The Island of Doubt

It’s got to be one or the other. How else to explain the latest attempt by GM vice Cchairman Bob Lutz to attract attention to himself and his company, which continues to hemorrhage money? “Global warming is a total crock of shit,” Lutz reportedly said told journalists at a Texas restaurant. “I’m a skeptic, not a denier.”

Those bon mots represent one of the most unambiguous denunciations of an entire body of scientific knowledge ever uttered by an American corporate executive. They trounce even Sen. James Inhofe‘s ever-so-slightly hedged claim to have presented “compelling evidence that catastrophic global warming is a hoax” to the U.S. Senate. So what should we make of them?

First, Lutz is a well-known media whore. One industry blogger calls him “GM’s go-to man for one-liners and candid opinion.” The Swiss-born former U.S. marine was a “jet-attack aviator” 50 years ago. Maybe the car industry just isn’t exciting enough for someone used to pulling a few Gs to get his juices flowing. Second, there’s no way to tell whether he actually believes what he says at closed-door briefing sessions for local journalists. Third, it could be that at that particular luncheon he didn’t say anything else that piqued the journos’ attention, so what we get is one out-of-context, off-the-cuff remark to which we should attach very little of meaning.

But the comment did attract a lot of attention. And it does seem to imply that Lutz has no respect for climatology, which as a field of science, has produced a remarkable consensus around the idea the climate change is anything but a crock, and certainly not one characterized by its resemblance to the product of defecation. As for the context, he helps run a company that has gone out of its way to avoid reducing the climate-changing impact of its products ;;;;; physically withdrawing an electric car from the market by refusing to allow lease-holders to buy out their leases, getting way, way behind the hybrid curve and fighting emissions reductions legislation wherever and whenever it can.

Indeed, such is the attention drawn to his comment that Lutz felt compelled to rebut his critics in a blog post of his own, saying his”opinion doesn’t matter” on such subjects, and insisting “General Motors is dedicated to the removal of cars and trucks from the environmental equation” regardless of the scientific merits of anthropogenic climate change theories.

Instead of simply assailing me for expressing what I think, they should be looking at the big picture. What they should be doing, in earnest, is forming opinions not about me but about GM, and what this company is doing that is — and will continue to be — hugely beneficial to the very causes they so enthusiastically claim to support.

Of course, what his critics should be doing is forming opinions based on GM’s track record and the utterances of its top executives. There’s no reason they shouldn’t do both, especially in a corporate culture so corrupted by greenwashing ;;;;; empty promises and propaganda designed to make a company look like it acknowledges the risk posed by the status quo and divert attention away from what’s really going on in the boardroom and on the shop floor.

So let’s take Lutz up on his dare and examine GM’s environmental record over the past few years. When we do, the only evidence that the company gets the threat posed by the climate crisis is the promised Volt plug-in hybrid, something that is more concept than car, despite the fact that the technology to build it has been sitting around for years.

There is one way to reconcile Lutz’s claim of green cred with his company’s history. Maybe Lutz is trying to shame the rest of the board into actually doing something. Maybe, by saying something so incredibly stupid about climate change, he’s trying to prompt his associates to put their words into actions in order to make it clear that they’re not all as stupid as Lutz sounds. Maybe he’s frakkin’ genius.

Maybe. But that’s not the simplest explanation. I think we all know what that is.

Comments

  1. #1 hardindr
    February 26, 2008

    Message: don’t buy GM stock, since they ain’t going to be around much longer if upper management thinks like that!

  2. #2 troyski2008
    February 26, 2008

    Lutz is right, global warming is a crock of S–t. The so called global warming science is based on computer models that can’t predict local weather 5 days away much less global climate 50 or 100 years in the future.

    As far as GM, they make as much hybrid crap that nodbody buys as any car company. Just read today’s headlines regarding the new Tahoe. The car companies are only going to make what people are willing to buy. What you suggest is akin to fighting the obesity problem by selling nothing but size 2 clothes. Shesh pull your head out would you?

  3. #3 Lance
    February 26, 2008

    Bob Lutz is a very intelligent and savvy auto industry exec. He is GM’s last best hope for regaining market relevance.

    He is dedicated to building fuel efficient and alternate fuel automobiles for reasons of energy independence but of course that isn’t enough for irrational proponents of climate doom. He must kneel before the alter of climate change to escape your religious wrath.

    Many of you would probably prefer to live in a world without automobiles anyway.

  4. #4 Lance
    February 26, 2008

    troyski2008,

    You are right that people purchase the cars that fit their lifestyles and personal tastes. There are plenty of hybrid and fuel efficient conventional gas and diesel cars available.

    As usual leftists want to take away people’s freedom to make their own choices. Climate change is just the latest vehicle to accomplish that end.

    Most large corporations and their executives are looking for an angle to turn climate hysteria into profit while making all the right noises. F–king sheep. Kudos to Bob Lutz for having the cojones to speak his mind and take the political fall-out. GM just took a big step towards regaining my respect.

    Oh, and I actually buy cars (I currently own three) unlike greenies that usually have an old out of tune 1989 Corolla covered with idiotic bumper stickers that they pride themselves on never driving.

    I enjoy blowing hydrocarbon filled exhaust all over them at stop lights in my V-8 ’73 F-100 pick up with no emission controls what so ever. That old beast puts out more emissions in an hour than my new 4 cylinder Camry does all year. Of course I only drive it to pick up fire wood and lumber but I love to rumble up beside eco-snobs in their Priuses (Priui?) just to see the dyspeptic expressions they make as I go by in a cloud of blue smoke.

  5. #5 Dunc
    February 26, 2008

    The so called global warming science is based on computer models that can’t predict local weather 5 days away much less global climate 50 or 100 years in the future.

    I know I shouldn’t….

    Can you reliably predict the result of a single coin toss? No. Can you reliably predict the distribution of the results of a large number of coin tosses? Yes – and the reliablity of that prediction increases as the number of coin tosses increases.

    You are a moron.

  6. #6 chuck
    February 26, 2008

    Gosh, Lance, lighten up. Try and put a little more fiber in your diet.

  7. #7 Martin Robbins
    February 26, 2008

    Wow… so much anger!

    As a modeller myself, I have to take exception to “based on computer models that can’t predict local weather 5 days away much less global climate 50 or 100 years”. The implication that predicting climate is a similar task or related to predicting weather is plain wrong, they are two separate problems from a modelling viewpoint. Both are very challenging, both make mistakes, but both are mostly right, which is why businesses spends so much money on long-range Meteorological forecasts.

    In terms of emissions, whether or not you believe in global warming, spouting out shed-loads of pollution in urban areas where people have to live, work and breath is a being just a tad antisocial, which is why even though I love cars, I’m a big fan of the congestion/emissions charges in London.

  8. #8 troyski2008
    February 26, 2008

    Dunc,

    Well that didn’t take long….it seems from your personal attack that I have struck a nerve. Your analogy is simplistic. There are two variables in a coin toss. There are trillions of variables with regard to climate. Computer models can’t begin to account for a fraction of them.

