The Intersection

Well, here’s what he said yesterday:

In the White House, only hours after that old elm had fallen, Bush was addressed by a reporter, thus: “I know that you are not planning to see Al Gore’s new movie, but do you agree with the premise that global warming is a real and significant threat to the planet?”

“I have said consistently,” answered Bush, “that global warming is a serious problem. There’s a debate over whether it’s manmade or naturally caused. We ought to get beyond that debate and start implementing the technologies necessary … to be good stewards of the environment, become less dependent on foreign sources of oil…”


I bet Bush smirked while he said this. I hate repeating myself, but this “debate” is really over except in Bush’s mind.

But that’s not the most important point to recognize here. Instead, I’d like to highlight the president’s inconsistency.

At the time of the G8 last year, Bush endorsed the mealy-mouthed Gleneagles communique, which said that greenhouse gases are “associated with the warming of our earth’s surface.” Apparently Bush is not even willing to say that any more. So this is a step backwards from an already tentative position, as well as a flip-flop for Bush on the question of a human role in global warming.

Comments

  1. #1 chris brandow
    June 27, 2006

    At the very least (and it is that) his statement that we should pursue the technologies is correct. Again, the problem is in the magnitude of effort that his mealy-mouth statements are likely to engender are way too small.

  2. #2 Lettuce
    June 27, 2006

    I liked the bit about dependence on foreign sources of oil, which has absolutely nothing at all to do with global warming but seems to pop into his mind every time the question comes up…

    We’re going to stop getting oil from… Argentina? Mexico? Saudi Arabia? And replace it with the stuff we drill out of Alaska and this addresses global warming how?

    But he does this all the time, and it makes it sound like there’s some sort of plan, some sort of action going on. And the press just let it go by, nobody ever says: “And then the President delivered this non-sequitur…”

  3. #3 Jon Winsor
    June 27, 2006

    I’d say chances are the technology talk is only window dressing. Cool New Technology vs. Climate Change is standard Frank Luntz boilerplate (the climate change section begins on page 7) :

    http://www.luntzspeak.com/graphics/LuntzResearch.Memo.pdf

    (But then again, the word is that even Luntz himself has undergone a recent conversion on climate change:

    http://www.treehugger.com/files/2006/06/frank_luntz_acc.php

    So we’ll have to see what happens.)

  4. #4 Stefan Jones
    June 27, 2006

    ” . . . to be good stewards of the environment, become less dependent on foreign sources of oil…”

    By, uh, drilling in ANWAR and running the Rockies through a chipper to extract tale shar. Uh, shale tar. Bwaaahhhhh!

    C’mon, Georgie, say it: Raise CAFE standards, eliminate tax breaks for oil companies, fund alternative energy R&D, impose a carbon tax, and tell Dick Cheney to go attend some mall openings and state funerals instead of screwing with our future.

  5. #5 Laurence Jewett
    June 27, 2006

    Whether or not Bush believes in anthropogenic global warming is largely irrelevant at this point.

    And here’s why:

    WASHINGTON – The nation’s top climate scientists are giving “An Inconvenient Truth,”Al Gore’s documentary on global warming, five stars for accuracy. — By SETH BORENSTEIN, AP

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060627/ap_on_sc/gore_s_science;
    _ylt=AkczrgxawOtcc7iR_gyGzaOs0NUE;_ylu=X3oDMTA3MzV0MTdmBHNlYwM3NTM-

  6. #6 Kit Stolz
    June 28, 2006

    Can you flip-flop if you take a new position every few months?

    With this president and climate change, it’s a real question.

    According to a book published this winter, as you will recall, his biographer said Bush “was a dissenter from the theory of global warming.” http://www.tompaine.com/articles/2006/02/21/jurassic_president.php

    This would put him at stage one of the four stages of global warming denial: It’s not happening.

    http://www.treehugger.com/files/2006/06/4_stages_denial.php

    But about this time last year, as you said, Bush claimed he couldn’t join European nations in the Kyoto Protocol to reduce emissions, because it would “wreck the economy.”

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/07/06/AR2005070602298.html

    This would put him at stage three; it’s happening, we might be responsible, but we can’t do anything about it, it’s too expensive.

    Yesterday Bush claims he has always said global warming is “a serious problem,” but now he questions whether we have a hand in it.

    http://achangeinthewind.typepad.com/achangeinthewind/2006/06/huge_storm_forc.html

    This puts him at stage two: climate change is happening, but it’s not our fault.

    One thing seems clear, judging from his tight-lipped response to the question about seeing “An Inconvenient Truth.” He won’t do anything that would involve giving Al Gore, environmentalists, or experts an ounce of credit.

    How he can do anything within those parameters is beyond me, although forces within the adminstration (including the incoming Treasury Secretary) clearly want to act on the issue now.

  7. #7 laurence jewett
    June 28, 2006

    Bush is not so much the “decider” in this case as he is an “indicator” of the view of big business (eg, the oil industry and auto-makers).

