Pharyngula

Not just the creationists

We’ve had a few examples here lately of crazy creationist talk, but some of the climate change denialists are just as bad. Look at this example of someone arguing that greenhouse gases can’t cause global warming:

Moreover, the actual trapping of heat cannot raise an object’s temperature in the first place. It only slows down heat loss.

It might be literally true, but it’s operationally false in this case — that argument only works if there is no internal source of heat and there is no external input. If you slow down heat loss to a point where it is less than heat gain, you will get an increase in temperature.

This kook must be one of those people who likes to wear a fur coat on a hot summer day.

Comments

  1. #1 zer0
    June 18, 2008

    WTF, this is like borrowing the 2nd-law argument from creationists. Frighteningly ignorant.

  2. #2 Julian
    June 18, 2008

    Isn’t it amazing that there will always be people who believe that there C in Chemistry 101 qualifies them to argue will people who have dedicated decades to studying chemistry, weather patterns, and geology? As if climate scientists working for NASA and every other space agency in the world haven’t considered basic theoretical concepts in thermodynamics.

  3. #3 Julian
    June 18, 2008

    oops, that should be argue “with” people, not will. Don’t know what happened there *scratches head*

  4. #4 rob
    June 18, 2008

    yet another example of a non-scientist mis-applying scientific principles and coming up with some craptastic conclusion.

    kinda like how creationists abuse the 2nd law of thermodynamics while blithely ignoring the fact that their refrigerator is cold.

  5. #5 Kadath
    June 18, 2008

    Why do people abuse thermodynamics so atrociously? You don’t need calculus or real gas theory to understand basic, conceptual engineering thermo–which is the version that always pops up in unrecognizable form in these arguments.

  6. #6 Spinoza
    June 18, 2008

    should be ‘their C’, too!

    Hehe.

  7. #7 Sili
    June 18, 2008

    Or equivalently there’s no point in closing the door in Winter. Trapping heat won’t do anything to keep your house warm.

  8. #8 Ric
    June 18, 2008

    Duh. I can see that in two seconds. If something is trapping heat, and there is an input of heat from an external source, then the functional effect is to raise the temperature. Double duh.

  9. #9 Carlie
    June 18, 2008

    Time for a little song to explain things.

  10. #10 Bill Dauphin
    June 18, 2008

    Isn’t it amazing that there will always be people who believe that [their] C in Chemistry 101 qualifies them to argue will people who have dedicated decades to studying chemistry, weather patterns, and geology?

    Yah, this has always freaked me out: Whenever laymen make claims, based on easily available public sources, that contradict the expert consensus, they are implicitly claiming [a] that there’s a conspiracy among all the experts to defraud the public and [b] that all the experts are completely incompetent (since the presumed fraud is so easily penetrated by regular people with no special training or tools).

    In some cases, of course, there’s an explicit claim of conspiracy (e.g., 9/11 deniers), but in many other cases I suspect folks just haven’t thought through the implications of their positions, or are constitutionally incapable of admitting to themselves that they are “regular” people not possessed of insight exceeding that of highly trained career specialists.

    I recall that when desktop publishing, graphics, and video software started to become available to the general public, professionals in those fields complained that the “now anyone can do it” illusion these tools created tended to devalue their highly developed skills. I think the web may be doing the same sort of thing at a more global level: When any bozo in his underwear can “research” anything by Googling up tens or hundreds of thousands of “sources,” it’s tempting to think “we don’ need no stinkin’ experts!

    [sigh]

  11. #11 mark
    June 18, 2008

    It’s just creationist science taken to the next step. Since evolution is impossible because of the 2nd Law of thermodynamics, we know there is no external source of heat (the sun is simply an illusion, so don’t mention it). Therefore, trapping the existing heat on earth cannot increase earth’s temperature. Simple, right?

  12. #12 Sven DiMilo
    June 18, 2008

    This reminds me most of Tom Bethell and his insistence that the thousands of people who understand evolution by natural selection are all making an extremely elementary error in logic that only he, as an “outsider” can see through. It’s eye-rolling.

  13. #13 Rob
    June 18, 2008

    this is one of two things I’ve never understood – global warming denial and the other being the denial that HIV is the cause of AIDS. The evolution deniers I can understand where it comes from even if it is utter nonsense, but what’s the rationale for denying the former two phenomena? I don’t see any obvious challenge to anyone’s worldview in accepting the truth of those. Generally, the evolution deniers seem to also adhere to the other two as part of some bizarre anti-science holy trinity.

  14. #14 Citizen Z
    June 18, 2008

    Or equivalently there’s no point in closing the door in Winter. Trapping heat won’t do anything to keep your house warm.

    No, no. It’s like how mutations only degrade stuff, and are never positive. Closing the door in winter doesn’t raise an object’s temperature, that object always had that temperature, trapping it just restores the original temperature that was contained in it. Informationally. This original temperature information was created and is maintained by Magic Man. Or aliens, if you’re into that sort of thing.

  15. #15 amstrad
    June 18, 2008

    Re: #10 Bill

    “We’ve all heard that a million monkeys banging on a million typewriters will eventually reproduce the entire works of Shakespeare. Now, thanks to the Internet, we know this is not true.” – Robert Wilensky

  16. Isn’t it amazing that there will always be people who believe that there C in Chemistry 101 qualifies them to argue will people who have dedicated decades to studying chemistry, weather patterns, and geology?

    I somehow doubt that the person under discussion ever earned a C in freshman chemistry. Speaking, of course, as a person who teaches freshman chemistry …

  17. #17 EntoAggie
    June 18, 2008

    Rob @13:

    Global Warming Deniers: Don’t want to give up their comfy SUV’s, or hate hippies, or something. But you know, I know quite a few GW deniers, and one thing I’m quite sure of is that they think they’re super smart. There’s something about trying to poke holes in climate theory (something tremendously complex to begin with) that makes people feel intellectual and superior. As if *any idiot* would believe that we, mere humans, could affect climate.

    For others, they simply believe that a god is in control, and that he won’t let anything bad happen to the earth (or, if he does, it’s all in his Great Plan, so we might as well not try to do anything about it).

    HIV deniers: most just want to believe that Teh Evil Gayness, through their horrible dirty lifestyle, causes AIDS. They want it to go back to being a gay disease, and since straight people can get HIV, OBVIOUSLY it can’t cause AIDS.

  18. #18 rob
    June 18, 2008

    Hey, if there were some huge energy source hovering just outside the earth, surely scientists would have discovered it by now and would be actively studying it.

  19. #19 Aaron
    June 18, 2008

    Urghh!! Last week I received a legislature ‘update’ from my state (KS) house majority leader stating that the widespread acceptance of global warming is simply the result of the mainstream media’s indoctrination of the public. I sent her an email telling her first of all that I’ve seen scientific evidence for global warming, and politely asked her to provide me with resources presenting the evidence against global warming. Thus far no response.

    I was talking to my brother in law last night (about evolution) and he suggested that those in the ‘mainstream’ such as Al Gore with all their biases, only attend to evidence in favor of global warming, and ignore evidence that refutes it. Since it was a friendly conversation at 11:30PM, I didn’t want to start a debate with him so I let it slide without asking him what evidence he was referring to. Next time he brings it up, I think I ought to ask him for it.