    You can test this by back testing 10 or 20 years. Models can’t predict what has ALREADY occured much less what hasn’t. Websites like this and the media only give one (the wrong) side of the argument.

    Go back an look at the earth’s history and you will find that the only thing that is constant about the climate is change. You people need to open your eyes.

  9. #9 Troyski2008
    February 26, 2008

    Lance,

    I agree, when technology gets to the point where alternative energy can provide the same benefit that combustion engines do today at a similar cost, it is only then that they will be produced in mass. And if our eco-friends would simply ready today’s headlines regarding GM’s new hybrid cars instead of bashing an exec who disagrees with them they, they may find that GM took a big step toward that today.

    In the mean time, I for one do not intend to go out and spend ten or fifteen thousand dollars more on a Toyota Prius just to make myself feel better and I don’t believe most rational people will either.

    Martin,

    I diagree with your premise, climate models have not been acurate. There are simply too many varyiables to account for. Low sunspot activity (which means lower energy output) has more effect on the climate than anything and climate models don’t even consider that.

  10. #10 Dunc
    February 26, 2008

    The number of variables involved does not in any way alter the fundamental issue, which is that you can statistically predict the distribution of stochastic events without being able to predict individual events.

    Modern models actually do do a pretty good hindcast. That’s one of the key elements of model validation.

  11. #11 Dunc
    February 26, 2008

    Low sunspot activity (which means lower energy output) has more effect on the climate than anything and climate models don’t even consider that.

    I think you’ll find that it’s Milankovitch cycles that have more effect on the climate than anything. The influence of the sunspot cycle is currently debateable, but it’s certainly not a primary driver of climate. If it were, we’d be having ice-ages every 11 years.

  12. #12 Troyski2008
    February 26, 2008

    “I think you’ll find that it’s Milankovitch cycles that have more effect on the climate than anything. The influence of the sunspot cycle is currently debateable, but it’s certainly not a primary driver of climate. If it were, we’d be having ice-ages every 11 years.”

    Sure they do when talking about ice-age sized changes yes I would agree. But that does not mean that the Muarander minimum – maximum cycles don’t have a significant effect. The last time we had lower than normal sunspot activity during these cylces we went through the little ice-age (1450 – 1850AD). Oddly enough many scientists believe we are heading into one of these periods now.

    If you’ll look you will find that there is a much higher correlation between sunspot activity than there is with C02. (The fact that C02 increases actually lag the temperature increases not withstanding)

  13. #13 Armchair Dissident
    February 26, 2008

    Low sunspot activity (which means lower energy output) has more effect on the climate than anything and climate models don’t even consider that.

    Are you suggesting that the continued increasing warming trend over the last 10 years is due to sun-spot activity?

    If so, you’ll be sorely disappointed, unless you really want to suggest that fewer sunspots=greater warming. Sunspot activity has decreased over the last 11 years, and we are currently at solar minimum.

  14. #14 Troyski2008
    February 26, 2008

    “The number of variables involved does not in any way alter the fundamental issue, which is that you can statistically predict the distribution of stochastic events without being able to predict individual events.”

    Uh huh. No persoanl offense but that statement is rediculous. It sort of like saying It’s going to snow sometime in the future, but you don’t know when or why.

    So if variabes don’t alter the outcome than manmade C02 must not be a cauase, becasue after all, it’s only a variable.

  15. #15 Troyski2008
    February 26, 2008

    “Are you suggesting that the continued increasing warming trend over the last 10 years is due to sun-spot activity?”

    We are coming from a period of high activity.

    “If so, you’ll be sorely disappointed, unless you really want to suggest that fewer sunspots=greater warming. Sunspot activity has decreased over the last 11 years, and we are currently at solar minimum.”

    It’s all relative. The current minimum activity is lower than it had been since 1850. It’s telling that most of the Northern Hemisphere is experienceing a much harsher than normal Winter.

  16. #16 Rob Goodyear
    February 26, 2008

    Well, looks like Lutz’s PR department hacks have internet connections…

  17. #17 Dunc
    February 26, 2008

    Do you even know what the word “stochastic” means? It’s like saying that we know it’s more likely it will snow in December than in August (in the Northern Hemisphere, anyway). That is the difference between climate and weather. It’s only the single most fundamental thing you need to understand before you can even begin to understand climatology.

    Of course variables matter. But that does not mean that the number of variables alters the fundamental statistical principles at work, which was what you seem to have attempted to claim.

  18. #18 Lance
    February 26, 2008

    Chuck,

    I’m good, ate my usual bran muffin for breakfast, but thanks for the concern.

    I just want the freedom to buy the car I want for the reasons I prefer.

    Martin Robbins,

    Sorry, but when people start to talk about mandating what car I can drive based on climate models that have little correlation to reality I get a bit testy. Oh and I don’t drive the old truck very often, maybe two or three times a month and never in congested urban areas.

    Smog was a real problem in large metropolitan areas and the clean air act was a sensible government solution. I’m not an anarchist. As far as London imposing a drive into the city tax that’s your business. We Americans take a somewhat dim view of arbitrary taxation as you Brits may recall.

    Dunc,

    Your faith in climate models is touchingly naive. If only it were well placed. A coin toss only has two possible states the climate system of our planet has just a few more, most of which are determined by systems of non-linear differential equations that are by nature chaotic and highly sensitive to initial conditions. These initial conditions are not known to any great precision and the results of one system have a large influence on the next.

    To claim that it all comes out in the stochastic wash is absurd.

  19. #19 Armchair Dissident
    February 26, 2008

    It’s all relative. The current minimum activity is lower than it had been since 1850

    I think you mean higher, unless you by “minimum” you mean “maximum”, and by “1850″ you mean “1950″. Nevertheless, the sun’s minimum/maximum cycles have been pretty constant for the last 50 years or so, and yet we still find that warming trend.

  20. #20 Troyski2008
    February 26, 2008

    My point is, if you don’t or can’t account for the significant variables in whatever it is you are trying to measure/predict, you end up with crap. Much like Dr. Michael Mann did with his now thouroghly disproven Hockey Stick theory. And that was simply looking back at what has already happened. I don’t believe climate models do either.

    If you want to put all your faith in models and believe we should make changes to the economy based on this output costing trillions then go ahead. I choose not too.

  21. #21 Troyski2008
    February 26, 2008

    “I think you mean higher, unless you by “minimum” you mean “maximum”, and by “1850″ you mean “1950″. Nevertheless, the sun’s minimum/maximum cycles have been pretty constant for the last 50 years or so, and yet we still find that warming trend.”

    Contstant yes, but also high (as compared to other periods) until the last year or so. But the temperature has been warming since 1850 not 1950. And most of that warming took place between 1900-1950.

    No I meant what I said. The 11 year cycle is the Maunder Maximum/Minimum. Right now we are at the minimum and the minimum is lower in sunspot activity than the other minimums since about 1850 or the end of the little ice age. If this low activity continues then scientis say our weather will get cooler. It may take a bit…sort of like the time it takes for boiling water removed off the stove to cool.

