Somewhere around 1990 I wrote an article for a monthly paper on global warming. My intention was to explain the idea behind it (the greenhouse phenomenon) and to make clear the distinction between depletion of the ozone layer and greenhouse effects (the two were getting confused on a regular basis in those days). The reason I mention this is that there was virtually nothing in that article that would not pertain today, and other than the addition of piles and piles of data, there has been almost no change in the science of greenhouse effects that has occurred since then. And by that, I specifically mean the working models for the dynamics of atmospheric response to the release of fossil carbon into the atmosphere that existed then are merely simpler versions of, but not fundamentally different from, those that are used today.

Putting this yet another way, science had nailed down the greenhouse effect by 1990, and any appearance of equivocation since that time is the result of people telling lies. There have been many important findings and advancements related to the science, but nothing fundamental has changed …. science has not been going back and forth on whether or not there is a greenhouse effect, or how it works, or what causes it, or the effects of the release of fossil carbon. The only equivocation has been in the area of policy. And virtually all of that controversy has been manufactured by industrial and commercial interests in legion with the right wing which is, essentially, anti-environment for no other reason than that liberals and progressives are pro-environment. What a stupid set of reasons to cause such harm.*

So, one could say that the last 20 years have largely been wasted when it comes to reforming how we do thing on this planet in a way that would reduce the release of fossil carbon into the atmosphere. One could say that whatever ill effects our planet suffers over coming decades that occur because of this delay is the responsibility … the fault … of those who were pushing these lies over recent decades. And, just to be clear, the comparison I just made, between 1990 and now, is the short version; We understood what was happening well before 1990. And the lies and deceit and bought and paid for denialism has been going on for much longer.

And now we have 2011. This year, we have experience the most expensive year of weather disasters in our history. The total cost of disasters this year, and we are still only in July, is in the tens of billions of dollars, perhaps 32 billion. A typical year in recent times has been about 6 billion. The cost in human lives has also been high, with over 600 people killed from flooding, tornado outbreaks, and other storms.* It is hard to attribute specific damage or death to global warming, but guess what: It is also hard to attribute specific deaths to influenza during the influenza season, but we manage to count the effects of flu anyway. For the latter, certain categories of morbidity or mortality which are known to be linked to influenza are monitored all year, and we see an increase during flu season while at the same time a smaller sample of people are showing up with influenza demonstrated through blood tests. Similarly, with global warming effects, we can see a broad association between heat and storms, and we know where that heat is coming from. We know that because the science on this is pretty good.

2011 will almost certainly turn out to be the hottest year on record. 2010 and 2005 were previously tied for the hottest. June 2011 was the 315th consecutive month above the 20th century average. The last time we experience a month with global temperatures lower than the 20th century average was February. February 1985.* Five years before I wrote that article I mentioned.

The arctic sea is no longer covered with ice as it used to be. Now, the ice cycles are fundamentally different. The change that is happening there is difficult to track and a few more years needs to pass before we’ll fully understand it. But ice that has not melted in many many years has melted, and ice that normally forms no longer does.

When I wrote a few weeks back that global warming denialists were responsible for making the world our grandchildren would grow up in a more dangerous place, I received death threats from those denialists. One gentleman invited me to his ranch in Texas so he could shoot me to death. Others were less direct in their threats1. Still more did not make threats but certainly did write me obnoxious emails. Several demanded that I open my blog up to be their public forum, where they could spread their lies. The reason I mention this is just so you know … this is not a rational debate, and has not been for some time. Many of the people who used to debate these issues with me, here and elsewhere, and who were, of course, wrong about climate change but who were otherwise reasonable people, have shifted strategy: They no longer discuss this issue at all. Clearly they have changed their minds, or at least, learned that what might have been thought of as a fools errand is now merely an error of fools. And they’ve learned to shut up. The only ones left denying the science are crazy people. Truly.

This Sunday, Mike Haubrich and I will be joined on Atheist Talk Radio AM 950 by two scientists deeply involved with research related to global climate change, Kevin Zelnio and John Abraham.

Kevin Zelnio is a science journalist and blogger at Scientific American Blogs and at Deep Sea News. He has written on the effects of the change in climate on the ocean (and our fisheries), and blogs about invertebrates that live in the sea and other topics.

John Abraham is a Professor of Mechanical Engineering (Heat Transfer and Fluid Mechanics) at St. Thomas University in St. Paul. Aside from his extensive work in the science, he is also well known for a response he crafted to a presentation made by climate change denialist Chrisopher Monckton at Bethel University. Here is John’s presentation.

Details of the radio show are here.

I’m assuming this will be the last time we’ll be discussion global climate change with any reference to denialism. We need to get on with the work of addressing this crisis.

_______________________
1That was Bob Clark of the Circle KB Ranch, 26309 Old Owen Road, Monroe, WA 98272-9071 (Land Line: 360 794 7387; Bob’s Cell: 206 459 5802; Kay’s Cell: 206 459 5865; Truck’s Sky Phone: 425 330 9377) who claims to be retired with an honors degree in Physical Chemistry. I assume that’s an associates degree.

Comments

  1. #1 tuibguy
    July 27, 2011

    I have the feeling that you had written the majority of this and were just waiting for me to have the article ready at mnatheists. Does that make me a conspiracy-theorist?

