John Mashey points me to a video of Naomi Oreskes’ talk on “The American Denial of Global Warming”:

The first part (“TRUTH”) outlines the history of climate science
research, and the unpoliticized acceptance thereof that lasted until the
early 1990s. The second part “DENIAL” describes the George C. Marshall
Instiute’s role in creating confusion and politicizing the issue, using
tactics from the cigarette wars.

Naomi knows her topic well, and is a lively speaker – I heard an earlier
version of this about a year ago, and this talk is well worth watching.


TRUTH

00:00 Introduction

02:00 Frank Luntz

04:00 2001 IPCC TAR, but many decades of science before

10:30 1957 Suess & Revelle; “Big Greenhouse” in Time Magazine

14:00 1964/65 NAS Science Advisory Committee; President’s Science Advisory Committee “In those days, politicians listened to scientists”;bipartisanship.

17:30 1970s NRC; JASON; “Charney Report”

23:30 1988 IPCC formed; US National Energy Policy Act; George H. W. Bush

DENIAL

26:30 Why is there denial? Where did it come from?

29:15: 1984 George C. Marshal Institute founded by William Jastrow

Added William Nierenberg, Frederick Seitz; S. Fred Singer later.
Original goal: Cold War, support Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative
from other physicists)
Tactics: threaten PBS stations with lawsuits under “Fairness Doctrine”
Create uncertainty

36:00 1990, cold war over, switch to other areas [global warming, CFC-ozone,
tobacco] No Greenhouse problem, as long as free market allowed to solve!

39:00 1995 IPCC SAR, personal attacks on Ben Santer

42:00 1995 Connection with tobacco, Seitz, tactics
Create doubt, do not publish science, but in popular literature, op-eds,
Wall Street Journal

53:30 Why? In each case, political views [NO REGULATION, EVER] masked as arguments about science. [People can have whatever political views they want, but the proper place to discuss them is in politics, not by fudging science.]

Comments

  1. #1 Jeff Harvey
    February 8, 2008

    Many thanks for putting thus up, Tim. What can one say – it is a throroughly researched and well presented lecture by Naomi Oreskes that devastates the wretched obfuscations and distortions of what is effectively a small coterie of sceptics.

    Oreskes places the current predicament in an historical context, and utterly demolishes those who spew out garbage about AGW only recently coming on to the scientific agenda. This needs to be widely seen. I will certainly recommend it is viewed amongst my colleagues here.

  2. #2 Luddhunter
    February 8, 2008

    Ah Jeff, your paternalism is so comforting. Even if I take AGW as a fact, why is there such huge disagreement, even among pro-regulation forces, on the consequences of global temperature increase? Good thing you and other tech-cripplers know best, because I guess I am just too dumb to understand why I am confused when Oreskes’ vaunted IPCC predicts 23 inches of ocean rise over 50+ years, and Pope Gore’s prediction in his propaganda flick is 20 feet, over perhaps less than 50 years. And why did the pontiff hide the fact that CO2 in the air lags global temp by 800-2000 years, not leads it? Some consensus.

    That is why Orestes’ allegation of anti-regulation forces spinning AGW science at the end of her screed is so deliciously ironic. Help me understand, Poppa.

  3. #3 sod
    February 8, 2008

    Luddhunter, it is nice that the “sceptics” keep repeating the same false claims about the inconvenient truth over and over and over again.

    it would be nice if once in a while you would watch the film. or support your wild claims with quotes from the film.

    but Oreskes in this video is talking about the long history of SCIENCE on global warming.

    even IF there were errors in the Gore film, it would be as irrelevant to global warming science as a watch on the arm of an actor in a history film is irrelevant to archaeology.

  4. #4 Mark Shapiro
    February 8, 2008

    Thank you again Tim for posting this excellent video. Oreskes covers the history well; the science part with Tyndall, Arrhenius, Callendar and others was familiar, but the denial section broke new ground for me. Interesting that the Marshall Inst was founded by anti-communist former rocket scientists. Seitz and Singer fit the Strangelove mold frighteningly well.

    But when Oreskes concludes that they did it for ideological reasons, she doesn’t discuss money (or fame and adulation) that they received. I think Singer made an obvious discovery when RJR offered him a job as an advisor: there is gold in them thar lies. What greased the slope to the dark side? RJR had contributed to Rockefeller while Singer was president. What A great return on investment for them. . .

  5. #5 Skeptic
    February 8, 2008

    Lessee, an academic historian from Southern California. Somehow I don’t need to watch the video to know that she’s an anti-growth, anti capitalist, pro-socialist environmentalist who sees Global Warming as the perfect vehicle by which to further her political agenda.

    Am I wrong? Someone with the stomach for watching please let me know.

  6. #6 pough
    February 8, 2008

    I guess I am just too dumb to understand why I am confused when Oreskes’ vaunted IPCC predicts 23 inches of ocean rise over 50+ years, and Pope Gore’s prediction in his propaganda flick is 20 feet, over perhaps less than 50 years

    I think you really hit the nail on the head with that one. The IPCC predicts 23 inches in the short term and adds a disclaimer that it is leaving the polar icecap melting out which, if included, would be about 20 feet. Gore leaves a timeline out (not, as you say, less than 50 years) and mentions that IF the polar icecaps melt, … well. I don’t need to say it twice; the IPCC estimate was already mentioned. Oh. Wait. Too dumb. Gore said 20 feet, as well. So they’re the same on the effects of the polar icecaps melting. Which you would know if you weren’t, as you say, too dumb to understand.

    Anyways, why the religion bashing? Since when did the pope hat become a dunce cap in your world?

  7. #7 pough
    February 8, 2008

    Am I wrong?

    Duh.

  8. #8 Winnebago
    February 8, 2008

    Am I wrong?

    As the saying goes, “You’re not even wrong.”

  9. #9 Boris
    February 8, 2008

    Somehow I don’t need to watch the video…

    You don’t need to watch the video, you don’t need to read the science, you don’t need to understand the arguments…you’ve got it all figured out in that big ol’ brain of yours where CO2 only forms puppies and chocolate and everyone who says otherwise is a commie. Yay!

  10. #10 sod
    February 8, 2008

    being proud of being stupid.

    note to self: if i should ever found a political party, include the right wing fanatics into the base…

  11. #11 Tim Lambert
    February 8, 2008

    Dear readers, please do not feed the [troll.](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2008/01/on_trolls.php)

  12. #12 cce
    February 8, 2008

    I don’t normally assume people with a degree in mining geology to be a “pro-socialist environmentalist.”

  13. #13 Meyrick Kirby
    February 8, 2008

    Dear readers, please do not feed the troll.

    Oh, can we keep him?! Please!!!

  14. #14 bi
    February 8, 2008

    Naomi Oreskes: “… I just want to talk a bit about one important incident. … In 1995, the IPCC concluded that the human effect on climate is now discernible. The lead author of the key chapter on detection and attribution — that is to say, how do we know things are warming up, and how do we know it’s caused by human activity and not natural variation — the lead author of that chapter was a scientist of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory named Benjamin J. Santer.

    “When the IPCC report came out, Seitz, Nierenberg, and now a 4th physicist — a man by the name of S. Fred Singer — launched a highly personal attack on Santer. In an open letter to the IPCC, which they sent to numerous members of the US Congress, Singer, Seitz, and Nierenberg accused Santer of making — quote — ‘unauthorized’ changes to the IPCC report, to downplay the scientific uncertainties, and to make the science seem firmer than it really was. Or so they charged.

    “They followed this with an op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal entitled ‘A Major Deception on Global Warming’. This piece was written by Seitz, in which he claimed that the effect of the alleged changes was — quote — ‘to deceive policy makers and the public’.

    “Now Santer replied, in a letter to the editor of the Wall Street Journal, and in the response he explained that he _had_ made changes, but those changes were in response to the peer review process. In other words, totally normal scientific practice. The IPCC report, like any scientific paper, are reviewed by peer scientists who make criticisms, and it is the obligation of the authors to respond to those criticisms, and if the criticisms are valid, to make changes. And that is exactly what Santer had done.

    “This account was corroborated by the Chairman of the IPCC and by all of the other authors of the chapters. In fact, over 40 scientists were co-authors of this chapter. This letter was signed by Santer and 40 others and published in the Wall Street Journal in June 1996. And Santer was also formally defended by the American Meteorological Society.

    “But neither Seitz nor Singer ever retracted the charges, which we then repeated — many times, over and over again — by industry groups and think-tanks. And in fact, if you google ‘Ben Santer’, these same charges are still in the Internet today. In fact, one site said that it was ‘proven’ in 1996 that Santer had fraudulently altered the IPCC report.”

    = = =

    Nyah-nyah-nyah-nyah-nyah-nyah! I’m ignoring you Naomi! I’m not hearing all your high-flown technical gobbledygook! I know you hate America! Ben Santer hates America! The whole IPCC hates America! Galileo! Stalin! Columbus! Einstein!

  15. #15 Barton Paul Levenson
    February 8, 2008

    Luddhunter, who, from his chosen screen name, imagines himself some kind of avenger hunting down awful environmental “Luddites,” writes:

    [[I am confused when Oreskes' vaunted IPCC predicts 23 inches of ocean rise over 50+ years, and Pope Gore's prediction in his propaganda flick is 20 feet, over perhaps less than 50 years.]]