  22. #22 Armchair Dissident
    February 26, 2008

    Right now we are at the minimum and the minimum is lower in sunspot activity than the other minimums since about 1850 or the end of the little ice age

    Mean sunspot activity, 2007: 7.9 (solar minimum occurs November 2007).

    1964: 7.4
    1954: 3.4
    1944: 9.6
    1933: 5.7
    1923: 5.8
    1913: 1.4
    1901: 2.7

    Go back to 1856: 4.3

    Source: http://www.ngdc.noaa.gov/stp/SOLAR/ftpsunspotnumber.html#american

  23. #23 Martin Robbins
    February 26, 2008

    I think the worst part on here is the ignorance about what modelling actually is, how it works, and what it tells us.

    I’m particularly amused by this statement:
    “If you want to put all your faith in models and believe we should make changes to the economy based on this output costing trillions then go ahead.”

    Erm… that’s what happens already! How do you think all major financial institutions and big business operate? How do you think actuarial scientists work? How do you think insurance companies calculate their exposures? Modeling is a science, one that works very effectively, and one that you’re not in a very good position to criticize unless you’d like to actually go, read the scientific literature, and comment on that.

  24. #24 Troyski2008
    February 26, 2008

    From Investors Business Daily February 7, 2008:

    http://ibdeditorial.com/IBDArticles.aspx?id=287279412587175&kw=global,cooling

    …”Solar activity fluctuates in an 11-year cycle. But so far in this cycle, the sun has been disturbingly quiet. The lack of increased activity could signal the beginning of what is known as a Maunder Minimum, an event which occurs every couple of centuries and can last as long as a century.

    Such an event occurred in the 17th century. The bservation of sunspots showed extraordinarily low levels of magnetism on the sun, with little or no 11-year cycle.

    This solar hibernation corresponded with a period of bitter cold that began around 1650 and lasted, with intermittent spikes of warming, until 1715. Frigid winters and cold summers during that period led to massive crop failures, famine and death in Northern Europe.

    Tapping reports no change in the sun’s magnetic field SO FAR THIS CYCLE and warns that if the sun remains quiet for another year or two, it may indicate a repeat of that period of drastic cooling of the Earth, bringing massive snowfall and severe weather to the Northern Hemisphere.

  25. #25 Troyski2008
    February 26, 2008

    Martin,

    I’m gald your amused but there is a big difference in using models to market cookies and car insurance than there is in using models to predict climate change. The difference is in the known variables. It’s relatively simple to calculate demographics, expenditures and accident statitistics and plug those into a model than it is to try and understand all of climate variables that even the most ardent global warming scientists admit that they don’t understand. But they say we should implement draconian economic changes just in case they are right.

    Sorry I don’t buy it.

  26. #26 stephenk
    February 26, 2008

    Troyski says Tapping says:
    “Tapping reports no change in the sun’s magnetic field SO FAR THIS CYCLE and warns that if the sun remains quiet for another year or two, it may indicate a repeat of that period of drastic cooling of the Earth, bringing massive snowfall and severe weather to the Northern Hemisphere”

    What Tapping really said:
    “It is the opinion of scientists, including me, that global warming is a major issue, and that it might be too late to do anything about it already. If there is a cooling due to the solar activity cycle laying off for a bit, then the a period of solar cooling could be a much-needed respite giving us more time to attack the problem of greenhouse gases, with the caveat that if we do not, things will be far worse when things turn on again after a few decades. However, once again it is early days and we cannot at the moment conclude there is another minimum started.”

    On these very Science Blogs…
    http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2008/02/dont_trust_anything_you_read_i.php

    short term respite from continual warming != drastic cooling

    _and_ he doesn’t really think there will be a minimum in any case.

  27. #27 Troyski2008
    February 26, 2008

    So Tapping was taken out of context. Does it really change the premise of the article?

    Regardless the eco-left does the same thing to scientists who disagree and there are many:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientists_opposing_the_mainstream_scientific_assessment_of_global_warming

  28. #28 gwangung
    February 26, 2008

    Somebody who quotes the Investors Business Daily on science? Ah, the irony.

    Folks may want to deal with the actual science and research, hm? Google-researching is no substitute for actually consulting papers and analyzing them for the weaknesses.

  29. #29 Armchair Dissident
    February 26, 2008

    warns that if the sun remains quiet for another year or two,

    Remains? The data suggests that it hasn’t been quiet, let alone will “remain” so. The data does not support your premise.

    You quoted the statement:

    “Solar activity fluctuates in an 11-year cycle. But so far in this cycle, the sun has been disturbingly quiet. The lack of increased activity could signal the beginning of what is known as a Maunder Minimum,

    1) it does not fluctuate on a fixed 11 year cycle. 11 years is the median period, it is not absolute.

    2) The sun has not been disturbingly quiet. The data does not support that assertion.

    3) The Maunder Minimum is a specific event between 1645 and 1715. Even if there was a continued reduction in solar activity, it would not be “known as a Maunder Minimum”.

    You are simply wrong on every assertion.

  30. #30 Dave Briggs
    February 26, 2008

    Message: don’t buy GM stock, since they ain’t going to be around much longer if upper management thinks like that!

    Posted by: hardindr | February 26, 2008 8:35 AM

    I know it can’t be proven scientifically, but I wonder if this kind of attitude in top execs is the reason they are said to be circling the drain?
    Dave Briggs :~)

  31. #31 Troyski2008
    February 26, 2008

    ‘You are simply wrong on every assertion.’

    I was merely qouting the article which sugests otherwise. You can argue semantics all you want but the fact of the matter is this: The earth’s climate is contstantly changing. It has been much warmer and much colder in the last 1000 years is now. It has much warmer and much colder over it billions of years of existance before that and long before we got here and the invention of the evil SUV.

    So even if we closed down every factory in the world, crushed every car and airplane, turned off all energy production, and threw 4 billion people worldwide out of work, climate would still change, and often dramatically.

    The utter arrogance or stubidity (take your pick) of believing that we have some kind of great effect on the climate that can be reverse by condeming 2+ billion people of the third world to continue in their life of poverty because of lack of energy and the rest of the world to a lesser existance so that you can feel better about yourselves is pathethic.

  32. #32 Davis
    February 26, 2008

    The utter arrogance or stubidity…

    Which is more arrogant: acknowledging that the evidence strongly supports the assertion “humans are changing climate”, or rejecting all such evidence because you don’t like the conclusions, and claiming to know better than the thousands of scientists who devotes their lives to better understanding climate?

    …condeming 2+ billion people of the third world to continue in their life of poverty because of lack of energy and the rest of the world to a lesser existance so that you can feel better about yourselves…

    Whence this insinuation that we who support mitigation steps want to condemn everyone to live in a cave? Many of us support the search for technological and market-based solutions, while working to minimize impact via simple measures in the interim (how difficult is it to turn off your lights, and drive a little less?).

  33. #33 Troyski2008
    February 26, 2008

    “Which is more arrogant: acknowledging that the evidence strongly supports the assertion “humans are changing climate”, or rejecting all such evidence because you don’t like the conclusions, and claiming to know better than the thousands of scientists who devotes their lives to better understanding climate?”