    Based on this and a number of conversations about various topics such as the nature of science, including evolution ang global warming, it seems to me that not only do these people use anecdote as evidence (i.e., this winter was colder than 5 years ago, how would Al Gore account for that?) they also think that opinion equals evidence (i.e., Rush Limbaugh says global warming doesn’t exist, Al Gore says it does, these differing opinions mean there’s a 50/50 chance that it does exist. However since Rush Limbaugh hasn’t failed me in the past, his argument wins). In their minds everything is opinion (Climate scientists say that global warming happens, well that’s just their opinion!), facts be damned.

  20. #20 Blake Stacey
    June 18, 2008

    Moreover, the actual trapping of water cannot raise a bathtub’s dampness in the first place. It only slows down water loss.

    There. Fixed that for you.

  21. #21 Dahan
    June 18, 2008

    So, what if that coffee thermos was sitting on a lit burner? I know. Same point made by PZ and others here, but for fuck’s sake…

  22. #22 Lord Zero
    June 18, 2008

    This guy need a new brain… or just
    debate about football and beisbol, giving
    up science, to real scientists.
    You cant skip Thermodinamics 101, it always
    comes down to haunt you.

  23. #23 Glen Davidson
    June 18, 2008

    Well sure, the earth is as cold as deep space is.

    How can you atheists miss this fact?

    And anyhow, for the godless the earth will only end up as a frozen hunk of rock in the end, so what difference does it make? Cause if we’re all dead in the end, why shouldn’t we make everything dead now (assuming your “thermodynamics” counts for anything, that is)?

    [There, now the connection with creationists is complete]

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7

  24. #24 CalGeorge
    June 18, 2008

    Kate needs to work a little harder on trapping the stupidity she expels on her blog.

  25. #25 Lycosid
    June 18, 2008

    Venus, asshole.

  26. #26 ShavenYak
    June 18, 2008

    Moreover, the actual trapping of heat cannot raise an object’s temperature in the first place. It only slows down heat loss.

    Yeah, stupid global warming believers! The only way that could cause the temperature to rise would be if there was some huge external source of heat input to the earth, and if there were, we’d have discovered it by now!

  27. #27 Dan
    June 18, 2008

    Hey, if there were some huge energy source hovering just outside the earth, surely scientists would have discovered it by now and would be actively studying it.

    Posted by: rob

    Wait! I know this… I mean, I majored in English in college, but I did take some of that science stuff you guys are always carrying on about, and I took notes too!

    I know!

    It’s either the moon or an elephant, right?

  28. #28 Mobius
    June 18, 2008

    Oh…the stupid…it hurts.

  29. #29 Brownian, OM
    June 18, 2008

    Hey, if there were some huge energy source hovering just outside the earth, surely scientists would have discovered it by now and would be actively studying it.

    To be fair, 150 × 106 km isn’t exactly ‘just outside the earth’. At that distance, it’s perfectly reasonable that some people just don’t know about it.

  30. #30 JimNorth
    June 18, 2008

    @ 23

    *breathing heavily through a dark mask*
    “now the connection with creationists is complete”

    So, Glen, are you telling us that, in time, hell will freeze over?

  31. #31 Josh
    June 18, 2008

    …in time, hell will freeze over?

    According to Dante, didn’t it already do that?

  32. #32 Julian
    June 18, 2008

    Gah! yeah, I just caught that mixup with there/their. I never make that mistake! *facepalm*

  33. #33 SteveM
    June 18, 2008

    To be fair, 150 × 106 km isn’t exactly ‘just outside the earth’. At that distance, it’s perfectly reasonable that some people just don’t know about it.

    I thought all night trying to figure out what you could be referring to, and then it dawned on me …

    [not original, but isn’t plagiarism the sincerest form of flattery?]

  34. #34 Bill Dauphin
    June 18, 2008

    To be fair, 150 × 106 km isn’t exactly ‘just outside the earth’.

    That’s 93 million miles, to this unreconstructed metric-denialist, thank you very much! ;^)

  35. #35 kim
    June 18, 2008

    I believe we should all follow the shinning example of that great scientist Al (“Do as I say, not as I do.”)Gore. The electric bill of his Nashville home increased by 10% over the previous year. You can read about it at the Tennessee Center for Policy Research (TCPR) here: http://tennesseepolicy.org/main/article.php?article_id=764

    No mention is made of his other two homes and their energy use.

    I am prepared to sacrifice every bit as much as Al does.

  36. #36 SteveM
    June 18, 2008

    I am prepared to sacrifice every bit as much as Al does.

    yet another dipshit who ignores the message because he doesn’t like the messenger. And I wonder how much everyone’s electric bill in the Nashville area went up last year. That is, are you talking dollars or kilowatts?

  37. #37 MarkW
    June 18, 2008

    In case it gets moderated at the original wingnut blog, this is what I posted:

    Funny, isn’t it, how global warming deniers, AIDS/HIV deniers, evolution deniers, anti-vaccine nuts, all start to sound the same after a while…

    (I was going to mention another set of deniers but don’t want to Godwin the thread.)

  38. #38 Dan
    June 18, 2008

    I am prepared to sacrifice every bit as much as Al does.

    Posted by: kim

    I sincerely doubt you are. In fact, what, if anything, have you done to begin with?

    At least Al tries to do something. You?

    I don’t think so.

  39. #39 uknesvuinng
    June 18, 2008

    Perhaps Ms. McMillan should watch this informative documentary.

  40. #40 dNorrisM
    June 18, 2008

    IMHO mark @ 11 wins the thread. Kudos to everyone else, too.

  41. #41 Feynmaniac
    June 18, 2008

    kim blathered:
    “I am prepared to sacrifice every bit as much as Al does. ”

    Great! Are you going to make a powerpoint presentation, write a book and make a movie about global warming? I look forward to seeing that.

  42. #42 Steve_C
    June 18, 2008

    The interesting thing is that with the price of gas going way up, people are starting to conserve anyway. Honda can’t make enough of it’s Civic and Fit models. Hummer is going to be sold off and Ford and GM are cutting back production on SUVs and desperately trying to make hybrids and smaller cars to compete with the Toyota and Honda. These global warming deniers are going to be dragged kicking and screaming into the world of hydrogen/electric powered cars and solar/wind power.

    New drilling off the coast of the U.S. and in Alaska would only account for 2-6% of U.S. consumption. Plus there aren’t enough refineries. It will have no impact on prices because competition for Oil will only go up, because of increased demand in India and China.

    I think the more important issue is whether or not the US is going to import all of the technology and science and be a second rate “1st world” nation or actually step up and be a leader.

  43. #43 Mena
    June 18, 2008

    Rob @ 13:
    this is one of two things I’ve never understood – global warming denial and the other being the denial that HIV is the cause of AIDS. The evolution deniers I can understand where it comes from even if it is utter nonsense, but what’s the rationale for denying the former two phenomena?

    Did you ever get the impression that they are just being contrary for the sake of it? It seems like people (and kim) just like to be difficult for cheap entertainment purposes. They are led by their cheerleaders into a contrarian frenzy, against everything that makes the world better and for everything (like the idiotic war, but that brought money into people who sponsor the news) that makes the world worse. They always look and sound so bitter and angry, just look at the faces of the Ann Coulter and Bill O’Reilly. I’m just not miserable enough to be a conservative I guess, plus I don’t play follow-the-leader very well.

  44. #44 dan
    June 18, 2008

    Kim @ 35:

    I am sure that you have been urged by your pastor/priest to “give to the poor”.
    I know that I have. I recall Billy Graham preaching just this.
    I remember the President urging all americans to give to the poor, through his “faith-ased initiative”.
    I recall the Pope (several of them) doing the same.