  2. #2 Climate Expert
    July 27, 2011

    It’s not happening because it’s cold in Seattle this summer. Besides, it’s just part of normal temperature cycles. And what do climatologists know, anyway? They were involved in e-mail fraud, so they’re dishonest. And I don’t listen to politicians on matters of science, so Gore should just shut up. And even if global warming were happening, humans have nothing to do with it. And even if humans have something to do with it, there’s nothing we can do to fix the situation now. So let’s just pollute in the name of free market economics, since the earth’s resources will never be depleted, and the sun will always shine just for us.

  3. #3 Greg Laden
    July 27, 2011

    tuibguy, I think that is essentially what happened but it was purely a coincidence, honest.

  4. #4 Doug A;der
    July 27, 2011

    Climate Expert | I do hope that was meant as a joke. Otherwise you belong in the bottom fifth percentile on the intelligence scale.

    (Greg sorry I’m kinda drunk and have no patience with morons, if that’s the case here)

  5. #5 desotojm
    July 27, 2011

    Hmm mm, lions and tigers and bears, oh my…….

    I would lug to read Jr data, minus the crayons, really I would. Your input might impact our business model.
    Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

  6. #6 Greg Laden
    July 27, 2011

    I’m pretty sure Climate Expert is a light-hearted POE.

    desotojm, on the other hand, is a hater.

  7. #7 Greg
    July 27, 2011

    Here is an alternative view of the post: http://tuibguy.com/?p=4643

  8. #8 Brook
    July 27, 2011

    I will try to listen using one of those fake zip codes

  9. #9 Tony61
    July 27, 2011

    …and Al Gore is fat.

    But seriously, there are scientists who argue that while the planet is warming, it’ s hard to PROVE scientifically that the warming is a) beyond a normal longterm cycle, or b) anthropogenic. Judith Curry has blogged very extensively on the importance of doubt and certainty when reporting findings from a scientific stanfpoint.
    http://judithcurry.com/

    Personally, I think that there are gads of reasons other than AGW to get off fossil fuels, and I find the motives of carbon energy producers to be too strong to ignore….but I fall short of calling all AGW skeptics “crazy”.

  10. #10 Climate Expert
    July 27, 2011

    Bottom fifth of the intelligence scale? I’ve never made it that high before! I’m gonna run and tell my mother right now; she’ll be so proud.

    BTW, it’s all a global conspiracy, you know. They want to trick us into believing in global warming so that they can profit financially and ideologically from our gullibility.

  11. #11 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawmYuS4O2eYUa8zXk4drth0-xiSsClLXkdo
    July 27, 2011

    man I love a good trolololololing as much as anyone else (provided it’s actually funny), but there’s not exactly alot of discrediting of global warming going on here.

    As for Global Warming… all I can really say is that the idea that a bunch of rich old white guys steering the course of the planet like this, manipulating public opinion, lying through their teeth, knowing full well they’ll be dead and buried in silk-lined coffins before the shit REALLY hits the fan….. makes me viscerally ill.

  12. #12 Ian k
    July 27, 2011

    Well said, Greg.

    Only thing: I don’t think it’s because liberals are pro environment; it’s all about money, isn’t it? Of course some folks don’t like smith them libberells day or do, but they’re not the ones funding the P.R campaign against science

  13. #13 The Lone Coyote
    July 27, 2011

    Ugh, sorry about the googlemess. Seems to be giving me issues since I registered at pharyngula.

  14. #14 Militant Agnostic
    July 27, 2011

    Climate Expert @2

    You left out how climate scientists are in a conspiracy to line their own pockets with all that grant money, the role of the United Nations, the Bilderbergs, the Illuminati and the Underpants Gnomes, not to mention SOCIALISM!!!!

    This summer has been cold and wet in southern Alberta so the planet can not be heating up.

  15. #15 MadScientist
    July 27, 2011

    I wonder when/if Monckton will do a Lomborg and move to “we’ll adapt”. However bad things may seem at the moment, the heatwaves and tornadoes will look piddly compared to large scale crop failures. Then again we’re magic and the things happening in Ethiopia and Somalia can’t happen to us – after all, gawd’s-a-watchin’.

  16. #16 StevoR
    July 27, 2011

    I’m assuming this will be the last time we’ll be discussion global climate change with any reference to denialism.

    It’d be great if that were a safe assumption and came true but, unfortunately, I really doubt that will be the case.

    We need to get on with the work of addressing this crisis.

    Yeah, that’s well overdue. We need to have been doing that already and the sooner we start getting serious about it the better.

    One gentleman invited me to his ranch in Texas so he could shoot me to death.

    Well there’s nothing quite like that good ‘ole southern hospitality is there. Sounds almost congenial. I’m guessing you declined his kind invitation to a mint julip and a shooting at his place then? ;-)

  17. #17 Scotlyn
    July 27, 2011

    Some humour might help.

  18. #18 Thiago
    July 27, 2011

    Since I learned about HIV denialists, climate change denialists seem mild to me.

  19. #19 Matt G
    July 27, 2011

    The difference between climate change denial and climate change skepticism is that skeptics alter their opinions with new information while deniers dig in deeper. Climate change skepticism is over, but the deniers remain.

