Robert Lichter reports on a survey of American climate scientists commissioned by STATS at GMU. Some of the findings:

In 1991 the Gallup organization conducted a telephone survey on global climate change among 400 scientists drawn from membership lists of the American Meteorological Association and the American Geophysical Union.

We repeated several of their questions verbatim, in order to measure changes in scientific opinion over time. On a variety of questions, opinion has consistently shifted toward increased belief in and concern about global warming. Among the changes:

  • In 1991 only 60% of climate scientists believed that average global temperatures were up, compared to 97% today.

  • In 1991 only a minority (41%) of climate scientists agreed that then-current scientific evidence “substantiates the occurrence of human-induced warming,” compared to three out of four (74%) today.

Scientists find Al Gore much more reliable than the media:

Only 1% of climate scientists rate either broadcast or cable television news about climate change as “very reliable.” Another 31% say broadcast news is “somewhat reliable,” compared to 25% for cable news. (The remainder rate TV news as “not very” or “not at all” reliable.) Local newspapers are rated as very reliable by 3% and somewhat reliable by 33% of scientists. Even the national press (New York Times, Wall St. Journal etc) is rated as very reliable by only 11%, although another 56% say it is at least somewhat reliable.

Former Vice President Al Gore’s documentary film “An Inconvenient Truth” rates better than any traditional news source, with 26% finding it “very reliable” and 38% as somewhat reliable. Other non-traditional information sources fare poorly: No more than 1% of climate experts rate the doomsday movie “The Day After Tomorrow” or Michael Crichton’s novel “State of Fear” as very reliable.

Via Trevor Butterworth and the International Journal of Inactivism.

Comments

  1. #1 bob koepp
    April 25, 2008

    So, are the results of this survey more nearly sound than those of the Brown, Pielke and Annan online poll? If so, how so?

  2. #2 Paul Crowley
    April 25, 2008

    Hang on, 26% of climate scientists do not agree with that statement? That’s like learning that 26% of biologists don’t believe in evolution. How come it’s so high?

  3. #3 Benjamin Franz
    April 25, 2008

    bob koepp: more nearly sound than [...] online poll

    You answered your own question. Online polls are inherently utterly unreliable. It would take a really screwed up ordinary survey to manage to approach that level of meaninglessness.

  4. #4 Benjamin Franz
    April 25, 2008

    #2 Because the headline is wrong. They weren’t all climatologists (probably not even a majority based on the sampling they specify). Read closer and you’ll find it is a sample of members of the American Meteorological Association and the American Geophysical Union rather than climatologists specifically.

  5. #5 bob koepp
    April 25, 2008

    “Online polls are inherently utterly unreliable.” OK, if it’s inherent, as you say, then you should have no difficulty in answering my “How so?” Again, if it’s inherent, then your answer should make no reference whatever to the content of the questions, but be framed entirely in terms of the methodology of online polls. Enlighten me.

  6. #6 Paul Crowley
    April 25, 2008

    Online polls are usually self-selecting samples, often with unauthenticated participants which allow ballot-stuffing. An online poll can be reliable only if participants are authenticated members of some fixed list and a large majority of those randomly selected to participate respond.

  7. #7 elspi
    April 25, 2008

    bob

    Does the phrase “self-selecting” mean anything to you?

    In this survey 400 (some-what) experts where phoned and asked what they thought.

    In an Internet survey, any moron that gets to the right domain gets to have his dipshittery count. Depending on the setup he can have his dipshittery count a few times or several thousand times (the morons have the advantage of living in their parents basement, and thus can dipshitterize full time).

  8. #8 BillBodell
    April 25, 2008

    The post title implies a pro-”warmer” result, but (as noted) 76% seems low enough that it could have been titled “many scientists skeptical that humans are responsible for global warming”. That’s not even considering the issue of “by how much”. That’s surprising, especially since even many skeptics concede that man has contributed to some warming.

    As to the efforts to trash the study, they might not be climate scientists (and how many people have that degree?), but they are scientists and they are in related fields.

    If this was a telephone poll, what specific problems would make it any more unreliable than any other poll?

  9. #9 Dano
    April 25, 2008

    They weren’t all climatologists (probably not even a majority based on the sampling they specify). Read closer and you’ll find it is a sample of members of the American Meteorological Association and the American Geophysical Union rather than climatologists specifically.

    B Frantz, can you tell us the fraction of climatologists who are also AMS/AGU members? Or the fraction of AMS/AGU members who have a degree/published article in climatology?

    Thank you in advance.

    But the clarification is apt, as the numbers may have some skew due to the AMS members who do not publish climo papers.

    Best,

    D

  10. #10 bob koepp
    April 25, 2008

    Yeah, I know what ‘self-selecting’ means. I even know that it’s a potential source of bias. Note that I said ‘potential’. Of course, so long as the potential is not realized, it can’t bias anything. Any reason to think the results of the online poll I mentioned are actually, as opposed to potentially, biased? If so, that would be relevant to the question I initially posed.

  11. #11 Winnebago
    April 25, 2008

    In the methodology section at the bottom of the page it says, “The 2007 study was conducted by mail.” Earlier in the report it says that the 1991 survey was conducted by phone. Mail surveys are not comparable to phone surveys, they have a much lower rate of repsonse and there is a self-selection bias introduced as well. Another problem with this survey is that not all members of the AGU study climate. Many geologists wouldn’t have any more knowledge about climate science that a communication profesor. They weighted “to correct for the fact that a respondent with dual membership in the organizations had a greater chance of being included in the sample.” However, it would seem that those who are members of both organizations would be more likely to be qualified than a memebr of only the AGU.