    My question; why havent you reliquished all of your material posessions to the poor? Why haven’t these men done the same?
    Here they are, asking you to make a sacrifice, and they obviously are not prepared to live by their own words.

    My point is; a leader does not have to lead by example alone. A leader may lead by persuasion, or coercion or inspiration, they don’t need to lead by imitation.

    Al Gore is a rich man, a very rich man.

    Rich men tend to live in big houses (I know, I build them), where they can insulate themselves and their families from the world.

    Al gore has done more to alter the effects of global warming than any other person on the planet; by what, turning down his AC? No, by persuading others that we must pay attention, and that we must do something.

    He made you aware of Global Warming, didn’t he?
    You are talking about it, you are INTERESTED, you may be curious to learn more.
    You sneer because he flies in a private jet to global warming conferences. But at those conferences, he has built awareness across the globe.

    “You are going to ignore this particular problem untill it swims up and bites you on the ass!”

  45. #45 dan
    June 18, 2008

    I am not Dan, I am dan. There are two of us, probably more.
    I am the one who can’t be bothered to cap my name.

    Just to clear that up.

  46. #46 Capital Dan
    June 18, 2008

    I am not Dan, I am dan. There are two of us, probably more.
    I am the one who can’t be bothered to cap my name.

    Just to clear that up.

    Posted by: dan

    Well, I’ll admit, your well-written words to Kim freaked me out; however, since we share a common name, I may plagiarize them.

    At least we seem to agree which keeps things tidy.

    For what it’s worth, I have been trying to think up a more unique name.

  47. #47 Steve_C
    June 18, 2008

    What about CAPITAL OF DAN.

    ha.

  48. #48 Margaret
    June 18, 2008

    I was in the lab a bit earlier today. Part of the conversation in there was about the stupidity of cutting back on CO2 emissions when “lots of scientists” don’t think that’s the problem. Sigh. What do you say to such otherwise smart, educated people? I’ve thought about asking them whether they think we should just give up on the cities built along coasts and spend the money trying to relocate everyone instead of trying to prevent the oceans from rising in the first place.

  49. #49 llewelly
    June 18, 2008

    kim (#35) , we are all aware of TCPR’s lies about Al Gore.

  50. #50 TheOtherOne
    June 18, 2008

    yet another dipshit who ignores the message because he doesn’t like the messenger. And I wonder how much everyone’s electric bill in the Nashville area went up last year. That is, are you talking dollars or kilowatts?

    If it’s dollars, did it go up because he’s paying more for the “greener” electricity?

    Or if it is actually kilowatts you’re talking about, was the previous year an unusually low number (like, they conserved much more than normal that year because AlGore was away so much) or is there an actual trend of increasing power consumption?

  51. #51 Bill Dauphin
    June 18, 2008

    “faith-ased initiative”

    When I first read this, I thought it said “faith-assed initiative”; imagine my disappointment when I read it correctly! ;^)

  52. #52 rhr
    June 18, 2008

    Al Gore’s next film should be called “Please Don’t Go Jump Off A Bridge” (re: #35)

  53. #53 Josh
    June 18, 2008

    So I guess we should ask Kim how many solar panels she has on her house?

  54. #54 Steve_C
    June 18, 2008

    The home’s energy consumption went down 40%. Which could be attributed to milder weather. However, his gas consumption went down 90% due to a new efficient cooling and heating system.

    He used fewer hours of kilowats too… down from 221,000 kWh to 213,210 kWh.

  55. #55 Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    June 18, 2008

    It isn’t just fundamentalist creationists. Many other crackpots suggests replacing or extending the 4 laws of thermodynamics, and so does some well known scientists as well.

    For example, I just heard that Stuart Kauffman suggests a “4th Law of Thermodynamics”. [Which rightly is a 5th if you accept the # 0-4 order.] I haven’t read Kauffman, for example Investigations where the proposal is made. IMHO his work on autocatalytic cycles seems a feasible albeit perhaps not necessary complement to more traditional abiogenesis pathways.

    But this “4th Law” comes out from the left field. The proposal seems to be that a chemical system advances into the “adjacent possible” as fast as it can, where the adjacent possible is the set of all possible chemicals that can be synthesized in one chemical step from all existing chemicals. In other words, instead of maximizing disorder such open systems maximizes diversity.

    Hmm. This is Prigogine all over again. While Boltzmann, Onsager and Kolmogorov actually modeled non-equilibrium systems, Prigogine wrote a book on self-organizing “dissipative structures” similar to Kauffman’s of which nothing resulted.

    What is interesting with, say, vortices is that they dissipate energy on all scales, which IIRC Kolmogorov and Onsager treated roughly. But that gives quite another spectra of solutions than all possible – when did we see a vortex regularly forming squares lately?

    I’ll have to read the book, or better yet see something coming out of it, and chemical systems are supposedly more constrained than my analogy from hydrodynamics; but color me skeptical.

    This original temperature information was created

    Brilliant! I’m so going to steal that!

  56. #56 Brownian, OM
    June 18, 2008

    Al Gore’s next film should be called “Please Don’t Go Jump Off A Bridge”

    What? No, that’d be disastrous! I can’t even imagine the rise in sea level created by the thousands of bloated, fat-assed conservative corpses carpeting the beds of our waterways. Why, I’ll bet just one Wal Mart full of submerged anti-global-warming porkers would raise average sea levels more than the melting of Greenland’s ice sheet.

    Of course, we could always sink A** C*****r like they do with ships to create structures for growing reefs to mitigate the environmental effects, but there aren’t enough conservative stick beasts like her to have any positive marine contribution.

  57. #57 Deepsix
    June 18, 2008

    Here are the current results of the weather.com poll.

    How concerned are you about global warming?
    Very concerned
    32.6%
    Somewhat concerned
    17.1%
    Not very concerned
    11.0%
    I’m not convinced it’s true
    39.0%

    http://www.weather.com/common/onlinepoll/results/lap_undeclared.html?generic_poll174

  58. #58 Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    June 18, 2008

    this is one of two things I’ve never understood – global warming denial and the other being the denial that HIV is the cause of AIDS

    I’ll add anti-vaccine (or more generally, anti-medicine) denialists, which claim that vaccines are overall harmful, and abstinence-only sexual education denialists, which claim that misleading teens are effective.

    All debunked by observational data, which makes it very difficult for an outsider to understand the position. If you are interested in protecting, say, teens, wouldn’t you want to contribute to the solution instead of being part of the problem? Regardless of if the position is come by from a moral, emotional or practical view.

  59. #59 babblina
    June 18, 2008

    Globa; warming is a hoax. Carbon dioxoide in the air dosne’t make HEAT. temerpatures in the air are rising because God has put the earth ina big pelxiglass ball. To make hell on earth. to punish atheists.

  60. #60 jaramilr
    June 18, 2008

    So why do they call it the green-house effect when green-houses are so cold?

    As #28 said,
    “Oh…the stupid…it hurts.”

  61. #61 moonwatcher
    June 18, 2008

    @13: this is one of two things I’ve never understood – global warming denial and the other being the denial that HIV is the cause of AIDS. The evolution deniers I can understand where it comes from even if it is utter nonsense, but what’s the rationale for denying the former two phenomena? I don’t see any obvious challenge to anyone’s worldview in accepting the truth of those. Generally, the evolution deniers seem to also adhere to the other two as part of some bizarre anti-science holy trinity.