    Al Gore did not say the seas would rise 20 feet in less than 50 years. He said they would rise 20 feet if the West Antarctic Ice Cap or the Greenland Ice Cap melted completely. So both his statement and the IPCC statement are true.

    [[ And why did the pontiff hide the fact that CO2 in the air lags global temp by 800-2000 years, not leads it? ]]

    Maybe because it was irrelevant? Yes, in a natural deglaciation, temperature tends to lead carbon dioxide. No, that’s not what’s happening now, if you look at the respective time series. The fact that warming has happened naturally in the past doesn’t mean it can’t happen artificially now. That would be like saying, “People have died of natural causes for thousands of years, so this guy with the 20 bullet holes in him can’t have been killed by humans.”

    It’s ironic that you call us “Luddites,” when we’re the ones who want to use new, renenwable technologies to generate energy and you’re the one trying to force us to stay with the old fossil fuel technologies. Kind of like the horse-and-buggy manufacturers calling Henry Ford a “Luddite.”

  16. #16 Barton Paul Levenson
    February 8, 2008

    Skeptic posts:

    [[Somehow I don't need to watch the video to know that she's an anti-growth, anti capitalist, pro-socialist environmentalist who sees Global Warming as the perfect vehicle by which to further her political agenda. ]]

    Of course you don’t need to watch it! You already know what she’s like! And without moving from your chair, you already know that some black guy is a criminal welfare cheat, that some woman can’t drive, and that some Jew is greedy for money and has a huge nose. You don’t have to investigate, or try to learn about the person. You already know.

  17. #17 Barton Paul Levenson
    February 8, 2008

    Tim — Sorry, I read and replied to the trolls before seeing your post. I’ll shut up now.

    -BPL

  18. #18 Luddhunter
    February 8, 2008

    sod,
    I should have made my point about Gore more explicit:
    Gore is a propagandist and a demagogue. He exaggerates/distorts SCIENCE to advance a hidden agenda: pervasive oversight of industry sufficient to wield arbitrary extortive power, much like Chavez in Venezuela. We both know that science cannot stand alone and be persuasive. People with credibility have to vouch for the science being done right. He is far and away the leading advocate and change agent for massive regulation of industry to stop AGW, which may indeed be a significant % of GW that will occur in the next 100 years. So you see, I’m no denier, but a legislator using alarmism through junk science lies to legislate crippling the economy is as bad as a legislator secretly taking money from big oil to quiet alarmists using junk science. And just because he says “IF” before animating the disappearance of cities underwater doesn’t mean he isn’t propagandizing, just like I would be arrested for yelling “There MIGHT be a fire!!!” in a crowded theater.

    The larger point is that even if those high priests of “consensus”, the IPCC, are correct, 23 inches over 50 years isn’t going to drown anyone. It’s a Chicken Little scheme to get big government, by starstruck scientists and mother-earth-evangelical politicians that are too chicken to make truthful arguments about how to regulate industry , and I hope Col. Sanders (a great industrialist) finds all of them, and serves them covered in trans-fat-laden batter to us greedy, carnivorous capitalists.

  19. #19 Luddhunter
    February 8, 2008

    Barton,
    I’ll concede to you on the science debate, lets say we could get 20 feet. Science that concludes “maybe” Greenland and Antarctica will melt seems a little weak to justify banning a critical technology without a ready replacement.

    I may be a little rusty on my history, but I don’t think the government banned or severely restricted horse travel before the Model T came out. Ludds are ban-first, know-the-truth-later advocates. Such policy inhibits survival, as any good evolutionist knows.

    Sure, if Greenland and Antarctica melted over the next 5 years, many would die, but just as many would die of destroyed infrastructure and economic collapse if you banned oil without a ready replacement. I’ll take my chances that the melting will be slower, and people on the coasts can outrun the tide.

  20. #20 Dano
    February 8, 2008

    Somehow I don’t need to watch the video to know that she’s an anti-growth, anti capitalist, pro-socialist environmentalist who sees Global Warming as the perfect vehicle by which to further her political agenda.

    Say, niiiice parody character!

    Are there out of work screenwriters from the Hollywood strike hanging out here?!?

    Best,

    D

  21. #21 luminous beauty
    February 8, 2008

    So the Luddhumper just wants to vent his hatred of all things Al Gore. That is his political opinion, to which he is entitled. But I would ask what massive regulatory scheme Gore has proposed? All I’ve heard from Gore are market based solutions. Moderate carbon tax with credit trading incentives. Hardly onerous regulation.

    We have the technology to replace fossil fuels. All that is necessary is the doing.

    What does Luddhumper propose for getting it done? Or is Luddhumper just a whiner?

  22. #22 jre
    February 8, 2008

    Some time ago, Orac posted on a particularly goofy bit of 9/11 conspiratorialism, which, of course, brought the troofers out in force. One of them asked how it was possible for the towers to collapse “FASTER than free fall???” Passing over the sheer insanity of the concept (rockets on the roof?) I looked up the height of the towers and the time to collapse and gave links to both. I then walked the troofer through the math showing that the collapse took, as you’d expect, a little longer than the fall of an object dropped from the same height. It didn’t even slow him down. With a grudging nod to my demonstration, he dropped the topic of ballistics and moved on to the melting point of steel, or some such.

    Ah, but here it is different. The troll who will not be named made the specific, and incorrect, statement that Al Gore claimed the seas will rise “20 feet, over perhaps less than 50 years.” When it was pointed out to him that this is not true, he paused, realized his error, considered that if he’d been wrong about this, then he might be wrong about other things, reviewed the text of An Inconvenient Truth, compared it with the best available climatic research, acknowledged that the movie is bang-on correct in every important respect, and apologized for his overhasty misjudgment.

    Huh. Did I doze off there for a moment? Oh, yes. Tim was saying “don’t feed the troll.”

  23. #23 luminous beauty
    February 8, 2008

    Oh! and the other thing I’ve heard Gore talk about is personal responsibility and responsible corporate leadership for reducing one’s and one’s organization’s carbon footprint.

    Is the Luddhumper against personal responsibility?

  24. #24 Luddhunter
    February 8, 2008

    Luminous,

    Humping a Ludd would be no fun. No new techniques allowed, banning of certain positions due to exaggerated safety fears, and lots of guilt due to disbelief that both parties can profit from free transactions.

    I don’t hate Gore. I admire his ambition. It’s a good scam. Too bad he didn’t work in the private sector, he could have helped row the boat instead of slow it down by shortening our oars to save the trees. The assumption that I am even angry betrays your own emotionalism.

    When Gore says “market-based solutions”, he means banning current technology to force “green” technologies to be artificially “competitive”. They are not competitive in a free market because they suck. They are costly to produce and/or performance/reliability is worse. No onerous regulation would pass on first try. Like income tax and CAFE standards, they need to get a foot in the door. Tyranny is incremental.

    “We have the technology to replace fossil fuels.”?

    At what cost? I have the technology to replace the automobile, too: my Ludd-ass-kicking legs. The cost is money and time, both non-recurring and recurring, and the current alternate energy/transportation/manufacturing technologies which are fossil-fuel-equivalent in power/performance/maintenance time are simply not available or affordable to implement without causing negative economic growth. Not even close.

    Oh, and here’s a sanctorcism for your Emotionalism. I’m the self-ordained reverend of this here town of Tech Talk City. Say this prayer 10 times, and the Sanctus will flee your body, and you will be rational again:

    Hail Freedom, full of hope, the Sanctus has seized thee. Blessed art thou among virtues, and blessed is the fruit of the free transactions you enable. Holy Adam Smith, Father of growth policy, pray for this Ludd’s freedom, and may your ideas prevail over her affliction. Amen.

  25. #25 luminous beauty
    February 8, 2008

    Just another freaky Randroid. (sigh) Sorry I fed it.

  26. #26 z
    February 8, 2008

    “I guess I am just too dumb to understand why I am confused”

    OK, you said it, not us.

  27. #27 Luddhunter
    February 8, 2008

    ire,

    Don’t confuse concession for conversion. I ain’t no scientist, so I got no shame in conceding an argument with someone with more science facts on a given issue. But I know that the 20 feet was heavily qualified by your sacred IPCC, and they probably only mentioned the 20 feet to make sure they got invited to all the big soire’s. Most science papers are not for political audiences, and those papers do not speculate conclusions on evidence they do not have.

    But because many big endowments are controlled by leftist university administrations, and they have their marching orders to go after industry, AGW alarmism is big $ to scientists nowadays. So they know they need to speculate disaster, then qualify the speculation to stay in the “IF” zone for scientific credibility reasons. Then the media and Ludd pols pick up the speculation, then leave out the qualifiers. Old game, new strategy.

    Citizens pushed back on direct taxes in the 80′s, so the left is going after industry at it’s core (energy) by tax and regs and bans, demagoguing on a danger that won’t occur until after they’ve made their bones and kicked the bucket. Brilliant, but parasitic, as the left tends to be.

  28. #28 z
    February 8, 2008

    “You don’t need to watch the video, you don’t need to read the science, you don’t need to understand the arguments”

    Not as long as you have the denialist websites and blogs and usenet ranters to tell you what you think, of ourse.