  12. #12 Winnebago
    April 25, 2008

    Having read the Brown, Annan, Pielke survey, the problems weren’t necessarily with the sampling procedure. Other methodological problems, including design of the questions, reliability checks, etc.., were outside the accept procedures of survey research.

  13. #13 Robert
    April 25, 2008

    BillBodell wrote:

    The post title implies a pro-”warmer” result, but (as noted) 76% seems low enough that it could have been titled “many scientists skeptical that humans are responsible for global warming”.

    Hmmm. I think you should read the article. I don’t think the actual quote would be consistent with your suggested title. It says:

    Eighty-four percent say they personally believe human-induced warming is occurring, and 74% agree that “currently available scientific evidence” substantiates its occurrence. Only 5% believe that that human activity does not contribute to greenhouse warming; the rest are unsure. [my emphasis]

    If this was a telephone poll

    Hmmm. I think you should read the article. It was a mail survey.

  14. #14 Winnebago
    April 25, 2008

    Bill Bodell: “The post title implies a pro-”warmer” result, but (as noted) 76% seems low enough that it could have been titled “many scientists skeptical that humans are responsible for global warming”.”

    Hmmm, why might that be?

    S. Robert Lichter is president of the Washington-based Center for Media and Public Affairs and a paid consultant to the Fox News Channel.

    [Lichter](http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=S._Robert_Lichter)

    [CMPA](http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Center_for_Media_and_Public_Affairs)

  15. #15 Robert
    April 25, 2008

    Bob Koepp wondered:

    Yeah, I know what ‘self-selecting’ means. I even know that it’s a potential source of bias. Note that I said ‘potential’. Any reason to think the results of the online poll I mentioned are actually, as opposed to potentially, biased?

    Well, they got an overall response rate of a bit less than 8%. When you get response rates like that, you should worry quite a bit about who was responding.

  16. #16 luminous beauty
    April 25, 2008

    To (hopefully) dispel some confusion:

    Eighty-four percent say they personally believe human-induced warming is occurring, and 74% agree that “currently available scientific evidence” substantiates its occurrence. Only 5% believe that that human activity does not contribute to greenhouse warming; the rest are unsure.

    Isn’t interesting what can be fabricated from a little ignorance?

  17. #17 Winnebago
    April 25, 2008

    Oops. I misunderstood BillB’s point. The point in the headlines that caught my attention was “Disagree on Dangers” — a classic skeptic trope. Lichter’s funders are also key skeptic funders.

  18. #18 Mark P
    April 25, 2008

    American Meteorological Association? Not AM Society?

    In any event, AMS members include such climate-ignorant professionals as broadcast weathermen. AGU probably fewer non-scientists but plenty of non-climatologists.

  19. #19 Winnebago
    April 25, 2008

    Robert,

    Where did you find the figure for 8% response rate?

  20. #20 Texas Reader
    April 25, 2008

    I think Mark P gets to the heart of the matter. My recollection from reading Chris Mooney’s book on global warming and hurricans was that there are a lot of meteorologists who are not believers in human-caused global warming.

  21. #21 bi -- Intl. J. Inact.
    April 25, 2008

    B Frantz, can you tell us the fraction of climatologists who are also AMS/AGU members? Or the fraction of AMS/AGU members who have a degree/published article in climatology?

    I’ll second that request.

    Anyway, what will be a quick way to get a fairly accurate sample of climatologists? Finding AMS/AGU members who have published peer-reviewed articles containing the terms “climate” “change” in the abstract sounds a bit too cumbersome…

    Also, now that I think of it, will selecting from the AMS/AGU lead to some sort of “American” bias (since both associations are “American”)?

  22. #22 Robert
    April 25, 2008

    Winnebago wondered:

    Where did you find the figure for 8% response rate [for the Brown, Pielke, and Annan study referred to by Bob Koepp]?

    Toward the bottom of page 1 [here](http://www.jamstec.go.jp/frsgc/research/d5/jdannan/survey.pdf). They got 140 responses from their target sample of 1807, so 12 out of 13 of those contacted didn’t respond.

  23. #23 Winnebago
    April 25, 2008

    Thanks, I thought you were referring to the Lichter survey. I have e-mailed Lichter for a full copy, I’m interested to see his response rate.

  24. #24 steven mosher
    April 25, 2008

    I understand that 87% of gun owners believe guns are vital to self protection. But, they are of course self interested
    in wanting to continue their current behavior. Also, this just in, 95% of UFO investigators said they thought UFOs were alien spacecraft. I love this way of deciding science.
    92% of of christians said they believed jesus was real. The rest were anglican.

    The best part was finding Gore credible. Day after tommorrow was rated at 1%, but gore was rated at 26%.
    And Gores movie uses scenes from day after tommorrow, whats more the scenes are pure CGI. So these fellows trust gore,
    and are not even even aware
    that Gore took a totally fake sequence from the day after tommorrow?

    http://newsbusters.org/node/20680?q=blogs/noel-sheppard/2008/04/22/abc-s-20-20-gore-used-fictional-film-clip-inconvenient-truth

    Sharp tools they

  25. #25 Hank Roberts
    April 25, 2008

    > humans are causing global warming

    But, wait — the warming started _before_ there were humans!
    First there was an ice age, with hairy primates.
    Then there was warming, and humans appeared.

    Surely this proves that warming causes humans rather than the reverse!