    In addition to what others have said: Many of the global warming deniers are Republicans and libertarians who believe in free markets and are opposed to government-enforced regulation. And some deny it because they can’t conceive of market failure.

  62. #62 AnswersInGenitals
    June 18, 2008

    According to this gentleman’s logic, there is no flooding in the midwest because:

    “Moreover, the actual trapping of water cannot raise a river’s height in the first place. It only slows down water loss.”

    Has nothing to do with the relative inflow and outflow of water to and from the river. So, this guy is an expert in hydrology as well as thermodynamics (and logic).

    I guess those pictures of flood damage are just photoshopped as part of an insurance fraud. When will some conservative Republican senator declare these flood stories to be the second biggest hoax of the century?

  63. #63 Holbach
    June 18, 2008

    Oh hell, his god told him that bullshit and he confused it with the heat in hell, which is his chief concern. I suppose you can say that there is no heat loss or gain in that imaginary cesspit of imaginary souls.

  64. #64 Steve_C
    June 18, 2008

    Yeah it looks like Babblina is just being funny… so we have no thread troll apparently.

  65. #65 AtheistAcolyte
    June 18, 2008

    Four hours and only a marginal effort supplied by denialists… The calm before the storm?

  66. #66 Lynnai
    June 18, 2008

    you run into people from all over the world on yea olde interweb, and I gotta say all the globalwarming deniers I’ve ever butted heads with are all Americans. What propaganda are you poor sods swimming in? Even the dubious from the rest of the world shuffle their feet and agree that cleaning up the environment will do no harm and the worst that can happen is that they personally save some money.

    The one quote that made me really want to lock the guy in a room with Dr David Suzuki went something like “I don’t believe it’s real so I’m not giving up my SUV, and if it is then we’re screwed anyway so I’m still not giving up my SUV.” The guy then went on about how he needed it for winter, I wish I could remember where he was but I have family in rural Ottawa valley if they can get by with a rabbit for daily running around in the depths of winter anyone south of me who isn’t up a mountain doesn’t have a leg to stand on.

  67. #67 Dennis N
    June 18, 2008

    Where’s our good friend Global Warming Is A Scam?

  68. #68 Hap
    June 18, 2008

    #56: Sorry, won’t work. Stupidity doesn’t attract marine life, nor does ignorance, or blind hate.

    Again, another person on a chemistry blog made the analogy of AC to the queen alien in Alien:Resurrection. Do you really want that thing in any water in which life is important? The acidic goo alone will probably eat a hole in the ocean floor, and I don’t want to find out if what is in her skin is water-soluble.

    I think sending her to Zimbabwe as a present to Mugabe might help – the shock would probably kill them both. Two nuts, one stamp.

  69. #69 Dahan
    June 18, 2008

    Kim is one of those people who, had she been alive during WWII, would have complained that FDR had new tires on his presidential limo, good shoes on his feet, and all the fresh fruit and veggies he wanted, and that therefore she didn’t need to ration for the war effort. I suspect then she would have pointed out how Churchill was chauffeured all around England to give speeches, while at the same time limiting the common man’s access to gasoline.

    Yep, people like Kim will always find a reason to not have to give anything or be in any way inconvenienced no matter what. I bet she still lauds “the greatest generation” though. Just don’t ask her to walk her talk. She’s to busy being judgemental.

  70. #70 SteveM
    June 18, 2008

    The guy then went on about how he needed [an SUV] for winter, I wish I could remember where he was but I have family in rural Ottawa valley if they can get by with a rabbit for daily running around in the depths of winter anyone south of me who isn’t up a mountain doesn’t have a leg to stand on.

    I don’t remember who said it, but it was on NPR a few years ago discussing the boom in SUV’s. The quote went something like, “Looking at a typical shopping mall parking lot these days you would think there wasn’t a paved road in all of America.” There was also a comment about there being more offroad vehicles than a typical Army general commands; and for what, to drive to the mall and back.

  71. #71 Capital Dan
    June 18, 2008

    Yep, people like Kim will always find a reason to not have to give anything or be in any way inconvenienced no matter what. I bet she still lauds “the greatest generation” though. Just don’t ask her to walk her talk. She’s to busy being judgemental.

    Posted by: Dahan

    I just think Kim is rather dense. Let’s face it, whether climate change is real or not, doesn’t actually matter. The suggestions by Al Gore will only have a positive impact no matter what. The fact that Kim is too full of her sweet, little self to be troubled to even consider making the slightest of changes really goes a long way in demonstrating what a selfish and arrogant idiot she truly is.

    In other words: “Why would I want to save a couple of bucks on my ‘lectric bill? Al Gore’s one of them Libruls, an’ I don’t care wut he says.”

  72. #72 Interrobang
    June 18, 2008

    The way Creationists talk about the Second Law of Thermodynamics, you’d think none of them had ever heard of our friendly neighbourhood star. That couldn’t be, since Christians are the ones always talking about the Sun of God, right?

    “Looking at a typical shopping mall parking lot these days you would think there wasn’t a paved road in all of America.”

    That’d be funnier if I didn’t live where black ice was pretty much a permanent feature of roads between December and March and I hadn’t seen so many SUVs skid through intersections on their sides. Stick with the VW Rabbit, folks; you may have to learn Russian tank-driving techniques to get through the snowbanks, but you also are a metric shitload less likely to die in a rollover.

  73. #73 Kseniya
    June 18, 2008

    It’s all about the conservative authoritarian mindset, and the cult of personality. Ideological trivia trumps insignifica like fact and reason: If Al Gore isn’t perfect, then everything he says is wrong, and can be discounted. Creationists attempt the same with Darwin and Dawkins.

    It’s an ad, ad, ad, ad hominem world.

  74. #74 frog
    June 18, 2008

    moonwatcher: Many of the global warming deniers are Republicans and libertarians who believe in free markets and are opposed to government-enforced regulation. And some deny it because they can’t conceive of market failure.

    Ahh, you’ve got it backward. The Libs believe that there is no such thing as a market failure (they can conceive it, then No True Scotsmen it away) — therefore, global warming doesn’t exist. Any science that shows it must be “socialist science”.

    It’s the standard religious discourse — we know A, B or C as axiomatic (God, market, pink fairies), therefore X, Y or Z follows by logic — observations are only relevant when they support the preconceived theoretical framework. Standard pre-enlightenment thinking.

  75. #75 DavidONE
    June 18, 2008

    Probably little surprise to the seasoned atheist, but religion is partly responsible for denial of AGW, as demonstrated in the first few minutes of http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8bB2rt3IKJc

  76. #76 Hap
    June 18, 2008

    #73: “It’s a small-minded world after all…”

    I don’t think there’ll be a theme park ride for that one, though. (Maybe the last seven years count?)

  77. #77 frog
    June 18, 2008

    Torbjorn: Hmm. This is Prigogine all over again. While Boltzmann, Onsager and Kolmogorov actually modeled non-equilibrium systems, Prigogine wrote a book on self-organizing “dissipative structures” similar to Kauffman’s of which nothing resulted.

    I ain’t no physicist, but I thought that at the bottom, Prigogine got Boltzmann wrong. He treated the near-equilibrium conditions, where you can define the complexions by velocity distributions over the entire space, the same as far-from-equilibrium conditions, where you have to use velocity-position pair distributions. For ex, a pot of boiling water — the entropy of the system has to include not only the velocity distribution over the whole space, but the distribution of velocity and position pairs, since the gradient is so large between the bottom and the top of the pot.