  20. #20 John sherouse
    July 27, 2011

    The Tragedy of the Risk-Perception Commons: Culture Conflict, Rationality Conflict, and Climate Change

    2011

    Cultural Cognition Project Working Paper No. 89

    Abstract:
    The conventional explanation for controversy over climate change emphasizes impediments to public understanding: Limited popular knowledge of science, the inability of ordinary citizens to assess technical information, and the resulting widespread use of unreliable cognitive heuristics to assess risk. A large survey of U.S. adults (N = 1540) found little support for this account. On the whole, the most scientifically literate and numerate subjects were slightly less likely, not more, to see climate change as a serious threat than the least scientifically literate and numerate ones. More importantly, greater scientific literacy and numeracy were associated with greater cultural polarization: Respondents predisposed by their values to dismiss climate change evidence became more dismissive, and those predisposed by their values to credit such evidence more concerned, as science literacy and numeracy increased. We suggest that this evidence reflects a conflict between two levels of rationality: The individual level, which is characterized by citizens’ effective use of their knowledge and reasoning capacities to form risk perceptions that express their cultural commitments; and the collective level, which is characterized by citizens’ failure to converge on the best available scientific evidence on how to promote their common welfare. Dispelling this, “tragedy of the risk-perception commons,” we argue, should be understood as the central aim of the science of science communication.

  21. #21 John sherouse
    July 27, 2011

    Hey Greg! So what did that shark say as you jumped it?

    I guess when science fails to support your agenda, personal attacks are all you have left.

    In your world ‘denialists’ want to kill their own progeny? Ridiculous! We are laughing at you and your childish reaction to failure.

    ‘Pragmatists’ demand empirical proof of a disaster before we commit fifty generations to slavery.

    Please produce even one peer reviewed paper that refutes (or even quantifies) natural variability as the cause of recent climate changes. I’ll save you some time, you cannot.

    Even if we were to globally reduce CO2 to ‘acceptable’ levels tomorrow, it would take an estimated thousand years before we notice a change.

    What is the point of ‘mitigation’ that will have no discernable effects? And what about the next ice age? Do you have an exact ETA?

    It really boils down to this Greg, you need to satisfy practical concerns before moving forward…

    1. First, show that recent warming is not a continuation of natural variation but is somehow anomalous;

    2. Then that the primary cause of the anomaly is Mankind’s emission of “greenhouse” gases, especially CO2;

    3. Then that, if the anomaly continues, it will cause serious problems for humanity and the environment;

    4. Then that the solutions proposed would avert these problems;

    5. Then that the solutions proposed are cost effective; and

    6. Then finally that the solutions proposed are politically and globally achievable.

    Why do you sharkjump right over these important steps Greg? Got agenda?

    People follow men with vision, not whining ninnies. You lost, get over it.

  22. #22 Fred-o
    July 27, 2011

    And so, they come out of the woodwork for one last look around before being sealed off with the Spackle of reason and science.

  23. #23 TTT
    July 27, 2011

    Shorter John Sherouse:

    “Your car isn’t broken, and if it is broken it was like that when I borrowed it, and I never borrowed it.”

    There is exactly *ONE* solid argument that deniers can throw out: namely, that it may be physically and politically impossible to prevent whatever the effects of AGW will turn out to be. But typically–as we see here–they are so ignorant of their subject matter that they cannot differentiate strong arguments from weak ones, and so throw everything at the wall to see what sticks.

  24. #24 Brook
    July 27, 2011

    John, I think the answers to the first several questions are well understood. You seem to be implying that we should just then give up. Is that the case? What if this was a diagnosis of a disease you had. Curable, but a lot of work, and the Dr says to you “you are a whining ninnie, buck up and live with your fatal disease, John.” Somehow I do not see you as accepting that.

  25. #25 Steve Ortman
    July 27, 2011

    Everyone knows that natural disasters are more expensive because shit cost more now and people are wealthier. I’m sick of these ridiculous ‘extreme weather events’ arguments. If you won’t define them and demonstrate and increase or decrease, or tell me how many ‘weather disasters’ there were in 1910 or 1933 or 1958 or 1982 you can’t say they are increasing. Your article is either deliberately deceptive or you’re so stupid you shouldn’t be allowed to publish shit. You’re a lousy scientist, find something else to do.

  26. #26 John Carmack
    July 27, 2011

    I have never seen anyone question the “greenhouse effect” of atmospheric CO2 increase, that is completely settled physics. At issue are all the dubious “forcing functions” in the computer models that gin up an extra order of magnitude in results.

    Science without control experiments should be held in much greater suspicion than reproducible lab experiments, and closely guarded data sets and source code that isn’t available for open review is no basis for lobbying to do trillions of dollars of damage to the global economy.

  27. #27 Greg Laden
    July 27, 2011

    Steve, if you refer to the original study (see link in OP) you’ll see that your arguments are invalided by … well, facts and stuff. As usual.

    John Carmack, no those things really are not in question by the scientific community. But I’ll be sure to bring them up on Sunday during the interview.

