant anyway, has been diminishing for some time.
However, less well publicised are the indirect and direct influence of aerosols mainly from poorly regulated coal burning sources which reflects sunlight and cancels a lot of the warming out. Reduce this to improve air quality in China for example, and the forcing gets even higher! This is our dilemma.
I see pretty graphs -but what is behind them? they look very much like the dubious "hockey stick" graph. Are they based on modeled data (i.e. ficticous) or real measurments? I see a lot of technical looking things from you - but no actual data or reasoned explanations to answer our questions.
And can you tell me how you come up with a "gloabl temperature"? There will never be a consensus if we can't agree on the basics!
You see pretty graphs but still refuse to participate or do anything for yourself, as evidenced by your question about needing to be told. Do yourself a favor and read the literature! Start there. There's tons.
The sea level is a hard thermometer to ignore, a global metric. As the earth warms, the coast moves inland and landmass above sea level decreases. Given a significant part of the human population lives in coastal areas, it will be an easy sell for them and those impacted by their migration.
As for fossile fuels, I grew up in Oklahoma and there aren't a whole lot of new oil wells being drilled there. Fossile fuels are a finite resource and they are being burned up which drives up costs.
As for our family, we have two Prius to minimize our energy costs as fossile fuel prices rise. The Prius also provide emergency power during severe weather outages. For example, there were a string of tornados last April that sliced up the TVA transmission lines. We had 1 kW of Prius electrical power for over four days for lights, TV, and living.
Fuel efficienct transportation and local power generation are a sensible precaution when heading into high-priced fuel and severe storms. So in 1999, we moved from an area about 50-200 ft above sea level, Washington DC, to an area 600-1,000 ft. . . . Just one less thing to worry about.
"I consider this completely valid." Environmental Committe President, International Council of Scientific Unions
"An astonishing service for humanity." Professor of Environmental Studies, University of California
"We have absolutely no time to lose." Director of Science and Technology, State of Massachusetts
This is what it says on the back cover of my copy of the dvd, "Stopping the Coming Ice Age" from 1988 -- endorsed by science (Buckminster Fuller), Hollywood (Dennis Weaver) and the music industry (Sting).
Well, we are seeing actual data plots now... Where is the one i asked for -- someone has the information. Simple chart -- sources for atmospheric CO2 for a year (or w/e) -- shown by percentage. I think it would answer a lot of questions...
Misinformers realise that turnover from natural sources is large in relation to anthropogenic sources. However, nearly all of the net addition is man-made as evidenced from the inexorably increasing CO2 concentrations year after year as well as the isotopic analysis which betrays its true source, fossil fuel.
They have compiled a small armoury of these myths to con the unwary, at least 173 at the last count!
Have you ever noticed that when "distinguished scientists" decide to weigh in on climate science, they are usually not scientists in that field? Look at your own list to see what I mean. I see physicis (Cohen, Happer, Shaviv), genetics and metabolism (Breslow), technology (Kelly), spacecraft affiliations (Rutan, Schmitt), engineers (Armstrong, David). Given the narrow focus of scientific training these days, it makes little sense to consider their "opinions" about atmospheric trends and modelling to hold any more weight than that of any other person - which is to say, they can just as easily be swayed by the natural tendencies to want to find reasons not to need to make lifestyle changes as the rest of us.
Now look at who you have left: 1) Claude Allegre. From wikipedia: "In 2010, more than 500 French researchers asked Science Minister Valérie Pécresse to dismiss Allègre's book L'imposture climatique, claiming the book is "full of factual mistakes, distortions of data, and plain lies"."
2) William Kininmonth. Recently presented his ideas at an Exxon-sponsored conference...
...and on and on (search out the rest if you like). 7 of the 13 have been funded directly by the fossil fuel industry. Only 4 have ever had a peer-reviewed paper published in the field of question, and only two of those have published in the past three decades. Hardly a group of experts in the field, and not even untainted at that.
But by your posting of this "Global Warming: Are the Skeptics Right?" article from the perspective of 'shouldn't we listen to these well-resopected researchers', you're giving them and the fossil fuel industry exactly what they are looking for - just enough doubt and (manufactured) clout to avoid making any progress towards the collective needs we have for a stable climate, as any such progress would put a dent in fossil fuel industry profits. I would strongly recommend digging into your research before offering these folks such a lofty platform next time.