    I haven’t done the calculations — but neither did he, and he was making the extra-ordinary claim that the system was moving in the wrong entropic direction.

  78. #78 H.H.
    June 18, 2008

    For the small mind, “hypocrisy” is considered the worst trait one can possess. It immediately invalidates anything the hypocrite says or does. This is why so much of conservative mudslinging is often of the Tu Quoque variety. “Yeah, I got caught stealing taxpayer money to spend on hookers, but what about him? He’s just as bad!” If you can paint someone as a hypocrite, then their criticisms of you suddenly disappear.

    This is why the vast majority of the smears directed as Al Gore focus on his supposed hypocrisy. If they can get the charge to stick, then people like kim will dismiss anything he says.

  79. #79 uncle frogy
    June 18, 2008

    it is very depressing realizing how deliberately ignorant people can be/are. My guess, my “gut” feeling about the phenomena including creationism and many other related kinds of denialism is that it is related to ego, nothing can be allowed to exist that puts questions onto the “personal” ideas of reality and doubts into the childish perception of our centrality in existence.

    riddle == What possible reason would a god who created everything have in demanding part of this creation to “believe” when the creation is just a product of said god’s own “mind”?

    it makes the believer important!

  80. #80 Tom
    June 18, 2008

    I think a bit of skepticism is in order. I do not deny global warming. The planet has been warming since the end of the little ice age 150 years ago. I question how much is due to CO2 emissions and how much is natural. The scenarios used to scare people to action are the products of computer models. CO2 is a weak greenhouse gas, too weak to account for all the observed warming. It needs an amplifying mechanism. The models assume a little CO2 warming leads to more water vapor in the atmosphere and the water being a stronger greenhouse gas does the rest. The models are calibrated against recent climate history, so they force the observed warming to fit the observed CO2 concentration rise and project that into the future. But if there are other factors that should be in the model, the calibration based on CO2 could very well be overstating the impact. Do we really know everything needed to program a proper model? I have been involved with some modeling of simpler systems. It seems highly unlikely to me that something as complex as global climate can be reliably modeled yet.

    Still, I support energy conservation efforts. I think it makes sense especially to lessen our dependence on foreign oil. For the record, I drive a tiny car (Miata), use mostly compact fluorescents at home, keep my house relatively cool in winter, warm in summer, and un-heated, un-cooled spring and fall while my neighbors’ AC units are humming away. A major focus of my job is improving energy efficiency. I like that $4 gas will force the plague of SUV’s and full size trucks off the road.

    Global warming or not, we might need urgent CO2 emissions reductions to slow the rate of acidification of the oceans. This has implications for the food chain and for the ability of the ocean to tie up CO2. See story in this month’s Discover magazine.

  81. #81 Kel
    June 18, 2008
  82. #82 Tabby Lavalamp
    June 18, 2008

    “The planet has been warming since the end of the little ice age 150 years ago.”

    Around when the Industrial Revolution was really getting into the swing of things?
    I don’t know if one has to do with the others, but one thing that always gets me riled up is when deniers (not necessarily yourself) talk about how the climate changes in cycles while completely ignoring the simple fact that 10,000 years ago, 50,000 years ago, 100,000 years ago there wasn’t the added pressure of billions of human beings pumping billions of human beings’ pollution into the air and water while simultaneously destroying the Earth’s natural cleansing tools through such means as massive deforestation for the use of wood and expanding farmland/living space for billions of human beings.

  83. #83 llewelly
    June 18, 2008

    Tom, the climate models used to understand how global warming works do not ‘force the observed warming to fit the observed CO2 concentration rise’. They are thermo-dynamic models, not statistical models.

  84. #84 Kel
    June 18, 2008

    Looks like Arctic ice is still melting at a faster rate.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7461707.stm

  85. #85 ephant
    June 18, 2008

    Don’t you know, The Sun Does Not Exist!.

  86. #87 melior
    June 18, 2008

    It only slows down heat loss.

    I swear, if this dangerous chowderhead leaves his (her?) dog in a car on a hot day based on this reasoning, I’ll come over to his house myself and smack him silly.

  87. #88 prl
    June 19, 2008

    He [Gore] used fewer hours of kilowats too… down from 221,000 kWh to 213,210 kWh.

    That’s about 80 times the annual electricity consumption of our house (electric cooking, gas heating and gas hot water, no air conditioning), about 2600kWh/year. In what way are we supposed to be impressed by Gore’s achievement in reducing his home energy use?

  88. #89 Dennis N
    June 19, 2008

    We’re not, we’re suppose to look at his arguments and take them for what they’re worth, independent of what he does.

  89. #90 Autumn
    June 19, 2008

    I had a conversation with a fellow recently who informed me that his daughterand several fellows over at the JPL were laughing at the global warming debate because they were seeing similar increases in the surface temperature of Mars. In the interest of civility, I did not point out that meteorology isn’t rocket science, but simply asked if he had ever driven to Los Angeles.
    Approaching LA, one is struck by the haze. Above the city, at the points at which a driver is a few thousand feet up, the city is invisible under what appears to be a chowder of chicken soup vomit.
    Upon descending under the haze, one realizes that the vomit is much more attractive than the dystopian reality of Los Angeles.
    The global warming denier (or doubter, I didn’t have time to go in-depth) agreed that fewer cars and greater regulation of emissions would always be a good thing. He even pointed out that before modern emission control, a friend of his went to a car parade, and had to leave because he was near asphyxiation.

    In other words (and why did I make you read all of the above if I was fully prepared to summarise), even if there were never any chance of our simple human cultures affecting the climate, there are still tens of thousands of people who have their live cut short because of pollution. Coincidentally, most of the worst pollutants are also ones whose elimination would also mitigate any theoretical chance of massive climate change.
    It’s not just “Global Warming”, it’s the simply obvious effects that the thing which are suspected to cause global climate change have on every one of us, every single day.
    I don’t give a shit if the globe warms a little, I give a shit because it affects me right the fuck now.

    Actually, I do give a shit, but I wanted to point out that there are reasons any sane person can comprehend to combat humanitity’s utter desecration of our only home.
    I want to breathe (not advised in LA for a lot of the year), if the climate change deniers don’t want to, more power to ‘em.

  90. #91 Garrowolf
    June 19, 2008

    I know that I’m going to be blasted for this but I don’t believe in global warming. Now let me tell you why.
    I do believe that carbon dioxide is a green house gas. And yes we have a lot of CO2 out there. The problem is that we are being sold a bill of goods that WE are producing a significant amount COMPARED to natural sources. Volcanoes produce huge amounts of CO2. There are other sources out there. We are being told that the changes that we make in our daily lives will have any effect on this. The problem is that it’s like trying to effect the ocean by being sold a spoon and told to move it. WE CAN’T!
    I do believe that technology can help change the CO2 content in the atmosphere. However I don’t believe that is the only factor here.
    The thing is that we are not sure why this is happening. These climate changes maybe completely out of our control and not of our cause.
    The geologic record shows that our climate has changed several times. It got colder in a little ice age several centuries ago. Then it got warmer around the 1000s. This lead to increased farming which shifted the culture away from the cities during the Middle Ages. Then it got colder again about the time of the end of it. There have been hot times and cold times. There have been many of these ups and downs.

    Now we are looking at a fairly minor increase in temperature over 30 years. This is not the largest increase ever and we still don’t know if this is the beginning of a large pattern of heat increase or a spike that will go down again. Temperatures have gone down the past year as well. So are we in global cooling?