    If you’d bother to look there are many scientists who disagree:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientists_opposing_the_mainstream_scientific_assessment_of_global_warming

    Yet the anyone who argues otherwise labeled a denier. I suspect that why Dr Tapping was pressured and had to backtrack on his previous statements.

    “Whence this insinuation that we who support mitigation steps want to condemn everyone to live in a cave? Many of us support the search for technological and market-based solutions, while working to minimize impact via simple measures in the interim (how difficult is it to turn off your lights, and drive a little less?)”

    I have no problem with conserving energy. I do it myself. I just don’t suffer from the illusion that everyone turning off the lights and driving a Prius is going to positively affect the climate. Techology and market based changes will materialize on their own. It’s mandated changes will subject people to poverty indefinately.

  34. #34 Richard Simons
    February 27, 2008

    the fact of the matter is this: The earth’s climate is contstantly changing. It has been much warmer and much colder in the last 1000 years is now.

    During the last 1000 years, when was the earth’s climate much warmer than it is now? Do you have any evidence to support your assertion or are you just making stuff up?

    My point is, if you don’t or can’t account for the significant variables in whatever it is you are trying to measure/predict, you end up with crap. Much like Dr. Michael Mann did with his now thouroghly disproven Hockey Stick theory.

    What theory? There’s no such thing as a hockey stick theory. He showed that the shape of the curve of global temperature versus time is rather like a hockey stick. The initial ‘refutation’ had some major errors in it and from what I’ve seen all other recreations of the temperature have fit the same general pattern. Why do you assume his paper is a critical piece of evidence?

    Given that CO2 is known to absorb infra-red radiation and atmospheric CO2 is increasing rapidly, with the vast majority of the increase coming from human sources, what reason do you have for presuming global warming will not take place? What so-far unidentified mechanism do you think will prevent it?

  35. #35 Davis
    February 27, 2008

    If you’d bother to look there are many scientists who disagree…

    And why do you think they’re correct, rather than the vast majority of scientists who agree? It’s obvious you don’t have knowledge of atmospheric science (reading some stuff on the internet doesn’t count), so it’s clearly not because of the science. Since you don’t know the science, there are two ways not to be a denialist: remain neutral on the topic, or trust the consensus.

    I choose to trust the consensus, because I know how science works, and based on past performance I think it’s unlikely to be too far off (though I know it won’t be spot-on).

    It’s mandated changes will subject people to poverty indefinately.

    Really? Where’s the evidence that suggested changes will subject people to poverty?

  36. #36 Armchair Dissident
    February 27, 2008

    You can argue semantics…

    When you quote someone saying, “But so far in this cycle, the sun has been disturbingly quiet”, and use this to support the assertion that the is going into a prolonged period of minimal solar activity as per the last Maunder Minimum, it is not “arguing semantics” to demonstrate – using readily available data – that this assertion is flat out wrong.

    It has much warmer and much colder over it billions of years of existance before that and long before we got here and the invention of the evil SUV.

    Yes, it has been warmer in the past – much warmer. Do you know why?

    It’s because the simple life forms that converted carbon dioxide into oxygen had not yet evolved. There was an awful lot of carbon dioxide in the air, and it was very, very hot. All that carbon that’s currently being put back into the atmosphere when you burn fossil fuels; where do you think it came from? Why do you think it’s called “fossil” fuel!

    Phil Plait at bad astronomy sums up the situation well when he says, (and I’m paraphrasing), “carbon dioxide can be a good thing; too little and we’re a frozen ice ball. Too much though, and we’re Venus”.

    The utter arrogance or stubidity (take your pick)

    Let me introduce you to the concept of the false dichotomy.

    condeming 2+ billion people of the third world to continue in their life of poverty because of lack of energy

    Let’s overlook, for the moment, the question as to whether or not that is actually true (it isn’t): it says precisely nothing about whether or not the data supports the assertion that the planet will shortly be undergoing a period of cooling as a result of a dramatic drop in sunspot activity. This is simply a case of the data not fitting your assertion so appeal to (false) emotional rhetoric.

  37. #37 Troyski2008
    February 27, 2008

    “I choose to trust the consensus”

    And how often is the consensus wrong? Just look at this year’s Presidential primaries. I choose to be skeptical as opposed to some lemming being led off the cliff.

  38. #38 Troyski2008
    February 27, 2008
  39. #39 Troyski2008
    February 27, 2008

    “Yes, it has been warmer in the past – much warmer. Do you know why?”

    Yes mainly variances in output from the sun.

    “Phil Plait at bad astronomy sums up the situation well when he says, (and I’m paraphrasing), “carbon dioxide can be a good thing; too little and we’re a frozen ice ball. Too much though, and we’re Venus”.”

    There is stong evidence to support that CO2 is more of an effect than a cause of warming.

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/What-does-CO2-lagging-temperature-mean.html

    “This is simply a case of the data not fitting your assertion so appeal to (false) emotional rhetoric.”

    Really? Junkscience.com estimates that Kyoto has cost the world $454 Billion with practically no effect on global temperatures. And global warming scientits say that even if all countries aggreed Kyoto doesn’t go nearly far enough to stop significant warming do you disagree?

    So how much do you think we should spend and how much standard of living are you willing to sacrifice to reduce the warming by say a degree? You going to give up you car? Heat your house with nothing but solar panels and windmills? Can’t burn wood, that would give off thoo much C02. You going to give up your computer? After all the internet in the US alone adds something like 8 to 10% of our overall energy consumption.

    If not then exactly what do you think needs to happen Armchair?

  40. #40 Rob Goodyear
    February 27, 2008

    Lutz PR hack, day 2… Hack, hack, hack… sell those cars.

  41. #41 Davis
    February 27, 2008

    And how often is the consensus wrong? Just look at this year’s Presidential primaries. I choose to be skeptical as opposed to some lemming being led off the cliff.

    The primaries? What are you talking about? I’m talking about science. And the scientific consensus has rarely been wrong; offhand, I cannot think of any examples where the consensus has been as strong as that on climate change, and subsequently been shown in complete error.

    And again, it’s not skepticism when you choose to reject the position of the vast majority of experts in a field in which you have no expertise. It’s denialism. The experts may be wrong. But you don’t have the knowledge to come to that conclusion.

    There’s a reason we have experts, and that’s because there’s no way that we can become knowledgeable in every possible field. To dismiss the experts because you don’t like their conclusions is sheer arrogance.

  42. #42 Troyski2008
    February 27, 2008

    “But you don’t have the knowledge to come to that conclusion.”

    And you do?

    A list of experts who disagree:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientists_opposing_the_mainstream_scientific_assessment_of_global_warming

    “To dismiss the experts because you don’t like their conclusions is sheer arrogance.”

    To blindly follow global warming dogma as gospel is more like religion.

  43. #43 Armchair Dissident
    February 27, 2008

    Global cooling over the last 12 months:

    Hmm. Funny, can’t see that data anywhere on on the CRU site, and it certainly doesn’t seem to match to 2007 data they’ve made available. (source: http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/cru/data/). I could be wrong of course; so let’s pretend that I am. Do you really think that one cool month – one single statistical data point – proves that there is no upward trend? If you do – and remember this is assuming that I haven’t simply missed the data provided – you need to revist the word “trend”.