  29. #29 z
    February 8, 2008

    “I guess I am just too dumb to understand why I am confused”
    OK, you said it, not us.
    Don’t confuse concession for conversion. I ain’t no scientist, so I got no shame in conceding an argument with someone with more science facts on a given issue. ”

    Oh, so you weren’t being sarcastic with that first post. Gee, it’s just that every “skeptic” comes off as such a snotty dickhead asshole, that it’s easy to come to that conclusion regarding you, as well.

  30. #30 Luddhunter
    February 8, 2008

    luminous,

    Thanks for the feeding from your large government nanny-state knockers.

    It is the Randroids (or those that act on libertarian principles) that truly advocate economic growth. Ban-firsters want to say that they are for growth, while fomenting alarmist bans on technology that is needed for growth without a feasible replacement. That’s like a arsonist saying he’s for new construction. Credibility = 0.

    Notice the Ludds on this thread just assume ban-first is an irrefutably righteous policy? That dogma won’t hunt, baby.

  31. #31 jre
    February 8, 2008

    … your sacred IPCC …

    … leftist university administrations …

    … AGW alarmism is big $ to scientists nowadays …

    Can’t even smell your own bullshit, can you? That’s enough brain cells lost.
    Into the killfile wit yer.

  32. #32 luminous beauty
    February 8, 2008

    Stages of global warming skepticisism:

    1.) Global warming isn’t happening.

    2.) It’s happening, but it isn’t human caused.

    3.) Some part is human caused, but it isn’t significant.

    4.) The human cause is significant, but the consequences will be more good than bad.

    5.) The consequences are more bad than good, but there isn’t anything that can be done about it.

    6.) We could have done something about it, but now it is too late.

    7.) And so on…

  33. #33 Luddhunter
    February 8, 2008

    z,
    You’re making my case. Just because you’re angry at my attacks on your Pope doesn’t mean you have made an argument. But that’s what dogma is about isn’t it? You condemn me for merely challenging your orthodoxy, not even bothering to make a point. The Pope has taught you well about using anger as an argument, but why don’t you serve him better by making a valid defense? You may die a horrible rhetorical death, but he may put a word into Gaia to reward you in Ludd Heaven with 72 pounds of fine ganja, or 72 blowjobs from Rachel Carson (look her up in Wiki, she’s a hot Ludd).

  34. #34 Hank Roberts
    February 8, 2008

    Those who will not learn history even by watching convenient online video are — obviously — condemned to repeat discredited PR talking points on weblogs.

    By their falsities we know them.

    The history is as revealing as any I’ve seen done; I hope the transcript or a paper based on the information is going to show up in print. I look forward to the footnotes. And the slides illustrating the talk make the point even for those who can’t hear.

  35. #35 Luddhunter
    February 8, 2008

    ire,
    Thanks for the euthanasia, and the expected unargued bullshit charge. I guess I didn’t make it into Ludd Heaven, bummer. I’m down here in Hell with all the other capitalists. Bet you didn’t know it was a meritocracy…guess who’s president? Rudolf Diesel!

    I need to do some internal combusting anyway, with some demon rum and some libber-randoid fools who are also too dumb to know which freedoms to take from whom. It’s getting a little rank in here, y’all shouldn’t have banned deodorant.

    Ludd On!

  36. #36 jacob l
    February 8, 2008

    I think I understand what she means about the position hardly changing since 1979.
    It sound’s to me like science knew more ghg’s ~more greenhouse ~warmer world before politics ever got in..
    I just wish that solutions where as easy as throwing mud that seems to be norm today, or maybe at least put as much effort into finding solutions

  37. #37 bi
    February 8, 2008

    Luddhunter screams,

    “he may put a word into Gaia to reward you in Ludd Heaven with 72 pounds of fine ganja, or 72 blowjobs from Rachel Carson”

    Oh, just go ahead and make the Nazi comparison already. I know you want to.

    Then perhaps The Editors can say: Peer review is the gas chamber of Liberal Fascism!

  38. #38 John Mashey
    February 8, 2008

    Don’t feed the trolls, no matter how stupidly hili\arious. This is the yet another case in which someone’s background/association with universities *famous* for good research, close connections with business, and frequent spinoffs is somehow spin as socialist anti-technology, or equivalent. Bizarre. [Stanford is Stanford; Imperial College is often called the MIT of the UK.]

    To clarify an earlier question, though, I think the case is pretty strong that the original basis for GMI has been ideological, but hey, you have to pay the bills, and once one takes money from cigarette companies to obfuscate the science, it’s hard to think of anything that won’t be done in bring in money. I’m sure there will be interesting studies sometime trying to distinguish between (a) Just shilling for money and (b) Obfuscating science for ideology, but finding convenient sources, and (c) Other reasons for taking contrary positions against overpowering evidence. Allan Brandt’s “The Cigarette Century” does some of that for the cigarette wars.
    I heard an earlier version of this at Stanford, and talked with Naomi a while. She’s got tons more material.

    What’s in this video is just the tip of the iceberg…

  39. #39 cce
    February 8, 2008

    One point. Do these guys even know the meaning of the word “Luddite?” Rudolf Diesel might well be president down in Capitalist Hell, but his invention is now well over 100 years old. These people clearly have a hard time accepting technological change. They do, however, quite readily accept scenarios of economic ruin if someone took away their precious coal and oil and other marvels of the 19th century.

  40. #40 Randall P
    February 8, 2008

    Luminous Beauty wrote:

    “Stages of global warming skepticism:
    1.) Global warming isn’t happening.
    2.) It’s happening, but it isn’t human caused.
    3.) Some part is human caused, but it isn’t significant.
    4.) The human cause is significant, but the consequences will be more good than bad.
    5.) The consequences are more bad than good, but there isn’t anything that can be done about it.
    6.) We could have done something about it, but now it is too late.
    7.) And so on…
    Posted by: luminous beauty | February 8, 2008 9:10 PM”

    but LB forgot the last stage:

    ” 8. Blame Bill Clinton”

  41. #41 Ian Gould
    February 9, 2008

    “Too bad he didn’t work in the private sector, he could have helped row the boat instead of slow it down by shortening our oars to save the trees.”

    Yeah as a member of the board of Apple, a senior consultant to Google; owner of a cable TV channel; senior partner in a merchant bank and best-selling author, Gore obviously lacks your wealth of private sector business experience.

  42. #42 J. Althauser
    February 9, 2008

    Bottom line – political / regulatory disagreements masked as arguments about science.

    We knew that. Now what to do about it?

    Discuss and implement solutions. Find and use frames for the AGW that reveal what it is – a problem which individuals and the free market can never solve, alone.

  43. #43 Chris O'Neill
    February 9, 2008

    Oreskes presents a very nice summary of the denialism industry, i.e. an industry that uses a few individuals such as Singer and Seitz to create false controversy in issues such as acid rain, CFC destruction of ozone, tobacco smoke causing cancer, first directly then second-hand, and now AGW. You could say a denialist is a member of this industry.

  44. #44 bi
    February 9, 2008

    “political / regulatory disagreements masked as arguments about science.”

    Calling it “disagreements” is giving too much credit to what’s merely a huge gigantic crapmill. And at the moment, it seems the best way to deal with a crapmill is, well, to show that it’s a crapmill.

  45. #45 QrazyQat
    February 9, 2008

    One point. Do these guys even know the meaning of the word “Luddite?”

    There are an awful lot of things these guys don’t know the meaning of. Or I could’ve just left off the last three words of the previous sentence.

  46. #46 Barton Paul Levenson
    February 9, 2008

    Okay, I won’t answer Ludd directly. But just in case someone is confused by his argument that sea level rise won’t matter:

    The sea doesn’t have to cover a city to make that city uninhabitable. All it has to do is seep into the aquifers and back up the sewers. Miami, New York, New Orleans, etc. will be uninhabitable long before they are under water, and two feet of sea level rise is more than enough to do the trick. Trillions of dollars of infrastructure will be gone.

    There is also the issue that global warming will cause droughts in continental interiors and more violent weather along coastlines. That’s already happening; ask the Australians.

    The bottom line:

    Global warming is really happening.
    It’s caused by side-effects of some human technologies.
    It’s a big, serious problem.

  47. #47 David Marjanović
    February 9, 2008

    And why did the pontiff hide the fact that CO2 in the air lags global temp by 800-2000 years, not leads it?

    CO2 is a feedback on climate. If the temperature rises for other reasons than a CO2 increase, greenhouse gases come out of the oceans and permafrost and whatnot, which leads to a further increase in temperature, which leads to more CO2, and so on, till some other effect kicks in. That’s why ice ages end so abruptly.

    If, on the other hand, the amount of CO2 in the air increases for reasons other than temperature, the temperature is driven up. Has happened every time so far: during the Permian-Triassic boundary mass extinction, during the flood basalt eruptions that formed the Deccan traps (layers of basalt that cover a large part of India), at the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum, and so on.

    Right now, we are pumping CO2 into the atmosphere. Qualitatively, there’s only one possible result.

    Lessee, an academic historian from Southern [sic] California. Somehow I don’t need to watch the video to know that she’s an anti-growth, anti capitalist, pro-socialist environmentalist who sees Global Warming as the perfect vehicle by which to further her political agenda.

    Lessee, some English-speaking anonymous blog commenter who spouts off as many buzzwords of the US (and only US) right as he can. Somehow I don’t need to know more about you to figure out you see global warming denial as the perfect vehicle by which to further your own political agenda.

    See? I can make ad hominem arguments, too!!!1!