    A just completed study indicates that “U.S. Emits Half of Car-Caused Greenhouse Gas” (Janet Wilson, LA Times) and that
    “vehicles manufactured by the nation’s Big Three automakers — General Motors, Ford and DaimlerChrysler — produce the most emissions”

    http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-greenhouse28jun28,0,3775036.story?coll=la-home-nation

    When the American public puts pressure on Congress to do something about emissions (eg, to place mandatory fuel economy standards on all new vehicles), something will get done.

    That’s where scientists and Al Gore and his movie can (and I suspect will) make a difference.

  8. #8 charlie
    June 28, 2006

    On March 13, 2001, President Bush backed away from his campaign pledge to seek cuts in emissions of carbon dioxide — the main cause of global warming — as part of a strategy to regulate together, rather than separately, four air pollutants emitted by power plants. http://www.nrdc.org/globalWarming/abushco2.asp
    he was in office less than two months when he flip flopped on the issue of global warming. I wonder if 1000 people in florida decided they could vote for GWB because he appeared to take enviornmental issues seriously?

  9. #9 Lance Harting
    June 29, 2006

    Ahh the true colors are raised high. Evil US corporations pushing fuel guzzling CO2 spewing SUVs must be regulated into submission. Who says this isn’t a political debate?

    So “leading climate scientist” give Al’s polemic slide show five stars huh? There’s a surprise. What of his over the top “the sky is falling” prognostications? Oh, I guess a little hype is needed to dupe the average Joe into trading the Blazer in on a Prius not to mention pulling the “D” lever in the mid term elections. What’s the harm really if old Al distorts the truth if it’s for “the cause”.

    Now before you all point and screech in unison like pod-people who just discovered an interloping “red stater” planting genetically modified corn answer this question.

    Aren’t you really motivated by the political policies that scaring people into believing in a global climate catastrophe will bring? Honestly, weren’t you all for raising CAFE standards before you ever heard of the “Hockey Stick” or the sacred IPCC?

    Be honest, if scientists were saying that we faced a new ice age if we didn’t really crank up the CO2 emissions by burning more coal and petroleum would you be trotting down to the Hummer dealership or buying shares of Exxon Mobile?

    I doubt it.

    So please lighten up on the holier than thou tone. I am not a republican and their “faith based” policies scare the hell out of me. But I must admit that you guys are showing some of the same symptoms by making “global warming” a sacrosanct moral issue.

    At least admit that it “resonates” with your previously held beliefs. A little dispassionate discourse would go along way to diffuse the “holy war” atmosphere that exists on the topic of “climate change”.

  10. #10 GCT
    June 29, 2006

    Lance Harting,
    In response to your questions, I do take the scientific consensus position seriously, and I do make my decisions based on the science. I do not make pre-determined decisions and then make the science fit around it. That is how the contrarians (GW and evolution for example) operate. I would also be willing to lay down good money that your base accusations about the actions of those who post here and others who urge action on GW are not based on political presumptions, and that the science was not shoe-horned around those presumptions.

    If you truly think that is the case, I suggest you bring some proof to back up your allegations. Else, it will prove to be you that is engaging in that which you accuse others.

  11. #11 Laurence Jewett
    June 29, 2006

    Lance Harting posted:

    “Ahh the true colors are raised high. Evil US corporations pushing fuel guzzling CO2 spewing SUVs must be regulated into submission.”

    Nonsense.

    There are a large number of very good reasons for manadating increased vehicle fuel economy. Here are just a few: decreased dependence on foreign oil, increased national security, lower cost associated with travel and moving goods, decreased emissions (CO2, NO, and others) with consequent reductions in air pollution and future global warming.

    Among others, the people at Rocky Mountain Institute have done a great deal of research on the subject

    http://www.rmi.org/sitepages/pid320.php

    Perhaps you might actually educate yourself on the issue rather than ranting about “holier than thou tones” and other silliness.

  12. #12 Lance Harting
    June 29, 2006

    Well I only have to look to the post above mine to see that somebody is making political judgments and advocating policies that have nothing to do with the science and everything to do with leftist political values.

    “When the American public puts pressure on Congress to do something about emissions (eg, to place mandatory fuel economy standards on all new vehicles), something will get done.”

    Plenty of high mileage automobiles are for sale. If the American people think that the CO2 emissions of their cars are important they hardly need to “put pressure on congress” to force auto companies to produce them. They need only BUY them. This is free market capitalism, which it seems to me is what many of the people in here REALLY have a problem with.

    Many other posts are anti-Bush screeds using climate science as just the preferred ammunition. I could cut and paste away but I think anyone that cares to can easily demonstrate this point by reading any one of the many examples in about every category.

    I am all for finding alternative fuels and other innovative ideas that will limit America’s dependence on oil. The Kyoto protocol has been acknowledged by many dedicated GW advocates to be ineffective at best and destructive at worst. Even the countries that signed up are not meeting their quotas. Third world countries, including the potentially biggest oil consumer of all China, aren’t even included. This is a political feel good issue and NOT a practical solution.

    A common sense public dialogue on the likely consequences of limited action versus the actual costs and possible benefits of drastic action should be the goal.