    We may be in for major climate change. We may not. We don’t really know.

    We have lots of problems in the world. Making up one based on short term evidence on long term problems isn’t the solution.

    Now I think that alot of people are making sensational statements for political gain. I think that Gore is one of them. I’m a Democrat but I just don’t believe the guy. I think that he is doing this to gain recognition, not out of any reality to his claims.

    We should do things to improve our world but they should be based on actual knowledge and not Gore’s grandstanding.

  91. #92 Kseniya
    June 19, 2008

    Yup. You figured it out. It’s ALL ABOUT AL GORE.

    Oh. One question: Have you ever heard the word “covariation”?

  92. #93 Ragutis
    June 19, 2008

    prl: I don’t know how you do it, but congrats, seeing as AG only uses about 10 times the average electricity of a U.S. home. Of course, his house is closer to a hundred years old than the typical American home. And it’s a whole lot bigger than the typical American home. And he runs offices from his home. And being ex-VP, I’m sure there’s one hell of a security system there. But he does purchase 100% green energy for the home at a much higher rate. Do you? He buys carbon credits to compensate for the rest of his footprint. Do you?

    And personally, I don’t care if he turns on every light, cranks on the AC and opens all the windows in the middle of summer, that has no bearing on the actuality of Global Climate Change or our responsibility to do something about it. I hated Dubya from the moment he started his campaign, but I was 100% behind his decision to go after Bin Laden in Afghanistan.

    Garrowolf: Yes, you’re absolutely correct that natural processes produce an awful lot of CO2 and other greenhouse gases. But here’s what you’re missing… there exist natural systems/sinks that absorb much of those gases and help keep a rough equilibrium. Problem is, for approx. 150 years we’ve been dumping huge amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere on top of the naturally produced amounts. This is proving too much for the natural mitigators. And to compound it, it’s not just that we keep deforesting vast areas, but as CO2 levels rise, the ability of the remaining plant life to absorb CO2 decreases. Same in the oceans, as they warm and acidify, many of the creatures that make up the biological portion of the ocean sink become less efficient at absorption. Not only are we overwhelming the planet’s ability to compensate, we’re lessening it’s ability to do so.

    And yes, there have been cyclical changes in the past. But this ain’t one of ‘em. We’re doing a large part of this and the evidence is pretty darn clear, the whole mountain of it. The change in temp will be rather small as far as average temps go, only a handful of degrees C. But that small change can still have much bigger implications. For example, try to think of how much ice is in areas only 4 or 5C below freezing. There’s a few meters of sea level rise right there. And how much permafrost is on a similar temperature border? When that starts to melt, we’re gonna be releasing a lot of methane, a greenhouse gas much more potent than CO2 (although with a shorter “life” in the atmosphere). Ask a farmer what a few degrees rise in average temp., or a couple inches decline in rainfall can do. There is a wealth of good information out there for you to educate yourself with. The IPCC is a good place to start, as is RealClimate. That link goes to their FAQ which in turn will lead you to lots of info, including clearing up the misconceptions you’ve exhibited. I’ve also been impressed by the environment coverage by the major UK news sources: BBC, Times Online, The Independent, The Guardian. You can find those online yourself, I presume. I don’t want to post unnecessary links and give PZ another comment to moderate.

    Lastly, Al Gore didn’t discover Global Warming/Climate Change, scientists did. Gore was simply one of the first to listen to their warnings. If you examine the evidence, I’m confidant you’ll come to a similar conclusion.

  93. #94 frog
    June 19, 2008

    Tom: It needs an amplifying mechanism

    Methane hydrate (among others Tom). Spiegel had an article on it. Remember, the entire system is highly non-linear. We’re forcing it — maybe it neg-feedbacks, maybe it pos-feedbacks.

    But let’s look at the scenarios:
    a) We do nothing, and nothing happens: we continue to drill ourselves into an energy hole, but save some money, most of which is going to be buried in bullets and consumer goods.
    b) We do nothing, and a lot happens: global warfare, famine, drought, cities drown — the four horsemen.
    c) We do a lot, and nothing happens: we pay with some bullets and some consumer goods for a long-term improvement in our energy usage, and we save some of the environment.
    d) We do a lot and a lot happens: we’ve avoided b), and gotten c).

    So, in order for it to be reasonable to not act, it can’t be the case that simply we’re unsure about our models — we had better be damn sure that they’re wrong if we’re going to risk case b) and end up with case a).

    How much are you willing to bet on the life of your children? On the continuation of a semi-decent civilization?

  94. #95 frog
    June 19, 2008

    Autumn: #90
    I had a conversation with a fellow recently who informed me that his daughterand several fellows over at the JPL were laughing at the global warming debate because they were seeing similar increases in the surface temperature of Mars. In the interest of civility, I did not point out that meteorology isn’t rocket science, but simply asked if he had ever driven to Los Angeles.

    What has Mars climatology to do with Earth climatology? The former is basically equilibrium — the latter has this little thing called life that causes Earth temperatures and chemistry to be far from equilibrium (ya know, oxygen and such).

    With such asinine commentary, I doubt that civility was in order — either you were speaking to a moron, or a real bastard (rationalized or whatever). The appropriate comment was that his daughter and and those fellows were mis-educated buffoons who should have their engineering degrees rescinded for their obvious analytic incompetence.

    A rocket scientist should be able to distinguish those two cases – if not, it looks like some folks at JPL are on the wing-nut welfare.

  95. #96 slpage
    June 19, 2008

    Well, Terry Trainor, YEC engineer, has claimed – uinsisted – that CFCs cannot possibly have anything to do with ozone problems because they are heavier than air and darn it, just can’t get up in the atmosphere.

    I relayed a incident from my days in the military that while flying over Germany at 1000 feet, the doors of the C-130 I was on (paratrooper) were opened and straw came flyin g into the cabin. I asked how it was that straw – which is clearly heavier than air – got 1000 feet in the air.

    His response was to ban me from his MSN group.

  96. #97 Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    June 19, 2008

    @ frog:

    I haven’t studied non-equilibrium TD seriously at all. But I wouldn’t be surprised if a far-from-equilibrium system acquires a higher dimensionality in an emergent (causal) description. And what you describe on a system with a huge gradient sounds like the reasonable approach to take to get a description. Thanks.

    But I think I just heard what I think you mention here, IIRC that Prigogine et al had to push the self-organizing prototypical system to get the structure instead of it appearing spontaneously as their theory predicted. (Because systems settling to equilibrium must minimize the entropy rate, such a self-organizing system moves in the wrong relative entropic direction.)

    Cosma Shalizi has some criticism of Prigogine, and I recognize the others contributions I mentioned.

    What has Mars climatology to do with Earth climatology?

    I believe they were thinking of radiative forcing – IIRC variation in sun spots et cetera gives ~ 1 % variance in that. But AFAIK that isn’t enough anymore to explain the current heating, I think they could reject it from last years data or so.

    Besides which, as Mars has some (poorly modeled) climate of its own, heating can’t be automatically taken as evidence for such forcing. It is a parsimonious explanation for correlation, but nowadays suspect from above data. So ask them to add some more planets. :-P

  97. #98 frog
    June 19, 2008

    TJ: But I think I just heard what I think you mention here, IIRC that Prigogine et al had to push the self-organizing prototypical system to get the structure instead of it appearing spontaneously as their theory predicted. (Because systems settling to equilibrium must minimize the entropy rate, such a self-organizing system moves in the wrong relative entropic direction.)