    I should have made my point about Gore more explicit: Gore is a propagandist and a demagogue. He exaggerates/distorts SCIENCE to advance a hidden agenda

    Then fuck Gore and read the primary literature (the actual scientific journal articles). Gore could be the biggest asshole in the history of mankind — it doesn’t matter. Climatology isn’t a religion with Gore as its prophet — it’s a science.

    I haven’t even watched Gore’s movie. Why should I? I bet there’s nothing new in it.

    AGW alarmism is big $ to scientists nowadays.

    You mean there is such a thing as a well-paid scientist at a university? Where?

  48. #48 Bernard J.
    February 9, 2008

    In spite of John’s sage advice about not feeding the oiks I find myself compelled to poke the stinking carcass with a stick…

    ” Ludds are ban-first, know-the-truth-later advocates. Such policy inhibits survival, as any good evolutionist knows.”

    Contraire, contraire, contraire.

    It astonishes me how much illogic can be squeezed into two short sentences. It’s difficult to avoid penning a treatise on such breathtaking ignorance, but a couple of short points are worth raising in rebuttal.

    The category of ‘luddites’ referred to here is, in fact, the sort to more frequently seek the truth rather than to rely upon dogmas and articles of faith such as those promoted by the supporters of the perpetual growth paradigm. Oh, and this first sentence in the quote above seems to me to describe the ‘free market’/’free-world’ economic rationalists who cheered on the ill-founded and expensive excursion in the dessert, as I noted in another thread… Let he who is without sin cast the first stone, and all that, methinks.

    Oh, and the delicious irony that the climate change deniers are throwing sabots into the weaving of a global solution…

    I’m also perplexed that it is apparently possible to put all ‘policies’ that follow a precautionary principle, rather than top-speed techno/fiscal growth, into the “it will inhibit our survival” basket. This seems to be based on the premise that all technologies are inherently beneficial, and even a cursory consideration would demolish this in an instant. Of course those ‘alternate’ technologies are costly and thus wicked on their impact upon economic growth, but this double standard can be evidently ignored.

    As to the confabulation that ‘any good evolutionist knows’ that Luddism (in its true definition), or any type of anti-growth policy for that matter, necessarily inhibit survival… please spare us. As an ecologist I have half an idea of what a ‘good evolutionist’ should know, and it doesn’t involve conflating caution with diminished survival. Futurists may do so, and often do, but the ‘evolution’ of society touted by futurist thought is a very different thing, and frequently falls more in the domain of science fiction than science proper.

    I am firmly convinced that any proponent of unfettered free market/ perpetual economic growth ideologies should have several years of university education in fundamental ecology. These folk seem to be blissfully ignorant of the fact that we are irrevocably tied to, and dependent upon, a functioning biosphere, and that their social models for trade are somehow NOT dependent upon this very same biosphere.

    A solid grounding in thermodynamics should be mandatory too, as they really do not seem to appreciate global energy budgets over geological time scales, and in particular how energy moves through the trophic levels of the biosphere. It is all the more important when one considers the inescapable fact that all of the fossil fuel energy that we are so reliant upon it the result of the accumulation of many tens of millions of years of biospheric energy collection and processing, and that our current societal structure is predicated on using (to exhaustion) this energy in several hundreds of years at the most.

    This is NOT sustainable, wishing otherwise notwithstanding, and indeed the best alternative to the inevitable brick wall that lies at the end of fossil fuel dependence is that ‘costly’ spectre of those ghastly ‘alternate technologies’. A bit of population reduction is inevitable too, and if not sought voluntarily it will be imposed by the biosphere upon future generations. Oo, and speaking of costly, that first link (at the top of this post) is very enlightening, if you haven’t digressed there yet…

    Another irony in the premise of the trollish clot above is that the economic/technological future survival of our society that (s)he is so enamoured of is one that belongs to an extremely specialised species, and any ecologist/evolutionist will tell you that such species almost always only survive in very stable environments. The economic rationalist/technological model itself is predicated on change and development – and whether deliberately or inadvertently, we are knocking change on to the environment in which we live. Peak oil, climate change, habitat loss, resource depletion – any honest accountant will tell you that sooner or later the ‘income’ with which we have grown our society is going to end, and no amount of futuristic wishful thinking is going to replenish the huge fossil fuel/mineral resource/biosphere energy glut that has bought our way of life. A specialised species such as they dream of should want stability and continuity in almost exactly the fashion that those derided Luddites sought.

    You can have your cake for only as long as you are actually eating it, and we have been voracious indeed. If tyranny is incremental, those increments will grow logarithmically shorter, as sure as the overexploitation of our planet is vastly more tyrannical than anything else imagined in the fevered minds of the so-called ‘rationalists’.

    The sad thing is that as long as money speaks, reason will take the back seat. Particularly interesting is how it shouted so loudly over the last eight years that we have lost at least a decade with which to steer ourselves away from the approaching reefs of social, biological and climatic accountability.

  49. #49 Lance
    February 9, 2008

    That was fun.

    I liked Meyrick Kirby’s

    “Oh, can we keep him?! Please!!!” remark the best.

    It really demonstrated that you guys are all about the cold dispassionate science and not really motivated by your ideological biases.

    When’s the next show?

  50. #50 climatepatrol
    February 9, 2008

    It is hard to be a skeptic in the light of such overwhelming evidence. I kid you not. It was the first time in my life to realise that scientists do not usually debate in the presence of media. On the other hand, especially the U.S. media were threatened law suits by denieres of AGW had they refused the publishing of there contrarian views through the media “to balance things out” where there was no public debate.

    The impressive lecture of Naomi Oreskes was yet not enough to make me a convert into the AGW mainstream including all political implications. But the Oreskes speech was so brilliant that it deserves utmost respect. The respect should be extended to all who are seriously interested in making our planet a better place.

    I am an advocate for as much freedom in society as possible with as little as possible governmental control. But what some “freedom speakers” like Singer and Seitz appararently accomplished was in fact the opposite: The old oil, coal and gas industries were prevented from facing the new challenges of the energy and mobility market. I saw “An Inconvenient Truth”. There Al Gore got two points for me: (1) His statement regarding sea level rise was – to my surprise – in a correct scientific context and. (2) The automobile industry failed to adapt to the worldwide tendency towards cars with better energy efficiency and low gasoline consumpiton. These examples worked against the free market that Singer and Seitz and others seemed to have proclaimed, and could be against U.S. interests in the long run. Whether it is peak oil or climate change or lack of fresh water – something must be done on a global scale.

    So what is my problem? My motive to be skeptic is political, no doubt. There is another thing that struck me from Oreskes’ speech: The science was settled – even before the IPCC was found. There was an agenda to prove that the science was right. So I suspect that the results of the IPCC process was somehow predestined just like the results of – say – the Marshall Institute – and other think tanks were predestined. It is the question of funding. The one who asks the question to the scientific community partly sponsors the answer. As such, this doesn’t tell me anything about the credibility of unflawed science under such conditions. It can go wrong on both sides.

    This is why I will continue to look at scientific papers that do not necessarily merit any mentioning in an IPCC environment. And there seem to be quite a few skeptic scientists who are not from the old-industry protectionistic, contrarian entourage.

    At this point, I accept that the finger print and the amount of carbon dioxide that is added to the atmosphere can be quite clearly tracked worldwide – with 25% of yearly accumulation coming from North America. What there seems to be no evidence of is the quantification of this burning of fossil fuel in proportion to natural variability in the last – say – 30 years of warming. This seems to be important to me. How much time do we have to keep working on alternative energy sources before it is too late. And some day it will be too late no matter what climate we are in. If we go into another sort of maunder minimum, that means that we need even more oil to heat our houses. So a little global warming might even help.

    Why am I against international control such as cap and trade? Because I believe we should concentrate on adaption and technology rather than caps.

    If there is a God, He is against globalization. There was a reason why He scattered the people when they spoke all the same language around the tower in Babilon. Power must be scattered. Globalisation is the trend – both for capitalists and socialists. The North American Union is coming. Then the ASEAN countries will join together. A One-World Order like in Babilon will be the destiny of Global Change where Global Warming is a means to reach this goal. This is what my agenda is. I hope some understand. Whoever wants the U.S. to remain independant, should back Ron Paul for President.

  51. #51 Lance
    February 9, 2008

    Oh Christ,

    “There was a reason why He scattered the people when they spoke all the same language around the tower in Babilon.”

    I hate it when a skeptic goes all whacko when I’m in here.

    (Lance quietly slides away from climatepatrol)

  52. #52 dhogaza
    February 9, 2008

    Lance, you’re no better. At least climatepatrol is *honest* about being a whackjob. You’re dishonest about being pathologically dishonest.

  53. #53 Chris O'Neill
    February 9, 2008

    David Marjanović mentions:

    buzzwords of the US (and only US) right

    David is right to emphasize “only” the US right. In the case of the former conservative Australian government, they firmly nailed their allegiance to the US right and paid the price at the last election.

  54. #54 Chris O'Neill
    February 9, 2008

    In the case of the former conservative Australian government, they firmly nailed their allegiance to the US right and paid the price at the last election.

    I should have mentioned that this applied in the case of global warming as well as other issues.