    Unfortunately I see people on both sides of the political battle that the GW debate has become trying to marginalize or ridicule the other side into submission.

    I see no compelling evidence that a catastrophe of biblical proportions awaits if draconian world wide governmental actions are not immediately taken. This is the position being put forth by Al Gore and many other GW supporters on the left.

    On the right are those that say the whole thing is a hoax foisted upon us by funding hungry scientists in support of big government socialist leaning demagogues.

    The truth lies somewhere in between. Like it or not there is NO clear evidence that, as Al Gore has claimed, a “planetary Emergency” looms. Even worst-case scenarios do not point to the kind of Armageddon he is selling.

    Republicans are ignoring the very real consequences of total inaction. This is also irresponsible. Is it too much to ask for there to be a clear-headed discussion based on the actual empirical evidence?

  13. #13 laurence jewett
    June 29, 2006

    Lance Harting posted:

    “Well I only have to look to the post above mine to see that somebody is making political judgments and advocating policies that have nothing to do with the science and everything to do with leftist political values.”

    It would appear that you are the one circumventing the argument. Rather than addressing the science, you seem to have a tendency to dismiss arguments out of hand with comments such as the above, resorting to innunendo and name-calling when all else fails:

    As here
    and here

    Admittedly, there may perhaps be two Lance Hartings (or perhaps an impostor, or perhaps two impostors, for that matter) who engage in similar methods, but it would be quite a coincidence, if that were indeed the case.

    With regard to just a couple of your above unsubstantiated claims (there are so many to choose from):

    “Plenty of high mileage automobiles are for sale. If the American people think that the CO2 emissions of their cars are important they hardly need to “put pressure on congress” to force auto companies to produce them. They need only BUY them.”

    First, this is simplistic to the point of being silly and I think you know it (or at least you should, if you are a physicist). Even the most environmentally conscious are not going to base their vehicle purchases purely on emissions.

    But if they had the choice of buying a vehicle that provided the utility that they needed AND got high gas mileage and (as a result) also had relatively low emissions, they would not think twice because it would also save them money on gas.

    The essential problem is that by and large, the free market has NOT provided them with much choice when it comes to uitility COMBINED with high gas mileage (your unsupported claim notwithstanding).

    If the market were peforming so well, then logic would dictate that if I need a reasonably priced, full-size standard pickup truck or SUV for my business, I should just be able to go out and buy one that gets 40mpg (since the technology exists to make such a beast
    http://www.technologyreview.com/read_article.aspx?id=12989&ch=biztech

    So where is it?

    Your unsubstantiated claim notwithstanding, I have no problem with American capitalism. But, like most reasonable people, I also recognize that there are certain things that a totally unfettered free market will not provide on its own — not without a little friendly regulation.

  14. #14 Lance Harting
    June 30, 2006

    Mr. Jewett where in the two places you reference did I call anyone a name?

    Please try to respond to my points with a little less vitriol OK? Words like innuendo, simplistic and silly do little to add to the substance of the discussion and can quickly lead to retaliatory strikes. I have already admitted that whoring was perhaps an overly emotional choice of words on my part so try to show a little self-restraint of your own.

    You claim that my statement that “there are plenty of high mileage automobiles available is “unsubstantiated”. Hardly. GM now offers hybrid pick-ups in all fifty states. Ford offers flexible fuel and hybrid varieties of many of its models including the hybrid Escape (faint hearted environmentalists may want to look away) SUV.

    Now your arbitrary call for a 40mpg pick-up truck may be a few years off, but not because auto manufactures are sandbagging. It just so happens that the low power, small towing capacity and limited payload that are inherent in any vehicle that stretches 40 miles from a single gallon of gas don’t readily lend themselves to a pick-up, well at least not what American pick-up owners demand from their vehicles.

    Now this may come as a shock to you, but regulations, friendly or otherwise, aren’t going to produce designs that are beyond either current technical or economic viability.
    That is why the current discussion about the choices society will have to make if we are to substantially reduce CO2 emission are so important.

    Perhaps a compelling case can be made that radical changes in our standard of living and acceptable lifestyles must be made to limit CO2 emissions, but it would be either naive or dishonest to infer that such reductions can be made easily or with out significant sacrifice. (Please note I didn’t infer that YOU were either dishonest or naive)

    That is why a serious and honest discussion of the actual science about the evidence is crucial.

  15. #15 laurence jewett
    June 30, 2006

    Lance Harting posted above:

    “Please try to respond to my points with a little less vitriol OK”

    I find it interesting when someone resorts to the “victimization” tactic when someone calls them to the mat on their own attack game.

    “Mr. Jewett where in the two places you reference did I call anyone a name?”

    You can’t be serious (can you?)

    About Cindy Sheehan, mother of fallen soldier, Casey Sheehan, you** said: “She is a dimwitted simplistic ideologue. “Progressive” is the new word for socialist anti-American reactionary. “– Lance Harting

    http://blog.pdamerica.org/?p=683#comment-22729

    **Or perhaps some other Lance Harting called Ms Sheehan a name, though when I posted the same link above, you did not deny it was you who had made the post.