And when is the endless dithering enough, anyhow? You can see how eagerly the comments section gets filled with armchair climatologists proving for all the world that global warming is or is not real. But in the journals where science as opposed to opinion is what is on display, there is no such debate. It's time the rest of us took note of that and pushed for the type of action that is required, before it is too late (or too costly) to have an effect.
Good post. The problem as you've stated is is the current state of the United States in general. I am truly amazed at the sad state of the engineering community in which the "skeptics" don't appear to have actually read the source research papers but have relied instead on "skeptics" that I can only guess are aligned with their ideological slant. And, what is additionally amazing is the lack of understanding of fundamental climatological issues, which indicates that absolutely no effort was made to learn!
I really shouldn't be surprised that the political divisions seen in society in general are active within engineering to this extent, but I am.
Yes, I think you've hit the nail on the read about what is happening and why. It's only bevcause of a longtime interest in this area that I have actually read a good number of papers on the mechanisms behind the warming we are seeing, and it's clear from that that there is no doubt over the broad mechanisms, only an ongoing resolution of the finer granarities.
As an engineer with a spouse in conservation biology, I've also had the opportunity to read quite a few papers on the outcomes side, from which I can say with equal confidence that species are shifting in precisely the ways you'd expect given the above mechanisms.
The ridiculous amounts of attention paid to such skeptics, and its effects on the legislative process, are indeed painful to watch. We need to move much faster than we have been!
I don't see anything that we do as sustainable. Too many people using finite and dwindling resources at the expense of non human animals and human poor. I was always hoping that rational people, as I thought engineers were, would find the solutions that we need. But no. Too many people are quite happy to delude themselves through their beliefs that we don't have to do anything when we are facing catastrophe.
I suppose when the costs are borne by others, and one's personal economics discounts those one doesn't value, there's no impetus to act well or be rational. Global warming is but one consequence of our behavior that few have had to deal with, with the exception of those caught in extreme weather events and changing weather patterns.
OtherThoughts: Should I assume you are in agreement with those who say that these scientists should be "laughed at and scorned?" Do you believe that the concerns about dithering are greater than the concerns over respectful disagreement in science?
@Charles: While there is certainly disagreement, very little of it seems to be "respectful disagreement." The people who signed the Wall Street Journal editorial accuse those who disagree with them of being the equivalent of Stalinists, and strongly imply that scientists who believe in anthropogenic global warming are probably motivated by greed. I don't see why this is morally any better than what their opponents say about them. (In fact, it's basically the same thing their opponents say about them, except maybe substitute "flat earthers" for "Stalinists"). They are certainly entitled to their opinion -- but it's not as though they are behaving in a high-minded and scientifically objective way, while their opponents are not. The editorial was full of inflamatory language, and to expect that it wouldn't provoke an equally inflamatory response would be unrealistic.
Sorry, Dave, but I respectfully disagree. The "skeptics" are in a vast minority. They're the dissenters. They're the ones being told the the science is settled. They're the ones having their papers rejected and having their jobs threatened, even at major universities. They're the ones being told they are "scared of science," despite their lives having been spent in science. If you want to say that the preponderance of science is on the side of the majority, I'll agree with you. But if you want to say that dissent should be treated this way, I don't agree. And while I don't like some of their latest rhetoric, I don't expect them to lay down when they're being barraged like this.
Just to change the debate slightly, before I have to get to my work, even if CO2 is a problem, it is unlikely that any efforts will reduce the emissions in the near term. The global economics dictate that the world will utilize every bit of hydrocarbon fuel that can be obtained at a profit.
Given that assumption, what would be the best course of action?
One answer is Climate Modification. Several schemes have been put forward to try to control the global temperature, such as putting millions of tons of Sulphur Dioxide I think it wasinto the air. This is a similar mechanism that occurs when a volcano emits the same gas and has an immediate although not long lasting effect on the atmospheric temperatures.
So is anyone willing to pony up money for some Terraforming experiments? Be sure to take out some insurance against the lawsuits that might follow.