  55. #55 kent
    February 9, 2008

    Warmists like to say that if they are wrong then no harm will come from reducing the use of fossil fuels, but if they are right and nothing is done then great harm will come to human kind. They only see two outcomes, Warming or not warming. They miss one other possibility, that of cooling.
    The science is not settled. It never is. If we are warming reducing CO2 will have little effect. If we are cooling increasing CO2 will also have little effect. By focusing so much attention on CO2 we could be missing something much bigger. Global cooling, if it happens, will be much more serious than warming will be.
    We have had the coolest January in 15 years, La Nina is mature now, solar flux is very low. Have we hit the tipping point? Hard to say but La Nina was predicted but rejected by the warmists. Solar cycle 23 was said to have started with one reversed polarity sun spot but not to much is happening yet. The Russians and others are saying it will be a very weak cycle, we will have to wait some time but the answers are coming.
    Arctic sea ice has caught up with last year.
    someone wrote that it was sea ice volume not area that was important. That did not ring true with me, because open water radiates more energy than ice covered water. When considering energy radiation from the poles a whole cycle should be considered.
    Does anyone here know were one could compare energy loss from ice covered sea water and open sea water during a full year in the Arctic?
    The opinions of those with closed minds should not be equated with the opinions of those with open minds.

  56. #56 P. Lewis
    February 9, 2008

    Kent said:

    We have had the coolest January in 15 years, La Nina is mature now, solar flux is very low

    Expand your horizon beyond the parochial, Kent. We’ve just had the second warmest January since 1983 (which followed on from the warmest January since 1921 I think it was). We are currently into a February that is about 2°C above the climatological norm. What does it mean for global warming? Diddly squat. It’s weather. Oh, and it’s probably partly the effect of La Nina ensuring a strengthened jet stream bringing mild, wet and windy weather to the UK and much of Scandinavia.

  57. #57 TCO
    February 9, 2008

    Very screechy voice. Could not bring myself to listen to her for too long.

  58. #58 kent
    February 9, 2008

    P. Lewis I didn’t say anything, I wrote it just as you wrote; “We’ve just had the second warmest January since 1983 (which followed on from the warmest January since 1921 I think it was).” I was wondering what part of the planet you were from. The UK. Which represents what % of the land mass of Earth? Someone said that the US only represents 2% of the earth’s surface.
    If you look at the SST ( sea surface temperature) you would become aware that the north east coast of the US and the west coast of Europe have above normal temperatures. The entire west coast of north america all the way to Alaska over to northern Japan are well below normal. The three largest countries in the world have experienced major cold spells.
    You are lucky to be having a warm weather but huge swaths of Canada are getting -40 C with wind chill. What would happen to the UK if that +2 C changed to -2 C.

  59. #59 Brian D
    February 9, 2008

    Kent, the important part of P. Lewis’ remark is that short-term local temperature measurements give us… regional weather. This tells us nothing about regional climate, let alone global climate, let alone global climate change.

    Canada’s in a cold spell right now. It’s also winter here. Were I to take the temperature outside my house now (-28C), and again in the middle of July, I would get a jump of at least 50 degrees. Doesn’t tell me a thing about the climate in the area (even the climate exclusively as it applies to temperature). Doesn’t tell me a thing about how climate *or* weather’s faring anywhere else on the globe. Doesn’t tell me a thing how climate’s changing *anywhere*.

    Would you care to explain to me why you think that recent temperature discrepancies between the North Atlantic ocean and the Pacific Ocean have anything to do with *climate* (typically measured over at least 30 years), as compared to something a bit more *weather*-related (i.e. the Gulf Stream being affected by the same La Nina that led to low temperatures in the end of 2007)? If you have a genius point that I’m missing, I’d be very appreciative if you could share it.

  60. #60 sod
    February 10, 2008

    Warmists

    nice term. i guess i am an “einsteinist” as well. and a “smocking-causes-cancer-ist” and an “earth -is-a-sphere-ist”.

    do you notice how stupid it is to put an extra label on people who believe in main-stream science?!?

    They miss one other possibility, that of cooling. The science is not settled. It never is.

    the science on global warming IS settled. it still can be improved, as science always is, but it will not change completely.

    you assume 3 EXTREMELY UNLIKELY things to happen at once:
    1. a massive change in other influences on the climate.
    2. a huge reduction in CO2. (and a reduction, while earth is COOLING!)
    3. random forum posters understanding this, before scientists do

    then you draw a WILD conclusion in that case (“iceage”). you do so, with ZERO facts to support your claims. (beyond a slightly colder january)

    Arctic sea ice has caught up with last year. someone wrote that it was sea ice volume not area that was important. That did not ring true with me, because open water radiates more energy than ice covered water.

    arctic sea ice is back at the LOW winter extension, that it had in 2007! still far below a 14 mio square km number, that it used to have!
    volume matters, because thin ice MELTS fast.

  61. #61 z
    February 10, 2008

    “The science is not settled. It never is.”

    so true. that’s why i recommend doing nothing. ever about anything. if your child has a fever, for god’s sake don’t stop it. if the climate turns cold overnight, it might just save his life.

    look at calgary a couple of weeks back; low temp -26 F, wind chill -44. any doubt why they’d not be excited about stopping global warming?

  62. #62 z
    February 10, 2008

    all kidding aside, i think the cause was doomed when it became an item of rightwing faith that AGW MUST be a lie, or else everything they believe is a lie. don’t forget these are the same folks (well, maybe not personally, but as a groupthink) who have marched people to their death time after time, whether in iraq or gallipoli, rather than change their fundamental beliefs; let uncounted people die horrible deaths rather than crack open their minds to the thought that cigarettes might in fact be not so healthy; etc. etc. etc.

  63. #63 John Mashey
    February 10, 2008

    1) Climatepatrol: you really need to read the Allan Brandt book I mentioned on cigarettes, because there are many parallels. You should read especially how hard it was to get the 1964 Surgeon General’s report to happen, even when the evidence was already massive.

    The basics of the science were indeed well-settled years before the IPCC was formed, but there were plenty of issues left to worry about, like reducing the sizes of various error bars, improving the ability to predict the effectgs of various scenarios, understanding the effects on ecosystems, etc, etc.

    This is like: we knew about Gravity a long time ago, and even knew Einstein’s version of it long ago. Did that mean there was nothing left to do on effects of gravity?
    Nope: among other things, one of the earliest uses of computers, (as in ENIAC) was to work on artillery-firing tables, which depend not only on gravity, but other effects.

    Likewise, there is a huge jump between knowing “settled science” like the Navier-Stokes equations, and being able to useful simulate the aifrlow around and airplane wing.

    2) Singer, Seitz et al will end up achieving the exact opposite of what they claimed, i.e., there will end up being more government regulation, and more of it will be broken, because they helped fend off doing useful things early, and sooner or later a lot of people are going to get scared, although Peak Oil (which Singer denies also) will hit first. These guys have helped damage the USA far more than most people understand.

    In, fact, those libertarians who are not rich are setting themselves up to be thoroughly hammered, in proportion to how effective they are in slowing down taking action, since the first batch of actions needed to deal with Peak Oil & AGW are the same. *Smart* libertarians (like T. J. Rodgers) do things like investing in solar power. [Disclosure: I own some SPWR stock].

    3) DO you associate with real scientists much? [seems unlikely] Is there a good research university around? Many such have public lectures [like, I heard Naomi talk at one], and most scientists I know are happy to answer skeptical (if polite) questions. If you were to do this, you would learn to calibrate the difference between real scientists and (mostly) fifth-raters who write easily-refutable junk with great certainty, publish it in OpEds, make a lot of noise, but don’t actually do any useful science, and never change their minds even as evidence comes in.
    [Compare Fred Singer's two books, for example. The main constant is "No regulation." The reasons for it change all over the map. GW wasn't happening ... but now, it's unstoppable every 1500 years. sure.]

    For a scientist, major fame comes to those who *convincingly* overturn a previous consensus or resolve a major conflict. If there were something wrong with AGW theory, good scientists would be all over it.

    Sometimes, even previous first-raters (even Nobel prize-winners) go over the edge, especially towards the end of their career. If you actually meet and talk with first-raters, you’d be less impressed with losers.

    4) Finally, no amount of political belief will change the laws of physics one bit. If you jump out of a 30th story window, gravity will have its way with you.

  64. #64 John Mashey
    February 10, 2008

    1) Climatepatrol: you really need to read the Allan Brandt book I mentioned on cigarettes, because there are many parallels. You should read especially how hard it was to get the 1964 Surgeon General’s report to happen, even when the evidence was already massive.

    The basics of the science were indeed well-settled years before the IPCC was formed, but there were plenty of issues left to worry about, like reducing the sizes of various error bars, improving the ability to predict the effectgs of various scenarios, understanding the effects on ecosystems, etc, etc.

    This is like: we knew about Gravity a long time ago, and even knew Einstein’s version of it long ago. Did that mean there was nothing left to do on effects of gravity?
    Nope: among other things, one of the earliest uses of computers, (as in ENIAC) was to work on artillery-firing tables, which depend not only on gravity, but other effects.

    Likewise, there is a huge jump between knowing “settled science” like the Navier-Stokes equations, and being able to useful simulate the aifrlow around and airplane wing.

    2) Singer, Seitz et al will end up achieving the exact opposite of what they claimed, i.e., there will end up being more government regulation, and more of it will be broken, because they helped fend off doing useful things early, and sooner or later a lot of people are going to get scared, although Peak Oil (which Singer denies also) will hit first. These guys have helped damage the USA far more than most people understand.