    But, then again, perhaps “dimwitted simplistic ideologue” is not name calling in your book — not for someone who uses the word “whoring” in a post whose main focus is criticising Chris Mooney.

    http://scienceblogs.com/intersection/2006/06/ice_age_predictions_in_context.php#comment-122005

    Here are the 3 final paragraphs of your post in their entirety.

    “You [Chris Mooney] are a “progressive” political blogger and wouldn’t have the slightest interest in climate science if you didn’t smell a political angle that you could exploit.” — Lance Harting

    “Your use of words like “Senator Crank” and “denialist” show that you aren’t even an evenhanded journalist. A quick review of your “credentials” shows your true interests are in advancing “progressive” ideological positions.– Lance Harting

    “Before you label me a republican stooge let me say that I share many of your political opinions. I’m just not willing to whore science to forward my political goals.” — Lance Harting

    From a later post (after you had been called on your remark):
    “My comments on “whoring science” were not aimed specifically at Chris Mooney.” — Lance Harting

    I’ll let others decide for themselves whether you were referring to Chris (perhaps indirectly).

    “Now your arbitrary call for a 40mpg pick-up truck may be a few years off, but not because auto manufactures are sandbagging. It just so happens that the low power, small towing capacity and limited payload that are inherent in any vehicle that stretches 40 miles from a single gallon of gas don’t readily lend themselves to a pick-up, well at least not what American pick-up owners demand from their vehicles.” — Lance Harting

    I provided a link above that indicates otherwise

    “Why Not a 40-MPG SUV?
    Technology exists to double gas guzzlers’ fuel efficiency. So what’s the holdup?, By Mark Fischetti

    But you obviously overlooked it — or perhaps chose to ignore it. That article (written in 2002) indicated that the technology for the 40mpg SUV already existed (more efficient drive train, composite vehicle bodies, better aerodynamics, computer control, etc), not exotic technologies but with propulsion with an internal combustion engine. The “holdup” was mainly a matter of implementation (ie development).

    “Because many of these technologies are readily available and based on the internal-combustion engine, they could have tremendous impact in the next several years. “There’s a lot of potential here,” says John Heywood, director of the Sloan Automotive Laboratory at MIT. “It’s our best hope for continuing to reduce emissions and fuel consumption of our ever growing vehicle fleet.” — from the above article (Why Not a 40-MPG SUV)

    “a serious and honest discussion of the actual science about the evidence is crucial.” — Lance Harting

    I agree, but if you were actually interested in a serious and honest discussion, you would not have come onto this blog and interjected withyour own vitriolic attack on Chris Mooey as you did.

    “Words like innuendo, simplistic and silly do little to add to the substance of the discussion and can quickly lead to retaliatory strikes.”

    Is sincerely hope that is not a threat on my person, because I take such things very seriously from a legal standpoint and I am sure that so too does the owner of this blog (Seed Magazine).

    For my part, at least, this “discussion” is over.

  16. #16 Lance Harting
    June 30, 2006

    WOW!

    That was something else! I’m still a bit stunned.

    Nice work searching the entire Internet to find a couple of out of context quotes from a totally unrelated issue. I once called Tommy Wentworth a “big fat dork” in fifth grade maybe you can search his name for a few incriminating chestnuts to post later.

    I like your use of the words “mother of a fallen US soldier” for maximum emotional impact. Please tell me where my opinion of Ms. Sheehan’s politics fits into the current discussion?

    Then to imply that I had somehow made a physical threat against you was truly inspired if a bit paranoid. I guess a friendly discussion of the science is right out then?

    Oh, I see by your huffing off at the end that you meant this little poison pen post to be a drive by. Jewett you may want to pursue a career in politics. You seem to posses the talent for substituting character assination for meaningful dialogue that is so much in demand these days.

  17. #17 GCT
    July 3, 2006

    Mr. Harting,
    I see that you have brought no proof as to your allegations. Hopefully all who read the comments at this blog will see this fact. You made base assertions toward others here and then instead of backing them up, you played the victim card.

    I also am left wondering if you have viewed Gore’s movie. Have you? You made an allegation about what he has expressed and I’m wondering if you got that from the film or from another source.

  18. #18 Lance Harting
    July 3, 2006

    My comments contain quotes from Mr. Gore’s public appearances and news releases. I have made the point that there is nothing in his movie (which I did suffer through) or in the current peer reviewed scientific literature that justifies saying things like “planetary emergency” or that predicts “the end of civilization”. I have not played any “victim card”. I have been treated inhospitably and I pointed it out. One need only review the above posts to see this.

    I was mostly amused by these ad hominem attacks and have come to expect them from people that have decided an imminent global warming catastrophe is a “moral issue” (another quote from Al) rather than the highly contentious scientific issue that it really represents.

    Now why would I be the one compelled to present proof when I am not the one making outrageous dooms day claims? How exactly would I go about it? How do you disprove a climate model attempting to predict a non-linear system of hundreds of coupled and uncouple equations based on systems that the scientists themselves agree are not thoroughly understood? I have already pointed out that the predictions made by these models in the past for the current decade are not in agreement with the actual observed empirical data.