    Pushing in what way? Prigogine was trying to describe pushed systems, so if I’m understanding you rightly, “pushing” isn’t really a criticism. My criticism was that entropic description of a pushed system is much nastier than “normal” systems, so you have to apply the principle of Boltzmann, instead of just applying it formulaicly. Possibly even including temporal windows? Nonetheless, he was pretty far from even supporting his point — but he did show that far-from-equilibrium systems aren’t amenable to a naive Boltzmann (which he did). He missed his own point!

    I believe they were thinking of radiative forcing – IIRC variation in sun spots et cetera gives ~ 1 % variance in that. But AFAIK that isn’t enough anymore to explain the current heating, I think they could reject it from last years data or so.

    Thanks for the explanation, but it’s still dumb as Peter. The earth is not at it’s “natural” temperature, but much warmer, while Mars is close to its simple steady-state temperature. So thinking that radiative forcing would have the same effect on both requires a stupidity which should eliminate one from serious consideration as an engineer. It should either be much larger for Earth, or much smaller, and it should be highly non-linear and possibly non-monotonic. As a very, very simplified model for testing simulations it might be reasonable — but to take any more conclusions than that, you have to be an ideologue.

    It’s akin to trying to study metabolism of the squid by studying a rock the mass of a squid — only applicable when the squid is in its, ahem, less interesting states. We don’t need simply more planets — we need more planets with life.

  98. #99 Arnosium Upinarum
    June 19, 2008

    Pardon me if this has already been brought up in the past and already known to you all, but I heartily invite everyone in the biological and environmental communities who understand the issue to get a good gander at what one extremely vocal physicist, Lubos Motl, says over at his site, “The Reference Frame”, which he bills as “The most important events in our and your superstringy Universe as seen from a conservative physicist’s viewpoint” (I’m not kidding):

    http://motls.blogspot.com/

    Just be sure you are prepared to do major battle – the man is a genius, but he’s also without a doubt one of the most irksome assholes who ever lived. He’s so full-of-himself obnoxious, even most of his fellow physicists shun him. But if you are going to swipe at him, make sure you are well-armed with solid arguments backed up by reference.

    He absolutely insists that global warming is non-existent and a myth dreamed up by agenda-seeking liberal environmentalists.

    Pharyngula readers know how to reverse insipid polls with great efficiency. How about trying your hand at something a little more challenging, and giving this pompous know-it-all arguments he can’t dismiss without revealing that he’s woefully stupid in something other than string theory?

  99. #100 Arnosium Upinarum
    June 19, 2008

    Kseniya #92: I adore your laser beam focus.

  100. #101 Arnosium Upinarum
    June 19, 2008

    The fixation on Al Gore as an ‘authority on climate change’ is hereby officially denounced as the assinine fantasy that it is.

    If I can’t make such a formal declaration of renunciation, neither can asses keep bringing up his name as if it constituted a direct source of scientific data.

    IDIOTS.

  101. #102 John Mashey
    June 19, 2008

    If Pharyngula is branching out into other pseudo-science topics:

    1) AGW is of course a focus of many other blogs, of which Real Climate is a fine starting point for real science and occasional debunking of dumbness.
    I always recommend Skeptical Science as a good resource. it has a good top-level list of long-debunked arguments about AGW, a webpage apiece describing the issues, with good references. Rather than repeated arguments again and again, one can just give the numbers and codes in the list, emphasizing the silliness of repeating bad arguments over and over.

    2) As for Al Gore, it is quite reasonable to ignore what a politician says about science, but it is harder to ignore Nobel Physicists Burton Richter in the first part ofGambling with the future says the same things as Al. When I heard Burton talk locally, he was rather firm about the issues, and really down on (the few) scientists who’d gone off into denialism. OK, winning a Nobel in Physics doesn’t make you always right, but to ignore them, you either have to be truly brilliant or incresdibly stupid, perhaps with a serious Dunning-Kruger affliction. at least that can be cured.

    3) I thought I’d run into the stupidest anti-AGW reason I’d ever seen, It’s all from satellite microwaves, which I thought could be a prize-winner for silliness.

    4) But then Eli Rabett unearthed a whole regular journal full of total whackodom, done up as serious papers. For amusement, see The underbelly of scientific publishing and then Ask for it in a plain brown wrapper. Make sure to read the comments, as people run down the dumbest things published. So far, in the lead is a paper by a guy who asphyxiates sheep and finds that at the point of death, there is a unaaccountable spike in their weight, perhaps about enough energy for creating ghosts.

    In this journal:
    Their newest newsletter,

    is well worth perusing.

    “While one organization may cover parapsychology, another consciousness, a third exotic energy sources, and a fourth UFO inquires, the SSE cover the gamut…” (and more)

    and Courtney Brown writes, plaintively:

    “The SSE is a renegade group of scientists, scholars, and thinkers. if we are a renegade group, then there must be others who consider us enemies, Therein lies our fundamental problem; we lack an enemy….
    Alas, to date, our impact on mainstream science has not been as significant as it should be.”

    Courtney’s website yields a fascinating mix, including “Remote Viewing…” (ahh, Targ&Puthoff rise again).

    ====
    Why get crazed ideas retail? The Journal of Scientific Exploration can supply them wholsale! Download a year – the titles alone are priceless.

  102. #103 Nick Gotts
    June 20, 2008

    Garrowolf,
    In addition to the points made by Ragutis@93, the isotopic signature of carbon dioxide from fossil fuels is different from that from any other source; and volcanoes have not, over the past few millennia at least, produced anything approaching the amount per year the burning of fossil fuels produces. Why not before making a further idiot of yourself? Go to http://www.realclimate.org/ and click on the “Start Here” button.

    Kel@81: did you notice that the denialist article at Sceptic Magazine is by “a PhD chemist”, and makes the elementary error of thinking that the theory of anthropogenic climate change depends on the accuracy of GCMs, while the sensible article is by someone who could actually be expected to know what they are talking about – a climate scientist?

  103. #104 OJR
    June 20, 2008

    ok, I’m a climate sceptic and biology student. please provide me with some viable peer-reviewed physics links that prove that even in concentrations of 0,03% CO2 is making drastic alterations to temperatures. I’m not satisfied with quantitive measurements. straight physics, please.

  104. #105 Epikt
    June 20, 2008

    Nick Gotts:

    Kel@81: did you notice that the denialist article at Sceptic Magazine is by “a PhD chemist”, and makes the elementary error of thinking that the theory of anthropogenic climate change depends on the accuracy of GCMs, while the sensible article is by someone who could actually be expected to know what they are talking about – a climate scientist?

    Denialists commit a similar error when they howl that the “hockey stock” graph has been debunked (it hasn’t), and the existence of global warming is therefore disproved. Point out to them that the consensus on climate change depends on a large body of evidence from observation, theory and modeling, and they go into Serial Denialist Mode, claiming that each new piece of evidence is fraudulent. Every model is flawed. Every proxy is misinterpreted. Every new IPCC report is the result of a conspiracy of everybody but them.

  105. #106 Nick Gotts
    June 20, 2008

    Epikt;

    Exactly. For AGW, the “conspiracy” extends through leftists environmentalists and the UN, through grant-greedy scientists, governments wanting an excuse to raise more taxes, and big business hoping to make money from carbon trading. (OK, I’m not certain I’ve seen any single denialist blame all these bogeymen, but they all appear quite regularly.)