  28. #28 Mu
    July 27, 2011

    Oddly enough I found AGW easier to accept in the 90’s than today. Early on the green house effect etc made a lot of sense to a scientist. But somehow, even after 20 years of research the data seems to be getting bigger error bars rather than smaller. Not being a specialist in the field makes it very hard to determine whose model is correct, especially where it comes to the causes and in distinguishing between natural fluctuations and man-made disaster. I thought time will tell, but so far time seems to be hanging out at the pub and getting plastered for all the clear answers we’re getting.

  29. #29 Jason Thibeault
    July 27, 2011

    ITT @24:

    Shorter John Sherouse:
    “Your car isn’t broken, and if it is broken it was like that when I borrowed it, and I never borrowed it.”

    QFMFT. Amazing that despite every single evidence proffered in the science, denialists like John still exist.

  30. #30 CherryBombSim
    July 27, 2011

    Sometimes I think that there is TOO MUCH data in support of human-caused global warming, and it just confuses some people. At the time I took my first course in college on atmospheric chemistry (about 1976 or so), there wasn’t really enough observational data to support any hypothesis at all, but if you had asked every student in the class what would happen if you double the partial pressure of CO2 in the atmosphere, the answer would have been unanimous and fairly confident: The Earth will heat up. It’s kinda like asking what will happen to a pot of water if you put it on the stove. The details might be interesting, but to a first-order approximation, it’s gonna heat up.

  31. #31 Derek
    July 27, 2011

    Mu what error bars are getting “bigger”. That is a fairly strong and rather specific statement. Do you plan to back it up?

  32. #32 Derek
    July 27, 2011

    Cherrybomb, that is an interesting form of denialism: “We always knew it was true but now we have lots of data therefore the support for the idea is weak”

  33. #33 richardrob
    July 27, 2011

    John Sherouse, I found the abstract you posted really interesting. The paper would seem to demonstrate that you’re unwillingness to accept the evidence of climate change is not because you lack education or understanding but because it conflicts with your values. In other words you’re a denier not because of ignorance, but because of your ideology.

    What I don’t understand is why you would post it, as it certainly isn’t helping your cause.

  34. #34 JoeKaistoe
    July 27, 2011

    I used to be a Denier(I got better). Essentially it’s arguing against the possibility of AGW using only the knowledge thrown at you by people who agree with you (all other arguments are WRONG). Generally, deniers like me don’t seek out scientific info, at most they seek out sites that give more arguments against AGW.

    Once I became a skeptic(Someone who takes an active interest in AGW, and seeks out real scientific data to question it), it didn’t take me long to come up with sound questions that I had about how things were modeled. With some searching and questioning, I was able to find that information.

    Just thought I would give insight into the mind of one denialist. The solution for me was to instill an active interest in the topic, making me search out scientific information myself.

  35. #35 Juice
    July 27, 2011

    whatever the effects of AGW will turn out to be

    Whoa, whoa, whoa. That’s settled. It will be unmitigated disaster. Mass extinction. End of civilization. That type of stuff.

    I have never seen anyone question the “greenhouse effect” of atmospheric CO2 increase, that is completely settled physics. At issue are all the dubious “forcing functions” in the computer models that gin up an extra order of magnitude in results.

    You’re spot on (except there are many who even doubt the greenhouse effect, which is sad).

  36. #36 Juice
    July 27, 2011

    what would happen if you double the partial pressure of CO2 in the atmosphere, the answer would have been unanimous and fairly confident: The Earth will heat up.

    Approximately 1°C per doubling.

  37. #37 Remo
    July 27, 2011

    Ok, please explain why everyone I know is talking about how cold this summer and last summer have been. The nickname for the past two months is June-uary and July-uary. My tomato crop is never going to make it.

    (All true, but tongue in cheek. Unlike much of the country, it has been unseasonably cold out here in the west. Hopefully, August and September will be warm and sunny.)

  38. #38 mark
    July 27, 2011

    Climate change and changes in ozone concentration are not entirely unrelated. Ozone is itself a greenhouse gas, but its effect on global temperature is not of the magnitude of the effect of carbon dioxide. In fact, ozone concentrations are probably more affected by changes in atmospheric temperature and humidity (and chemistry) than the other way around. Some of the replacements for CFCs are also greenhouse gases (as are CFCs).

    Low-level ozone (as in pollution) can also impact global warming, by altering the rate of terrestrial absorption of carbon dioxide.

  39. #39 natural cynic
    July 27, 2011

    You should have taken up the Texas rancher on his offer with only the stipulation that you first get to take a nice cool dip in his overflowing reservoir.

  40. #40 Lee Smith
    July 27, 2011

    “the dubious “forcing functions” in the computer models that gin up an extra order of magnitude in results.”

    Order of magnitude? What?!

    Warming due to doubling CO2 directly, with nothing else happening, is 1.1C / 2xCO2.

    Add in all the ‘forcing functions’ and feedbacks, and the current estimate is 2.9C / 2xCO2 =/- ~ 1.5C, with much less certainty on the high-end constraint).
    There isn’t any ‘order of magnitude’ here.

    Also, the sensitivity estimate of ~3C / 2xCO2 is derived from multiple sources, observational and theoretical, all of which converge at close to this value. Nothing needs to be ‘ginned up’.