    The evidence does not support Mr. Gore’s over the top remarks. Even if the worst-case scenarios of these dubious climate models are realized (which is far from an accepted scientific fact) the planet will be just fine thank you. The earth has undergone many much warmer periods in the past and much colder ones with no human causation.

    And I am 100% sure that civilization will not end either. Might there be adjustments to be made? Certainly. Would some people be inconvenienced or even suffer large economic hardships, of course. I’ve got news for you, this happens to people all the time and civilization plods along just fine thank you.

    I have much more respect for the so called “third way” NSH (Non-Skeptical Heretics) such as Roger A. Pielke Sr. an Associate Professor of Environmental Studies at the University of Colorado and director of the CIRES Center for Science and Technology Policy Research.(Whom, I’m afraid, was none to kind to Chris’s book).

    He is one of many scientists that take the sensible position that although the current evidence does point to some negative consequences from anthropogenic warming that there is no reason to panic and that polices should be adopted that provide for adaptation as well as mitigation.

    Do you really suppose we are in a “planetary emergency”? Do you really believe that “civilization” itself is in peril? How do you sleep at night? These are the quotes from Mr. Gore that have been the focus of my posts. So far no one has said,”Yes Lance, I agree with Al that we face a planetary emergency that threatens the existence of civilization and here’s why”.

    Feel free to do so.

  19. #19 GCT
    July 5, 2006

    Mr. Harting,
    You said, “My comments contain quotes from Mr. Gore’s public appearances and news releases.” That is flat incorrect. There are no quotes from Gore and you have provided no citations. You have over and over alluded to Gore’s doomsday predictions, but have not produced anything to back up your portrayal of his position. In the movie, I don’t recall him making “doomsday” positions, but he did say that there is a possibility that we could be headed for disaster. Before you jump on that, there is a difference, and you should be able to tell that difference.

    “I have not played any “victim card”. I have been treated inhospitably and I pointed it out.”

    I read all the above posts, and the “inhospitality” you have received has been mostly your own doing, either through attacking first or by over-reacting to innocent comments. You get a big “Boo Hoo” from me.

    “I have already pointed out that the predictions made by these models in the past for the current decade are not in agreement with the actual observed empirical data.”

    I don’t remember you pointing that out, and even if you did, what you’ve said is disingenuous. The models are obviously not going to be 100% accurate, because these are non-linear systems with many variables. Also, the models try to predict future events, which we can’t know ahead of time with 100% accuracy. So, many models are incorrect due to those factors. There are other models, however, where the future factors were pretty closely guessed right and they have matched up pretty well with what we’ve seen. James Hansen’s work comes to mind.

    “The evidence does not support Mr. Gore’s over the top remarks. Even if the worst-case scenarios of these dubious climate models are realized (which is far from an accepted scientific fact) the planet will be just fine thank you. The earth has undergone many much warmer periods in the past and much colder ones with no human causation.”

    Yes, the planet will survive even if the temp. goes up by 100 degrees, but that’s not the issue here. The issue is whether we are making the planet inhospitable to human life.

    “And I am 100% sure that civilization will not end either. Might there be adjustments to be made? Certainly. Would some people be inconvenienced or even suffer large economic hardships, of course. I’ve got news for you, this happens to people all the time and civilization plods along just fine thank you.”

    You can not deny that there seems to be a correlation between CO2 levels and temperature. We have increased CO2 levels to their highest point for as far back as we can measure, and we continue to increase those levels. You don’t think there’s a potential problem there? And, yes, we are talking about potential problems. The science, however, points to those problems being likely. Should we do something to try and head off those problems before they happen, whatever they may be, or should we just sit around and say, “Oh well, whatever happens, happens?”

  20. #20 Lance Harting
    July 5, 2006

    Dear GCT or whatever your real name might be,

    I have quoted Mr. Gore’s remarks accurately. I wasn’t aware that my posts were going to be held to journalistic standards however, so here are the “citations” you have whined about.

    “We face a planetary emergency” Al Gore on Fresh Air from WTTY, NPR may 30th 2006, The subheading of his book is “The Planetary Emergency of Global Warming and What We Can Do About It”, “Global Warming threatens civilization” Fresh Air from WTTY, NPR May 30th, 2006 and “Global warming is a moral issue” Charlie Rose PBS June 06, 2006 and “the moral imperative to make big changes is inescapable,” An Inconvenient Truth

    “Mr. Gore said the world faced a stark choice between the end of civilisation and a future for its children.” “What I can most valuably do is try to change the minds of the American people and elsewhere in the world about this planetary emergency.” BBC News Saturday, 20 May 2006, 17:43 GMT 18:43 UK

    Now is there anyone in here that wants to challenge the idea that AL is making as dire a case as is possible? Can you be more alarmist than to claim that we face “The end of civilization” and the loss of our “children’s future”?