    Yes mainly variances in output from the sun.

    You are joking, right? You do know the period I’m discussing, right? You did get that I was discussing an evironment 3-4 billion years ago, right? right?!

    Really? Junkscience.com estimates that Kyoto has cost the world $454 Billion with practically no effect on global temperatures. And global warming scientits say that even if all countries aggreed Kyoto doesn’t go nearly far enough to stop significant warming do you disagree?

    None of which has anything whatsoever to your claim that sunspot activity is causing global climate change. And Junkscience.com? Isn’t that a bit like using Answers in Genesis?

    You going to give up you car?

    You going to assume I have one?

  44. #44 Troyski2008
    February 27, 2008

    “Hmm. Funny, can’t see that data anywhere on on the CRU site, and it certainly doesn’t seem to match to 2007 data they’ve made available.”

    Hmm, maybe they’ll lose their funding if they don’t tow the eco-line.

    “Do you really think that one cool month – one single statistical data point – proves that there is no upward trend?”

    Actually it’s a year, and no, one year does not a trend make. It think it should give a reasonable person pause though. If you’d bother to read the article it makes that very point. Also, do you forget that it is not uncommon for global warming alarmists to flip out every time the temp hits 90?

    “You are joking, right? You do know the period I’m discussing, right? You did get that I was discussing an evironment 3-4 billion years ago, right? right?!”

    I really have no idea what your point is. Mine is that all energy and warming ultimately comes from the sun. There are other factors but it stands to reason that small fluxuations in output and magnetism would have a significant effect on climate.

    http://www.sciencebits.com/CO2orSolar

    “None of which has anything whatsoever to your claim that sunspot activity is causing global climate change. And Junkscience.com? Isn’t that a bit like using Answers in Genesis?”

    And this from someone quoting blogs from a site called Living on an Island of Doubt in a Climate of Change – Where all good Theories go to die. How open-minded.

    “You going to assume I have one?”

    Well you obviously use a computer. Feel free to make your sacrifice to the Global Warming Gods and quit using it.

  45. #45 Armchair Dissident
    February 27, 2008

    {bang}Bangs{bang}Head{bang}Against{bang}Brick{bang}Wall{Bang}

    No, clearly you don’t.

  46. #46 Armchair Dissident
    February 27, 2008

    Dang! What happened to my blockquote. That previous one was in response to the statement:

    I really have no idea what your point is.”

  47. #47 Troyski2008
    February 27, 2008

    “No, clearly you don’t.”

    I assume you are talking about this?

    “Yes, it has been warmer in the past – much warmer. Do you know why?

    It’s because the simple life forms that converted carbon dioxide into oxygen had not yet evolved. There was an awful lot of carbon dioxide in the air, and it was very, very hot. All that carbon that’s currently being put back into the atmosphere when you burn fossil fuels; where do you think it came from? Why do you think it’s called “fossil” fuel!”

    So? This proves nothing. There is plenty of evidence now that proves CO2 lags temperature and is an effect rather than a cuase. Did the burning of fossil fuels cause the Midievil Warming Period?

  48. #48 Davis
    February 27, 2008

    And you do?

    No, which is why I accept the conclusion of the majority of experts on this. Similarly, if 4 doctors told me it’s likely I have cancer, and 1 told me I don’t, I’d be a fool to decide to accept the conclusion of the lone doctor.

    I’ve already addressed your “some experts disagree” statement. Answer my question: on what basis do you choose to accept their position over the scientific consensus? I’ve already asked once; if you fail to answer again, I’ll have to assume you do so for ideological reasons (a situation similar to me accepting the conclusion of the lone doctor, because I’d like to believe I don’t have cancer).

  49. #49 Davis
    February 27, 2008

    There is plenty of evidence now that proves CO2 lags temperature and is an effect rather than a cuase.

    You do understand that something can be both and effect and a cause, don’t you?

  50. #50 Armchair Dissident
    February 27, 2008

    So? This proves nothing. There is plenty of evidence now that proves CO2 lags temperature and is an effect rather than a cuase.

    {bang}etc..etc{bang} First, “Wot Davis Said”. Second, from the link you so helpfully provided:

    “A change in Earth’s orbit warmed the southern oceans which released more CO2 into the atmosphere. The extra CO2 trapped more heat from the sun and amplified the warming. It also mixed through the atmosphere, spreading the warming to the tropics and northern hemisphere”

    The key terms, shown in all their contextual glory: CO2 trapped more heat. CO2 traps heat. As Davis says, and as the page you reference notes, CO2 both causes heat to be trapped, and can cause more CO2 to be released.

    Did the burning of fossil fuels cause the Midievil Warming Period?

    No. What’s your point? The medieval warming period was not a global phenomenon, and it was part of a slower trend of warming than currently being experienced.

  51. #51 Jim RL
    February 27, 2008

    The 2007 as a cooling trend is complete BS. 2007 was the 2nd hottest year on record behind 2005. Troyski, all of your answers are just dripping with lies, BS, and spin. You have chosen denial because it suits you, and you have looked for like minded individuals to back you up. You are a layperson choosing to dismiss the scientific consensus out of ideology. That makes you a denier.

  52. #52 Jim RL
    February 27, 2008

    Troyski, what part of climate change do you deny?

    Is it that increased CO2 concentrations can lead to increased temperatures?

    If that is the case then why do you think Venus is so much warmer than we expected it to be, and how do you think the radiative forcing of CO2 is somehow reduced in the atmosphere. Also, your previous responses indicate that you accept that CO2 can act is a greenhouse gas, so what is stopping global warming in your mind?

    Is it that CO2 concentrations are increasing?

    We have plenty of data on that and you’ve indicated that you accept the data on CO2 concentrations over millions of years, so I doubt there is disagreement here.

    Is it that humans activities are causing CO2 increases?

    This is just kind of silly since we know we have been pumping tons of CO2 into the atmosphere since the beginning of the industrial revolution, and we see how CO2 concentrations have shot up in that time.

    I guess I really don’t understand what part of the theory you disagree with. Humans activities emit CO2, CO2 reflects heat back towards the earth, rising CO2 concentrations lead to higher global temperatures and climate change. Which part do you take issue with?

  53. #53 Troyski2008
    February 27, 2008

    �No, which is why I accept the conclusion of the majority of experts on this. Similarly, if 4 doctors told me it’s likely I have cancer, and 1 told me I don’t, I’d be a fool to decide to accept the conclusion of the lone doctor.�

    Over-simplified analogies, ya gotta love em. I guess it all depends on whom you consider a doctor doesn�t it? You do realize that half of the so-called scientists listed in the IPCC report are not scientists at all but people ranging from Gynecologists to government officials that know nothing about the climate.