  41. #41 AK
    July 27, 2011

    @Greg (Strawman) Laden:

    Putting this yet another way, science had nailed down the greenhouse effect by 1990, and any appearance of equivocation since that time is the result of people telling lies. [...] science has not been going back and forth on whether or not there is a greenhouse effect, or how it works, or what causes it, or the effects of the release of fossil carbon. [...] one could say that the last 20 years have largely been wasted when it comes to reforming how we do thing on this planet in a way that would reduce the release of fossil carbon into the atmosphere.

    No informed person questions the “greenhouse effect”, but the question of even the sign of feedback from cloudy atmospheres remains completely open. AFAIK the vast majority of models still use “fudge factors” in order to accurately “predict” (post facto) past climate effects. Thus your invocation of the “greenhouse effect” is a straw man.

    Now, I’ll grant that all the probabilities favor a warmer planet from more greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere, but those probabilities remain intuitive. I’ll also grant that it doesn’t really matter, given the whole ocean acidification thing (which IMO is a lot more certain, although my reasons are different from those of most oceanologists).

    But by using straw-man arguments to “prove” the “science is settled” you open the field for anybody who wants to discredit your whole argument.

    Worse yet, this whole “global warming” thing has been pursued, from the very beginning, like a scam. The original cartoon purporting to “explain” the greenhouse effect was incorrect, didn’t work, and didn’t accurately reflect the actual behavior of the atmosphere. And when questioned on the subject, the global warming movement responded by demonizing anybody who asked questions as “denialists”. (Of course, there are decent explanations available now, but only after more than half a decade of refusal.)

    (When I first started asking questions, I was referred to a junk science website, got on-line threats, and absolutely no sensible answers. It wasn’t until years later that I actually got a sensible answer (from Michael Tobis ), along with advice to get a climate textbook if I wanted to understand it. For the record, I followed his advice, studying Thomas and Stamnes as well as Marshak and Davis.)

    The “Hockey Stick” was based on misused (and clearly misunderstood) statistical methods, and questions about it were met with arm-waving, refusal to provide data, and a host of other methods which would have been completely unacceptable in any (other) scientific field. What would you think of an archaeologist who refused to provide copies of photographs on which he based important conclusions in a high-impact paper?

    The responsibility for the wasted time lies entirely on the heads of the scammers who presented “global warming” in a way no serious enterprise would bother with. Serious enterprises took one look at how this issue was being sold, and the proposed price tag, and the widespread political agendas of most of the supporters, and quite reasonably pumped a lot of money to people who would provide counter-pressure.

    Greg (“Lynch the Bastards”) Laden:

    When I wrote a few weeks back that global warming denialists were responsible for making the world our grandchildren would grow up in a more dangerous place, I received death threats from those denialists.

    What did you expect, trying to stir up a lynch mob. PZ and such might have an excuse, but you’re an anthropologist of sorts, you knew (and know) exactly what you’re up to. Well, so do I, and here’s one intellectual anarchist’s answer to you, Gore, and your disgusting lynch mob.

    @John Carmack

    I have never seen anyone question the “greenhouse effect” of atmospheric CO2 increase, that is completely settled physics. At issue are all the dubious “forcing functions” in the computer models that gin up an extra order of magnitude in results.

    You’re completely wrong. Almost every open discussion I’ve seen regarding global warming questions gets spammed by kooks wanting to “falsify the greenhouse effect”. They even have a couple of scientific-sounding PDF’s.

  42. #42 Bruce Lingle, Spring Texas
    July 27, 2011

    Greg bin Laden: I suggest you pull your head out of your ass.

  43. #43 Bruce Lingle, Spring Texas
    July 27, 2011

    Dear Mr bin Laden: I’ve changed my mind. Keep your head where it is …. and if anything become more obnoxiously hysterical. You accomplish more good that way.

  44. #44 tuibguy
    July 27, 2011

    People follow men with vision, not whining ninnies. You lost, get over it.

    Yes, the Randian Hero! Perhaps someday you will read a real novel.

    What Greg wrote wasn’t a set of ad hominems. He has the access to the factses and pointed you in the direction of where you can check them out.

    I have some an ad hom for you:

    “You are a fuckhead, therefore your arguments fails.”

  45. #45 bad Jim
    July 27, 2011

    I have to take exception to Remo at 38: I think it’s perfectly delightful that I need a light sweater to be comfortable sitting in my patio atop a hill overlooking the Pacific. It won’t last, of course.

    It’s really hard to understand the deniers, especially those with a scientific background. I can’t imagine what they think about record temperatures, shrinking glaciers and dwindling Arctic ice. Some combination of cognitive dissonance, motivated reasoning and the Dunning-Kruger effect may account for it, and the attitude that “it can’t be my fault” is something I encounter all the time, but I can’t imagine what goes on in their heads.

  46. #46 Greg Laden
    July 27, 2011

    Well, Jim, just looking over the comments thus far I think my hypothesis holds water: The deniers that don’t make sense to you (or me) are dwindling away and going quite, leaving the crazies.

  47. #47 Nick
    July 27, 2011

    Hi Greg,

    Do you still have a copy of the article from 1990?

    I’d love to have a read.

    ‘ta

  48. #48 Remo
    July 28, 2011

    @bad Jim,

    If you can’t understand levity, what chance do you have with an ODE?