    There is no evidence in the current climate science of the end of civilization or the loss of our children’s future. Any one care to show me a peer reviewed study claiming we face these dooms day predictions?

    Anyone care to challenge my use of the words “dooms day” to characterize Mr. Gore’s remarks? For Christ’s sake what other word better describes this kind of blatant fear mongering?

    Now, I am not trying to claim that there is no reason for concern about the possible effects from CO2 linked anthropogenic warming, but I don’t see how any reasonable person that is familiar with the actual state of the science could be comfortable with Mr. Gores outrageous claims.

    These statements are clearly intended to frighten the uninformed into political action and not intended to be a reflection of the actual risks and possible policy that might be reasonably agreed upon by people in a system of representative governance.

    This disparity between the actual science and Mr. Gore’s over the top doom saying designed to panic people into political action is what first led me to say he was “whoring science”.

    I have agreed that this colorful and emotional phrase was an inflammatory way of stating my opinion and have moderated my speech. I still believe the essence of the remark, if not the invective, was correct.

  21. #21 Jon Winsor
    July 5, 2006

    Well, as was stated in another post, scientists have said that Gore got the science right on climate change.

    Take a look at this study from the insurance company Swiss Re. It explores the risks and describes different scenarios. One such scenario describes

    …blows to the world economy sufficiently severe to cripple the resilience that enables affluent countries to respond to catastrophes. In effect, parts of developed countries would experience developing nation conditions for prolonged periods as a result of natural catastrophes and increasing vulnerability due to the abbreviated return times of extreme events…

    Then it continues,

    Still, [this] is not a worst-case scenario. A worst-case scenario would include large-scale, nonlinear disruptions in the climate system itself — slippage of ice sheets from Antarctica or Greenland, raising sea levels inches to feet; accelerated thawing of permafrost, with release of large quantities of methane; and shifts in ocean thermohaline circulation (the stabilizing ocean “conveyor belt”).

    http://www.climatechangefutures.org/pdf/CCF_Report_Final_10.27.pdf (page 9)

    And this is an insurance company saying this, not Greenpeace.

    Now, are either of these scenarios going to happen? They could. The IPCC predicts the Earth will warm by 1.4 – 5.8C by 2100. Things might end up at the low end of that scale or the high end. Still, the dangers that are possible in that range are very real.

  22. #22 Lance Harting
    July 5, 2006

    This “worst case scenario” report by the insurance company you mention is akin to a Defense Department’s study that said if there were a climate catastrophe it would pose challenges to the US military.

    This study was capriciously and disingenuously used by environmental interests to indicate that even the defense department agreed that a global catastrophe was likely. Here is how the Guardian reported the story.

    “Now the Pentagon tells Bush: climate change will destroy us” Mark Townsend and Paul Harris in New York
    Sunday February 22, 2004

    They claimed it was a “secret report” that was being “hushed up”. It was nothing of the sort. It was one of many “worst case scenario” drills routinely written to prepare the military for any and all contingencies. It “presupposed” a global climate disaster as its premise. It also made clear that the authors of the study found no compelling evidence that such a disaster was imminent or even likely.

    This didn’t stop political groups, and the elements of the press that are favorable to them, from trying to make political hay from the story.

    Isn’t this blog about the interplay of politics and science? I assume those are the things intersecting? Isn’t Chris’ book “The republican War on Science” about the misuse of science for political gain?

    I agree that the republicans, and the far right in general, are guilty of such offenses. I just happen to think that the democrats, and the left in general, are not above playing the same dishonest game.

    I don’t seem to hear the same hue and cry in here when the offenders share your politcal views.

  23. #23 Jon Winsor
    July 5, 2006

    I was going to ask something like, when it comes to the future of the habitable planet, what odds are acceptible to you Mr. Harting, yadda yadda, but that would be tedious compared to what we usually discuss on this blog (and really it would be tedious period).

    I agree with the guy’s comment on the other thread. This is getting a bit old. I would be in favor of staying on topic in future threads.

  24. #24 Lance Harting
    July 6, 2006

    Jon, when I have posted scientific literature in support of my arguments you have ignored it. I have also made comments stating the rather obvious assertion that politics influences one’s opinions even on science, especially a scientific topic as fraught with political consequences and advocacy as global warming.

    As I pointed out, in the other thread you mentioned, the focus of Chris’ work, and I assume this blog, is to discuss the “intersection” of science and politics.

    It strikes me as rather curious then to chide me for discussing the political calculus of the issue. Especially when so many other posts critical of the political forces you see as the problem (i.e. republicans, the right) don’t seem to cause you the same consternation.

  25. #25 GCT
    July 6, 2006

    Mr. Harting,

    “so here are the “citations” you have whined about.” Nice loaded language. Whined? Asking someone to back up their assertions is “whining” now? You should yourself to be the political ideolougue that you decry others as being with your last couple posts. You are fooling no one here on this board. You are doing exactly what Chris describes in his book. No study will satisfy you. You bring up nebulous “facts” don’t back them up, then claim that you have.