    While we�re on the subject, The IPCC report had to be “amended” over and over again. The hockey stick graph has been eliminated, owing to the fact that it was discredited about as soon as it came out. In the beginning there was a statement in the IPCC that there was NO evidence that man was impacting climate change. This was removed as it did not fit their political agenda. Several scientists left the panel when they saw the inaccuracies and exaggerations in the report. At least one scientist sued to have his name removed.

    �I’ve already addressed your “some experts disagree” statement.� Answer my question: on what basis do you choose to accept their position over the scientific consensus? I’ve already asked once; if you fail to answer again, I’ll have to assume you do so for ideological reasons (a situation similar to me accepting the conclusion of the lone doctor, because I’d like to believe I don’t have cancer).�

    You feel free to assume what you want. My point in all of this that none of this is settled, no one can prove the man is responsible for any recent warming trends, and to assume that models, which do not even consider things like sunlight and water vapor, can fully account for the chaotic non-linear nature of the atmosphere and call that science is close minded to say the least.

  54. #54 Troyski2008
    February 27, 2008

    “A change in Earth’s orbit warmed the southern oceans which released more CO2 into the atmosphere. The extra CO2 trapped more heat from the sun and amplified the warming. It also mixed through the atmosphere, spreading the warming to the tropics and northern hemisphere”

    Ahhh but you cherry pick…from the same article:

    “Of course, the beautiful correlation between CO2 reconstructions and temperature on Earth over the multi-millennial time scale. as it apparent in the figure, is often used to demonstrate how CO2 plays a role in large climate variations. This often misleads the laymen to believe that CO2 is the climate driver, whereas in fact it could be the opposite, that the global temperature affects the equilibrium levels of CO2. In reality it could be somewhere in between, that CO2 is affected by the temperature and that it in turn causes a larger temperature variation. Just by itself, however, this correlation cannot be used to quantify the effect of CO2 on the climate, which could be anywhere from no effect to all the effect. Thus, it is no proof that CO2 is the main cause of the variations over the 20th century. There is no such evidence.”

    And this:

    “Solar activity appears to affect climate. This can be seen from many different correlations between solar activity on one hand, and climate on the other. These correlations exist on time scales ranging from the 11 year solar cycle to many millennia (for the two most beautiful correlations, see Neff et al, and Bond et al. in the refs below) Such a link is potentially important for global warming because over the 20th century, solar activity has been increasing.

  55. #55 Rob Goodyear
    February 27, 2008

    hack, hack, hack… Lutz is paying his PR department OVERTIME… See those cars…

  56. #56 Troyski2008
    February 27, 2008

    “The 2007 as a cooling trend is complete BS. 2007 was the 2nd hottest year on record behind 2005. Troyski, all of your answers are just dripping with lies, BS, and spin.

    Four sources say otherwise including the CRU & the GISS which you all seem to like to quote:

    http://wattsupwiththat.wordpress.com/2008/02/19/january-2008-4-sources-say-globally-cooler-in-the-past-12-months/

    “You have chosen denial because it suits you, and you have looked for like minded individuals to back you up. You are a layperson choosing to dismiss the scientific consensus out of ideology. That makes you a denier.”

    And you’re doing exactly what? Who’s the denier? I believe there has been global warming but nobody can prove that man has created most or all of it during the last 100 years. Consensus also once concluded that the world was flat. That obviously did not make the consensus right.

  57. #57 Troyski2008
    February 27, 2008

    “If that is the case then why do you think Venus is so much warmer than we expected it to be, and how do you think the radiative forcing of CO2 is somehow reduced in the atmosphere. Also, your previous responses indicate that you accept that CO2 can act is a greenhouse gas, so what is stopping global warming in your mind?”

    Venus? Not quite apples to apples is it? I mean it is approximately 25 million miles closer to the sun with and atmosphere made up of mostly Carbon Dioxide, Nitrogen and Sulfuric Acid. Earth’s atmosphere, by contrast, has .004% CO2. Just a slight bit of difference there.

    I don’t deny global warming exists, quite the contrary, but I think it’s a natural cycle. We don’t cause it, at least not to any significant degree nor can we stop it.

    But since you brought up other planets, why do you suppose there is global warming occuring on Mars? They have SUVs and factories there too?

    “I guess I really don’t understand what part of the theory you disagree with. Humans activities emit CO2, CO2 reflects heat back towards the earth, rising CO2 concentrations lead to higher global temperatures and climate change, Which part do you take issue with?”

    See numerous links I have listed above.

  58. #58 Troyski2008
    February 27, 2008

    “hack, hack, hack… Lutz is paying his PR department OVERTIME… See those cars…”

    That would be nice but it probably doesn’t pay enough for this…

  59. #59 Davis
    February 27, 2008

    You feel free to assume what you want.

    Since you still refuse to answer a reasonable question, I have no choice but to conclude that you do indeed choose the non-consensus side for purely ideological reasons. As such, I’m done trying to reason you out of a position you didn’t reason yourself into. (You’ll note that I’ve provided reasoning for my position.)

  60. #60 Troyski2008
    February 27, 2008

    Davis,

    I have answered your question several times over in responses to you and others here. If you choose to ignore them I can’t help that. But to spell it out for you NO I DON’T BELIEVE WHAT YOU CALL A CONSENSUS. (although I’ve never seen a count of scientists for either side) I would say the YOU are the one who choose sides for idological reasons. You have swallowed the doctrine of man-induced global warming hook, line and sinker. There is no more debate the issue is decided. Tell me I’m wrong about THAT.

    “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”

    H. L. Mencken

  61. #61 Jim RL
    February 27, 2008

    Wow, a blog post to disprove the direct link I supplied to GISS data. That seems about right. The fact is that 2007 taken as a whole was tied for the 2nd warmest year on record. Last month was colder than average. That is it. That’s your trend. Please, look at the data you link to before you reposting it.

    Venus is clearly not Earth, but it’s temperature is much higher than we expected due to the greenhouse effect from all of that CO2. We have already greatly increased the CO2 concentration in our atmosphere. Why wouldn’t a similar effect occur? Also, you never answered how CO2 that reflects heat in a lab is somehow deactivated in the atmosphere.

    As to Mars, you once again show your denialist stripes. The data you refer to is from 3 years and is all from the same region. It doesn’t make a good global trend. Also, the climate on Mars is very dependent on large-scale dust storms, and is generally fickle due to its lack of oceans and thin atmosphere. There is no data to back-up the claim of a long term global warming trend on Mars.

    Finally, the ancient Greeks knew that the earth was round, so it’s pretty telling that you have to reach back well over 2,000 years to find a scientific consensus as broad as this that was later overturned.

  62. #62 Jim RL
    February 27, 2008

    I am backing the scientific consensus as a layperson lacking expert knowledge of the subject. It’s the same position I take towards theoretical physics and paleontology. Would you offer your own theories in those fields? Or would you accept the consensus? I think you would accept the consensus because you know that there are experts who are much more knowledgeable in those fields. Climatology is only open to debate by lay-people because deniers have a problem with the conclusions. The same is true of evolution and the holocaust. Deniers of all three attack expert claims because they don’t like the conclusions.

  63. #63 Davis
    February 28, 2008

    NO I DON’T BELIEVE WHAT YOU CALL A CONSENSUS.