    In, fact, those libertarians who are not rich are setting themselves up to be thoroughly hammered, in proportion to how effective they are in slowing down taking action, since the first batch of actions needed to deal with Peak Oil & AGW are the same. *Smart* libertarians (like T. J. Rodgers) do things like investing in solar power. [Disclosure: I own some SPWR stock].

    3) DO you associate with real scientists much? [seems unlikely] Is there a good research university around? Many such have public lectures [like, I heard Naomi talk at one], and most scientists I know are happy to answer skeptical (if polite) questions. If you were to do this, you would learn to calibrate the difference between real scientists and (mostly) fifth-raters who write easily-refutable junk with great certainty, publish it in OpEds, make a lot of noise, but don’t actually do any useful science, and never change their minds even as evidence comes in.
    [Compare Fred Singer's two books, for example. The main constant is "No regulation." The reasons for it change all over the map. GW wasn't happening ... but now, it's unstoppable every 1500 years. sure.]

    For a scientist, major fame comes to those who *convincingly* overturn a previous consensus or resolve a major conflict. If there were something wrong with AGW theory, good scientists would be all over it.

    Sometimes, even previous first-raters (even Nobel prize-winners) go over the edge, especially towards the end of their career. If you actually meet and talk with first-raters, you’d be less impressed with losers.

    4) Finally, no amount of political belief will change the laws of physics one bit. If you jump out of a 30th story window, gravity will have its way with you.

  65. #65 John Mashey
    February 10, 2008

    1) Climatepatrol: you really need to read the Allan Brandt book I mentioned on cigarettes, because there are many parallels. You should read especially how hard it was to get the 1964 Surgeon General’s report to happen, even when the evidence was already massive.

    The basics of the science were indeed well-settled years before the IPCC was formed, but there were plenty of issues left to worry about, like reducing the sizes of various error bars, improving the ability to predict the effectgs of various scenarios, understanding the effects on ecosystems, etc, etc.

    This is like: we knew about Gravity a long time ago, and even knew Einstein’s version of it long ago. Did that mean there was nothing left to do on effects of gravity?
    Nope: among other things, one of the earliest uses of computers, (as in ENIAC) was to work on artillery-firing tables, which depend not only on gravity, but other effects.

    Likewise, there is a huge jump between knowing “settled science” like the Navier-Stokes equations, and being able to useful simulate the aifrlow around and airplane wing.

    2) Singer, Seitz et al will end up achieving the exact opposite of what they claimed, i.e., there will end up being more government regulation, and more of it will be broken, because they helped fend off doing useful things early, and sooner or later a lot of people are going to get scared, although Peak Oil (which Singer denies also) will hit first. These guys have helped damage the USA far more than most people understand.

    In, fact, those libertarians who are not rich are setting themselves up to be thoroughly hammered, in proportion to how effective they are in slowing down taking action, since the first batch of actions needed to deal with Peak Oil & AGW are the same. *Smart* libertarians (like T. J. Rodgers) do things like investing in solar power. [Disclosure: I own some SPWR stock].

    3) DO you associate with real scientists much? [seems unlikely] Is there a good research university around? Many such have public lectures [like, I heard Naomi talk at one], and most scientists I know are happy to answer skeptical (if polite) questions. If you were to do this, you would learn to calibrate the difference between real scientists and (mostly) fifth-raters who write easily-refutable junk with great certainty, publish it in OpEds, make a lot of noise, but don’t actually do any useful science, and never change their minds even as evidence comes in.
    [Compare Fred Singer's two books, for example. The main constant is "No regulation." The reasons for it change all over the map. GW wasn't happening ... but now, it's unstoppable every 1500 years. sure.]

    For a scientist, major fame comes to those who *convincingly* overturn a previous consensus or resolve a major conflict. If there were something wrong with AGW theory, good scientists would be all over it.

    Sometimes, even previous first-raters (even Nobel prize-winners) go over the edge, especially towards the end of their career. If you actually meet and talk with first-raters, you’d be less impressed with losers.

    4) Finally, no amount of political belief will change the laws of physics one bit. If you jump out of a 30th story window, gravity will have its way with you.

  66. #66 John Mashey
    February 10, 2008

    1) Climatepatrol: you really need to read the Allan Brandt book I mentioned on cigarettes, because there are many parallels. You should read especially how hard it was to get the 1964 Surgeon General’s report to happen, even when the evidence was already massive.

    The basics of the science were indeed well-settled years before the IPCC was formed, but there were plenty of issues left to worry about, like reducing the sizes of various error bars, improving the ability to predict the effectgs of various scenarios, understanding the effects on ecosystems, etc, etc.

    This is like: we knew about Gravity a long time ago, and even knew Einstein’s version of it long ago. Did that mean there was nothing left to do on effects of gravity?
    Nope: among other things, one of the earliest uses of computers, (as in ENIAC) was to work on artillery-firing tables, which depend not only on gravity, but other effects.

    Likewise, there is a huge jump between knowing “settled science” like the Navier-Stokes equations, and being able to useful simulate the aifrlow around and airplane wing.

    2) Singer, Seitz et al will end up achieving the exact opposite of what they claimed, i.e., there will end up being more government regulation, and more of it will be broken, because they helped fend off doing useful things early, and sooner or later a lot of people are going to get scared, although Peak Oil (which Singer denies also) will hit first. These guys have helped damage the USA far more than most people understand.

    In, fact, those libertarians who are not rich are setting themselves up to be thoroughly hammered, in proportion to how effective they are in slowing down taking action, since the first batch of actions needed to deal with Peak Oil & AGW are the same. *Smart* libertarians (like T. J. Rodgers) do things like investing in solar power. [Disclosure: I own some SPWR stock].

    3) DO you associate with real scientists much? [seems unlikely] Is there a good research university around? Many such have public lectures [like, I heard Naomi talk at one], and most scientists I know are happy to answer skeptical (if polite) questions. If you were to do this, you would learn to calibrate the difference between real scientists and (mostly) fifth-raters who write easily-refutable junk with great certainty, publish it in OpEds, make a lot of noise, but don’t actually do any useful science, and never change their minds even as evidence comes in.
    [Compare Fred Singer's two books, for example. The main constant is "No regulation." The reasons for it change all over the map. GW wasn't happening ... but now, it's unstoppable every 1500 years. sure.]

    For a scientist, major fame comes to those who *convincingly* overturn a previous consensus or resolve a major conflict. If there were something wrong with AGW theory, good scientists would be all over it.

    Sometimes, even previous first-raters (even Nobel prize-winners) go over the edge, especially towards the end of their career. If you actually meet and talk with first-raters, you’d be less impressed with losers.

    4) Finally, no amount of political belief will change the laws of physics one bit. If you jump out of a 30th story window, gravity will have its way with you.

  67. #67 dhogaza
    February 10, 2008

    Warmists

    nice term. i guess i am an “einsteinist” as well. and a “smocking-causes-cancer-ist” and an “earth -is-a-sphere-ist”.

    It’s yet another tactic borrowed from the classic creationist attempts to belittle biology. If you’re a mainstream biologist, you’re not a biologist, you’re a “Darwinist”.

    Darwinism is a religion. “warmers” share the same disease.

    Here’s a list of 700 “scientists” who disbelieve modern biology, therefore it’s false. Here’s a list of 400 “scientists” who disbelieve AGW …

    Blah-blah blah-blah.

  68. #68 Chris O'Neill
    February 10, 2008

    kent says:

    The science is not settled

    kent, you’ll have to become a somebody before you can become a useful member of the denial industry like Singer and Seitz. As the talk that is the subject of this post pointed out, Singer and Seitz were effective in the denial industry because they were somebodies at something scientific. No-one significant is going to take any notice of you.

  69. #69 Chris O'Neill
    February 10, 2008

    TCO:

    Very screechy voice. Could not bring myself to listen to her for too long.

    A variation on the “shoot the messenger” theme.

  70. #70 Ian Gould
    February 10, 2008

    “The science is not settled. It never is.”

    True, similarly the science of immunisation is not settled. Sure the overwhelming majority of medical experts endorse it but there are a small minority of nuts who reject it and there are genuine scientific disputes over the safety of some specific vaccines.

    So by your logic we should end all vaccination. After all, it costs money and its benefits are uncertain.

    Sure every study to date of the MMR vaccine shows it doesn’t cause autism but you never know what the next one might show.

  71. #71 Jeff Harvey
    February 10, 2008

    You know, what I have noticed here from the denial mafia is not a shred of empirical evidence debunking anything Naomi Oreskes said. Nothing, just a lot of hand waving and accusations of her being a socialist dupe and the usual crapola. Calling the denialists on this thread trolls is a B-I-G understatement. They are hollow vessels.

    Truth is, that Oreskes has done a prodigious amount of research and knows her stuff. Her most importanty point – and one that vanquishes the usual feeble pontifications of the denialists – is that concerns over the potential consequences of enhancing atmospheric levels of C02 go back a century or more, and there were more rigid forewarning of this by many senior researchers in the period between 1957 and 1980 before any detectable warming was noted. The anti-science denial mob have tried to push the argument for years that the current warming episode is a recent ‘fad’ and thus bears little concern. Oreskes research effectively shreds this and consigns it to the garbage can of history.