  26. #26 Steve Bloom
    April 25, 2008

    ‘Only 29% express a “great deal of confidence” that scientists understand the size and extent of anthropogenic [human] sources of greenhouse gases,” and only 32% are confident about our understanding of the archeological climate evidence.’

    I think that first statistic implies rather a lot of non-climate scientists. Also, “archeological” seems strange.

  27. #27 Steve Bloom
    April 25, 2008

    Using American Men and Women of Science as a filter definitely excludes any non-Americans (fair enough since the original survey did that too), but also appears to do a resonable job of excluding non-scientists like forecast meteorologists:

    “Nominees must satisfy the following criteria:

    “Achievement, by reason of experience or training, including contributions to literature, coupled with continuing activity in scientific work.

    “Research activity of high quality in science as evidenced by publication in reputable scientific journals; or for those whose work cannot be published due to government or industrial security, research activity of high quality in science as evidenced by the judgment of the individual’s peers.

    “Attainment of a position of substantial responsiblity requiring scientific training and experience.”

    Given this, I suspect the sample was weighted almost entirely toward AGU members (nearing in mind that most AMS members who qualify for AMWS are very likely AGU members as well), but even so IIRC a substantial majority of those aren’t climate scientists of any sort. It may be fair to conclude that most of the answers had to do with the respondents’ sense of what their climate scientist colleagues know.

  28. #28 kuhnkat
    April 25, 2008

    A slight majority (54%) believe the warming measured over the last 100 years is not “within the range of natural temperature fluctuation.”

    Based on current trends, 41% of scientists believe global climate change will pose a very great danger to the earth in the next 50 to 100 years…

    Overall, only 5% describe the study of global climate change as a “fully mature” science, but 51% describe it as “fairly mature,” while 40% see it as still an “emerging” science.

    ???????

  29. #29 dhogaza
    April 25, 2008

    I understand that 87% of gun owners believe guns are vital to self protection. But, they are of course self interested in wanting to continue their current behavior. Also, this just in, 95% of UFO investigators said they thought UFOs were alien spacecraft. I love this way of deciding science. 92% of of christians said they believed jesus was real.

    And what percentage of CA readers think that Mann’s work is the biggest fraud since Piltdown, Mosher?

  30. #30 Anna Haynes
    April 25, 2008

    SourceWatch on STATS -
    “…its 2006 annual return to the Internal Revenue Service states that “salary costs for the organization are shared with the Center for Media and Public Affairs. …”

    google
    “global warming” site:stats.org
    for some of their prior writings, which may help in weighing their credibility now.

  31. #31 Steve Bloom
    April 25, 2008

    The survey certainly has problems, but it seems to me tht most of them are a result of maintaining comparability with the 1991 survey (although the decision to do that arguably could have been disingenuous). It would be really nice to see a methodologically defensible survey of climate scientists as such.

    On the same day the same site published a longish article on global climate modeling that to my eyes doesn’t look half bad. I’d be curious to know what a modeler thinks about it.

  32. #32 Harold Pierce Jr
    April 26, 2008

    RE: #20
    “there are a lot of meteorologists who are not believers in human-caused global warming.”

    The reason is that these guys look at lots of weather data on a daily basis over long periods of time and probably do not see in the data any significant and permenant change in weather patterns that would signal a change in climate. Also most weatherpersons usually look at only local and regional data which may have not been much effected by any global warming.

    For example, if the weatherman lived in the tropics global warming would have less of an effect on weather and temperature than in high latitudes and polar regions where melting of ice and snow and would be readily apparent such has occured recently in the Arctic.

    In Winnipeg the temperature can hit -40 deg C in winter and 30-40 deg C in the summer. Thus any increase in the annual mean temperatute would go unnoticed. Precipitation and the pattern of rainfall are far more important to prairie farmers than minor variation in temperature.

    If you want to get an handle on global warming, go ask the farmers around the world. Their assesments of any global warming and climate change are probably far more accurate and useful than that produced by the guys in the comfy offices in New York City who just crunch and munch data and look at squiggily lines on computer screens.

  33. #33 pough
    April 26, 2008

    If you want to get an handle on global warming, go ask the farmers around the world. Their assesments of any global warming and climate change are probably far more accurate and useful than that produced by the guys in the comfy offices in New York City who just crunch and munch data and look at squiggily lines on computer screens.

    You bring to mind something Christopher Guest said about Fred Willard in the commentary for Best in Show: “Fred has the patent on characters who are comfortable in their stupidity.”

  34. #34 z
    April 26, 2008

    “The researchers found a rapid decay in farmers’ memories even of major climate events. For example, more than 50 percent of the farmers surveyed in 2002 did not recall the El Nino-caused drought of 1997 and 1998 — the worst drought in recent recorded history.”
    [link](http://www.terradaily.com/reports/Climate_Change_Threatens_Amazonian_Small_Farmers_999.html)

  35. #35 Bruce Sharp
    April 26, 2008

    Steve Bloom, thanks for posting the link in #31. I, too, would be interested in hearing what some of Deltoid’s climate specialists think of it.

  36. #36 Ian Gould
    April 27, 2008

    “I understand that 87% of gun owners believe guns are vital to self protection. But, they are of course self interested in wanting to continue their current behavior. Also, this just in, 95% of UFO investigators said they thought UFOs were alien spacecraft. I love this way of deciding science. 92% of of christians said they believed jesus was real. The rest were anglican.’

    Yes obviously in order to avoid this sort of prejudice one should take one’s medical advice from agronomists; get librarians to audit corporate accounts and consult a plumber if your car breaks down.