One can find arguments for and against anything on the net.
I am a software engineer and I know that software models of physical processes have limitations that are not necessarily apparent to their creators. Just look at the stock market. One can find any number of systems designed to predict the rise and fall, some even work. Some work for some time periods and then there are others that just get lucky.
There are a number of ideas floating around for GeoEngineering answers. For example a research group in France is designing 'pipes' that can be lofted from the ground to the upper atmosphere to allow sulphates to be pumped up there. However there are issues with this strategy. One is just how much would be needed to counter the level of warming that burning all our fossil fuels would cause. The quantities are enormous and need to be maintained continuously because aerosols drop out relatively quickly. Then there are any health implications. This stuff as air pollution at low altitude is dangerous.
Next is the fact that even if it did produce the overall level of cooling needed, there would still be variable climate impacts around the world as local climates would still alter since the pattern of cooling the aerosols would produce wouldn't match the geographical pattern of warming. As an earlier example of this, the period of bad droughts in Sub-Saharan Africa during the 60's & 70's is believed to have been caused by pollution from the US & Europe altering the movement of the West African Monsoon, stopping it moving north. When we cleaned up our air, the monsoon returned to normal. So what happens if some nations unilaterally start doing this and it has adverse impacts on other nations. Military strikes to destroy the 'pipes'?
The final consequence of this course of action is called the 'termination problem'. If we stop doing this for whatever reason before CO2 levels have dropped low enough, we have gained nothing. The warming just returns. Since burning all the available fossil fuels would mean that natural processes would take 1000's of years at least to draw CO2 levels back down to something reasonable, we would have to keep doing this for millenia. As long as civilisation has existed already.
All the research to date, and much of this isn't climate models but studies into past climates (paleoclimatology), is that a doubling of CO2 will produce around 3 DegC warming, possibly higher. However burning all the fossil fuels would probably quadrupal or more CO2 levels so 6 DegC warming or so. And thats the global average. Land warms more than that, high latitudes more again. At these temps, Amazonia at least converts to savannah instead of rainforest, releasing more CO2, Progressively the world permafrost all melts releasing Methane & CO2. All the main ice sheets melt over the course of centuries - 600 ppm has been identified from past climates as the rough level at which Antarctica started freezing over. So 60-70 m sea level rise over future centuries.
The most basic problem we face is 2-fold. Firstly most people react to a problem when we see it happening. However, due to the huge thermal mass of the oceans the CO2 we release today doesn't produce its full warming until decades into the future. So our normal wait-and-see attitude means that by the time we start to react seriously to the problem because we are seeing the effects, we are already decades too late. This is a problem where only prevention works.
Second issue is that the actions required means we need a huge transformation in our energy systems and economies rapidly, now. Because of this lag time. But we can't see the urgency so we might act but still only slowly. So we keep building FF power plants that have economic lives of 40-80 years.
A recent International Energy Agency report highlighted that within 6 years, expected investment in new FF plant would lock in place CO2 emission levels to take us past the first CO2 doubling, even though it would take decades of operation of these plants to bring that about. To then reduce emissions fast enough to try and keep below a reasonably safe threshold, these plants would become 'stranded assets'. We would have to shut them down before the end of there economic lives. Costing Trillions. Right now there are resource companies that are carrying on there balance sheets FF resources vallued at trillions. If we can't extract them because we can't affoird the carbon, their balance sheets get trashed, their stock prices everything. But if we don't and use all those FF's, our grandchildren's future is absolutely screwed.
So this is the core issue. People can't see the threat yet. By the time they do see it directly, its too late.
Perhaps this might explain to you the stridency with which those who are convinced of the science advocate for action. And why they tend to be less than polite to skeptics who seem to simply want to endlessly talk and delay action.
The nature of the question is such that someone who is skeptical really needs to throw themselves totally into resolving their skepticism one way or the other through in depth inquiry into the science. Just going along with our lives and treating this question as something that will be resolved eventually isn't really good enough. It is no good saying 40 years from now that your doubts have been resolved because you can now see it happening. 40 years from now will be too late to start acting.