    Given the fact that the trollers here have nothing to go on, they have to resort to the usual smears of ‘pinko agendas’ and ‘anti-capitalism’ rants. As I and others have said, they meekly are attempting to debunk the science that they hate. Here’s a challenge for them: try and debunk earlier research from the likes of Keeling and Revelle. See how far you get.

  72. #72 P. Lewis
    February 10, 2008

    Kent. Brian D saw straight to the point. And guess what? Winter is that time of year when, well … that winter stuff sort of happens. It happens even in a warming world.

  73. #73 Jeff Harvey
    February 10, 2008

    As P. Lewis said.

    Moreover, Kent, if you wanna play the ‘warm’ ‘cool’ January game, most of western and central Europe has had a remarkably mild January. Look at Moscow, which normally is an ice-box this time of the year. Yet they’ve had weeks in a row when the temperature has hovered at or above freezing. Here in Holland its been way above normal – we have only had a few frosts since December. Last winter period, our mean temperature was the normal winter period temperature of Nice.

    The NASA-GISS monthly global surface temperature data are out in a few days. And its not hard to guess what they will say.

  74. #74 Moses
    February 10, 2008

    Here we are, oil companies with record profits, oil reserves dwindling, global warming happening, the denial industry in full-bloom and we’re sitting on our asses doing nothing (well, except that pesky illegal, immoral, ill-advised, idiotic war in Iraq) and the Japanese are working on solar powerstation satellites!

    We talked about in the 1970′s! We had the L5 society. We could have started then. But no… Better to build a useless War Machine, cut research and swing our dicks…

    Now we have a bunch of dumb-asses who’d sell their mothers for rendering value denying the multiplicity of problems we face because of fossil fuels and their by-products. Wake up people: wars, global war and climate denial are dead-end solutions.

    Bitter? You bet.

  75. #75 TCO
    February 10, 2008

    Chris: Well, duh, yeah of course. But in all seriousness, I was interested to hear cogent analysis of consensus-osity, especially if there was new info. But her voice was so annoying and her manner so smug and preaching to the crowds…that I just turned her off.

  76. #76 Chris O'Neill
    February 10, 2008

    Very screechy voice. Could not bring myself to listen to her for too long.

    If that’s all you had to say at the time then well, duh, you deserved the response you got.

  77. #77 z
    February 10, 2008

    Thought experiment for “AGW believers”; if, tomorrrow, hypothetically, irrefutable unmistakable confirmed proof was provided that in fact, there was no AGW, is there anyhbody here who would not, at most, just shrug and move on? Would anybody instead put up a big fight to continue the “AGW crusade” in order to oppress the masses or keep the grant money coming or whatever the hell our motivation is supposed to be? In fact, wouldn’t most “AGW believers” think “Whew, that’s a relief”?

    So, do the “skeptics” actually believe the crap they say they believe about the motivations and behavior of their opponents, in which case they are so distanced from reality that their judgment on other matters can’t be very good; or are they just indulging in scurrilous tactics to try and “win”, because they know they are losing on the facts?

  78. #78 kent
    February 10, 2008

    Chris There are a lot more insignificant people out there than significant ones. I have played with the big boys many times before and just because they were significant didn’t mean they were better than me. Just look at who won the supper bowl, the significant or the insignificant.
    I am not trying to convince anyone of anything I am simply asking questions and pointing out things.Inconvienient truths I guess.
    While waiting for the GISS data you might like to know that the average temp for January was -.5 degrees C. The average “global” temp since January 07 to January 08 was minus .6 C. which puts us below the mean. Will this continue, don’t know but it is an interesting piece of data.

    Sod; Yes, thin ice melts faster, DUH. But what does that mean? Ice is an insulator, once it is removed the exposed sea water will radiate more energy.
    Warmists just look at what happens to the solar radiation but forget what happens when there is no sunshine. They also seem to think that sea water reacts to cooling the same as fresh water. ( fresh water expands from 4-0 degrees C while sea water doesn’t)How much more energy is radiated from open sea water than from sea ice, when the sun is not shining? Cold air blowing over ice takes some time to cool the water below the ice but cold air blowing over water cools that water much faster. All that exposed arctic water must have had some effect on the amount of cold water droping down into the arctic basin. Would this speed up current flows? Just asking.

  79. #79 luminous beauty
    February 10, 2008

    “Sod; Yes, thin ice melts faster, DUH. But what does that mean?”

    It means that come spring, when the sun begins to shine upon the Arctic sea ice, it will be prone to melt sooner than if it were thicker.

    Double DUH!

  80. #80 luminous beauty
    February 10, 2008

    “Warmists just look at what happens to the solar radiation but forget what happens when there is no sunshine.

    Au contraire. When the sun isn’t shining, net radiation away from the surface of the earth is still depressed by the enhanced greenhouse effect.

    What is universal about denialists is how they unerringly misrepresent what the science says. What is even more disgusting is their entrenched redoubt behind an inalterable mindset of positional advocacy without any sense of constructive dialectic.

  81. #81 bi
    February 10, 2008

    z:

    “So, do the `skeptics’ actually believe the crap they say they believe about the motivations and behavior of their opponents, in which case they are so distanced from reality that their judgment on other matters can’t be very good; or are they just indulging in scurrilous tactics to try and `win’, because they know they are losing on the facts?”

    I guess they lie so profusely that after a while they start believing their own lies.

  82. #82 dhogaza
    February 10, 2008

    Warmists just look at what happens to the solar radiation but forget what happens when there is no sunshine.

    Go to that to a scientists working on the issue and come back when you’ve got your ass handed to you, OK?

    Denialists are always claiming that scientists don’t think of this, of that, etc. “Climate scientists don’t know about the sun! they don’t know the earth isn’t flat! blah! blah! blah!”

    Stuff it.

  83. #83 TCO
    February 10, 2008

    Chrissie, chrissie…

  84. #84 climatepatrol
    February 10, 2008

    Thanks John for this.

    3) DO you associate with real scientists much?

    . Not much, not on a personal level with 1st grade atmospheric scientists anyway.

    Is there a good research university around?

    “Our” IPCC Professor Stocker of the University of Berne doesn’t use error bars when speaking on TV about AGW. 4°C warming, period. Swiss glaciologist Kaser et al. claimed that the icecap of Kilimancharo had been evaporating (not melting) under conditions of negative 7°, and since the 19th century, because of drier weather patterns. No mentioning of global warming in this context. (Sorry Mr. Gore). http://www.pnas.org/cgi/content/abstract/105/5/1425 is a recycling of Stocker’s icecore success story, emphasizing the antropogenic warming to far overpower any natural forcing now and in the past. And the impact so far? There is another Swiss survey about that: Martin Beniston and Stéphane Goyett – Abstract: “…Based upon observational data since 1900 at both a low and a high elevation site in Switzerland it is shown that, at least for these locations, the inter-annual and decadal variability of both maximum and minimum daily temperatures has in fact decreased over the course of the 20th century despite the strong warming that has been observed in the intervening period…” Then there is the reconstruction of alpine summer temperatures by Buentgen which implies among the historical facts: “The offset in ~1970 likely refers to a cooling due to industrial sulfate aerosol emissions (Anderson et al. 2003), with the sun’s contribution to the recent warmth remaining an open question (Damon and Peristykh 2005, Foukal et al. 2004, Wild et al. 2005 – … just to mention the most recent ones that Buentgen cited). So while some seem to attribute all of the warming to AGW, others see a significant portion of solar activity in the eighties, then diminished aerosol concentration and low cloud cover in the nineties. Now we have a record snow cover in the NH for January 2008 (El Nina, weak sun) http://climate.rutgers.edu/snowcover/. The highest January cover for the period 1966-2008 according to Roger Pielke Sr., despite the contineous south-westerlies over Europe and the lack of snow there. Bottom line: They are all not deniers but the answers are very diverse. So there ARE natural variations that should not be underestimated but quantified right in the future. This makes the subject so exciting to me. Anyway, I agree with you that peak oil will hit us first…

  85. #85 Chris O'Neill
    February 10, 2008

    kent:

    There are a lot more insignificant people out there than significant ones.

    No kidding. The point is that you are just repeating what far more significant people have done in the past. People who are professional denialists like Singer and Seitz. The post was about a talk on these professional denialists and the denial industry they work for. If I’ve already heard everything you say from professional denialists who have been shown to be wrong over and over again, why would I want to listen to a nobody?

  86. #86 Johyn Mashey
    February 10, 2008

    Switzerland: Swiss are meticulous record keepers*, and the glacier records are excellent. ETH is excellent in many domains, including this one:

    http://glaciology.ethz.ch/messnetz/
    http://glaciology.ethz.ch/messnetz/lengthvariation.html
    http://glaciology.ethz.ch/messnetz/massbalance.html
    http://glaciology.ethz.ch/messnetz/glacierlist.html

    And I’ve found them responsive to questions and comments on their website, and I suspect if you contacted them, and asked them nicely if they interpret this data as supportive or dismissive of global warming, they might well answer.

    In 2007, they had 1 advance, 2 same, and 86 retreats, but if you rummage around their website, you can see all teh past history, nicely organized, summarized or in detail. If you use GoogleEarth, you can see waht these thigns look like, and where yo ucan see them from.