    We do face very real challenges and threats. If we do not do something about our carbon emissions, we will be in trouble. There are plenty of peer-reviewed studies coming out discussing where the balancing point is and whether we have or will soon go over it. You act as if you know what is out there, but you gloss over these studies. Pick up Science some time and read it.

    Good day.

  26. #26 Lance Harting
    July 6, 2006

    GCT I did use a word, “whined”, that was emotional and derogatory, I apologize. I was reacting to the insinuation that I had lied. You call me an ideologue that hasn’t presented any facts. That is not the case. I have posted many documented facts and several peer reviewed articles.

    I note that you, and others, have ignored my point about Gore’s dooms day claims, even now that I have provided you with “citations”. If anyone cares to defend the assertions that we face “the end of civilization” or the “loss of the future of our children” I’d love to see the evidence to back it up.

    This idea of a “balancing point” threshold that we may soon cross over is pure conjecture not supported by any solid evidence other than anecdotal worst case claims based on “what ifs”. I have read the studies so please don’t bother to cut and paste them into an indignant post.

    The facts that are not in dispute by anyone are that the earth has warmed by less than one degree Celsius over the last century, CO2 levels has risen approximately 30% since 1750 ( C.D. Keeling and T.P. Whorf, Atmospheric CO2 Concentrations (ppmv) derived from in situ air samples collected at Mauna Loa Observatory, Hawaii, Scripps Institute of Oceanography, August 1998. A. Neftel et al, Historical CO2 Record from the Siple Station Ice Core, Physics Institute, University of Bern, Switzerland, September 1994.) and there is consensus that humans have been responsible for most of the increase. There is also agreement that at least some of the warming over the past century is due to this added CO2.

    That is where the facts end and the conjecture begins. I have read the major studies by Mann, Emanuel etc. To go from the observed less than one degree warming to the high-end scenarios takes a leap of faith based on dubious climate models that don’t even agree with each other.

    Now we can play cut and paste all day but what I asked was for people to consider that their political values heavily influence their opinions on what public policy should be instituted based on the current level of evidence. To try to portray those that don’t share your take on the evidence as “denialists”, “cranks” and “exxonians” is counterproductive at best.

    I have been the only one to admit that my values lead me to be skeptical of wild claims especially when they are used to justify huge governmental actions that will have huge economic and life style consequences for millions, if not billions, of people world wide.

    GTC do you claim that you bring no political values or presuppositions to this debate, that you don’t use those values to decide the level of proof necessary to decide that action is required? Do you deny that your politics influence the type and scope of governmental actions you deem best suited to address the problem?

    When I saw Chris’ blog I hoped it would be an opportunity to engage in an honest discussion on the way politics is influencing the debate on global warming as well as other scientific topics. If people are going to pretend that they are immune from political thought and I am a right wing looney, impervious to any and all evidence, that is best shouted down and insulted, then an opportunity for meaningful dialogue will have been missed.

  27. #27 Jon Winsor
    July 6, 2006

    When I saw Chris’ blog I hoped it would be an opportunity to engage in an honest discussion on the way politics is influencing the debate on global warming as well as other scientific topics.

    Mr. Harting’s first comment on this blog said,

    You seem to think that the key to good science is to take a poll and then shout down and ridicule anyone that is outside the “consensus”. Especially if you can make political hay from the public panic that may ensue. You are a “progressive” political blogger and wouldn’t have the slightest interest in climate science if you didn’t smell a political angle that you could exploit.

    Yup, that’s the tone I always take when I want to “engage in an honest discussion.”

    Mr. Harting, you have two modes, heated accusation and shocked defensiveness. It’s been actually kind of funny. Or it was on the first day, anyway.

    But things don’t have to be that way. No matter what I think of someone’s ideologies or motivations or whatever, I always try to assume first the good will of whoever’s listening to me (unless they’re attacking me) and I reason with them. That consists of making points, backing them up and trying to debate principles, without accusing people of being a leftie or rightie or whatever, or name-calling–which goes without saying. I engage them as reasonable people.

    For instance I knew pretty early on you were a libertarian, but I didn’t call you on it. Because with anyone, I assume they’re a reasonable person first, which usually overrides anything about their political sympathies.

    And there are many different people posting on this blog with different backgrounds, and even with different political leanings. Of course to a certain extent it’s going to be predictable– Chris’s book is “The Republican War on Science,” after all.

    Now I’m not going to waste much more of Chris’s bandwidth on this, because this is Chris’s blog, not Lance Harting’s, and not Jon Winsor’s.

  28. #28 Lance Harting
    July 7, 2006

    My apologies if that remark was taken as an insult. It was merely meant to point out the rather obvious point that Chris has a horse in this race and is not acting as an altruistic free agent.

    I linked to this site from a political article Chris had written where he referred to Sen. Inhofe as “Senator Crank”. My comments certainly fall short of that level of disdain.

    I read the bio that Chris provided. He is a political writer that has worked for, and been featured in, “progressive” publications. He has also worked for, and is currently working for, democratic political candidates. His primary interest in climate science is clearly based on it being a political touchstone in progressive politics.