    (And if you can’t do an ODE, what chance do you have in understanding climate change — you’ll just have to rely on anecdotal observations and the Dunning-Kruger effect and hope that you chose the right side. However, I’ll give you a little primer. But if you ever have to fake it at a party, just remember that the important thing about CO2 is not its concentration, per se, but the point at which it becomes optically dense, when viewed from space, for a particular wavelength in its absorption/emission spectrum. (This is also the effective point that CO2 will radiate into space). This height, along with the adiabatic lapse rate, is the “throttle” for CO2’s effect on H2O vapor, which is the primary greenhouse gas)

    Actually, Greg, the science has not change since 1980 when I was fortunate to take an excellent grad class taught by John Holdren, who currently is Obama’s science guru. The physics of the atmosphere is fascinating. Same issues now as then, just more conformational data and better modeling of feedback loops.

    Apologies to anyone besides big Jim, who was confused by my answer.

  49. #49 Greg Laden
    July 28, 2011

    Nick, I wish. The monthly went under and the archive got recylced, and I can’t locate my old copies. I wrote a half dozen pieces for that paper that I’d like to have copies of. (And about a half dozen I’d prefer to forget about!)

  50. #50 John Carmack
    July 28, 2011

    >Warming due to doubling CO2 directly, with nothing else
    >happening, is 1.1C / 2xCO2.

    I recall a somewhat lower value than that for the pure radiative heat transfer result, but I’ll look into it again when I get a chance.

    I have seen a report on a paper in Nature with “up to 11 degrees Celsius” warming predicted for a doubling, but I grant that is an outlier, and I am guilty of cherry picking a data point to claim “order of magnitude”.

    How about “factor of several”?

    John Carmack

  51. #51 Greg
    July 28, 2011

    There is no meaning to the phrase “order on magnitude” anyway.

  52. #52 Chris Winter
    July 28, 2011

    Greg wrote: “There is no meaning to the phrase “order of magnitude” anyway.”

    I beg to differ. In my experience it generally means “a factor of ten,” as in “One whole number higher on the Richter scale means an order of magnitude increase in earthquake strength.”

  53. #53 Chris Winter
    July 28, 2011

    John Carmack wrote (#27): “I have never seen anyone question the “greenhouse effect” of atmospheric CO2 increase, that is completely settled physics. At issue are all the dubious “forcing functions” in the computer models that gin up an extra order of magnitude in results.

    Science without control experiments should be held in much greater suspicion than reproducible lab experiments, and closely guarded data sets and source code that isn’t available for open review is no basis for lobbying to do trillions of dollars of damage to the global economy.”

    John:

    The first thing I would question is your acceptance of the claim that climate-change mitigation measures would “do trillions of dollars of damage to the global economy.” Does any actual economist make such a claim? I know some that do not. Example: Sir Nicholas Stern; his 2006 report found much more serious economic damage likely to result from doing nothing to stave off climate change.

    I haven’t seen you comment on climate change before, so I can believe you never encountered anyone who denies the reality of the greenhouse effect. Yet people do deny it. I’ll go so far as to say it’s fairly common on blogs, even today. It usually takes the form of asserting that CO2 is a tiny portion of the atmosphere, so it can’t have such a big effect.

    Being skeptical of computer models of climate is warranted. However, the evidence for climate change is contemporary real-world measurements and study of how the climate behaved in past epochs (paleoclimatology). That gives us plenty of reason to be concerned about where we’re headed.

    (And by the way, most of that raw data is available for inspection.)

  54. #54 Greg Laden
    July 28, 2011

    I beg to differ. In my experience it generally means “a factor of ten,” as in “One whole number higher on the Richter scale means an order of magnitude increase in earthquake strength.”

    Well, yes, that is what it “means,” but that in turn is arbitrary. The reason it means X10 is because we use a base ten system. In base 8, an order of magnitude is a factor of 8. In binary, it is a factor of 2. We are not impressed. Well, I’d be impressed with binary, because doubling is meaningful.

  55. #55 Chris Winter
    July 28, 2011

    John Sherouse wrote (#22): “It really boils down to this Greg, you need to satisfy practical concerns before moving forward…

    1. First, show that recent warming is not a continuation of natural variation but is somehow anomalous; …”

    “2…” And etc.

    No, Greg has no obligation to do any of those six things. As a blogger, his only obligation is to report that others have shown those things likely to be true, and to link to supporting evidence.

    If all science reporting worked the way certain climate contrarians insist that climate science reporting should work, every news story about a scientific topic would swell with a detailed explanation of why the conclusions reported were valid, and a list of links to supporting literature. It’s doubtful many such stories would be read by the public, assuming the reporters ever had time to write them.

    I’ve concluded that it must be the agenda of those certain contrarians to impede climate science reporting. That might be your agenda as well — but about that I can only speculate.

  56. #56 Greg Laden
    July 28, 2011

    John Carmack [#27]: What Chris Winter said.

  57. #57 CherryBombSim
    July 28, 2011

    Derek,

    “Cherrybomb, that is an interesting form of denialism: ‘We always knew it was true but now we have lots of data therefore the support for the idea is weak’.”

    Maybe I got my punctuation wrong, but I do pay attention to data. So far, it is consistent with the Earth heating up. If objects start falling up, I might question the Law of Gravity, but until then I will trust physics.