  37. #37 bi -- Intl. J. Inact.
    April 27, 2008

    Actually, if I wanted advice on guns, I’d have asked a real professional gun user, such as a soldier or policeman. True gun experts are to climatologists as the average gun owner is to a screaming doubtist teenager.

  38. #38 Betula
    April 29, 2008

    Yet somehow Al Gore is a climate expert, as are Laurie David, Ariana Huffington, Trudie Styler, Cheryl Crow, Ted Turner etc…..

    And if I wanted advice on future catastrophies, I would go to a tarot reader, soothsayer or grab the ouija board.

    I apologize if I have insulted any Crystal ball readers or Psychics……I also apologize that I helped make a case for Gore’s Law in writing this post.

  39. #39 dhogaza
    April 29, 2008

    I also apologize that I helped make a case for Gore’s Law in writing this post.

    No need to apologize for being stupid beyond belief, you can’t help it.

    Though you could show that you’re not quite so stupid by pointing out the error in your analogy yourself, rather than suffer us laughing at you.

  40. #40 Bernard J.
    April 29, 2008

    What is it – the Night of the Exploding Brains?

    Oo, and I do have a crystal ball, Ø 110mm, lead crystal, no flaws, purdie swirly patterns and all…

    But I use science to inform my trajectories for the future.

    Maybe this is where the denialists are stumbling…

  41. #41 cce
    April 29, 2008

    The shot used from The Day After Tomorrow is of the “camera” sweeping over an Antarctic ice shelf. Its use was pointed out in the AIT DVD commentary, if not elsewhere, and is perfectly credible.

  42. #42 Bernard J.
    April 29, 2008

    Quite seriously though Betula, dhogaza has his finger on the nub.

    And I mean this earnestly, especially as I thought a little while back that we might have met on a stamp-sized patch of common ground.

    Alas, philately was not to be our rendezvous…

  43. #43 Betula
    April 29, 2008

    And when I want to be psychoanalyzed, I go to dhogaza.

    Since you are a futurist, I was wondering if you could help me with a few questions. First, at what average global temperature will the warming stop? Second, what will be the benefits,if any,of future warming?

    And don’t use any deluxe pentagram scrying mirrors….that’s cheating!

  44. #44 Betula
    April 29, 2008

    Bernard…
    Have you seen the cost of a stamp lately?

    I’d like to think there is still a shred of common ground…perhaps the equivalent of a roosevelt dime….philately out, numismatists in…

    As I have mentioned in a previous post, my issue is with the alarmism and the way it’s presented…..also, I am more concerned about carrying capacity.

    I concede you know a lot more about this issue than I do, as do many others on this site…..I probably appreciate the barbs more than anything else….

    “A person without a sense of humor is like a wagon without springs. It’s jolted by every pebble in the road.
    Henry Ward Beecher

  45. #45 luminous beauty
    April 29, 2008

    The alarmism is so alarming!

  46. #46 Betula
    April 29, 2008

    LB….
    Good one…and I understand the point. However, nothing to do with what I was referring to…..

    I was thinking more like this:

    First man….In 30 years we will all be cannibals, the oceans will rise 20 feet, catastrophic hurricanes will destroy entire cities, famines will kill thousands, polar bears will be extinct and the earth will explode (seriously).

    Second man…..That’s a little extreme don’t you think?

    First man…..DENIER!

    Or let’s try this one…

    First man…..It has been documented beyond a reasonable doubt that the earth has shown a warming trend. We aren’t positive how long this will last or 100 percent sure of the cause. Most scientists believe man has some influence, though there are indications that natural causes are to blame also.

    This could create climate changes that are detrimental in some ways and beneficial in others. It would be wise to educate the public,corporations and Governments on sustainabiliy issues, conservation and finding and using alternate forms of energy where applicable.There are some questions as to how to go about this.

    Second man…..DENIER!

  47. #47 climatepatrol
    April 30, 2008

    Interesting post! But I smiled despite myself on this one:

    Former Vice President Al Gore’s documentary film “An Inconvenient Truth” rates better than any traditional news source, with 26% finding it “very reliable” and 38% as somewhat reliable.

    1) On what grounds do you present a comparison between apples and oranges? I mean is there any way a particular, very well known documentary with indication of scources can be compared with any other “news source”? Of course in a decision according to instinct, the climate specialists will favor Al Gore! What a tremendous revelation! But that part of the survey is useless, turning into absurd when “The Day after Tomorrow” comes into the picture as well.

  48. #48 Jeff Harvey
    April 30, 2008

    Betula asks: “Second, what will be the benefits, if any,of future warming?”.

    Go on Betula keep on asking inane questions like this. You might as well ask what the benefits are of clear cutting the world’s remaining wet tropical forests, or of draining most of America’s remaining wetlands. Theyb all fall into much of the same category.

    Sure, in both of the bottom scenarios, some developers will benefit as will wealthy cattle ranchers, soybean growers, huge corporations etc. But ultimately society has to pick up the bill, so to speak, because the costs on the functioning of complex adaptive ecological systems is externalized. As I have said a million times before, but which you clearly do not appear to understand, these systems generate conditions over variable spatial and temporal scales that make life possible and upon which our civilization rests. There are few technological substitutes for these services. To argue, as you appear to be, that AGW has benefits in light of the fact that its a part of a huge, global experiment with potentially disastrous consequences for nature and for man is the sprint of folly. Given that this kind of debate reaches what I consider to be the basal level of intellectual discourse, I don’t know whay I even bother with pedantic and utterly discredited arguments like the ‘let’s look at the benefits of global warming’. Perhaps it is because many people appear to believe that these illusory benefits make the entire process a good thing.