    I was making the point that his motivations are just as “suspect” as any oil company employee or at least as any conservative republican strategist.

    Guess what? I still think he has a right to express his opinion and be heard. Just as I think that the AAPG has a right to their voice in the debate and shouldn’t be ridiculed or shouted down just because they make their living looking for petroleum.

    In fact I think Chris’ opinion is important. He is in the trenches of political advocacy. He has pointed out that his interests are at the “intersection” of politics and science. This confluence is right where the action is. That is precisely why I entered this discussion.

    You see that was the point of the other part of the statement that you fished out of my first post, “…then shout down and ridicule anyone that is outside the ‘consensus’.” Every one has a right to enter this discussion. They should lay their cards on the table, as I have done, and talk straight. Then other people should try to listen to what they have to say rather than trying to marginalize or discredit them.

    Now are you ready to do that?

  29. #29 Jon Winsor
    July 7, 2006

    No one said it was an insult. It’s just not reasonable dialog. You were accusing people of distorting things before you even started a conversation.

    Your use of the word “insult” here is an example of what I’m talking about. I didn’t say you “insulted” anyone. I said you accused people of things right off the bat, without even attempting to start a reasonable conversation.

    I find this kind of unreasonable, hair-trigger argumentation tedious. Have you ever heard someone complain that a particular conversation “generated more heat than light?” This exchange that we’ve had is a good example of that. And that’s why I’m inclined not to devote any more of my time, or Chris’s bandwidth, to it.

  30. #30 Lance Harting
    July 8, 2006

    Talk about tedious. Why don’t you just address my points rather than continuing to declare me unworthy of engagement over the wording of a post far back in the stream?

  31. #31 Gindy
    July 9, 2006

    As a new reader perusing a few of the threads on this blog, I have made one very interesting discovery. Mr. Harting appears to be a troll of sorts. If I were y’all, sorry for the colloquialism, I’d just ignore it and maybe it will go away.
    In the three or four threads I have read so far, he has done NOTHING but disrupt the discussion that had been of great interest. He focuses the thread on HIS agenda instead of what the topic of the conversation was originally about. As I said a troll, of the most insidious and virulent kind. A smart one who can make you sink to his level and beat you with experience. As I suggested up post, ignore it.

  32. #32 Fred Bortz
    July 9, 2006

    Hear, hear, Gindy!

    That’s precisely what I have decided to do. Lance suggests I’m mad at him, but I’m simply not responding because he disrupts far more often than he enlightens.

    The only useful thing that’s come out of it for me is to consider the question of whether Al Gore is using inappropriate language when he concludes we have a planetary emergency. I’ve decided his political approach, including his choice of language, is on target and correct.

    See my latest blog entry

    http://www.scienceblog.com/cms/al-armist-gore-10946.html

    The question was important, but Lance’s harping on it goes too far.

    Chris has shown appropriate restraint by not simply banning Lance as a troll. Now if we follow your advice and refrain from responding to him, Lance will eventually decide to go elsewhere.

  33. #33 Lance Harting
    July 9, 2006

    He he, no ad hominem attacks there! Well at least Gindy called me smart. As Bill Murray said in Caddy Shack “I got that goin’ for me.”

    As I have already pointed out I have posted documented evidence and peer reviewed articles to back up my points. I’m not sure what “agenda” Gindy sees in my posts.

    She/he complains that I have ” …done nothing but disrupted the discussion”. Well I did provide a contrasting point of view if that’s what Gindy means.

    I am here to add my opinion to the discussion. Those opinions certainly differ from most others in here. Is that a problem?

    She is correct about one thing if people don’t respond to my points I will go away. Now whether or not that qualifies as an effective, rational response to my points is another story.

  34. #34 ROBERT MACELVAIN
    July 16, 2006

    Start watching for headlines that are more optimistic, such as these:

    GLOBAL WARMING REVERSED!
    DIASTER AVERTED… EARTH SAVED!
    MAN-MADE CLIMATE CHANGES… PERMANENTLY NULLIFIED!

    Albert Einstein provided the perfect scientific answer to Global Warming in 1905 with his paradigm, mass-to-energy equation, which is the key to unlocking all of the clean, cheap, environmentally friendly energy the inhabitants of Earth will ever need, without any pollution or waste stream, and with no carbon dioxide or other greenhouse emissions.

    Even the super-powerful Energy Cartel will be unable to prevent millions of individuals around the World from freely switching to this abundant and everlasting Einsteinian cornucopia of “home-made energy,” which will automatically reestablish Mother Nature as the exclusive controller of climate change.

    http://slow-motion-Thermonuclear.blogspot.com/2006/06/invention-for-sale-slow-motion.html

  35. #35 Fred Bortz
    July 16, 2006

    I’m glad Chris decided to post Robert MacElvain’s remarks.

    I had completely forgotten about how cold fusion can save the world.

    Lance, I’m with you. Al Gore must be an alarmist if he is ignoring “slow-motion thermonuclear” energy generation, especially since Robert claims the NSA redacted the key elements of his patent application.

    Oy!

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