    Also of note: one of the few denialists with any relevant publications, Roy W. Spencer, also just happens to be an IDiot. His scientific collaborator, and partial denialist (he admits human activity may have altered climate, but says this cannot be due to the greenhouse effect, and accuses most climate scientists of alarmism), J.R. Christy, is a southern Baptist and former missionary. I have seen it said he is also an IDiot, but can’t vouch for this.

  106. #107 Nick Gotts
    June 20, 2008

    OJR@104. Funny, I had the impression biology students would be a bit more literate, and a bit more capable of doing an independent literature search, than you evidently are. That carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas has been known, from experiment, for over a century. Its properties as such are well-understood. Go to
    http://www.realclimate.org/ and click on “Start Here”.

  107. #108 Arnosium Upinarum
    June 20, 2008

    OJR, #104:

    You are a biology student who is “not satisfied with quantitative measurements” yet demands “straight physics”?

    A BIOLOGY student, and you are sceptical of climate???

    You’ve selected the wrong major. Try something else. Anything that doesn’t require scientific acumen or rational thinking.. You can still make a contribution to the world, say, flipping burgers.

  108. #109 prl
    June 20, 2008

    prl: I don’t know how you do it, but congrats, seeing as AG only uses about 10 times the average electricity of a U.S. home. Of course, his house is closer to a hundred years old than the typical American home. And it’s a whole lot bigger than the typical American home. And he runs offices from his home. And being ex-VP, I’m sure there’s one hell of a security system there. But he does purchase 100% green energy for the home at a much higher rate. Do you? He buys carbon credits to compensate for the rest of his footprint. Do you?

    And personally, I don’t care if he turns on every light, cranks on the AC and opens all the windows in the middle of summer, that has no bearing on the actuality of Global Climate Change or our responsibility to do something about it. I hated Dubya from the moment he started his campaign, but I was 100% behind his decision to go after Bin Laden in Afghanistan.

    I’m not sure how the size of my house (~1000m^2 or about 10000ft^2) compares to the average US size. My total home energy use for the last year was ~58GJ, or about 16,000kWh. The original post just stated Gore’s use in kWh, which I took to be electricity use only (bizarrely, I get billed in kWh for electricity use and in MJ for gas use). If the 213000kWh in the original post was his total energy use, then the factor of 60 is not correct, it’s more like 13 times.

    I don’t buy C02 offsets for my whole energy bill, but the electricity I use is 100% windpower, as far as a statement like that means anything whwn the power is drawn from the grid. My annual home energy CO2 output has fallen from about 6.5t around 1997-2003 to 5t for the years up to 2007, and is due to fall by about another 2t when I have a full year’s worth of wind-generated electricity to compare with (home energy use is, of course, strongly seasonal). In the part of Australia where I live, switching from standard electricity supply to wind makes a relatively large difference to carbon emissions because the generation is mostly from coal (and comes out at about 1kg-CO2/kWh, including indirect emissions).

    I’m somewhat skeptical of purchased carbon offsets in the first place, largely because of the typically long time lag between when the carbon they are supposed to offset is put into the atmosphere and when the offsets (typically tree plantings) remove the carbon from the atmosphere.

    I’m not sure what the relevance of the US’s (or for that matter, Australia’s) involvement in Afghanistan is to the question.

  109. #110 prl
    June 20, 2008

    the size of my house (~1000m^2 or about 10000ft^2) compares to the average US size.

    Ack! Make that 100m^2, 1000ft^2; it’s not a mansion. The land isn’t even 1000m^2!

  110. #111 Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    June 20, 2008

    frog:

    Prigogine was trying to describe pushed systems, so if I’m understanding you rightly, “pushing” isn’t really a criticism.

    Sorry, I wasn’t very clear. I meant that the system wasn’t supposed to settle. (So it could go in the opposite direction than predicted by settling.)

    He missed his own point!

    :-)

    So thinking that radiative forcing would have the same effect on both requires a stupidity

    Agreed. I think the term “forcing” is a bit self-reinforcing. :-P

    We don’t need simply more planets — we need more planets with life.

    Good idea, but they could claim that you assume your conclusion. It is moot anyway, it was already a preposterous joke. Crackpots cherry-pick all their data, if they use any.

  111. #112 Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    June 20, 2008

    AU:

    He’s so full-of-himself obnoxious, even most of his fellow physicists shun him.

    That, and because he tends to resort to sophism when his “genius” doesn’t suffice. Oh, he is brilliant in some ways (I have actually picked up some vague ideas of current theoretic physics from him) – in others, not so much.

    As for AGW, he isn’t a climatologist, he is a moonlighting as a contrascientific crank. But a rather harmless one. (Well, except that the other denialists have some political clout.)

  112. #113 Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    June 20, 2008

    But then Eli Rabett unearthed a whole regular journal full of total whackodom,

    Eew! They have picked up on creationist ideas, they proselytize among the young and defenseless. Imagine trying to become a “scholar”, only to find out that you are nothing but.

    On the upside, they are humorous too: they are doing “true science”, while “established science” supposedly aren’t (p 4).

  113. #114 Interested Visitor
    June 25, 2008

    My main concern with the current debate on climate change and what to do about it is the types of solutions proposed, at least here in the UK. Our government actively encourages replacing a 5 year old boiler with a brand new one because it’s more energy efficient, ignoring the cost in materials and energy of building a new one and disposing of an old one (even when recycling is taken into account). Our government actively encourages replacing desktop computers with laptop computers, because they’re more energy efficient, ignoring the fact that broken or obsolete components in a desktop computer can be easily replaced, whereas if one part of a laptop dies usually the whole thing has to be junked. More energy and materials wasted. Same goes with washing machines, cars, etc. . In Japan, where they’ve had extremely strict controls on vehicular emissions for many years, you can see scrapyards full of virtually new cars, chucked away because they no longer meet the emissions criteria.

    (On a related note, smug Prius owners irritate me, because their cars use as much or more fuel than some non-hybrid diesel cars, and the batteries in them are hazardous to manufacture and dispose of – and nobody mentions that most of the electricity from the mains is still produced using fossil fuels. They don’t pay the congestion charge either – grrr.)

    Whether climate change is happening or not, whether it is man-made or not, I also think that any effect we can have by modifying our behaviour is likely to take a long time to acheive, and may have minimal or no impact on the climate (for example, I think someone may have already mentioned the possibility of a runaway greenhouse effect caused by the release of greenhouse gases which are currently trapped in ice).

    With this in mind, I think we ought to pay at least as much attention to alleviating the plight of the people in the most vulnerable areas – with the amount of time and money being spent on trying to prevent what may be inevitable, it’s reasonable to expect that some could be put aside for, perhaps, developing flood-resistant housing in Bangladesh, and planning for possible evacuation and possibly relocation. Or maybe working out how, in the event of major climate change, the world’s people and agriculture could be redistributed to better take advantage of the new situation (this could, eventually, be dealt with by free market economics, but in the meantime many could die).

    Conservation of stocks of fossil fuels is important, but it’s going to be very difficult to achieve with the major emerging economies in Asia, and I think a great deal more emphasis should be put on how to work together as a planet to conserve our fossil fuels than is currently.

    The perpetual and all-encompassing debate about CO2 is, I feel, masking and diverting attention from some extremely important environmental issues which are being all but neglected, at least by the mainstream media. Talking only does so much.

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