  49. #49 Betula
    April 30, 2008

    Jeff Harvey….

    I didn’t really see an answer there, except maybe only the rich evil corporations who produce, and the wealthy evil ranchers who feed us will be the beneficiaries.

    I was thinking more in the line of what species of plants will benefit from warming? What species of animal will benefit? What parts of the world may recieve more rainfall? What areas of the world will become more usable for agriculture? How many less cold related deaths? How many less baby seals eaten? What types of insects will be more prevalent and what species will benefit from that? Will more grasses grow in certain areas? Will more wetland areas be created? What type of crops can we grow? Will the growing season be longer?
    What new businesses will be created, and if they become successful and wealthy, will they now be considered evil, and thus a detriment?

    I realize that these are questions only a stupid man would ask…..and they are to difficult for me to understand….so perhaps you could try again.

    This time I will allow scrying mirrors.

  50. #50 Barton Paul Levenson
    April 30, 2008

    Betula writes:

    Yet somehow Al Gore is a climate expert,

    You do know that Al Gore was one of Roger Revelle’s students, don’t you?

  51. #51 Betula
    April 30, 2008

    Hmmm…..Bachelors degree in Government,took some natural resource classes and obtained low grades,was in the presence of Roger Revelle….therefore, a qualified climate expert.

    Heres one…..Bachelors degree in Forestry,recieved good grades, served under the youngest General in the History of the Marine Corps……therefore, qualified to be Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

    Got it.

  52. #52 luminous beauty
    April 30, 2008

    First man….In 30 years we will all be cannibals, the oceans will rise 20 feet, catastrophic hurricanes will destroy entire cities, famines will kill thousands, polar bears will be extinct and the earth will explode (seriously).

    Isn’t that a wee bit o’ a straw man?

  53. #53 luminous beauty
    April 30, 2008

    What makes the use of such a phony straw man any less absurd than ‘global warming is a commie plot’?

  54. #54 dhogaza
    April 30, 2008

    What makes the use of such a phony straw man any less absurd than ‘global warming is a commie plot’?

    Why, because the second statement is true! :)

    (sorry, couldn’t help myself, getting prepared for Think Like A Denialist Day!)

  55. #55 dhogaza
    April 30, 2008

    Heres one…..Bachelors degree in Forestry,recieved good grades, served under the youngest General in the History of the Marine Corps……therefore, qualified to be Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

    Typically stupid failed analogy by a denialist twit.

    First of all, Gore “wasn’t in the presence of Revelle”, Revelle was one of his professors.

    So rather than “served under the youngest General …” a proper analogy would be “took a course in the theory of warfare using combined infantry/armored forces with air support”.

    And then “therefore, qualified to discuss the General’s beliefs regarding the theory of warfare using combined infantry/armored forces with air support”.

    Which would be a perfectly logical statement, yes.

    And in addition Gore has discussed the issues with a large number of other scientists in the field, and has submitted his writings for vetting by still others.

    So no, Gore’s not an expert in climate science, but one can safely say he’s made himself into an expert in summarizing the research of climate scientists.

    Gore gets bashed for being smart. And fat.

  56. #56 Bernard J.
    April 30, 2008

    Betula, against my better judgement I find myself raising a hand to tip my hat a little bit.

    ‘Carrying capacity’? Well, now you might be starting to scratch at an issue worth contemplation, but I think we’d need to wait for Tim to open a thread on Serious Ecological Sustainability to even touch upon this one…

    And yes, Beecher was an insightful man.

    However…

    Your questions to Jeff in #49 are structured to pre-empt a certain (positive) class of answers, and in no way do they constitute an objective approach to nutting out the impacts of climate change, whether positive or negative. This demonstrates a bias in your attitude to the matter, and with such bias it is essentially futile to even attempt a response.

    We all know that such responses are possible, however if they are informed only by your a priori presumptions and attitudes there is no chance of a progressive dialogue. “But yea!”, you will ejaculate (look it up, children): “surely you scientists have a priori presumptions and attitudes of your own?”

    Well, yes, but ones based on the evidence of data, and not upon a paradigm of belief or wishful thinking.

    In fact, many scientists wish for answers that are in direct conflict to the weight of empirical evidence. I know that I do.

    If you really expect a dialogue that moves beyond hysterical knee-jerking on either side of the debate, you need to start asking questions that are not biased to one side of the argument or the other.

    Until such time as this is possible, perhaps discretion is the better part of valour if you wish to retain (attain?) credibility with those whom you would engage.

    Can you tell by my florid language that I’ve been in a steering committee meeting all afternoon?! It sticks like doggy do-do does to a shoe…
    :-(

  57. #57 Betula
    April 30, 2008

    So rather than “served under the youngest General …” a proper analogy would be “took a course in the theory of warfare using combined infantry/armored forces with air support”.

    Actually, I was a combat engineer officer with courses in disabling airfields,tunnels and bridges……in addition to constructing the same.
    Of course, at TBS and Engineer School we did learn warfare tactics, defenses,offenses,calling in airstrikes,extensive weaponry training,terrain models,extensive courses in explosives, logistics,fighting in urban terrain, leadership and managerial skills just for starters.
    As the headquarters commandant of over 2000 marines with the 26th Marine Amphibious unit….. I suppose my analogy was spot on.