We all value our rights in society. But along with rights come responsibilities. And I would argue that every single one of has a fundamental responsibility today. Whatever our view, we need to become active in reaching a resolution of the 'debate' rapidly. And if that means we need to drive ourselves to be deeply informed quickly. Doubt as a justification for avoidance is not a valid position.
Rather doubt on a question such as this requires we resolve the doubts rapidly since it is such a huge question and at least one of the possible answers to the question requires huge change to avoid bad outcomes. I personally have no doubts that when people engage deeply with the science their doubts will diminish hugely. And in a forum such as this, most people here are, in some form, of technical backgrounds making you all suitable enquirers into this subject in a way that many people aren't.
Make no mistake, this isn't just another 'policy question'. We are living in extraordinary times, perhaps unprecedented in human history. It is easy to think that we don't face exceptional questions because no previous generation has. The exceptional does happen occasionally. And it happens to be falling on our watch.
I wouldn't want to be telling my grandchildren 40 years from now that "I had doubts about this so I didn't enquire into it too much. I'm convinced now but its too late."
Your suggestion that we use an engineered "solution" to the global warming problem is like a smoker waiting for a pill that allows him to continue smoking. This makes absolutely no sense.
Global warming is but one of a number of problems caused by human activity and human overpopulation. The only valid solutions lie with stopping our irresponsible bad behavior. Considering anything else is delusional.
Good point, Jeffbiss. Through most of my adult life, I have assumed we could bring technology solutions to environmental problems (bacteria that eats spilled oil). But you're right, that attitude simply enables us to continue bad behavior.
Well I was just looking for a solution that wuld be possible to implement. As I mentioned before and it is not an original thought, it will be nigh on impossible to get enough people on the planet to concentrate on reducing CO2 emissions. Tell me how you will accomplish that? Convincing enough people that it is the right thing to do is a very big problem. You just cannot dictate that everyone implement CO2 reduction strategies without a lot more cooperation and honesty in the debates and research.
I had another thought and have yet to research it but has anyone heard of an experiemtn to show the effects of GH in a lab simulation?
I was thinking about crreating a test facility, say a large room with a sun source, land and water and the ability to radiate energy to space, essentially 4K I think. then fill the room or simulation chamber with air, dry nitrogen, H2O, CO2 and so on and vary the conditions to show exactly how much the CO2 concentation affects the thermal characteristics. One might even adjust the pressure and thereby the density of the GH gas so as to obtain addional measurements.
From this crude physical model surely some useful data could be obtained that would show how the CO2 concentration affects the temperatures.
Obviously I cannot afford to do such a simulation but perhaps two competing groups could try it out or soemthing similar and try to show with real data that the CO2 effect is real.
Keep in mind we are not debating whether or not the earth's climate is changing. We really want to know if the CO2 being released by antrhopogenic sources is in fact causing an increase in measured temps worldwide. If we can show it is through some simple experiments it would help the cause greatly, if the results don't support the conclusion of AGW then we should focus our dollarson other ways to mitigate climate change.
Believe it or not I share your view that it's impossible to get people to change their ways. I think that absolute catastrophe will occur that will force change.
For example, the only reason that the earth can currently support so many people is because so many do with so little. Although quite oversimplified, as the U.S. is roughly 5% of the global population and uses roughly 25% of its energy resources, we'd need more than one earth to support all at the standard of living that we enjoy and that's impossible. Or, we would have to chose to reduce our use by 4/5s to allow all to share equally. Again, it aint going to happen.
Also, the only reason that we have been able to meet the world's demand is due to cheap fossil fuels. If you look at the Total Energy Flow graph, you'll see that in order to meet an ever-growing demand for food and the economy in general, we'd have to replace the fossil fuels with "green" sources (I include nuclear power in "green") before a) peak energy source rears its ugly head at any great scale and (b) global warming drives the current equilibirum to a point at which moderation is impossible.
So, while I argue that the global warming science is solid I do not argue that we will make the required changes in time. China cann't feed itself and grow its economy and is more concerned with stabilizing its internal politics than solving global warming. Add to that the "skeptic" argument that if China won't act then there's no point in us doing it unilaterally, and you have a recipe for economic collapse when peak energy source (oil or coal) occurs.
So, until we chose to reverse our population growth AND reduce our energy consumption, the global warming discussion is moot.