    Personally, I can’t say whether I think that Global Warming is necessarily a Bad Thing. But then, I am a geologist.

  58. #58 John Mack
    July 28, 2011

    Science is up against the American cult of “Liberty,” the unshakable belief that “I have money so I can do anything I want. Government can’t stop me. Nature can’t stop me. And if they get in my way, I’ll shot them.”

  59. #59 Phil W
    July 28, 2011

    My dear anti-capitalists,

    As Earth’s climate NATURALLY experiences warming periods (due in part to increased solar activity & lessened volcanic particulate), more carbon is thermodynamically released into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide. It’s simple microbiology and physical chemistry. The insignificant amount of CO2 released by human activity does NOT cause warming. The anti-capitalists simply jumped to backward conclusions, after doing a 180 about-face on their dreaded ice age theories of the 70s. Warming releases CO2, CO2 does NOT cause warming. Classic cart before the horse. It’s a shame we don’t have higher levels of science education so as not to be easily duped by the Al Gore’s of the world.

    As far as 2011’s Spring weather events – very typical of a lingering strong La Nina. Anyone following the solar research suggesting another Maunder minimum? Hey David Suzuki “we should get the coal powder planes ready for polar dusting again like you suggested in the 70s – must stop the impending ice age!”

  60. #60 Phil W
    July 28, 2011

    My dear anti-capitalists,

    As Earth’s climate NATURALLY experiences warming periods (due in part to increased solar activity & lessened volcanic particulate), more carbon is thermodynamically released into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide. It’s simple microbiology and physical chemistry. The insignificant amount of CO2 released by human activity does NOT cause warming. The anti-capitalists simply jumped to backward conclusions, after doing a 180 about-face on their dreaded ice age theories of the 70s. Warming releases CO2, CO2 does NOT cause warming. Classic cart before the horse. It’s a shame we don’t have higher levels of science education so as not to be easily duped by the Al Gore’s of the world.

    As far as 2011’s Spring weather events – very typical of a lingering strong La Nina. Anyone following the solar research suggesting another Maunder minimum? Hey David Suzuki “we should get the coal powder planes ready for polar dusting again like you suggested in the 70s – must stop the impending ice age!”

  61. #61 Steve
    July 28, 2011

    You go to the doctor and he tells you that you have emphysma and your lungs are getting worse. Do you go home and smoke a pack of cigarettes every day? I believe that global warming is real and is man-made but whether or not I am right, does it make any sense to increase greenhouse gases by spewing unlimited tons of carbon dioxide and methane into the air. We know that these gases will make the earth warmer and the evidence is all around us. You do not open the fire hydrants in a flood, you fill sandbags. Whether or not you like Al Gore or believe in God is not important.

  62. #62 Climate Expert
    July 28, 2011

    @Militant Agnostic at #15

    No I didn’t. It just didn’t get posted for some reason. Global warming is totally a total conspiracy by the Illuminati and the aliens. Haven’t you, like, totally seen the signs? ;)

    I’m seriously surprised that this isn’t an open and shut case. Then again, people never fail to surprise me.

    P.S. Greg, you were right.

  63. #65 Agg
    July 29, 2011

    US invaded Iraq because there was a possibility that Iraq could develop weapons of mass destruction. Even if small, it was a possibility nonetheless that could potentially jeopardize US security. So US acted. It was costly but it was probably the only right thing to do from US standpoint. We know what happened when the British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain didn’t act against Nazi Germany during early years of Hitler’s conquests in Europe. Now too, we have at least some body of evidence that our activities contribute to global warming. Why are we then dismissing even the slightest possibility that it could totally screw up our lives ? The Planet will survive but will we ? What if the global warming alarmists are right and we are digging our own grave – what then ? We cannot predict stock markets, we still don’t know exactly what foods are good for us, which are not, we cannot cure cancer, Aids and host of other disease, we cannot predict weather beyond several days, we cannot even predict what will happen to us tomorrow – and what exactly then make you think that we can predict the impact of our activities on the Planet with all its millions of interconnected mechanisms that we don’t quite understand and dismiss the possibility of global warming ? The potential damage is so huge and irreversible that we have to consider even the slightest possibility. I doubt it, but let’s say we may lose 10 or 20 years of rapid development if we take action now – but what is 10 to 20 years in the global scheme of things, 4.5 billion-year Earth history ? Are we here for the long run, for millions of years into the future or just hit and run types stupid enough to destroy ourselves in the early stages of our development ? It is one thing, when you are asked to turn vegetarian, limit yourself all your life to die at 87 instead of 83, it is quite another if you are told that you will have to go on a vegetarian diet for 5 years to live to 87 instead of possibly dying of cancer at 27. It is obvious what most would do given this option. Why cannot we grasp the danger of our ignorance with global warming then, is beyond my understanding

  64. #66 Tommy D
    July 29, 2011

    Here in the DC area it is best to keep “progressive” opinions to oneself. The ignorance, jingoism, graveyard whistling, etc is at epidemic proportions. (See: Debt “Crisis”, etc.) As for climate – the last couple years of record breaking local winter snow fall, ice storms and commensurate economic impact PROVES beyond ANY doubt that global climate change is bunk. Cause its SNOWING. On the other hand – record breaking summer heat year on year is just a normal cycle. Its just weather. Both are anticipated results of GLOBAL CLIMATE change, but Al Gore lives in a big house so that proves that there is no global warming.