    Signed…..the denialist twit.

  58. #58 Betula
    April 30, 2008

    LB said…..
    Isn’t that a wee bit o’ a straw man?

    Regarding this…
    “First man….In 30 years we will all be cannibals, the oceans will rise 20 feet, catastrophic hurricanes will destroy entire cities, famines will kill thousands, polar bears will be extinct and the earth will explode (seriously).”

    How so? These are all issues that are being presented as probable……or did I miss something?

  59. #59 luminous beauty
    April 30, 2008

    How so? These are all issues that are being presented as probable……or did I miss something?

    You’re missing the part where you are the only one presenting these issues at all (seriously).

    Where exactly it is a part of the scientific consensus that the planet explodes in the next 30 years? (seriously)

  60. #60 sod
    April 30, 2008

    Actually, I was a combat engineer officer with courses in disabling airfields,tunnels and bridges..

    any other part of your biography that you want to show of?

    and obviously they didn t teach the basics of analogies in engineer school. because you got this one totally wrong.

    heres a lionk to some marine staff organisation scheme:

    http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/library/policy/usmc/to/command/To4916b.htm

    and you haven t provided a citation for cannibalsim in the IPCC report so far.
    perhaps it isn t even part of the consensus?

  61. #61 Betula
    April 30, 2008

    Sod…
    I don’t understand what you are insinuating I got wrong with your military link/scheme?? Keep digging.

    Also, here’s a minion on cannibalism…
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LZuC1xLHXRc

  62. #62 sod
    April 30, 2008

    Also, here’s a minion on cannibalism… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LZuC1xLHXRc

    a youtube link to IPCC?

    sorry, but i ve seen that one before.

    now why not cite a serious source? like a peer reveiewed article? just if you don t have the IPCC report at hand…

  63. #63 Brian D
    April 30, 2008

    Of course, I see your Ted Turner and raise you Gen. Anthony Zinni, former Commander in Chief of U.S. Central Command. I think his view is a bit more relevant to the subject than Turner’s — relevant expertise and all that.

    (Be sure to read the actual report.)

  64. #64 Brian D
    April 30, 2008

    Er, typo on my part. Second link should lead here. Sorry.

  65. #65 Betula
    April 30, 2008

    LB…..

    No need to apologize, I wouldn’t expect it anyway.
    http://nujournal.net/core.pdf

  66. #66 Betula
    April 30, 2008

    Sod…
    The point you don’t seem to get is that if I argue with Ted Turner……I’m a denialist. Therefore, if you disagree with Ted Turners statement….you too must be a denialist.

    You see…we both have something in common….we disagree with the extent of the alarmism, so we must both be deniers.

    I’m glad we can put this to rest and finally get along.

  67. #67 luminous beauty
    April 30, 2008

    Birch,

    That’s your notion of consensus science? That is funny.

    Though I hesitate to confound your expectations, I am truly sorry you are a clueless idiot.

    Get back to us when you reach Stage 5.

    It is just too hard to reason with an hysteric.

  68. #68 Brian D
    April 30, 2008

    Betula:

    LB asked for a reference to the earth exploding being part of the scientific consensus. One paper isn’t consensus — it’s just one paper (in an obscure journal, if you can even call it that).

    Especially since the Google finds that the author “takes time to practice meditation, telepathy and astral travel” (to say nothing of founding a magic shirt store) and holds that he knows the purpose of life and the human mind’s unlimited potential. On top of this, he compares himself to Galileo AND Copernicus while encouraging chain-mail letters instead of peer-review.

    That, my friend, is some fine crankery. Sadly, it wasn’t what LB (or any of us lurkers with similar interests) were hoping for. It lacks a certain, what’s the word, credibility.

  69. #69 Betula
    April 30, 2008

    Are you guys alright?

    You keep confirming the point I have been making and you don’t realize it.

    If you follow the links back…..the whole point of my bringing up Cannibalism and the Earth exploding is that they are RIDICULOUS claims! Now I’m suppose to verify them with a consensus?

    Do you people realize that the majority of people on this planet aren’t sitting around analyzing data to form an opinion? They have jobs and many could care less about a Vostok ice core graph…..in fact if you said Vostok, they would probably say “gazoontite!”

    They are forming their opinions based on media headlines, tv and radio talk shows, movies, school indoctrination and
    the Ted Turners and Hollywood types.It’s really not their fault, they have lives and catch what news they can.
    Like it or not, this is how the majority of people form opinions…..a consensus if you will.

    Perhaps the scientists on this site should make an effort to dispel some of the ridiculous, exaggerated claims, instead of calling people who think they are ridiculous (including yourselves, as you have stated in the above links)….deniers. Then more people would get on board.

    It’s hard to educate someone when you call them denialist twits for not believing that AGW will cause the seas to rise 20 feet…..or is it 17 inches?

    The entire point, which I will state until I exhale enough C02 to kill a family of polar bears…..is that the alarmism, regardless of where it comes from, is way over the top.

    Ask the average person how many Polar Bears have died from AGW…..the answer would be hundreds if not thousands….where does this come from? Not me. Am I a denier for knowing it’s not true?

    I realize for some of you the IPCC report is your form of the Bible, if it’s not in there, then it can’t be reliable. But let’s not forget the Bible itself is interpreted a thousand different ways, thus so many forms of religion.

    One religion calling another a denier because they don’t interpret something the same way…..sound familiar?