    That’s been clear — you’ll note that was not my question. I asked you why you don’t believe the consensus. What special expertise do you bring to bear on the question, that leads you to reject the (overwhelming) majority opinion?

    I have no special expertise in the subject (I know quite a bit of math and physics, but not atmospheric science), and so I can’t justify rejecting the consensus. There’s nothing ideological about deferring to the consensus of the experts — I also don’t reject the consensus on evolution, quantum theory, planet formation, cosmology, and a slew of other subjects.

    As amusing as it is watching you flail about (“I know you are but what am I?” doesn’t fly outside the playground), I can’t justify responding again unless you can be bothered to (a) make the effort to read and understand my comments, and (b) respond in a serious manner.

  64. #64 Armchair Dissident
    February 28, 2008

    Ahhh but you cherry pick

    ROFLMFAO!

    You’re complaining about cherry picking when your primary source of information is blog posts. Hmm.

  65. #65 Troyski2008
    February 28, 2008

    It’s been real boys. I really don’t have the time or energy to respond to every name calling and or obscure refernce you guys bring up although I did try. But thank you none the less…for proving my point that you think everyone else is close minded while you yourselves refuse to entertain even the possibility that your “consensus” might be wrong. The “science” is rock solid, the debate is over, there is no doubt and anyone who disagrees is a Moron, Liar, Denier, Idealogue, or works Lutz’s PR department. (I think that’s all the names I’ve been called in here).

    In the mean time, quit driving those cars and shut off those computers. After all you wouldn’t want anyone to lable all of you hypocrites. Oh I forget, It’s OK for true believers to continue putting CO2 in the air, just not everyone else.

  66. #66 Jim RL
    February 28, 2008

    I really don’t have the time or energy to respond to every name calling and or obscure refernce you guys bring up although I did try.

    Obscure reference? You responded to real data by linking to wikipedia and random blog posts. Pot meet kettle.

    But thank you none the less…for proving my point that you think everyone else is close minded while you yourselves refuse to entertain even the possibility that your “consensus” might be wrong.

    You never answered the question of why you, as a non-expert, feel you have the more knowledge than the vast majority of experts in the field. You never even attempted an answer.

    In the mean time, quit driving those cars and shut off those computers. After all you wouldn’t want anyone to lable all of you hypocrites. Oh I forget, It’s OK for true believers to continue putting CO2 in the air, just not everyone else.

    I am really at loss as to where this came from. This is a post about a comment made by a Chrysler executive and the discussion in the comments has all been about the evidence behind climate change. Your focus on the conclusions rather than the methodology of climatology shows your denialist stripes just like a creationist yelling “My grandpa wasn’t a monkey.”

  67. #67 Lance
    February 28, 2008

    JimRL,

    Lutz is a General Motors executive.

    Your argument with Troyski is basically an appeal to authority supporting a heuristic “CO2 is increasing – CO2 absorbs infra red radiation – temps are increasing – therefore the observed increase is caused by CO2″ model.

    Few people argue the point that anthropogenic CO2 has some effect on the net radiative energy of the climate system. The question is whether this effect is significantly greater than noise and whether mitigation strategies would have a net positive effect.

    Tell me Jim, exactly what is the meaning of a “global mean temperature” for the earth, and how it can be calculated. Once, indeed if, you complete that task tell me what is the ideal average temperature for the earth and why this is so.

  68. #68 Jim RL
    February 28, 2008

    Lance,

    How is the exact definition and determination of the “global mean temperature” of earth even relavant to the discussion? The current data is made up of samples from various points on the earth at various times. That how experimental data works. You sample a reasonable number of points and use models and statistics to interpolate. The purpose of the discussion is anthropongenic climate change and its effects on people and ecosystems.

    Also, your second question gives away your ideologically based point of view. What does the ideal temperature have to do with the basic conclusions of climatology, namely that human generated CO2 in the atmosphere is having a serious effect on the global climate? Your question is only rational once we’ve accepted that anthropogenic climate change is occuring. Then you can get into details of what level of climate change is acceptable, and what regulatory costs are appropriate to ensure that level is not exceeded.

  69. #69 Lance
    February 28, 2008

    JimRL,

    I asked you two straight forward questions. You failed to answer either one. Neither question has anything to do with ideology. Again I ask you to answer one or both of those questions.

    How is the exact definition and determination of the “global mean temperature” of earth even relavant (sic) to the discussion?

    Are you serious? The entire theory of global warming is predicated on the idea that the earth’s climate system is “warming”. If you can’t define a global mean temperature then you have no basis for claiming that it has increased.

    The current data is made up of samples from various points on the earth at various times. That (sic) how experimental data works. You sample a reasonable number of points and use models and statistics to interpolate.

    You have simply swallowed whole the idea that there is such a quantity and that we know with some level of precision its value. I suggest you read this to begin to understand the tenuous grasp of the concept of a computable, time differentiable global mean temperature you actually have.

    You didn’t even try to answer the second question “What is the ideal global mean temperature for the earth?”

    If you can’t answer these two fundamental questions then you have no rational basis to undertake any action.

  70. #70 Davis
    February 28, 2008

    “What is the ideal global mean temperature for the earth?”

    I have an answer for this: I don’t know, because “ideal” in this context is ill-defined. However, I do know the climate of the past 1000 years has been pretty good for us, allowing us to develop into a modern society. I’ll take that over the crap-shoot of climate change.

    You have simply swallowed whole the idea that there is such a quantity and that we know with some level of precision its value. I suggest you read this to begin to understand the tenuous grasp of the concept of a computable, time differentiable global mean temperature you actually have.

    No, we’ve accepted the idea that there are experts in this field who know enough to consider the “issues” you claim to be raising. For example, your link contains gems that are immediately recognizable as nonsense:

    Yet as an average of a function is an integral of the same , it is obviously impossible to integrate something you don�t know .

    This is flat out wrong. For example, I can compute an average velocity of an object without even measuring its velocity, let alone knowing v(t). While computing a mean temperature is clearly not equivalent, it’s clear this claim is nonsense.

    That you find such an argument compelling makes it clear I should trust the experts over you, I’m afraid.

  71. #71 Jim RL
    February 28, 2008

    The entire theory of global warming is predicated on the idea that the earth’s climate system is “warming”. If you can’t define a global mean temperature then you have no basis for claiming that it has increased.

    In a word: Bullshit. Are you seriously arguing that the earth isn’t actually warming? We both know that is it fairly simple to show that the earth is warming by showing increasing temperature measurements at a variety of locations across the globe over several decades. That is exactly what we see. From that data you can interpolate to come up with an estimate of the mean global average temperature over that time frame. What does year after year of increasing temperature measurements at locations across the globe point to if not global warming?

    Your second question has nothing to do with climate science. Nothing. That’s why I addressed it as I did. I will gladly come up with an answer if you can tell me how the existence or non-existence of an “ideal” temperature proves or disproves the theory that anthropogenic greenhouse gases are having a significant impact on the global climate.