    An alternative metric might be try to get a Swiss bank to loan money for a ski resort below 1500 meters.
    http://www.unep.org/cpi/briefs/Brief03Dec03.doc

    Of course, glacier mass balance depends not just on temperatures but on precipitation, but a really nice feature of glaciers is that they do physical smoothing of jagged year-to-year temperature variations, and bigger glaciers take longer to respond and usually ignore gyrations, as can be seen in the Grosser Aletsch glacier.

    Switzerland seems a place where it’s harder than usual to be a denialist, given that lots of people can *see* glaciers shrink. If you look at this website and like it, please tell them.

    * I have Swiss ancestors. I still have one’s journal covering 1850-1900, recording to the penny every expense and income for the farm.

  87. #87 bi
    February 10, 2008

    “Is there a good research university around?” — John Mashey

    “‘Our’ IPCC Professor Stocker of the University of Berne doesn’t use error bars when speaking on TV about AGW.” — climatepatrol

    I guess the answer to Mashey’s question is “no”. climatepatrol’s getting his information on Prof. Stocker’s research from TV shows.

  88. #88 JOhn Mashey
    February 11, 2008

    Switzerland has a credible handful of good research universities, of which I think Bern is one, at least according to typical rankings (for what that’s worth), although I have no direct experience there.

    However, as bi says, seeing someone on TV…

    One more time: if one is a rational skeptic, and wants to learn, if there is a good research university anywhere handy, that has anyone with any credibility in climate science [IPCC? National Academy of Science? Lots of references via Google Scholar to publications in credible refereed journals?]

    a) Check out their public seminars [Bern has some on climate change].
    b) See if they have an outreach/speakers program, as at least some do. Try to get a local lecture.
    c) See if there’s a credible research lab around. Some of them do a) or b) also.

    Attend, listen, and talk to people. It’s really not that hard to do, if one thinks any of this is important. Maybe it takes away from blogging, but actually knowing something is useful.

    Given that it’s only a 3-hour drive from Geneva to Zurich, I’d guess most Swiss live within an hour of a good research location.

    Some places are of course easier than others.

  89. #89 climatepatrol
    February 11, 2008

    @John Mashey
    I know you mean well. My point with the TV shows is: It has most of the impact for policy makers, ski resorts (ironically they will increase CO2 burning for snowmaking), the accurate presentations during seminars (with error bars) probably have less impacts. Blogging can be a good way of learning. Reading the papers, getting readers’ comments. But if I visit a seminary of Prof. Stocker, I already know what the answer is. The last year’s christian climate seminary with Prof. Stocker as the guest speaker of physical science, turned out excactly as expected – alarming. The science is settled. Any more questions? (There are other sources. I’ll better stop here…)

    And yes, I am always very eager to get the results of the glaciology network. There, I have to mention a very important detail in this forum: Glaciers represent the local climate. The Swiss climate has warmed about 3 – 4 times as fast as the global average. No wonder the glaciers continue to melt. And no wonder you don’t easily find skeptics in Switzerland. So if I want to know the proportion of the antropogenic warming on surface temperature worldwide, I certainly don’t look at the Swiss glaciers. But I look at December 2007 Gisstemp, NCDC, Satelite Data, and now January 2008 satelite data are out. El Nina has offset global warming. For the German speakers, I recommend the website of http://www.prima-klima-fragezeichen.de/ who started an educational program on meteorology and climate. (I am in friendly personal terms with him).
    And for physical radiation balance, I am for instance learning from http://primaklima.blogg.de/ (not a skeptic site at all) and then Roger Pielke Sr (a skeptic retired professor who is still very active in research, yet not a denier).

    But, yeah, it is a good idea if I actually attend seminaries of 1st grade scientists in the future as well.

  90. #90 climatepatrol
    February 11, 2008

    Oh by the way: Kilimancharo is not a Swiss glacier;-)

  91. #91 teme
    February 11, 2008

    “Oh by the way: Kilimancharo is not a Swiss glacier;-)” — climatepatrol

    As Dr. Kaser is an Italian working in Austria ;-)

    And if one reads his (et als) articles, it appears they believe that the lack of precipitation (which is behind the evaporation) is due to dryer climate caused by — Global Warming. So, no need to apologise to Mr. Gore.

    Just like Karakoram glacier, Kilimanjaro is at an altitude where the temperature is still below freesing, regardless of warming. But unlike Kilimanjaro, Karakoram has more precipitation due changing climate leading to it’s expansion. Amazingly, both of these phenomena are consistent with GW.

  92. #92 climatepatrol
    February 11, 2008

    And if one reads his (et als) articles, it appears they believe that the lack of precipitation (which is behind the evaporation) is due to dryer climate caused by — Global Warming. So, no need to apologise to Mr. Gore.

    Objection, Sir. I don’t know which article you are referring at, but I actually read his entire research paper as published in the International Journal of Climatology. To read the abstract is a good start

    http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/abstract/107630666/ABSTRACT?CRETRY=1&SRETRY=0. Kilimancharo is not a good example of an icon for global warming as I recall another scientist confirm the Kaser et al. paper’s message. The precipitation patterns changed 100 years ago. The meltdown/evaporation slowed down recently. But if you include deforestation into the global warming definition, then – yes, I agree with you. This is in fact the greatest antropogenic influence in the tropics, not CO2.

  93. #93 teme
    February 11, 2008

    > I don’t know which article you are referring at, but I actually read his entire research paper as published in the International Journal of Climatology.

    My mistake, apologies. I referred to a paper in the same journal, but from 2007 (Mölg, Cullen, Hardy, Kaser and Klok), not 2004.
    In 2004 they leave the it open whether “temperature variations in other tropical regions” are linked or govern “the long-term deficit of accumulation on Kilimanjaro glaciers”, and in 2007 come to the conclusion that “[T]his suggestion [_precipitation, not temperature -- teme_] is consistent with global warming and regional moisture changes, particularly in the tropics”.

    Caveat: I don’t _really_ know what I’m talking about here :-)

  94. #94 climatepatrol
    February 11, 2008

    Thanks teme for the clarification. Of course you do know what you are talking about:-).

    I was able to download the new paper you refered to (copyright RMS)here and thought it is good to see the conclusion of the paper in its context for the other readers.

    5. Conclusions
    The presented combination of in-situ measurements with mass balance modelling corroborates that mass fluctuations on Kibo’s slope glaciers primarily reflect precipitation variability…Results imply that an increase in snowfall would have to be the main climatic requirement to reach long-term net accumulation (mass gain) on horizontal and sloping glacier surfaces…precipitation in East Africa prior to 1880 was substantially higher than in the 20th century (~+20%: for a summary see Mölg et al., 2006), so our upcoming research will aim to (a) quantify additional snowfall required to maintain the latest maximum extent of glaciers on Kibo…While the retreat of mountain glaciers on a global scale is primarily controlled by rising air temperature (Kaser et al., 2006), our results suggest that a regional moisture projection for the 21st century must be incorporated into the framework of a physically-based prediction of glacier rretention on Africa’s highest mountain. This suggestion is consistent with global warming and regional moisture changes, particularly in the tropics (e.g. Chou et al. 2006).

  95. #95 climatepatrol
    February 11, 2008

    Online publication under http://www.interscience.wiley.com

    Sorry. The link didn’t work.

    So the suggestion that takes into account global warming and regional moisture change refers to modelling the future behavior of the mass balance of the Kibo glaciers. It doesn’t say global warming was a cause so far.

  96. #96 bi
    February 11, 2008

    “My point with the TV shows is: It has most of the impact for policy makers, ski resorts [...] the accurate presentations during seminars (with error bars) probably have less impacts.”

    What does this “impact” on policymakers have to do with your supposed personal interest in learning this stuff?

    “The last year’s christian climate seminary with Prof. Stocker as the guest speaker of physical science, turned out excactly as expected – alarming. The science is settled. Any more questions?”

    Well, when your Prof. Stocker says “Any more questions?”, it’s a good idea to take that literally. Yes, when he asks for questions, you can actually try asking questions. Yeah, I know that can be quite a difficult concept to grasp for some people…

    “This suggestion is consistent with global warming and regional moisture changes, particularly in the tropics (e.g. Chou et al. 2006).”

    In other words, the paper doesn’t even begin to refute the AGW hypothesis, so what exactly are you arguing about here?

  97. #97 Manish Ghosh
    February 11, 2008

    Sorry, the video does not answer the basic criticisms of McIntyre and McKitrick http://www.climateaudit.org/

    These criticisms have been conceded as being valid in most scientific journals including Nature.

    http://blogs.nature.com/climatefeedback/2007/05/the_decay_of_the_hockey_stick.html

    In the face of these real criticisms, the polemic against the Marshall Institute is irrelevant.

  98. #98 bi
    February 11, 2008

    Great, just what we need — someone citing the entire ClimateAudit blog, even when Deltoid has already written about ClimateAudit’s hilarious antics quite a number of times!

    Do some of these “skeptics” come from a parallel universe or something?

  99. #99 Manish Ghosh
    February 11, 2008

    Sorry I have read the previous threads.

    I’d suggest you read the thread in the Nature blog.

    My point was that Oreskes needs to actually answer McIntyre and McKitrick, rather than the Marshall Institute.

  100. #100 Chris O'Neill
    February 11, 2008

    My point was that Oreskes needs to…

    and someone needs to get Oreskes’ point. Perhaps paying attention to what she says is a good idea.

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