    And one last point…we know all the speculative horrors of AGW……how about more balance…..if one of you were to write an open minded paper on the negative and speculative positive effects of GW….ie; for every action there is a reaction (not necessarily bad)…..maybe more people would take a step back and say….this is reasonable.

    Get your nose out of the journal for a few minutes, go outside and enjoy the day.

  70. #70 Brian D
    April 30, 2008

    Betula:

    No offense (even in the face of that *awful* attempt at a straw man substitution of the bible for the IPCC report), but for some reason you seem to think we’re the ones bringing up cannibalism and exploding earths, or that such claims are being taken seriously by the policymakers.

    When I look at the serious talks on this, I don’t see the alarmists going “The world is going to explode! Get those policies out fast!”. In general, the “alarmist” claims here are ones based on the IPCC report. Instead, I see the [i]other[/i] type of alarmists — the inactivist alarmists — stonewalling action at every turn with equally unsubstantiated claims of no evidence, natural cycles, or economic disaster, and demanding to be taken seriously while they’re at it, without any evidence to support their claims. These are at the serious talks, mind you — remember Monckton and Archibald at Bali?

    I am open to the possibility that I’m only seeing one side of the issue here (expectation bias and all that), and am quite welcome to be proven wrong. I invite you to show me one recent (say in the last two years) serious attempt to sway policy by what you would consider an alarmist. I’m not talking the blogosphere here — I’m talking serious discussions on action.

    You don’t appear to have the same openness to being wrong. This is odd, considering how you accuse us of being a religion (which, in the context used here, probably means “blindly sticking to dogma in the face of contradictory evidence, and refusing to admit error”). Shouldn’t that send up a red flag about your reasoning?

  71. #71 Ðano
    April 30, 2008

    Sadly, it wasn’t what LB (or any of us lurkers with similar interests) were hoping for. It lacks a certain, what’s the word, credibility.

    Again, this is all they can trot out. All they got. The best they can do. Take heart, everyone. They will eventuall run out of energy. OF course, who will we laugh at then? But bridge, cross, all that.

    Best,

    Ð

  72. #72 z
    April 30, 2008

    advantages of global warming:
    delicious pre-roasted penguins available by simply picking them up from antarctic shores where they have sizzled.

  73. #73 Betula
    April 30, 2008

    Brian D…..
    I’m not sure where I wrote you were the ones bringing up cannabilism? Quite the contrary, I said the media is presenting it this way and scientists would be wise to dispel it to get more people on board.

    As far as not seeing the alarmists going “Get those policies out fast!”…..how about…”must act immediatley” or “sense of urgency as ice-caps melt, oceans rise and extreme weather increases.” Or how about this one……”compared to the damage that uncontrolled climate change will wreak.”

    I will concede that screaming “the world is going to explode!” isn’t a site normally seen, however,a more subtle “save the planet earth” still implies the earth needs saving from….well, the end of the earth as we know it.

    As far as showing you where policies may be swayed by alarmist statements….all the above statements (except the exploding earth) can be found here…
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/12/02/AR2007120200583.html

    In addition, don’t take the Bible statement personally, I said “for some of you” the IPCC is a “form of”…..it was an analogy, perhaps a bad one, not meant to offend, but to show how different people can read the same thing and interpret it differently. For example, it is obvious the earth is warming, yet I think the speculation of catastrophies is a bit much and without balance… so I am labeled a denier.

  74. #74 Betula
    April 30, 2008

    “advantages of global warming: delicious pre-roasted penguins available by simply picking them up from antarctic shores where they have sizzled.”

    Making the Krill,squid and fish happy not to be eaten, until another species moves in on the abundant food supply…..

  75. #75 Bernard J.
    May 1, 2008

    Betula.

    If an ecologist had said decades ago, “be careful with that kudzu vine thingie, it’ll take over your landscape”, going by your paradigm s/he would have been ‘alarmist’, and rather should wait for substantial ‘evidence’ before any mention of action is considered.

    Yes, and that would work.

    Hardly.

    The issue of introducted plant species is just one example, but within it there is a litany of historical warnings that were ignored, often for vested horticultural or agricultural reasons. And in the end many chlorophyllous horsies bolted – to seed, to the distress of many…

    Climate change is a similar model. Whether you like the idea or not, the body of trained, experienced and expert scientists in the field are attempting to communicate the dangers at the time when action is still possible. Waiting until the point of incontrovertible evidence will be too late. Simple fact.

    If this is hysteria, then so be it.

    But the hysteria that the media and the non-scientific community propagate is not simply the responsibility of the scientific community to counter – after all, the rest of the world has some responsibility for its own learning and its own knowledge too. Nevertheless science does put out the conventional (and suitably emphasised) wisdom for any and all to listen to, and if the deniers or the hysterics care to ignore it then that is not the fault of the scientific community.

    For heaven’s sake, what do you propose – that the scientific community tell the world everything that they should think? This leave have the libertarians having kittens!

    Your efforts at pinning ‘hysteria’-laden claims, and responsibility for such, upon climate scientists are little different from the notion that perhaps we should mandatorily enforce the acceptance of evolution by all, and force people to renounce religious belief. After all, psychologically there is little to distinguish much of Christianity from fears of inpending cannibialism.

    Your whole argument is the biggest scarecrow in the field.

  76. #76 Bernard J.
    May 1, 2008

    Um, in #75:

    “This would leave [snip] the libertarians having kittens!”

    Doh!

  77. #77 sod
    May 1, 2008

    Betula, the problem with your posts is this:

    you assume yourself to be smart and us to be stupid.

    that puts you into good denialist company. you are drawing false conclusions, because your premises are false already.