  65. #67 Chris Winter
    July 29, 2011

    Phil W:

    Got sources for any of those claims about CO2?

    What you call the “dreaded ice-age theories of the 70s” is just a myth concocted by contrarians. I’d be happy to cite my source.

    And yes, I’ve been following the predictions of a quiet Sun. Sunlight intensity has been flat since satellite measurements began in 1978. Still the world’s temperature creeps upward. I’ve got sources for those observations too.

  66. #68 Greg Laden
    July 29, 2011

    Regarding the paper cited here and there in the comments above:

    http://scienceblogs.com/gregladen/2011/07/on_the_misdiagnosis_of_surface.php

  67. #69 Agg
    July 30, 2011

    There is no place for ego, political views in this debate. It is not about being right or being wrong. Bets make sense only if you have money at stake, not your life. Don’t know about you, but I am not willing to play Russian roulette with the lives of my loved ones and take the risk of ignoring global warming evidence. Can you imagine what kind of resistance the global warming alarmists face from various industry groups, lobbyists etc. and what a challenge it is to get the truth to you and me through all the corrupt media and politicians? The sums of money involved is just staggering. You can easily multiply the evidence by X100 to really start to fathom the extent of possible evidence, not just what you come by here and there. It has been known for almost 50 years now that plant-based foods (whole foods, fruits and vegetables) are what we should be eating, and animal protein, meat, fish, poultry, eggs, dairy products including milk, not genes are the main cause of many chronic diseases like obesity, type 1 diabetes, cancer, heart problems etc. No wonder this information is not in the public domain and you can bet that it will never be – food, drug, dairy companies are spending billions a year to keep this information under the radar and to counter the research findings on plant-based foods with confusing studies of their own. Why do you think we can fly to the moon while not being able to prevent or cure many deadly diseases ? We can, and we know how with plant-based foods, but we will not because of industry efforts to block information and spread confusion. Do you think they will willingly give up over $1 trillion in annual sales just for the sake of you and me being healthy ? What then makes you think that they will not cover up global warming evidence to continue doing what they are doing ? Capitalism works well in the short-term in helping find equilibrium between supply and demand. It has no regard for the greater public good or the long-term. Long-term doesn’t matter, as its discounted net present value is almost zero. It doesn’t matter in finance, but it sure matters to you and me. Don’t be fooled

  68. #70 David606
    July 30, 2011

    Alarmists want to continue to confuse the separate issues of warming and pollution. Pollution such as poisons in our water have nothing to do with global warming. CO2 is not a pollutant no matter what a judge or Al Gore might say.

  69. #71 Greg Laden
    July 30, 2011

    David666, you are confusing the issue of the difference between AGW and pollution and the relevance of CO2 as a pollutant.

    People who understand climate change (whom you rudely call alarmists) do not conflate misc. forms of pollution with the increase of greenhouse gases, related ocean acidification, and release of fossil carbon, etc. with other forms of pollution.

    Yet, release of greenhouse gasses needs to be regulated just like the release of, say, mercury from coal plants needs to be regulated.

    No matter what you or some other denialist might say.

  70. #72 Lishui
    July 30, 2011

    Question: is a greenhouse hotter in the winter or in the summer? What is the factor that makes the difference, if any?

    Question: if someone asks a question like this, does it automatically make her a denialist?

    Question: who set you up as judge and jury over whether another scientist, whose information you haven’t even considered, is deliberately destroying the future of her own children?

  71. #73 opit
    August 12, 2011

    As a nonscientist, I must rely on more empirical data than seems common in esoteric models and projections therefrom. Some days I get rather short with another form of ‘denialism’.
    Category Archives: Global Warming Denial Machine
    http://oldephartte.livejournal.com/5539.html
    Agg, however, reminds us of another gag pulled upon the populace in the furthering of imperialist-colonial rape of the planet by Tony Blair and friends.
    ‘Leading to War’ is a website outlining perfidity seldom competently outlined. For instance, the Panelist posted ‘The Real Winner in Iraq was Monsanto’ which highlighted some effects of Bremer’s ‘100 Orders’ which destroyed Iraq’s intellectual infrastructure conveniently concurrent with a fraudulent program for ‘rebuilding Iraq’ that was a great bilking of the U.S. public.
    That is the source to which you hold in high regard as authority. That they are. Truthful ? ROFLMAO
    BTW I keep some links in the sidebar ( Blogger ) in refernce to associated questions which come up.
    And I won’t bore you with science. Lubos Motl might give you a run but I won’t bother.
    It’s a futile task trying to convince someone of something when his job relies on his not doing so.

  72. #74 Josh
    March 30, 2012

    I know that totally escapes the blog. but congratulations to Mr. John Carmack! reinforcing their ignorance, in criticizing the time of the planet! another ignorant millionaire contributing to corrupt positive attitudes, that not going to cost anything.

    @ID_AA_Carmack: I’m going to turn on every damn light in protest of Earth Hour. Lighting the darkness is fundamental to humanity’s climb.