  72. #72 Lance
    February 28, 2008

    Davis,

    You clearly didn’t even understand what you were reading. If you know the acceleration function of a dynamic system you most certainly CANNOT integrate to get its velocity. There will be a constant of integration that is dependent on the boundary conditions of the system and can have an infinite range of values. Had you taken a freshman level calculus course you would know this.

    Also your remark that the climate of the last 1000 years has been “pretty good to us” is hardly an answer to my question or even a scientifically quantifiable answer.
    Saying that you “trust the experts” is very poor basis for making insulting pronouncements, but it appears to be all you have.

  73. #73 Jim RL
    February 28, 2008

    If you know the acceleration function of a dynamic system you most certainly CANNOT integrate to get its velocity.

    Davis was talking about integrating v(t) to find the average velocity, which you certainly can do. Finding average temperature from T(X,Y,t) would be a similar, but more complicated calculation. You are just talking gibberish now. The caps is a good touch.

    Saying that you “trust the experts” is very poor basis for making insulting pronouncements, but it appears to be all you have.

    Please, tell me in what situation a layperson shouldn’t trust the experts in a given field. It seems like you should always trust the experts unless you don’t like their conclusions. At least that’s when creationists, holocaust deniers, the mercury militia, and other denialists like yourself seem to “debate” the experts.

  74. #74 Davis
    February 28, 2008

    Had you taken a freshman level calculus course you would know this.

    And had you understood my comment, you’d realize I was correct. But Jim already beat me to pointing this out.

    So instead I’ll just note that I taught freshman-level calculus quite a lot before I finished my PhD in math. Thanks for the laugh!

  75. #75 Lance
    February 29, 2008

    Davis and JimRL,

    I notice in your dismissive chortling posts you skipped the part where I mentioned boundary conditions (limits of integration in math terms). Do tell how you propose to know these parameters in a system consisting of trillions of atmospheric gas molecules, cloud particles, oceanic water molecules and dissolved gases and ions, and land masses each controlled by multiple, time varying, coupled non-linear differential equations. Not to mention the equations of state for each of these interacting systems.

    Perhaps you can also tell me the simultaneous position and velocity of an electron. Hey, all you have to do is integrate its velocity function right?

    I also note that neither of you have answered either of my straight forward and fundamental questions.

  76. #76 Lance
    February 29, 2008

    As for the remark, “It seems like you should always trust the experts unless you don’t like their conclusions.” From the era of the ancient Greeks until the late nineteenth century it was “known” by the consensus of medical “experts” that blood-letting was an effective treatment for a wide variety of medical conditions from infectious diseases, like yellow fever, to impotence.

    I’d like to think that had I been “prescribed” such a treatment I would have asked what empirical evidence supported its efficacy and when nothing scientifically convincing was presented declined the treatment. You two on the other would have extended your arms for pronging and bled away, all the while mocking me for questioning the “experts”.

  77. #77 Chris O'Neill
    February 29, 2008

    Do tell how you propose to know these parameters in a system consisting of trillions of atmospheric gas molecules…

    and since this system is far more complicated than a sample of carbon dioxide and water vapor in a physics lab we can simply assume that it will intercept infra-red radiation to a far lesser degree than said sample.

  78. #78 Lance
    February 29, 2008

    Hey Chris O’Neil,

    Since you brought it up, point me to a study that actually measures the infra-red radiation absorbance of a laboratory sample of CO2 and water vapor and demonstrates a quantifiable relationship between CO2 concentration – HOH concentration and temperature.

    Seriously, find one. Don’t come back with an “experiment” that was “performed” with models, reality only please. Shouldn’t be hard right, since “everybody knows” that CO2 is a greenhouse gas that is raising global temperatures.

    If all you can find is references to Svante Arrhenius in 1896 you might ask yourself why?

  79. #79 Jim RL
    February 29, 2008

    I notice in your dismissive chortling posts you skipped the part where I mentioned boundary conditions (limits of integration in math terms). Do tell how you propose to know these parameters in a system consisting of trillions of atmospheric gas molecules, cloud particles, oceanic water molecules and dissolved gases and ions, and land masses each controlled by multiple, time varying, coupled non-linear differential equations. Not to mention the equations of state for each of these interacting systems.

    Did you actually read what we wrote? Hold on…did you even read what you wrote? Boundary conditions have nothing to do with it. We were talking about interpolating and integrating temperature measurements to get an average temperature. Are you honestly saying you can’t model climate if you don’t exactly know the state of particle in the atmosphere? I don’t need to know the state of every particle to know the temperature. I can just use a thermometer. If you distrust models so completely, I hope you don’t fly or drive or take any drugs because those things are designed and tested using various models, and I guarantee they don’t know the state of every quark in the system.

    We also did answer your first question, and have given several simple explanations as to why the second question is completely irrelevant. You have never addressed our responses. You asked stupid questions, get told they are stupid, and then just complain that no one answered them. Address the multiple points we’ve made about the ridiculousness of the questions and then maybe we’ll try again, but neither question had anything to do with anthropogenic climate change.

  80. #80 Lance
    February 29, 2008

    JimRL,

    I am assuming that you are approaching this discussion in good faith, as am I, so I will attempt to clear the waters a bit. This merry little romp started when you criticized (actually belittled would be a more accurate description) a small part of a post to which I linked. The overall post, written by a quantum field theorist named Tom Vonk, was an overview of the problems with the AGW hypothesis not just the concept of a global mean temperature. He does mention this concept but only in passing.

    I linked to this post because it gives a very rigorous refutation of the hypothesis that we can know with any degree of certainty what X amount of CO2 is going to do to the climate system of the earth, in regard to temperature or any other energy metric you choose, in any qualitatively meaningful way at a time t in the future.

    Yet as an average of a function is an integral of the same, it is obviously impossible to integrate something you don’t know.

    This quote, first of all which you chose, was not in reference to global mean temperature measurement, but to climate modeling in general, hence the remarks by you and Davis trying to tie this quote to mean global temperature are non sequiturs. This remark was not claiming that you can’t integrate a well behaved known function, such as the kinematic equation to which you appealed, to get an average value but that if you do not have a known well behaved function with known boundary conditions no such calculation is possible.

    We can discuss the assumptions made by climate modelers later if you like but let’s try to get back to my two questions.

    First, what is meant by a global mean temperature? This is not a trivial question. The temperature data sets, such as GISS, RSS, UAH etc. are usually what is given for this statistic. Let’s assume that they are accurate. Even so they are at best a snap shot of temperatures for a limited number of disparate locations over a particular period of time. To say that this number represents the net energy balance of the planet that can be compared to the same statistic at a later time to get a measure of the loss or gain of “heat” of the planet over that interval is a transparently simplistic falsehood.

    Second, let’s assume, for the sake of argument, that it did represent a physically meaningful quantity. What would that tell us? Why are we to assume that the conditions of the last 1000 years, the time period you seem to favor, represent a fixed, ideal value?

    Also do you actually believe that we can control the climate system of the earth that has fluctuated between ice ages and periods much warmer than today many, many times in just the Pleistocene by reducing the small percentage of a trace gas that humans contribute to the atmosphere?

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