    As far as showing you where policies may be swayed by alarmist statements….all the above statements (except the exploding earth) can be found here… http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/12/02/AR2007120200583.html

    why don t you for ONCE cite a REAL source?

    to support your claims you will need to:

    1. show signs of “alarmism” in REAL SCIENTIFIC sources.

    2. show (again with REAL SCIENTIFIC sources) that this alarmism is baseless.

    so let s see. but actually i don t expect any meaningful analysis from you.

  78. #78 WotWot
    May 1, 2008

    advantages of global warming: delicious pre-roasted penguins available by simply picking them up from antarctic shores where they have sizzled.

    He he he.

    I’ll have mine medium-rare, please, garnished with lashings of tender baby seal flippers.

    ••••••••••••••••••••

    But the hysteria that the media and the non-scientific community propagate is not simply the responsibility of the scientific community to counter – after all, the rest of the world has some responsibility for its own learning and its own knowledge too. Nevertheless science does put out the conventional (and suitably emphasised) wisdom for any and all to listen to, and if the deniers or the hysterics care to ignore it then that is not the fault of the scientific community.

    Bernard J.

    BINGO.

    But do you think the more strident denialist elements will accept any blame at all if the more unpleasant predictions of global warming come to into being, because as a society we failed to grasp the opportunity to mitigate in time? Nope. Not a shred of it will be their fault. It will always be somebody else’s fault.

    Indeed, I predict they will shamelessly spin it so hard that it will magically become the fault of the scientists and ‘warmists’ for not doing their job properly and providing the denialists with ‘irrefutable proof’ in time.

    Or because we were allegedly rude to them in a blog debate once, and just couldn’t be bothered to explain it properly.

    Or some such drivel.

  79. #79 Betula
    May 1, 2008

    Sod……
    We have to stop agreeing so much or we won’t have anything to discuss.

    We both AGREE alarmist,over the top statements are being made, the difference is whether or not those are coming from REAL sources.

    Since I have to guess what you consider a REAL source, I sent you some alarmist statements from the host and outgoing president of the 2007 Climate Change Conference in Bali.

    You have convinced me that statements from this conference cannot be considered reliable….so now we AGREE on two items.

    I wonder if they would call you a denier for telling them they are not a REAL source?

    As far as you knowing what I think….I am smart enough to know that if you agree with the statements I send, they aren’t alarmist, and if you disagree, then the sources aren’t REAL sources.On the other hand, I’m stupid enough to try again…….

    Here’s a few….

    1.”much of the world as we know it will begin to unravel before our eyes.”

    2.”stopping global warming is urgent — we have just a few years to turn around the growth of greenhouse gas emissions in order to avoid the worst effects.”

    3.”Other projected impacts include increased intensity of hurricanes; the long-term destabilization of the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets, leading to much greater sea level rise; the acidification of the world’s oceans; and a vastly increased rate of species extinction.”

    Here’s the source..
    http://www.wecansolveit.org/content/pages/60/

    A few questions…

    1.Are these statements alarmist?

    2.How are they different than “Get those policies out fast!”

    3.Is this a REAL scientific source?

    Be careful how you answer, you may be labeled a denier.

    Finally,you asked this…

    “show (again with REAL SCIENTIFIC sources) that this alarmism is baseless”

    Does this mean you agree with the alarmism? Even though you say it’s not stated in any REAL scientific sources?

  80. #80 sod
    May 1, 2008

    what part of SCIENTIFIC SOURCES don t you understand?

    neither YOUTUBE, nor the WaPo, nor the webpage of a nonprofit organisation are SCIENTIFIC SOURCES.

    why not for ONCE use a REAL claim, made in a REAL paper?

    and (try) to contradict it with a REAL answer ina REAL paper?

    you are not building straw man, you ARE a straw man!

  81. #81 Betula
    May 1, 2008

    Sod….
    Those claims I just sent you came from a project by “The alliance for Climate Protection”. Founded by Nobel Laureate and former vice president Al Gore.

    So we finally come to full agreement…….nice having you aboard.

  82. #82 stewart
    May 1, 2008

    Betula:
    I call bullshit.
    If these concerns are credible, then they have a basis in the science. You refuse to identify that these claims have fingerprints from the science. Without those fingerprint, they are just words, no matter who makes them. With those fingerprints, we can see the trail for the evidence. You’ve gone out of your way to erase fingerprints.

    You lose. Now, would you like to go back to the sources, and see where the scientific literature backs up or refutes those claims, and how? Gore, Hansen, Mann, McIntyre can be right or wrong, but take nothing on faith, look for the evidence. Even Homer nods, after all.

  83. #83 luminous beauty
    May 1, 2008

    Birch selectively quotes:

    1.”much of the world as we know it will begin to unravel before our eyes.”

    Alarming?

    The full quote:

    No human challenge is so potentially uniting as the climate crisis. Our human drive to invent and build has led to extraordinary advances and great technological promise. It’s also had grave, unintended consequences. And unless we face the climate crisis with ingenuity, resolve, and a sense of urgency, much of the world as we know it will begin to unravel before our eyes.

    Cautionary? Yes. Sobering? Yes. Challenging? Yes.

    Alarming? Perhaps. Alarmist? No.

    If you find reality to be alarming, bucko, it doesn’t make those communicating that reality into ideologues.

  84. #84 Betula
    May 3, 2008

    Stewart…..

    I think I hear what your saying…..

    http://ezclik.com/?r=1r

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